Product Type: Sainsbury's kettles
Newest Review: ... 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... more
Avoid this like the plague
Sainsbury's Rapid Boil
Member Name: sandemp
Sainsbury's Rapid Boil
Date: 03/01/11, updated on 03/01/11 (273 review reads)
Advantages: Looks pretty good when new
Disadvantages: Exterior positively attracts lime scale, as does the element, but the worst is it's dangerous lid.
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.
Summary: Don't waste your money on this
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