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As I was just about to start to write this review about the cute little Russell Hobbs toaster I was surprised to see not so great feedback about it on Dooyoo which surprised me since we have very few complaints about it.
About a year ago we were looking to purchase a new toaster. Our old Kenwood had been with us for at least 15 years and was still going strong, ish. No matter what setting you put it on it always used to deliver quite soggy toast, only when you cranked it up to 6 were you delivered something closer to toast than bread - well, it was more closer to coal in colour. It was also big. And pretty unattractive so it seemed the right idea to get a new toaster.
We actually came across the Russell Hobbs as it came out top in a Gadget Show Top 5 test so we presumed that that accolade meant we were getting a quality product.
Let's make no mistakes, it's not a fancy toaster. I think I can count its features on one hand but then, it's just a toaster. I'm not interested in bagel settings, or multiple slots or something that matches my kitchen tiles to the exact shade (which is a pointless exercise in my case as we don't have kitchen tiles). I just want something that delivers good quality toast, stress and fuss free.
Let's start with the positives - it's a dinky toaster. It sits nicely in the corner on the kitchen countertops and it's stainless steel body looks the part. Also, at the bargain price of £29.99 for a good looking, quality brand name toaster you can't go far wrong.
The toast itself is nothing outstanding, but it always delivers reliable, good quality toast. I have never walked away from a breakfast thinking, "Wow, what a cracking piece of toast that was", but it's never disappointed me. Like most toasters it has 6 degrees of crispiness shall we say - 1 to 2 can guarantee you a pretty soggy looking piece of toast, 3 is about what I like but sometimes I crank it up to 4 if I want it a bit more well done. 5 and 6 are best avoided if you don't want you piece of bread to be cremated. I'm not particularly experimentive when it comes to bread so it's usually just a good old slice of Warburtons Farmhouse white for me, but it's done brown and seeded bread (not my choice...) perfectly fine. Oh, and fruit bread comes out a treat too - catch it when it's hot and spread over with melted butter, bit of strawberry jam on top... delicious.
I would love to inform you about the extra features it has but err... it hasn't got any. Well, that's a bit of a lie - it has 2 buttons on the side but I have never dare press these buttons in case I completley mess up it's ability to deliver a good piece of toast. The snowflake sign is pretty self-explanitory and I presume it's the defrost button. The next I am less sure about, it's an upward facing arrow with a line underneath. I am still not entirely sure what function the button does on my DVD player remote so god knows what it's use is on my toaster. Above these switches is the big black plastic handle you pull down to submerge your piece of bread into the inner depths of the toaster. It's a fairly cheap looking plastic handle, but it's a sub-£30 toaster. If I wanted something fancy I would've payed triple the price and brought a Delongi or whatever they're called.
Toasting is pretty quick, around the 3-minute mark I would say, and then I use my rubber tongs to fish my bread out (no knives or fingers in the toaster for me).
To sum up, it's a not a bad toaster - but it doesn't do anything extroadinary. If I want a really good piece of toast, I will go to my grandad's house, bless him, he's in his late 80's and he does himself 3 pieces of toast, every morning on the grill. Like he has done for the last 60 odd years. Now THAT is a good piece of toast. But, I can't really complain, I doubt it will live as long in the kitchen as our old Kenwood but it certaintly seems a good piece of kit for the bargain price of £29.99.
We bought this toaster mainly for aesthetics. Much of the cooking equipment in our kitchen is stainless steel so this matched it all well. Its classic rounded design makes the toaster look very elegant ont he work surface but that is pretty much where the good points of this toaster end.
This toaster, although it does toast bread, does so inconsistently. Sometimes the bread will be over done and sometimes under done. It has a dial on the side which is designed to alter the cooking time but I am yet to find a suitable settings after over 2 years of ownership. In order to get a good couple of slices I must put it in once and then check it before pressing it down again checking it every few seconds by manually releasing the bread.
Much of the trouble appears to come from some of the heat strips inside the toaster not working, they do not glow red hot no matter how long the toaster is on for.
I am a little concerned with the toaster as I have noticed that when I manually release the bread, sparks fly within the toaster. Definitely a safety hazard if you are not aware of this.
