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It's the end of the September holidays and there I am trying to host a small dinner gathering for friends in my newly rented flat. My newly bought food blender I paid good money for, is in the bin (review pending) and I'm reaching for the kettle and then it dawns on me - I have a massive three course dinner to make and I only have a one litre mini kettle to get me by. I have no dishwasher and the sink is so chocked up with pans to wash following a total burnt disaster with a chocolate cake, I can barely even get the tap to turn around the sink. I need a bigger kettle to get by with. I suddenly remember my big bruiser of a Tesco Value kettle "waiting in the wings" of the fitted kitchen - but wait - that came with the last flat and now I realise its there and not here - and I have no secondary back up kettle in this new flat! This and the daily job looming over me with less than 24 hours to go...
At my local electrical shop I came out with what turned out to be the cheapest full size jug kettle in the shop, the Morphy Richards Essentials 43530 jug kettle. Armed with last minute food shopping and a couple of those rather delicious GU chocolate deserts (the glass tumblers make wonderful tea light candle holders afterwards) I wasn't in any mood to look on the shelves with excitement and coo over the latest kettles. At a cost price of £14-99 from Scottish Power, I thought I was onto a nifty kettle with a largish capacity of 1.5 litres and in white, to match the kitchen as a bonus! This kettle also comes with a 2 year guarantee.
When I got home the story was rather different. Now, as a company Morphy Richards and I go back a long way away. I've had their electric blankets where some have been better than others, vacuums that haven't met the grade, toasters that have been brilliant and kettles such as the Opera jug I bought for my parents years ago that just seemed to go on and on - and that jug kettle wasn't too expensive to buy either as I recall. So, the moment I took the kettle out of the box I didn't realize that this Essentials kettle isn't posh. Infact it's downright basic and not a word that I would describe in this day and age to be an essential for modern buyers given that some supermarkets own brands seem to do kettles better for either the same price with better features or even being cheaper to buy. This would be totally unfair to suggest that a kettle like the Morphy Richards Essentials 43530 is lacking in creature comforts - but for the price and the budget brand name, sadly it is rather old hat despite its rather angular and fashionable look.
There's an angular base in which this kettle sits on for example. It has cord storage underneath with a fair amount of cord that can be hidden out of sight. However unlike more modern jug kettles, the Morphy Richards Essentials has an angled point in which the kettle has to sit in unlike the rotational 360° bases that other jug kettles have and thus unlike those kettles the MR kettle can't be turned around at any angle. The kettle seems to resist hard thuds as soon as it is filled brimming with water and locked onto the base and it needs a good thud because sometimes the connection on the kettle won't sit gently in the male/female connector on the base. The kettle comes with a dry protection and thermal cut out as standard though, but then what electric kettle doesn't these days? They have to by BEAB and British law!
For those in hard water areas, forget this kettle instantly. It may well have a cheap plastic pick out mesh filter but that's where the limescale friendliness ends. Why? The problem with the Morphy Richards Essentials is that it doesn't have a concealed element. Infact looking into the thin un-insulated plastic body that is also fairly flexible to the touch, reveals rather awful plastic build matched by a brand new shiny curved element looking back at you. Just the perfect squiggly squashed down shape where a brush will never be able to get in between the element pipes to get rid of limescale. Oh I know I could use Coca Cola to rid the kettle of limescale if it does happen or vinegar with plenty of rinsing out afterwards, but a concealed element means less cleaning long term.
Next up is the fact that whilst this kettle has a fairly easy spout to pour water out, the curved lip at the top means a very slow running tap and splashes of water are apparent if you fill it up too quickly. It does have a push button release on the lid that allows you to open it up all the way up to a good 92° angle, making it a good access for taps, water jugs and what not when it comes to filling. The aperature is far more compact than my budget Tesco Value kettle here and far more welcomed with its overall compact size. However the lid is rather weak feeling and there is no safety built in like the old Morphy Richards Opera jug had where, if the lid was lifted upwards whilst the kettle was switched on, a tab on the back would switch the kettle off. There are twin water gauges either side that shows just three markings such as a quarter, half full and full in terms of pints it can manage but I work in litres and the 1.5 litres is big enough for two or more people at full capacity. The large and wide handle is at least fairly comfortable when pouring, lifting and filling the kettle if you don't just leave it on the base.
