When our Russell Hobbs kettle had boiled its final cuppa, I assumed we'd be replacing it with something equally sleek looking. At that time though, Which? Magazine had just rated a cheaper plastic kettle from Sainsbury's as one of its Best Buys. Needless to say the next opportunity we got, we hurried down to our local Superstore to see the kettle creating all the fuss.
Cheap though it is, one thing Sainsbury's Rapid Boil jug kettle has in its favour is the colour. You can get it in any colour you want provided it's black. That suits us just fine as it blends right in with our black kitchen worktops. Somehow it just looks less naff than white kettles too.
As with most new kettles this has a water gauge that glows blue when it's switched on. Something I wasn't used to and that still tickles me, seven or eight months later. It serves no real purpose of course but it did add to the appeal when we were considering buying it.
The Sainsbury's Rapid Boil is a standard jug kettle - none of the trappings of a Delonghi here - although to be fair it's quite well designed. There's one button to open the spout and a paddle switch near the bottom you flick to turn it on. Although they're both in a cheap looking grey colour, they're wide and responsive so anyone with less dexterity than me shouldn't have any problems using them.
Aesthetically then this kettle won't set anyone's pulse racing, but at less than £20 provided it delivers on its promise of boiling water rapidly then what does it really matter?
~ Ease of use ~
The kettle has a maximum capacity of 1.7 litres which equates to about 6 or 7 cuppas depending of course on whether you're using small china cups or outrageously large mugs like we do. Given its size, the kettle is surprisingly lightweight although perhaps that's due to it being made of plastic rather than metal. One bonus is that the body of the kettle remains far cooler when it's boiling than our old metal kettle ever did, which is good for anyone like me who's easily distracted or for those with younger children around. It's also really easy to lift and hold. The middle of the handle has a soft rubbery area which makes it easy to grip and lift even when full.
I've always filled from the lid rather than the spout, which with this kettle it's easy. Our last kettle had a round chrome lid which lifted off completely, although I found it jammed sometimes and twisting it off could be difficult. With this there are no such problems, one press of the button release and up it flips. For those that would rather use the spout, it's easy peasy as this has a wide spout. The flip side of that is that pouring the boiling water needs more care than I'm used to with our pointy old Russell Hobbs spout.
The good folk at Sainsbury's have thought to accommodate lefties too, as there's a water gauge on either side of the handle. As we're both right handed though the kettle tends to sit in the same position on our worktop all the time. Not only do the gauges both glow bright blue, but they have the water levels clearly marked from the minimum to the maximum, so it's both easy to see how much water you need, and perhaps more importantly there's never the possibility of under filling and potentially damaging your shiny new boiler.
Overall it looks good. The cord is a decent length for those who won't keep it too near a plug. We're able to wrap most of the cord under the base out of sight. It's also far easier to keep clean then our old metal one with no smudgy fingerprints on show, and once it is clean the shiny black surface looks fairly smart too.
~ That's all very well but what of the rapid boiling claims? ~
We usually only need to fill this to the minimum level and it then boils in around 90 seconds. Fill it up to 1 litre and it takes nearly an extra minute. While they might not sound especially quick it seems like a blink of an eye to me when I'm in the kitchen. Having read many other kettle reviews I'm also lead to believe it really is very fast in comparison to other modern kettles although I've obviously not had the opportunity of standing at many others with a stopwatch to check myself.
~ So far so good, but it comes with a few caveats: ~
The noise it makes almost from the start. Did you know that John Travolta is a qualified pilot? Well he apparently keeps his own 707 plane parked in his back garden. If I were his near neighbour I doubt I'd hear him take off if I was making myself a cuppa. The RB is so loud I can't hear anyone talking if they're in the living room less than 20 feet away. Depending on who you're with, that could be a blessing or a curse.
The minimum fill on the Rapid Boil is 720ml. This would be fine if we intended to make two large mugs of tea or coffee every time, but whenever we're making just one cuppa then it wastes energy by boiling far more water than we need.
I've noticed that this doesn't cut off the moment it reaches boiling point but carries on for maybe another 5 or 6 seconds. Again it's a complete waste of energy and if I happen to be standing nearby I'll often switch it off myself rather than wait. This might sound trivial but it's the Rapid Boil's one design flaw that irks me.
Having read other reviews of this kettle, there seems to be a problem with the catch mechanism in the lid of some kettles. Other people have stated that it pops open when it's boiling, which is obviously something to be aware of. We've not had this problem with ours but I imagine this becomes apparent quickly and I assume the 12 month warranty would cover that if anyone had bought one with this safety issue.
