As we all know printer ink cartridges and women's tennis are the biggest rip offs on the planet and plastic kettles and lap top adapter cables the most feebly made products on the planet. One little bend or twist on that molded computer plastic cable, or your kettle slightly over boils or gets bumped or splashed, and both are sparking away like cheap Bonfire Night. But the cheap design, of course, is deliberate so to make you keep buying both plastic kettles and branded lap top cables for ever more. If you buy a generic brand of either on Amazon then don't expect them not to last at all. I have bought more kettles than bags of tea! The old metal kettles your mum and granny had with the little whistle on the end lasted forever, of course. I can't contemplate companies in the older days full of pride in their stuff making things not to last.
The main reason cheap plastic kettles burn out is because we don't uses them wisely. We put just enough water in every time for one or two cups as we want our cuppa fast. If we sensibly fill the kettle up to its full liter or so we are twiddling our thumbs and meanwhile the commercial break has ended and Channel 4s 'The Jump' has re-started. Not that you would want to rush back to that. Baring in mind we aren't that patient with kettles I do think manufacturers should address that. But they know if the kettles break easy we will just keep buying them and just keep breaking them, why they are so cheapo in supermarkets and shops.
The Swan SK is your bog standard white plastic kettle. It retails for just over a tenner and stands a foot tall. It's a cordless design weighing in nearly 2 KGs full up and a flip to lid to fill it to its 1.7 liter capacity, which locks neatly. Make sure it is locked or hot water could spill out on your hand if you overfill it. It has the water gauge, of course, but one that doesn't show how close the water is to the top of the filament. It needs to be covered to prolong the life of the kettle, similar to uncovering the nuclear core in a reactor and getting a meltdown. The automatic cut off is standard although if that lid is slightly ajar folks it may well keep boiling away to its hearts content, your kitchen soon the rain forests of Borneo.
A cordless kettle doesn't mean it has no chord, the electricity somehow transmitted through the air. It means it has a removable base that works when the electricity travels to the element inside the kettle through the base plug, heating the water that way. The problem with these kettles is that if any splash water gets on the exposed plug service to often it rust and corrodes. Inside the kettle the steam heats up a Bimetallic Strip which is made up of two different strips of metal, which bends because one of the metals expands faster than the other, this breaks the circuit, and the electricity doesn't get through the element until the bimetallic strip has cooled down, again like nuclear fusion. This stops the water electrifying, why the kettle is plastic for back up safety. You won't find many cordless metal conductor kettles. Water and the electricity current must be kept apart in all aspects of the kettle. I do prefer the non cordless kettle because the base rarely sits snug with the kettle and with along chord you can put the kettle in different place in your kitchen and nearer plug points. In my experience cordless base kettles just don't last as long because the elements are exposed more to water and that corrosion.
On the whole I have had it six months and it's still working, which puts it in the top five I have ever had for longevity. I still fill it up just over the Plimsoll Line and it takes about 90 seconds to boil. We are in a fairly hard water area so there is lime scale in there, mineral deposits that make the water hard, of course. There is a filter on the kettle to keep the flakes out of your PG and so no worries there. Always a good idea to gently chip some of it from the filament when it builds up as that stuff slows the boil. A good swill out and boil will do the trick. You don't need all those 'poncy' Brit water filters though as tap water is nearly always cleaner than expensive bottled water. Don't get me started on the fools who think bottled water is worth the money.
Item: Swan Cordless Electric Kettle
I seemed to go through a phase of getting through kettles like nobody's business for a few years and we certainly get through a few at the holiday cottage. However, my home problems were solved when I bought a Swan Kettle using a voucher from Littlewoods.
My kettle arrived nice and fast, well packaged in a quality box. Unwrapping it quickly I did wonder at my colour choice. My kettle is what I would describe as "Buttermilk" colour and I think that might be how it was described when I chose it. Anyway, living in a rural setting I did and do not want the bright fashionable colours that go so well in contemporary urban kitchens and I think that limited my colour choice. I no longer think about the colour and indeed, it is a change from plain white and does go with absolutely anything.
As recommended I filled up the kettle and boiled it discarding the first boil. Ah well it gave the sink drain a good clean through with boiling water.
The Swan kettle is a nice handy sized jug kettle, not a huge beast, but large enough that it holds 1.7 litres of water for prompt boiling.
Left and Right:
The cordless design is particularly handy for left-handed people as it does not matter whereabouts on the disc you set the kettle down. Featuring a clear Perspex (or similar material) window on both sides means that it is easy to view the amount of water in the kettle regardless of which hand you are using. Furthermore the handle is a stylish oriental looking curved design that is nice to hold in either hand and easy to grip and pour with. Having a sturdy rocker switch on the top of the thumb handle also ensures both handed user friendliness. The switch is solidly built and there is no doubt whether it is off or on despite the lack of text or icons as the kettle soon roars into life when it is switched on.
The kettle is easy to fill either by placing the pouring lip under the tap or by opening the lid using the easy to operate release catch incorporated in the lid that can be used with the hand holding the kettle or the other hand. The catch automatically returns to position every time and the lid is easy to close and we have never left it open in error.
The Swan kettle is quite noisy in use and as it rumbles to the boil prior to switching itself off I can hear it in the shower from the bathroom next door through a two foot thick solid wall! However, as we have just started using our "caravan" kettle at home I miss the noise and drama of the old kettle, at least there is no doubt that it is operating and there is an audible click as it switches off and all goes quiet.
Packing 2300W the kettle is a fast boiler and efficient to use regardless of how much or little water is being boiled. Most of the time I boil about 1.5 litres for the teapot and then sometimes a little bit more for a top up.
The concealed element design is wonderful and is certainly what I know seek in a kettle. The entire jug of the kettle is given over to hold water to boil, making it efficient and easy to use and clean. Indeed as the element does not come into contact with the water (there is just a stainless steel plate at the bottom) there is no problem of the element scaling up and losing power or getting lime scale stuck on or under it. A much better design that I know is not unique to Swan(!)
The disc the kettle sits on has a raised aperture for the kettle to meet in order to operate and it is very easy to line up and use, the electric cable is about 30cm long and has proven perfect for kitchen worktop use.
The only fault we could find with the kettle in the early years of its life was that the internal filter would silt up and was tricky to remove and replace for cleaning, whilst the addition of the filter ensured a real quality cup of tea, the replacing issue meant that sometimes it would fall out, so after about twenty months we did away with it, yes some lime-scale gets into the tea and coffee but it ensures the kettle remains efficient to use.
Both the kettle and the disc are quick and easy to clean requiring only a wipe down when washing up and an occasional spritz with a spray such as Flash to bring it up a treat. Our kettle is now very old - probably a pensioner in kettle terms and it has now acquired a few little nicks and scratches in the paintwork as well as a little lime-scale build up inside.
Several Years Later:
I have been very happy with my bargain Swan SK1337 Kettle, however it is time to designate it "spare kettle" for about 8 months now there has been a little leakage from somewhere, this has increased in recent weeks and we have discovered a visible crack in both of the clear windows.
Price and Availability:
As mentioned I used a voucher to buy mine and I think it was priced at around £25.00. A quick look on-line shows them starting at around £15.35 and they can also be bought at a discount as part of a Kettle Toaster set. From many on-line outlets new and used.
I would highly recommend this kettle, however, I plan to buy the Which best buy next time, but don't be surprised of an update in 6 months time saying I bought another one! They are reasonably priced, reasonably stylish and work like a train and sound like one too! Colour choices may be limited depending on where you buy but there are quite a few to choose from to suit any decor.
Thank you for reading my review and please consider the Swan SK1337.