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27 Apr 2007

Product Review – Eco Kettle.

ekHaven’t really made much of a habit of doing product reviews here, but the time has come to have a go. I recently bought an Eco Kettle, and wanted to share my thoughts about it with you. Studies have shown that most people overfill the kettle, and that a lot of energy is wasted boiling water simply so that it can just go cold again. I try and get into the habit of measuring the water going into the kettle with a cup first, but it doesn’t always happen, so I was intrigued by the possibility of a kettle that made me do that.

The idea is that the central core of the kettle is where you store the water, and the outside of that is where it actually boils, in a chamber which wraps around the inner core. So you fill your core (you are supposed to keep it full), close the lid which seals, and press a button on the top which then transfers the water from the inner to the outer chambers. As you press the button, you can see, thanks to measuring lines on the outside of the kettle, how many cups worth of water you are going to boil. You then turn it on, and it just boils the amount of water you require.

It sounds great, and in some ways it is. However, it does have a number of drawbacks. Firstly, once your 2 cups worth of water has boiled, you have to get to it pretty quickly, because being so close to the inner chamber of cold water, it cools far more rapidly than it would in a normal kettle. If you wait a few minutes, the result is a very tepid cup of tea.

ek2Secondly, if you are not trained in how to use the kettle, you can easily find yourself just filling the middle, and pressing boil, which then attempts to boil an empty chamber, which cannot be much good for the kettle. Thirdly, because the inner chamber is so large, you can actually only boil a relatively small amount of water. If you want to boil enough for 5-6 cups of tea, it is fine, but if you need to boil the kettle for doing the washing up or having a wash, it won’t give you enough water. Lastly, the cup sizes they must have used to create their cup measures must be smaller than mine, so it takes some getting used to, I still sometimes need to refill and reboil it because I don’t have enough water.

I bought the Eco Kettle thinking that I would be able to do away with my old one. As it turns out, we now have the two alongside each other. If we need hot water for doing the dishes, I use the old one, and the new one is for drinks. Because the Eco Kettle is different and inserts a couple of stages before the ‘press and boil’ stage, it could be perceived as being a hassle. Ideally I would be able to guarantee that every time I needed cup of tea, I would remember to fill cups and put them into the kettle, but as I can’t I will stick with my Eco Kettle. It is not an especially ‘sexy’ piece of energy efficient technology, but it does what it does adequately.

Categories: Energy

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


27 Apr 9:19am

Over the years I’ve thrown away quite a lot of kitchen items eg kettles and toasters etc. My ideal “eco” kettle would be one that is easy to repair if it breaks down. Simpler the better is what I say! In fact I quite like using my storm kettle in the back yard! (and putting any excess water in the flask)

27 Apr 12:58pm

I’m glad you don’t make green product review a regular part of your blog.

Buying stuff is such a large part of why we’re in this mess, and product reviews just seems to feed into that.

If I absolutely need to buy something, I’ll try and pick the greenest option but truely, I prefer not to be reminded of all the products I could possibly want that I’m confortably living without at the moment.

Jason Cole
27 Apr 2:35pm

I suspect this is a short MTBF kettle (like those that have the “how full is it” indicator that leaks or jams).

27 Apr 4:07pm

I think you’re going about it the wrong way here, firstly you are presuming that you need a kettle in the first place. It is actually more green the UK to heat water on the hob (providing you have a gas one that is). As i’m sure you are aware this cuts the losses incurred through electricity transmission and heat centralised heat losses. You might say that you’ve sourced your electric from ecotricity of something, however while this is a good thing and show of support for the industry, it is not a direct link to the renewable source. If however you were using microgeneration or on an isolated grid and then you’d have a better case for resorting to the kettle.

Secondly, why are you boiling water? No one drinks water which is 100C it’s too damn hot. This is the problem with kettles, they are raising water to a much higher temperature than actually needed. Although in the case of your ecokettle it appears to raise the temperature then cools it – insane! Better to heat the water in a small pot on the stove with the lid on on low gas, this will probably take less time than the kettle, get it to the right sorta temperature (dip the finger in) and then use it.

Another way to say energy which i have only adopted in the last couple of days is to fill a large juj with cold water from the tap in the morning. Leave this by the stove. Whenever you need hot water use this water in the jug as your starting point. The reason is obvious, water from the tap is cold, so if you need hot water it will take more energy to raise its temperature. The water in the jug will heat up providing the ambient room temperature is higher than the cold water tap (more than likely). Also by placing it near the hob it is near another potential heat source (cooking) and will gain even more. You could equally put it on a radiator during winter. I’m looking to buy a suitable large containing (5litre) to place outside in the hot summers sun, which should really cut down on the temperature difference and required energy.

A post like this surprises me, considering the excellent approaches taken on transition townes are about rethinking the way we do things, rather than continuing current practices with new technologies or gadgets. But i guess it’s all part of this crazy relearning process and i’m by no means in a position to criticise that much!

Martin Doyle
27 Apr 11:27pm

I know someone who purchased one of these kettles about a year ago and had nothing but trouble with it – in the end it went back to the dealer for a refund. I think they have now sorted out the basic design flaw that was originally causing the problem.