The crumb catcher is handy and makes cleaning a little easier, however due to the shortfalls of the toaster I find that I do not have to clean it very often as I prefer not to use it.
All our appliances in the kitchen are stainless steel/chrome and this was the reason I picked this toaster. It looks great and is a nice size and a shiny finish which makes it look quite expensive. But it looks better than it works. We thought with it being a Russell Hobbs it would be good quality and dependable. It takes 2 slices, has a tray at the bottom to catch the crumbs and has a button to press if your bread is frozen which we thought was quiet clever!
I find that the toaster either burns the bread or leaves it 'raw'. There is a dial to increase/decrease the level of toasting but this doesn't seem to work. If you leave it on the middle it can burn 1 piece of toast and undercook the second, its so random, and the button for the frozen bread does nothing at all. The crumb tray doesn't catch any crumbs and spews they all out everywhere. Fortunately we have a grill and tend to use that to make toast and the Russell Hobbs toaster tends to stand unused but looking pretty in the corner of the kitchen.
We have had the toaster around a year now and last week we started to notice it was getting rusty! Our house is not damp and the toaster was regularly cleaned correctly so there is no reason for it to rust. When we turned the toaster around we saw that the back was just as bad!! So now it doesn't even look nice let alone work. We are getting a new one as soon as pay day arrives and will not be buying another Russell Hobbs again!
The Russell Hobbs 2 slice toaster is a stainless steel cooking toaster for bread. It features 2 slots for 2 slices of bread at any one time and features a removable crumb tray from the bottom. The product was simple to use and cost me about £30 from Argos UK. The electrical power of the product is 1200 watts.
The toaster looks simple yet classy when its out the box. Mine had a polished stainless steel finish however on Amazon you can get a less shiny, brushed finish to the same toaster too. The product has a black plastic base, with small feet which raise the product off teh ground. This is good because at the base there is also a removable crumb tray which you can remove and wipe clean and stop crumbs building in the product. There is a turnable black plastic knob for the time you want your bread toasted, a button for frozen bread and a circular black eject button. Near the knobs and buttons is also a small red LED light which comes on when the product is in use. There is also a black lever which you pull down for lowering the bread into the toaster. The main body of the product as mentioned is stainless silver, with two large slots at the top which you can put one slice of bread in each. At the bottom corner of the product is a small logo in black font which has Russell Hobbs on it a long with a small company design picture. The product is quite compact and not too big, it has a length of about 15cm.
===Ease of use===
The product is simple to use. It only has a few dials and buttons, each with accompanying logos above them to say what they do. Numbers for the power dial, a snowflake sign for frozen bread and an arrow sign with a black line below it for the eject button. All bread sizes I've used have fitted in the toaster slots without a problem and the crumb tray is easily pulled out from the bottom. The crumb tray just needs a small wipe and tip upside down to get rid of all the crumbs which will enhance the life of the toaster. The lever switch which lowers the bread is also easy and simple to use and locks in place once the bread is at the right position in the product. Overall, I find the product basic and simple to use.
The product comes with a 2 year warranty from Russell Hobbs and mine has lasted about 9 months with no repairs or problems so far. The stainless steel is a good quality although the product is quite light to hold and move around. The lever is smooth to push down and not stiff and the buttons are easy to turn or press at the side, they have not come loose over time. Toast still comes out to a great quality and if you empty the crumb tray often, this will increase the life of the product too. I was initially hesitant about the durability of the product before buying it since I've read a few reviews that speak of the product breaking after a year, so only time will tell. But for now, 9 months since buying it, the durability and build of the product seems good.
The toaster was not cheap, I paid £30 for it from Argos UK. I have saw the same version on Amazon UK for about £25 so this would be a cheaper option if you were to buy it now. I think the toaster is good and simple to use, and I've not encountered any problems either but I think the price tag of £25 to £30 is a bit high. You can now purchase on Amazon a high tech looking stainless steel Breville toaster for just £19.99 including free delivery and I think this would be a preferable option if you don't want to spend that much on a toaster. Overall the RH 2 slice toaster is good quality and attractive but certainly not the cheapest option.
