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A couple of months ago when I was on a short term break and managed to get away for a couple of days, I returned to my holiday home to find my trusty Morphy Richards Opera jug kettle no longer singing it's happy tune. Even with a changed fuse, the Opera jug was no longer operational. With only a local supermarket near me at the time, an emergency kettle had to be sought and amongst a lot of expensive Russell Hobbs kettles at £35 to £48, and Morrisons own "bare element" jug kettles at £6 being sold out, the reduced price of this kettle at the time cost me £16 reduced from £18 and looked like a good compromise. However, sometimes it pays to go with a more expensive price, as I was about to find out shortly.
In terms of general design and quality, the Russell Hobbs Buxton 15075 is quite a retro looking jug kettle with "stainless steel" mock panels in black plastics painted silver, a silver rubberised handle with built in grips and really just about anything you have to touch through operation has been handily painted in silver as opposed to other parts of the kettle.
However, the plastics on the kettle are patchy to say the least and it is a factor of perceived quality that lets the Russell Hobbs down here. Normally most of their jug kettles have a brushed stainless steel body that exudes a bit of quality with seams kept to a minimum. Not here however, where no brushed stainless steel exists and though there are handy twin water gauges on the jug's body, they're very 1980's with an "Aztec" style of arched, angled seams that allow each window to melt into the plastic.
Though not uncomfortable on the eye, I wouldn't go as far to suggest or sit with Russell Hobbs' claim that this kettle is stylish. Paste a "Cookworks," or "Argos Value" label on it, and that would be expected, here. However, whilst the plastic seams are a bit more noticeable on this kettle, filling it can be a bit of a nightmare because the spout has a wide channel and if you don't use the spout to fill from a tap, the lid that can be released automatically via a spring loaded release button located at the top of the handle, reveals a tiny and narrow opening, no less due in fact to the body as it becomes narrow by its very design leading to the top. I found it difficult to fill the kettle as a result, always ensuring that the handle was in front of me with the restricted lid resting on the central kitchen tap to get the best result other than water splashing all over the kettle when filled up using the "side" normal way of filling up a kettle!
Where general performance is concerned, there are a few positives as well as cons. So, the Buxton 15075 has all the basics of a modern kettle: an average capacity of 1.6 litres, a concealed element to make cleaning of limescale easier and the obligatory pull out water filter behind the spout. The on button is a flick-up-flick-down affair and there's an oval orange LED that comes on to show the kettle has been activated.
However, in use once the kettle is full to capacity, there's one quarter of the jug left open at the top that suggests that the water capacity could be filled with a bit more, until you try it and then find that it overflows. Thus, whilst the gauge is marked in litres, it isn't really that precise when so much space seems to be left by the fill marker that sits three quarters down from the top, giving you a false impression that the kettle can take just a little bit more. Water gradients are clearly marked in white although the clear frosted windows could be made of clearer acrylic to see how much water is actually in the kettle.
The Buxton is a fair kettle that's offers fast boiling, no due in part to its powerful rapid boil 3kw element, concealed and away from eyes, for ease of cleaning. But at the same time, when it comes to actually cleaning the jug, you may well find it difficult to get into the inside - I found it impossible to dangle a dish brush into the kettle to clean the base plate and the pick out water mesh filter is next to useless, suffering from poor fins that can break off, thus no longer offering any way of filtering impurities that may flood out of your kitchen tap at the time of use.
Infact, this kettle doesn't offer anything differently to other kettles on the market with the same kind of "high power" element. It takes about 1.5 minutes to boil the whole capacity and less than a minute to boil half of that. But, due to its plastic construction, the kettle is surprisingly lightweight when full to its 1.6 litre total capacity - but also noisy with it. For those who are used to lifting a bulky and heavy kettle back to its power base, you may be surprised and delighted to find a much lighter kettle here; and this aspect lifts the Buxton out of other kettles on the market that put form before function.
Sadly due to its all plastic construction, the body of the Russell Hobbs is also not heat insulated and thus the body gets extremely hot to the touch once boiling has stopped - thankfully there is some saving grace that the rubberised handle remains cool throughout performance - but a thicker amount of plastic on the exterior would have been better here - as the handle is a bit closer to the body than I would like here, at times able to feel the heat reflecting onto my fingers when grabbing the kettle off its cordless round base (complete with a 0.7metre cord and fitted plug) to pour.
When it comes to pouring, the Buxton 15075 needs a slow and steady progress, otherwise taking it fast results in water splashing everywhere and a tendency for the spout to push water flow out and upwards at a pronounced angle.
On paper, the Russell Hobbs Buxton kettle is a good design on the eye but in reality it is somewhat retro and its white plastic colouring means keeping the kettle clean will be a major task. But then if it is style you're after with a dose of safety built in, the Buxton fails at the first hurdle. Poorly heat insulated and with a difficult narrow lid that makes it impossible to clean out with haste means the Buxton does the basics - but it is in no way worth the retail price of £20. You may well think that all jug kettles are the same these days - and so perhaps would Russell Hobbs would have you believe - but even with a price reduction, it is infinitely possible to feel a little let down by the overall production here. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2012.
Cordless Jug Kettle 1.6litre 3Kw Rapid Boil White