* Prices may differ from that shown
After throwing away my last leaking kettle and burning a perfectly good stainless steel sauce pan to death I decided that it was time to get a replacement and given myself a budget of £20 (and a recently received voucher for £2.50 off PayPal postage) I started to look in my first port of call now for pretty much everything, that is on eBay. I developed a shortlist of three brands (one Kenwood, one Breville and two Morphy Richards), checked Amazon, dooyoo and Ciao for prices and reviews and eventually picked this model.
The shape of the kettle can be seen well in the product photo, the producers leaflet names it as 'Clarity Jug' and I have to say that despite consciously trying to avoid using appearance as my criteria for choosing household appliances I am very pleased with the look of this kettle, it is smooth and streamlined, and the polished stainless steel finish combined with matte black plastic mean that it not only looks good but it's less likely to develop the grotty old look that white plastic kitchen appliances seem to acquire after a year or two (or is it just in my usage?).
As far as cleaning goes all it needs is a wipe with a damp cloth, I am also very happy with the fact that there is no nooks and crannies on the lid (or anywhere else) which are often a problem on 'standard shape' jug lids.
The now standard lime scale filter insert in the spout is present, which is a Good Thing in our chalky cliffs area; and the element is concealed in the flat bottom of the contraption which means that it's not going to get covered in hard-to-remove furry deposits and lose its energy efficiency.
The kettle is easily filled through the wide spout, while the lid sits securely on top and so far I have not had any instances of the steam escaping from the gap between the lid and the kettle body. Boiled water pour well from the spout, and I had no splashes or accidents so far.
The capacity of the kettle is 1.5 litres which is less than my old plastic jug kettles were (at 1.7); but as we use a little 2-cup teapot as a norm anyway, this is not a problem as I rarely fill it to the maximum anyway. The water level is visible through two wide windows in the side of the machine on both sides of the handle, though I would prefer it to be less near the handle and thus more visible while the kettle is actually being filled, and some form of floating gauge would also improve the visibility - though I have a feeling that these are one of the leak-risk factors. The water-level markings are well visible and clear.
The on switch is located at the top of the handle, visible and easily accessible red push on-off button, not something you need to slide which is a design on some appliances and which I don't like as the slide tends to get less efficient (grease? dust?) with time. A red light in the base indicates that the kettle is one, at first I was looking for it in the top of the handle where it was before, but now I am used to it and it works perfectly well.
It's a fast-boil kettle and I have to say that I have been impressed with its speed, it takes 3 min to boil the full 1.5l. As all fast-boil kettles apparently do, this makes quite a noise when completing the process, though I think that the Amazon reviewer saying that it's impossible to hold a conversation in the kitchen at the same time was perhaps bit overstating the case (alternatively, my family is loud enough not to notice, which IS a distinct possibility).
The kettle sits on a 360 degrees central connector which is excellent as I have always before struggled when placing my previous ones back - I always felt that the need to align the jug with the base was an annoyance and in fact I preferred the older-fashioned ones that needed to be plugged-in. This all-round connector is thus a major plus and it would be also handy for left-right handed usage or when placed in a position when it might be accessed from different sides.
I like the base of this kettle, it feels heavyish and has non-slip feet which means I am less likely to knock it off my extremely crowded bit of worktop on which it sits.
The flex provided is sufficiently long for my purposes; and the part that is not used can be stored under the base. Additionally it's black which means that it won't grey(ish) in the few months time that a white one normally does.
The kettle is made of metal so it's heavier than a plastic one would be. I don't have any problems with manoeuvring it around and it normally feels quite stable. I have been suffering from occasional numbness in my hands in this pregnancy and thus became more sensitised to how secure a grip is needed for different household actions. This handle feels secure enough, but a person with a substantially weakened/unsteady grip might want to take the weight of the appliance (3 kg when full) into account in combination with the fact that the handle is covered in matte plastic which isn't very slippy, but doesn't have any additional moulding to secure the grip.
So far there is nothing I dislike about it. It does it job efficiently, it's well designed and it looks good. It has not broken down or developed any faults in the 5 weeks or so since we received it, a longer-term durability is obviously question of waiting for a couple of years or so.
I have bought this from my favourite eBay supplier of graded electricals for £17.99 including delivery (which worked out at very nice £15.49 when I used my £2.50 off P&P voucher); it's available for £19.97 from Amazon for dispatch within 24 hours and delivered free in the UK.
It costs over £30 from other online sources, so shop around if buying (or go straight to Amazon!).
Short name: Morphy Richards 43078