Reading some of the above comments, I can see both sides – on the one hand, we should applaud and encourage the ‘greening’ of appliances, but on the other, it is really just as easy to put the correct amount of water in a regular kettle. It only took me a few goes to know how much water to put in my regular kettle for one or two cups. I suspect that this particular device is more ‘marketing’ than real use, but who knows.

On the subject of comparing boiling an electric kettle to using a gas hob, there is an interesting comparison here:

Rhosa T
28 Apr 11:44pm

I use an ordinary kettle that has a window on the side and cup measures marked. It seems to me that it’s every bit as easy (or difficult!) to arrange to boil just the right amount of water with this kettle as with the eco-kettle, and there are none of the disadvantages.

I wondered about doing away with a kettle altogether and using a pan on the stove. Here, that’s an induction ring, which is very efficient, but in tests (timing the boil while measuring the power) the kettle won convincingly. The basic difference is that it’s plastic: it doesn’t have to heat the metal pan as well.

So the most efficient solution in terms of energy-in-use has me buying yet another gadget and it’s made of plastic to boot… Perhaps I should give up tea now, before its status as a far-imported luxury becomes clear to all. No tea, no special gadget to make it.

I suspect this falls into the category of things my grandchildren will be amazed I agonized over.

29 Apr 10:10pm

Well speaking personally, I spend my time trying to influence local planning policy to create sustainable places to live for future generations, instead of worrying about which the best way is to boil water.

It’s about having a net positive impact, not obsessing over your negative impacts.

29 Apr 10:49pm

Anyone going to the trouble of buying a special kettle should consider the alternative of buying a good quality vacuum flask. It sits near the kettle, then when you accidentally boil too much water you don’t have to waste it – just put it in the flask and use it later. There is a bonus in that the flask can be used for all sorts of other things too and – oh, just a minute, look down here – I’ve already got one!!

1 May 5:08am

Rob, I’m grateful for you doing this review. I was a product manager for an appliance manufacturer/importer for over four years and eventually left due to concerns with consumerism/resource consumption etc. I find it astounding that the U.K. designers made the decision to have the product made in Guang Dong Province, China – not exactly known for its social and environmental manufacturing credentials.

I had been looking for a replacement kettle over the last month and feeling disgruntled as nothing is made in Australia any more – let alone along sustainable lines. Found this in my travels though…wish I’d bought one while they were available:

Anyhow I ended up getting a second hand stove top kettle from a Queenslander (Aust) on ebay – a West Bend Trig model of Wisconsin in the USA. Old but in new condition apparently. Still has a US$4.95 price sticker on it! Maybe designers need to look to the past for inspiration when energy was less abundant and things were made to last?

Thanks again Rob, good to see some meaningful dialogue on the reality of being a consumer in 2007.

8 Apr 4:08pm


I purchased an Eco-Kettle 18 months ago. It worked fine for a while and then began to leak. They sent me a new seal for the lid so this is a known problem but worse the kettle packed up after 18 months use and I have had no response from either vendor or manufacturer.


Buy a fast boil ordinary kettle and only fill it to the minimum for the same “green” savings in energy.

Joe Goldstrong
14 Aug 9:11am

Re the Eco Kettle. I know this is a bit late but I purchased a really fantastic water jug (kettle) which heats the water to a user set temperature, and then keeps the water at that temperature. For herbal tea, for example, a temperature of 90 degrees centigrade is recommended, or, for normal tea, you can heat to boiling point. After making tea I reduce the temperature to 60 degrees if I need more hot water after an hour or so. It then takes only a short time to heat back to 90 or whatever. The kettle is a Shark Sensor-Temp,2Lt, Model EP2110B. I bought it from the Good Guys back in 2006 and have had no problems. Log on to “” for where to buy, if still available. Hope this helps anyone.

21 Aug 10:51am

Iv Own One of thes kettlws and brought one for 12 of my family members this is the best kettle ever it dos not leak that was the old modle iv had mine for 20 months now it is used all the time and it the best boil time on any kettle and it has awards for that it cuts out just befor boil so you dont have a rubbish cup of tea or coffie it is recomended by all my family and they got them for all ther family to best kettle ever Great if your on a water metter to

[…] for which I have found mainly rave reviews, albeit from the manufacturers and vendors!  This one, however, is by someone who has actually trialled it and gives an interesting, impartial review.  […]

17 Nov 12:25am

My own ECO kettle packed up when I forgot to check the boil chamber water level and switched it on about three times in a row one evening when I was particularly tired, irrational and in need of a cuppa. My point? – like the first comment-writer above I say things are best when they are simple. I can’t afford to get it fixed (it’s out of guarantee) and therefore it will claim its slice of landfill, but first I aim to take it apart out of curiosity (and revenge). Next time I buy a kettle it will be of the prehistoric design.

2 Feb 10:07am

Agree with all the comments above. Does not stay hot so long, not easy to plunge and has broken sooner than any other kettle used before. Not very ecological, although a good idea. Needs a better thought through updated model.

Prehistoric is what I am going for too.