First post from Luke here... We bought a bunch of gadgets lately. What can I say, I'm a geek. Also, we really need these!
Clockwise, we have a dehydrator (for fruit/veggie chips, jerky, etc.), a slow cooker (for set-and-forget all-day cooking), and a mandolin (for several variation on slicing things thin and regular, e.g. aforementioned fruit/veggie chips). We've had a chance to try them all out now and make a preliminary report. (The headers are links to the product on Amazon... we love Amazon.)
Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator
This is about as simple as it gets, without being too simple. Four trays to hold the things we want to dehydrate (we may buy more) and a dial on the top to control the temperature. The first thing we tried was zucchini chips. Slice up the zucchini, lay out, add salt/spices, and plug it in. I put it out in the shed because we didn't really want the house smelling like garlic and onion. The next morning, they were chips. Way too much "flavor" added, but the concept was there. We did it again today with super-thin zucchini slices and light sea salt, and Miss WOC gobbled down nearly a whole large zucchini worth of the chips. We're working on some sweet potato chips now.
Hamilton Beach Set and Forget 6qt Slow Cooker
This comes highly recommended and seems to work just fine. It has a probe you can stick through the lid and have it stop cooking once it reaches the right temperature - pretty cool. Only has high/low/warm for heat settings - I hope that's more accurate than my previous Walmart slow cooker that always cooked too fast. First batch of stew came out fine.
Progressive International HGT-11 Folding Mandoline Slicer
Always wanted a mandoline, and at this price ($20!) and rating, couldn't pass it up. It's not something you'd want to use in a professional kitchen, but it's pretty useful for our purposes. The good: sharp blade and safe operation, stores in a nice small space, can slice several ways including julienne. The bad: the blade isn't really serious enough for something like sweet potatoes which get hung up too easily. The holding piece (which keeps you from risking your fingers) doesn't hold much, so this is really only suitable for small loads. Also, it's not a replacement for the julienne peeler for making zoodles; the julienne settings are too wide or too thin for that purpose. And little bits tend to get stuck at the edges of the blade. Still, a pretty good purchase for the price.