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No I am not referring to my husband, although that was love at first sight as well, but to this wonderful shiny kettle, which my husband picked up only yesterday at Tesco for the bargain price of £19.99 which was listed as £10 off. Although this model seems to be a Tesco exclusive, web searches of similar models give me a price range of £20 - £27, so I am inclined to think the price may have been inflated a bit so they could reduce it and make it appear a better bargain.
Upon opening this up, I was at first shocked at how short the cord was. Then I noticed it coils up neatly under the base, allowing you to let out just the correct amount to reach your socket while still looking neat and tidy. This is a nice enough kettle. It is a lovely stainless steel, on a tidy base, which is advertised as 360 degree rotational. I suppose this is correct , but really it is just a circle and you can place this anyway you like.
The kettle has a very functional design - something I like, it is very easy to pour with no splashing or spilling, and I am famous for making a mess.
There are a few drawbacks to this design, the first being the fact that you do not get the window to check water level. Instead you have a funny looking black plastic arm that hangs down into the kettle, and you are advised not to fill past. The kettle is listed as 1.7 litre, the same as my old kettle, and I thought I filled this correctly to the arm, but I did find myself a bit short when filling my water bottle and had to boil a second kettle. This did not happen with my old kettle. Another issue I had with this kettle was the fact the lid opening is very small, which would make scrubbing this out very difficult. I have very thin hands, but was afraid to try putting one into this in case I couldn't get it out. The only way to clean this would be with a large bottle brush, or in a pinch a dish cloth wrapped around a wooden spoon, or large metal one.
This kettle is listed as rapid boil, claiming to boil when full in 3 minutes. I tested this and got 3 minutes and 5 seconds, so I think this claim is fair enough. Enough for two cups of tea took about 1 1/2 minutes. The kettle is 3kw, and has a completely concealed element. The kettle is meant to have an automatic shut off device to prevent dry boiling, but I did not test this. It is a bit noisy, but then most kettles are, and this does not bother me. It is also a bit heavy, but I was willing to live with this. Finally this does get hot on the outside, and I do mean hot. I do not think you would be badly burned, as of course you would pull hand away quickly, but I think this would be hot enough to melt a plastic carrier bag, should you be careless enough to leave one near the kettle.
But what I really loved about this kettle was the tea. This seemed to continue to boil longer after it started to bubble and reached very high temperatures. It was honestly the best cuppa I have had since I started using electric kettles as opposed to the old stove top ones. This tea was literally to die for, it was heavenly, and I do love my tea. My mouth is watering even now thinking about it. You could even feel the difference holding the tea cup, which you would have to hold by the handle as the body of the cup gets so hot. Of course this would also have its drawbacks and I am sure if I accidentally dumped this kettle over my hands or dropped it while pouring splashing myself as I have done with my other kettle I would really be burned, and possibly very badly.
But after only one day I have returned my beloved Russel Hobbes. Why would I give up something that could make such lovely tea? I am afraid it leaked, quite badly. water runs out of the bottom of the kettle and fills up the base unit. Looking at water pooling in the small nub where the kettle attaches to the base frightened me. It just seems having liquid pouring into the electrical unit, especially on an all metal unit might not be the safest. I don't really know enough about electrics to know if this poses a serious health and safety issue, but I am not willing to take the chance. I did do a bit of research online, and firesafe.co.uk lists leaking electric kettles as a fire danger, as do a number of other sites. The possibility of electric shock is also mentioned, especially if some one were to touch the metal body of the kettle.
I did some searching online and it seems a number of the Russel Hobbes kettles are having problems with leaking. This applies both to this specific model and to many similar models. Of course normally I would research online before buying the product, but this was a gift from my husband and he just sees something he likes and buys it. ( Not that I don't appreciate it - he knows me well and a good kettle is one of the very nicest things he could have bought for me). While many people discovered leaking immediately after purchase, many more had the kettles work fine for weeks even months before leaking. We have been afflicted with the kettle curse. The last really good kettle I owned was the stove top one. I decided it was best not to risk another of the same model, as with our luck it would certainly fail - right after we lost the receipt. In fact my husband has bought another kettle after returning this - and lost the receipt already!
I have debated whether or not to review this item - as I did not own it long enough to be able to speak about long term use in any way. Still I wish I had read reviews of this leakage problem before purchasing, and feel this is information most potential consumers would be interested in.
In spite of the leakage though - I am still giving this kettle 3 stars, and I will remember it very fondly. A part of me really wants this kettle back. It made such a lovely strong cup of tea. But unless you are willing, and able to remember to check this for leaks before each use, and keep your receipt for returns - I can not recommend purchasing this.
