Sunday, January 04, 2015

Paderno 2.5L Bedford Kettle Review

Once again, I was looking at getting rid of cooking related items that contained plastic. The kettle wasn't high on my priority list because the one we had was already stainless steel for most of the body. However, it had a base that was a bit too small for even the smallest electric stove burner. This kettle also had a habit of creaking the moment it was placed on the burner to until it was boiling. And finally, the item used a hard plastic that I couldn't identify for its handles -- not being a brand that I was familiar with made this worse. There were end of year sales going on, I found something I liked at a reasonable price, and that's how I ended up with this thing.
Package for Paderno Bedford Kettle
What brought my attention to the Paderno 2.5 L Bedford Kettle was a sale on Amazon. There was, supposedly, a price reduction of 50%. Problem was, they were out of stock. I looked at a few other potential options, but the reviews weren't to my satisfaction. The circle went around back to the Paderno Bedford model, which I found available at a local store.

A stainless steel kettle with non-metal handles that were black in color, whistle, and an advertised capacity of 2.5 L. Only the lower third of the base and lid appeared to be well polished with a mirror-like finish. There was a lever just below the top carrying handle that pulled the cap on the spout open. From my experience, the top carrying handle could not be rotated in any direction. The main lid was removable, and I didn't notice any holes for releasing steam.

What type of plastic were the handles? Not sure. I couldn't find any labels. It reminded me of silicone oven trays with its somewhat soft feel and rough surface. A label near the barcode on the box noted that it was "Made in China."

Overview of Paderno Bedford Kettle
Whistling Sound from Paderno Bedford Kettle

Paderno 2.5L Bedford Kettle (Model# 4721): CAD$ 99.99 (list)
Paid: CAD$ ~40.00
Paderno Bedford Kettle Straight out of Box
Look and Feel
The mirrored finish on certain surfaces, interior, and overall shape were nice in my eyes. There was some weight to the kettle that felt right to me. Filled with water, my arms definitely tired after carrying it for a while. Holding the Bedford by the handle and pulling on the lever to open the spout felt natural for my relatively small hands.

Its base was large enough that it appeared to cover the entire smaller burner (~6" diameter) of my stove. The Bedford also appeared to cover most of the larger burner when I put it on that one just to see if it would fit.
Spout Mechanism of Bedford Kettle
The advertised capacity of the kettle was 2.5 L, which I tested by using water from the tap and a measuring cup. Note that I roughly eyed the measuring cup's volume and didn't make sure the water was precisely on the line the three times I added water: 1 L + 1 L + 0.5 L. Also, when pouring the water into the kettle, some may have missed the mark. I tried to compensate, approximately, by adding a bit more.

Long story short, I managed to fit 2.5 L of water into the Paderno Bedford without anything leaking outside when everything was roughly level, still, and not boiling. The water appeared to sit right below, within a few millimeters, of the bottom of the spout (the invert?). That seemed like a spill and boil-over risk to me, so I poured a lot out before actually doing any boiling. The spilling part with cold water happened when I lifted the kettle and shook it a bit -- only a little bit came out the spout. Never tried to boil with a precise 2.5 L of water added.
Underside of Paderno Bedford Kettle
Boiling and Whistle
With probably 1.5 L (very rough approximation) of cold tap water, I put the kettle on the smaller burner of the electric range and set the heat around an 8 out of 10 -- a pamphlet included in the package recommended that high heat not be used. A little steam started to come out of the capped spout around the 15 minute mark (rough approximation, not actually timed). I did not notice any coming out around the lid. And more importantly, there was no whistle. My first thought was that the pressure was too low and I should wait for it to boil longer. Instead, I, turned the heat off.
Cap of Paderno Bedford Kettle
Curiosity got the better of me moments later and I turned the heat to the highest it would go. Within seconds, a lot of steam started to shoot out of the spout along with a whistling sound. Standing only a few feet away, the whistle was pleasant to my ears and not very loud yet distinct. Hopefully the whistle lasts because our last kettle stopped whistling after a month or so.

One major concern for me was that the steam shot out of the spout quite far and fast. There was probably a stream of vapor around two feet in length at full boil on high heat. Putting my hand about a foot away from the spout in the path of the steam only started to hurt after at least a second or two -- not something I would do on a regular basis, obviously dangerous. I was actually more concerned about the objects the steam was being shot at more than anything else. Shortly after, the kettle was rotated to face open air and eventually taken off the hot burner. Probably going to be careful about letting it boil too long and which way I point the spout in the future.

The second time I used the pot, roughly the same amount of water took about 12 minutes to boil at 7 out of 10 on the stove. I turned the heat off after steam started coming out the spout, but it still started whistling a minute or two later because the kettle was left on the burner. This time, more of an effort was made to see how far away I could hear the whistle: it was audible one room away in my home when it was quiet (only distance I tested). An SPL meter (never personally calibrated, C-weighting used) suggested that the sound was between 50-55 dBC within a few feet of the kettle -- it hit over 75 dBC within a few feet a week later. Also, at this lower heat level, the steam did not shoot as far.

Inside of kettle with water added
The spring-like mechanism for the cap took some time to get used to. Cold water went flying the first few times I used the mechanism because I let go of the lever before leveling out the kettle (i.e. stopped pouring). That might hurt with hot water, so I hope I remember.

Otherwise, pouring the last bit of water out of the kettle was a little difficult. It looked like the problem was due to the design of the base of the kettle: the wider lower section. Water liked to collect at the bottom and required a lot of tipping to get out.

Conclusion:  8/10
For the price I paid, the Paderno Bedford kettle looked good and felt good in my hands. It whistled the first time I used it, boiling took about as long as my old one, and I was, overall, satisfied with the product. However, it wasn't perfect with a wide base that required a lot of tipping to get the last bits of water out. Also, the spout shot steam out pretty far when boiling hard and long.

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