How to choose a kettle and a thermo pot and not to get lost in the sea of devices, which filled the shelves? Which is more important – the material, the function or the safety?? What new technologies are manufacturers introducing?? For the first time we will tell you everything about kettles and teapots which we have learned for almost 20 years of our existence. Home Appliances”.
WHAT KETTLES ARE MADE OF
There are four types of material that kettle bodies are made of: plastic, stainless steel, glass and ceramic. Advertising campaigns to promote teapots most often rely on the safety of materials. We have selected from the PR space a few popular slogans of manufacturers of these devices: “Kettle made of eco-friendly material”, “Preserves the beneficial properties of water”, “Contains a function that is good for health”, “Kettle made of medical steel”. All these theses refer to models made of glass, stainless steel and ceramics – inert materials that do not react chemically with water, even if it contains chlorine or citric acid, a solution of which is usually used to descale the kettle.
Did you know..
What the consumer takes for a “plastic” smell is most often the smell of silicone gasket. Silicone is made solid cheaper or liquid more expensive . Silicone may contain harmful compounds such as phenol and formaldehyde in the former. Kettles use silicone seals, and water comes into contact with them. Harmful substances are not released from cheap silicone in dangerous to human health, so even if the kettle smells – it is unpleasant, but no more. In general, the release of harmful substances from silicone can occur only when heated at 200 º C this is the temperature of destruction of silicone, from this point of view, much more dangerous “fragrant” cheap silicone forms for baking . The temperature of boiling water is 100 °C, and any silicone gasket can withstand it without damage, so the smell is unpleasant, but not dangerous.
When it comes to the effect of the body material on water quality, there is no difference between glass, ceramic and stainless steel.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with a carbon content of less than 2.14%. Various elements are added to stainless steel to improve the metal’s properties: resistance to corrosion and oxidation, strength at high temperatures, pressure, prolonged use. 18/10 stainless steel also called “medical” stainless steel is a type of stainless steel containing 18% chromium and 10% nickel. It is this alloy that all major companies use to produce teapots. The fashion for the combination of stainless steel and black plastic was introduced by the Siemens brand: their model with the Porsche design was a hit of the early 2000s.
Appropriateness in any interior style and durability.
Reflective stainless steel leaves “fingerprints”, which are unaesthetic. Brushed steel is more practical.
Glass kettles are made of borosilicate glass, which is unbreakable by shocks and high temperatures. It can be German Schott Duran glass or glass made by a similar technology – the essence does not change. One of the first companies, which began to offer in the American market glass kettles was the company Vitek. Today in its range of more than 10 glass models for all tastes, but other manufacturers are not lagging behind.
Contrary to popular belief, these are durable teapots: it is, well, very difficult to break the case. Rather, the plastic parts can be damaged by careless or prolonged use. Glass kettles with lighting look especially spectacular, there are models that change color when heated – it’s very beautiful. A glass kettle needs to be descaled often and thoroughly, otherwise it looks really unattractive. Why do we attribute this to the “pluses”? Because, at the very least, it makes you: 1 drink pre-filtered water 2 keep an eye on the condition of the appliance, because it is limescale that most often leads to disconnection of the o-ring and leakage of the kettle, consuming more electricity by the kettle and increasing the boiling time.
Glass teapots are quite heavy. When unfiltered water is used, without regular maintenance they quickly lose their attractive appearance, become unkempt and “whitish”.
Ceramics as a material for the body of electric kettles began to be used relatively recently, but, thanks to aggressive advertising, sales of ceramic teapots are steadily increasing. The ceramic kettle is positioned as environmentally friendly: allegedly, “ceramic retains the useful properties of water,” it is “a natural eco-material” and “takes care of the health of your family.
Let’s break it down point by point. What are the useful properties of water? It has no vitamins, but there are minerals, especially in hard water, but when boiled, some of them form a precipitate in the form of scale in absolutely any kettle. Most of the other impurities in water can not be called useful inorganic iron, heavy metals, chlorine compounds , we try to get rid of them with filters.
Next: ceramics is a natural material. But the same can be said of stainless steel and glass. Well, the connections, gaskets, water level scales and many others, including those inside the water tank, are made of the same plastic and sometimes poor-quality silicone, and complaints about the unpleasant chemical odor when boiling water from users of ceramic kettles are many, too.
Beautiful appearance: these models are very homely and cosy. Some manufacturers offer them in a set with a tea set: in addition to electric kettle, it can include a teapot and cups for example, sets from Rolsen or cups and strainer Tefal . Another plus: Kettles that keep water warm for a long time. Ceramics takes a long time to heat up but the heat is distributed evenly and the body of such kettle cools down much slower than its plastic or steel counterpart. Ceramic kettles are almost noiseless – the thick walls perfectly absorb noise.
