I wanted a BIG slow cooker since *for some reason* my family of six insists on eating three meals a day Every. Single. Day. Ugh! Luckily my MIL recognized my struggle and bought me the fanciest device I’d ever seen for Christmas: A Calphalon 7 Qt Digital Slow Cooker. I was...
I wanted a BIG slow cooker since *for some reason* my family of six insists on eating three meals a day Every. Single. Day. Ugh! Luckily my MIL recognized my struggle and bought me the fanciest device I’d ever seen for Christmas: A Calphalon 7 Qt Digital Slow Cooker. I was in love with it… at first. Then I noticed liquid seeping into the base after each use. Long story short, after three complimentary replacement parts I still had a broken appliance and Calphalon wrote me an E-mail using the exact words: “...Calphalon has made the decision to stop producing electronics...” then issued me a refund. I turned around and bought a MaxiMatic 8 qt Slow Cooker (go big or go home, right?). It cooked waaaaay too hot (it boiled liquid on the lowest setting in under 5 minutes!) then stopped working entirely after a few months. I received my refund, bought this Crock-pot… and the rest, as they say, is history!
How does this one compare to the others?
…but not as big as the MaxiMatic. Both slow cookers claim to be eight quart size but in reality eight quarts of liquid fills the Crock-pot all the way to the lip of the lid, which isn’t realistic for actually cooking that much liquid. Still, it’s pretty HUGE, especially compared to Calphalon’s biggest size (7 quart). The MaxiMatic gives you a little extra room above the eight quart point BUT…
Crock-pot has better temperature control.
In the Crock-pot “Low” could cook a 4 lb pot roast all day (6+ hours). On “High” it cooks in about 4 hours. “Warm” keeps it warm. The MaxiMatic, on the other hand, cooks it in less than 2 hours ON LOW (and it leaves the meat tough as rubber) and the MaxiMatic “high” setting approaches temperatures comparable to the depths of Hell. Calphalon had accurate temps but it didn’t make up for the constant leaking, smaller crock and lack of customer support.
The outside is very hot.
This is one of those “duh” moments. Anything that cooks WILL get hot. Don’t touch hot things. Don’t put them near the edge of the counter where kids can touch them. Again: Duh! The Calphalon is the only model on the market that claims to be “cool to the touch” and guess what? It’ll still burn the crud out of you! It’s not as hot as other brands, but it’ll still do damage if you touch it, especially on the exposed areas of the crock liner. So as much as everyone complains about this aspect, I have to wonder if their moms never used the old 70’s Crock-pots with the wheat patterned orange shells that made delicious soup and seared the flesh off your bones if you touched them (so you just didn’t touch them). Shoot, my mom STILL uses hers. The moral of the story? Grow up! And stop shopping for cooking appliances that don’t feel hot.
There is no timer.
This is NOT a digital slow cooker. “Digital” slow cookers have specific temperature controls, fancy timers and auto shutoff options. They also break down faster, have things go wrong more often and (if they are Calphalon brand) their manufacturer discontinues selling them completely. There’s a reason those 70’s Crock-pots that I mentioned previously still walk the earth serving fondue at your grandma’s Bridge Club potlucks: simplicity. There are no buttons on this Crockpot. There is no digital screen. There is only a single knob with four options: Off, Warm, Low, High... Just like Grandma’s Crock-pot! What you give up in convenience you’ll make up for in durability, longevity and simplicity though. And you’ll just have to be *slightly* less lazy than slow cooker “dump it, leave it, eat it” style cooking permits by, you know, setting a timer. ::Ding::
The crock liner is dishwasher safe.
MaxiMatic and Crock-pot both allow their stoneware crock liners to be washed in the dishwasher. Calphalon does not. But even with dedicated handwashing, the Calphalon liner developed hairline cracks. Twice. The MaxiMatic did too, after a few months of regular use. This Crock-pot has been used and run through the dishwasher every other day (literally) since I bought it and has absolutely no issues whatsoever. I also notice the glaze on the stoneware is much more even on the Crock-pot. It had thin spots, pits and irregularities in both the MaxiMatic and the Calphalon. I have to assume there is better quality control on the manufacturing end at Crock-pot.
That pretty much sums it up though. If anything changes, breaks, acts up, smells funny or does anything else unusual I’ll be sure to update this review. As it stands though, no news is good news. Buy this Crock-pot. You can thank me later.
UPDATE: I bought this 8 quart Crock-pot through Amazon in December 2016. As of today, January 15th 2018, it is still running strong. I continue to use it several times a week and always run the crock liner and lid through the dishwasher. It is still as temperature-reliable as the day I first unboxed it and continues to be my favorite appliance... and that''s big, considering I also own a Kitchenaid mixer AND an Instant Pot (but the Instant Pot hisses at me and the mixer gives everyone dirty looks). If you haven''t bought one yet, you definitely need more pot roast in your life. And beans. Which BTW, this puppy can easily fit 2 lbs of dry pinto beans (hint: Use ham hocks! And shred the meat into the beans before serving. All other beans will be ruined for you after that). I''ll continue abusing my Crock-pot and updating my review if anything changes though, because SCIENCE!