Travel Tuesday: Brentwood Collapsible Travel Kettle Review
Have you ever discovered a problem you have and then went off in search of a product that might be able to fix it? If so, have you then discovered something that was actually better than you had even envisioned? That’s exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago as I was preparing for a trip to Vegas (but, no, this isn’t an official entry of my Las Vegas Content Bonanza™). Since Vegas rooms are notorious for lacking coffee makers, kettles, or even microwaves in most cases — and since they even closed down my favorite, most affordable Starbucks on the Strip — I was trying to figure out how we’d be able to enjoy our morning coffee and evening tea without spending a small fortune. Sure I could bring along our metal French press or pour over accessories but, without a way to heat the water, it was all moot. But, what if I could find a kettle that was small enough to pack and was electric for easy use? That’s when I came across the foldable kettle concept!
After doing a bit of research, we ended up ordering the Brentwood KT-1508BL Collapsible Travel Kettle. So did the Brentwood fit the bill and help save our beverage budget while traveling? Let’s take a closer look at this clever contraption and what I think you should know about it.
What is the Brentwood Collapsible Travel Kettle and How Does it Work
Finding the Brentwood (and the cost)
Before I look specifically at the Brentwood KT-1508BL, let me back up and share a bit about the search that led me to this particular item. When I first Google’d “travel kettle,” I came across several collapsible kettles — which get credit for blowing my mind and introducing me to the existence of such products. In fact, I came fairly close to purchasing one on Amazon that looked nice and got remarkably small. However, after looking a bit closer, I noticed that there were several near-identical listings for such kettles. This led me to believe that these were most likely drop shipped, which raised quality questions for me. That said, these items did have mostly good reviews… but I still decided to explore other options.
Sifting through a sea of similar listings on Amazon, I decided to try another plan of attack. After trying Target and a couple of other sites, I ended up trying my luck on Home Depot’s site. That’s how I was first introduced to the Brentwood KT-1508BL — although it wasn’t in stock. So, I headed back to Amazon, typed in the name, and voila!
The kettle came in three colors: black, blue, and white. We opted for the blue, which actually has a white base and top with a blue body. Pre-tax, my order came to $28.65 and my package arrived a couple of days later, just in time for our trip.
How the collapsible kettle works
If you’re like me, you’re probably used to electric kettles being built out of metals. Thus, this would make them quite hard to fold. So, instead, this collapsible kettle features a body that’s made of silicon. Additionally, groves along the body coupled with a clever shape allow the various levels of the kettle to coil into the base.
I should also note that this particular kettle is dual voltage rated. This means that you should be able to travel with the kettle overseas and plug it in using only an adapter and not a converter. Of course, I haven’t tested this functionality yet and would proceed with some caution, including reading up on the voltage your destination country uses to confirm that this kettle will work properly there. Also, while we’re on the subject of electricity, the kettle’s cord is a simple two-prong design, which should provide you with more plug-in options in your hotel room.
Folded size and water capacity
Even though the body of the kettle is collapsible, there is still the matter of the base and spout. Indeed, the base of the Brentwood kettle does appear to be a bit thicker than some of the other models I was looking at — although, considering that this is where the electrical elements are stored, having a more solid build seems ideal. In any case, when folded down, the kettle measure about 4″ high with a 15″ circumference and 5″ diameter at its largest points. It also weighs 1.25 pounds. Thus, while it’s not exactly microscopic, it should fit in most luggage without causing too many problems or putting you over your allotted weight limit.
As noted, one of the slight downsides of choosing the Brentwood kettle over the other ones I saw was that it seemed as though this one would end up being a bit bigger when folded. On the other hand, this model also includes greater capacity. The Brentwood travel kettle has a capacity of 0.85 quarts, which works out to 27.2 fluid ounces. What’s great about this is that we were able to make enough water to brew two “tall” (in the Starbucks sense) cups of coffee, whereas we’d likely need to settle for one cup at a time with the other models I came across.
Admittedly, I was a tad concerned about how the kettle in its folded state while attached to a plug might look on x-ray as our bag was scanned, but it was apparently not a problem (turns out TSA is smarter than me). Nevertheless, as compact as it may be, it does take up room in your suitcase and was too bulky to place in my messenger bag. If you do have a decently sized backpack, though, I think that’d work pretty well. Otherwise, it’s worth making a spot in your carry-on.
Heating up the water
Obviously the compact design of the collapsible kettle means you’ll need to sacrifice some features that larger electric kettles might include. For example, there is no temperature programming to speak of. Instead, once turned on, the kettle will heat to boil and then automatically turn off. However, there is a dedicated on and off button, so you could stop the water a bit earlier if you didn’t want it to be quite so hot. That might sound like a silly feature to mention, but some kettles didn’t even have this. Also, when the kettle is turned on, it gives off a pleasant blue glow, so you’ll know when it’s powered on.
In terms of how long it takes to heat up, with the water at full capacity, I found that it took about 3.5 minutes to come to a near-boil and about 5.5 minutes to reach its top temperature (which is when the kettle automatically shuts off). Personally, I found this to be completely reasonable, even if our larger kettle can heat up far more water in about the same amount of time. Plus, as I mentioned, you may wish to stop the water a bit early if you don’t need it to be boiling hot.
The handle and lid
Another nice feature I wanted to mention is the clever handle that comes equipped on the Brentwood kettle. Using a small notch on the handle, you can choose to have it locked in place for pouring or fold it in on top of the lid for storage. Again, this is a small touch you might not have thought of ahead of time but definitely comes in handy.
Speaking of the lid, it does not screw off. At first, this may seem like a downside but I’d argue that it’s probably better in terms of preventing leaks. In any case, to fill the kettle, you’ll just need to pinch the spring-loaded tabs on the lid and the door will pop open.
I’m happy to report that we had no issues using our Brentwood travel kettle on our trip. In fact, I’d say the experience was actually better than expected. That’s because part of me worried that perhaps the silicon material used would lead to a noticeably different taste to the water than I was used to. However, this turned out to not be the case — at least not to my palette. I was also pleased with the speed at which the kettle got up to temperature, even when filled to the max.
If there’s anything to nitpick, it’s that it can take a bit of practice to get good at collapsing the kettle. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Of course, I’ll also need to see how the kettle holds up over time — but, for now, I’m quite happy with my purchase.
Final Thoughts on the Brentwood Collapsible Travel Kettle
Put simply, Brentwood KT-1508BL Collapsible Travel Kettle did exactly what we needed it to do and was hugely beneficial to us on our Vegas visit. While I do wish the base of the kettle was just a bit thinner, I think we made the right choice going with this model over others with smaller water capacity. The ability for us to make tea and coffee in our hotel room and easily fit the kettle into our carry-on bag saved us a ton of money on this trip — likely paying for itself when casino Starbucks prices are considered. Therefore, if you’re a regular traveler who also enjoys a nice pour-over in the morning, I’d say it’s definitely worth investing in this awesome collapsible kettle.
Also published on Medium.