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I am a huge tea drinker and can't survive without regular cuppas, so it was something of a catastrophe for me when my kettle died on me one evening - especially as it was less than twelve months old and made by a brand (Tefal) that I'd previously had good experiences with. My husband offered to pick a new one up from Argos for me the next day as I was at work all day and the prospect of returning home without a hot cup of tea to welcome me back was more than I could bear. Unfortunately, that did mean that I didn't have any input into the choice of kettle and was greeted with this shiny black Waring model (WTK17BKU).
I must admit that this isn't the style of kettle that I would have chosen. It is a very traditional design, with a rounded dome shape and an overarching handle. My personal preference would be a slimmer, more modern design as these tend to have a smaller footprint on my worktop. The surface area taken up by this Waring kettle is slightly larger than its predecessor which is an issue when space is limited.
I was also unsure about the Waring label as this isn't a brand that I've ever heard of, let alone purchased, previously. It certainly has the appearance of being a premium kettle, rather than a budget brand and the price tag (£59.99 from Argos) suggested that this was a quality brand. My husband mistakenly believed that this was a brand created by the chef Marcus Wareing and confidently informed me that this was a good quality product on that basis. Turns out he was completely wrong but, nonetheless, the Waring brand seems to have a decent reputation and this kettle looks and feels like a quality product. I do like the shiny black exterior and the contrast between the stainless steel lid and spout and believe that this design would fit in well with most kitchens, whether modern or traditional.
Having owned this kettle for a number of months now, I have found most aspects of the design to be perfectly functional and I have warmed to it gradually. The 360 degree base is very practical and there is ample spare cord to allow flexibility in the positioning of the kettle. I also particularly like the simple plastic switch which turns the kettle on and off as this lights up in a very visible fluorescent blue, so there is no mistaking when the kettle has actually been turned on.
I have found the glossy exterior to be easy to wipe down although I must admit that I don't always find the time to do this and the black coating does seem to attract an alarming amount of dust! I do prefer a coloured coating to a stainless steel outer as it is far more forgiving when it comes to finger marks, however. In theory, this should be a low maintenance kettle as it has a concealed element at the base and includes a removable washable limescale filter. I am a little concerned that this particular kettle seems to attract more limescale than previous kettles. Despite only being use for a few months, there is already a clear build up of limescale on the internal filter (so this is something that I need to remove and clean.) There is also a surprising amount of limescale around the edge of the lid, given the short period of ownership. This was not difficult to remove and had probably started to build up as I never remove the lid, preferring instead to fill up the kettle via the well designed, slightly sloping spout. Using this method, I experience no splashes and spills.
One of my main concerns about this kettle had been the positioning of the handle as I would prefer the handle to be on the side of the kettle, which I've always felt is more secure and comfortable to pour. I was also a little apprehensive that the handle is only attached to the kettle on one side and was a little worried that it might feel uncomfortable, particularly when the kettle was full. My experiences on using the kettle for a few months now have proven my initial fears to be unfounded. The handle is actually really comfortable to hold and feels safe and secure, even when full. I now appreciate the fact that the handle does not meet at one end as it ensures that my hand is kept well aware from the flow of steam when pouring. I also like the very thick rubberised coating which covers the majority of the handle as this ensures that the handle is always cool to the touch. Despite appearing to be a smooth coating, it is still non-slip so I have no safety concerns when filling or pouring this kettle at all, despite it being quite a heavy model.
The overall capacity of this kettle is slightly more generous than its predecessor, holding a generous 1.7 litre capacity, which I find ideal when cooking large amounts of potatoes or vegetables. I most commonly boil this close to its minimum fill level which is 0.5 litres and more than sufficient for a cup of tea (with plenty to spare.) The viewing gauge is really wide and the measurements are clearly indicated on both sides, making this suitable for both left and right handed use. My only minor quibble is that the metallic base of the kettle is quite reflective and it can sometimes appear as though there is sufficient water to exceed the minimum fill level, when actually there is only a tiny amount of water in there, it is simply reflecting back up. I have learned to give the kettle a little shake to reveal its contents rather than risk the kettle's automatic shut off kicking in (no doubt shortening the life of the kettle.)
One of my key demands is a kettle that boils quickly and this kettle certainly fulfils this, especially on a minimum amount, thanks to its powerful 3000 wattage. It is not excessively noisy, but there is enough noise to be conscious that it is boiling and the kettle makes a reassuring and noticeable click when the water has reached boiling point.
My husband paid the full RRP of £59.99 when he purchased this from Argos although, to be fair, this was purchased with a strict deadline - my return home- which limited the opportunity to browse for a bargain. Frustratingly, this model is now on offer for just £39.99 which I feel is an excellent price for a kettle that fulfils its functions well and with style and speed. Although this wouldn't have been my first choice, due to the styling, I am pleased with its overall performance and am happy to recommend this Waring branded kettle to others, particularly at its current price.
Short name: Waring WTK17BKU