Customer Reviews

379
4.3 out of 5 stars
West Bend 84915 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker with Tote
Color Name: GrayChange
Price:$49.23 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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216 of 219 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
Color Name: GrayVerified Purchase
I've been slow-cooking since the first CrockPots (in the 1950's? -- time flies). I've used a couple of dozen or more during that time. Settings were all Low-High-Off, later adding Warm. No bells and whistles. Most of these cookers were very unreliable on temperature control. Except for programming capability, little else has changed in 50 years.

The West Bend Versatility series is a quantum leap forward: non-stick metal pot that can be used to brown meat (any experienced slow-cooker knows what a convenience that is!); converts to a griddle if you don't have one handy; and has an infinite heating control from barely warm to just-short-of-boiling.

Because I'm a gadget geek, I made some tests. (First, please be aware that most slow-cookers typically peak at around the same point --somewhere between 180-210 degrees F, regardless of the heat setting. The main difference between Low, Medium, and High is how quickly the peak temperature is reached. Some of the more sophisticated cookers (the Versatility is one) have lower or higher peaks related to the setting. For the serious cook, these types are preferable).

My tests started with the pot 2/3 full of room-temperature water. I used a calibrated thermometer probe in the center of the pot. I put the cover on, but it wasn't seated where the probe wire exited.

TEMPERATURE SETTING #3 (LOW) HOURS MEASURED TEMPERATURE

1:00 157
2:00 176
3:00 180
4:00 182
5:00 183
6:00 183
7:00 188 (Flatlined)

TEMPERATURE SETTING #4 (MEDIUM)
1:00 170
2:00 188
3:00 194 (Flatlined)

TEMPERATURE SETTING #5 (HIGH)
1:00 155
2:00 198
2:45 209 (Flatlined)

I didn't do a time series on the #1 and #2 settings, but they topped out at 149 and 160 degrees respectively.
Remember that the Versatility setting is infinitely variable, so in-between heating speeds can be used. Also, bear in mind that these temperatures were measuring water only -- cooking food may be different.

These ranges were relatively the same on both the 5-quart and 6-quart cookers.

Speaking of quarts, be aware that the "5-quart" has an actual maximum capacity of 4.3 quarts at overflowing. West Bend Customer Service still maintains that it's 5 quarts. The "6-quart" model is an actual 6-quart capacity. Practical capacity for cooking is, of course, less.

As other reviews have noted, there's no "off" setting, so you havee to unplug. However, the cooker end of the cored is unpluggable, so no big deal.

Other reviews have complained about the non-stick coating deteriorating. I refer them to the instructions in the manual, under the heading "Using Your Slow Cooker--First Use" wherein it describes how to avoid damage to the coating. I won't repeat it here -- it's in the book. Also, note that while the coating is dishwasher-safe, it will last longer with hand-washing --a breeze due to the non-stick finish. Because so few users actually read directions, West Bend does not cover the non-stick under warranty.

All this said, the Versatiltiy is an incredible value for its price. It's a good example of how excellent design, engineering, and production can result in a quality product at very low cost. It's far and above any cooker I've used before.

4 stars only because it lacks an "off" switch, and the "5-quart" capacity is inaccurate and misleading.

Outstanding product and value!
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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2007
Color Name: Gray
This is my third West Bend Slow Cooker in 20 years. I got rid of my oldest one and now have two I use regularly. I ordered this one because it had a carrier tote; I take my slow cooker with me to covered-dish dinners and church socials. This is a nice extra feature, but I would have bought a West Bend anyway; I like the adjustable heat-not just high, medium and low. I use my slow cookers to thaw and reheat frozen foods,cook turkey breasts, and make soups.You can put ingredients in the cooker in the morning and come home to a hot dinner. This is a good product, easy to clean and can be used on the stove top or even in the freezer. I highly recommend it.
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91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Gray
I got this because of a friend's recommendation about a year and a half ago. I was expecting more of a Rival Crockpot type of device and when I first opened it I thought this just is not going to work well.

I am really surprised. It cooks well on the range top, the griddle part also works well as a griddle, and when you put the two together it also works just fine.

I made a pot roast a couple of weeks ago. I first browned onions, garlic and carrots on the stove top. Then I browned the meat an all sides as well. Took that out and tossed a little wine in to mix it all up and then put the meat, the onions, garlic and carrots and bay leaves, rosemary and thyme in the pot. Added beef stock half way up the roast, set it on the griddle base, turned it to low and let it go for about 6 hours. It came out just right. Everything done in the one pot and just the way I like it.

Way better than the old type of crock pot in my opinion. Lots of uses in one device and easy to clean up as well. Could not do better and it was not expensive.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2009
Color Name: Gray
The only reason I can't give this product a 5-star rating is the color. (The picture on Amazon appeared white, the product box used for shipping definitely showed white, but the product is a matte-finish grey. I'm dubious about how it will hold up over time.)

