Calling the Kettle Green
A Junkk PPProR!* - The Eco Kettle
It slipped in so subtly I almost didn't notice. And little did I realise it would end up costing us so much... now... and hopefully save us so much as time goes on (just like Junkk.com. Only we don't cost anything at all, of course).
I refer to the Eco Kettle, of which I became aware courtesy of an e-mailing from an online e-retailer called Windtrap (until we get our act together, to let such folk know we've sent you from here, please make sure you drop us a mention... they might even take an ad out!).
First up, I should clarify the comment about costing so much. Actually, the price is average for such a device, and (subjectively, of course) it is a most pleasingly stylish design, and seems of very good build quality.
I just pounded the credit limit a tad by going on a bit of a spree around the Windtrap site, and 'invested' in a a few more toys, including a usage meter. This latter I intend to use to conduct some in-house test on various bits an bobs for future PPProR! tests. I will in fact be doing it for the Eco Kettle as well, so it's worth coming back to this review for when I do.
I just wanted to get something up now, as frankly it's hard to fault. For a start, as far as we - and the manufacturer - is aware, it's unique.
The thing does exactly what it says on the box, and so far the results are clear, if as yet unscientific.
It boils in snap, mainly because you are boiling only what you want, but I must say it does seem to have a very fast element.
I also suspect that the girdle of warm water created by the as yet unused reservoir serves to assist in the pre-warming phase, as well as providing a valuable insulation layer.
I am very confident that the savings advised by the makers - Independent tests conducted via the EST have suggested savings under normal use of 50KWh/year, or 31% (I'll go wild and call it a third) - will prove true.
Once I have figured out how to work the power meter I will try and put this jargon in terms that jingle in the pocket a bit more, along with the period it will take to pay for itself.
There are also a few nice extra design features, such as the cable stowage and a filter.
As you'll gather, we're a bit smitten here.
With luck, this will give us a long and reliable use. I have a graveyard of old kettles which have died in one way or another over the years. In true Junkk.com style all have been kept in case they can be repaired, or at least the working bit of one reunited with the working bit of another to get a functioning unit again.
View JunkkYard link here...
There have of course long been kettles with windows or measuring dipsticks, but somehow this system makes you think more and want to use it (plus that double reservoir addition).
It is possible to forget to refill, but it does have a failsafe which is easily restored to normal working. I have to confess that I bought it for my aged Mum (as she lives alone and is a 1 cuppa user), but she found it all a bit fiddly and 'worrying'. So, we have swapped. I suspect our gain is also the environment's.
Matt of Windtrap has also advised that he has copped a few bits of flak for the use of plastic. Well, you can't please all the folk all the time, and this is one where I think the pros outweigh the cons by a wide margin.
Good luck to those who made it, those who sell it (there are others than Windtrap, but they helped us out writing this, so the spoils of PR go their way:), those who use it and, of course, the planet!
Tell us what you think*
*It's a new feature, inaugurated with this piece. The acronym PPProR! stands for PJM's (which in turn stands for Peter, Junkk Male) Personal Product Review, which is where we buy something for our own use, have a go as a family and then share our experiences.
* Well, we asked:
A reader felt our October Eco-Kettle RE:view was somewhat lacking and posed some questions. We talked to Peter the inventor, and haven't heard back, so they must now be happy:
Q: bit of a sloppy review;
A: Thank you for taking the time to write.
The degree of slop, or not, is a rather subjective one, with factors ranging from the remit of the publication, the qualifications of the reviewer and the reasonable expectations of the reader.
Junkk.com is not, cannot afford and does not claim to be Which magazine, or indeed highly specialized in any particular area, through by wandering around green groves we perhaps do pick up more than some have the time or inclination to manage. We are the consumer's mates. And when we look at something it is as consumers ourselves, albeit ones with a strong interest in what works best for the planet and the family pocket, recognising that the two can often be exclusive.
For what it's worth I was educated and trained as a scientist in my youth, which qualifies me to ask certain pertinent questions and, thanks to my subsequent career in advertising attempt to share the answers (which can be quite detailed and technical) in ways that are meaningful, editorially entertaining and informative to our public audience, which ranges from kids to senior surfers.
There are certain things I could care less about. Others that Junkk.com is not so concerned with. One is wasting time and doing nothing whilst debating detail at the expense of the big picture.
So now I've had feedback from the guys who know, let me try answer your questions, and it's looking, Miss World-styly, like being in reverse order.
Q. Are eco products just another unacceptable face of consumerism?
A. Some are; some are not. It's an essay in itself. And probably a contentious one as what we publish may go too far or not far enough for some.
Q. I use a stove top kettle (gas). Should I give my kettle to a charity shop and get one of these?
A. Again, this could be as easy or as hard to answer as you like, depending on the depth of the consequences.
Put simply, a stove top kettle is not a very efficient way to heat water. A lot of energy simply goes around the base and is lost to the atmosphere. Not such a problem in winter, as it heats the room, but that's a tangent. As you say it's gas I can be firmer in saying this. However, if you were running an Aga and the heat is there anyway for heating, then of course it is a pretty good way to do it as there is no extra demand.
If you give it to a charity shop, you are simply moving the ecological consequences from you to some other location. Like selling a Jaguar to buy a Prius (worked for Sir Ming, if not the planet). Which sets up the fiscal against the ecological.
Balancing the two and being, perhaps selfishly, more concerned with self, I'd say yes, get rid of it, and leave the place you do it up to you. At least the person who gets it won't need to have made, or buy, a new one.
An electric kettle is, by my best understanding, the most fuel efficient (which means cost and climate consequences) way of heating water. And until another model is made evident to me, I think this one is the best way of heating electrically, by virtue of its mechanism to only heat what you need, insulation and heat transfer design.
Q. Is it mendable?
It could be. But I don't know to what level, and in finding out we again have to weigh the monetary costs of mending it to you against the environment cost to the planet.
Q. Does the use of resources in its production outweigh the savings made in its lifetime
A. Easy. No. By a country mile.
Q. Is it made from recycled plastic?
A. No. But none exist that would give it the lifespan.
Q. How does it work?
It's an electric kettle. Electricity heats up an element and this heat transfers itself to water in the reservoir.
The additional, ecologically enhanced design features are covered in the review above.