The sheer number of different slow cooker brands and models on the market never ceases to amaze me. After all, a slow cooker seems like a fairly simple device, yet the various models offer their own twists to the concept.
Hamilton Beach offers two key ranges that do just that. One of these is the Stay and Go slow cookers. These models are specifically designed to be easy to transport and the design means that the lid can be locked down in some way. That option is great for parties and potlucks.
In contrast, the other main range is the Set ‘n Forget, which offers greater control over cooking through the use of a temperature probe. Models in the range come with a manual, an automatic and a temperature-based setting, letting you set up your cooking in advance and leaving the slow cooker to do the test.
But, there are also some options from Hamilton Beach that don’t fit into either of those categories. Instead, these may be more conventional slow cookers or ones that have unusual twists of their own. So, this post takes a look at what they have to offer. Don't forget that we've done tons of other Hamilton Beach slow cooker reviews, covering the gamut from small to large, basic to advanced; there's quite a variety to choose from!
FlexCook 6-Quart Slow Cooker
- Model Number: 33861
- Size: 6 quarts
This slow cooker is basically an automatic slow cooker but it also has some key differences. The first is simply the clips, which are similar to what you find in the Set ‘n Forget models. But, the more interesting thing is the FlexCook mode.
That mode gives you the ability to set two different time and heat settings within a single cooking cycle. As such, this is one of the only slow cookers that will allow you to switch temperature during cooking. So, you could set it to cook on high for 2 hours, then on low for 4 and then it would switch to the keep warm setting when done.
Additionally, the model also has four temperature settings, which are warm, low, medium and high. The various differences mean that you can cook more types of meals in this slow cooker and have more control than most automatic slow cookers offer. Check out our other reviews feature-rich models in the 5-6 quart slow cookers in the premium slow cooker category.
Simplicity 6-Quart Slow Cooker
- Model Number: 33565
- Size: 6 quarts
This model seems relatively basic compared to the previous one, partly because it is. However, it is still unusual in terms of style. At first glance, the slow cooker looks like a manual model but it’s actually an automatic one. There is also a lid latch, which you can see in the image. That acts as a way to keep the lid in place, although it isn’t as secure as the method used in the previous model.
Beyond the visual style, this model is interesting because it’s fairly inexpensive. The price it's currently selling at may be more than you want to pay for a slow cooker but it’s an excellent price for a digital one. Plus, the model receives good reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.3 stars across 291 reviewers.
8-quart White Manual Slow Cooker
- Model Number: 33181
- Size: 8 quarts
In contrast to the previous models, this slow cooker is fairly similar to what you will find from countless other brands. Basically, it’s just a simple manual slow cooker, offering the settings of low, high and warm.
Still, the design is practical and the style of handles would make it easy to transport, while the lid latch also helps in this area. So, the model ends up being a decent option for a basic slow cooker and is popular among reviewers too. It is also an 8-quart model, which is great for large meals.
8-quart Black Manual Slow Cooker
- Model Number: 33182A
- Size: 8 quarts
For the most part, this model is just a recolored version of the previous one and even has the same style of handles. However, the lid is a little bit different. In particular, there isn’t a lid latch system, so transporting the slow cooker is more difficult.
Instead of this, the slow cooker has a lid rest, which lets you prop the lid of the slow cooker up while serving. In theory, that method is supposed to decrease mess and could be useful, although it may take a little while to get used to.
8-quart Red Manual Slow Cooker
- Model Number: 33184
- Size: 8 quarts
This final option appears to be another recolored version of the previous two models and once again it has the same general design and handles. From the listing, it isn’t clear whether this one has the lid latch or the lid rest option – and it may have neither.
Of the three, this model also gets the lowest reviews, with multiple reviewers saying that the product isn’t actually 8 quarts. That’s something to keep in mind if you are specifically looking for an 8-quart model.
These last three models displayed had an eight quart capacity, which is quite big compared to the standard 5-6 quart. If a large slow cooker is specifically what you're looking for, check out our list of extra large slow cookers to compare Hamilton Beach to other brands.
Hamilton Beach 33642 Programmable Right Size Slow Cooker, Multi-Quart
- Model Number: 33642
- Size: 2, 4, 6 Quart Settings (Max 6-Quart Capacity)
This is an interesting slow cooker because of the unique settings you can take advantage of. Not only are there the typical low/high/warm settings, as well as a digital timer to set how long your recipe will cook, but you also have the ability to change the capacity of the slow cooker! Of course, the actual crock doesn't change size – it's a full six quart capacity crock. However, you can select how much food you'll be cooking (approximately) to change how the cooker heats up.
A 2-quart setting will be perfect for small meals, 4-quart for medium sized, and 6-quart for regular six quart slow cooker meals. How exactly the heating is changed, is not 100% clear, but it's designed to further optimize each meal you make. If you're only making a small breakfast casserole for two, using a typical six quart setting on any other cooker may overcook it! But trying to overload a small slow cooker with too much food won't cook it at all unless you leave it in for 12 hours or more.
This model solves these problems, and it makes it a very cool pick on this list of Hamilton Beach slow cookers.