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Are you boiled over by this smart kettle?


Will the wonders of modern technology never cease? A new kettle – called the iKettle – has been launched that can be turned on from your smartphone over wi-fi. Do you want to boil from distance?

Want to put the kettle on? Now you don’t even need to get up off the sofa to do it, as the iKettle can be turned on from your smartphone or tablet.

Of course, if you’re away from the kettle when switching it on, you can’t tell how full it is. But the iKettle’s creators say its automatic switch-off stops it from being turned on when empty.

It also comes with a ‘wake’ mode, which can be set to send you the message: ‘Good morning! Would you like me to pop the kettle on? Yes/No.’  How lovely.

A novel kettle – but is it worth it?

The iKettle’s remote switch-on is certainly a novel feature. I suppose if you’re watching TV, getting up to boil the kettle, returning to the sofa and then getting up again a couple of minutes later to make the tea can get annoying. But I’m not convinced that eliminating this minor annoyance from your life is worth £100, which is how much the kettle costs. Neither is Jonathan, who tweeted:

With Best Buy kettles available for as little as £20, the iKettle would have to be top-notch in every way before you’d want to consider shelling out £100 for it. That means it’ll need to be fast, quiet, easy to use and energy efficient.

Downsides to a smart kettle

The remote switch-on feature could actually lead to wasted electricity and longer boiling times. If you switch it on from the sofa, you won’t be able to check how much water is in there. And if it’s more than you need, then the kettle will take longer to boil and use more electricity. And if it’s empty, you’ll have to get up anyway – as Annie Cross pointed out on Twitter:

Do the benefits of switching on your kettle remotely outweigh the downsides and the cost? Or will you be giving the iKettle a wide berth?


This is no more than an expensive novelty. At least a Teasmade would boil the kettle and make the tea.

Prior to switching on our kettle on we have to fill it, put tea in the tea pot, get cups from the cupboard and milk from the fridge. There seem to be several operations that this device has not yet addressed. However it does seem an effective way of extracting money from your account. Austerity – what austerity?

Nothing like as good at extracting money as a boiling water tap. It is just amazing how much some people spend on their kitchens.

If it sells then it will prove us all wrong. If it doesn’t, then this is probably the last time we shall read about it. The technology of making things happen from a distance is interesting. It has to be applied sensibly if any but ultimate gadget seekers want/need to use it.

I think I would prefer a remote control bean-to-cup coffee maker. I imagine it would be nice to waken up, press a button and be rewarded by the smell of fresh coffee. 🙂

Sophie Gilbert says:
20 October 2013

If I had a £100 to spend on a kettle, I would have the money to hire a butler. I’d rather have the butler, they’re more versatile.

Good point Sophie. The butler whistles a better tune than a kettle and he’ll bring you a digestive biscuit as well.

Sophie Gilbert says:
22 October 2013

As I recall some butlers even imitate the noise of a coffee machine while they are really making a cup of instant.

Figgerty says:
20 October 2013

MalcolmR, you are spot on. When I make a cuppa, I put water in the kettle, turn it on and then get the cups etc out and pop them on a tray with sugar and milk. Before I finish the preparations the kettle is boiled. Cost of kettle £25 so who on earth wants a remote controlled kettle. Only those with more money than sense. Calling it an iKettle may result in injuries when the rich senseless idiot holds it to his ear or mouth like his iPhone.

Figgerty, this is taking iT too far, isn’t it?

It’s never too far for Typhoo!

Figgerty says:
20 October 2013

Is my calendar wrong? Is it April 01st?

Perhaps the iKettle should feature in the Betterware catalogue – as an ideal solution for a problem you did not know about.

It’s never too far for Typhoo!

Figgerty says:
20 October 2013

I like Wavechanges idea for a coffeesmaid where you wake up to a cup of freshly brewed coffee and I may even be persuaded to part with £100 of my hard earned money for it. An iKettle, no way.

Are you ok, John?

Yes, thanks for asking – I’m OK. I’ve been getting tangled up in the timing-out problems on Which? Conversation and forgetting whether I’m making a comment or adding a reply or replying to a reply to a comment. With a bit of cut-&-paste I usually manage to get something posted after three goes at it but not necessarily in the right order, of course.

At least both your postings landed up in about the right place, John. I managed to post in the wrong Conversation yesterday. 🙁

I hope that Which? will sort out the problem with timeouts. I want to be able to start a comment, go away and make a cup of coffee – without the aid of an iKettle – and return to the computer without being timed out.

Figgerty says:
21 October 2013

Don’t worry John, you’re not alone. I signed in to Which? Convo with a username from another site and did not realise until I checked later to see if I made any typos or spelling mistakes. I didn’t realise it would accept anything but my membership details and my password. I recently uninstalled my spell checker due to incompatibility problems on a couple of sites so you may see lots of bloopers in the future. Some due to my longer nails and others to my ignorance.

Figgerty says:
21 October 2013

It is especially irritating when in Reviews and Test Results. I have been looking to buy my first smartphone and a week later am no further on with my decision. I would like to pose questions to Which? members who own some of the phones I’m thinking about but that does not appear to be possible. This is a shame as I’m sure many Which? members have done their research before buying and they also have the experience of using the phones in real situations not just in testing mode.

Hi guys, sorry about the timeout problems you’re experiencing. We’re looking into it.

I agree with Figgerty and Malcolm R – boiling a kettle takes the same amount of time as it takes me to prepare the cups, get coffee out, etc. Unless I were making drinks for lots of people, I can’t see the time it takes a kettle to boil as a real problem. Are people routinely boiling brim-full kettles to make a cup or two?!

For £100 I’d want it to make the whole cup, add sugar, and bring it to me on the sofa!

This has the appearance of an answer looking for a question! Any design engineer worth his salt is aware of two ‘rules’. The first is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and the second is ‘because you can do it does not mean that you should.’ Unfortunately far too many products are brought into being as a consequence of a rush of blood to the head of some markeing type and the poor engineer is stuck with trying to make it work.