Hamilton Beach Temp Tracker 6-Quart Review
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Hamilton Beach Temp Tracker 6-Quart
$74.99 at Amazon
|$110 List||$106 List|
$69.99 at Amazon
$69.99 at Amazon
$14.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Temperature probe, locking lid, excellent cooking performance||Extremely feature-rich, locking lid, great cooking performance, offers much more than just slow cooking||Set and forget feature, probe is a great component, lid locks for transport, excellent cooking performance||Timer is easy to use, nice large size, lid locks||Small, simple, affordable, has an on/off light|
|Cons||Handles rattle, heavy||Cylindrical pot feels smaller than a rectangular design, lid involves careful cleaning, steeper learning curve||Latches are handy but overall the unit is heavy and bulky to transport||Heavy, sides get hot||Lid rattles, no features|
|Bottom Line||A strong performer with an accessible price point and the convenient option to cook and carry||A top performer with the functionality of seven different devices in one machine||This cooker offers reliable performance at a very approachable price and is deserving of a place on the counter for any cooking enthusiast||This model boasts intuitive programming, high-quality performance, and enough capacity to feed everyone at your next potluck||Small enough to incorporate into any kitchen, this model is great for cooking simple side dishes|
|Rating Categories||Hamilton Beach Temp...||Instant Pot Duo||Hamilton Beach 6-Qu...||Crock-Pot 6-Quart C...||Elite Gourmet 1.5-Q...|
|User Friendliness (35%)|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Cooking Features (25%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (10%)|
|Specs||Hamilton Beach Temp...||Instant Pot Duo||Hamilton Beach 6-Qu...||Crock-Pot 6-Quart C...||Elite Gourmet 1.5-Q...|
|Pot Material||Nonstick Aluminum||Stoneware||Stoneware||Stoneware||Nonstick Aluminum|
|Capacity||6 qt||6.5 qt||6 qt||6 qt||6 qt|
|Lid with Gasket?||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Steam Release Valve in Lid?||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Features||4 manual heat settings; cooking vessel can be used in the oven, on the stovetop, and in the fridge and freezer; cooking base can be used as a griddle; comes with a travel (nonlocking) lid and a thermal carrying case||Programmable time (30min increments) and temp (high/med/low); manual mode; probe mode; auto warm; auto shut off after 6 hours; beeps to indicate on/off/start||Programmable time (30min increments) and temp (high/med/low/keep warm); auto warm setting for 4 hrs||Programmable time (30min increments) and temp (high/low); auto warm setting||Slow cooker, sauté, and steam functions (includes steaming rack); programmable time and temp (50°F increments); manual setting, sleep mode; auto warm; auto shut off after 8 hours; beeps to indicate on/off/start|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Temp Tracker is an easily programmable unit with a helpful digital screen showing your selected features. The cooker will automatically switch to warm when the desired cooking time has elapsed, and the temperature probe is an excellent added feature if you like to make roasts, low-and-slow pulled pork, or other meats. The probe assures that the meat is at the proper temperature and eliminates overcooking that results in tough and dried-out food. Best of all, this slow cooker comes with a price point that is very reasonable.
Any kitchen electronic that is confusing or difficult just won't get used, but the Temp Tracker excels in how easy it is to set up and get cooking. Its digital screen has straightforward buttons, and there is a dial on the left side of the screen that allows you to scroll through different options. This cooker is perfect for those busy mornings when you only have time to dump in the ingredients, set the temp and time, and head out the door. If you do get stumped, the user manual is in-depth and useful, with a chart for temperatures and probe placement as well as tips for slow cooking and troubleshooting.
One of the best features of the Temp Tracker is its consistently outstanding cooking performance. No matter what we were making, this cooker gave us tender, fully-cooked stews, meats, beans, and rice. It has a medium setting (not all cookers do), and the stoneware insert isn't excessively heavy. Above all, we appreciate the consistency of the Temp Tracker. Knowing that everything you put in a slow cooker will be cooked through and ready when needed is a great feeling.
One of the things that people love about slow cookers is that you can dump in all the ingredients in the morning and come home to a flavorful dinner that is ready for you and the family in the evening. We cooked a number of meals: roast with veggies, beans and rice, and straight vegetables, and the Temp Tracker 6-Quart gave us consistently delicious and well-cooked food.
Each of the above meals has tricky components — you want your meat to be tender and juicy but don't want the veggies to be mushy. That's why we use certain ingredients that require varying cooking times and temperatures. For instance, in the roast and vegetable meal test, the Temp Tracker cooker was masterful. The meat was tender and juicy, the potatoes were fully cooked without being too soft, the carrots were fully cooked without being too soft or mushy, and everything retained its full flavor and juiciness.
Next up was our beans and rice meal. The Temp Tracker gave us evenly cooked rice with none of the rice floating above the liquid and sticking to the sides, becoming crunchy. And the beans were just as well-cooked, with great texture and flavor. This cooker reviled other cookers that sell for much more money.
In the vegetable test, we cooked potatoes, carrots, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms with broth. No one likes hard potatoes, but neither does anyone like mushy zucchini. The Temp Tracker was able to balance everything pretty well. The potatoes were perfect, the carrots were still just a little firm but not crunchy, the onion and celery still retained their shape and flavor, and the zucchini was just a little too soft. But overall, each veggie, from potatoes to zucchini, was tasty with excellent flavor.
So you have a new slow cooker, and now you have to figure out how to use it. With the Temp Tracker, you will have options that aren't overwhelming. The digital screen is clear, with large numbers that show you the temperature and the cooking time you have selected, plus there is a dial on the left that allows you to scroll through more options. Once you begin cooking, the numbers on the screen will count down, showing the amount of time left before the meal is ready. Once the time has expired, the heat selector will automatically move to warm. This cooker also allows a longer cooking time of an impressive 14-20 hours, if needed.
If you wish, you can see the exact temperature of your meat when the probe is being used, and the lid has four different probe locations, giving you many options. Additionally, there are handles on either side of the slow cooker, so you can lock the lid in place and carry it off. The lid also locks into place for transport with a gasket and clips. When the clips aren't engaged during cooking, the lid can be rattly when everything is cooking, but it's not overly loud. Be aware that the outside of the pot gets warm — not hot, but warm. Finally, there is a noise indicator when the cooking time is both starting and finishing.
Ease of Cleaning
Dinner is finished, and everyone is happy. Except now they all have somewhere they need to be and things that need to be done, so they can't help clean up. Sound familiar? Well, while we can't do anything about family dynamics, we can tell you that cleaning up with the Temp Tracker is pretty easy.
The oval stoneware crock and lid can both go in the dishwasher, although the crock may need to be soaked and scrubbed a bit, depending on what was prepared. But still, even though cleaning up is no one's favorite job, this one won't cause you too much grief.
Should You Buy the Hamilton Beach Temp Tracker 6-Quart?
This is a fantastic slow cooker for the money. You will get consistent, evenly-cooked and tasty meals for an exceptionally reasonable price. If the size of this cooker is right, we highly recommend it.
What Other Slow Cookers Should You Consider?
If you need or prefer a full-sized slow cooker, check out the Instant Pot Duo, which is way more than just a slow cooker, allowing you to pressure cook, steam, and more. If that is too much appliance for you, then look at the Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central, which is ideal for cooking different types of meals.
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