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Best Slow Cooker [2019]

Best Overall Pick: Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Slow Cooker
If you are looking for a good, all-around, dependable choice, then the Duo 7-In-1 is perfect for you. It will work for most families, making delicious meals while you are away, without breaking the bank. It might not be the cheapest option, but it packs some serious punch for the price and is overall the best for the money.

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Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Slow Cooker

  • More Than A Slow Cooker
  • Auto-Warm Setting After Cooking Has Completed
  • 24 Hour Delay Start Feature Allows You To Prepare Everything Beforehand

Best Premium Pick: Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker
The warranty alone makes this the best slow cooker on our list. However, this is the closest to “commercial-grade” as we could get without going completely unreasonable in terms of price. If you want plenty of cooking capacity, with more than enough cooking options, the PSC-650 is your next slow cooker and is the best premium choice for home-use.

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Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker

  • Three-Year Limited Warranty
  • Huge Cooking Capacity
  • Simple Design

Best Value Pick: Hamilton Beach 33231 Manual Slow Cooker
For those who are budget-conscious, the 33231 from Hamilton Beach is perfect. It is a sub-$25 slow cooker with plenty of features that even some of the higher-end options do not have. If you only plan on using the slow cooker occasionally, this Hamilton is the perfect option.

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Hamilton Beach 33231 Manual Slow Cooker

  • Manual Heating Control
  • Stoneware And Glassware Is Dishwasher Safe
  • Lightweight With Large Carrying Handles Make It Great For traveling

How We Picked

There is something about the smell of food preparing in a slow cooker to make anyone’s mood better. Do you remember going to your grandparent’s house after service and having a delicious plate of roast with potatoes and vegetables? Or the smell of the soup simmering for six hours? If so, you are not alone.

Slow cookers have been around for a LONG time, creating delicious meals while you did other things. Unlike other cooking methods, you could throw everything into one pot and come back after a few hours and everything would be cooked and ready. The overall design of a slow cooker has not changed much. Instead, slow cookers have only improved.

Today, we are going to look at some of the best slow cookers that are available on the market right now. There are hundreds of options available to choose from, but we were able to narrow the list down to just ten. To help you understand what we looked at when comparing each of these, we have included a buyer’s guide that you can use too. And, if you have any questions while reading through our list, then check out our frequently asked questions section to see if we have already answered; if not, let us know so that we can help you and our future visitors.

#1 Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Slow Cooker

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 3 Quarts
  • Weight: 8.65 Pounds

With the name Instant Pot, it is easy to understand why you would think that this is NOT a slow cooker. However, you would be wrong. Instant Pot is a fairly new company that has changed the way we cook forever. Creating some of the best cooking solutions, specifically their pressure cookers, they have managed to disrupt everything. And that is why the first slow cooker on our list is the Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Slow Cooker.

Instant-Pot Duo-Mini-3 open

Starting out, this is a good size for most families. At three quarts of cooking capacity, you will have plenty of room for most of your meals. Now, if you have a larger family, then this might be a little small for you. As for portability, it is not very heavy with a total weight of 8.65 pounds while empty.

Designwise, the outside is wrapped in stainless steel and covered in black trimmings. The lid is completely detached but can be set into mounting holes temporarily while removing food. The lid is hefty with a large handle for easy grip. Inside, there is a removable, stainless steel cooking pot and steam rack; both are completely dishwasher safe and easily removable.

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 in the kitchen with food

Controlling the Duo is extremely easy with the programmable interface. Everything is clearly labeled so you know what you are working with. The built-in LCD shows you the time, how much pressure is being used, and other cooking details. Of course, this is designed to do more than just slow cook your food. In fact, you can also sauté, steam, warm, pressure cook, rice cook, and even make yogurt. Again, everything can be accessed using the programmable interface on the front of the slow cooker.

As for a warranty, Instant Pot covers the Duo for a period of one year from defects in workmanship and materials as long as it is used under normal, residential operation.

What We Like

Most of the time, multi-purpose devices are not nearly as effective as single-use devices. However, this 7-In-One slow cooker is not a normal multi-purpose cooker. Not only can it handle all of your slow-cooking needs, but it can also handle your pressure cooking needs too. With everything clearly marked on the front of the cooker, you will not be left guessing at what you need to press to create the perfect meal.