One drawback I have noticed however is the limescale filter in the spout which is too small to be much use. Even if you fill via the spout you'll find that unless you trickle the water in carefully, it just goes straight over the filter. The few times that I've tried cleaning it, I've found it fiddly to get in and out as well. In all fairness we do live in a hard water area and I have yet to find a kettle that keeps out all the scale and so we regularly descale this kettle as we would any other using some Scale Away.
~ Recommended? ~
I would, especially for anyone with dexterity issued in their wrists or hands as this really doesn't weigh as much as a similar metal kettle would when it's full. Also for anyone who wants a simple black kettle to blend in with their worktops like us. I'm disappointed it isn't more energy efficient although given the fact that it only costs £19 I would probably have to waste an awful lot more electricity using this before it comes anywhere close to the £60 other manufacturers charge for their kettles.
Overall it's proved to be a sturdy kettle which has been reliable over the last 7 or 8 months without causing us any problems. Although it looks good and boils - er - rapidly, I'm taking one star off for the extra energy it uses.
Please ignore the picture and sound quality criteria - they do not apply!
I have a fairly busy life as a mother, even though I am on maternity leave from my office job, I'm taking college courses and visiting family and refurbing my new home. And, like any Yorkshire resident, where would I be without my cups of tea!? So when I saw the Rapid Boil kettle for sale in Sainsbury's, I jumped at the chance - boiling water for my tea? Faster? Yes please!
The Sainsbury's Rapid Boil kettle retails at £12.99 however I purchased it at £9.99 on sale. It is styled in black which I think is a bit more unusual for a budget kettle, and I bought it partly for this reason as I have a black kitchen in my apartment. I have since realised you should base your kettle purchases on a bit more than appliance fashion!
The kettle is a standard jug style cordless with a base, the cord to the base to the power outlet is plenty long enough which is good. Overall I'd say it looks more expensive than it is, especially considering the bargain price I paid for it. It looks quite modern and sleek.
The kettle holds 1.7 litres of water, more than enough for my uses with my husband and for cooling to put in a bottle for my daughter. Now, it says it is fast boil, but maybe my previous kettle was fast boil too, because all I can say is that the kettle boils at a perfectly average rate but not amazingly fast. It has a removable lime scale filter, which is good if you live in a hard water area, but I don't so it's not a feature I can say I have had much knowledge or experience of. I'm from near Leeds in Yorkshire a notoriously hard water, lime heavy area and this feature would be very useful over there. It's not one you generally see on budget kettles. I had resorted to filtering my water in a Brita first then boiling it, but with this kettle you may not need to.
The kettle boils water quite well, not much to say on that, and if that's all there was to it I'd probably give it a five out of five as there's not much you can complain about on a basic kettle, right? But this kettle in my opinion has a serious design flaw and one that personally had I known about I'd have steered well clear of it. I don't think it is sold in it's present design in Sainsbury's any more and this might be the reason why.
The lid to the kettle has a little catch for opening it so you can put it right under the tap and fill it up so you don't have to fill it down the spout like some kettles. But I have found when I fill the kettle up near capacity, the rolling boil of the kettle makes the lid pop up with some force. Obviously the steam means that if I attempted to push the lid back down I would most probably burn myself. So you have to leave it to boil or precariously switch it off with the lid popped. This is really dangerous - if you hadn't noticed it pop up whilst it was boiling you could potentially tip it up to pour into your cup and scald yourself quite badly.
This started to happen about six weeks after I had purchased the kettle though I still had the receipt. So, I took it back to Sainsbury's and exchanged it for a branded kettle (adding a little bit in cash). I think they readily accepted the design flaw though they did not say it was widespread and as I didn't want a replacement Fast Boil (as I was worried about the safety) they removed it from resale, which was good.
So overall I cannot at all recommend the Sainsbury's Fast Boil Kettle, and I can't say I'd buy another Sainsbury's kettle full stop as I feel I have had my fingers burned - though thankfully, figuratively, and not literally, as could all too easily have happened.
Had this not been the case this kettle would have been a four or a five out of five easily. But now? Since it could and probably would scald anyone who used this for more than a few weeks from new, I certainly believe this to be a dangerous kettle and therefore if I could award it a 0/5 I would. As that is not an option I will award it a 1/5 and advise you never to buy, receive or use the Sainsbury's Fast Boil kettle.
