Chef's Mark 6.5 qt. slow cooker works but has cosmetic flaws
I bought this slow cooker to replace an old Rival. This one has the look of stainless steel on the exterior and a black removable crock. It also is oval in shape which allows for easier cooking of large meats or racks of ribs which don't fit well into a round cooker. This cooker does a great job of cooking. The temperatures of either low or high are correct. There is no burning of food or hot spots as can happen in some cookers. The lid is clear glass which allows you to see what is going on with your food without having to remove the lid causing temperature drops or loss of steam and flavor from frequent lid removal. The problem with the cooker is mainly in the cosmetics of the unit. The screw that holds the handle on the lid loosens frequently and has to be tightened and eventually doesn't tighten anymore, so when you lift the lid it will shift since it is oval and the weight will tip it it an up and down direction and can cause a burn if your're not careful. The faux stainless on the outside is really hard to keep clean and can't be scrubbed with anything abrasive. The crock after cooking beans developed a whitish look in the bottom in the shape of individual beans and doesn't come out even with a good scouring. The control panel on the front is a digital display but has a plastic type covering with the markings for the on/off, low/high, and time which when pushed adjusts by 1/2 hour up or down---however this covering is made like a label and after a few uses it starts peeling up on both sides and you have to keep smoothing it back down because if it comes off you won't know where to push to adjust anything. The other problem is that the unit being oval doesn't have "feet" in the right places so when using it you can tip it from side to side which can also be very dangerous. Over all it cooks well, it just is not made for quality or to last for a long time. You can't leave it out on the counter if it looks bad, so you have to sacrifice cabinet space to store it when you are not using it. It is also heavy, so if its in a cabinet it has to be where you can safely get it in and out without dropping it. I've tried several different types of cleaner to get the whitish stuff off the inside of the crock but nothing works. It feels smooth, and it looks smooth like its clean, I think its just a defect in the crockery itself. Also the electrical cord is very very short. When you use the slow cooker you have to have it sitting on the counter right next to an outlet which can be hard if your kitchen is small and your counter space is limited or you don't have an open outlet in a convenient area. The lid and crock are dishwasher safe but both are large in the fact that they are oval and take up more space. The crock is also very heavy and hard to fit in the dishwasher. I usually just wash it by hand. But as I said before there are advantages to having the oval shape if you do ribs or large roasts or other foods that are hard to fit in a regular round crock. I can't find anything that will make the control button label stay in place and the glue it was put on with has a stringing effect and left a lot of residue so getting anything to stick to it is probably not going To be possible. Considering the amount of money paid for the slow cooker I would say it was not a good buy. I do think I could have gotten a better unit for the money. Also, once you get anything on the inside of the unit itself it burns on and won't come off and every time you cook with it until it burns away there is the burnt smell and it fills the house. The lid and the crock do not seem to fit together really well either. The lid sits kind of wabbly when its on the crock. The handle on the lid is black plastic but the edge put on to the glass lid is made of what looks like aluminum so it doesn't look quite right when the crock is sitiing on the table, not in the unit, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a removable crock that can be taken from the unit to the table. As I have said, the unit does what it is supposed to do. It cooks the food slowly either on a low or a high setting, but it has far too many cosmetic problems for me to say that it's any thing more than an average unit even though it is an oval shape with the removable crock. I think the next time I have to replace my slow cooker I will not choose this brand. I also will look for a longer cord. I think the cord on this unit is just way too short. I have to put it right next to the wall on the counter.