Our electric kettle came to the end of its life abruptly the other week, just one day before we were due to go on holiday- unhelpful! I purchased it around 2009, so it had given us about 6 years service. Not bad, until you think that if you live until you’re 90- you’ll get through an astonishing 15 kettles in your lifetime! Although, perhaps you can take off a couple, as you probably don’t drink tea before you’re 12!
My other half and I had a long conversation about how we might make a better choice this time around, which features were important to us and whether we could be more zero waste. We strongly considered a stove top kettle, since we have an induction hob and they were meant to boil very quickly. I went out intending to buy one and then was put off by the price- nearly £50. I hesitated also because I have never used one and I didn’t know how I would get on with it, they all seemed to be very heavy when I tried them in-store and would be even heavier when filled with water. Furthermore, a lot of them have metal handles and I was worried that we would forget and burn ourselves! (Although I’m sure we would have learnt that lesson quickly!!!) Anyway, I got talked into a £25 electric kettle in my local, independent retailer- mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time to shop around or wait for something to be delivered. I went for the best choice they offered which was a stainless steel body but still had a plastic base and handle. It looked good and off we went on our holiday!
When we returned, we quickly realised it was a poor design and the spout dripped water all over the counter constantly when pouring. A few days later, I actually burnt my foot because it started to pour down- even though I was wearing slippers! Next thing was, the plastic filter dropped out and we couldn’t get it to go back for love or money! At this point, we had been using this kettle for a mere 2 weeks!
I took it back to the retailer and stated my displeasure and demanded a refund. Secretly I was glad because part of me was worried I was going to be stuck with this drippy kettle. Although, even with all my zero waste, plastic free knowledge- I was still dubious of taking a risk and was actually going to spend £70 on the same kettle we had just used on holiday! This was because I’d had the opportunity to try it and knew it worked, plus it was a very reputable brand.
However, I did my usual tour of the charity shops in my local town and lo-and-behold, I came across this little beauty pictured above. I took a £5 chance on it (although they said I could have a refund if it didn’t work on my induction hob). Honestly, I wasn’t holding out loads of hope for it because it seemed quite light-weight and induction pans usually have very solid bases. I wish I had a picture of the grin on my face when it started to heat up, I even did a little fist pump when it boiled. It’s a retro enamelled kettle from the 1970s or 1980s. It has one small chip on the lid and the tiniest bit of rust on the end of the spout, but overall is in very good nick. Best of all, it was second hand and has therefore been saved from the rubbish pile, it is solid metal, enamel and wood- not a bit of plastic in sight. Basically, with good care- there really is no reason why it couldn’t last a lifetime- there are no electric components to fail! It is also going to help us save water, as it can only boil enough for 4 mugs at a time- so there will be no over-filling (our last kettle could make 8 cups if filled). It really is ideal for the two of us! Plus, the double bonus is the section of work top that is now clear, as this one lives on the stove top.
Long live my little floral kettle! Isn’t it lovely to hark back to simpler times? I remember my local church having an enormous enamel kettle to boil water on the stove top, in the days before urns.
I’d love to hear about your fantastic bargain second hand buys! Particularly if they are zero waste! Please tell me in the comments 🙂