For some reason we manage to go through an extraordinary number of kettles, maybe it's something to do with the number of cups of tea I drink a day, added to the baby bottles and exacerbated by how incredibly hard the water is where I live. After going through not one but two 'basics' models in under a year, we decided to celebrate our new home in May by buying a brand new kettle. On checking out the local supermarket we picked the Sainsbury's Rapid Boil kettle, just because I liked the colour and it was on offer at the time. The question is, was it a great purchase, or one that we now regret.
The Sainsbury's Rapid Boil Kettle is a sleek, glossy black jug kettle of the cordless variety. Although it's nothing particularly fancy, when new it does look a lot smarter than many kettles in the same price range. The base is a standard size, and the jug can be placed in any position, meaning that nothing has to be lined up to get the jug to sit firmly in place. In line with all modern kettles, the power lead is short (for the sake of safety) and this can be further shortened by winding it into the base. The lid springs opens by way of a button on the top and the element is flat and made of stainless steel meaning that in theory there's less chance of the kettle being damaged by lime scale. When switched on the kettle emits a cool blue light that makes it easy to see how much water is inside it, although it's not always as easy to read the volume indicator when it's not switched on.
==It's getting steamy in here==
Being fairly light the kettle is easy to transfer from the work surface to sink but I find the spout is a little too small to fill it from the tap without opening the lid. Sainsbury's consider this to be a rapid boil kettle and claim a boiling time of just four minutes, but this is only if you've put the minimum amount of water in. Personally, it's not very often that I only boil one cup's worth of water at a time, and so it takes more than four minutes to boil a kettle's worth. Not a lot more, I'll admit, maybe five or six minutes and the kettle makes a reassuring steaming sound almost as soon as it's switched on, but still more than four minutes. With a maximum capacity of 1.7l the kettle holds more than enough water to prepare six full baby bottles, or five mugs of tea. There's even a removable lime scale filter in the spout, sounds so good so far doesn't it?
As I said at the beginning, I live in an area with very hard water and as such I always fill the kettle with filtered water. Even so after about a month the once glossy black exterior was marred with streaks of white lime scale. The interior also collected lime scale at an alarming rate, starting with just the element losing it's initial gleam and then filling the kettle with flakes of calcium carbonate again within a month. To begin with the removable, washable filter did a pretty good job of catching these flakes. But there's something about the design that means if the kettle is placed on a surface just a little too firmly then the filter will fall out of position. And then you get a mouthful of gritty bits, which is not what you want to be serving guests. The filter is also very fiddly to replace, it always takes me several goes and normally only slots in after I've said "that's it, I've enough, you do it!!". Yes I know that the problem with lime scale isn't all the kettles fault, so I don't begrudge that I have to de-scale it monthly. But I do think that this kettle seems to accrue lime scale at a far faster rate than many others that I've owned. And then the glossy black that I loved so much shows up the lime scale so quickly and so badly that I can't help but wish it was bog-standard, plain white.
The lime scale, however, isn't the worst thing about this kettle, not by far. What is the worst, is how positively dangerous it has become over the last eight months. Remember that lid, the one that pops open at the press of a button? Well over the months it's become more and more temperamental and now it opens whenever it feels like. Sometimes, it will open as the kettle is placed on it's base before boiling, and this I can live with as it's cool enough for me to close again. Then there are the times that the pressure of water boiling will cause it to spring open, a little more dangerous, but again not too bad. But when the lid decided to start randomly opening while I was pouring boiling water from it, well that's when I decided that this really needed retiring, less than nine months after it was bought. Although Sainsbury's do offer a one year guarantee, I didn't bother taking them up on their offer of a replacement, simply because I would rather not get a face full of steam.
My only advice as far as the Sainsbury's Rapid Boil Kettle is leave it on the shelf and don't be taken in by Sainsbury's promise that it offers a level of specification normally only found in much more expensive brands. It may offer these specifications but it certainly doesn't deliver. Firstly there's the problem with lime scale despite the supposed lime scale resistant element, I know I live in a hard water area but other, cheaper kettles haven't suffered nearly as much. As for the rapid boil claims, well to be honest I've not really noticed it boiling much quicker than other kettles and as the lime scale builds up it gradually takes longer and longer to boil. But by far the most dangerous aspect of this kettle is the way the lid flies open whenever it gets the inclination, meaning that you're taking your life into your hands every time it's used. So I'm giving this kettle one star out of, but only because I can't give it zero and suggest that you take your £12.99 and buy a different make and model.