I've not encountered any major problems with the toaster, but I would say I've noticed the top of the toaster gets very hot after use. If your cooking a lot of bread then bear in mind this information so you don't burn yourself. I've also read and heard a lot of durability problems after the first year of use so only time will tell what fate mine is destined for as I've had it for a problem free 9 months.
To conclude, I think the RH 2 slice toaster was a decent investment. The toast comes out to a good consistent quality, the crumb tray is a great touch, the buttons are clearly marked and simple to operate and the product is freely available to buy from companies like Amazon UK, Argos and eBay. The build quality has been good and the stainless steel finish is simple yet eye catching. The top of the toaster can get very hot when in use and some people have encountered durability problems after the first year. I am not one of those people and the product has lasted not far off a year now, the price I paid was £30 although It can be bought cheaper on Amazon, if you can stomach the high price tag then the toaster will serve you well. If not I would maybe advise an alternative such as the Breville VTT214 stainless steel 2 slice toaster on Amazon UK for £19.99. Thanks for reading my review.
© Revo9 (2011)
*Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*
I bought this for the brand and having regretted it since. It looks good and it fits in with the 'polished silver' look of new kitchenware but it does not do the job. The adjustment knob on the side seems to decide for itself whether the bread will be left soft or completely burnt, never correlating with the number options. It's very hard to clean, the tray that comes out the bottom is designed to spill crumbs everywhere and most of the time the majority of the dirt is permanently stuck on the inside creating a fowl odor whenever it heats up. The slots are not very large and despite taking a standard slice will not get some hand-made breads fully inside. I've had trouble with it's size when using toaster bags as well as they do not quite fit in, even turning them sideways. The handle on the side broke off within a few weeks and the remaining metal prong is difficult to use, do not buy this toaster.
This has been a very competent addition to the kitchen. The silver design has a nice look to it, but being in a kitchen environment does need cleaning quite often do to splashes and greasy marks that easily build up on it's exterior. As a toaster it performs reasonably well, it takes two slices of bread at once, although depending on the size of loaf you get it does require manual turning at times to ensure the whole piece gets done! There is a power adjuster as with most toaster to change the intensity of the elements, and this at first does take a little bit of experimentation to get it just how you like it! It toasts fairly quick without being particularly speedy. The heating elements themselves are evenly spaced inside and give a nice spread of heat onto the slice of bread to ensure the whole piece is toasted evenly. Also like many other toasters there is a cancel button to stop the toasting and pop it back up at any time which is a useful feature as I'm usually running late and can't afford to wait the full time! It has an undertray which can be removed in order to clean and get rid of all the of the bread crumbs which inevitably accumulate, and this is a welcome feature saving the trouble of turning it upside down as with older toasters. It has been very reliable and is still working perfectly well some 3 years on without any problems at all. The only possible downside I have found is that the slots for the bread are quite narrow so if you want to toast crumpets for instance they easily get stuck and require a little help to get them out afterwards. This is just a small issue though and on a whole it is very good.
I am rather fond of a spot of toast in the morning for my breakfast, so a toaster rarely lasts more than 4 or 5 years in the Gee household. I have also bought toasters for the 3 children whilst they have been off at University and, in general, I have been happy with my purchases. Morphy Richards/Tefal/Hinari/Russell Hobbs are all names that have graced our breakfast bars and, in March this year, the three years' old Hinari that was at our son's flat finally gave up the holy ghost and expired (no-power-no-pop-up syndrome). Since we were just having our kitchen refitted, the white Tefal long-slot toaster that we had had for the past 3 years was passed on to son, the Hinari slung 'in the bucket' (as we call the dust bin, up here in bonny Edimbro'), and I was 'in the market' again. So I was given a strict set of requirements for the replacement - "matte stainless steel finish, and not too large", to fit in with the stainless steel appliance set-up we were having installed in the kitchen That put paid to my desire for a nice 4-slice Duralit - or even a 2 slicer or 3-slicer - have you seen how enormous they are (as well as expensive) ? So, doon to John Lewis at the St James Shopping Centre at the East End of Princes Street. There was not a lot of choice that complied with Heather's specification, but the "Russell Hobbs Classic TOASTEC 2 Slice Toaster" seemed to fit the bill. Now this is slightly different from the model featured in this sector and written so enthusiastically about by kezbomb and fallguy. The model number is "9376", rather than "9296", and it is a little more expensive than that model. I paid £28 at 'John Lewis', compared with £24 for the 'Standard' Classic Toaster (in Chrome), and Argos currently lists the models at £33.50 and £27.75. So, what makes this toaster so special? Well, the 'TOASTEC' sy
