What Do You Look for in a Kettle?

Capacity?  Quietness?  What about safety?  Most of us trust that the products we buy are safe to use in our homes. They must have gone through testing and qualifications of some kind.  As, long we are using them properly, they should be safe, right?  Not always.  Let’s take a look at electric kettles, which are powered by controllers that allow the water to heat through the base.  Cordless electric kettles have a controller in the base and a matching component in the bottom of the kettle so they are connected when the kettle is sitting on the base. These controllers, if made cheaply, can be quite dangerous.  
Poorly molded plastic parts can result in decreased contact force, causing high levels of resistance in the contacts.  In this situation over heating can occur and cause an electrical fire. Defective safety elements and switches can allow steam and water to come into contact with electric components. This can create secondary paths of electric current and lead to overheating and fire yet again. Knock off brands of controllers usually do not undergo rigorous testing to weed out defective and inadequate parts. Poor selection of safety components can compromise the electrical isolation over time and create the potential for electrocution.

These are serious risks and real risks taken when using cheaply made appliances. From 2009 to 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 162,400 household fires that involved cooking equipment per year. The NFPA states that 40% of all house fires start in the kitchen (1).  Safer equipment is installed with a number of fail-safe features to make for less accidents such as overheating shut offs.  Internal thermostats monitor heating elements and automatically turn the element off if it has become too hot or is accidentally left on.
The electrical component brand that we work with and trust for all our kettles at Brewista is Strix. Because of our experience with so many forms of manufacturing and our passion for high quality products, we source not only safe components, but the best electric controllers available for all of our kettles. Strix controllers are designed to satisfy over six international standards (UL, BAEB, CCC CQC, CE, and SCA to name a few…) and are manufactured with enough durability to consistently exceed 12,000 cycles of normal operation.  This mimics years of use to ensure the kettle will last through literally 12,000 uses. If you made tea twice a day everyday, that’s 16 years of life!  Strix is a company that has been making technological components for decades and holds over 500 patents, with a huge commitment to innovating safe solutions to household appliances. You have probably used countless appliances powered by a Strix component without even knowing it.  If you are using a kettle at home or in a hotel, pick up the kettle and look at the base.  Does it say Strix on the bottom?  If not, it could be dangerous to use.

Start to familiarize yourself with qualification seals on product boxes and tags if you don’t already.  Is the product UL certified?  UL, or Underwriters Laboratories, is an American safety and consulting certification company.  They are independent, not-for-profit and I wouldn’t trust a product that is not at least marked with the “UL certified” emblem. CQC and CCC are quality certifications for China that are often required for products manufactured overseas. The list goes on but what is important is that your appliances were tested and approved. 

Helpful links: 
Sources: (1) http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/fire-causes/appliances-and-equipment/cooking-equipment