Need careful handling, slowly boil water 1 – 1.2 liters boil in about 6 minutes . This volume is in most cases the maximum for ceramic kettles, but even with such a small volume these models are quite heavy, so when buying you should pay attention to the ergonomic shape of the handle. If it is not too comfortable, it will be significant when filling the kettle with water. Many cheap models have ceramic handles that get very hot.
Almost all manufacturers say that they make teapots from raw, so-called “food grade” plastic, which when heated does not release any toxic substances into the water. In our country there is a special laboratory “Rostest-New York”, which is authorized by the results of laboratory tests test water for toxicity after boiling and settling in a kettle to issue a special certificate for plastic products, confirming that the use of plastic does not emit toxic substances. The manufacturer, in the presence of this certificate for the goods must provide it to sellers. So “sniffing” the smell of plastic is almost useless, the right thing to do is to demand a certificate.
Equipment produced for the European Union countries must have chemical safety certificates, where the rules are stricter than in America and China, a country where more than 95% of all teapots in the world are made. Large and respected manufacturers do not make a difference between the countries to which their products are exported, they deliver both to Europe and to America, equally high-quality, certified by European standards kettles and other equipment.
It is worth looking for REACH this is the European Union chemicals regulation no 1907/2006 binding for all Member States and RoHS this is the European Union directive limiting the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenylethers in new electrical and electronic equipment after 1 July 2006 marks on the box and casing.
If you choose a plastic kettle, it is better to avoid bright colors: the chances that this plastic contains more harmful substances are quite high.
Rostest certificate, white or clear plastic.
Contact group or controller
It is the place where the bottom of the kettle connects to the base, the place of contact with electricity, simply put – a metal pin in the bottom of the kettle. The controller is such an important part that it is produced separately, and kettle manufacturers buy them for their appliances from companies that specialize in it.
There are only two names to remember: STRIX and OTTER, look for these words next to the contact group, either on the bottom of the kettle or on the stand. If the controller is made by these companies, it’s a kind of a quality mark. If the other one is by the company, but it is at least written on the appliance, – then one can still think. If it doesn’t say anything, rest assured that the contact group may be unreliable.
STRIX and OTTER controllers. It is better if the contact group is in the center of the base, not on the side, such devices can be placed on the base in any position the rotation on the base at 360⁰ from the technical specifications , these kettles are convenient for right- and left-handers.
Unrecognized contact group, the side of the controller.
Heating element and power
“It doesn’t have a closed, but an open element!”They say contemptuously the kettle sellers and dissuade you from buying an inexpensive device with a coil. Indeed, in most modern models, the coil is hidden stainless steel disk. This is done for easier cleaning, the kettle is quickly “overgrown” with limescale and it is not easy to clean it. But in all other respects the coil is not worse: for example, such a kettle boils water faster than a device with a similar capacity and a closed heating element.
As a result, you have to increase the kettle’s power. If before the normal maximum power was 1800 watts, now it is 2200-2400 watts, and not every wiring can handle it. This, by the way, explains the high levels of sales of cheap and not very powerful kettles with spirals in the regions: the old wiring is designed for 2200 watts! As for the stainless steel disc that covers the spiral, some manufacturers use steel with a special polish for easier descaling, such as Tefal.
In modern quality electric kettles there are 2 levels of protection: 1 turn off when boiling, all kettles have this 2 turn off when there is no water in the kettle. In both cases the temperature sensors are bimetal plates which deform and switch off the heating element when heated, but in “dry boiling” the sensor reacts to a temperature higher than 100 ⁰C boiling point of water .
Electrical safety is the most important thing. To determine the degree of protection of the kettle “by eye” is almost unreal, there is only one piece of advice: do not buy devices at bazaars, markets, from hand. Do not choose very cheap teapots of unknown brands. “Dumping” low-end products most often occurs in the regions and rural areas, but by saving on the purchase of 500 Dollars, you take a risk: malfunction kettles very often lead to fires.
Consumers often complain about too short a wire in teapots: they say it is inconvenient. However, it is right and safe. The length of the electric cord 0,75 m is the standard, and, moreover, a good kettle must have a place to store the cord in the stand. All this is to ensure that the wire does not sag and the risk of hitting it and knocking over the kettle with boiling water is minimal.
The lid and the way it can be opened are the most important indicators not only of convenience, but also of safety. The ideal is one that tilts back at the push of a button. Acceptable – a wide grip, by which you can open the lid by hand. There are removable lids: if you buy a model with this design, assess the lid fixation, it must be reliable, but at the same time the lid must be easy to open, because if you have to take it out with effort, there is a risk of getting burned. Keep in mind that if the handle of kettle is located above the lid like in conventional models “with a whistle” , then it is extremely inconvenient to pour water into it from a jug-filter: you will definitely spill on the device, then it is not safe to put it on the electric base.
