KYH is right - the removable crock is essential for easy cleaning.
I love my All-Clad 6.5 quart slow cooker. Previously I had a Rival crockpot, which did its job for more than 40 years, having been passed down from my grandmother's sister to me sometime in the mid-1970s. I passed it on to my nephew when I got the All-Clad. It is still kicking today, although he says it's about ready to go to pasture.
When I got the All-Clad, I considered their slow cooker with the cast iron liner that allows for in-cooker browning prior to switching to a slow cooker setting. I was concerned about the awkward challenge of draining fat from the browned meat out of the crock liner. Online reviews made the same observation. I settled on their version with the regular crock liner.
Nevertheless, the I love the one I have now, and use it whenever I want that slow cooked goodness, but am unable to stay at home with something on the stove top. In fact, it is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets - well worth the investment.
All I can say is what I did do when the lighted display went out on my 1st one. I let them know, and was directed to a local seller near my house, where it was replaced it free of charge, without question, and without a receipt.
Perhaps you have had a different experience. However, my response to the original question is offered based on my personal positive experience rather than a summary of all possible situations. I'm sure that a smart consumer will consider feedback from all sources, and weigh positives and negatives to make the right decision for themselves.
Joined: 14 Oct 2005 Posts: 827 Location: Oakland, CA
Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:08 am Post subject:
I purchased mine about 2 weeks before America's Test Kitchen did an equipment review on slow cookers. I had spent less than $100 on mine - on sale. the one they recommended cost around $200 - and had many bells and whistles that mine doesn't, including pre-programming.
I concur with KYH that a crock that comes out is essential. Other than that, my simple slow cooker does all that I need it to do. It also has clamps for keeping the lid tight if you are transporting it to a potluck or what have you. I like that feature, because I do occasionally take a pot of soup to school to share with colleagues. _________________ L'appetit vient en mangeant. -Rabelais
Joined: 11 Nov 2007 Posts: 235 Location: Madison, WI
Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:50 pm Post subject:
I wasn't sure I was going to like slow cooking, so I got an ultra cheap slow cooker from Walgreens. It has a removable, heavy-weight ceramic liner, and is otherwise pretty flimsy-looking. It does have three settings, though-- slow, high and keep warm, and, surprisingly, it does its job.I don't expect it to last 40 years, and will probably be replacing it with something better in the foreseeable future. However, I have a cheap-o rice cooked that I bought when I had an apartment in Chicago for work a few years ago, and it is indestructable. It has outlasted our regular rice cooker. This one has already gotten heavy use because it heats up the house less in summer than regular cooking, and is good for soups and stews that taste great in winter. My feeling is that the better brands are probably better. I went cheap because I was so extremely dubious about slow cooking as a technique (have since become a convert) but my experience is that if it has a heavy removable liner, and enough temperature settings brand and price may not be huge factors.
Joined: 21 Aug 2007 Posts: 552 Location: Central Kentucky
Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:38 pm Post subject:
Dory, if it's doing the job (and, apparently, doing it better than you expected) why would you want to replace it? I mean, other than higher priced, what would constitute "better?"
If it ain't broke, I say, don't fix it.
I remember the cheap meat grinder I bought. It was a year when I had a lot of wild game to process, and sausage making was big on my list. So I bought this thing for 99 bucks, figuring, what the hey! If I only got the one season out of it I was ahead of the game.
Uh, huh! That was two decades ago, and I've used it---sometimes harder, sometimes easier---every year of them.
You think I should have replaced it with a better one?
Joined: 16 May 2006 Posts: 456 Location: california
Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:41 am Post subject:
Snowy Owl...it's been years since I used the crockpot that's now in my basement...However, two younger members of my family wanted one, did the research themselves, and submitted their choices to me on their b'day gift lists last year. So...I bought two KitchenAid crockpots last year, and the recipients both love them. KitchenAid costs considerably less than the All-Clad, which got great reviews to go along with its lofty pricetag. While the All-Clad cost somewhere around $250+ (US), the KitchenAid was more like $130 (US). It has several heat settings, a timer, removable insert, etc.
I note that you live in Canada, so I'm not certain how any of these recommendations will relate to your market place, but they are international companies, so I'm assuming you have easy access to them, too.
I suspect there are other crockpots with good recommendations (you might check out the customer reviews on Amazon or the recommendations of American Test Kitchen) in other price ranges as well. You should be able to find a good product for whatever you are willing to spend. Good luck in your search. _________________ So far, so good.
Joined: 10 Nov 2009 Posts: 41 Location: Chicago suburbs
Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:03 am Post subject:
Hey Snowy, did you get your slow cooker yet? I have a Hamilton-Beach that M. l'ours bestowed upon me for Christmas. It's one that's programmable, and I think it was only about $50. I was able to adapt poulet en coquotte for it--YUM!! I also make broth in it. Good luck. _________________ "Food is an important part of a balanced diet..." Fran Leibowitz
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