Originally Posted by dwightdi
Here is a link to a "thermal cooker" at a lower price that still looks nice. It is about $60 for a 5 quart stainless inner and outer pot. SPT ST-60B - Thermal Cooker
The customer reviews rate it highly.
The less expensive thermal cookers are foam insulated and do not retain the heat well. Alot of users of the cheaper pots have found that they often have to reheat the inner pot after about 4 hrs and replace it in the inner pot.
The quality of the inner pot itself is also inferior. They will have hot spots and uneven heating.
Another oversight that purchasers make is not choosing a correct size for their needs.
Picture a 2 L bottle of soda. The 4.5 L cooker is approx. 2 and 1/4 times this amount. A 5L cooker is 2 and 1/2 times this amount. This size would work well for a family of 4 or more but is alot of food for 2 people. We prefer not eating the same thing for several meals.
The cookers must be about 80% full to retain the heat effectively.
Here are the reasons I chose the Shuttle Chef 3&3 with the optional 6 L inner pot:
1.) The outer pot is high quality enameled steel with a vacuum seal. This retains the temperature more effectively.
2.) The heavy gauge stainless steel inner pots with aluminum core bottom. This type of pot heats evenly, and will not warp like cheaper made ss pots. These well made pots function well as everyday pots and can also be used as a double boiler. The 3l pots are the perfect size for us, so I could eliminate other pots that I had and just keep these in the AS.
3.) The 3&3 allows me to cook 2 items separately (i.e.- I can bake a cake in one pot and a main dish in the other). I can also cook in one pot. All I do is put boiling water in one pot and put my food in the second pot. I can fill the 3 L pot with food or only cook 1/2 a 3 L pot of food using this method and still retain the thermal mass effectively.
4.) The optional 6 L pot allows me to cook larger amounts when needed.
now offers inserts for the 4.5 and 6L pot that will enable the user t cook 2 dishes separately or a steam insert enabling the user to steam veggies etc. separately from the main meal. Either the 4.5 l or the 6l along with the inserts would make the cooker as versatile as the 3&3 for less $$$. These accessories were not available when I purchased mine.
I do have the farmers bread tin, the heavy duty pudding/cake tin, and carrying bag.
The cake tin has a latched lid with D ring handles on top. This enables me not to have to use foil on the pan and the D rings enable me to easily place the pan in the cooker and to easily remove it.
The farmers bread pan is the perfect size for 2 people for breads, meatloaf, etc. and is of excellent quality.
The carrying bag is nylon with heavy padding for isulation. This protects my cooker from dings and scratches. It also improves the heat retention qualities of the cooker. It can also be used as a cooler.
I do like multi-purpose items for the AS.
I have been very pleased with mine. When I have had the chance to make a comparision ofthe Shuttle Chef with someone else's cheaper brand the difference in construction, quality, and performance is obvious.
I hope other's find my post on my experience useful. This is a great item for RVing IMHO.