What is Separ-Aide?
Separ-Aide is a silicone slow cooker strainer that features a raised bottom and sides to create heat flow, allowing your food to cook more evenly.
Separ-Aide also prevents food from sticking to your slow cooker, while filtering out grease and reducing your fat intake.
All you have to do is place Separ-Aide into your slow cooker before adding ingredients. Then, when you’re finished cooking, simply strain, serve, rinse, and place Separ-Aide in the dishwasher for easy clean up—no more struggling with hot, heavy stoneware or soaking and scraping to remove stuck-on food.
And compared to traditional plastic liners that don’t filter out the grease, Separ-Aide is completely reusable.
Slow-cooked meals are undeniably delicious and easy to make, but cleaning up afterward can make you avoid them at all costs. But can Separ-Aide change the situation? And if so, is it necessarily the best value for your money?
These are just a couple of these questions we’ll explore here, all aimed at helping you make a more informed purchase.
What Is Silicone? Are There Different Types?
Although they have just one name, there are actually many different types of silicone, which is a synthetic polymer that features low thermal conductivity (it doesn’t transfer heat), doesn’t react with many other chemicals, is low on the toxicity scale, and works great at repelling water and forming watertight seals.
This is why you’ll find silicone used in thousands of different ways; everything from automobile gaskets and brake fluid to electronics encasings and personal care products.
You’ll also find silicone used on a variety of cookware, including silicone liners like Separ-Aide. But how does it compare to traditional plastic slow cooker liners?
Separ-Aide vs. Traditional Slow Cooker Liners
Pros & Cons of Plastic Crock Pot Liners
Even if you've only used your slow cooker (aka crock pot) a couple of times, you likely understand how much of a pain it can be to clean when you're finished.
As a result, you might’ve explored traditional plastic liners, which basically work like clear plastic bags to separate your food from the interior of your slow cooker.
While these liners can certainly make clean up easier, and their contents can be placed in the freezer for eating at a later time, many users report that they can change the taste of your food.
Also, many plastic liners contain bisphenol a (BPA), a chemical that may lead to some nasty side effects like thyroid and neurological problems, reduced fertility, increased instances of asthma, and even an increased risk of certain types of cancers.
And it goes without saying that these plastic liners aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, since (like all plastics) they’re manufactured from fossil fuels. These liners also aren’t recyclable, so they’ll sit in a landfill for decades after just a few hours of use.
From a price perspective, boxes of plastic liners can be found online and in-store for anywhere between $2 to $15, or about $0.50 to $0.70 apiece.
How Do Silicone Slow Cooker Liners Compare?
At face value, silicone crock pot liners like Separ-Aide seem to address many of the concerns related to plastic liners. They’re:
- Made from silicone, which contains no BPA
- More environmentally friendly, since they’re reusable
- Represent a one-time purchase and perhaps a better value
On the other hand, silicone liners can’t be placed in the freezer for later use. Are there any other potential drawbacks?
While we didn’t test Separ-Aide firsthand, our biggest concern when watching the commercial is that silicone acts as an insulator (remember the heat transfer we discussed earlier?), which is why you’ll commonly find it used in heatproof gloves like Grabtastic Gloves and Hot Hands, and even on the handles of various cookware.
The point? We have to wonder if Separ-Aide’s thick silicone will increase cooking times for your favorite slow cooker recipes, require you to increase the temperature, or even change the taste.
Slow cookers also come in several different sizes, ranging between two quarts and eight quarts. While there’s no size listed on the Separ-Aide website, it seems to only fit eight-quart models.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that Separ-Aide only separates your food from the fat and grease once it’s lifted out of the slow cooker. This means your food will cook in this fat and grease, which will almost certainly improve the taste, but we’d imaging the health benefits are negligible.
On top of this, what happens if you’re slow-cooking a soup or stew? In instances like this, you almost certainly wouldn’t want all your broth to drain away.
Finally, while the holes in Separ-Aide’s bottom might help strain away fat and grease (when appropriate), with liquid occupying the space between it and your crock pot, it doesn’t seem like it would improve air flow or heat concentration, as mentioned in the commercial.
Compared to traditional liners, how much will you pay for Separ-Aide?
How Much Does Separ-Aide Cost?
One Separ-Aide silicone liner will cost you $14.99 plus $7.99 S&H. During checkout, you can purchase a second liner for an additional $7.99 S&H.
Telebrands provides a 30-day refund policy on all Separ-Aide purchases, less S&H.
Important note: If you only ordered one liner, this means you’ll probably lose $10+ in non-refundable S&H charges by the time you send it back to the manufacturer. If you purchased the BOGO offer, however, you could actually spend more money than you’ll get back as a refund.
Nonetheless, customer support can be reached at 855-668-1655.
How does this price compare to the competition? Is there even such a thing?
Are There Other Silicone Slow Cooker Liners Competing For Your Business?
While we found dozens of traditional plastic slow cooker liners during our research, it doesn’t seem like silicone liners share this same level of popularity.
In fact, the only remotely similar product we encountered was Mrs. V’s Silicone Slow Cooker Liner available on Amazon, although it had a meaningfully higher price and seemed to feature thinner silicone.
Outside of this, we found a few different products that might provide some similar aspects as Separ-Aide, but not all. This includes silicone slings that are intended for whole birds, as well as metal racks and stands (again, for large single pieces of meat) that allow fat and grease to drip away.
Obviously, neither of these will address cleanup, though.
Can We Learn Anything From Customer Reviews For Products Like Separ-Aide?
Separ-Aide was too new at the time of our research to have garnered any online customer feedback. However, the Mrs. V’s model mentioned above had three customer reviews on Amazon, with a 5-star average rating.
While none of these mentioned functionality (e.g. cooking time/temperature, taste), they all noted that it made cleanup easier.
From a company perspective, Telebrands is the largest ASOTV company in existence, with more than three decades in business and hundreds of big hits. Recent examples include Hurricane 360 Spin Mop, Atomic Beam USA, Red Copper Pan, and Lazer Bond.
Based on hundreds of reviews, HighYa readers have given these products an average rating of about two stars.
While this only represents a fraction of overall sales for these products and many customers claimed to have been satisfied, the most common complaints referenced less-than-stellar quality/functionality, as well as frustrating customer service experiences.
Obviously, there’s no way to know if you’ll experience any of the same with Separ-Aide, but given the frequency of this feedback, we certainly think it’s worth keeping in mind.
Does Separ-Aide Deserve a Spot In Your Slow Cooker?
We’ve covered a lot of territory here, but when it comes down to it, if your primary goal is to reduce the time it takes to clean your slow cooker—while potentially avoiding the BPA found in plastic liners—it certainly seems that Separ-Aide could deliver.
However, we have to wonder if this ease of cleaning will come at the cost of cooking times and temperatures, if it will change the taste of your food, or—with its strainer holes—if it will be useful for slow cooker recipes like soups and stews.
Pro tip: Most modern crock pots feature nonstick interior linings, perhaps making the reduced cleanup effort of Separ-Aide questionable.
Additionally, since your food will still cook for hours in the grease and fat, we’re not so sure Separ-Aide’s health claims are much more than marketing-speak.
The good news is that if you feel like giving Separ-Aide a whirl, Telebrands seems to stand behind the liner with a 30-day refund policy. But considering that you’ll lose most of your purchase price in non-refundable S&H charges, only you can decide if it’s worth rolling the dice.
Did you decide to give Separ-Aide a try? If so, did it deliver, or did you send it back to the company? Give us all the details in your review below!