A slow cooker is a kitchen appliance used to simmer foods. Slow cookers are powered by electricity and heat foods over a long period, usually a few hours.
The best slow cooker can be determined by the following: programmable settings, warm setting, digital controls, removable insert, glass lid, large capacity, multiple pots, preset cooking, brand, and price.
The different uses of a slow cooker include baking, steaming, melting, and other techniques that require slow cooking.
Specifically, the uses of the best slow cookers include:
- Making soups and stews
- Baking brownies and cookies
- Steaming food
- Melting various ingredients
One way to choose is by going with the top-rated slow cookers through slow cooker reviews and ratings, which are typically a good indicator of their quality, performance, and features.
The most reliable slow cooker brands include All-Clad, Black + Decker, Crock-Pot, and KitchenAid.
- 1. Best Overall - All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker
- 2. Best High End - KitchenAid 6-Qt. Slow Cooker
- 3. Best For Families - Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker
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1. Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
- Tri-ply bottom for even cooking
- Stainless steel finish
- More than ten safety features, including a safe-locking lid and protection from overheating
- Quick and easy cleaning
- Adjust from slow to fast cooking
- 13 smart and customizable pre-programmed settings
- 6-quart capacity, perfect for a family of six
- 7–in–1 function—electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker, warmer, and sterilizer
The Instant Pot Duo is intuitive, easy to sanitize, fast, versatile, and convenient. By utilizing the multi-programmed function, this model can perform the function of seven home appliances.
Its 13 built-in smart programs simplify cooking to do everything automatically—from pressure-cooking meat like ribs and chicken, making soups and yogurt, cooking beans and rice, poultry, preparing desserts, and many more.
The tri-ply, stainless steel inner pot offers quick and efficient heating. The Instant Pot Duo delivers the quality, efficiency, and versatility you need in a kitchen appliance.
- A couple of customer reviews on the unit catching fire or going faulty within a year
- Versatility with its 7–in–1 function, 13 pre-programs, and slow to fast cooking options
- A couple of customer reviews on the unit catching fire or going faulty within a year
2. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker
- Stainless Steel
- Removable stone inserts that can be used in the microwave
- 6-quart capacity, serving up to 7 people
- Locking lid and airtight lid gasket
- Digital Timer
This Crock Pot Programmable Cook & Carry Pot Slow Cooker with Digital Timer is designed for portability. Its sealed lid and rubber seal create an airtight seal, protecting your food when transporting it on an outing and preventing spills.
Use this portable electric slow cooker at outdoor parties, family get-togethers, potlucks, and other social events where food needs to be cooked or kept warm. The digital control panel lets users set a cooking time between half an hour and 20 hours and adjust the temperature to High, Low, and Warm. The slow cooker will automatically shift to Warm for a maximum of six hours, maintaining the food’s temperature and flavor.
- Big size and capacity
- Some customer reviews on durability issues and inaccurate temperature
3. Leuwd 5.3 QT Programmable Stainless Oval Multi-cooker
- Stainless Steel + ABS
- Digital Countdown Timer
- Delay Start and LCD Display
- 5.3-quart capacity perfect for family dinner and batch cooking
This Leuwd programmable slow-cooker provides steady low heat to make your meat tender and cook for an extended period to preserve the taste and nutritional value of the ingredients.
You can make ideal meat to feed yourself and your loved ones delicious, warm meals with the customizable timer and delay-start timer.
The slow cooker will automatically shut off when there is no water in the pot, allowing you to leave it on during the day without having to check it constantly.
The glass lid and inner pot are firmly locked together to keep the heat in so your meat can thoroughly brown the meat and preserve the rich flavor.
- Automatic shut-off function ideal for busy and on–the–go users,
4. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker
- 6-quart capacity
- Lid Lock
- Temperature Probe
- Clip-tight gasket lid
- Stainless Steel
- Power interrupt protection
This Hamilton Beach programmable slow cooker provides convenience for the modern-day household with its “set it and forget it” features. It is designed with a programmable slow cooker with three options for simple, automatic cooking—program, probe.
It also comes with control and flexibility in temperatures, allowing you to set the cooking time based on a specific number of hours or High, Low, or Warm settings for up to 14 hrs.
The pre-programmed settings for cooking will automatically switch to warm when the cooking time is done.
- Multiple “set it and forget it” features
- Customer reviews on durability issues, such as not lasting for more than a year and an exploding lid
5. Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker
- Removable, dishwasher-safe parts such as the lid and stoneware
- Gasket lid helps prevent messy spills when used with Lid Latch strap
- Three temperature settings easy to mix and match with cooking duration
- Gasket lid and Lid Latch strap help avoid messy spills
- 7-quart capacity
Make your daily meals unique with the Hamilton Beach programmable slow cooker, which lets you create a delectable roast dinner with little effort by just putting a few ingredients into it and turning it on. Its 7-quart capacity makes it perfect for preparing a whole chicken or roasting meat to perfection.
This programmable slow cooker has adjustable cooking settings that range from slow to fast to warm. It includes a gasket lid and Lid Latch strap, perfect for taking hot food on the road. It is also designed with a large cooking pot that can keep your meals warm for many hours.
