Time for Tea – 10 Ways to Test a Kettle

As a true Englishman, tea is of vital importance to my day, and having the right tools to make it is a serious undertaking. With one kettle having gone to the Great Kitchen in the Sky (it refused to reach boiling point, and one cannot have lukewarm tea) it was time for a new one.

Whilst looking for a new one I realized it would make a good question for a tester: How would they test a kettle?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Water Quality: How does the kettle cope with different water quality? Is it being used in a suburban environment with treated water, or will it be used in places that might be using well water with no water softener?
  2. Noise: Does it make a noise when boiling, and if so, is it too loud, too irritating? Or maybe noise is a good thing to alert the user that it’s time to get up from their desk and make the tea.
  3. Looks: Maybe the kettle is hardly ever used, so how it looks in the kitchen is more important than how it works. Maybe you’re a realtor doing staging for open houses and only want something that looks great.
  4. Temperature: The water should be boiling to ensure maximum tea flavor. Do you assume that just because the kettle switches off that this means the water is at 100C?
  5. Safety: If there is no water in the kettle, does it still heat up?
  6. Performance: How quickly does it boil?
  7. Cost: How much are you allowed to spend on the kettle?
  8. Load: Is it going to be used in an office where it could be in constant use from 9-5, or will it be at home where it’s main use will be 7am on weekdays and 9am at the weekend?
  9. Maintenance: Can the filter be easily removed for cleaning?
  10. Usability

Looking at everyday items and wondering how they are tested can give you ideas about designing and testing your product.