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Slow Cooker - Consumer Reports Ratings

m
michael Nov 24, 2008 11:36 AM

Here are the 3 highest rated slow cookers. (rated in this order)

1. All Clad 99005
2. Rival Crock-Pot SCVC604H-SS
3. Hamilton Beach Set 'N Forget 33967

Does anyone have experience with these models? (..or these brands?) Any particular slow cooker recommendations?

I like quality and features; though who doesn't? I would like to keep the price within the $50-100 range. And would like at least a 6 quart capacity.

Thanks!

  1. travelames Mar 6, 2010 11:20 AM

    I'm doing some research as well... it's between the Cuisinart PSC-650 and the Breville Slow Cooker with Easy Sear http://www.brevilleusa.com/cooking/7q....

    The Pro in Breville for me is the ability to use pot on the stove top to sear meats... one less piece of cookware to clean. The Con is no programmable controls.

    Does anyone have any insight in the Breville? Thanks!

    1. r
      rtmonty Jan 5, 2009 05:22 AM

      I recently purchased the Rival SCVI600B VersaWare 6 qt. Crock Pot and it's been a dandy. Do carnitas, pulled pork plus the usual stews, pot roast, etc. The liner is removable and can be used to brown the meat on the stove top. Automatically goes to warm once the cooking time is done. It was highly recommended by Bon Apetite. The link below should show you the picture plus the price at Amazon is very good.

      http://www.amazon.com/Rival-SCVI600B-...

      1 Reply
      1. re: rtmonty
        The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2009 06:10 AM

        I have a rival versaware, too, and really love it, especially for the price.

        ~TDQ

      2. r
        ridgeback Jan 3, 2009 01:37 PM

        I have never owned a slow cooker but my wife wants one so I'm researching. Thanks for posting the CR ratings. In August 2007 Cook's Illustrated rated slow cookers and AC model number 99007 was top rated. The Hamilton Beach model they reviewed was the Set 'N Forget model 33966, which was downgraded because the insert lacked handles. However, the newer model 33967 has handles on the insert. Cook's also provided some general guidance to aid in selection: Don't buy one with less than 6 ounce capacity because any smaller and it'll be too small to fit even a modest-sized roast. Also, while the depth and shape of a round cooker is preferable for stews and chilis, unless that's all you'll use it for get an oval cooker because they're more functional. A timer and an on-light are essential.

        The HB is well-reviewed at Amazon, and like the AC has a tempered glass lid and keep-warm setting. At less than one-third the price of the also well-regarded AC ($50 v. $180), for me, it's hard to justify the HB. I might lean more toward the more handsome AC if this were an item that would be an everyday presence on the counter top but it won't be, so...

        4 Replies
        1. re: ridgeback
          billieboy Jan 3, 2009 02:55 PM

          I have had the Hamilton Beach 33966 for about 9 months. I love it!!!!
          It has a temperature probe and you can set the final temp....say 180 for chicken.
          When it gets to that temp, it switches to "warm"
          No more guess-work.
          Made the best roast of my life.
          Just make sure you brown the meat before you put it in. Greatly improves the flavour.

          1. re: billieboy
            MikeB3542 Jan 3, 2009 05:58 PM

            Ditto on that Hamilton Beach unit -- has done a great job so far. The probe is great for cooking chicken, and the program function is a big step up from my old Crock Pot (though I miss the old Swing setting). The locking lid and the built in serving spoon are a nice bonus. Got it for $40 at WalMart. The AlClad is almost identical in size, finish and function, so basically you are paying for, what?

            By the way, 6-quart is as BIG as I would ever get (Actually, you will be hard-pressed to find larger models). Units smaller than 6-quart actually can make a lot of sense, so I would ignore anybody saying that anything under 6-quart is "too small". Remember, you need to fill the liner at least half way, ideally two-thirds, for it to work properly, so a 6-quart unit will be preparing, minmimum, eight pounds of food. Plan on lots of leftovers! (1-quart models are really only suitable for dips.) If you truly need something bigger, buy a Nesco.

