There comes a point when you realise it’s time to get serious about the kit you use to make the tea. For the AG team it happened when three plain-white budget kettles in a year burned out, or lost their shape so much we were pouring more water on the sideboard than in the cups. No frills tech, it appears, can be a false economy.
With that in mind we put two higher-spec models through their paces in a bid to crown one of them king of the staff kitchen. Step up the Russell Hobbs Allure and the Kenwood Moda kettles.
RUSSELL HOBBS ALLURE KETTLE
“It’s got a spout like a pug’s nose,” says one of the girls in the office. And that wide opening does look like it might replicate a common problem caused by our previous cheapo kettles: water all over the kitchen surface. However, the Russell Hobbs Allure was extremely efficient at pouring.
Where you’d have thought that decent spout size would have come in handy was in filling it up for a brew. Unfortunately, our low-clearance tap on the nearby sink made it a bit of a nightmare – ending on the first attempt with the dreaded wet crotch no office wants to see. Press the button on the handle, though, and the lid pops up – solving the filling situation very satisfactorily.
With a size we could squeeze five cups out of and beating the pants of our previous Tesco kettle when it comes to boil time, the Allure marked itself out as a serious contender. Plus, its modern styling means it’s no ugly duckling: “Looks like something the Terminator would make his tea with,” was just one comment.
Amazon.co.uk price: £39.99
Boiling time at max fullness: 3m 37s
KENWOOD METALLICS SJM100 MODA KETTLE
On opening the box our initial reaction was that the Kenwood SJM100 Moda Kettle looks a lot smaller than the Russell Hobbs Allure, even though in reality it’s only 0.11L less capacity than its rival. Smaller can sometimes be better, though. Not only did this 1.6L model boil its contents quicker as you might expect (still managing to provide us with five mugs of Rosie Lea), but the price tag is marginally sleeker too. And should you be lucky enough to be making yourself a cuppa rather than having to feed the caffeine habits of an office, you’ll be well served by the removable plastic Ecofill tray that fits inside the top of the kettle to allow you to measure and boil just a single cup.
The smaller size hasn’t affected the spout design, mind, with another very wide opening that made serving up very easy (“Nice pouring action,” was the overriding comment). In fact, the only thing the seemingly smaller form factor didn’t impress us with was a noticeably shorter power lead for the base that means you’ll need a plug socket exactly where you plan on placing this kettle.
Amazon.co.uk price: £37.60
Boiling time at max fullness: 3m 19s
With both kettles performing extremely well, it was tough to choose between them. However, when it came down to the crunch we went for Kenwood’s Moda. The smaller capacity didn’t work against it and the saving of just a few quid could make a big difference these days. That said, if we were kitting out a complete kitchen and had the budget we’d be sorely tempted by Russell Hobbs’ Allure range – which includes items such as a matching toaster, salt and pepper grinder and hand blender.