The Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle is a first, not only for Swan, but also for the world. Designed specifically to work with Amazon Alexa, you can set the kettle to heat up water using your voice, the digital display or through Routines set in the Alexa app.
Swan is a British brand that makes some of the best air fryers, in my opinion. Starting out in the 1920s making kettles, irons, heater and steamers, the brand's product catalogue has grown to include a wider range of goods, including kitchenware and, more recently, smart home gadgets.
The Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle launched a few weeks ago in the UK, with plans to expand across the pond within the next couple of months. While it isn't the first ever smart kettle, it's the first to work specifically with Alexa and be recognized as a device in the Alexa app.
On looks alone, the Alexa kettle follows a familiar path. Sporting a jug design, the 57oz / 1.5-liter capacity vessel sits on a 360-degree swivel base. The lid has a responsive push top, and the kettle is super-comfortable to hold. Water pours smoothly out of the spout, with no drips landing on the counter-top or skimming down the sides of the unit.
The Alexa kettle can be controlled via the digital touchscreen display on the kettle's side and – you've guessed it – using Alexa. This is truly groundbreaking, enabling you to turn on your kettle using your voice.
Overall, setup proved super-easy, although note that a strong Wi-Fi signal and, of course, an Alexa Hub will make the job quicker. As I found, you'll need to ensure your commands to the kettle are clear, saying: "Alexa – turn on the Swan kettle". The command wasn't successful if I dropped "Swan" from the phrase, so you'll need to get into the habit of mentioning the brand name somewhere in the command.
From the Alexa app I set schedules for the kettle to turn on, which worked just fine; but you will, of course, need to ensure the kettle is topped up with water before it switches on.
Priced at £99.99 (approx. $118 / AU$180) from Swan and as an Amazon Exclusive in the UK, the kettle commands a high ticket price, bringing it closer in line to big-name brands such as Smeg and KitchenAid. However, what those brands don't offer is seamless integration with Alexa. Nevertheless, it remains possible to control those kettles remotely by investing in the best smart plug, which would be the cheaper option.
Read on to discover how I got on with theSwan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle, and whether I believe it's worth the extra dollars.
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle: Price and availability
- List price: £99.99
- Coming soon to the US
The Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle is available to buy for a list price of £99.99 direct from Swan, or as an Amazon Exclusive from Amazon UK. Currently, it's only available to buy in the UK, although a US launch is imminent (there are no plans to launch in Australia just yet).
Since no other kettle has been specifically designed to work with Alexa, it's tricky to offer direct comparison; but its design quality and price positions the Alexa Smart Kettle up against the likes of the Smeg 50's Retro KLF04BL Kettle with Temperature Selector ($249.95 / £165) and KitchenAid Variable Temperature Kettle ($199.999 / £179), both of which are more expensive. Like the Swan, these models offer attractive design and a selector to adjust the water temperature. As mentioned, though, they lack the ability to connect to Alexa as a standalone appliance.
Of course, use a smart plug and you can achieve remote on/off in a regular kettle. This is a far more affordable way to connect your kettle to Alexa and enjoy voice and app control, with a compatible plug costing around $39.95 / £39.95 / AU$85. However, you'll miss out on all the other features of the Swan Alexa kettle.
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle: Specs
- Price: £99.99
- Type: Jug
- Capacity: 57oz / 1.5 liters
- No. of cups: 8 - 10
- Wattage: 1800W
- Control: Touchscreen or Alexa app
- Finish: Stainless Steel inner, cool-touch body
- Dimensions: 27.3 x 20.4 x 15.7cm (h x w x l)
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: Design
- Touchscreen digital display
- 57oz / 1.5-liter capacity
- Cool-touch body with Stainless Steel inner
The first thing to say about the design and build quality of the Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle is that it's a good-looking appliance. It's minimalist with all the mod-cons, and looks gorgeous in its glossy black finish.
When the Swan Alexa kettle is switched on at the mains, you'll see the white LED display illuminate and the on / off button beneath it. The "SET" function below the on / off button enables you to toggle through temperatures from 40ºC, 60ºC, 80ºC, 85ºC, 90ºC and 100ºC. I tend to drink only breakfast tea, whose recommended optimum water temperature is 85ºC, but speciality brews such as earl grey and green tea are better made using water at 80ºC, so as not to burn the tea. The Swan's temperature options mean you'll be able to make the perfect cuppa, no matter the type of tea you're drinking, without having to sit and wait for the water to cool before using.
You can also use this digital display to connect to Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa (more on this shortly).
The Swan's kettle offers a capacity of 57oz / 1.5 liter, which is enough to make 8-10 cups of tea. The unit sits on a round base, under which you can tidily wrap any extra length of the 1-metre cord. The jug kettle weighs 1.6kg, which makes it easy and comfortable to lift.
Conveniently, the lid has a responsive push top. Note that this kettle is more geared up for right-handed users, with the handle on the right-hand-side of the unit and the digital display visible only on one side of the kettle. As such, I feel that a viewing window might have helped here – if nothing else, to better see the volume of water when filling and what it's doing when being heated up.
