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Russell Hobbs 18152 Kettle
Member Name: ImVeryNice
Russell Hobbs 18152 Kettle
Date: 19/03/11, updated on 19/03/11 (222 review reads)
Advantages: Quick boiler, good pourer, easy to fill, efficient filter, good price (on offer)
Disadvantages: Doesn't do "one cup", finish scratches easily, only one year of manufacturer's guarantee
Our old Morphy Richards Filtermaster was obviously on its way out. It took ages to heat the water and it never seemed to quite get to the boil. Worse, the immersed element had turned black and pieces of it were coming off and getting into the water. The filter wasn't doing its job very well and cups of tea often had black specks at the bottom. Yuk! Time for a new one.
First port of call Amazon UK backed up by a report I have from Which? Curiously though, the Which? Best Buys got quite mixed reviews from Amazon customers, with most complaints being about reliability. The commonest faults seemed to be leaks, lid mechanisms jamming or breaking and the plastic body or lining of the kettle affecting the taste of the water. Further investigation revealed that limescale was the main culprit with lid mechanisms failing and that glass and steel bodied kettles had fewer problems with tainting the taste of the water. Leaks seemed to be more common with Philips kettles while Russell Hobbs had more problems with the lid mechanism. My conclusion was that I should probably look for a glass or steel bodied Russell Hobbs kettle; the problem with limescale shouldn't arise since we live in a soft water area. My working budget was £20-£25, which ruled out the glass kettles.
Having completed my research I remembered that I had seen a Russell Hobbs kettle on offer at my local Co-op supermarket at £19.99. Checking the model number, this turned out to be the 18152 and the price lower than Amazon or any other on-line offer I could find for this model. Better still I could have a proper look at it, get it straight away and get my Co-op membership points. Which is exactly what I did.
The kettle comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a slightly misleading picture of the kettle on it. What appears to be thick vertical black line on the side of the kettle is in fact a poor representation of a reflection from its polished stainless steel body. Inside the kettle was well-packed protected by a plastic bag and more cardboard. The instructions come in an 8-page A5 size booklet which has a clear legible typeface and line drawings as illustrations. It is all in English too. The instructions are clear and well written covering safety, normal use, regular maintenance and advice to prolong the life of the kettle. One thing I learned is that I should descale my kettle even in a soft water area; I won't get limescale but I will get phosphate scale, and this can be invisible apparently. There is also some information on disposal and recycling. Because it is a cordless kettle there is a separate base with the cord and pre-fitted moulded plug attached.
Following the instructions (and common sense!) I didn't fill it with water and make a cup of tea straight away. No, the first thing to do is fill, boil and empty three times to remove any dust or other residues from manufacture and packing. Filling is easy I found either through the spout or the lid, which opens to almost 90° with a light press of a button at the top of the handle. The lid clicks shut easily too, and this is important or the cut-off mechanism may not function and the kettle boil dry.
Sitting the kettle on its base, plugging in and switching on by pressing down the illuminated toggle switch at the base of the kettle produced an immediate powerful-sounding noise like a steam boiler - which is what it is I suppose. I was quite surprised how loud it was although with time and use the sound has reduced a little (I understand this phenomenon of noisy boiling occurs when there are no nuclei for steam bubbles to form on, which would be the case with a brand new polished stainless steel kettle). The concealed element is 3kW and justifies its claim to be "rapid boil".
Once ready to make its first cup of tea I refilled with fresh water viewing the level through the transparent indicator in line with the open-style handle. There is no coloured float but the indicator is quite large and easy to read in both daylight and artificial light. Unfortunately, this kettle can't do a one-cup boil; the minimum is two cups (0.6 litres). The maximum is 1.7 litres or enough for six good sized cups or medium mugs. Boiling up for this first cup of tea was again quick and rather noisy. The water reaches a vigorous boil for four or five seconds before automatically switching off. The kettle pours well without drips or splashes unless you try to pour very fast (not a good idea with boiling water). The open handle is comfortable to hold and the kettle feels balanced in your hand although quite heavy if filled to the maximum level. The verdict on its first cup of tea was a definite thumbs-up: properly hot tea with a good fresh taste (no trace of a taint).
Having used the kettle for a while now, I can confirm that it has continued to perform well. The only criticisms I have noticed is that the polished steel does pick up scratches easily, presumably from the kettle contacting the tap or the side of the sink when filling. (I'm talking here about fine scratches that you can only see close up, but noticeable all the same. Russell Hobbs advise not to use any abrasive or solvent on the kettle which seems to rule out metal polishes, otherwise I'd be tempted to have a go with some Solvol Autosol.) You also need to give it a wipe over regularly with a damp cloth to keep it shiny and clean. The style looks quite elegant with the mirror finish being set off by the black base, handle and lid. It looks good in my kitchen, which is mainly white with oak effect worktops. The base has good rubber feet that don't slip and the whole thing feels stable despite a much smaller footprint than our old kettle. The cord length can be adjusted by winding it around once inside the underneath of the base. However, it was still a bit too long - my kettle sits very close to the plug socket - and I have used a cable tie to shorten it further.
The filter works well and I never see bits in my tea now. It is easy to get at with the lid open and can be removed and refitted by hand without difficulty, unlike the Morphy Richards which needed a flat knife to lever the filter out.
Considering Russell Hobbs' strong brand reputation I was a little disappointed that the guarantee is only for one year. Past experience with this brand suggest that it should last for many years but only time will tell!
Summary: A smart and efficient cordless automatic jug kettle
|Ease of use:|
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