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Monday, May 08, 2006

Electric kettle

Boiling water on the stove to make tea, I notice a few problems:
  • Pretty slow
  • Big trouble if you don't turn it off (fire hazard!)
  • I need a clean pot (this is sort of a problem in my kitchen)
Using this electric kettle is a whole lot nicer. This kettle has the basic features you get from some fancy Swiss firm - the little meter to tell you how much water's in there, the sleek design, the website with everything in lowercase. It's also a pretty quick heater, because the water is heated pretty directlyBut that's not really the point.

The key to this kettle's awesome-ity is the heating mechanism. The power comes from an electric element that the kettle nestles into:

This part is really well designed. Unlike most ranges, this part will simply not work at all without the kettle on top. (I believe the kettle is required to complete the circuit, so there is simply no power used when it is not present.) This is really nice - you can't leave it on accidentally, which is a big hazard.

Futhermore, the switch mechanism seems to be magic. There's only one control on this device: a switch to filp to boil the water. It lights up when it's on, and once the water's pretty steamy it flips off. It also automatically shuts off when the kettle is removed - the switch flips down and turns off when the heating is off. This means you can't really do anything unsafe, because it will switch off after a couple minutes at any rate, and won't run without the kettle set properly in the base. It also fulfils the design goal that the internal state of the system is obvious to the user quite nicely. This all adds up to a very impressive little appliance.