Price (RRP): $199
I have a confession to make: many is the time I’ve purchased an electric kettle primarily on the criterion of price. You can pick up apparently functional models for twenty bucks at any of the chain retailers. Eventually I was seduced by so-called cordless kettles – the ones with a separate base. But remained guided by a desire for low prices even with them.
The result? Plastic bodies that become warped and disfigured by heat into roughened surfaces, and a consequent need for frequent replacement.
Although still plastic, the DeLonghi Avvolta electric kettle looks to be built out of a much higher grade than the cheapies of my experience. Even a month of heavy use isn’t really enough to test how well it will last over months and years, but things do look promising, with it being as shiny and stylish as the day I started with it. And I set my jugs aboilin’ a lot, given the amount of instant coffee I drink.
The kettle comes in three colour choices: black, red or white. It was the white one I reviewed. It features bands of a very light grey highlight wrapped around it. Both tones are glossy and the walls of the jug seem to be quite thick. There are rings and sections of metal-look trim which highlight things nicely. (Perhaps some of them are actually metal, but the fake stuff these days looks so good you need to cut it to be certain.)
The DeLonghi Avvolta kettle has a 1.7 litre capacity and is quite wide at the bottom – the base on which it sits is 204 millimetres in diameter – so that means more of your kitchen bench top occupied, but it also means greater stability. You can wrap the unused portion of the power cable within the base. The kettle tapers up to a fairly small top. The lid clips in place and is completely removable.
A window near the handle shows you the water level, but there’s also a metal bar on the inside marked “Max” making it easy to avoid exceeding the maximum level. A simple mesh filter at the spout can be removed for cleaning.
The heating element is indeed concealed under a flat, stainless steel bottom. My guess is that it reduces efficiency slightly, but is worth it anyway for cleaning purposes. If, as happened once in my family, a child on the verge of teen-hood forms the view that the electric jug might be a good shortcut to heating some milk, a construction like this makes the situation recoverable.
The kettle consumer 2000 watts of power when operating. It switches off when lifted from the base, if it overheats (if, for example, you forget to put water in it) and, of course, when the water boils. The switch has a light around its edge showing when it’s operating.
What can you say about the “performance” of a kettle? Does it boil water effectively? Certainly does that! Does it do it quickly? My trusty stopwatch informs me that it takes five and a quarter minutes to get a full load – 1.7 litres to the “Max” bar – of room temperature water to the boil. By “room temperature” I mean water that’s perhaps fifteen Celsius. A warmer room temperature is going to get you there faster. That seems about average to me.
The DeLonghi Avvolta is rather less noisy than most of the jugs I’m used to. The thick plastic and neatly fitting lid seems to hold the noise of boiling water inside better than cheap plastic, and definitely does it quieter than many metal kettles, which seem to ring in tune with the agitation of the water.
Perhaps a firmer clicking sound when it automatically switches off would be better. I tended to hear the boiling sound tailing off rather than the switch switching off. The feature whereby it switches off when you lift the kettle from the base is, I think, both a convenience and a good safety feature. What if you empty the kettle and put back on the base, still switched on? I guess that’s how you test the thermal cut-out.
The filter at the mouth of the kettle is easy to clip out, so there’s no reason not to give it a rinse periodically, or even a scrub. The kettle lifts smoothly from the base and is easy to place back.