Pros: Timer, automatically reverts to warm setting when done, stylish.
Cons: Pricey. Lid handle gets hot while cooking. Insert breaks easily.
Well, I've never owned a Cadillac, so I don't know if that's really an accurate comparison or not. All I know is that this is the nicest slow cooker I have ever seen in my life.
My old slow cooker (a Rival with only High and Low settings) was behind the times. I simply wanted a slow cooker that would automatically go to "Warm" when the cooking cycle was done. So, I started by reading reviews. I read reviews upon reviews. Some would have 8 - 10 great reviews ("I have used this cooker twice now and it's perfect!") and also 8-10 poor reviews ("On my third use, the electronics stopped working," or "On my third use the crock cracked in half", or "The lid broke and the company doesn't make a replacement"). So, I started thinking maybe my old Rival wasn't so bad after all. Sure, it cooked a little hot, so food was ready in 5 hours instead of 8, but I could always change my plans and come home early. Well, actually, no I couldn't. Finally, I checked out Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. They liked this All-Clad 99009 slow cooker the best. Wow! It was pricey. But, it was the ONLY one on another review site to have 26 out of 26 reviews be 5 stars, "I would buy this one again." So, I waited around for a birthday and had my parents, my husband, and my in-laws all go in on it for me!
I have two little kids, and I recently have wised up and started using a slow cooker to prepare dinner most nights. I can get my older daughter (who is 3) to help me throw things in it in the morning or at lunch, then I don't have to worry if I "accidentally" fall asleep during their nap time and wake up at 5. Since I use it a lot, I figured the hefty price tag would be well worth it. It was!
The All-Clad 99009 6.5 quart cooker is easy to use, beautiful (as any kitchen appliance can be), and well-made. I plan to get a thermometer to check the temperature settings; I'm guessing they are at the correct temperatures. I have not had a meal turn out poorly since I bought this. The auto warm setting is a life saver - no more overcooked gluey rice or dry, flavorless meats. It's also great if you take it to a potluck. My old one got too hot on "Low" to sit for very long. You can cook up to 26 hours on the timer; longer than any other slow cooker out there.
One slight drawback is that the handle on the (see-through glass) lid gets very hot during cooking. I'm going to make a little Velcro/cloth sleeve for mine, because I don't always have a towel or hot pad handy. The outside of the cooker gets hot also, but I expected that. The handles on the sides of the cooker do not get hot, but be careful not to hit your knuckles against the sides of the cooker!
This is a large cooker. It takes up a space about 18" wide and at least 12" deep. You could fit a turkey in this thing!
The removable ceramic insert is easy to clean. Since it is black, you can't always see the food on it. You can easily tell if it's clean if it feels smooth. While it is dishwasher safe, it is really big! I usually have too many other dishes to wash; I have always just washed it by hand. The outside of the unit is stainless and easily wipes clean.
If you're looking for quality and style in a slow cooker, look no further!
Update: Since purchasing this cooker, the ceramic insert has broken twice! The first time it happened, it had slipped when I was washing it, just a few inches into the bottom of the sink. I could tell by looking at the broken pieces that it had already been cracked - the cracked part was dark instead of white like a fresh crack would be. When I contacted All-Clad, since I told them it had dropped a few inches, they would not replace it. I bought the new insert ($40!). About 5 months later, I noticed a crack all across the bottom. It had never been dropped. This time, when I contacted them, they offered to replace it for free. That was about 4 months ago. The black inserts were on back order at that point, and I still haven't received the replacement. I imagine they are on back order because there are many defective ones out there.