I ordered this product to replace the same thing, received over 30 years ago for a wedding gift. And the only reason I needed a replacement was because the lower portion (element/grill) was lost in a move! All of the original item still worked when last used. I can't say that for any other electrical item that old in my house.

This product has been so reliable and convenient over the years for me that I love to give it for wedding gifts! It's the best way I've found to both brown a roast stove-top, forget it while cooking low on the grill with veggies or beans, and still take the dish to another location. The additional tote I now have with the new cooker will just make transport that much easier. And I frequently refrigerate the leftovers in the pan with lid. Reheating on stove-top is so easy.

Great product!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2009
Color Name: Gray
[...], this is my first slow cooker, and today I made pot roast for the first time. I used a 2 1/2lb boneless chuck roast /w carrots and potatoes and cooked it for about 8 hours on low and when it was done it was so tender and juicy! I really like this slow cooker, I like it's simplicity that you just turn 1 knob and it cooks it perfectly for you instead of you having to mess with a digital reader and set the time and exact temperature and heat setting, ect..........I flipped the knob to Low and let it cook all day. 2 things I DISLIKE about this crock pot is that there is no indicator light to show that it's on, that's a real bummer but not a huge drawback, and there is no "Off" switch, you need to unplug it or it stays on. It seems kind of dumb that they couldn't include those 2 simple things. But I like this crock pot, I'm not going to complain! I bought this only to use for me and my Fiance' and we barely have any leftovers at all despite me filling the crock more than half full with things...so if you need this for a big family, it won't feed you all. It's perfect for 2 people /w minimal leftovers, 4 people max.....Or maybe we just eat like pigs?
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2008
Color Name: Gray
I have two and I love them...It gets used 2-3 times a week....Easy to clean. Put your meal on in the morning and walaa, its done for dinner..
The best slow cooker, I like the oblong the best...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2008
Color Name: Gray
This slow cooker is great. It cooks faster than a crock pot and is useful for keeping food warm. The glass lid and carry case clinched the purchase for me. I've used it a number of times now and I am very pleased with the speed in which it starts cooking, then just turn down the heat to keep the food slightly simmering.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2008
Color Name: Gray
I love this slow cooker. I have one that died after having it 20 years and the only reason it died was because it flipped over in the trunk of my car spilling the soup into the the electrical unit. My husband tried to take it apart and fix it but it was ruined. I like this slow cooker because it is lightweight. I looked at some of the other crockpots but they were heavy. I take food to church socials and I didn't want to have to tote something heavy. The teflon coating makes it easy to clean. You can also choose to use the base as a grill. These slow cookers cannot be found in the stores. I had to order mine.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2009
Color Name: Gray
I bought a 3-quart version of this cooker a few years ago and loved it, and suggested to my sister that she buy one, which she did.

A year or so later she said she had to throw hers out because the heat control would not stay where she set it; it would slowly move all the way to the hottest setting. A couple months later mine started doing the same time.

I contacted West Bend, but they would not sell me a replacement heat control mechanism. So now I'm shopping for a new slow cooker.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2011
Color Name: GrayVerified Purchase
West Bend is the only brand that makes a slow cooker that can go on the stove top. This is crucial for me, because I will usually brown my meat on the stove to seal in the juices, then transfer it to the slow cooker plate, add more ingredients, and simmer for several hours. Also, I can store food in the same pot overnight, then set on the stove to re-heat. In addition, the pieces are very easy to clean, either by hand or in the dishwasher.
I purchased this updated West Bend slow cooker to replace the one that I received as a wedding gift 15 years ago. After 15 years, my pot's finish wore out, probably because I did not season it appropriately. I will be sure to keep this one seasoned so that it will last even longer.
-The updated pot is oblong, instead of round. This is so that a roast will fit nicely. With my old round pot, I had to cut the meat in half and set one piece atop the other. So I like the new shape. It still fits on a large stove eye.
-Another upgrade is that West Bend took away the cool-touch handles on the pot so that this one can also go into the oven. That's a trade-off that I can live with. The versatility to go on the range, slow cooker plate, or in the oven is pretty nice...so I have to pick up a hot pad to hold the pot while I stir on the stove.
-The color of the pot looks white in the online picture, but mine is grey/silver. Not a big deal to me, just FYI (I prefer the silver).
-This model comes with a carrying tote, which is nice for office parties, pot-luck gatherings, or traveling for Thanksgiving. There are straps inside to hold the pot secure, and straps outside for carrying. There is also a plastic lid that snaps (loosely) onto the pot for travel. The box says the tote will keep food warm for 2 hours. I look forward to using this since I have not had this feature before.
-The lid is thin glass with metal edge and a plastic knob on top. On my old pot, the lid is a heavy solid glass, which I think makes a higher quality product.
-I have been highly dependent on my old West Bend slow cooker, using it for at least two meals per week. This is a very important appliance for me, and I'm glad West Bend is still making it. I would not use a crockpot because it cannot be used on the stovetop.
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