This Swan kettle might not be the fastest boiler, but it’s quiet, well insulated and lets you say, “Alexa, put the kettle on!”
- Variable temperature settings
- Well insulated and quiet
- Lengthy keep-warm function
- Voice command capabilities
- Boils quite slowly
- Needs an Alexa speaker for voice commands
- Relatively pricey
Thanks to Amazon’s ever-growing smart home ecosystem, you can control your doorbell, lights, thermostat, TV and now even your kettle via an Echo device, using voice commands, app controls and more to sync up your tech and appliances with your daily routine. The kettle in question – the Swan Alexa Smart Kettle – can, of course, still be controlled the old-fashioned way, but it also has several other positives, including a great keep-warm function, a nice range of temperature settings and excellent dual-walled insulation.
To find out how it stacked up against the competition in our group kettle test, as well as get a more in-depth look at how its smart controls work for everyday use, read our full review below.
Swan Alexa Smart Kettle review: What do you get for the money?
The Swan Alexa has an 1,800W heating element, a 1.5l capacity and a dual-wall insulated plastic and stainless steel body that measures 20 x 16 x 27cm (WDH) and weighs 1.26kg. The kettle sits on a 360-degree swivel base and is operated via LED touch controls on the kettle’s body. From here, users can choose from one of its five temperature settings (40°C, 60°C, 85°C, 90°C or 100°C), as well as activate its keep-warm function, which can be set for up to two hours. Most importantly, if you have a compatible Amazon Echo device, you can also control this kettle via voice commands, or the Alexa app itself, once you’ve connected it.
If you’re not keen on having to purchase an Echo device, or you just think you’re unlikely to use the kettle’s voice commands, there are some great alternatives that have many of the same features and qualities as the Swan Alexa minus the smart speaker compatibility. The Russell Hobbs Attentiv has precise temperature controls ranging from 40°C to 100°C, a keep-warm function, an on-board temperature indicator and even a removable tea steeping basket which allows it to function as a teapot. The Bosch Styline has four temperature settings (70°C, 80°C, 90° and boiling), a keep-warm function, excellent dual-wall insulation as well as a handsome design. Outside of these two favourites, we can also recommend some budget-friendly options which operate without any extra bells and whistles: the Kenwood Dusk has a large 1.7l capacity and a lovely, soothing colour selection; the Kenwood Abbey is a reliable, speedy boiler; and the John Lewis Anyday is the best properly cheap option we’ve tested.
Around and over the £100 mark, there are a couple of true premium options worth your consideration: the Zwilling Enfinigy Pro has an ultra-modern design, peerless dual-walled insulation and an excellent range of features and functions. Similarly, the KitchenAid Artisan has a gorgeous, classic design, excellent build quality, a wide variable temperature setting and generally feels smooth and luxurious in use.
Swan Alexa Smart Kettle review: What’s good about it?
While the Swan Alexa wasn’t the fastest boiler in our group kettle test (more on that below), it did perform very well in some other key areas. With a peak reading of 29.1°C, the Swan Alexa was the best of the bunch in our exterior temperature test, remaining cool to the touch throughout use – in stark contrast to other kettles, such as the Ninja 1l Perfect Temperature and the John Lewis Anyday, which reached frankly dangerous exterior highs of over 70°C.
The Swan Alexa also performed well in our heat retention test, keeping water at an impressive 90°C when measured five minutes after boiling. And in our noise level test it was the second-quietest boiler at 53.3dBA, just behind the KitchenAid Artisan’s 52.2dBA.
Beyond its positive test scores, the Swan Alexa also has some functionality that helps it stand out from the crowd. While many kettles have keep-warm functions that let you keep water at your desired temperature for some time, the Swan’s can be set for up to two hours. This is a good deal longer than any other kettle we’ve tested, since both the Russell Hobbs Attentiv and Bosch Styline limit it to just 30 minutes. The kettle also has a good range of temperature settings, being able to heat water to 40°C, 60°C, 85°C, 90°C or 100°C. However, I must note that, while I appreciate the 60°C setting – useful for more delicate matcha powders and Gyokuro green teas – I would have appreciated a setting at or around 70°C, as this is the ideal temperature for many green, white, oolong and mate teas.
Outside of the kettle group test, I also spent some time toying with the Swan’s voice commands and smart controls, connecting it to an Amazon Echo Dot. In terms of setup, scanning the QR code correctly took a few attempts, as did connecting to the Wi-Fi, though both worked eventually. Via the Alexa app, I was able to turn the kettle on and off, set the temperature and toggle the keep-warm setting. I was also able to check whether the kettle had enough water inside to boil, note what temperature the water was and even see how many boils it was away from needing descaling.
Beyond the app, the voice commands work well, allowing me to quickly and easily put the kettle on. Where you’re going to get the most out of this appliance – as with most smart home devices – is by setting routines. You can, for example, set the kettle to boil at the same time every morning, or synchronise it with your alarm. Personally, I enjoyed creating my own unique commands for standard actions: I went with “Alexa, put a brew on” to boil the kettle, and created some simple, handy routines, such as asking Alexa to “make some oolong” to set the heat to 85°C. Overall, you’ll get more out of the kettle the more you tailor these settings to your smart home setup and your daily routine.
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Swan Alexa Smart Kettle review: What could be better?
There’s no getting around it, at 1,800W, the Swan’s internal heating system simply can’t match a standard 3,000W kettle in terms of speed. In our group kettle test, the 3,000W kettles performed largely on a par with each other, taking roughly 2mins 20secs to boil a litre of water, with a boil rate of around 0.54°C/sec. The Swan Alexa, however, took a full 4mins 9secs to boil one litre of water, at a rate of 0.30°C/sec. While being able to set it boiling from another room might mitigate some of this slowness, this may not be the kettle for you if you tend to get impatient before your morning cup of tea or coffee.
Another area where the Swan Alexa leaves something to be desired is in its value for money – it was the third most expensive entry in our best kettle roundup. Also, you won’t necessarily be able to avail yourself of its full range of features until you add in the price of an Echo Dot, for example, and then it leaps into second place, behind only the KitchenAid Artisan.
Swan Alexa Smart Kettle review: Should I buy it?
If you already own, or are happy investing in, an Amazon Echo device and you fancy getting a little high-tech with your tea-making, then the Swan Alexa Smart kettle is a solid buy. Between the standard voice commands, the bespoke options you can input and the Alexa app controls, there are a whole host of handy ways to sync the kettle with your daily routine. Outside of smart features, the kettle boasts excellent dual-wall insulation, variable temperature settings, a lengthy keep-warm function and a particularly quiet boil.
That said, the Swan Alexa does have its drawbacks. With its 1,800W heating coil, as opposed to the standard 3,000W, the kettle is much slower to boil than many of the other kettles we’ve tested. And, in terms of value for money, if you aren’t all in on the Alexa compatibility then this smart kettle doesn’t offer enough, in my opinion, to triumph over cheaper rivals such as the Russell Hobbs Attentiv or the Bosch Styline.
Overall, while it’s not the best kettle for everyone, the Swan Alexa Smart Kettle will perfectly fill a niche for a particular type of tech-savvy customer.