I love tea. I drink several cups of it every day and each requires a trip to the kettle. Now, this might sound incredibly lazy, but what if you could cut down those trips by half? What if you could also prevent those wasted trips where you’ve put the kettle on only to return to what you were doing and forget about it, meaning you have to go and boil it a second time? What if, first thing in the morning, you can boil the kettle without leaving your cozy warm bed until it’s ready to pour?
iKettle is simple in that regard — switch on the kettle from your phone and get an alert when it is done. No wasted trips or need to break off from your work twice. No need to to leave the comfort of your bed until the last possible moment!
Also, it’s really cool.
The iKettle is a tale of two halves, really: the kettle itself and the app that controls it. So this review will be split in order to look at both respective parts.
As far as kettle hardware goes, I’d say iKettle is pretty standard. I’m no homeware reviewer, but the stainless steel design, black handle and base station seem like the kind of thing you’d expect from all kettles wherever the fall on the price spectrum.
It has nice features like a lid that closes without a clasp, but also lacks things like a window on the side to see how much water is in the kettle.
On the base, you’ll notice the power button along with buttons for setting the target water temperature — there’s 100°C (best for black teas), 80°C (recommended for white teas) and 65°C (green teas).
Plus 95°C which is recommended for coffee made manually in a cafetiere, as well as a ‘keep warm’ function which will re-heat your water every 30 seconds or so for the next 5-20 minutes (configurable). These physical buttons enable the iKettle to be used as you would a normal, albeit more functional, kettle. Where the magic really happens is within the app…
So, as far as kettle’s go, iKettle is fairly plain in the looks department with some extra temperature functions. However, being Wi-Fi controlled, it’s ability to be controlled via a smartphone or tablet really sets it apart.
iKettle has its own Wi-Fi network and you can control it through the complimentary Smarter Appliances iOS app. On first using the app, you’ll have to go through the initial setup. The process is a little fiddly, involving a bit of switching between the iKettle app and Settings, connecting to iKettle’s network and adding in details on your home network within iKettle’s app.
It’s also not exactly smooth —- I had to follow instructions to reset my iKettle in order for it’s Wi-Fi network to show in my Settings app. Thankfully, there are videos to guide you through the process online and, once configured, you don’t have to do it again.
The app itself is pretty well done and fulfils its purpose well. On opening, the large power button blinks to indicate your iKettle is on standby and switches it on with a tap, glowing to indicate its state. There are buttons identical to those on the kettle’s base for selecting the temperature and keeping your water hot.
When you tap the on button, your kettle will audibly beep (you can hear it from the next room) and the app will give you a push notification along with a little ding when it has reached the desired temperature.
You’ll also get a subsequent notification reminding you to refill the kettle after use to avoid switching it on while empty.
Once you get into the habit of refilling the kettle straight way this is fine but does take some adjustment. The kettle will automatically switch off if it detects a lack of water which is useful.
This simple functionality of setting the kettle boiling remotely and being alerted when it’s ready is truly brilliant. Call it laziness, call it efficiency, call it over-the-top ridiculousness — I think this is so incredibly functional as well as incredibly cool.
Where the app really excels, though, is in its additional capabilities and automation, namely ‘wake-up mode,’ ‘home mode,’ and ‘brew timer.’
You can set an alarm within the app and iKettle will ask you at a certain time of day if you’d like it to start boiling (or snooze he notification) perfect for those difficult weekday mornings.
While the alarm sounds in the app aren’t great — and there’s no support for iOS system sounds — the automated functionality will be worth it for some. Personally, I’d be happy to forgo using iKettle’s app as my alarm and simply open the app and hit on when I’m ready.
The app can also recognize when you’ve returned home from work and get the kettle on for you. If you usually arrive home between 5 and 6pm, iKettle will prompt you when you connect to your home network within that timeframe.
Brew timer also keeps track of your perfect brew. After pouring the the water over a tea bag or leaves, you can hit the timer icon and the app will alert you when it’s brewed to perfection — 2 minutes by default, or configurable to your tastes.
You can also customize the iKettle app with different colored themes. These don’t affect the functions, but might help the app match your kitchen.
All of these extra smarts come at a cost. iKettle retails for around $160/£100 so you’re certainly paying a premium for the additional functionality it offers. Whether that convenience is worth it for your individual use case will vary.
For me, as an avid tea drinker and working from home, I can see the draw. For others, they might be happy to stick with an old-school kettle for now.
Check out more images of iKettle in the gallery below (click for larger):
The wrap up
The good: Useful physical buttons/functions. Well thought-out app-controlled abilities. Automated boiling feels like living in the future.
The bad: Fairly bland design and no side window for quickly seeing contents. Very expensive. Non-customizable alarm sounds.
The verdict: iKettle is everything a smart kettle should be. It enables you to be little more efficient, saving you minutes here and there, and letting you focus on what you need to get done.
It might sound a little hyperbolic to declare the iKettle as revolutionary, but imagine if all our appliances were this smart. Products like iKettle and other connected home accessories are paving the way for the Internet of Things and that is why it is such an exciting prospect.
Plus, I love tea and love getting five more minutes in bed.
You can check out iKettle on Firebox.com where it is currently available for purchase for $156.59/£99.99