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UPDATED: Works well, but here's some advice...
on September 21, 2014
Okay, a few words of warning and advice to everyone who buys this kettle...
Does this kettle work well? Yes.
Are there some things you need to know about how it operates before you buy it? Yes.
I realize that its possible for everyone to have completely different experiences using the kettle they receive, so I will let you all know what I found out using mine, and also address two of the issues others have complained about.
I have been using it every day for the last two weeks, pretty much all day long.
Issue number one: "it leaks."
Answer: kind of, not really. It doesn't actually *leak* through the unit so much as it boils out and makes a mess if unattended. I found that even putting in the minimum amount of water on the half-way setting, if not pulled right as it starts boiling and poured, will bubble out of the spout and pool around the unit. However, because it does boil water pretty fast, I just stay nearby and watch it each time i heat some water and the moment I see it bubble, I pull it and pour it into my mug. If I do that, no mess to clean up. If I leave it unattended, the hand-towel I have under the base gets damp or full-out soaked if I boiled a full pot. This hasn't bothered me, because, as I said, it works so fast I don't mind keeping an eye on it for a minute or two every time I want a cup of tea. (and I drink probably 10 to 12 mugs of tea per day)
Issue number two: "there's build-up, there's stuff floating in my water, there's stuff peeling/chipping/coming off the metal plate or the lining of the pot, the coating is coming off the inside and tainting the water."
Answer: I would bet that 99% of the people complaining about this can easily fix this problem by only using distilled, purified, or filtered drinking water in their kettles. I used tap water for the first few times and saw this ugly stuff floating in my water, but I see this when I boil the same tap water on the stove in a pan. Most city tap water, and most country well water, has a lot of minerals and additives in it. When you boil this water, those impurities separate from the water. I went and bought some jugs of water from the grocery store (they aren't usually very expensive at all) and I used them in my kettle. Voila, no more floaties in the water. I used Distilled water and purified drinking water, both kept the kettle clean with repeated use and no build up. I tried a gallon of "spring water" and the buildup came back, so avoid spring water as well. Remember, this will happen in any unit you buy, no matter the manufacturer, brand, or model. It's about the water you use, not the unit itself.
Someone also complained that it is loud, but I only notice a slight noise from it, very briefly, as it nears the boiling point, and the moment you pick it up it stops. Also, I'm not sure about the temperature gauge/heat selector on the unit. I find that it heats to boiling whether all the way over to the right (where its supposed to boil), or in the middle, and it gets slightly warm on the far left side. That doesn't really matter to me, because I'm apparently not enough of a tea snob to care about the exact temperature of my water when I make tea (and I make all sorts of tea from green and white teas to black teas, they all taste good to me - as long as they aren't lukewarm).
So, it's a good unit, does what I need it to do (very well), but it does have a few quirks to work around, hence the 3 star rating. If it had less quirks in regards to the water level/boiling-water/condensation mess, I'd probably rate it higher, but its kind of a poor design flaw. If you don't mind the mess or watching your water boil (in the 2 minutes it takes), then feel free to purchase this inexpensive unit. To be honest, I'd have already returned it, but I kinda got used to using it throughout the day and I really don't mind too much anymore, now that I know my way around it.
I found a new trick to help reduce the moisture/"leaking" problem. Normally, after I pour a cup of hot water, when I come back and lift up the kettle there's some water underneath as if it leaked - it's actually from steam condensation or boil-over (if you used too much water) - but here's the trick:
After you pour a cup of hot water and set it back down, open the lid for a few seconds to allow some of the steam to escape - this will reduce or eliminate any excess "leakage" one may find around the base. it's been working for me pretty well.