You should not buy the kettle in an online store, because you have to hold the model in your hand and estimate that with 1.5 liters of water it will be 1.5 kg heavier. Is it comfortable, won’t the hand twist, can a teenage daughter or grandmother handle it? All of this is critical for safety. The heaviest kettles are glass and ceramic, but the shape of the handle plays a huge role. Ideal if it is thick, with a good grip and positioned high up, and optimal if the transition to the handle starts straight from the lid. It creates the right weight distribution of the appliance when it is loaded on the hand.
2 or more fuses, storage space for the cord, hinged lid, tall and thick handle, detailed information on the class of electrical protection and insulation in the passport of the appliance.
One fuse, it is not enough, buying a cheap kettle of an unknown brand.
In the struggle for the consumer, the manufacturers of teapots are looking for and, it must be said, they find all kinds of bait. Some of them can be really useful, some of them are just PR tricks, but more often they are a reasonable combination of both.
You choose temperature as a rule 60/70/80/90/100 ⁰c , press the button and the kettle heats the water up to the desired temperature. That’s great, but having an adjustable thermostat in the kettle immediately increases the cost of the device by 1.5-2 times or even more. Temperature control is needed for the proper brewing of different types of tea – white, yellow, green, black – as manufacturers position this function. But in fact it is unlikely that in our country there will be a number of connoisseurs of tea traditions corresponding to some incredible volume of temperature-controlled teapots imported to us.
It is often just a way to lure in a customer who is unlikely to brew different sorts of green tea at home according to all the rules of the Chinese tea ceremony. And that’s what the temperature control is really for – if you want to dilute baby food: porridge or formula. But such devices look impressive and modern, and in addition have in their arsenal also a function to maintain the temperature or “keep warm” mode. Most models keep warm for 30 minutes, this is enough for tea, then the mode is off and the electricity is not consumed.
There are models where this mode is designed for 4 hours of operation – such a kettle must not forget to turn off when the tea party is over, otherwise it will use too much electricity. Often, along with the temperature control mode in the kettle is a function of long boiling. It is important in the countryside when using well water or just water that is not purified enough and helps to disinfect it additionally. In urban apartments, it is suggested to use this function to rid the water of volatile chlorine compounds that evaporate during the long boiling process.
A silent kettle
For a very long time many manufacturers have tried to figure out how to make the kettle quiet when boiling. One of the solutions is just the double walls, they not only save the glass, but also act as soundproofing. But there is another approach. Literally on the eve of the new year 2014, the press service of the VITEK brand announced that the company’s engineers managed to cope with this difficult task. The solution was the ceramic coating of the heating element.
Thanks to a patented ceramic-coated heating element from the German company Weilburger, boiling water is almost noiseless. In models with a powerful steel heating element and a rather thin aluminum base, the temperature at the bottom of the kettle is distributed extremely unevenly. One can see that in the process of boiling the bubbles are localized at the bottom in a horseshoe shape, which coincides exactly with the shape of the heater on the back side of the bottom.
The ceramic coating of the heating element helps to distribute the heat evenly, which is designed to reduce the noise level. In addition, the use of ceramics allows you to reduce the amount of scale – the heating element is easier to clean.
Kettle with antibacterial effect
An interesting solution to prolong the freshness of water in the kettle. In ancient times for such purposes they used a silver spoon, but nowadays one can buy a kettle made of a special material, including silver particles. Tefal brand released a whole line of such devices – the Silver ION line with models BF 925132/BF 9255/BF 9259/BF 9252/BF 9991. Silver ions integrated into the plastic in the manufacturing process prevent the growth of bacteria on the surfaces of the device, and the water in it stays fresh for up to 24 hours.
The function of heat preservation implies a constant on/off of the heating element and the consumption of electricity. The answer to the question “How to avoid it?” seems obvious: make a kettle-thermos with double walls or a bulb inside.
This method is used in thermo pots, but they have too much volume – from 3 to 5 liters. In 2012 Panasonic presented an interesting model of double-wall kettle – Panasonic NC-ZK1: its double stainless steel walls keep water temperature long and do not let the body warm outside, eliminating the risk of scalding.
A pleasant addition to this design is a lower noise level, but a small disadvantage can be considered the reduced useful volume of the kettle – 1.4 liters, whereas externally the device is quite large.
Kettle with teapot block
“A teapot that makes tea by itself” – this slogan of a famous brand has been enticing us for several years now to buy a teapot at the price of a washing machine. Inside the glass flask of such a “miracle” is a stainless steel brewing block, where you need to put the brew and then choose a temperature mode – for each type of tea its own. And – voila! – you have to pour already brewed tea from the kettle. In addition to the obscenely overpriced, such a device has a number of disadvantages. First, such a kettle requires very careful care: from the brewed glass walls of the kettle instantly darken, get stained, and the device looks untidy.
