Buying Guide - Kettles and Toasters

Kettles

Morphy Richards kettleA kettle is a necessary item in your household; the perfect wedding present or gift to a student who's flying the nest. But a kettle isn't just a kettle these days, and have numerous factors to consider attached to them when buying one. The first factor is the kettle's style and its capacity. Generally, a kettle will hold between 1.5 and 1.7 litres of water which is about four cups. Depending on how much tea you drink or whether you need to boil water for cooking should determine whether you require a larger capacity kettle. If you live alone and have no real need to boil large amounts of water there are mini kettles available.

There are two main styles of kettles on the market and you may want to choose it depending on the look of your kitchen. For example, a more modern kitchen may suit a polished stainless steel electric kettle. These kettles are easier to handle and more energy efficient. They also boil water faster due to the electric power behind it. Or if you are after something a bit more old fashioned you may want to look at stove top kettles, which boil the water using the stove. These types of kettles are more portable and can be taken camping, unlike the electric kettle, but take longer to boil the water and take up room on your stove when cooking a meal.

There are two types of kettles to choose from: corded and cordless. Corded kettles are attached directly to a power socket via a cord whereas a cordless kettle stands on a base which is connected to a socket, with the kettle being portable once removed from its home. Some cordless kettles come with a 360 degree swivel base which means that the kettle can be put back on its base from any angle, particularly useful for left handers. Dualit offer a wide range of cordless kettles including its latest Dualit Jug Kettle. If you decide to go for a corded kettle and have children in your household look for one with cord storage as it will reduce the risk of children pulling at the cord and spilling any water from the kettle.

If you get thirsty quickly then consider the wattage your potential new kettle has. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the kettle is and the quicker it will be to boil its contents. For reference, kettles with wattage of over 3000W are classed as 'rapid boil' and will boil the water much quicker than their competitors.

The kettle's element is the part that heats up the water. It can be found at the bottom of the product and often come in stainless steel. However, gold elements are also available and these are more resistant to scale while a concealed element is more accessible for cleaning and de-scaling.

Limescale is always a concern with kettles, so if it concerns you then a filter can stop lime scale and particles getting into your water. A filter within the kettle will attract limescale away from the water while a filter in the spout of the kettle will sift out any particles that the kettle filter may have missed. Filters that can be removed are more preferable as they can be cleaned of lime scale as and when you see fit.

The water gauge is a level on the side of the kettle that tells you how much water is inside. This stops you from boiling too much or too little water. A kettle with a dual gauge, an indicator on either side, is ideal for left handers.

Health and safety features to look out for on your kettle include a boil dry safety cut off to stop your kettle from boiling without any water in it, cool touch handles and locking lids. While there are also other features including an on and off light and boil signals for your convenience.

Toasters

Breville toasterToasters, like the kettles we have just discussed, make a perfect gift for people setting up a new home or going away to study. But with so many styles and functions out there, will the one you choose accommodate the recipient's needs?

The first consideration is how many slices of toast you will need at one time. A large family, for example, will make good use of a four slice toaster as they can toast more slices of bread at once to feed more people quicker. Meanwhile, someone who doesn't have a large family or doesn't toast as much bread would be happy with a two slice toaster, there are also three slice toasters on the market for people in between! Dualit are a big player in the market and have a wide range of toasters available to suit all needs.

A toaster needs to be flexible these days as people often look to toast more than just bread. A toaster with variable width slots and/or deep slots will be able to toast everything from bread, crumpets and bagels.

Toasters with removable crumb trays make it easier to clean the toaster and get rid of the build up of crumbs that fall of the bread once toasted, a vital function of keeping your toaster tidy.

If you are someone that has bread in the freezer you may want to look at buying a toaster with a frozen bread setting. This makes it much easier to toast the bread from frozen by defrosting the slice before toasting it. Meaning you don't have to leave the bread out for hours first before tucking in.

Toasters these days come in various colours, you can find almost any colour you want in a toaster so be sure to pick one that will match the look and feel of your kitchen.

A toaster with a mid-cycle cancel button will stop the toasting process before it has finished, meaning you can press the button to pop the toast up before it gets too burnt if you have accidentally selected the wrong setting.

A high lift facility can be very useful for removing smaller items from the toaster without burning your hands, a vital feature for health and safety conscious buyers.

Other features that can be found on most toasters these days include LED displays to show you how far along the toasting process is, a cool wall which stops the sides of the toaster getting hot when it's in use and non slip feet to stop the toaster from sliding around in use.