Slow Cookers – what’s new and hot in crockpots

Lisa’s slow cooker is too hot. Jane’s slow cooker is too cold. My slow cooker seems to be just right, but it is about 20 years old, so it could conk out at anytime. 

Since Kitchen Gadget Girl operates on a shoe string budget (!), rather than test a bunch of slow cookers, I thought I would walk through the process I would use for finding a new slow cooker, aloud, showing my readers (all three of you now) how I would go about finding a new appliance. And because I do most of my shopping on-line, that is where I will start and finish my search. Any questions or comments? Ok, let’s get started.

1. I do a generic search for “Crock Pot Review” in Google

2. Up comes Consumer Search, Slow Cooker Review: Best Slow Cooker, Crock Pot

Well, this looks interesting. They have compiled reviews from a whole bunch of sites, including Cooks Illustrated (a trusted source in my book), Amazon and Consumer Reports. They also have a nice layout, comparing different brands and price points. And they have a feature to compare prices. Nice.

Looks like the top one is the All-Clad 99009. This slow cooker has an impressive array of features, including programmable settings and three temperature settings. Prices run right about $179, which is a little more than I wanted to spend. I don’t use my slow cooker that often, but I do like the programmable features of the All-Clad…it would be ideal on those days when I am out of the house early for work.

The Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go 33162H is the Budget Choice from Consumer Search. Right around $50, this slow cooker uses wrap-around technology, which is according to the review, a feature not often seen in a low-end model. It has 3 temperature settings, but no timer, which is a useful feature to have if you are gone from home during most of the day. Amazon reviewers give it pretty high points, and for $39.99 on Amazon, it would not break the bank to try this out. 

At this point, I think I have enough information. Home appliance and kitchen tool purchases under $40 are fairly straight forward and do not require the extensive research for an appliance of $250 or more. Each shopper has their own threshold for purchases, and depending on how much you plan to use this kitchen tool will certainly influence how much you want to spend. Since I do not use mine often, and my key desires for this new appliance are a removable pot and multiple temperature settings, I would purchase the Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go.

The CrockPot Lady, aka Stephanie, cooked every day in her slow cooker in 2008 and blogged about the experience – her appliance of choice was a Crock-pot brand slow cooker, formerly under the Rival brand name. I think her experience shows that it is not necessarily the appliance that makes the dish, but good quality ingredients cooked with care.

What kind of slow cooker do you have? Do you recommend yours, or would you like to ship it off? Tell us!

Photo courtesy of


  1. I have the All-Clad and love it. BUT if I were buying again, I’d buy the upgraded version (sold by Williams-Sonoma), with the insert that can go directly on the stovetop. That way you can brown right in the same pot, then slip it into the slow cooker. I wish they sold the insert separately, but they do not.

  2. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    Oh, I am glad you chimed in. I had heard rumors about a slow cooker with an insert, but I thought it was just that – a rumor. Glad to hear it really exists, as I do agree, being able to brown your meat on the stovetop, and then plunk the pan into the unit would be ideal. Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. I love the crockpot 365 blog! I just recently started crocking and I love it! I have 2 Rival crockpots, 2 different generations of the same model. I haven’t tried one of them yet (the older one) because I just bought it from a friend who didn’t need it anymore but mine cooks way too hot. It does have a timer but I need to learn that low is really almost high and adjust timing.

  4. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    I am curious to know how many people inherit or receive used slow cookers? Besides Lydia, I am not sure I know many people who have bought their own. Mine came with my husband, he received it when he graduated from college.

    Where did your original crock pot come from? And, are you using any special cookbook, or relying on recipes you find online? I have made a couple things from crock pot 365, including a cornbread stuffing recipe that was pretty tasty. Would love to know about your successful recipes too!

  5. I had a crock pot that I loved. One day I came across a “test” from our local extension service that showed how to see if your slow cooker was safe to use. It involved putting a specific amount of water in it, turning it on for a period of time, and checking the temperature. My beloved crockpot didn’t meet the standards, so out it went.

    I’ve bought three more since then. One was a “smart” kind that wouldn’t allow me to override its settings and burned everything. Now I’ve bought basic models in two sizes and I’m pleased with them. They’re cheap but work much better than the smart one.

    I’ve bought all of mine on my own, and I bought one for my mom a few years ago since her wedding-gift one didn’t have a removable crock.

  6. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    Linda, thanks for the tip! On the Buncombe County Extension Newsletter (North Carolina) I found the following instructions:

    To see if your crock-pot is working correctly, fill the pot two-thirds full with water. Cover and put it on HIGH. Check the temperature of the water with a food thermometer in two hours. If it is 160° or higher, then your pot is working correctly and you are set to go.

    I am going to try that today and make sure my pot is working correctly!

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