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Ah, the pleasures of a good cuppa. And how much nicer it is when you have a brand new kettle. Lately our Morphy Richards Filtermaster was getting a bit too difficult to clean even though we use filtered water. Since getting a mouthful of grit at the end of your coffee or tea can be disgusting, we decided to buy a new kettle. Also, we'd been noticing a bit of leakage, which was worrying, but after having it for about 15 years, we expected some problems. All that, and the fact that since our renovation, the black plastic kettle we had no longer looked "the part" for our fancy kitchen, so that's why we bought the stainless steel Phillips, model HD4666.
Now, a kettle is a kettle, and as long as it boils water, then there can be nothing wrong with it. But there are some other things about this kettle that perhaps you'd like to know. First of all, with 3000 watts of power, this kettle boils water quickly. I've noticed it is somewhat quicker than my old 2100 watt Morphy Richards, so in that sector, this kettle is perfectly fine. I should mention, that this kettle does make quite a bit more noise than my old Filtermaster, which can be annoying when you've just woken up. However, since the "click" of the automatic shut-off is louder than my Filtermaster's was, I can now safely climb back into bed for a minute or two until its done, and not worry that I won't hear it turn off.
The design of this kettle, is a jug style in stainless steel with black plastic handle and lid trim, and large, egg-shaped, clear plastic water-level inserts on both sides. I've noticed that the clear plastic is where the lime-scale will show up first, so if you want to keep seeing the levels clearly, you'll need to be a touch vigilant in cleaning this kettle. The on-off button is below the black plastic handle (instead of being on the top), and it lights up red when its on. Unlike my Filtermaster, the lid doesn't have a button to push it open, and instead you'll see there's a lip on the lid for this. Be careful with this, since you must wait until the jug has cooled down some to open it, or risk burning your fingers. However, the lid opens up farther than my Filtermaster, making it easier fill, or get your hand into to clean inside. The other warning I should give you is that since the outside is stainless steel, you should be careful not to touch the metal soon after its boiled, as you'll find it far hotter than a plastic jug. It is also noteworthy to mention that since metal conducts temperatures faster than plastic, while this may heat up quickly, you may also find it cools down a bit faster than plastic ones will.
You'll notice that this is a cordless kettle, and it also has a concealed element - two things that are the same as my Filtermaster, and make this jug equally as convenient to use and clean. It is also on a 360o rotating base, so left-handed users will find this convenient. The handle here is very sturdy, making it easy to grip and carry, but I believe that it is heavier than plastic kettles. Since this also holds 1.7 litres (as opposed to my previous 1.5 litre jug), that extra 200ml will be felt when you want to take this out of the kitchen when full. Still, there's nothing wrong with a bit of upper arm exercise before you settle down to relax, is there?
As for the looks of it, I find this to be very attractive looking with its brushed metal, and it truly fits in with all my other stainless appliances. It has a very classic feel to it, so I'm sure I won't tire of its looks quickly (and since I tend to keep kettles for many years, that's important to me). Of course, you do have to wipe it down every so often to keep it looking so snazzy, but there's always a price to pay for beauty!
But what I find most important is the filter. We have hard water here, and the lime-scale can build up very quickly. Since I'm a basically lazy sod, you won't find me cleaning this out every day (and I often re-boil rather than freshen it each time, since I hate wasting water). That's why the filter needs to work well for me, and this model actually has a double filter on it. There's one mesh just inside the spout, and another one behind it. That second one can be removed very easily for cleaning off, and so far, I haven't seen much additional lime on the inner filter, that a quick swish with a bottle brush can't handle. This means that there's far less of a chance of swallowing grit when you want that last gulp from your cup - which for me is the best selling point of this kettle.
In sum, while this isn't the safest kettle I've ever owned (due to the two different possible ways you can burn yourself) it is the most attractive one I've ever had. It works quickly, even if it isn't silent, and since I've started using it, my coffee and tea taste fresher than ever, with almost no traces of lime in my cup - even when it isn't at its cleanest. I'll give this four stars out of five, and recommend it, but suggest that if you have young children at home, you might want to find a plastic kettle until they're older.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © October 2007
This and other Philips products can be found at www.philips.co.uk and this particular product can be found at http://tinyurl.com/u
This kettle can be purchased for £25 on Amazon.co.uk and is available at many on-line and off-line shops for about that price.
Short name: Philips HD4666