stem claims that it ".. makes perfect toast by crisping the bread rapidly on the outside, keeping it moist in the centre..". Instead of having a small knob and two buttons, the one endowed with 'TOASTEC' has a larger (arguably more appealing!) knob, and FOUR buttons, each with a red warning light. It also has two removable sandwich racks (for toasting sandwiches), and a bum-warming* rack. It looks magnificent, until you look closer when you realise it is made of poorly assembled rough satin steel-finished metal pressings, so that curved sides don't exactly fit with the curve of the top - but hell, what can you expect for £28 these days? What other useful features attracted me? Well, those extra buttons are not there for decoration - 1 allows rapid cancelling of the toasting process. This has probably been one of the most useful controls (see below); 2 the next allows you to toast bagels, with the " .. toasting time altered automatically to give your bagel the same degree of browning you like on your toast". WOW!!! - if you like bagels; 3 the next allows you to reheat your toast -"... a short burst of heat before popping up"; 4 and lastly, you have a button to deal with frozen bread, so that the "..toasting time will be altered automatically". Yawn. Oh, and what about the larger 'Knob'? This is calibrated from 'Min' to 'Max', decorated with numbers 1 through to 6 in between. I say 'decorated' because they seemed to serve little useful function. A PIECE OF TOAST? Right, enough of the technical details, how well did the device fulfil these exotic promises? Well, it really didn't. There were the following faults: 1 From the start, I found that for bread, if you operated it at settings higher than the absolute minimum setting, then, after the first slice you toasted, you had to s
tand over it to ensure that it did not burn the next slices. Now, I am a bit of a lazy so-and-so and did not relish taking the device back to complain, so I put up with this problem. I never used it for bagels (cannot see why anyone 'raves' about these ethnic specialities), or for toasting sandwiches, or for warming Heather's buns, so I cannot comment on those features. Also, for some reason probably connected with these special 'TOASTEC' features, when this toaster burns bread, it produces a smell of burnt toast that is worst than that produced by any other toaster. Smells like some new Chemical weapon, and upset Heather's composure on many-a-morning. This Heather with an 'upset composure' is NOT a pretty sight, I should add. Probably something to do with having 'hotter' elements - the toaster NOT Heather ! 2 The basic design of toasters is the same the world over. There are one, two or more slots, and a lever at the side that you push down. Pushing down this lever lowers 'bread supports' to the bottom of the slot and the elements on each side of the slot are turned on and toast your bread. With this toaster, you find that the toast supports are too narrow for the slots and flat-bottomed, so that thin-sliced bread or pancakes slip down the side of the supports. Extracting these recalcitrant slices would be a problem to defeat Sidneygee's patience in the morning - particularly one where he has a morning appointment, so the air became blue-ed as much from the language used against the toaster as that produced it over-doing the toasting process. A PIECE OF LUCK ! After exactly 3 months use (to the day), I placed nice hunks of sesame-seeded French bread into each slot (mmmmm! delicious!!) and depressed the side lever, turned my back to make the tea, and PHUT!!!! I turned around to see a wisp of smoke rising out of the right-hand slot. I pushed down
the lever and - NOTHING !. The fuse in the plug had blown, but replacement did not make any difference. Twas so fortunate that I had bought from John Lewis, because - unlike Comet/Currys/Dixons - there is never a problem with getting action from this store. I took the toaster and its receipt back to their Appliance Service Desk and explained the problem. They checked the fuse (not blown), and the toaster (not working) and offered me an immediate replacement or an alternative toaster with a cash adjustment either side. I also spoke to the guy about my other complaints about the performance of the model, and he confirmed that they had other purchasers making the same point and others had been returned to Russell Hobbs 'for attention'. I opened a new boxed example below the display shelf, but it had the same design of 'bread supporter', so there was no sign of any design modification on those delivered that week. So we close a Tefal ! And I recommend that you consider doing the same and certainly avoid anything marked with the 'TOASTEC' accolade. Copyright Sidneygee 2002 *This was a genuine typo, but I decided to leave it in - I'm like that .....