Overall

For a small to medium-sized family, the Instant Pot Duo 7-In-One Slow Cooker should be on your wishlist. With a three-quart capacity, it will give you plenty of food to fill your bellies while making it easy to focus on other things (i.e. work, family, friends). Again, this is more than just a slow cooker, which is why it is a steal at this price.

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Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Slow Cooker

  • More Than A Slow Cooker
  • Auto-Warm Setting After Cooking Has Completed
  • 24 Hour Delay Start Feature Allows You To Prepare Everything Beforehand

#2 Hamilton Beach 33969A Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 33969A Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Weight: 14.5 Pounds

Now, we are going to look at a brand is been in kitchens for quite a while. Hamilton Beach has produced a high-quality, budget-friendly cooking and/or kitchen devices for a LONG time. In fact, you should not be surprised if you see two or more of their slow cookers on our list today. The 33969A from Hamilton Beach is much more than what your parents and/or grandparents used; it is packed with features that obliterates slow cookers of the past.

Hamilton Beach 33969A Slow Cooker clip-tight lid

With six quarts of cooking capacity, you can just about feed an army (or at least your family and friends). It is fairly heavy, coming in at 14.5 pounds, making portability a little more difficult when fully loaded. To make sure everything stays inside of the pot while traveling, the lid comes with secure transport clips that apply significant pressure to keep everything inside. The lid itself is made of glass, with a small knob-handle on the top that provides a fairly secure grip. Inside, there is a removable stoneware liner that is completely dishwasher safe; the lid can be cleaned using the top-rack. As for the outer design, it is wrapped in a stainless steel outer with plenty of gloss back trimming. The programmable touch panel is wrapped in black with a medium-sized LCD display that shows the time and temperature of the food inside (when using the included probe).

Hamilton Beach 33969A Slow Cooker on the kitchen counter

Unlike some of the “fancier” slow cookers on the market, this one uses a much simpler interface for changing the settings. Choose your program, choose your heat setting, and go. The slow cooker will keep everything “just right” until you get back. If you prefer, you can even cook using a manual setting allowing you to select your heat and wait. If the power goes off for any reason, the slow cooker will remember its settings and start back up as long as the power was not off for longer than five seconds.

Hamilton Beach also offers a one-year limited warranty that protects you from any defects in workmanship or materials. Overall, a one-year limited warranty is normal for most slow cookers.

What We Like

Sometimes it is good to go back to your roots. This Hamilton Beach slow cooker definitely looks the part, reminding us what slow cookers used to look like. However, that is where the comparison ends as you can control the time, temperature, and even monitor the internal temperature using an included probe – this is definitely not the slow cooker your parents had.

Overall

If you want a slow cooker that is backed by one of the most dependable and trustworthy brands on the market today, then the Hamilton Beach 33969A slow cooker is perfect. It comes with some specialized features like the included probe and power-interruption memory that help set it apart without costing a fortune.

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Hamilton Beach 33969A Slow Cooker

  • Included Probe To Keep Up With Internal Food Temperature
  • Clip-Tight Gasket Lid Ensures Everything Stays Inside While traveling
  • Power-Interruption Memory Setting Ensures Your Food Cooks Even When The Power Flickers

#3 Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Slow Cooker

Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Weight: 11.83 Pounds

Instant Pot has so many offerings, it is hard not to put them on this list A LOT more. However, this is another slow cooker that absolutely outranks the competition. The Ultra 10-In-1 gives you more space that the Duo 7-In-1 mentioned earlier, while also giving you more capacity. Plus, they throw in a few more “must-have” features while still staying budget-friendly.

Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Slow open

This is definitely designed for larger families and/or gatherings. With six quarts of cooking capacity, you will have tons of leftovers to munch on through the week. Weightwise, it is not very heavy, with a total weight of 11.83 pounds when empty.

Sticking to their roots, the Ultra is wrapped in a stainless steel outer with plenty of black accents. Again, the lid will detach completely but can be temporarily held using specialized mounting holes for checking out the delicious goodness cooking inside. The lid is extremely thick, with a large handle for easy, slip-proof grip. And just like the Duo, the Ultra also comes with a removable, stainless steel cooking pot and steam rack.

Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Slow Cooker next to a meal

The Ultra upgrades the touch panel with a rotary dial that allows you to choose your cooking settings (and it is loaded). You can keep track of the time, pressure, temperature, delay, keep warm, sound alerts, and even the heat levels throughout the cooking cycle. Again, this can do much more than slow cook your food. Other options include pressure cook, soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, steam, sauté, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, yogurt, and more.

Again, the Ultra is covered by Instant Pot’s one-year warranty that protects you from defects in materials and/or workmanship when used under normal, residential operation.

What We Like

The Ultra is massive when compared to the Duo. Again, this is much more than just a slow cooker, giving you the ability to pressure cook as well as many other cooking features. The center, rotary-dial makes selecting your cooking options of breeze and the removable cooking liner makes cleanup even easier.

Overall

If the Duo was not big enough for you, then the Ultra should be just right. You will always have more than enough food when you use the Instant Pot Ultra. There is no reason to limit your slow cooker anymore. The Instant Pot brand has proven that multi-purpose devices can actually work!

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Instant Pot Ultra 10-In-1 Slow Cooker

  • Cooking Progress Indicator
  • Quick-Release Vent Lid To Release Pressure
  • Customized Temperature Settings For The Perfect Meal Every Time

#4 COSORI Instant 8-In-1 Slow Cooker

COSORI Instant 8-In-1 Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Weight: 15.0 Pounds

COSORI is not a name you immediately think of when it comes to cooking/kitchen devices. But, they are quickly changing that! While they aren’t as well known or innovative as Instant Pot, they create some premium products that are worth your time and money. Again, it is hard to imagine a company that uses the word “instant” in their title as a slow cooker, but they have managed to do the “impossible”.

COSORI Instant 8-In-1 Slow Cooker with all components

The 8-In-1 from COSORI is another multi-purpose slow cooker that gives you plenty of options to work with. First off, this is a large-capacity slow cooker with a massive six-quart pot. As such, this weighs a lot, coming in at 15 pounds. As such, this can be quite heavy when traveling, especially if it is full.

Designwise, it looks a lot like an Instant Pot with a few changes. It is wrapped in a stainless steel outer with some black trimming accents. The lid locks into place using a twisting action to ensure nothing comes out. The handle is long and easy to grab, ensuring you do not drop it for any reason. The exterior handles are a little small, but sufficient for portability. Inside, you will find a stainless steel pot with a glass lid and steam rack, all of which are dishwasher safe. The stainless steel is fingerprint-resistant too, helping to keep it looking picture perfect for many years.

Cosori Electric Pressure Cooker size comparison

The front panel interface is a little simple in design, complex in look. If you are not a fan of a lot of buttons, look away! It has 26 options/button to click on, so for those who want the ultimate control, this is the ultimate dream. Earlier we alluded to this, but this is for much more than just slow cooking. In fact, you can sauté, steam, warm, and pressure cook using this multi-purpose cooker from COSORI. You get even more control with three adjustable temperature ranges plus an advanced steam-release technology to ensure a perfectly cooked meal every time. For those who prefer, the temperature reading can even be set to Celsius. For the safety-conscious, there are tons of safety features including a pressure limiter, lid-lock warnings, electrical current monitor, temperature controllers, and more.

And finally, COSORI backs their products with a one-year, limited warranty that covers you for defects in materials and/or workmanship.

What We Like

Some people like to push buttons – this is perfect for them. You can control almost every aspect of the cooking process with this 8-In-1. Again, most multi-purposed cooking devices do not live up to the hype. But the COSORI 8-In-1 not only lives up to the hype, but it exceeds the hype. Plus, the additional safety features really put this one over the top for us.

Overall

Even though COSORI is not as well known as Instant Pot or Hamilton Beach, they have managed to carve out a nice niche in the cooking industry. If you want a large slow cooker with plenty of safety features and button to push, then the 8-In-1 from COSORI should be your next slow cooker.

