* Prices may differ from that shown
When I won this kettle in a competition last year I was very surprised but as it turned out it came at a good time when our last second back up kettle decided to die. The Filtermaster kettle as it is known carries extra numerals of "III" to emphasize the latest model and the fact that it has a rapid boiling time thanks to the 3kw maximum powered element.
Just like the model tag "Turbosteam" which can be remembered and attributed to Morphy Richards' range of steam irons, the name "Filtermaster" has been around on Morphy Richards kettles since the 1980's. I saw a very old Filtermaster jug kettle in green the other day. As opposed to the yellow model shown here on Dooyoo however, the one I won is a white kettle with a "sky dark blue" water gauge set of windows on either side of the kettle, a blue neon light located at the base of the handle as opposed to the top. The concealed element is welcome as is the 360° round axis base with concealed power cord tidy. The average price for this kettle can be purchased between £12-95 and £17-99. TJ Hughes are always selling this kettle at bargain prices.
We don't need another kettle but we do need a back up incase our own Morphy Richards "Opera" jug decides to go on the blink. This is especially handy when the central heating breaks down in the middle of winter and you have a large quantity of hot water bottles to hand which happened to us last year and we had to borrow our neighbours' second back up kettle!
For starters the user manual is not dedicated solely to the model and typically like other Morphy Richards manuals I've come across (my MR hand blender user manual for example shows some similarities here) at the most, common sense warnings have been written throughout instead of actual use with this exact model. This means you'll see on many occasions script like, "if you have a rapid boil kettle," or "if you have a kettle with a locking lid." "What does it matter, it's a kettle after all?" I hear you ask. Well my review will probably have more user info than the useless English only user manual which features bullet points and very little else.
Taken out of the box (always chuck out the first ever water that you boil in any new kettle to remove any dirt which has settled in transit as well as general dirt) you get the kettle with the mesh filter already fitted and a 360° rotational plastic base which also holds the concealed power cord underneath. Hardly the last word in invention here, the 43160 is a basic kettle to look at although it is a faster boiling kettle thanks to the high wattage compared to older kettles. Here you get 2850 watts to 3100 watts maximum which is similar to our own Opera jug.
The capacity however is exactly the same to what we are used to. We find with just a capacity of a 1.5 litres the jug kettle has to be constantly filled for large calls of hot boiling water. Forget economy here by constantly refilling all the time, because largely we will use all the capacity in one go or use up a large part of the water with the advent of switching it on again to boil. In the past where we have had 1.7 litres maximum capacity kettles, the extra bonus of water space made itself apparent - but this won't worry you unless you drink a lot of hot beverages or use a lot of boiled hot water from one single activation. Let's not forget here that I also wash carpets and need a kettle with a large capacity to continually fill the water reservoir in my Vax (4 litre maximum) until the cleaner can actually be used. Although it mirrors the same water capacity as the Opera jug, there are a few unwelcome and apparent issues which present themselves when the kettle is used on a daily basis.
Blame it on price but our Opera jug has a quieter boiling element. The quality of plastic on both MR models is different although Morphy Richards have designed the Opera jug with a lot of safety points in mind compared to the Filtermaster here. The plastic joins and seals on the Opera jug are finer whereas the Filtermaster bends easily and panel gaps are easy to spot. The general thinness of the jug itself is very thin too and therefore not heat insulated whilst the window gauges inside the kettle reveal naked and cheap seals. When switched on for example, the noise of the element in the Filtermaster is quiet until it starts to reach its boil time. At first I thought I was surrounded by rain sticks or someone was dragging something across the floor when the kettle reached its end before switching off automatically. It is a noise you can get used to but it makes itself known, particularly if you have friends around.
The look of this kettle is big, bulky and extremely large looking, made all the worse by the fact that it's made with the shiniest of white plastic. It may well be new and that shiny complexion may not last long, but the window gauges could well be an advantage for anyone who has poor eyesight. It's just a pity that the window gauges take up a lot of space on the kettle which adds to its heavy, big and bulky appearance. MR makes this kettle in many colours from white, blue, to green and of course the yellow one shown on here.
One major downside is the locking lid and permanently fitted hinge. What I adore about the Opera jug (it has a similarly designed lid with a push in lock) is that if you try to put the kettle on with the lid open, the hinge falls all the way back and pushes the power on button back to off. Here on the Filtermaster, there is no safety facility like this and it's cheaper and less thought out hinged lid consideration makes me think the company haven't really thought it through.
Not only does the lid not switch off the power button if it has been switched on by mistake (say when filling from a jug as opposed to carrying it to your sink) the lid doesn't sit at a 90° angle as on our Opera jug. It makes filling the kettle difficult and messy particularly from a kitchen tap. You can of course fill it through the spout but it will only accommodate a mere trickle and defeats the purpose of the cheap one way dirt retaining mesh water filter.
Infact the user manual points out that it does have safety cut out function but like most kettles, you do have to wait a long time before the element cools down and the kettle can be re-activated.
Another aspect is the whole geography of the Filtermaster III. Compared to our Opera jug, holding and lifting the jug reveals that the actual weight may be comparable but it feels a lot heavier thanks to its wider diameter and bulky design. The fact that the numerals for capacity changes (in litres) are written in large white lettering also pushes out the size of the kettle. This is not a kettle for consumers who like compact kettles.
