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Jan 19, 2008 03:42 PM

help buying a crock pot/slow cooker!

I'm looking to buy my boyfriend a crock pot as a gift since we like cooking together and recently watched a cooking show that featured cooking with crock pots. As a poor med student, price is an issue for me and I am looking to spend in the $30-40 range if possible. I've looked at some Rival crock pots on amazon but they didn't get the best reviews (people complained that it got too hot). Any suggestions on an inexpensive but quality crock pot? Thanks!

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  1. Last week I bought two Rival crock pots - a 4 qt. and a 6 qt. I LOVE them. This week-end we're on a stock making marathon and so far it's been just what I wanted. Last week I made a barbequed pork recipe and a whole chicken with Asian overtones that was simply delicious. If you check out your local Target store you will find their prices are very reasonable. For instance, the 4 qt was just under 20$.....Silly me got the 6qt. from Amazon but decided to keep it. I have not noticed extraordinary heat in either. You will find a ton of crockpot recipes on line if you Google. A whole new world will open up to you.

    1. I bought this one a few years ago and love it. I think I saw it for less at Wal-Mart. Shop around. It's great!
      Somebody said in the comments that it got too hot but I have never had that problem. Maybe they didn't have enough liquid or something. All the other comments were excellent.
      This one makes the best, easiest chicken stock ever. It will pay for itself in no time at all with what you'll save not having to buy stock at the supermarket.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MakingSense

        I just looked that one up on amazon and the majority of reviewers gave it one star saying it heated up too much:

        perhaps this is just an exaggeration or only the unhappy people reviewed the product?

        1. re: AnjLM

          So strange, isn't it? The majority on Cooking, com gave it the max stars and loved it. Go figure. I've never had any problem with it.
          You might be on to something about the unhappy people complaining.

          1. re: MakingSense

            I agree. Usually the only people who react are the unhappy or angry ones. I have a 4 qt rival crock pot and I paid less than $20 for it. I love it! I use it all the time. It was my favorite kitchen item in college!

            1. re: MakingSense

              Hi,,I'm as happy as you can be! Always used crock pots for years,,Yet,the last 2 makes the counter top so hot,,I fear damage or fire..I used to set and forget..Now,I just want one that doesn't heat the counter enough to worry:):):):)

            2. re: AnjLM

              The current live of Rival pots does get too hot. I've heard unconfirmed rumors that fears over getting sued because the pot doesn't reach a safe temperature lead Rival to increase the operating temperatures.

              In any case, I've had two older crock pots and one newer crock pot. The new one burns everything, the old one works great. On low in the old one things simmer. In the new one they boil fairly rapidly. My newer one sits in the basement only used when I need an extra pot for a party. I don't know who makes a good slow cooker these days, but I cannot recommend rival in good conscience.

          2. If you're a student you should be looking at second hand stores. I don't think I've ever been into one that hasn't had at least one decent crock pot for under $10. In fact, I just picked up a practically new Rival oval (what? 6 quart? Not sure, but it's big.) for $7.99. Works absolutely perfectly so I gave my other one (bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago for $2) to my son. It was smaller but also worked very well even though the previous owner had put the unit over a stove burner and melted the bottom out of it. Purely cosmetic - it was totally fine to use.

            And I'm not a student. I just find that people buy appliances thinking they'll use them and then they don't. So they show up at garage sales or Goodwill stores in perfect condition where you can buy them for a song.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Nyleve

              While I agree with Nyleve about the abundance of these cookers at thrift shop, this is the next one I'll buy if mine fails.

              1. re: Nyleve

                I agree, crockpots are always in abundance at thrift stores. That said, I just dropped and broke my old one, so I splurged and bought an All-clad one over the weekend (I had a gift card). I sometimes work really long hours, and I love that it's programmable and that it automatically goes to "warm" after the time is complete!

                1. re: frogophobic

                  Also... I bought the crockpot at Williams-Sonoma (I repeat, I had a very generous gift card). My well-meaning BF broke the ceramic part on first use, and the nice WS people let me return and exchange it even though it was entirely BF's fault. Chalk one up for WS - I *will* return to buy stuff there, even though I think a lot of it is overpriced.

                  1. re: frogophobic

                    Lucky person,,Happened to me,,moving and it sliiped right through the bottom of the original box,,,,I lost over $200,,,,,,:)

              2. I have a new slow cooker where you can brown in the vessel and then transfer it to the base for the long, slow cooking.

                I find the sauces and flavors have lost that decidedly "blah slow cooker" flavor and have also benefitted from the ability to reduce after cooking.

                I have a West Bend Versatility (cook because you can also use it for other cooking functions) and a VersaWare (which is a traditional stoneware style, but you can still brown in it - the lid isn't glass though).

                Neither one was over $40 if I recall correctly.

                1. I have been looking for a new slow cooker as well, and just bought one a couple of days ago. After much research and talking to the guy at the store (gotta love a store where you can actually get HELP buying a product like this from someone who knows their inventory, who also said I could return it if I didn't like it ....hard to find these days in the big box stores, for sure!!!), I splurged and got a Cuisinart 4 qt. slow cooker. The reason I got this is that I need one that will automatically switch to "warm" after cooking, since I often don't get home in time. Used it already and I love it...making Scotch broth soup in it tomorrow :-).

                  Consider how long you may be away from home when you are using the slow cooker. If longer than most recipes (averaging out to 7 - 8 hours) call for, you may want to get one that either has a timer or switches to "warm".