Inside the kettle, the stainless steel display markings for MIN and MAX water levels. The MIN level is about two cups-worth which Swan advise to not go below. This means that if you just want to heat up enough water for two, to save money, then it's just not going to be possible.
Note that the Swan Alexa kettle is a 1800W kettle, the majority are 3000W, which makes it more energy efficient over other models. However, it loses marks for its standby mode. The kettle has an auto "keep warm" function that reheats the water intermittently over a two-hour window, which doesn't feel very energy-efficient. I recommend switching off the kettle at the mains, if you know you won't be using it again anytime soon.
On a positive note, while the stainless steel inner and double-walled exterior keep the water relatively warm for a while after heat, that exterior also ensure the kettle remains cool to touch on the outside. In addition, the lack of a heating element inside the kettle means there's no worry of it becoming covered in limescale, making descaling the kettle much easier.
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: performance
- Boils water accurately
- Boils water relatively quickly
- Don't over fill or under fill
The Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle is super-easy to use, once you're familiar. Before first use, clean the inside and outside with a damp cloth, and then fill the kettle to the MAX water level and set it to boil twice to ensure it's thoroughly clean before using.
Initially, use is likely to be via the digital display. When the kettle is in standby mode, touch the SET button to select the temperature, and touch again if you wish to change the setting. The kettle will then kick into operation.
Of course, you can continue to use the kettle in this way thereafter, but to get the most from the Swan Alexa kettle, you'll want to pair it with Amazon Alexa (more on this shortly).
Note that the instruction manual makes clear the importance of neither overfilling nor underfilling the kettle. Go over the MAX water level line and you risk hot water bubbling out of the spout and potentially scolding anyone standing close, and you fill less than the MIN line and you could damage the kettle.
Boiling a full kettle of water at 100ºC took 6 minutes and 2 seconds, while to heat that same amount to 40ºC took 2 minutes, 45 seconds. When the kettle is around 10 degrees away from the desired temperature, it will sound like the kettle has switched off, but it has merely slowed down to accurately achieve the desired temperature.
Water pours out of the Swan Alexa kettle's spout smoothly, with no drips landing on the countertop or skimming down the sides of the kettle – which is a massive bonus if you're in a hurry and can be a bit sloppy when pouring.
In terms of noise, the kettle measured between 67dB – 71dB, which is similar to that of a normal conversation or the noise level inside a car when traveling. While this isn't loud, you will know that the kettle is switched on – especially when it finishes with a "beep!"
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: App
To get the most out of your Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle, you'll need to connect it to you Amazon Alexa hub and, therefore, the Alexa app.
There are two ways to pair the appliance: via QR code or the manual. Regardless of how you choose to pair your appliance, you'll need to refer to the QR code at some point during the process, so peel this off the front of the kettle and stick it onto the last page of the instruction manual for safe-keeping.
The instruction manual outlines the necessary steps to initially connect your kettle to the Alexa app; after which you can continue setup using the steps in the app itself.
Connecting to Alexa in my old house with poor signal strength took a few attempts, but I got there eventually by taking the kettle into the front room where the Wi-Fi hub and my Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) sit, ensuring all three devices had the best chance of talking to each other.
The main thing setting the Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle apart from the other kettles is that it's the only "kettle" that you can select in the list of devices that feature in the Alexa app. With it connected, I added a "Kitchen" group and set Routines.
The trick with Routines is to access it from the group you've just set up, which is in this case "Kitchen". You'll then need to "Add action" as "Swan kettle", which is found by selecting Smart Home > All Devices. I made a rookie error of not selecting an action, so when it came to the time I was expecting the kettle to autonomously start boiling, it didn't kick in to action.
I set up routines for "morning brew", "mid-morning break" and "afternoon tea" – but you can create as many routines as you wish.
Aside of Routines, I could also control the Swan Alexa kettle via the Alexa app, and using voice commands. The most success I had was via issuing the command: "Alexa – turn on the Swan". There was a delay of a split second before the kettle activated. You'll need to be mindful that if using voice to control the kettle, then it will heat the water to the last temperature set. The preset temperatures can be easily switched from within the app, or manually adjusted using the digital touchscreen display.
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: should I buy?
Buy it if...
Don't buy it if...
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: also consider
If you want to make your home more connected, here are a couple of other options to consider...
Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle review: how I tested
- I used the Alexa kettle every day for a couple of weeks
- I controlled it using the digital touchscreen and Amazon Alexa
- It's changed how I make a hot drink
Having seen a lot of media coverage about the Swan Alexa 1.5 Litre Smart Kettle, I just had to see what all the fuss was about. On receipt, I used the kettle multiple times throughout the day to make hot drinks, controlling it using the digital touchscreen, voice command and Routines via the Alexa app.
It took some trial and error to get the Swan Alexa working in a way that was convenient for my needs, but having got there, the only thing I wish for now is that it could fill itself.
Nevertheless, it will be a complete mind-set change to go back to flipping a switch on a kettle now. Admittedly, I haven't reviewed many kettles during my time as a journalist; but I have used a lot of kettles, and love a hot hot drink as much as the next person, so to use an appliance that ultimately saves me time and effort is a win for me.