Crock Pots And Slow Cookers, The Best Buy Is…?
It’s the time of year when alongside the golden yellow and burgundy red fall leaves, winter food and root vegetables take over from salads, which in turn for me means crock pots and slow cookers come into their own.
For winter meals and people who are out to work but still need to cook a wholesome family meal, their crock pot or slow cooker is their best mate, a solution to having freshly cooked hot food on the table more or less as you walk in the door – now that’s a great gadget!
You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s a bunch of brand names who make slow cookers when in fact there are only half a dozen of the known manufacturers in the game.
This whittles down into two main contenders and one of those is the original Crockpot, the other Hamilton Beach, who have made big inroads into Crockpot’s market share, or that’s how it looks. Proctor Silex also make slow cookers worth having and the most popular small model is featured below.
Actually now is a good time to untangle a common misunderstanding – crock-pots are slow cookers, Crockpot is a company makes slow cookers – I think they made the first one and started an unstoppable trend. Having decided to write this post it seemed a good idea to ask who else used them, which model and how well it performs – well wow is all I can say.
Expecting maybe a quarter or even half the staff to have and use a crock pot or slow cooker, it was a real surprise to find only a handful out of over 130 staff aren’t in the slow cooker club at all – funny thing, they are all young and single or have grown up families – all of us with a meal to get for a sizable family have one and use it a couple times a week.
There really isn’t much to them and prospective slow cooker newbies have two decisions to make.
- Do you want a machine that’s fully programmable?
- What size do you need – or put another way, how many are you catering for?
Once you’ve answered those two, choosing your slow cooker becomes almost self selecting.
So What’s The Best Crock Pot On Sale Right Now?
Update 13/10/14 – On Special Offer Right Now
One of the most popular and more expensive models available, this ultra modern sleek looking babe is currently slashed in price and has 34% off. With it’s reputation for have a true low simmer, reviews say it turns out near perfect food, none have a bad thing to say.
No matter how carefully you look and keep searching, you’ll rarely see really top quality slow cookers like this (or the All Clad) on any kind of offer, and on those grounds I’ve grabbed one myself to tuck away, we use a slow cooker so much, they do get worn out eventually.
Our current Cuisinart has been hard at work for several years now – featured below as a good reliable buy, it isn’t as good as this one. Should you be seriously hunting for the right one and looking to buy a Crock-Pot in the next week or two, all I can say is when they’re gone they’re usually gone!
Other Top Selling Crock Pots And Slow Cookers
Updated 13/10/14, one of the most consistently bestselling slow cooker on Amazon is this family sized Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker – the update is that there’s now a new model, the 33969A. I’m sure there are differences but blowed if I can find them!
I don’t have either of these slow cookers but several friends and colleagues do – they like myself follow the crowd, because when a product is good, it sells and keeps selling, which this one did and has.
Pros include the size which will easily cook meals for a large family and serve 8 – 10 people comfortably. The program features give you any combination of cooking you can imagine wanting.
Users also love the secure clips which make taking a meal to pot luck or other events, mess free. Friends say they’ve recommended it to others and bought it as a gift for other family members, so no better accolade available really!
Cons are few, one oddly enough being the size – it is big and if you’re cooking for one, two or even four, this is probably more than you need. Equally is there any reason you wouldn’t cook more than you need and freeze it? That’s how I survive getting meals on the table every day!
There are reports of it switching off out of the blue and with no warning. Well, this is my warning! None of the people I’ve talked to have experienced this, and I note several of the negative reviews then go on to affiliate link you to a more expensive slow cooker which they are delighted with. Hmm, take with a pinch of salt methinks.
Besides, if you have a problem then you’ll find Hamilton Beach very receptive to changing or replacing kitchen appliances, so I wouldn’t let it put me off at all. The price is really competitive and personally, if I were looking for a large slow cooker, I’d buy this.
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker
Both come in at the same price at the time of writing, both are fully programmable all singing all dancing and quivering with features, as much as a slow cooker can!
Pros with the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry include a rubber leak proof sort of rubber gasket on the lid which according to three colleagues and one neighbor, works like a charm if you and your Crock go mobile.
Again this is big slow cooker and will easily feed a large family. If you know you’ll only ever use a slow cooker for two plus a spare meal, then a smaller one might suit better. Though I don’t pay heed to the ‘only cook with it full’ crowd, the results are better if the pot is at least half to two thirds full, with only two of you there will be enough for the entire week plus some over.
The Slow Cooker Crafted For Couples And Perfect For Students
Compact and neat, the Proctor Silex 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker is made for one or two persons, three at a pinch. Lacking only the sophisticated program features offered by far larger more expensive slow cookers, it will still cook a perfect meal.
This model is priced to give to students away for the first time – all moms know you really can’t mess up a crock pot meal! Remember you don’t cut the cooking time down just because there is less food or a smaller pot, if the recipe is for 1lb of cubes steak then the cooking time is the same as for 3lb.
Until fairly recently my old slow cooker was similarly lacking in features, yet cooked great meals several times a week in winter months for I think eight years, before finally switching off never to work again.
If there are only two of you and you’re new to slow cookers this is a perfect size and price to get you started – only $13 at the time of writing, seriously this is a steal which gets great reviews with no major show stopping flaws. There are other models for a little more moolah and several color choices in the 33116Y model or checkout the 33111Y model.
Looking For 4 Quart Crock?
The Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker is fully programmable and switches to keep warm when done cooking, so it doesn’t matter if you arrive home late, the food is still perfect.
This is the model I have and use daily, so I can recommend it for being easy to use, easy to clean and dead reliable – but it costs more than bigger equally programmable slow cookers – it doesn’t seem right to pay more for less, but that’s the way it is I guess.
Cuisinart make quality kitchen gadgets and small appliances, we have the set it forget it rotisserie and to be fair all the Cuisinart products are robust and easy clean. My advice? Shop around and see if there is anything on offer with a 4 quart capacity, but if not, I will say this has been brilliant value and is still a good servant.
This Hamilton Beach 33141 4-Quart Oval Slow Cooker only has basic functions, but honestly you don’t need more unless the timer is particularly important to you.
Not a budget model by any means, the price is extraordinarily inexpensive at around $15
So long as the slow cooker switches to ‘stay warm’ when the chosen cooking time is finished, there really isn’t any necessity to program anything. This is an excellent buy and comes recommended by three colleagues who work long days and rely on it to welcome them home.
If none of the above look like suiting your needs, the link below will take you to the best sellers list for crock pots and slow cookers, where you’ll surely find one from amongst them. The slow cookers featured are ones I know about or use myself and which represent good value for money – but there are literally hundreds more to choose from, including several that let you brown the meat first and have other functions which may interest you.
If this is your first slow cooking adventure, then I wish you many delicious hot meals to come, and if you have any questions I’ll be happy to get back to you – just drop a comment below.