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COSORI Instant 8-In-1 Slow Cooker

  • Numerous Safety Switches And Monitors
  • Tons Of Adjustments For Perfectly Cooked Meals
  • Inner Pot, Glass Lid, And Steam Rack Are All Dishwasher Safe

#5 Hamilton Beach 33861 Dual-Timer Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 33861 Dual-Timer Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Weight: 11.21 Pounds

If you have ever cooked with a slow cooker before, you know the struggle of coming home to finish out the cooking cycle. Sometimes you need another heating cycle to make everything just right. Well, the 33861 from Hamilton Beach understands the struggle and intends to fix it.

Hamilton Beach 33861 Dual-Timer Slow Cooker used for preparing a meal

With an outer shell that is wrapped in brushed stainless steel and a good helping of black accents, this looks great. But, what truly sets it apart is the dual-timer display that stands out against the competition. This is a programmable unit, but now you get the option to control two different heating cycles. When the first heating cycle finishes, the second cycle starts up and continues on. The handles are large and hefty, making it easy to travel with. Plus, the glassware lid can be clamped in place to ensure nothing leaks out.

Hamilton Beach 33861 Dual-Timer Slow Cooker close-up of display

And while the front has two digital interfaces, it is a rather simple look. Instead of overwhelming you with tons of buttons, Hamilton Beach keeps it simple and basic. And if the power goes off, it comes equipped with power-interruption mode which restarts where it left off (as long as the power was not off for a long period of time). And it is backed by a manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty.

What We Like

Having the ability to adjust the cooking cycles makes this one of the most comprehensive slow cookers we have seen. Now you do not have to come home to “warm” food, you can come home to hot, juicy chicken and rice with steamed vegetables – YUM!

Overall

While having dual-timers might sound gimmicky, it is not. Hamilton Beach understands the struggle of coming home to warm food or food that still needs another two hours of cooking before it is ready. Now, you do not have to suffer anymore – that is, if you buy the 33861 slow cooker from Hamilton Beach.

Hamilton Beach 33861 Dual-Timer Slow Cooker

  • Flex-Cook Mode
  • Clamping Lid For Secure traveling
  • Power-Interruption Mode Ensures Food Finishes Cooking Even If The Power Flickers

#6 Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker

Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 6.5 Quarts
  • Weight: 20.9 Pounds

For those looking for “near-commercial” quality, the PCS-650 from Cuisinart is made for you. Starting out, this is a massive slow cooker with a capacity of 6.5 quarts. Plus, it weighs a ton at 20.9 pounds. This is not designed to be carried on trips to your friend’s house. It does come with handles, but the handles are small and will keep your fingers close to the heat, which will become uncomfortable. The glass lid a chrome knob for gripping, but it is rather slick so be careful if steam is coming out.

Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker with prepared meal inside

Designwise, this is something you would expect to see in a commercial kitchen. It is square in design, surrounded by a ton of brushed aluminum, with just a few buttons for control. The control panel is black with seven buttons to work with. You can control the timer, the temperature, the cooking mode, and the power. And while this is a premium option, it looks ultra-basic.

Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker packaging

Finally, it is covered by a three-year limited warranty from the manufacturer; most of the other companies only offer one. If longevity is an issue for you, then you should stick with Cuisinart.

What We Like

Knowing that the manufacturer stands behind this product for three years is amazing. We like the fact that it is designed more for a “commercial” environment. With 6.5 quarts of cooking capacity, you will have plenty of leftovers.

Overall

Cuisinart is no stranger to the kitchen, and the PSC-650 is built to keep up with all of your cooking needs. If you want a slow cooker that has plenty of capacity, an easy-to-understand interface, and a warranty to is unrivaled, you have found it.

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Cuisinart PSC-650 Slow Cooker

  • Three-Year Limited Warranty
  • Huge Cooking Capacity
  • Simple Design

#7 Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: No
  • Capacity: 6 Quarts
  • Weight: 11.7 Pounds

Here is the brand you know so well – Crock-Pot! In fact, it is possible that you have used their name interchangeably when referring to slow cookers. And, it would have been almost impossible for us to have written this list out without referring to them at least once. The Cook & Carry from Crock-Pot is built for traveling. While some are more focused on being countertop-only models, Crock-Pot understands that people like to get together, so they built this slow cooker with several features that make traveling easy.

