Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set & Forget Review
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Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set & Forget
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|Pros||Set and forget feature, probe is a great component, lid locks for transport, excellent cooking performance||Extremely feature-rich, locking lid, great cooking performance, offers much more than just slow cooking||Timer is easy to use, nice large size, lid locks||Good latch design, small profile, portable, fun aesthetic||Small, simple, affordable, has an on/off light|
|Cons||Latches are handy but overall the unit is heavy and bulky to transport||Cylindrical pot feels smaller than a rectangular design, lid involves careful cleaning, steeper learning curve||Heavy, sides get hot||Pot is shallow, not many features||Lid rattles, no features|
|Bottom Line||This cooker offers reliable performance at a very approachable price and is deserving of a place on the counter for any cooking enthusiast||A top performer with the functionality of seven different devices in one machine||This model boasts intuitive programming, high-quality performance, and enough capacity to feed everyone at your next potluck||This small, portable slow cooker is perfect to tote along and put on display at your next picnic||Small enough to incorporate into any kitchen, this model is great for cooking simple side dishes|
|Rating Categories||Hamilton Beach 6-Qu...||Instant Pot Duo||Crock-Pot 6-Quart C...||Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart...||Elite Gourmet 1.5-Q...|
|User Friendliness (35%)|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Cooking Features (25%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (10%)|
|Specs||Hamilton Beach 6-Qu...||Instant Pot Duo||Crock-Pot 6-Quart C...||Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart...||Elite Gourmet 1.5-Q...|
|Pot Material||Stoneware||Stainness Steel||Stoneware||Stoneware||Stoneware|
|Capacity||6 qt||6 qt||6 qt||2.5 qt||1.5 qt|
|Lid with Gasket?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Steam Release Valve in Lid?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Features||Programmable time (30 min increments) and temp (high/low); manual mode; probe mode; ability to set desired temp (°F and °C); auto warm; auto shut off after 14 hours; beeps to indicate on/off/start||Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer with 14 customizable Smart Programs and 10 safety features like a locking lid and overheat protection||Programmable time (30min increments) and temp (high/low); auto warm setting||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget retails for an impressive price and is chock-full of great features without going overboard. The temperature probe lets you know when your meat is done, and the user interface is easy to understand. The lack of multiple buttons keeps everything simpler because you just cycle through the programs for the setting you want, and if you get stuck (unlikely), the user guide is very easy and clear. We love easy and clear. We also love that this cooker is perfect for low-and-slow meals like barbeque, pot roasts, Italian beef, Philly cheesesteak… are you hungry yet?
We all have things at home that seemed like a good idea when we bought them but then don't turn out as easy or wonderful as we thought. Because of that, this is an important metric for us — an appliance is only valuable if you actually use it. The highest-rated slow cooker isn't worth a penny if it just sits in the cabinet because you can't get it to work. We broke this metric down into four separate sections: Temperature Settings, Timer, Ease of Programing, and Cook n' Carry.
The temperature settings on the Set & Forget include High, Low, and Warm in the Program Mode, and you can set the temperature in the Probe Mode. The buttons also allow you to set your time in 30-minute increments, and the auto-warm feature will keep your food toasty for up to 14 hours. Have an invitation to go out for a drink after work? No problem. Your food won't burn and will still be hot and ready to eat even if you're a few hours late. This cooker also has a beeper that lets you know when the timer is finished.
We found the programming buttons on the Set & Forget very easy to use, but if you happen to go past the setting you want, you have to cycle through the whole range again. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and the user guide is a quick read and is clear and concise, so it's almost impossible to screw up. Besides, once you set everything up a couple of times and are used to the system, you'll be good to go.
One thing to watch for, though, is that the sidewalls get very warm, like many of the slow cookers we tested. They won't scald your fingers, but they are hot, so be careful. Another thing to consider is that the screen is not lit, so you'll have to bend down to counter level to program it.
The latched handle is a great feature as we've all had the frustration of having our food spill while traveling. But, you'll get your upper-body workout in carrying this around, as it is heavy. As in you-won't-have-to-go-to-the-gym that day kind of heavy.
To assess cooking performance across all our slow cookers, we cooked meat, grains, beans, and veggies. If you love your meats, then the Set & Forget is a great choice. Every kind of meat we tested came out tender and tasty without being burned. The included probe was a big help for our low-and-slow pot roast test, and it's accurate to 5°F, which is surprising for such an inexpensive slow cooker.
When we tested rice and beans in the Set & Forget, we found that the rice was singed around the edges and stuck to the bottom and sides more than the other slow cookers, but that may be because we cooked such a small amount. This may not be the cooker to choose if you regularly make small servings of rice.
With our veggie test, we looked for them to be done without getting mushy, as disintegrated zucchini is just not good. The Set & Forget cooker has a gasket on the top and dual steam release vents, which made for some pretty great steamed veggies that were evenly done.
Here we looked at what kind of features each slow cooker has — is it programable? How easy is it to set the programming? What about safety: will I burn myself taking the lid off?
With the included probe, you can excel at meat dishes like barbeque that need hours of cooking at a very low temperature. We really appreciate that the probe temp can be set to 5°F increments for those low-and-slow meals. And once the probe temperature is reached, the slow cooker automatically sets to auto warm so the meat won't get overdone.
While getting ready to eat our excellent barbeque, we checked out the lid of the Set & Forget slow cooker. Because it has a locking lid with a gasket and dual steam valves, you shouldn't get burned, and your food is much less likely to overcook. We already mentioned that the screen is not lit, but useful beeps will help you decipher what's going on with your meal. The screen indicates time, settings, and temperature, and there is a beep when starting to cook and when cooking is stopped. There is another beep for on/off/warm that is so loud it might wake a housemate. But you can apologize by sharing some of that yummy barbeque you made.
Ease of Cleaning
Ah, cleaning up after dinner. It's unlikely that anyone really likes cleaning up, but the Set & Forget slow cooker is pretty easy to clean.
Both the lid and crock fit in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, helping to make cleanup that much easier. But be careful when the crock is wet because it's slippery. And, as we mentioned, heavy.
Should You Buy the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set & Forget?
The Set & Forget is a great addition to any kitchen. The features are easy to use, and the meals come out perfectly every time, all for a very reasonable price. New and veteran cooks alike will enjoy the programable probe and the locking lid, which has the added benefit of keeping fingers from sneaking a taste. This is a high value product and one we don't hesitate to recommend for the slow cook enthusiast.
What Other Slow Cookers Should You Consider?
If you are on the hunt for a slow cooker that will treat your meats the right way, the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set & Forget slow cooker can't be beat. This cooker is a favorite because of the included probe, setting it apart from all the others we tested. That said, if you think you might want to do more than just slow cook, the Instant Pot Duo will allow you to also pressure cook, steam, sauté, and more. And if you're flying solo and these all seem to big, the Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole is simple but light, portable, and very cute.
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