Top positive review
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Vacuum flask boiler
on 6 March 2008
I have very hard water, and my old Rowenta kettle took its regular descalings on the chin, giving me years of faithful service before finally leaking too heavily from its viewing window for me to ignore the signs. (It was probably stuck together with limescale and courage by the time I got rid of it.) So I opted for this new Rowenta Prelude in the hope that it'll also do me proud. I boiled it several times before using it and haven't experienced any problems with aftertaste.
This kettle is quite an unusually large shape and size: it reminds me strongly of a family-size vacuum flask. It's 9.5 inches tall (a fair bit taller than the usual squat designs) and 6.5" in diameter. Its large capacity of 1.7 litres is great if you often need a fair quantity of boiling water. It handles well: it feels very well-balanced, solid but not heavy, with a comfortable handle and accurate pouring. It's also ultra-easy to replace on its base. There are enormous viewing windows on either side so it's easy to see how far you've filled it, particularly when it's turned on and the internal green light comes on. One quibble is that the fill indicator marks on the viewing windows (0.5L, 1 Litre, 1.7L max) are a bit small and I can't read them properly. It boils half a litre (enough for 2 mugs of coffee) in under a minute, and switches off precisely.
The flat lid flips vertically when you press the opening button on the top of the handle, so that the lid hangs vertically, half-way in and half-way out of the kettle. This takes some getting used to, but it does provide enough space to get the tap in to fill the kettle. The more I use it, the more I like it, although returning from holiday I couldn't remember how to open the thing! The button opening is very convenient if you want to re-fill immediately after boiling, as you completely avoid prising open the lid and possibly scalding yourself on the escaping steam. Also the spout is large enough to fill from the tap too. The on/off lever is tucked away at the base of the handle, which I personally find a minor fiddle trying to locate in my bleary-eyed mornings, but no doubt I'll get used to that in time.
Living with constant limescale, I'm impressed with the manufacturer's recommendation to descale regularly using simple white vinegar, as this seems to be doing a good job and will save me from buying the specialist descaler stuff! The lid comes off completely so you can access the whole of the inside when cleaning (the diagram for how to remove the lid is stamped on its underside). The mesh filter in the spout is a bit delicate and fiddly to unclip, but can be wiped clean in situ if necessary. The brushed stainless steel body disguises water marks fairly well, and a brisk rub with a damp cloth is recommended to take off any stains. Personally I use white vinegar on a kitchen towel to rub down the outsides, then a damp cloth to remove the smell and buff it dry, and this works better with my limescale problem.
All in all, when I first got this kettle I was a bit shocked and disappointed at its size and quirky features, but I've quickly grown to like it - quite a lot, actually.