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker with meal inside

This is a large slow cooker with a six-quart capacity, easily giving you enough room to feed a family. And while it is a large slow cooker, they managed to scale the weight back to a paltry 11.7 pounds when unloaded. The lid is made from glass with a large, looping handle on the top for easy grip. Built into the glass our two secure-clips that work perfectly with the mounting tabs on the outer shell. Plus, the outside handles are large and stick out a good distance from the pot itself, helping to keep your hands cool even when the food is hot.

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker in the kitchen

Designwise, it is almost completely covered in stainless steel with just a smattering of black accents. To control the Cook & Carry, you simply turn the rotary control knob to your desired setting of off, low, high, or warm. Keeping it clean is easy as everything is dishwasher safe (not the base). And finally, Crock-Pot offers a one-year limited warranty on this and all of their other products so you can rest easy knowing it is covered.

What We Like

If you travel a lot, you want a slow cooker that is easy to carry without having to worry about spillage. Most slow cookers have a secure fit lid, but not like this one. The clamping system ensures that nothing gets out unless you want it to. The manual controls seem a little out of place on our list, but that just takes some of the complication out of cooking.

Overall

When you have a cookout at your friend’s house, you will want the Cook & Carry from Crock-Pot. Known to be the original slow cooker company, they know what people want. This is perfect for large families and gatherings. If you have to travel, you can take turns a little faster without having to worry about finding a mess in the backseat.

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Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Manual Slow Cooker

  • Clamping System Ensures Food Stays In
  • Manual Controls To Simplify The Cooking Process
  • Huge Handles To Make Portability Easier

#8 BLACK+DECKER Slow Cooker

BLACK+DECKER Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: No
  • Capacity: 7 Quarts
  • Weight: 14.65 Pounds

This slow cooker from BLACK+DECKER is fit for an army. With seven quarts of cooking capacity, you could almost fit an elephant in here (not really). Even with so much room to cook, B+D managed to keep the weight around the average with a 14.65-pound rating when unloaded. Knowing that this would probably be used for traveling, they equipped it with sturdy outer handles and a clamping system that locks the lid down tight. The upper handle is T-shaped, giving you plenty of gripping surface too.

Display of the BLACK+DECKER Slow Cooker

The outside is wrapped in ALL black, but it is unique in that the color is chalkboard black. The front panel is fully digital, with a red LCD panel that gives it a slightly sinister look. Amazingly, this is different from most of the other B+D offerings on the market. From the control panel, you can control the temperature and the timer, making it perfect as a set-and-go option.

BLACK+DECKER Slow Cooker used for a garden party

For those who like warranty information, BLACK+DECKER offers a two-year limited warranty on this slow cooker. While it is not as good as the Cuisinart warranty, it is still double that of most of the other slow cookers on this list.

What We Like

This will cook so much food, you might want to call the neighbors over to help you finish all the leftovers off. The simple look is great with a color scheme that stands out in a sea of stainless steel.

Overall

BLACK+DECKER is no slouch in the kitchen, and this slow cooker is proof. At seven quarts of cooking capacity, you will be amazed at how much food is really there.

BLACK+DECKER Slow Cooker

  • Huge 7-Quart Cooking Capacity
  • Clamping Lid For Easy Transport
  • Simplified Control Panel

#9 Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Specs:

  • Programmable: Yes
  • Capacity: 8 Quarts
  • Weight: 15.45 Pounds

For those who truly are cooking for an army, this slow cooker from Crock-Pot has you covered. With EIGHT quarts of cooking capacity, you will not find a bigger option (for residential use). It is fairly heavy at 15.45 pounds but not so much that you cannot travel with it. Unfortunately, the glass lid does not have any clamping mechanisms built-in so you will need to find another way to secure the lid if you are traveling with it while loaded. Both the lid and the stoneware pot are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with food inside

It is shrouded in a black (gunmetal gray) stainless steel with black accents surrounding it. The control panel looks futuristic, with a black surround and sleek stainless steel cover. The buttons are chromed-out and make it easy to program all your cooking settings in moments. The handles are stoneware too, keeping the heat off your fingers, but they do not protrude enough for us.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker used to prepare meat balls

And as always, you are covered by the one-year limited warranty from Crock-Pot.