The lid and crock are easily removable and can go straight into the dishwashing machine for cleaning.
- Multiple programming options, more than other models and brands
- A couple of customer reviews on durability issues, i.e., not lasting more than a month
6. All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker
- Black Ceramic Insert and Glass Lid
- 6.5-quart capacity
- Cooking times from 4 to 20 with a complete cycle time of up to 26 hours
- Large touchscreens display clear graphics and are easy to control
- Dishwasher-safe insert and lid make cleaning up easy
The All-Clad Slow Cooker with Black Ceramic Insert provides a selection of slow-cooked gourmet comfort foods, prepared to perfection every time, thanks to the even heating.
This unit has a programmable cooking schedule and an automatic 6-hour keep-warm feature. The set temperature allows you to set the right execution time without monitoring the appliance. The two temperature settings provide an even result.
Digital controls and push-button settings provide an intuitive interface for selecting cooking modes and settings according to your recipe and preferences. Up to 26 hours can be programmed into the timer, and up to 3 modes are available (high, low, and hi/lo) to use. It keeps food at an appropriate temperature for 6 hours or until the serving time is reached. Your dinner is ready to be served when you are ready.
- Wide range of cooking times and cycle times available
- Digital controls and an intuitive and user-friendly interface
- More expensive than other models and brands
7. KitchenAid 6-Qt. Slow Cooker
- Stainless Steel
- Easy Serve lid
- Precise heating control
- Large capacity removable, oval-shaped ceramic vessel
- Easy–to–read digital display
- 24-hour programmability
- Four temperature settings
- 6-quart capacity
This KitchenAid model offers a 6-quart capacity slow cooker, 24-hour programmability, a digital display, automatic keep-warm mode, a removable oval-shaped ceramic vessel, and much more. Suitable for everyday dishes, holiday entertaining, tailgating, and more, this slow cooker offers four temperature ranges for precise heating control—low, medium, high, and keep warm.
The Easy Serve Lid is a dual-sided hinged lid designed with a twist-grip mechanism to enable easy one-handed operation.
- You can program the slow cooker for a specified cooking time of up to 24 hours using 30-minute increments. After a set time, the slow cooker automatically goes into keep warm mode for up to four hours.
- Not for the budget-conscious
8. Cuisinart 3–In–1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
- Programmable control panel
- Nonstick aluminum cooking pot
- Steaming rack
- Glass lid with handle
- Multiple options for a slow cook, steam, brown/sauté
- 6-quart capacity
The Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker, made of stainless steel, will improve your countertop with its aesthetics. The Cook Central makes cooking for family and crowds easy thanks to its three preset functions that will perform sauté, steam, and slow cooking no matter how many people you feed.
The “Keep Warm” takes over once the cooking is complete, so you never have to worry about serving cold dishes at dinner parties again. Once your meal is over, you’ll find the removable cooking pot nonstick and can easily chuck it along with the pot, steaming rack, and glass lid into the dishwasher for effortless cleaning.
- Programmable control panel with cooking function buttons, time and temperature directionals, blue backlit LCD
- Multi-functional with options for a slow cook, steam, brown/sauté
- More expensive than standard slow cookers
9. Taylor Swoden Programmable Slow Cooker
- Dishwasher-safe detachable parts
- 8-in-1 Preset Modes including slow cooking (high and low), sauté, steam, rice, grill, keep warm, and stew
- 6.3-quart multi-cooker with a steamer tray, grill plate, and griddle pan
- Countdown timer
The Taylor Swoden programmable slow cooker makes multitasking a breeze. With its 6.3-quart multi-cooker and 8–in–1 preset modes, this model lets you maximize flavor and minimize cooking and cleaning.
You can keep the food automatically warm after cooking for up to 8 to 10 hours. Imagine doing meal preps at night and starting cooking when you wake up.
- A programmable slow cooker that is multi-functional, thanks to its 8–in–1 preset modes
- More expensive than standard slow cookers
10. Crock-Pot 7 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Automatically switches to Warm after cooking is done, allowing you to serve food warm and fresh
- Stoneware that is easy to clean
- Dishwasher-safe glass lid
- Digital countdown control allows you to cook from half an hour up to 20 hours
- 7-quart capacity perfect for serving eight people or more
The Crockpot 7-quart slow cooker lets you prepare a meal in the morning and have it slow-cook for the day. You can go to work the entire day and still enjoy a delicious, nutritious home-cooked dinner when you come home.
This 7-quart slow cooker features a digital countdown control that can prepare dishes for up to 20 hours. Once the time is up, the slow cooker will automatically switch to the warm setting to keep your food at the ideal temperature.
- Large capacity
- Durability issues reported in customer reviews, including cracked ceramic pot after four months and lid not fitting well with the rest of the unit
11. Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Dishwasher-friendly parts
- Stay or Go clips for portability
- Manual mode, where you can select high, low, or warm with no timer
- Lid Lock
- 2-heat Settings
- FlexCook Dual Digital Timer
- 6-quart capacity
This Hamilton Beach slow cooker lets you customize your cooking, thanks to FlexCook—you can set two heat settings and cook whenever you want, giving you more liberty and flexibility when cooking your favorite dishes. The FlexCook also includes a program option for a single cooking time and temperature.
