We only think about our kettles and vital cups of tea and coffee when they break down and no longer function. I was amazed that when I went online to look to buy a new kettle. My previous kettle had lasted three years so I was shocked at how the manufacturers had progressed and how they could justify the marketing spend on their offerings. The humble kettle had received the full attention of the marketing departments. Was my cynical view of product life cycle true? Why do we need to replace small kitchen electrical items so quickly and are they deliberately designed to last 24 months? As shoppers we like to compare and make sense of offerings to us by retailers.

However kettles are not exactly exciting or interesting even though they are on display at all times on our work surfaces. I went onto the Argos website and could not believe that there were 132 kettles on offer ranging in price from 9.99 for the most basic model up to 75 for the Ferrari of kettles! The majority of the models were on average 30. I decided to investigate was it worth spending more than my budget.

The list of considerations and features was mind-boggling. For example: boil dry protection, see-through so that you could see the liquid in it, a traditional shape, a jug shape, a pyramid shape, illuminated when it was switched on in blues and greens and reds. There was every colour combination that you could possibly imagine from cream, red, black, stainless steel,see-through and even pure glass. They also offer matching toasters so that I could have the fully coordinated look which should be important as it is always on display. There were ones that had filters for hard water. Kettles that had a tap feature so you could just dispense one cup instantly from a pipe similar to a coffee machine. The ones based on top designers such as DeLongi were able to charge a premium of 80 purely for the design aspect and the brand name I could find very little difference in the kettles other than the design and the brand. There was one that was Cafetiere shaped in pure glass and I’ve got to admit was a very attractive design however to pay 75 for this did not justify the price tag. There is also the alternative that few people consider; a kettle that is not electrical and resides on your hotplate or hob. It does not require electricity it just sits permanently on your hob and this is excellent for small kitchens and has a nice traditional feel to it.

After being confused, bewildered and no nearer to making a buying decision I did what most women would do and picked the one that looked the best in my kitchen with my colour scheme. So much for technical features and how hard is it to evaluate the receptacle to boil a litre of water in less than 2 minutes? Thank goodness my husband was not involved in the decision or I would still be waiting for my well-earned cup of tea.



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