What We Like

This is massive! If you have to feed everyone in your neighborhood, this is the slow cooker for you. This is more than we would ever need, but it could be just the right size for a large gathering.

Overall

The original slow cooking company knows how to create products that people want. This massive, 8-quart slow cooker will feed an army while looking good. Even though it is fairly simple, it definitely will leave you will plenty of leftovers.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

  • Huge 8-Quart Cooking Capacity
  • Programmable Interface
  • Dishwasher Safe

#10 Hamilton Beach 33231 Manual Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 33231 Slow Cooker, 3 Quart, Black

Specs:

  • Programmable: No
  • Capacity: 3 Quarts
  • Weight: 6.6 Pounds

We told you that there would be more Hamilton Beach products (we were not lying). This time, we are going to discuss a much simpler slow cooker. Sometimes, all you need is a simple slow cooker – one without touch screens, multiple cooking options, and specialized monitoring systems. And the 33231 Manual Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach is perfect.

Hamilton Beach 33231 Slow Cooker with meat inside

On the outside, it is extremely basic with a matte-black finish and a single rotary control knob on the front. It has a small sliver of silver on the top where the pot sits inside of the actual base/heater. The pot itself is made of stoneware and the lid is made from glass, both of which are dishwasher-safe. The knob on the lid is fairly small but easy to grip. As for capacity, this can hold up to three quarts of food, giving you enough space for up to a three-pound chicken. Weightwise, it is extremely light at only 6.6 pounds. The handles are large in comparison to the size of the slow cooker itself, making it extremely to carry while traveling. However, the lid does not clamp down, so you will need to use something to hold the lid down if you do travel with food inside.

Hamilton Beach 33231 Slow Cooker in dishwasher

Controlling the cooker is a single, rotary knob on the front with four options: off, keep warm, low, and high. It will stay on as long as you need and you can adjust it as desired. This is perfect for singles, dorm rooms, and small meals. And for those who are worried about a warranty, it is still covered by a manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty.

What We Like

This is a simple, no-nonsense slow cooker with a good capacity. If you do not need a lot of buttons to push, you will love this. The stoneware and glassware are completely dishwasher safe, making this one of the best value options on our list.

Overall

With so many feature-driven slow cookers on our list, this almost seems like an anomaly. But rest assured, we meant to put this on our list. It is a great slow cooker that does its job without making your life complicated. You can set it and forget it, and when you get back everything will be cooked. This would be perfect for singles, those in a dorm, or someone looking to prepare smaller meals.

Sale
Hamilton Beach 33231 Manual Slow Cooker

  • Manual Heating Control
  • Stoneware And Glassware Is Dishwasher Safe
  • Lightweight With Large Carrying Handles Make It Great For traveling

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best Slow Cooker

With so many slow cookers to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that is perfect for you. Some slow cookers can cost as little as $20 where others can be as much as $300. Of course, knowing what to look for can help you make the best decision when it comes to how much you are willing to spend on your next slow cooker.

Our buyer’s guide will help you to identify the best slow cooker for your needs and budget. Below, we will discuss the features and factors that should be considered when purchasing a new slow cooker. It should be noted, that these are the same features and factors that we used when comparing each of the slow cookers on our list to each other.

Size / Capacity

Initially, no one really thinks about the size/capacity of their slow cooker until it sitting on their countertop about to overflow with more left to go in the pot. Most slow cookers are measured in quarts and come in various sizes with the most common landing between 2 quarts and 6 quarts. But that number is only representative of how much it can “fully” hold, not what it should hold (slow cooker should never be filled two more than two-thirds capacity).

For a small family and/or gathering, a three or four-quart slow cooker should be sufficient. However, if you have a large family and/or gathering, a six-quart slow cooker (or two) may be required. If you are a single person living on your own, a small one-quart slow cooker will probably work best.

Before we move on, if you buy a six-quart slow cooker with the intention of using it as a one-quart slow cooker, you may end up overheating your food and/or scorching it, causing it to haste different/undesirable.

