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Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle review: Let there be light refreshments

Our Rating :
£50.00 from
Price when reviewed : £40
inc VAT

An eye-catching kettle with some neat design touches, this kettle will quite literally brighten up your day


  • Handy one-cup marker
  • Large capacity
  • Blue illumination is pleasant


  • No extra features
  • Gets quite hot in use
  • Slightly noisy

Ever wondered what was going inside your kettle as it boiled? Well, with the Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass Kettle, you can watch your water churn and bubble as it heats up, bathed in the pleasant blue glow of the LED lights in its rim. Pair this bit of aesthetic intrigue with a solid capacity, speedy boiling time and a few neat design touches, and you have a kettle that does a lot to justify its slightly hefty price tag.

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Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle review: What do you get for the money

Though some stockists list it as high as £60 or £70, the Illuminating Glass kettle can usually be picked up for a more reasonable £40-£50 at most retailers.

For this price, you’ll get yourself a kettle with a roomy 1.7l capacity, a standard 3,000W heating element and a handsome brushed stainless steel and glass body. The kettle itself measures 24 x 14 x 24cm (WDH), weighs 1.2kg and stands on a 360-degree swivel base which sits flush with the bottom of the kettle.

Other notable features of the kettle include its exterior measure markings, which, along with the standard litres, adds a handy green line marking the fill level for a single cup of water, and, of course, the fact that it lights up, giving off a blue illumination as it boils.

While it’s good value at around £40-£50, the Illuminating kettle does have some notable rivals in this bracket, including the capacious and attractive Kenwood Dusk (£55), the speedy Kenwood Abbey (£28) and the budget-friendly John Lewis Anyday Kettle (£20).

At its higher price points, the Illuminating kettle gets muscled out of contention by slicker, more feature-heavy models. The obvious upgrade to this glass kettle is the Russell Hobbs Attentiv (£75), which has a similar construction but boasts a host of extras, including precise temperature control, a keep warm function, a tea-steeping basket which allows it to function as a teapot and more.

Other sub-£100 kettles I’m happy to recommend include the Bosch Styline (£84), which has a well-insulated dual-walled body and precise temperature controls, as well as the Swan Alexa (£100), an Echo-compatible smart kettle which includes voice and app control in addition to the features noted for the Styline.

Move up into luxury territory, and two kettles over the £100 mark that I think are worth your consideration are the Zwilling Enfinigy Pro (£129) and KitchenAid Artisan (£199). The Zwilling Enfinigy Pro has a super-sleek, ultra-modern design, a dual-walled body, temperature controls and a lengthy keep-warm function. The KitchenAid Artisan, on the other hand, has a gorgeous, classic design. The Artisan also has variable temperature controls, an onboard temperature dial and was our quietest boiler in testing.

Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle review: What’s good about it?

Under standard conditions, basically all 3,000W kettles will perform the same in a boiling speed test and the Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle is no different. Matching the speediness of the other 3,000W models in our group test, the Illuminating kettle boiled a litre of water in just 2mins 20secs with a boil rate of 0.54°C/s. As well as being quick and efficient in our speed test, the kettle also performed admirably in our heat retention test, giving a reading of 92.1°C when measured five minutes after boiling.

Outside of its test results, the Illuminating kettle also deserves praise for some of its clever and practical design touches. At 1.7l, the kettle is one of the more capacious models we’ve tested, making it perfectly suitable for large, busy households or for kitchens that like to boil the kettle to get a head start on cooking pasta or rice. I was also a fan of the clear green marker on the outside of the kettle which indicates the water level needed for a single cup, as it helped save time, energy and hassle when making a solo cuppa.

Finally, I’m generally a fan of this kettle’s look and feel, and especially like the blue lights in the kettle’s bottom rim which activate once you set it to boil.

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Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle review: What could be better?

While it was a solid performer in our speed and heat retention tests, the Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle showed sub-par performance in a few of our other challenges. Reaching a peak of 70.6°C in our exterior temperature test, the Illuminating Glass kettle was one of the hottest-to-the-touch kettles that we tested, whereas I much prefer a kettle that can be brushed against or accidentally touched in use without consequence. At 58dBA, this Russell Hobbs model was also one of our noisier performers, a factor which unfortunately doesn’t mesh well with the calming effect of its blue lights. Lastly, as always with glass kettles, limescale build up is more readily apparent than with plastic or stainless steel models.

Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle review: Should I buy it?

If you can pick it up for under £50, the Russell Hobbs Illuminating Glass kettle is a solid performer with a few neat features. Thanks to its good capacity, quick boiling speed, handy one-cup measurement marker and its nifty illuminated design, it does just enough to justify its cost. However, should you find it priced any higher, or find yourself wanting more advanced features, then the Illuminating Kettle becomes harder to recommend, being bested across the board by more well-priced and functional options, such as its larger sibling, the Russell Hobbs Attentiv (£75).

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