When my long serving and beloved high-end kettle broke a few years ago I'd resigned myself to making do with cheaper appliances. This proved to be somewhat frustrating in practice, and so I was delighted when I got the chance to try out and keep this rather nice Villaware kettle (currently £56.08 from Amazon, but generally around the £70 mark). It's a little less weird than it looks in the photo above in real life - basically it has a detachable lid - that you can see next to it, and a removable inner boiler which you can use to slow melt chocolate or butter, with the inner part removed and the lid on it looks like any other cordless jug kettle. The inner boiler and a whole host of other nice features make the Villaware a kettle that is both a little bit different from the norm and a pleasure to use.
To start with the essential features, this kettle is cordless with a height of 28cm (width 16.5cm and
depth 22.5cm), it's 3000W and has a variable heat dial allowing you to set the water temperature achieved to 40,60,80,90 and 100 degrees. The kettle boils quickly and fairly silently and then beeps to let you know it is finished. I tend, like most people I suppose, to boil the water to 100 degrees but for speciality tea drinkers or those wishing for example to heat babies' bottles I should imagine that the variable temperature would be a plus. I like the fact that there is a hidden element - living in a hard water area I've found out the hard way before that non-concealed elements can be a pain. The kettle has a detachable filter at the spout, again a nice touch. What's great too about this kettle, apart from the fact that it pours probably better than any kettle I've ever used, is that the very chunky dial has a button you can press which will keep the water at the correct temperature until you want to use it.
Other small touches impress me about this kettle too, having used it extensively since I got it. The cool wall actually stays cool, and it's nice too that there is a water level display on both sides of the kettle, which is 1.7 litre in capacity. This allows you to see how much water is in the kettle easily, and another good point is that the display always stays condensation free - not the case with the cheaper kettle I was using before this one. The cord, which is a generous length for a kettle, winds into the base so there are no trailing wires on the work surface. Rubber feet on the base ensure it stays put whilst in use. I find too that the kettle has a nice wide neck for filling up with water when you press the button to open the lid, another positive for me. It might have been nice if the inner part of the actual kettle were metal as opposed to plastic, but I've found it prone to minimal scaling and easy to clean whilst the outside is a good quality stainless steel which again is easy to wipe over and screams well made. It really is a good looking kettle, admittedly there are no bells or whistles and only the most discreet of lights - one on the dial when in stay warm mode and a small white one in the on/off switch to show you that you have switched it on, but actually I like that this kettle is just discretely good looking - far nicer than it would appear above; check out the amazon link for some more representative photos. The kettle came well packaged and with a clear and comprehensive manual.
Though in the main I find this kettle to be a very good item, there are a couple of possible downsides that it is worth mentioning. Firstly, some people may find it rather heavy, even empty it weighs in at 1.5kg. That said the pouring angle is spot on and the handle is very solid so I don't find it too much of an issue, but it's something to be aware of if you have trouble lifting heavy items. The other downside is potentially the inner boiler. Though it's only 450ml in capacity it takes up a silly amount of space in a cupboard due to having a wide pouring spout and handles. I've only used the inner boiler a couple of times to melt chocolate, it worked well but didn't do anything I couldn't achieve with a boiling pan and pyrex bowl. I suppose if you were a very experienced cook you might use it to make sauces and the like (some recipes are included in the manual), but for an average user it's probably a feature you don't really need. It does have to be said though that swapping between the inner boiler and the kettle in normal mode is a breeze via depressing a small button on the lid, so potentially having an inner boiler that you may not often use doesn't have to be a big issue, the rest of the features more than make up for this small niggle.
Overall though, this kettle is a fantastic appliance that is, I believe well worth paying a little extra for. There's no comparison at all between using this and cheaper kettles, it's well made, does what it is supposed to do perfectly every time and I love using and owning it. Highly recommended.
For more details and where to buy:
Short name: VILLAWARE BVVLKTSL01