Settings / Controls

The next feature that you should consider when looking at a slow cooker is the number of features that it has. The most basic of models generally have a heat setting of low, medium, and high. If you know that you will be able to turn the heat off when needed, this is a great option.

However, for some of the more “on-the-go” cooks/chefs, just having the ability to adjust that he might not be enough. You may need to tell it to cook for six hours while you were away and then turn off. As such, you would need a timer at the minimum. Some units come with timers while others come with programmable interfaces.

Programmable interfaces give you much more control over the amount of heat and the duration that the slow cooker will function. These are great for people who do not want to sit around and watch their food cook (slowly).

Features

We have already touched on one of the most important features (programmability), but there are other features that help turn a decent slow cooker into a great slow cooker. Other features like “keep warm” help to keep your food from getting cold while you are away. Some go as far as keeping up with the internal temperature to make sure that your food is cooked thoroughly. Another feature is a timer/clock that allows you to start and/or stop your cooking cycle as needed (programmability).

Features are kind of like the size/capacity feature that we previously discussed in that you should make sure that you have the features you want in the event you might need them. As such, the more features you can find, the better off you will be no matter what the situation requires.

Materials / Durability

Next, you need to consider what type of materials the slow cooker you are looking at is made from. The interior pot is generally made from ceramic or porcelain while the outside is generally made from stainless steel or some other cheaper metal. Some come with clear lids that are dishwasher safe while others come with solid lids that might not be dishwasher safe.

The durability of your slow cooker will be directly affected by the quality of the materials used in your slow cooker. Of course, a slow cooker that is built with high-quality materials should last longer. They can withstand the high internal temperatures as well as work in a dishwasher when needed (the pot). As such, a high-quality slow cooker will cost more than a budget-friendly option in most cases.

Price

Unless you are made of money, how much the slow cooker cost will affect your decision dramatically. Again some slow progress can be bought for as little as $20 or for as much as $300.

Does that mean that the $20 slow cooker is a bad slow cooker? No!

Does that mean that the $300 slow cooker is a great slow cooker? Again, no!

If the slow cooker does not meet your needs, then it is not a good slow cooker (no matter what the price is). And while the price generally dictates that the materials will be a better quality and have more features, it might not be what you need.

Make sure that you know what you need so that you can adjust your budget accordingly. You may find that your budget needs to go up, especially if you are an “on-the-go” cook. Or, you may find that you do not need all the extra features and that a sub-$50 slow cooker will be more than enough for your cooking needs.

Do not overspend just because it looks nice and everyone in your group raves about it.

Warranty

And finally, most every manufacturer offers some type of warranty on their products; the slow cookers on our list are no different. Some will include a basic 90-day warranty where others may go up to three years. Of course, the longer the warranty, the more likely that your slow cooker will last you through plenty of meals.

But, it should be noted that a longer warranty generally costs more as the manufacturer will need to account for warranty claims (if they occur).

Frequently Asked Questions About Slow Cookers

If you have a question about slow cookers, this section should help. Here, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions about slow cooker. If you did not find the answer you need in this section, or in our list, then contact us so that we can help answer your question and all future visitors.

Q: What is a slow cooker?

A: Basically, a slow cooker is a pot inside of a heated metal container. A slow cooker is designed to cook food SLOWLY (in some cases, up to 12 hours). Using the led/cover, you are able to trap heat and moisture inside, making for some juicy and delicious food. That is one of the reasons why everyone suggests you leave the lid on until the food is completely cooked.

Soon people get slow cookers confused with pressure cookers (these are not the same). Pressure cookers rely on pressure and steam to cook their food faster. A slow cooker relies on heat and moisture to cook their food slower.

Q: Is a Crock Pot the same as a slow cooker?

A: Okay, a slow cooker can be a Crock-Pot but a Crock-Pot does not always have to be a slow cooker. Confused yet? Most people are…

Crock-Pot is an actual brand that was started in 1970. Yes, they did create the early version of the slow cookers we use today, but the Crock-Pot name is actually their brand. It is the same premise as Chapstick which is a lip balm, Xerox which is a printer/copier, Kleenex which is a tissue, and the list goes on…

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, a slow cooker and a Crock-Pot can “be the same” as long as the Crock-Pot is an actual slow cooker. However, other brands also make slow cookers such as Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach.