            1. re: MikeB3542
              r
              ridgeback Jan 4, 2009 06:50 AM

              Thanks for the feedback. Regarding the size issue, Cook's Illustrated wrote that a 4 or 5 quart model is too small for a 5 pound roast or brisket, which isn't very big in the scheme of things. Even cooking for two I think it would be preferable for most people to make a larger recipe and enjoy the leftovers.

          2. re: ridgeback
            r
            ridgeback Jan 4, 2009 06:52 AM

            I meant to write it's hard to justify not buying the Hamilton Beach over the All Clad - for me - based on price, features and reviews.

          3. al b. darned Nov 26, 2008 12:30 AM

            I would say "None of the above." I have the Cuisiart PSC-400 4 qt slow cooker.

            I like the electronic controls on it. I also like that it will start on "high" no matter what you set it for until it comes up to temperature and then shift to your setting. (Heating quickly past the "Danger Zone") When your cooking time is up, it will shift to "keep warm". The only thing I wish it would allow is dual programming. (Say, 2 hours on high and then 4 hours on low) .

            Overall it works well and ;has some nice features. I recommend this one.

            2 Replies
            1. re: al b. darned
              m
              maggiej Nov 26, 2008 05:22 AM

              I have the larger Cuisinart and am enjoying it so far. I agree, I wish it would allow you to program high then low...
              Have you made dried beans in it?

              1. re: al b. darned
                poptart Jan 5, 2009 06:25 PM

                I have a Cuisinart 4-qt without the electronic controls. It has a timer though which switches to "warm" after your designated # of hours on low or high. I've used it a lot and would definitely recommend.

              2. b
                blackpointyboots Nov 25, 2008 05:24 PM

                I have a Rival one that I think is the same model or one close to the one listed. It works great for larger pieces of meat or big batches of things like chili. I can roast two chickens at once. The big oval model works better than the smaller crock built in round models. I like the multiple cook time settings and the warming cycle. My only complaint is that the plastic handle broke after using it a few times. I tried to get someone at Rival customer service to respond with no luck. All I wanted was to BUY a replacement handle. No such luck. I ended up buying a cupboard door knob, some washers and a small bolt and rigged a new handle.

                1. mschow Nov 24, 2008 01:49 PM

                  I have 2 crockpots, both inexpensive models, two different sizes. If I had to do it all over again, I would like a few more options than I have. Always want a timer and the 'warm' setting as the OP mentioned. Also, my sister has a Rival that has a place where you can store the spoon and a locking top. I think both of those options would be very useful if, for example, you want to bring the dish to someones house for a pot luck or even just to always know where your large spoon is. The locking top keeps the top sturdy and in place in the car if you are traveling with a full pot of food. Also, an on/off light is useful as one of my slow cookers has a knob, but no light.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mschow
                    alliedawn_98 Nov 25, 2008 05:39 AM

                    I don't have any of those but I do have this Rival.
                    http://www.google.com/products?source...

                    I got it for Christmas last year. Now, the hinge part on the lid is broken, the front little tab to open is broken as well. I don't know why these parts broke. I don't abuse it!

                    I have a smaller Hamilton Beach slow cooker that is over 2 years old and still looks like the day I got it.

                  2. OCAnn Nov 24, 2008 12:48 PM

                    ConsumerSearch has its own set of recommendations, and only one are on both lists: the Hamilton Beach. http://www.consumersearch.com/slow-cookers However, CS recommends the 33966 (as opposed to the 33967), and it's reasonably priced.

                    Personally, while I LOVE my AC products, my current crock pot is a cheap Rival (http://tinyurl.com/5mpgxn) which I'm happy with.

                    1. poptart Nov 24, 2008 11:44 AM

                      I am not familiar with using those brands, but did buy a Cuisinart 4-qt model with a timer on it, and like it very much. It is great to have the cooker switch to "warm" after the prescribed amount of cooking time because it is very rare that I actually get home in time to turn it off.

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