BEST SLOW COOKERS | NOVEMBER 2017
Slow cookers are perfect for both beginner and expert chefs alike. They have the versatility to make dips, appetizers, soups, stews, meats, vegetables, and much more. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for a group, a slow cooker is a great kitchen appliance to have. With this in mind, our team conducted extensive research to determine the best slow cookers across four major categories – basic slow cookers, programmable slow cookers, mini slow cookers, and large-capacity slow cookers. Our research includes the top key features for each product, which helps you make an informed decision before your purchase. Read more about our methodology.
The 6.5-quart Crock-Pot has a wide range of program timing options, including a setting to keep your food warm when the timer stops. It also has automatic stirring options, a safety locking lid, and it’s easy to clean.Read full review.
The Proctor Silex Portable Slow Cooker is lightweight and portable, which makes it a great choice for preparing appetizers and dips on the go, without breaking the bank. It also has dishwasher safe components and a tight sealing lid to prevent spills.Read full review.
Slow Cookers BUYING GUIDE
Size of pot
You need to decide what your primary use for the slow cooker is going to be for. If you only plan to make appetizers or dips, a mini slow cooker may suit your needs. However, if you need to cook large meals for an event or party, you’ll need to look for a large capacity slow cooker instead. Typically, a large capacity slow cooker is 8.5 quarts.
Are you going to keep the slow cooker at your house or do you plan on taking it on the road with you? If need to take the slow cooker in your car and carry it around, keep an eye out for features such as a safety locking lid and cool touch handles. The locking lid will prevent spills, and the cool touch knobs won’t burn your hands while you hold it.
If you want to put something in your slow cooker and just forget about it, timer options may be the most important thing to look out for. Some of the best slow cookers have timer options that allow you to set it up to 20 hours. You can leave the house, go to work, run errands, or even go to sleep while your food cooks safely in your kitchen.
Adjustable temperature options
You don’t want to buy a slow cooker with just one temperature setting. The best slow cookers have different heat options such as low, high, or warm. Slow cookers with a warm temperature setting a perfect if you want to prepare a meal in advance, but keep it at an appropriate serving temperature before you eat.
For less than $16 you can find a functional basic or mini slow cooker. These slow cookers typically won’t have all the bells and whistles, but they do have convenient heat setting options. If you are looking for a large pot, basic medium to large-capacity slow cookers range from about $24 to $30. These are a little bit more practical and high quality for the price point. If you want programmable timing options as well as heat adjustment settings with a large pot, you’ll find a top of the line slow cooker ranging between $45 and $65. The top slow cookers are ideal for large meals, have built in safety features, and sleek designs.
FULL product reviews
We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.
The Crock-Pot 6.5Qt Digital Slow Cooker comes with automatic stirring paddles and versatile timer settings. The sleek stainless steel machine also has a safety locking lid, automatic warm setting, and it’s easy to clean when you’re finished.
Why We Recommend It
- Versatile programmable control settings. The 6.5qt slow cooker from Crock-Pot allows you to set a timer anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. This versatility gives you the freedom to let your food cook while you’re at work or even overnight. Set the cooking time and forget about it.
- Automatic stirring options included. The cooker comes with two stirring paddle attachments, so the food gets mixed while cooking. You can set the stirring paddles to power or pulse, which stirs for five minutes every 30 minutes. There are also customizable stirring options available with this feature.
- Locking safety lid. You can rest easily knowing that your food won’t be all over the kitchen counter and floors while you step away from the Crock-Pot. The lid has a safety lock to prevent splashes and spills the container.
- Keeps food warm once cooking time ends. Your Crock-Pot automatically switches to the warm setting when the timer stops. This keeps your food at a serving temperature and prevents the meal from getting cold before you eat.
- Easy to clean. There are minimal burnt edges and food build up within the walls since your food gets stirred while cooking. All the components are dishwasher safe, and the base can easily be wiped clean with a damp towel.
- Large and heavy. The Crock-Pot is large, so it doesn’t store easily in small areas of your kitchen. It’s also 14 pounds, so it’s not extremely portable if you plan to travel with your cooked meals.
