By Malcolm Harradine, Kitchenware Expert and Product Tester
The kettle is the kingpin of the kitchen and is probably the most used item we have in our homes, apart from the telly. It sits quietly on the worktop faithfully giving service for many a year until it finally gives up the ghost and is replaced. A kettle is a kettle or is it?
Look around any department store and you will see shelves full of kettles all vying for a place on your worktop. The market is extremely competitive and manufacturers are doing everything they can to reinvent this once basic appliance, introducing all sorts of new features to draw us to buy.
Redmond are already leading the field and taking kettles to another level as this model is installed with secure Bluetooth Ready for Sky technology, which can be controlled remotely via your mobile phone by installing a simple app.
Imagine sitting on the bus on your way home and switching the kettle on so it’s ready for a brew as you walk in the door! Who would have thought it possible?
When my test sample arrived and I took it out of the box, my initial impression was it was very well designed. Even empty, I could tell that it was well-balanced and had an easy grip handle (which is also heat resistant).
The 1.7L capacity body is made from resilient stainless steel and is encapsulated with a black resin plastic that acts as a cool wall, so even if the outside of the hot kettle is accidentally touched there is no risk of burned fingers. Being the good product tester that I am, I risked my own finger ends to check this claim and was relieved to find that it really does work and is a great safety feature. Clear markers show the minimum and maximum fill and there is a window so you can see how much water is in the kettle at a glance.
Press a button and the lid springs into an upright position making it easy to fill the kettle – and stays there until you push it back down. One of my bugbears with kettles is the pouring spout. You know the sort: when you pour and the water splatters all over the place. Not a problem here, as I found it to be non-drip, smooth pouring and spillagefree. As an added bonus, the spout has a removable fine mesh filter: particularly important when using in a hard water area where limescale deposits can build up.
I particularly liked the base unit where the jug sits, housing a selection of easy to read and touch temperature buttons (from 40°C to 95°C); much less fiddly than being on the kettle itself. Not only can you send the kettle into full boiling mode, if you need a specific temperature for your beverage (or infant formula), just select. Then you have the flexibility to stop and start it at will and re-heat if the kettle boiled (but you didn’t use the water straightaway, thus saving energy). Do bear in mind that for many of us, a kettle just boils water. But with the growing trend for expensive speciality teas and coffees, each requiring certain temperatures to make the beverage absolutely perfect, this function is becoming more and more important to the connoisseurs in this field (a great tea recipe book is enclosed with the unit).
Another useful function is that it automatically maintains the selected temperature for up to 12 hours. You may wonder why on earth you would need this facility but if you were using the kettle to make many cups of tea or coffee for a large group of people over a period of time, you would not have to waste energy by repeatedly re-boiling.
Importantly (and I know this as I have ruined many a kettle making this mistake), the Redmond smart kettle has an auto shut off dry-boil protection function that prevents the kettle from boiling with little or no water in it.
Noise – or rather lack of – is a major consideration as I found out to my cost when a few years ago I splashed out on a rather expensive kettle but soon discovered that very annoyingly, it beeped loudly every time it was touched and was as loud as the Flying Scotsman at full speed when boiling. Having a cuppa in the middle of the night without waking everyone up was impossible and we could have done with a soundproofed kitchen! Needless to say, it was replaced. So it was a huge relief when I was testing the Redmond to find that this kettle did its job QUIETLY!
So, in summary, this Redmond kettle is very impressive. It is fast, quiet, energy efficient and has functions for all your beverage needs but amazingly can also be controlled remotely. Is this a passing fad? I personally don’t think so as the world is all about technology and pushing the boundaries. Who would have thought it.