Back in June 2018, I wrote a review on this website for a kettle by AEG: The EWA7800-U 7 Series kettle, to be exact.
It's a mid-range kettle. To recap what I said in that review: In the old days, kettles were 1.5 kW and took an age to boil. Now, all kettles are "fast boiling" (typically 3 kW) with a hidden element making them easier to descale and keep clean. Those are your cheap kettles. At the top end are internet-connected kettles, that you can turn on before you get home. But they can't walk themselves to the tap to fill up. Somewhere in between are kettles like the AEG one, with many extra features, but not the £200+ you could pay. Yes, really — near the top of the current Which? Best Buy table is one costing £289.
In particular, I make and drink a lot of coffee, and I care about trying to make the best brew I can. So a good kettle is a must.
The AEG kettle has not been without its problems. I've got through 3, each dying just before its 2-year warranty runs out. It's now discontinued, so I need a different model anyway, but I've also come to realise some design flaws that means I'm glad of the excuse to change.
I like the name, and I'd never heard of "Ninja" kitchen appliances before. It turns out that they make quite a range: air fryers, ice cream makers, food processors, you name it. Well, I've only tried this one kettle, so I can't comment on the rest, but reading online their reputation seems pretty solid.
Does what the AEG one did
It has all the strengths of the AEG one, as outlined in that earlier review:
- It has a good spout that pours cleanly, which is good for pour-over coffee.
- It has a minimum volume of 250 ml, meaning you can boil for just a single mug if you wish.
- It lets you heat water to specific temperatures other than 100 degrees (boiling).
- It has a display showing the current water temperature, so you can see how it's doing.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty (if you register within 28 days of purchase). Let's hope I don't need it!
Ways it improves on the AEG
However in a number of ways, it improves on some of the flaws of the AEG kettle
- Get rid of those beeps.
- This was a very minor niggle with the AEG kettle, but it was a niggle nonetheless. It beeps when you press the buttons, beeps when you start to boil, and dances a jig when it reaches temperature. With the AEG kettle, I mused it would be good to have a way to turn those beeps off.
- With the Ninja, there is a combination of buttons to press that will do just that. Nice.
- Accurate temperature.
- The AEG wasn't as accurate as I thought. In the previous review, I remarked that it stopped before it reached the target temperature, so that the residual heat in the element doesn't cause it to overshoot. You can then use the live temperature readout to see that it's achieved the temperature you requested. I've learnt it guesses how early to stop; the emptier the kettle, the earlier it stops. It then lies; say you were aiming for 85, it will tell you for some time it's exactly 85, even if it overshot quite badly.
- The Ninja takes a completely different approach. As it nears target temperature, it stops heating, and starts to pulse some heat. A little burst, it's another degree forwards. Another burst, another degree. Until it pulls to a stop at exactly the right point, no residual heat to overshoot.
- More temperatures to pick from, fewer buttons to press.
- The AEG had 8 temperatures you could choose: 100, 95, 90, 85, 80, 70, 60, 50. To cycle between those, you kept pressing the "temp" button as it counted down from 100 to 50, before going back to 100. Lots of button presses, and sorry but you can't have 75.
- The Ninja has 6 buttons that can get you to 100, 95, 90, 80, 70 or 60 with just one tap. However you can have any temperature between 40 and 100 (in multiples of 5). Just press the button that gets you closest, then use "up" or "down" buttons (you can go up or down, not round in one big loop) to get to the temperature you want. You can have 45. Or 75. Or whatever you choose.
- Doesn't overboil.
- The AEG kettle overboiled badly. Not boiled over; that's if you fill it too full. No, overboiled. It would reach 100, and then keep boiling for up to 30 seconds, filling your kitchen with steam and spinning your smart meter.
- The Ninja switches off, I kid you not, within one second.
- Min and max fill levels are marked.
- The AEG kettle has a gauge visible through a window on the outside of the kettle, showing levels from 500 ml to full. You can fill it to just 300 ml, but you'd need to measure that out yourself, or guess.
- The Ninja also has a window with marks starting at 500 ml. But inside the kettle there's a piece of coloured metal protruding into the water to show you where the minimum 250 ml is. So you can safely see that you've filled at least the minimum amount. In a nice touch, there's also another piece of metal to show you the max, so you don't need to stopping filling to see if you're full yet.
So there you have it: The Ninja is my current recommendation. It's too early to say if it will last better than the AEG kettle, but at least I have a good 2 year warranty just in case. However, in terms of raw features and quality of design, it's a significant improvement to use.