The spout on this kettle is big so splashes are made all that more obvious, although thanks partly to the size of the filter, the powerful aspect of boiled water doesn't come spurting through the spout. Another good but surprising element of design compared to our Opera jug is the water filter; it is much bigger and thickly held in a slide in slide out plastic cartridge that can only be installed one way.
Here's where the advantage though becomes a disadvantage; removing and re-installing the filter though takes time and patience. A long line of cheap fins on either side of the kettle's wall by the spout results in a lot of fussing about if the filter doesn't make contact with both fins and sliding the cartridge in and out with the additional small accessed lid and main water area proves to be a bit of a nightmare. Already I caught the back of my hand trying to put the filter back in and it snaps lock into place with a very cheap sounding click. The Filtermaster in this respect is at its most obvious where cheap quality plastic is concerned.
Filling with very cold water reveals a time of between 35 to 40 seconds to boil 1.5 litres full of hot boiling water. What is more annoying is that despite the kettle will sit safely on the rotational base, once it starts to reach optimum temperature and start to boil, the Filtermaster wobbles violently which makes me not want to touch the kettle until well after it has flipped up its power switch. Thankfully the handle of the kettle is very big and can accommodate almost all kinds and shapes of hands. It is bigger than our normal kettle's handle but in my opinion this doesn't always mean it's a great advantage. Thanks again to the light plastic build, the handle is generally comfortable but it doesn't have parts of plastic where your fingers and grip would naturally soften around the plastic, defying logic.
The best advantage of this cheap and bulky looking kettle though is a simple added design which I wish our Opera jug has. Both kettles have a concealed round element- that isn't the problem here - the Opera jug has a silvery stainless steel base element which really shows dirt and impurities badly - but on the Filtermaster here, the element material is black rubber which for the owner hides the dirt completely. MR do suggest that concealed element kettles should be descaled regularly - we descale our own kettle yearly as the Scottish water here isn't full of limescale or apparent hard additives.
If you don't give a damn about looks or noise, then the Filtermaster should float your boat fine. It has a quick boiling element accompanied by a general look which doesn't add or decrease interest. But I wouldn't recommend it for older people who find gripping and holding a full kettle for a long time difficult, or people with families; the look and general lack of design with safety concerns regarding the hinged lid ring out warning bells in my head. I just wish I had won another Opera jug instead!! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
A few nights before Christmas 2005, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!
There wasn't a sound from the kettle either , strange I thought I must have forgotten to switch it on. Senior moment! I checked the switch , it was on, I unplugged and replugged, I got out a screwdriver and checked the plug and tried again. No joy. Out came a saucepan and I boiled the water, but for some reason tea and coffee never taste the same bolied in a pan!
I was busy, hubby still had my Christmas present to buy so I gave him instructions to go to Argos and buy a kettle. It could be any colour but must hold at least 1½ litres.
Simple? Yes. And was it? No!
Argos was busy, OK I should have thought of that! So what did he do?
He went to the local Electrical store in the small village/town where I live and bought a white kettle for a very reasonable £14.95!
Am I happy?
I'm a woman why should I be happy? Well at least he didn't wrap it in Christmas paper and give it to me as a present! I got something much better!
It stands 26cm high and at its widest point from the spout to handle is 25cm. The round base is 16cm and the flex is about 70cm in length. It swivels 360 degrees so is suitable for left or right handed people.
The hinged cool touch lid has a safety catch which has to pushed down to open, I admit I only ever fill through the spout though, which avoids steam burning you if you refill when just boiled as we do at work. There is an on/off switch on the handle at the top.
There is a limescale filter which is removable, but as we live in a soft water area I don't know how good this feature is, but it is quite fine mesh.
There is a blue modern shaped area on both sides displaying the level of water, which in my mind is a lot better than the little tube with float that I had in my last kettle. The markings are for Minimum, 1L and 1.5 L.
The box told me it was had 3.1kw rapid boil element, I can't comment as I can't see it, but I know it boils quickly. Just out of interest I have just filled it to the minimum level with freshly drawn cold water, and as it is cold outside the water is really COLD! It boiled and switched itself off in 85 seconds. I rinsed it out and refilled again with cold water to the maximum level of 1.5L and it boiled in 3½ minutes.
It weighs 2lbs. when empty and a heavy 5lb 4oz when full, so not advised for people with weak wrists, a smaller kettle or less water would be necessary to avoid the risk of accidents.
Do I like it?
Yes it boils quickly. It does seem to rattle about as it reaches boiling when full, but has never moved. It doesn't have nasty nooks and crannies to get dirty, BUT and a very big but, it doesn't pour well. I don't think I have ever managed to make a cup of coffee or pour water into a pot without it running down the side. Remembering this water has boiled, it can drip on your feet and burn. Invariably there is a puddle near the kettle after making drinks. But a year on it is still going well, it is used several times everyday and is much better than boiling a pan on the cooker (that's it now, my guarantee is up, so it won't work when I go to put it on later!).
NB My kettle is White with blue sections for levels.
Short name: Morphy Richards 43160