After having my new breadmaker in stainless steel I thought how wonderful it would be to have all my other kitchen appliances in stainless steel too, but knew it was going to be at a cost so decided to opt out of it and only replace them when they had worn out. This was until a recent trip into Kwiksave. They have started selling the odd electrical items in there, and a few weeks ago I noticed they had a toaster and kettle as a set in stainless steel for a absolute bargain price of 34.99. Well this was a bargain that I could not miss, even though I already have a good working toaster and practically brand new cordless kettle, I really could not turn my back on this bargain, so I put it in my trolly and made my way to the check out. As soon as I got home I had to check the Argos mag to see how much they cost in there and found out the price I had paid for the two items is the same price in there for just the toaster, so I had made the right decision in purchasing them. Anyway that is enough about Kwiksave and there bargains, let's get on to the toaster it'self. Now I know I said I had bought a twin pack which included a great kettle, but this segment is about the toaster, so i'll save the kettle for a later date. The toater has a very classical look, hence the name Classic 2 slice toaster. It does look very similiar to one my nan used to own years ago before all these plastic kitchen appliances came along. As well as the fact it was in stainless steel and the also unbeatable bargain price there were also the amazing features that were with the toaster that made me want to but it. FEATURES ******** 1. Removeable crumb tray. As with my old toaster you had to tip it upside down to clean out all the crumbs, which made an unsightly mess. But with this one you have an easily removeable tray which collects all the crumbs from the toast, so it can be easily empt
ied into the bin. 2. A cancel button. As you will know everyone likes their toast done differently, and when you have a new toaster you will be unsure what setting to have it on to begin with to make your toast just the way you like it, so this toaster has a cancel button so you can stop it before the due finish time. (plus if you're like me you could burn water, so in other words this is to stop you smoking the kitchen out!!!) 3. A re-heat button. If you're like me you love to have a boiled egg and dipping toast soldiers in. So you put your egg in to boil, and have to estimate the time you have to put your toast in to coincide with when your egg will be finished, but most of the time your toast is finished well before, and goes cold by the time you come to eat it. So this toaster has a button built in especially for people like me who are'nt very good at timing, it's a reheat button. You pop your toast back in the toaster, pull down the lever, lower the toast, and press the re-heat button, this then gives out a short burst of heat before popping back up. 4. Frozen button. If you forgot to get your bread out the freezer before going to bed for your morning toast, then this is the button for you. You just pop in your frozen bread, lower the bread down into the toaster on your usual setting, and then press the frozen button. This will cook your toast to the usual degree of browning you like, but at a automatically altered time of cooking. 5. Bagels. If you split a bagel in half and place both halves, one in either side with the cut surface facing the inside of the toaster, you will have perfectly toasted bagels using the bagel button. The inner elements of the toaster heat up fully and toast the inside of the bagel, while the outside elements only heat up slightly just to warm the crusts. But you do have to make sure you put the setting onto number one. 6. Browni
ng control. As with most toaster's you can have it toasted to a different degree of browning. With this toaster you have a browning dial which has 5 different levels of browning, but I dont generally go past 2 and a half, otherwise it tends to go too crispy. 7. Bread slots. With my old toaster you popped your bread in, pull down the lever and your toast went in and just flopped to one side making one side of your toast browner than the otherside. (usually burnt on the one side!!!!!!) But with this toaster,as the lever is pulled down the bread slots close in and basically hold your toast in place, securing it so as not to fall too close to the elements. Also you can cook different thicknesses of bread, so you can cook thin on the one slot of the toaster and thick on the other, as the bread slots act individually. 8. Cool wall As with most toasters the outside wall of the toaster is hot. Aa an example, my old toaster wall was hot, and the bread bag was too close to it and melted to the side of my toaster, leaving an un-removeable mark on it. But with this one it is completely cool to the touch, so I have no chance of ruining the lovely shine on it. So all in all, if you like stylish gadgets in your kitchen, with lots of lovely features the Russell hobbs classic toaster is for you, and as for the taste of the toast before you ask........Yummy.