We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of these may be affiliate based, meaning we earn small commissions (at no additional cost to you) if items are purchased. Here is more about what we do.
While there is a plethora of crockpot brands and models to choose from, if you are shopping around for a non-crockpot slow cooker, your choices are much more limited. Like I explained in this article, a basic slow cooker consists of a pot sitting on top of a separate hot plate instead of the pot fitting inside of the heating element.
What’s nice about the slow cooker is that typically the hot plate can normally also double as a griddle, and it’s normally nonstick, as well, for easy clean up.
When I was looking online to try and find the best slow cookers out there, I found myself clicking on links for the same manufacturer over and over again. It seems that there is really only one company that makes these types of slow cookers anymore, and that is West Bend. There was one other brand out there, Silver Line, but I wasn’t able to find any reviews and only two websites that sold it, so I have no way of knowing its quality, durability, etc.
West Bend makes both a 5-quart and a 6-quart model, and both products, on many different websites, receive rave reviews. Several reviews specifically mention the durability of this brand, with customers mentioning that they were buying a new model only because their old West Bend slow cooker had finally died after many, many years of use. While the USDA recommends using this type of slow cooker only for soups, stews, and other dishes of small-cut pieces, for food-safety purposes, many of the reviews I read also mentioned cooking lots of different dishes in these slow cookers with wonderful results.
So, it would appear that, even though you don’t have the quite the selection available when looking to buy a slow cooker like this, the two main options available are very reliable, durable, and of good quality. Other than the slight difference in size, the only other variation between these two models is that the 5-quart model is manual with 5 different temperature options, numbered 1-5, while the 6-quart model is digital and programmable, with 4 settings of warm, low, high, and griddle, with an automatic Keep Warm function and auto-shut off after 24 hours. There is a myriad of options for the 5 quart model to include options with a black standard tote back and red, blue, or green colored pots with color coordinated insulated totes – all at slightly different price points.
All of these options are much more lightweight than the typical crockpot slow cookers that often come with a heavy ceramic or stoneware pot. Another pro is that the lightweight pots also come with a nonstick interior finish as well as having the nonstick griddle for the base. In all of the models, the lid and pot are dishwasher safe and can also be used on the stove, in the oven, or in the fridge. West Bend offers a 1-year warranty, and their slow cookers all come with a recipe booklet with tips and meal ideas.
All in all, though you don’t really have much of an opportunity to shop around when looking to buy a non-crockpot slow cooker, the West Bend models seem more than adequate for their purpose. If you were thinking about getting a crockpot, but you are looking for a little more bang for your buck by getting the bonus of a nonstick griddle with your purchase, then a West Bend slow cooker is probably just what you need.
About Ashley Martell
Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.