/ Shopping, Technology

How smart does a kettle really need to be?

ikettle

My brother-in-law loves gadgets. Ideally, he’d like to be able to control all the appliances in his home with a smartphone app or a remote – for him, the ‘smart’ kettle is a dream come true.

The Smarter iKettle Wifi (yes, this is a kettle with wi-fi) can indeed be controlled from your smartphone or tablet and lets you boil it from any room in the house.

There’s even a ‘welcome home’ mode that will ask if you want to stick it on as soon as you walk in the door. If you’re anything like me you’re now thinking, why?

Don’t get me wrong. I see the attraction of getting the kettle going while I’m still snuggled under the covers. And to be fair there are some fancy features – such as the choice of four temperatures for different drinks (coffee, tea, green tea etc).

But here’s the thing. You still have to get out of bed, stick a teabag in a mug, get the milk and stand on the cold kitchen tiles in your bare feet to drink the thing. So just how useful is it really? And at ninety quid, it’s about £70 more expensive than our cheapest Best Buy kettle.

How smart can our homes get?

Smart gadgets like this seem destined to take over our homes, but are they really making our lives easier? I love my smart TV (as long the apps work for a decent amount of time). A smartphone… fine. Even, at a stretch, a smart fridge that can plan your meals, tell you when your food’s off and order eggs when you’ve run out.

But sometimes I just want a toaster to be a toaster, a kettle to be a kettle. Because the funny thing is that while some manufacturers plough money into developing smart products, we still too often find models that don’t do their basic jobs properly – like toasters that won’t brown bread evenly or fridges that don’t regulate temperature efficiently.

Like a modern teasmade

The smart kettle actually reminds me a little of a 21st century version of one of those teasmades that used to sit by so many bedsides and promised to wake you up in the morning with a steaming hot cup of tea.

On balance, I probably won’t be buying a smart kettle. But I know a man who will.

Would you buy a smart kettle? What other smart devices have you heard of and what sort do you really think would be useful? Do you own a Goblin Teasmade and is it still in working order?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I love playing with gadgets but very rarely buy them. The novelty would soon wear off.

Even before I read to the end of Paul’s introduction about the iKettle WiFi, I guessed that the Goblin Teasmade would get a mention. I bought my mother a Teasmade in the and it was probably used almost three times, probably average for these appliances. At least it was appreciated as an illuminated clock for the next fifteen years.

I expect that people will buy the iKettle WiFi and use it several times.

Profile photo of John Ward
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A smart kettle would make the tea or other drink, not just boil water – I’ve got the hang of that myself. A smart kettle would also let you set a temperature and heat the water up to that point. I would hope that any kettle worthy of calling itself smart would have a selection of tunes to play while it’s doing its job [e.g Tea for Two, A Nice Cup of Tea, The Teddy Bears’ Picnic].

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Don’t give them ideas, John.

I have discovered that both Android and iOS smartphone apps are available to control the Smarter iKettle Wifi.

I am aware of the KitKat version of Android, which would be appropriate to accompany a nice cup of tea. Looking at the Android version history I see we have Cupcake, Eclair and Gingerbread too.

But Android is not everyones cup of tea and those with a ten year old Nokia are not catered for.

Profile photo of Beryl
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Sounds to me rather reminiscent of The Mad Hatters Tea Party John.

I still dream of one day owning a quooker. With boiling water ‘on tap’ whenever the coffee or tea goblins whisper into my ear at a moments notice I can satisfy my thirst without the hassle of filling a contaminated smelly or foul tasting kettle to boot. And on the subject of boots, Paul there is absolutely no need to stand on the cold kitchen floor in your bare feet, as I have a nearly new pair of size 12 slippers sitting in close proximity to my back door looking for a suitable owner before they are transported to the local charity shop!

I once owned a Teasmade or Teasmaid as I prefer to call it but could never fathom out where to store the milk to stop it curdling overnight so stopped using it for that reason.

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Claire says:
16 May 2015

Use a good quality soya milk, one which is made for tea, ie doesn’t say subtle sweet taste and doesn’t have any vanilla in it. Swan teas made is my favourite electrical gadget in the house. I feel so smug not having to get out of bed. I’ve got the one with a flat top so cups sit nicely on it. Sounds like a space rocket when it goes off, but got a second one in reserve for when this one eventually dies.

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
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I noticed an online advert last night, which at first I thought was complete bonkers, but then thought it was a genius idea – Smart pet food bowls…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2xEmMmYfBs

As wacky as it sounds, I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to spend £100+ on a pet food bowl!

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Andrew, this idea might help the UK’s obesity problem – perhaps a fridge door version should be available on the NHS?

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
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It could be a good suggestion to pass onto the NHS 🙂 :

http://www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

It would carry much more weight coming from Which? Andrew 😀

Profile photo of Paul Ryan
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Some of us at Which? already have a bit too much weight in certain areas (and yes, I expect Andrew to tell me off now for going off topic! 🙂

Profile photo of graham.tyrrell
Member

My old workplace bought a smart kettle where you could choose the exact temperature you wanted, had a lovely LCD display, and looked the business. It was the KitchenAid 1.7L Stainless Steel Kettle.

The only thing was, it would beep whenever you did anything. Literally ANYTHING!

It would beep when you picked it up to fill it. Beep again when you set it back on its base. Beep each time you turned the temperature up or down. Beep when it boiled. Beep when you picked it up off the base again. Beep when you returned it.

Beep… beep… beep…. BEEP!

You can imagine how irritating this was in a busy office. And there’s absolutely no way to turn the beeping off.

After some internet research, we found this site: https://thedialist.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/de-beeping-a-kitchenaid-kettle/

It turns out you need to get your soldering iron out to remove the circuit board that controls the beeper.

So if this is the shape of things to come when it comes to kettle-tech, count me out!

Profile photo of
Member

You can still get a Teasmade. Don’t even have to get out of bed! We swear by ours. We been through three or four – they always to spring a leak in the end – but it’s a must have.

Member
Lis says:
16 May 2015

I got this for Christmas and I love it!! I work from home so when I am stuck on the landline I press a button knowing the kettle is boiled by the time I get down stairs.

I must have hot drinks, my husband likes cooler for tea – the temp settings are very handy!

The welcome home setting is a nice touch too

Profile photo of kvet
Member

Doubtless with refined and cheaper versions, in ten years’ time we’ll wonder how we managed to exist without them.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Bertie Wooster had the right appliance – his gentleman’s personal gentleman called Jeeves who would bring a cup of the soothing liquid to restore his tissues after a hectic night on the town. Jeeves was ultra-smart too.

Profile photo of
Member

I haven’t a Teasmade but do have a small kettle, teapot etc at my bedside. I have occasionally had a problem with the milk going off overnight but not since I have taken to using a small but heavy earthenware jug which I put (empty) in the freezer for some time before putting the milk in it at bedtime. If the weather is exceptionally hot I put over it one of those cylindrical packs intended for cooling wine bottles (but if you do that you need to make sure it is not on a surface which will be damaged by the condensation dripping off of it). The kettle I use is a small (0.85l max capacity) Russell Hobbs plastic one – rather than guess the amount of water I use a plastic 500ml water bottle which conveniently has rings in the moulding to take up the right amount for my two breakfast cups of tea.