The Proctor Silex 33116Y Portable Slow Cooker comes with a lid that has a rubber seal and strap to prevent spills while cooking. It’s small size makes it easy to store, and perfect for transporting food to your final destination. The main components are dishwasher safe, and it’s a great slow cooker for preparing dips and other appetizers.
Why We Recommend It
- Lid has rubber seal and strap. You don’t have to worry about spilling the contents of your slow cooker during the cooking or transportation process. The rubber seal lid and strap ensures that you won’t make a mess
- Dishwasher safe components. The oval stoneware is removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. In addition to the stoneware, the lid is also dishwasher safe for any splashes against the lid while your food cooks.
- Perfect for dips and appetizers. The size and shape of this Proctor Silex Slow cooker make it a great option for preparing appetizers and dips. You can serve food directly out of the cooker, which makes it convenient when you are entertaining guests.
- Lightweight and portable. Proctor Silex created this slow cooker with the intention of portability. It weighs less than six pounds and has handles that make it easy to carry. You can prepare a meal at home, and then take it on the go to a party, picnic, or event.
- Not made for large meals. Since the slow cooker is only 1.5-quarts, you can’t prepare large meals in it. The design was made for dips, appetizers, and portability, as opposed to cooking dinner for large groups.
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Best Basic Slow Cooker
Basic slow cookers are simple and easy to use. They have the convenient functions necessary to cook food, without extra features that you may not ever need or use. The best basic slow cookers have adjustable heat settings for cooking and serving. Using a basic slow cooker will allow you to prepare meals without to worry about spills and mess. Most of the basic slow cookers are medium sized, which make them versatile for use at home or on the go.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL400-R 4-Quart Slow Cooker is the perfect size for preparing food for smaller groups. You can use the convenient warm setting to keep your food at serving temperature. The lockable lid and dishwasher safe components are added bonus features.
Why We Recommend It
- Medium size creates versatility. The 4-Quart slow cooker is large enough to feed four or more people, but not too big to transport. You can enjoy meals in your home, or bring the Crock-Pot to a family event, tailgate party, or potluck with ease.
- Useful warm setting. You can keep your meals warm at an appropriate serving temperature even after the food is done cooking. The warm setting prevents the contents from getting cold, without overcooking the dish.
- Lockable lid system. The lid has a mount and lock, so you don’t have to worry about any spills or mess while your food is cooking. The lockable lid also comes in handy to make sure you don’t spill while you carry the slow cooker and when it rides in the car.
- Easy clean up. You can remove the oval stoneware and put it in the dishwasher to avoid hand washing and scrubbing. In addition to the stoneware, the lid is also dishwasher safe so you save time cleaning.
- Limited timing options. This Crock-Pot lacks programmability. Instead, you are limited to the low, high, and warm heat settings.
Best Programmable Slow Cooker
Programmable slow cookers are ideal for people who like to multi-task. If you want to prepare a meal that takes hours, but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, you should look for a programmable slow cooker. In addition to the adjustable heat settings, the best programmable slow cookers give you the option for customized timing options. You have the ability to start cooking, leave the house, run some errands, and come back to a hot meal.
The Elite Platinum MST-900D Maxi-Matic 8.5 Quart slow cooker has a digital timer, so you can set unique times based on the meal you are preparing. Its beautiful design and large size make it great for entertaining guests and the flexible heat settings prevent your food from getting cold.
Why We Recommend It
- Large size for big meals. This Elite Platinum slow cooker is 8.5 quarts, which means you can prepare food for a large gathering – or just have plenty of leftovers. And you can cook larger foods, such as a whole small chicken.
- Digital timer with customized program options. The digital interface is sleek and high tech. You can set a custom timer for up to 20 hours. Set the timer and go sleep, run errands, or go to work without having to worry about your meal.
- Modern stainless steel finish. This slow cooker has as stainless steel finish, cool-touch handles, and a tempered glass lid. The aesthetically pleasing design will look good on any kitchen counter and blend in with the rest of your appliances.
- Multiple heat settings. In addition to the timing options, this slow cooker also has various heat setting features. You can select low, high, or keep warm heat based on the meal you are preparing.
- Not easy to carry and transport. The Elite Platinum MST-900D is big, heavy, and not built for portability. This slow cooker works best in your home, rather than on the road for a potluck or picnic.
