Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Very cheaply made, but it works fine
on November 10, 2011
So, how do I rate it? I guess I am more concerned with how well it works than how it's made, so I give it four stars for performance. If I rated it on how it was made and what it is constructed of, I'd give it two stars--maybe one.... If I'd paid any more for it than what it's offered for here, I'd be angry.
I like the fact that the insert can be used on my cooktop--I consider that its best feature. That is why I bought this small appliance. The size and shape is next on my list of what I like about it. It does hold quite a lot, and its large size makes it very easy to manipulate the contents. So much easier than in the upright, round one that I have been using. I thought I would find the size too big, but that's not the case.
It took a few tries to find the right flame height and right timing for browning meat in this insert. It definitely does not conduct heat like my tri-ply SS pots and pans, (not that I expected aluminum to do a comparable job). But I've finally got it mastered and I'm not having any trouble browning meats--it just takes longer. Using the insert on the cooktop has saved me clean-up time--exactly what I was wishing for.
I'm having some frustration dealing with the solid lid. I didn't realize how much I would miss my glass lid.....How to check on the cooking process without a glass lid?!? So I lift the lid more often. So far that's not really caused any problems, because after I put the lid back on, I put the heat on high for a little while. Not the best practice, but it works: Precision is not needed for the slow cooking I've been doing.
Re: Construction: This small appliance is made very cheaply. The stainless steel lid is not substantial. The handles on the lid and the sides do NOT protect from heat. (I mean, why even bother to use a rubber material that's not heat-proof?) The brushed sheet of stainless steel wrapped around the appliance is for decoration only. It is very flimsy, bends when you press your finger into it, and holds fingerprints. It is the worst feature of this appliance in my opinion. It is more than worthless. The insert is also of very poor quality: It looks to have been made in a mold, but the mold was not precise and the insert has "wobbles" in it and the finish is not smooth. There are other signs of cheap quality, and I just don't want to waste time writing about them.
So, to sum up: I'm glad to have it; I am using it a few times a week; I am totally disappointed that it carries the Breville name (which I'd respected up 'til now); I hate the handles; I hate the pretty brushed SS sleeve that goes around it; I miss a glass see-through lid, and I won't be giving up my old slow cookers.
FYI: I have two other slow cookers: One original Crock Pot from the 70's and an oval Corning Ware model. Both are better constructed and both were inexpensive, but I can't brown in either of them. I will continue to use them for my soups and all recipes with beans, split peas and lentils.