West Bend 84905 Review

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Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

Pros: The West Bend 84905 (starting at $40, Amazon) is a multicooker which, like others of its ilk, offers home cooks an extra helping of versatility and convenience above standard slow cookers. West Bend 84905 reviews posted on Walmart.com and Amazon show strong consumer acceptance of this countertop appliance that can go from stovetop to oven to freezer with stops in between to slow cook a meal. Reviewers say this entry-level model is user-friendly, light enough for an elderly woman to lift when full, and capable of producing toothsome ribs, tasty vegetable soup, moist chicken, and tender roasts.

Contented users prefer this variation on the slow-cooker theme (and many are longtime devotees) for several reasons. They appreciate the time and effort saved by browning meat on the stovetop right in the slow-cook pot before assembling and cooking the rest of the dish. They favor the metal pot, which, unlike stoneware slow-cooker inserts, doesn't break if it happens to drop. And in the case of the West Bend 84905, they welcome the range of temperature options beyond the simple high, low, and warm found on traditional slow cookers.

Thanks to the no-stick coating, users report, the pot is easy to clean. Collectively, users award the West Bend 84905 an average of more than 4 stars out of 5 on review sites.

Cons: What some reviewers aren't so wild about is how hot the unit gets -- including the handles, warn a few. The handles also seem small to several reviewers. Comments about odd staining inside the pot, coating that flakes, and a thin, tinny feel occasionally surface. Ditto for ill-fitting lids and defective plugs.

Features: This is a 5-quart manual slow cooker with an oblong shape (straight sides, rounded corners). The heat comes from a separate base that can be used as a griddle. There are five temperature settings -- high, medium, low, and two levels of warm (the lowest meant for warming breads and baked goods) -- but users can set the dial anywhere in between the numbered options for finer control. The pot and glass lid are dishwasher-safe, but alternatively can be cleaned by hand with hot, soapy water.

Takeaway: Compared with other models that moonlight as multicookers from brands such as Cuisinart and Ninja, the West Bend 84905 is an outright bargain. The higher-price competitors are programmable and offer more functionality, but the West Bend 84905 is a solid buy for frugal consumers who want the flexibility to brown or sauté without dirtying another pan and reheat leftovers in the oven or on the stove and don't mind the need to be present when the expected cooking time has elapsed.

Maralyn Edid

Maralyn is a veteran reporter, writer, researcher, and editor. From her early years at Crain's Chicago Business and the Detroit bureau of Business Week, then on to a long-term stint at Cornell University's ILR School and now at Cheapism.com, Maralyn has been -- and remains -- committed to getting ...

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