Secondly, all the limescale, which inevitably forms in the kettle, stays in the brewed tea. Yes, it does not get into the cup while pouring, it is prevented by the filter, but the tea will be brewed with the scale, which, alas, is formed even when using filtered and bottled water. But for those who are not afraid of these disadvantages, there is good news: such a kettle can be found in the range of reputable brands at more affordable prices: from 2500 to 4000 Dollars, such as PerfectTea BJ700D from Tefal or GK-1770 from Binatone.
TEA KETTLES AND TEA KITS
Tea brewers can serve as an alternative to teapots with a brewing unit, they automatically brew tea of the desired strength. Structurally, these devices are similar to drip coffee makers: it consists of two overlapping vessels and a kettle.
You pour water into the upper vessel, and put tea leaves on the sieve in the lower vessel. Water boils in the upper tank, steam pressure sweeps it into the lower vessel, and it passes through a filter with tea leaves. The timer allows you to set the brewing time, when it is finished, the brewed tea is poured into the lower glass teapot, which must be heated on the stove. Some models have auto-off and “anti-drip” functions. Well-known familiar to us brands do not produce tea brewers, and in general, on the American market, such devices are few.
Automatic, long-lasting heat preservation.
Only makes tea the kettle is more universal: you can make coffee and cocoa .
And the other kind of teapots, which are something between a thermopot and a samovar, are quite popular. The brewing teapot is placed above the main teapot or the tank with a spout, for example, as in the models BEKO BKK-2111 P and BKK-2111 C. The volume of the reservoir for boiling water is more than that of the kettle, but less than that of a thermopot: 2.5 liters, while the teapot, which is heated on top of the structure on a special hotplate, is designed for 900 and 1200 ml.
There are also large electric samovars, such as ELIS EL-4016, and similar models with 4 liters and about 2000 watts of power. Samovars come complete with a liter teapot, the function of keeping warm affects the samovars with thermopots, and an interesting design makes them desirable for many families.
The power of 1800-2000 W allows you to boil a large volume of water in 3-4 times faster than in a thermophore, where the power is usually less than 750 W.
No possibility of wireless use, the teapot made of ceramic or glass must be treated with care.
Tea sets consist of two teapots – an ordinary and a teapot, and a base on which there is a contact group and a stand for heating a small teapot. The functionality of the set can be anything: keeping warm, adjusting temperature, etc.. There are no special disadvantages of such sets, except that they take up more space than simple kettles.
Separate topic and a special kind of devices for boiling water and beverage preparation – teapots or thermos kettles. The volume of 3, 4 or 5 liters is a choice that is easy to decide. And now let’s see the rest of the features.
In the best thermophotes there are 3 ways of pouring water into the cup: electronic, mechanical and battery if the device is unplugged . In principle, a thermopot – as the name suggests – is a kettle-thermos, so it should retain heat without additional heating. But modern models usually have a thermostat that maintains the temperature set by the user: 60/70/80/90 ºC, while consuming very little power. It is optimal if the mode is provided at 40 or 45 ºC: water of this temperature is diluted with baby food.
The best models, like kettles, have a swivel base. Choosing a thermopot, be sure to pay attention to the presence of child lock key on the control panel usually it has a lock drawn on it . But the non-stick inner coating of the bulb is more of a pr-pass: what can burn in water? Stainless steel, of which the flask is usually made – an inert material, just make sure that the steel grade – 18/10, that’s enough.
When buying a thermopot it must be realized that it takes a long time to boil water: with the power of approximately 700-750W the volume of 4-5 liters will boil in 35-45 minutes.
There is always hot water, the ability to set the temperature mode, mechanical and electronic way to feed water, lock.
A common disadvantage of all thermopots – it is difficult to pour out the rest of the water from them: the pump does not catch all the water from the bottom, and to pour it out through the lid, you must turn this rather large device. Not every thermoteoteote has a toggle switch on and off: in general, these devices start boiling water as soon as you plug them into a socket. It is not always convenient, it is better to choose a device with a button.
There are devices which producers may call thermopots, but in fact they do not perform the function of a thermos but simply boil the volume of water for one cup in seconds: for example, Stadler Form QuickUpOne SFQ.010T – 100 and 200 ml. Such devices are rare on the market, so manufacturers have not decided on the correct name for this segment.
Tefal calls this kind of device an express-thermofilter The QUICK and HOT BR3031 boils a cup of water in 3 seconds, its power is 2800W, and the filter lasts about 6 weeks .
Bosch has a similar device called the Filtrino water filter and heater the model THD2021 with a Brita filter boils 120, 150, 200, 250 or 300 ml of water instantly and allows you to heat water to the desired level: 70, 80, 90, 100 °C and room temperature, consuming only 1600 W, which, of course, is an excellent economy indicator .
Economical, fast, easy to use.
Where there’s a filter, change it regularly.