To fully round out the series of large slow cookers I was testing, I wanted to check out some West Bend slow cookers. They make a 7 quart model (as well as six and four), so it fit perfect with my reviews of large cookers. Unfortunately, this appliance didn't make my Top 3 list, but it did make my Top 5! At first I listed it in the “inexpensive category”, but the price keeps changing depending on where you buy it from.
So lets dig into how this slow cooker performed compared to other similar slow cookers, and how it happened to make the Top 5 but not the Top 3!
From top to bottom, the West Bend Crockery is pretty basic. You've got the high/low/warm feature and it's set manually. This is a very basic slow cooker, so there are no digital timers or automatic warming.
It of course comes with a dishwasher and oven safe crock, as well as a dishwasher safe lid. However, I would take extra care with this particular crock because there have been several complaints about the crock breaking, or about other materials that are part of this slow cooker that are not high quality. One handle broke off while carrying hot soup! Wow.
One thing that didn't quite impress me was the look of the slow cooker. It had a very old feel to it. In fact, I thought the logo/dial face looked kind of like a cathedral entrance! It seems that some people do not mind this look, since there are still people buying and reviewing this slow cooker, but for me, that would be a total turnoff. I much prefer the modernized look of Frigidaire or the touchscreen Crock-pot.
Though there was one complaint about a handle falling off, I found them to seem quite sturdy. When you're lifting seven quarts of liquid, it's important to be able to transport it safely, especially since this West Bend slow cooker does not have a locking lid!
As previously mentioned, this is a very basic slow cooker, so there's not much to comment on in terms of extra features. However, I'm a positive person, an always look for something good to say! Actually, I thought the lid handle was a nice design and had a good feel to it. That may not seem like much, but for as many slow cookers as I've reviewed, you start to notice things like the ergonomics of handles 😉
Wow, 7-quart slow cookers really are big. I bought a 3.5 pound roast, and when it was finished cooking, see how small it is compared to the cooker! I could probably cook a 6 pound roast in here and have shredded beef for days. This time I made a chocolate chipotle chili shredded beef recipe. It's a mix of spicy and chocolate for a truly unique shredded beef recipe.
The beef turn out just a little dry, but this could be because I used a large crock for a medium piece of meat. It may have overcooked a little. However, it wasn't completely overdone, and I still made some awesome shredded beef tacos the next day. I also used it to put some shredded beef in my slow cooker enchilada casserole.
Comparing The West Bend 85157 To Other Slow Cookers
If you're looking for a 7-quart slow cooker, then I would honestly recommend a different brand or model. This wasn't a terrible slow cooker, but there are hoenstly better choices out there. For just five dollars more you can get a Hamilton Beach programmable with the same quart capacity. That means you can schedule time up to 10 hours, and it'll automatically switch to warming when you're done so your food doesn't get overcooked. You also have a much sleeker design.
If you want to go ultra-budget, you could SAVE about ten dollars and get the Crock Pot manual slow cooker in 7-quart size. It's got over 1000 reviews on Amazon already. Why pay more money for a less popular appliance with a lower rating? The West Bend Crockery does have an “on” light, which is convenient, but I don't think it's something that will truly win you over.
Reading the comments from around the web, there have been numerous complaints about the quality of the West Bend Crocker. Perhaps this is in comparison to other models they purchased in the past from this company, because I didn't think it was that poorly constructed compared to other slow cookers in this price range. It's certainly not as high quality as the 7-quart Frigidaire, but that one costs almost double what this one costs.
Who Is The West Bend 7-Quart Crockery Best For?
This slow cooker is going to be best for someone that is used to the West Bend brand. We've reviewed other West Bend slow cookers (5-quart) in the past and they got good ratings! But they were unique in that that has stainless aluminum crocks and a griddle. Other than brand allegiance, I can't see a real huge reason to buy this particular cooker unless you got a really good deal on it.
My meal turned out fine, and I didn't have any issues with the quality, this slow cooker from West Bend just got outmaneuvered by others in the same price category. It does have a unique look, and in terms of 7 quart slow cookers, it's still worth featuring in my Top Five list. But I just can't give it a stellar recommendation due to its lack of features, average pricing, and unattractive look.
- Large Capacity
- Well-Known Brand
- Dishwasher Safe Stoneware/Lid
- Easy Clean
- Lacking Stylish Design
- Manual Function
- Complaints About Quality
- Lacks Extra Features
- Cheaper Options Available With Similar Features