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I bought a smart kettle that turned out pretty dumb, but I'm keeping it
When I first set out on the epic journey of finding a kettle for my apartment, I didn’t know the road would be this perilous and complicated. See, I have no previous experience with electric kettles — where I come from, you just boil some water on the stove and brew your Arabic coffee, hot cocoa, or tea with it.
This newfangled world of pluggable kettles was new to me, and I thought I could get a smart one so I’d have hot water by the time I got out of bed. The prospect of saying “Hey Google, turn on the kettle” while still snoozing was a bit of a dream. Turns out heat and electricity aren’t a joke and many manufacturers don’t trust that you’ll actually have water in your kettle before you remotely turn it on, especially if there’s no sensor to detect the water level before the kettle gets too hot.
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Sadly, I learned that minor detail after I received my Mi Smart Kettle Pro (approx. €40 or £40). I spent half an hour looking for the power button in the Mi Home app before I realized remote on/off wasn’t a feature of this particular kettle. Still, I had filled it with water so I decided to give it a go. Seven months later, I still have that kettle — and it isn’t because I was too lazy to return it.
The Mi kettle doesn't turn on remotely, but the rest of its features make up for it.
The reason is simple: For the price (I got it at a Black Friday sale price of €30), it beats even the dumb kettle competition by a mile. Besides the fact that it looks so clean and minimalistic, it’s a stainless steel kettle with proper isolation, so you don’t get burned if you touch it even when the water is boiling inside. It also automatically shuts off when you remove it from its base or when the water boils, or if it’s completely empty.
However, what sets the Mi Smart Kettle Pro apart are its half-smart features. The LED screen indicates the current temperature of the water. There are two buttons, one for boiling the water to 100°C, and another to heat it up to one of five preset temperatures and keep it there. The app lets you pick these anywhere between 40°C and 90°C, and you can set it up so the temperature is maintained for up to 12 hours.
With one button, I get hot water at the perfect temperature for up to 12 hours.
I only have to fill the kettle and press one button to get 70°C water for my tea and 75°C water for my hot cocoa or instant coffee (I apologize for triggering the ire of all the coffee connoisseurs) for many hours. It’s precisely that temperature no matter when I pick it up. You can’t beat that combination of features for the price.
Plus, I’ve realized that there’s a bit of a ritual to filling up the kettle every morning and waiting for the water to get hot. A voice command from bed wouldn’t feel the same. And who’d add water if the kettle was empty? I would still have to get up.
Despite my conviction, I’ve kept my eye on the connected smart kettle market. So far, I don’t see anything that makes me want to upgrade straight away from the Mi Smart Kettle Pro. The choices are extremely limited and there’s nothing that ticks all the boxes just yet. (Yes, I completely realize how “first-world problem” this is.)
Some models aren’t integrated with Google Assistant, others are made of glass and not properly isolated like this Korex ($95) for example, and a few have a maximum capacity of 800ml like this Cosori ($78). The best option seems to be from the famous smart lights brand Govee, which is now down to $50 thanks to a $30 coupon. It has a small capacity, but the discount price is realistic. It’s available in the US, but unfortunately not in France where I live.
Honestly, it feels like a terrible waste to have a Bluetooth chip in a product that is only useful a couple of times — after you’ve set up your five preferred temperatures and the duration warm water should be kept for, you don’t need to open the app ever again. It’s all a perfect example of over-engineering for the sake of it.
Continue reading: Should you consider investing in a Xiaomi smart home?
But when similar features cost more in a regular kettle, well, I’ll keep the “smart” one. Maybe Xiaomi will take the plunge in a future version and release one that’s fully remotely controlled, but until then, half-smart does it.