Feb 09, 2024

So my wife bought a smart kettle

January 18, 2023 by Kevin C. Tofel 3 Comments

Last week my wife decided to purchase a smart kettle. I didn’t see this coming. So I was a bit shocked when a Govee Smart Gooseneck Kettle appeared on our doorstep. While she appreciates (most of) our smart home devices, she’s never up and bought one. And she’s never had a drop of coffee in her life; a gooseneck kettle is ideal for making pour over coffee. She does drink tea, however, hence the purchase.

The metal Govee Smart Gooseneck Kettle with a 0.8 liter capacity is regularly priced at $79.99, which isn’t a bad price for a smart water boiler. You can often find it for less, which my wife did. She paid around $64. Again, that’s not too expensive, although this purchase only has value if it actually works well. So I tested it.

Overall, all of the smart functions work as advertised. I say overall because I had a hiccup or two that I’ll explain shortly.

The base of the kettle houses both 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. It has buttons to turn the kettle on or off, change modes for different preset temperatures and a hold button to keep or reset a custom temperature. LED lights indicate the current mode and wireless connection.

Given the way 2.4GHz devices don’t always play nicely with modern mesh networks using both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies, I anticipated a problem during the setup process. But my wife beat me to that, downloading the Govee app and getting the kettle on our home network. Surprisingly, it just worked. I replicated the process on my own phone without any issues.

For the first several days of ownership, my wife used the manual buttons to boil water for her tea. In about four minutes, she had hot water. I even used a thermometer to watch the temperature rise and compared it to what temp the Govee app was showing me in real time. The temps never varied by more than a degree, which is impressive. And surprising in a way.

The kettle itself doesn’t have a water temperature sensor that I can see. Instead, I think the base actually measures the kettle temperature and then adjusts for this indirect measurement. Either way: It works. You can see the concentric circles on the base which the kettle fits into.

With this mechanism, the device knows if the kettle is on the base or not. And it won’t power on unless the kettle is seated properly on the base. One gotcha: The kettle doesn’t know if it has water inside or not. So you can heat up the empty kettle,, which probably isn’t great for the kettle’s longevity.

Since my wife wasn’t using the smart features, I spent quite a bit of time with the Govee companion app to see if there was any value there. I was immediately impressed by the relative simplicity of the app as well as the real-time information from the kettle.

All of the preset modes from the manual buttons appear as well as DIY mode to set a custom temperature. The “keep warm” feature will do exactly what it says for up to two hours but that’s not something most folks will do. If you’re boiling water for coffee or tea, you probably want to use that hot water sooner rather than later.

At any time, you can view the current status of the kettle, along with the reported temperature, in the app’s home screen. Again, I tested this with a thermometer at various temps and found it to be more accurate than expected.

After sharing my experiences with my wife, she started using the app from her second story office to heat up water in the downstairs kitchen. But I wasn’t finished showing her the smarts.

Although we’re mainly an Apple HomeKit home, we do have a few Google Nest smart displays in the house. I added the Govee Smart Gooseneck Kettle to our Google Home account using the “Works with Google” device setup process. You can also use this kettle with Amazon Alexa for voice commands.

I was a little flustered after the Google Home setup. It worked well when asking Google what the kettle temperature was. However, I couldn’t get Google to turn the kettle on to heat up water. The Govee app specifically notes you can say “Hey Google, turn (device) on/off.”

After 15 minutes of futzing around, I realized that Govee’s instructions are a little generic. That command probably works for most of the company’s smart products, but not for this one. It wasn’t until I was nosing around on a Google smart display that I noticed this:

The word “power” stood out to me for some reason. So I said “OK Google, power on the kettle.” Sure enough, it worked! That’s great, but Govee should really note that for this device, you need to say “power on” instead of “turn on”.

Once I realized this, I told my wife how to use voice commands to turn on the kettle and change modes. She’ll likely never do the latter since she only drinks black tea but, you never know.

You can use the app to schedule the kettle heating up water at a certain time. Just remember that you should have water in the kettle before using this function.

I set a timer to make her water at 6:45am and right on the dot, the kettle started up at 6:45am. It’s easy to use the scheduling feature in the app. I tried to schedule it using voice commands but that didn’t work. I don’t see a way to have a recurring schedule either, so I see this as more of a “one off” activity.

However, I was able to add the “power on the kettle” command to a Google Home “good morning” routine and that worked like a charm. So there are some automation possibilities here.

All in all, the Govee Smart Gooseneck Kettle is a device that delivers: It heats up water to the correct temperature and has just about all of the “smart” features you might want in an electric kettle. And considering the price, I think it’s a great value. There are plenty of similar products on the market and nearly all of them cost more. Much more in some cases.

Perhaps the best result of my testing is that my wife surprised me yet again. After I set up the Google Home integration and showed her how to use it, she’s using voice commands to heat up her water. For tea, not coffee, of course.

If it were me buying the kettle, or if I was asked for input on this purchase, I might have shied away. Govee is based in Shenzhen, China so I’d be a little leery of the data privacy and security aspects for this device.

However, Govee’s privacy policies are clearly stated online, as well as in the app, and are understandable. Frankly, I don’t see any terms here that are wildly different from most other smart device makers. The app and device permissions seemed reasonable. And while Govee is based in Shenzhen, it uses a subsidiary company based in Hong Kong for its services.

Based on that information, I’ll let my wife’s Govee Smart Gooseneck Kettle stay on our home network unless I see information in the future that causes me to re-evaluate that decision.

Filed Under: Featured, Reviews Tagged With: connected kitchen, google assistant, Google Home, Govee, smart home, smart kettle, Smart kitchen

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