Once the water has been filled to the desired level, the next aspect of performance comes down to an energy saving 2200watt/2.2 kilowatt element but you'll be waiting about 2 minutes for the fully filled kettle to completely boil due to its weaker element. That is a side I don't mind, bearing in mind I've been trying to keep my small and large household appliances with low wattages for energy saving. Fill it half way and the performance time gets a bit better with 1.5 minutes of boiling time. The body however isn't heat insulated whilst the handle gets warm just before boiling time is reached. Thanks to the thin plastic body though, the noise from this kettle was surprisingly louder than I expected.
Sadly the Morphy Richards Essentials 43530 lasted a day with me. The red LED switch to activate the kettle decided to stick down after it had only boiled twice meaning that the next time it boiled, it would have to be switched off the main plug - reminding me of the first electric plug in kettle my granny used to have the 1970's! Not very safe or convenient. Back to Scottish Power armed with receipt, and a new Morphy Richards Essentials came home with me: same kettle, same model number and same colour. To be fair Scottish Power did give me a choice of a different Morphy Richards model but I really like the lightweight and compact feel of the 43530 model - it's just a pity that a "bad batch" came my way the day I initially bought this kettle.
The second kettle barely lasted a month sadly whilst the dinner went down a treat! This time the switch became loose and the red LED light refused to come on whilst a leak just below the bottom gauge at the front started to put water dangerously down near the connection base. Money refunded, I now have a traditional metal kettle in the form of a Russell Hobbs I also used to own and was lucky to find it at a private hardware store at a cost of £24-99. It does a fantastic job albeit in a hellishly hot metal body, heavy when filled, but has a similar water capacity, quiet performance, low-energy 2.2kw power and an old fashioned spout that can be filled straight from the tap. In terms of quality I couldn't really ask for more and it has a concealed element and water gauge too despite its old fashioned look...It comes out when I need a bigger capacity of boiled water when my mini Breville Solo is too small.
The moral of the story is, sometimes you buy a product that looks like it will do the job it is intended to do and sometimes as a buyer you can get lulled into a sense of false security with a name like "Essentials." After two kettle replacements and a care free attitude from Morphy Richards themselves, it is clearly abundant that this kettle must be avoided at all costs - even the company have a cheek to charge £19-99 for the black version - which still has a bare element inside. Sadly for Morphy Richards, it's also the last straw where my money and brand loyalty is concerned. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010
PS This is now my official 200th Crown!! Many thanks!!
When it came to buying a kettle for our house we just wanted a simple easy to use one not one of those kettles which light up when your water is boiling! Which is why we went with this morphy richards essential cordless 43530. It cost us £16.99 online but prices do vary depending which site you buy from.
The design of the kettle is very standard being white with a clear water level indictator so it will match in in most kitchens. The kettle is tall and thin so takes us little space on your worktop which is always a good thing especially if you have a small kitchen. You fill the kettle with water through the spout and can see the water level increasing on the side and this goes to a maximum capacity of 1.5 litres which is around 2.6 pints and a minimum capacity of 0.24 litre which is roughly one cup full. There is an automatic switch off which clicks off when water is boiled. The lid of the kettle is hinged which makes it very easy to clean and there is also a removable limescale filter which is great as it prevents limescale from building up in the kettle and any of the scale bits going into your drink which I think is a great feature as with previous kettles I have had they did not have this feature and now and again you would find little bits in your tea if you did not de-scale it enough.
Overall I think it is a very easy to use kettle which has non slip feet and a sleek design and simple design. 10 out of 10 and would definitely recommend it.
Short name: Morphy Richards 43530