Most helpful critical review
138 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2006
I have used electric kettles for many years and they are the best way to boil water -- they are faster and more energy efficient than the stove-top kettle and you don't risk burning them when you forget that the kettle is on the stove. My old electric kettle died and I started looking for a new one.
An electric kettle is a simple device and could be made to last for many (i.e., at least greater than 10 years). Unfortunately, manufacturers are making things as cheaply as possible and charging premium prices. You will find as you read the reviews for most kettles that people complain about the quality of their construction and their correspondingly low life times.
An electric kettle should boil water quickly, should be easy to clean, should (in my opinion) be stainless steel throughout and should not have features that are obviously made to break. I don't mind if the kettle gets hot to the touch - I just use the handle to touch it just as I would a stove top kettle. This Krups kettle does boil water quickly and it is fairly easy to clean (and does get hot). This said it still has flaws.
1) The inside top inch(or so) of the kettle is made with plastic. The lid is also plastic and must be aligned just right before it will properly fit. Why couldn't the lid be stainless steel and just fit on in any direction as with most stove-top kettles?
2) The lid also has a plastic mechanism for opening the plastic spout cover. This mechanism is annoying and is made in such a way that it will break in a few years leaving a spout that stays shut.
3) The water level indicators are made of plastic and run the length of the kettle on both sides (as you can see in the picture). Water levels are somewhat of a convenience if you don't want to open the lid and look in, but they are a weak spot in kettle design being a likely place for a leak to occur. Other water level indicators trap water and create a good environment for mold to grow. The Krups design does not have that problem.
4) The base of the kettle is cheaply made. It is the standard Chinese 360 degree design. If you read reviews of kettles with this design you know that they fail after a few years. Pending failure shows itself when you have to rotate the kettle to get it to have an electric connection. Slowly the places that work are harder to find and finally it just stops working. That's what happened to my old kettle. This should not happen. The mechanism is very simple and should be able to last forever. I checked with Krups and they want almost forty dollars for a new base if the one you have stops working (it's part number 620029, if you're looking for it).
My ideal kettle would be made of stainless steel, would have a hidden element, would be easy to clean, would have no water level indicator and would have a well built base and electrical connections that are not designed to fail in a few years. Anyone know of such a kettle in the US? (there are many like this in the UK). In the meantime I suggest that we all complain to the manufacturers and demand more for our money. If enough of us write to their customer "service" departments maybe they will pay attention. I would pay a lot of money for a well built kettle, but that's not what we are getting.
At almost $70 I think this kettle is overpriced and not sufficiently well-built to justify the price. I'll keep searching....