Sunpentown Variable Temperature Kettle (SK-1800R)

Introduction

Sunpentown SK-1800R variable temperature kettle

You might ask yourself where the slightly weird name comes from.
Sunpentown is a Taiwanese company called Shàngpéngtáng and started in 1985 with electric rice cookers. 
When they opened their US headquarter in California (1993), they probably wanted a similar sounding company name in English and came up with Sun-pen-town. 
Not very creative or original, but it’s memorable and, therefore, mission accomplished.

The SK-1800R comes as a dark red, cool-looking retro design with the temperature control integrated into the handle.

With a big 1.8l water capacity, this good old-fashioned kettle is ideal for big households and offices.

There is something very reassuring about a whistling tea kettle.
It reminds one of the “good old times“, perhaps the safety and love in your grandparent’s house. Then, life was simple, and you could make everything better with a good cup of tea.

With this particular sound of a tea kettle, you have the cozy feeling that a good cup of tea, coffee or hot soup is coming your way.
Unfortunately, this kettle doesn’t sing – but there are solutions – see for more info below.

To get you in the right mood, here is the comforting and slightly piercing sound of a tea kettle.
Crank up the volume and feel the nostalgia wash over you.

Listen to the familiar noise of a tea kettle (courtesy of www.fesliyanstudios.com).

How it Works

Boiling Time

Even with 1300 Watt, it takes 7-8 minutes to bring the 1.8l water to a boil.

You might have expected to hear some whistling, but it just beeps 5 times when the water reaches the required temperature.
Pity – many probably prefer the high-pitched singing sound of the steam escaping through the whistle on top of the spout.

But, not all is lost.
You can buy or create your own spout whistle.
Just enter “whistle for tea kettle spout” into your favorite search engine, and you will find ideas and ways to make your Sunpentown sing.

Check out the videos of singing kettles at the end of this review, including a two-tone harmonica.

Temperature Settings

The variable temperature control provides a good range of 4 pre-set choices that are sufficient for most variable kettle requirements:

Sunpentown sk1800r temperature control panel

104°F / 40°C
140°F / 60°C
158°F / 70°C
185°F / 85°C

+ 212°F / 100°C boil button

A helpful visual clue and mildly entertaining feature is the change of colors for the various water temperatures.

Blue means cold (up to 104°F / 40°C),
green (up to 140°F / 60°C),
purple (up to 158°F / 70°C) and then
red when the water approaches boiling point.

To boil the water, you press the “On/Off” and then the “Boiling” button.
To select a pre-set temperature, press the “Warm” button until you see the desired temperature displayed.

sunpentown kettle temperature control panel

Other useful Features & Benefits

The kettle comes with a keep-warm function. It will maintain the selected water temperature even when you lift it off its base (you need to return it to the base within 30 seconds, otherwise, it turns itself off).
You can cancel the keep-warm function at any time by pressing the “On/Off” button.

Good to know that your future Sunpentown kettle will display an error message (E0) when it detects no water. You might hear a few clicks, which means the kettle checks the water level and turns itself off if none is present (dry boil protection).

With 8.5 pounds, the full kettle is a heavier than an average newborn baby boy.

You will get the standard one-year warranty with your Sunpentown SK-1800R.

Price

Click the button to check the price and availability.

The kettle is suitable for a $ (low) budget.

Sunpentown offers the same kettle for the same price in stainless steel look. You can check it out here.

The Good, the Bad and the Conclusion

Pros

  • Good range of pre-set temperatures.
  • Big capacity for families or offices.
  • For fans of the traditional stovetop kettle design.
  • One of the more affordable variable temperature kettles.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a spout whistle for the typical whistling sound.
  • You cannot program a temperature outside the pre-set ones.
  • Can be a bit on the heavy side when fully filled.
  • Some users complained of artificial smell in the beginning.

Conclusion

If you can live with the funny company name, you will get a proper temperature-controlled kettle for little money.
Even better if you want the old retro design of a stovetop kettle in your modern kitchen.

It’s a pity that the Sunpentown doesn’t make that comforting whistling noise of boiling steam.
To substitute, you could set the timer on your smartphone to the singing sound of a tea kettle.

All in all, if you are on a lower budget for a variable kettle for a bigger household, the Sunpentown SK-1800R is an excellent buy.

The Kettle Whistler

Check out these weird and wonderful videos that show you what you can do with a spout whistle.

The normal, high-pitched kettle sound.

Two-tone harmonica sound

Annoyed kettle (and man)

  • Fatoumata

    The kettle looks really nice and it would match with many kitchens sets. It does take from both worlds. A old version with modern technology in the mix.

    My mum would like to have this kettle in her house. Like you described it, its nostalgic and the price is a bit for a kettle but the design make up for it.

    So, are there no other colours?

    • kettle whistler

      Thank you for your comment. They offer the same kettle in stainless steel (= silver) look as well. Unfortunately, no other colors.

  • Pristo

    "Sunpentown" that's a weird name indeed. It got me thinking I can actually have a brand name as Windbookcity lol. Prior to this moment I had no knowledge about kettles. I just know them as kettles. Now I know about the spout whistle and that their are/is a kettle that displays "error message" when It detects no water. One other thing I like about this kettle is the keep warm function. Nice article 

    • kettle whistler

      Windbookcity Modern Kettle Manufactury - what a great name!

      Let's go into business...

  • Michael

    This has to be the first time I have seen or read a review on a kettle. Very original of you, and thanks for the whistle audio. I usually stumble over something when getting up to turn it off. 

    I am a little ignorant on Kettles, but I have thought that the throats of kettles are all close to the same size. I know many other models have a cap that fits over the throat of the kettle with a couple of small openings near the top. 

    Do you think one of those would work with the Sunpentown kettle?

    • kettle whistler

      Thanks, Michael. You are probably right - most caps are around the same size and would work with the Sunpentown kettle. If not, there are plenty of options to make it fit or to get a matching one.

      Most people don't spend a second thought on household appliances. As long as they work, we don't care. And why should we?

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