I seem to end up buying a kettle every year, I don't know what it is but they all seem to break. This kettle was at least the 4th one we have had in the last 5 years and it gave up the ghost Sunday night. I wasn't particularly upset as it meant I finally had the perfect reason to get a new one, I wasn't very fond of the kettle, but I was annoyed as it meant making tea was a lot harder. I'm not quite sure how long we have had it, at least a year so it is out of guarantee, but it started to leak. This is not a good thing for a kettle to do. So having read a lot of kettle reviews in trying to find its replacement I decided to write one about this one.
The Russell Hobbs 14101 is a stainless steel jug kettle with a 3kw concealed element and a maximum capacity of 1.7l. It swivels 360 degrees on its base and has a red power on neon indicator at the bottom of the kettle. It has a limescale filter and you can wind the excess cable beneath the stand. It has a boil dry cut out and it comes with a one year guarantee. You can but it for £22.48 from Tesco direct (and only Tesco it seems) but I wouldn't if I were you, its rubbish.
Why do I dislike this kettle so much, well there are many reasons. Firstly though I shall mention its good points. Whilst it is not the quickest at boiling water, it's not bad. This is what it is designed to do so this is pretty important and it does alright. It is easy to fill from the tap, the lid is easy to open (too easy) and the water level gauge is easy to read. It's not very heavy and the handle is easy to hold. It looked nice when new. The cable can be wound round the bottom of the stand so there is not too much excess to get in the way. Rather handy when worktop space is at a premium.
Right, now the bad points. One of my main gripes with this kettle is the limescale filter. We live in a hard water area so the kettle furs up with limescale very quickly. The filter does not fit in the kettle properly, there is a gap at the bottom where it sits in its holder, so limescale flakes can get through and end up in your tea. Not very nice at all. The filter is pretty easy to remove and clean, probably because it doesn't fit very well in its holder, but it isn't very sturdy. Ours has a rip in the mesh, which you also don't want, as this too lets flakes through. I must point out I only noticed the rip after the kettle had died otherwise action would have been taken much earlier.
The lid does not fit the kettle properly and it comes open very easily. There is a button on the lid that you are meant to press in to open it, but that is not needed, there is nothing holding the lid shut except gravity. I can hear a rattling around in the lid when I move it so I will assume the mechanism to hold the lid shut broke, but it did so a long, long time ago. The button is quite stiff to push in, probably because it hasn't been used. The lids lack of catch makes filling the kettle very easy but also means when pouring boiling water out it flaps open.
The kettle exterior is very hard to keep clean. This is probably true of all stainless steel kettles but it shows every fingerprint and every splash and dribble of water. Judging from the water marks and amount of limescale around the spout and the trail from the spout to the base of the kettle, it wasn't that great at pouring, dribbling water down the kettle in the process.
The water gauge ranges from 1 litre to 1.5 litres with a marking for its maximum at 1.7 litres. Now I don't want to boil l litre of water every time I want a cup of tea so a lower marking would have been useful, therefore when filling the kettle I never looked at the water level window and just guessed. The minimum the kettle can boil is two cups but there is no marking for this. This is not very useful and I always ended up overfilling the kettle and pouring more away that I used. This of course is very wasteful of energy.
It appears the kettle is pretty shoddily made. Apart from springing a leak, the fid not fitting and the limescale filter tearing, the on/off switch is rather flimsy. The switch is located at the bottom of the kettle below the handle. To turn it on you flip the lever type switch up. But once up it wobbles about a bit and one some occasions when I wondered why the kettle was taking so long to boil I would find that the switch had fallen back into the off position. This is very annoying, the slightest touch will make the switch turn off, the kettle is not sturdy or well made which I find surprising as I thought Russell Hobbs was a respected brand.
The kettle sits on a swivel base so can easily be used by both right and left handers, but the power on light is only on one side which would only be visible to right handed people.
Not a biggie, I think we all know how to use a kettle, but the instruction manual is pretty useless. It consisted of a diagram and 2 ½ pages of information, most of which was the important safeguards e.g. don't open the lid whilst the water is heating. The writing is small and the lines are close together so it would not be easy to read by someone with sight problems. The kettle body gets very hot when used so it is best not to touch it or you will get burnt.
So in summary don't buy this kettle. It is badly made, the lid is loose and swings open easily, the limescale filter is rubbish, the on/off switch is wobbly, it is hard to keep clean, and the water level window does not have enough markings on it. Rant over, I'm off to play with the new kettle. Tea anyone?
Thanks for reading. Also on ciao as rd52169.
Short name: Russell Hobbs 14101