Time for a look at the most famous Slow Cookers, Crock-Pot. Well they do manual, programmable, entertaining, “cook and carry” and even customized manual slow cookers. But, are they any good, which one is the best, and where can you buy them?
Firstly, we suggest you don’t buy direct from the manufacturer’s web-site, since prices are higher than elsewhere. The best prices we have found are generally at amazon.com, who offer an extensive range of Crock-Pots
or read on to see why Crock-Pots are so popular…
Our favorite Crock-Pot is around $50 cheaper at the time of writing, than the quoted price at Crock-Pot’s own site!
For every-day family use we found the best Crock Pot to be the Touch-screen 6.5 quart programmable option, and here’s why:
Crock-Pot Programmable Slow Cooker Review
Well, I admit to being a little biased automatically towards these, simply because they are the originals so to speak. But that is no reason to buy one, so time to have a look at what customers are saying, and what the makers are promising with regards to this rather pretty slow cooker.
The Plus Points
Well, it is I admit significantly more expensive than the ever popular best budget buy; the Hamilton Beach slow cooker. But there are some good reasons for the price difference (and it is pretty a reasonable price, so long as you shop around – at the time of writing it is available for a little over $80).
- It is a generous 6.5 quart capacity. Far more family friendly than some models. You can tell I am greedy as I wouldn’t even entertain the notion of a small slow cooker! 🙂
- Programmable at high or low for up to 20 hours – this is far longer than most models. Admittedly you won’t need to cook most dishes quite that long, but it is nice to have the option.
- Automatically switches to “keep warm” function once the specified time is up. Most do this, and frankly they all should.
- Shows a count-down timer whilst actually cooking, so you can see how long is left, and then shows how long the warm function has been in use once cooking is done. This is great if you get back late.
- The touch-screen control panel is hardly a necessity, but hey it looks good and it is really easy to use. I guess we are coming to expect touch-screen controls for just about everything now, and it certainly gives an old-fashioned cooking concept a modern look!
- And as for looks, yes they are rather good. The brushed stainless steel and chunky handles that sit neatly underneath the lid make this a beautiful gadget for the kitchen.
- The stoneware crock and glass lid are both dishwasher safe.
- Good even temperature with no hot-spots.
- It’s a good price, far cheaper than other brands and does the same thing!
The Not So Good:
For those with particularly large hands you might feel the handles (and particularly the part covered in heat-proof coating) are a little on the small side. For most of us though they are pretty comfortable and importantly don’t take up too much space (like on the Hamilton Beach model reviewed earlier).
There have been issues with ill-fitting lids. Overall, most customers are happy with the lid fit, so we are hoping this particularly important issue has been resolved (you can view over 80 customer reviews of the programmable Crock-pot slow cooker via the link above to amazon).
The outside (like many slow cookers) does get pretty hot. I cannot particularly make this a real negative against the Crock-pot in particular since it seems most makes are lacking that little extra insulation I would really like to see!
Unlike the Hamilton there is no power outage over-ride. So if your power goes down the cooker won’t continue cooking.
Crock-Pot Programmable Slow Cooker – The Verdict?
Overall, this is one of our favorites. Generally very reliable, looks great and easy to use. Personally I would love the ability to cook for a few hours on high and then switch to low for the remaining time, but few programmable slow cookers have this ability. I guess, there is less to go wrong!
This won’t be for everyone though. Remember a slow cooker does best when at least 1/3 to 1/2 full. If you plan on cooking small meals 6.5 quarts is going to be far too big for you. Also, don’t mistake “programmable” for “delay start” as some customers do. This kitchen appliance might do all the work for you, but you still have to be at home to switch it on.