More a multi-cooker that a slow cooker
The West Bend 84905 is a unique slow cooker in that it can be used as a griddle as the cooking container sits upon a separate heating element. The advantage of this is that food can be cooked much quicker if required. This versatility is just one of the unusual design elements behind the West Bend.
The West Bend is an oblong shaped cooker with a good 5-quart capacity that is made of metal. This makes it hob, oven and range top friendly. The heating base, which has an adjustable 5 position temperature selector, can double as a non-stick griddle. The cooker measures 8.75 x 7.25 x 12.75 inches so it takes up little space on the worktop.
The Glass top on the cooking container allows for easy monitoring so that the cooking process does not need disturbing. The container is Teflon lined and it and the glass lid is dishwasher friendly. The high power allows for cooking other than just slow cooking and it is not so badly affected by lifting the lid to stir the food which can add as much as twenty minutes on to the cooking times on other less powerful slow cookers
The West Bend has tremendous versatility due to its hot plate design and high power settings. For example, it has five individual power/temperature settings that cover the whole cooking range. You can brown/sauté on setting 5, then cook on setting 3-4. Slow cooking can be accomplished on setting 2 or 3 as they correspond to the more traditional settings of low and high respectively. Alternatively, you can simply place the container directly onto the stove to brown and sauté before placing it onto the heating base for slow cooking. The base can also be used as a griddle if you do not have a stove, or burner free.
This is really a multi-cooker rather than a pure slow cooker as it is so versatile. It can be used to Brown/sauté or slow cook and if you can make up your own grid to elevate the food it can be used as a steamer for cooking vegetables or hotdogs.
One Pot cooking
Because the container can be placed in the oven or the hob all sort of meals can be cooked using just the one pot, which saves on a pile of washing up later.
Uneven heat distribution
One of the problems is that it cooks from the heat elements in the base, this does not provide the equal balanced spread of heat through the food. Instead, all the heat comes up through the base of the container. As a result, it doesn’t have that same even cooking that stoneware or ceramic pot produces. It also cools much quicker than a stoneware pot.
The West Bend 84905 is an unusual appliance as it is described as a slow cooker but it has so much more functionality than just slow cooking. It is almost a multi-cooker and would be if it came with a steamer basket to elevate the food. All considered though it is not the best slow cooker due to its hot zone base it is a great all rounder.