It’s a small thing, isn’t it?
It sits on the surface, and performs every single time you flick the switch, providing absolute life essentials. Like tea. And coffee. And time-saving hot water for potatoes and rice and veg and pasta.
So imagine my horror when we returned from a week in Yorkshire, stumbled in the door after a 6hr drive, only to find that the kettle did NOT light up cheerily when I flicked the switch.
(also – mildly suspicious. The in laws had been house sitting in our absence. I suspect foul-play and kettle mistreatment…)
But it wasn’t TOO bad – we have a spare kettle stashed under the stairs, especially for Christmas when the in laws come and stay; we make sure they have a kettle & tea in their room so that they can take the mornings in their own time.
But as it’s such an occasional-use kettle, it was the cheapest of the cheap (frankly, I couldn’t believe HOW cheap *whispers* under £5!), and small as well. Not really ideal for a large family of tea addicts.
But needs must and all that – tea was definitely needed, and this one at least turned on when it was plugged in.
So that was a start.
Sadly, two weeks later it proved that it was best suited for occasional use only, and after a few days of feeling noisily sorry for itself, it eventually hiccupped and died.
And my morning coffee was made with a saucepan instead.
Which is fine, obviously. I mean it works. But it takes so lo-o-o-ong.
(an electric kettle converts about 80% of the electricity used into energy to heat the water, while the comparable figure for a pan of water on the gas is around 40%. SO slow when you’re watching it. Waiting.)
On the upside I did find that there were suddenly less mugs collating in No.1 son’s bedroom (apparently making tea by boiling a saucepan of water was so much more work that he’d rather drink less of his beloved Rooibos. he’s 17, what can I say? #LazyTeen).
And I also found that because I was hovering over the pan waiting and waiting for it (because you can’t just flick the switch and then wander off and get distracted – they have a habit of boiling dry and setting fire to your kitchen. Or boiling over, putting out the flame, filling the kitchen with gas and blowing up your house), I started to reduce the amount of water I was boiling; I had the one mug/two mug fill levels down to a fine art within a day.
And it occurred to me that I had probably just learned the lesson all the eco-advice had been telling me for years; only boil the amount of water you need.
So when I was shopping for the new kettle, I had a suddenly acquired amount of knowledge to enable an informed decision.
- I knew that I wanted a bigger capacity – the little kettle had been TOO annoying.
- I knew I wanted an electric kettle – I’ve always rather fancied the romance of a whistling kettle on the stove, but actually it’s annoying having to dash for a kettle when it demands it, not when you’re ready to make your drink. Plus it’s much slower.
- I knew I didn’t need an fancy bells and whistle – if a cheapest-of-cheap kettle did everything I needed, why would I demand (and pay for) extra functions?
- I knew I didn’t actually want the very cheapest either – build quality is clearly an issue for more than occasional use small appliances.
- I didn’t want to lose my new-found eco skill of only boiling what I needed; it’s astonishing how much quicker it is (I know I’m banging on about the time wasting, but honestly – I’m a busy person and hate wasting part of my day needlessly loitering literally watching a pot boil (and yes. It does. Eventually. Even when it’s watched.)
- I wanted a kettle that sat on a corded circular base, so that I could use it left or right handed. I had never noticed that I fill the kettle – and therefore place it on the base – right handed. But I pour drinks with my left hand. Which is annoyingly awkward if the kettle only sits on the base one way. plus my left-handed son had all manner of trouble keeping a kettle of boiling water steady with his right hand (and no one want to discourage the children form the tea-making duties, right?)
I know – who knew that choosing a small domestic appliance of relatively small spend would create such a long list of utterly essential features?
But d’you know what? I found the exact one for me, and it’s been perfect since the very first boil. Sometimes it just pays to
be picky know what you want.