While the names are used interchangeably, it is not proper to call a slow cooker a Crock-Pot unless it is from the Crock-Pot brand (and if it is a slow cooker) .. Got it?

Q: Why do people use slow cookers?

A: The number one reason why people use slow cookers is convenience. It is easy to put all of the ingredients in the pot, turn the heat on, set the timer and go. When you get back, all you will need to do is stir up everything and you have dinner for everyone.

One unusual fact about slow cookers is the ability to tenderize cheaper meats such as sirloin and flank steak. This allows you to include high-quality protein in your meals without paying a ton for the premium meats. Also, slow cookers do not as much electricity as an oven would.

Q: Couldn’t you just cook the food in the oven?

A: Just about anything can be cooked in an oven, but the same can be said of a slow cooker too. Ovens tend to use more gas/electricity to do the same amount of work over a long period of time. If you needed to leave your house for any reason, it would be fairly unsafe to leave the oven running without any type of supervision. A slow cooker is a much safer alternative to the oven.

Yes, you could use your oven to cook your chicken, rice, and vegetable casserole, but it would not be as juicy and/or flavorful as if it were cooked in a slow cooker – go ahead, we dare you to try to match the two.

Q: What can you cook in a slow cooker?

A: If the food needs to be heated, it can be cooked in a slow cooker. You can cook dips, chilis, soups, casseroles, lasagna, steaks, chicken, vegetables, and so much more in a slow cooker. It all depends on your level of creativity.

There are plenty of recipes for all types of diets; all you have to do is search for “slow cooker recipes”. Even better, a slow cooker can actually help you to stay on budget as you will get healthier food that does not cost as much as those frozen meals that are not good for your health.

Q: How do you clean a slow cooker?

A: Cleaning a slow cooker is fairly easy, especially if it is dishwasher safe. All you need to do is rinse the inside out with a little soap and water and then place it in the dishwasher. Wipe down the outside of the base/heater and that is it. Even if it is not dishwasher safe, you can put soapy water in the slow cooker, turn it on, use a soft-bristled, scrubbing brush and rinse it out.

Q: Could a slow cooker start a fire in my home?

A: Under the right settings, your slow cooker could start a fire in your home. But, almost every manufacturer recommends the same thing – place the slow cooker on a level/flat surface without anything close to it.

If you do this, it is highly unlikely that the slow cooker could catch on fire (or anything else around it such as letter and/or receipts).

Q: How long do slow cookers take to cook food?

A: Most slow cookers are designed to cook food between 2 hours and 12 hours. However, this completely depends on the food you are cooking too. For instance, rice and vegetables will be good in 2 to 4 hours whereas a chicken casserole or fajita mix might take between 8 to 10 hours. Make sure that you know what temperature your food needs to reach before it is considered safe for consumption. If needed, use a thermometer to ensure that the food is fully cooked before eating.

Q: Do I have to use a specific heat setting?

A: Generally, there are three heat settings to choose from: low, medium, and high. In all honesty, the temperature is actually the same for all three. The only difference is the time that it takes for the slow cooker to reach its simmer point of around 209 degrees. When set to low, this takes around eight hours. When set on high, this takes around four hours. Just because you turn the slow cooker to high does not mean the slow cooker will cook the food any faster, just that it will reach the simmer point quicker. Remember, a slow cooker is designed to cook food slowly.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! Our list of the ten best slow cookers on the market today.

We looked at plenty of slow cookers, comparing each of them to find the “best of the best”. To help you better understand what we looked at, we included a buyer’s guide that identifies every feature and/or factor that we considered. Plus, we tried to make sure to answer the most common questions about slow cookers to help answer any questions you might have too.

Ultimately, we hope that you found a slow cooker that is perfect for you and your family. Since your cooking needs are not the same as the family next door, there is a good chance that you might not need a six-quart slow cooker. As such, our list should give you a good idea of what is available.

So, all that is left to ask now is… did you find the perfect slow cooker for you and your family?

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