Simplicity is part of the appeal of the Black+Decker 6.5-Quart Multicooker. This countertop appliance covers a handful of common cooking tasks, and it does a decent job at all of them. But that's not enough to justify its $130 price, especially when there are similar countertop products that cost a lot less.
This multicooker aims low with its promise to complete just three cooking tasks: sear/sauté, roast/bake and slow cook. I cooked food using each mode, and everything came out fine. Roast/bake was the multicooker's sweet spot. The chicken I cooked fit comfortably in the 6.5-quart cooking pot and was just as good as roasts I've prepared in conventional ovens.
Baking was a bit trickier. The biggest challenge was finding a baking sheet or pan that would fit into the cooking pot. I improvised by wrapping the included roasting rack in aluminum foil before I baked chocolate chip cookies in the multicooker. The cookies were perfect when they were finished baking, but Black+Decker should include an appropriate-size pan for folks who want to bake for one.
This is where my praise for the multicooker ends. On a lower-priced product, the multicooker's shortcomings would be relatively minor: there isn't a built-in timer, and a pot roast that I slow-cooked wasn't nearly as pull-apart tender I had hoped (something we've seen with other multicookers that opt for metal cooking pots over ceramic). But these are inexcusable drawbacks for a small appliance that costs more than $100.
The Black+Decker Multicooker is a decent product that would keep you from having to turn on a full-size oven all the time. But its average performance isn't worthy of its $130 price. Consider less expensive products that can perform similar tasks, such as the basic, non-connected version of the Instant Pot Smart we've reviewed. And if you just want some countertop baking, the Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven has a stellar performance and a comparable price.