Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jan 29, 2010 05:55 AM

Slow Cookers

I keep hearing and thinking how handy and what a time saver these things can be, but I'm a little unsure about leaving an appliance, ANY appliance on while I'm not home. To me, it's no different than having a stove on low all day...And the stove is built to a better standard of quality. I might, MIGHT, leave the thing on the garage floor cooking away all day, but in the house, on the counter? Not so sure. What say you all?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have left it on and not had any problems. That's not to say I don't think that something could go wrong.

    1. I've used my Rival since 1979 and haven't had any problems ever; have left it cooking on low while I'm at work many, many times. There might be some consumer websites that discuss safety of the ones currently manufactured, if that will help you decide.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Val

        I've had my Rival since 1990 and I was thinking it was getting old so I replaced it. Never had a problem with it in 20 years but I was worried that I might have a problem since it's getting quite old. Wrong. The new one actually burned my sloppy joes!! Trust the Rival!

        That said I always put it on a glass cutting board in case the bottom gets hot and burns the counter.....see? I'm just a worrier.

      2. My slow cooker has been left on many, many times when I have left the house. I've never had a problem.
        I've had two different slow cookers, and I can say that the newer version is designed so that no water vapor escapes during cooking, resulting in a low chance something could go wrong. The slow cooker has even heat from the all sides and does not touch the counter surface, so I would say it is far safer than leaving a low stove on all day.
        Regardless, I would recommend you purchase a Rival Crock Pot (the brand I've had much success with and is inexpensive) and use it to cook with during the weekend when you are home so you can get familiar with how it works.

        1. I use one and leave it on when I know I'll be returning in the appropriate time. Has other CHers have noted here, they have been around a long time plus Consumer Reports has rated tham and has not noted any safety issues with them. I did notice one item on the Consumer Reports Discussion site: while the old slow cookers maintained a temp of 150-170 at low setting, today's models operate at 200 so older recipes should be adjusted accordingly. CR also notes that slow cookers also are most efficient when at least half full.

          1. You can also put the slow cooker going before you go to bed and have it cook overnight (although I don't know if it would be cool enough to put in the fridge before you leave for work). I don't even like to have my dishwasher on while I"m gone.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Shann

              I won't run the DW if I'm not home. Friend of mine came home from running errands, after turning hers on to see water running out of the garage. A hose had broken and water was everywhere. So, no I won't run the DW if I'm not home.

              I DO use the crockpot and let it sit on my stainless steel stove, cuz' it gets warmer than I like to leave on the counter. It automatically goes to warm once it's cooked the prescribed time.

              1. re: JerryMe

                FYI -- feed hoses to things like dish and clothes washers can and do break, and not always when the unit is running. While not running the DW while away might make you feel better, the real solution is to upgrade the hoses

                1. re: MikeB3542

                  Yes, we learned that about the hoses the hard way. One time while we were gone on vacation, the hose burst and the whole kitchen flooded. Now we have super strong hoses on all the water supplies.