Pouring water from a steel kettle to make a cup of tea.
Research report
9 August 2019

Faulty kettles: what can you do?

Fixing a kettle isn’t easy.

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29 Jul 2021
Sunbeam Cafe Series??!!

I used many Flybuys points for this Sunbeam Cafe Series Kettle. Now it has a crack right across the water indicator just over 3 years later!!? I now wonder whether I should perhaps not buy a cheap kettle next time since I am unsure whether this part can be replaced. Hope Sunbeam can come to the party here??

Malcolm B W.
13 Dec 2020
Three kettles fail in their first year ...

I am amazed to read that only 12% of kettles develop a fault within the first 5 years of their life. We bought a glass Sunbeam kettle, (glass as we were tired of the previous kettles developing leaks around their water level gauges - in under 5 years), the lid mechanism failed within a year, we got it replaced. The lid mechanism on the replacement also failed within a year. This time it was replaced with a glass kettle from Breville. The lid mechanism on this is now failing - again within a year. We haven't had any problems getting them replaced, but would like to have a kettle that actually lasts rather than going to landfill after a year.

Linda C.
31 Aug 2019
My kettle must be AT LEAST 20 yrs old ...

I bought a Phillips plastic kettle a long long time ago, and it is still (touch wood!) going perfectly. It had a rest for around 4 years while not living in my own home, & lower use while I was away a lot, but still - has to be at least 20 yrs old.

Maurice V.
17 Aug 2019
Plastic mesh filters

Had the same experience as Martin R., with a Russell Hobbs. Will never buy a plastic jug or kettle again as, although no evidence of harm found, it is a risk I choose not to take.

Christopher F.
17 Aug 2019
Breville Kettle

Our kettle is well over 5 years old. Provided an appliance is not allowed to boil dry and is treated well it should last for years. Our experience with Breville shows it is our go to brand - the toaster is well over 5 years old and our sandwich press lasted 20 years plus before failing. However having said that its replacement had to be replaced under warranty this year.

Graeme W.
19 Aug 2019
Breville is garbage

Most modern breville appliances are garbage. Expensive toaster lasted just over two years (the $20 replacement has outpaced it). The kettle filter broke off and the kettle doesn't shut off - less than 5yr old. Older breville products seem better, i have a sandwich press that has lasted, of course its use is much less frequent. i'll never buy another breville.

17 Aug 2019
Jugs and kettles

I am not surprised that manufacturers don't want to make it easy for their products to be repaired as they just want consumers to go out and buy a new one every few years. And that would apply to ALL products, not just jugs and kettles, and until consumers start putting pressure on them nothing will change. Though to be fair should we expect them to retain parts for 10 or 15-year-old appliances when the product designs change significantly over that time? I do expect to get at least 10 years out of a jug however.

Staff C.
20 Aug 2019
Spare parts

Hi Bill,

So many small appliances are seen as disposable now, and many bigger ones aren't economical to repair. That's not right. We're going to keep pushing this, putting pressure on manufacturers and retailers to make better (more durable and more repairable) products available. Kettles is just the start. As consumers we need to stop buying throw-away products and choose better.

I think it is reasonable to expect manufacturers to make parts available for the life of a product. Maybe 10-15 years is too long for a kettle, but many parts that fail aren't subject to lots of technological change - the kettles we buy now aren't much different to those of 10 or 20 years ago. With better design, they could be made more repairable. It's not difficult, just a change in focus for the manufacturers who, as you say, are better off if we just junk the old and buy the new each time.

Consumer NZ

Martin R.
17 Aug 2019
Plastic mesh filters...

...are (or were...) used on some kettles including Sunbeam plastic jug models. Both the filter material and the water level gauge would crumble away over time, into the water we drink.

Having a much better experience with a Sunbeam Stainless Steel "dome" design - all metal and seems very robust.

Staff C.
20 Aug 2019
Plastic parts

Hi Martin,

Very good point about the plastic parts. The water-level window on my old Breville crumbled into the water - that's what got me started on this exercise. It annoyed me that a perfectly functional kettle was dead because that part had failed.

Consumer NZ

Sarah P.
17 Aug 2019
Brabantia Kettle

Just replaced by Briscoes. Less than 2 years old. Press button lid opener fell apart. New one a few weeks old is not opening straight away. Have to prod it several times. I presume the same thing is going to happen but sooner than the last one. My first Russell Hobbs lasted 20 years. I have lost count of the number we have had since then.