The Bella 13996 5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker keeps your meals full of flavor with its moisture locking lid system. It has various temperature settings and advanced timing options for your convenience. It also comes with a limited product warranty, and has dishwasher safe components.
Why We Recommend It
- The lid locks in moisture. Bella designed the tempered glass lid to seal and prevent moisture from escaping. This ensures that foods remain moist and flavorful.
- Multiple temperature and timing options. Program the heat setting to low, high, or warm based on the meal. You can also program the timer anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours.
- Dishwasher safe pot and lid. It’s easy to clean up after using since the stoneware pot and tempered glass lid are both dishwasher safe. Don’t waste time scrubbing by hand, simply remove the stoneware and put it in your dishwasher.
- Vibrant color does not blend in. The bright teal color of this Bella slow cooker is not for everyone. It may not match the other appliances in your kitchen or the other color schemes in your home.
Best Mini Slow Cooker
If you plan on preparing appetizers or dips to bring with you to parties, picnics, or other events, a mini slow cooker may be the best option for you. While you can’t prepare a feast for a large group with a mini slow cooker, you can cook delicious appetizers and easily transport them to your destination without having to remove the contents from the pot. These are small, lightweight, and easy for anyone to handle.
The Elite Platinum EWMST-325 Triple Slow Cooker has build in safety features such as cool touch handles and a red light to remind you when the machine is on and hot. It has cool touch handles, which makes it easy to move and transport even when the contents are still hot. The tempered glass lid allows you to keep on eye on your food without removing the cover.
Why We Recommend It
- Easy to use temperature settings. You can adjust the temperature of your Elite Platinum slow cooker to warm, low, or high. Simply turn the knob to your preferred setting to change the heat levels.
- Bight power illuminator. As a safety precaution, this slow cooker has a power indicator to let you and your guests to know that the device is on. The feature can help prevent injury, since it tells you the surface of the machine is hot.
- Cool touch handles. While the contents of the slow cooker may be hot, the handles are not. The cool touch handles make it safe and convenient for you to move and transport your Elite Platinum slow cooker.
- Tempered glass lid for easy viewing. There’s no need to remove the cover to check on your food. The tempered glass lid makes it easy for you to check on the progress of your meal without letting any heat escape.
- Not ideal for large events. If you are hosting a large group, you can’t prepare a full meal in this slow cooker. It’s only 1.5 quarts, which is great for making dips and appetizers while you entertain, but not full dinners.
Best Large-Capacity Slow Cooker
The best large capacity slow cookers are ideal for people who prepare food for many people. Typically, these pots are big and heavy, so you’ll want to find something smaller if you plan to transport it often. However, if you enjoy big family dinners with lots of leftovers for the rest of the week, you should consider a large capacity slow cooker to fulfill your cooking needs.
The Elite Platinum MST-900V 8.5-Quart Slow Cooker is perfect for making large meals, but light enough to travel with. Its major components are dishwasher safe and it has appropriate temperature settings that are easy to adjust. The tempered glass lid makes it convenient for you to monitor the cooking progress without disrupting the heat.
Why We Recommend It
- Large and lightweight. This Elite Platinum model is 8.5 quarts, which has the capability to cook extra large meals for big groups. Although the slow cooker is big, it only weighs about seven pounds, so it’s not too heavy if you need to move or transport it.
- Ceramic pot is easy to clean. Simply remove the inner ceramic pot when you are done and ready to clean it. The pot is dishwasher safe, making it simple to clean while giving you time to do other things.
- Adjustable temperature settings. You can change the temperature to low, high, or warm, depending on what you’re cooking and how long you need to cook it. These settings make it easier to prepare food on a schedule that works best for you.
- Tempered glass lid. The tempered glass lid lets you see inside the pot without having to remove the top. You can keep on eye on food without letting moisture, hot air, and flavors escape. It also has a cool touch knob to prevent burns on your hand.
- Can’t use the machine straight out of the box. While you may be excited to cook with your new slow cooker, you need to break it in before you can put food in it. There may be a slight smell and minimal smoke when you first turn it on, but it’s safe to use after about 15 minutes.