This model also comes with a manual mode—select high, low or warm with no timer. It goes on warm mode once cooking is done, and the “Stay or Go” clips makes it portable as it locks the slow cooker and airtight seal the lid.
The lid and stoneware crock are removable and tossed into the dishwasher for quick and easy cleaning.
- Not expensive
- FlexCook settings provide added flexibility, control, and liberty
- Customer reviews mention the LED display being faulty
12. KOOC Small Slow Cooker
- Stainless steel
- Ceramic pot
- Free liners included for a quick and easy cleaning
- 2-quart capacity, perfect for students and singles/couples
The KOOC slow cooker is a small and portable model with a 2-quart capacity best for students, singles, couples, and three temperature settings—low, high, and warm.
- Small and portable
- Standard slow cooker with basic features
- Small size and less capacity required by larger households
What are the best types of slow cookers?
There are four types of slow cookers on the market: manual, programmable, multi-function, and digital slow cooker.
A manual slow cooker is a basic slow cooker with an adjustable knob. This slow cooker is suitable for easy, one or two ingredient dishes. The cooking times on the high and low settings will vary from 3-4 to 6-8 hours. After that, the keep-warm feature activates. The controller can be a knob that controls these settings. You can set the temperature manually to four different levels—on/off, low, high, and keep warm.
A programmable slow cooker is an appliance that comes with numerous settings. This allows you to set your preferred temperature and time. A programmable slow cooker works by using an internal heating element and sensors to maintain a low cooking temperature automatically while also releasing steam periodically, so your meal comes out moist. Most models have controls that allow you to select the number of hours you want it to run and the temperature you want to use.
A multi-function slow cooker is a slow cooker with multiple compartments. This allows you to slow cook more than one dish at a time. A multi-function slow cooker can be used as a regular slow cooker, but with multiple functions for different types of cooking. It is also controlled by a unique digital panel and has an automatic keep-warm function, perfect for running late or forgetting that you need to turn it off. A multi-function slow cooker saves time, energy, and money—they use about 70% less energy than a conventional oven.
Digital slow cookers have settings that allow you to connect to them remotely. This means you can control the slow cooker’s setting on a smartphone. Its programmable feature makes cooking hassle-free without sacrificing flavor. Just add the ingredients, set your cooking time, and cook your meal—all while you focus on other tasks.
What are the best manual slow cookers?
The best manual slow cookers are the Crockpot 7-quart slow cooker, KOOC small slow cooker, and Hamilton Beach 4-quart slow cooker.
What are the best programmable slow cookers?
The best gas programmable slow cookers are Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker, Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker, All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker, and the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.
What are the best multi-function slow cookers?
The best multi-function slow cooker is Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 and Cuisinart 3–In–1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker, Leuwd 5.3 QT Programmable Stainless Oval Multi-cooker, and Cuisinart 3–In–1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker.
What are the best digital slow cookers?
The best digital slow cookers are the Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker and All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker.
What functionality should you expect from a slow cooker?
The functionalities you should expect from a slow cooker include baking, steaming, melting, and other techniques that require slow cooking.
What should you know before buying a slow cooker?
When buying a slow cooker, you need to consider things and pick the best one based on its programmable settings, warm setting, digital controls, removable insert, glass lid, large capacity, multiple pots, preset cooking, brand, and price.
Programmable settings: Programmable settings allow you to set your slow cooker and forget about it. Programmable settings may include cook time or temperature.
Warm setting: A warm setting keeps your foods warm after they’re done cooking. This is a good feature if your dishes finish cooking before you’re ready to eat them.
Digital controls: Digital controls can make it easier to view your cook time and settings on your slow cooker.
Removable insert: A slow cooker with a removable insert makes it easier to keep your appliance clean.
Glass lid: A glass lid allows you to check if your ingredients are cooked or melted without having to remove the cover.
Large capacity: A large capacity slow cooker allows you to cook larger dishes, which is beneficial when entertaining.
Multiple pots: A slow cooker with numerous compartments allows you to cook more than one dish at a time.
Preset cooking: Preset cooking features let you choose automated cooking times based on the type of food in the slow cooker.
Brand and price. The price of slow cookers varies according to the type and brand. Recognized brands are known for quality and reliability but are on the higher end of the range. Consider your budget and whether you’ll use slow cookers regularly or sparingly.
What is the average price slow cooker for the best slow cookers?
The average price for a slow cooker varies between $30-$100. Smaller slow cookers that hold less volume cost less than larger slow cookers that cook larger dishes.
What is the main difference between a slow cooker and a microwave?
The difference between a slow cooker and a Dutch oven is based on the quality of food they cook and their cooking methods.
A slow cooker is a kitchen appliance that cooks meals over a long period but results in thinner food with less browning due to the slow reduction rate. Cooking using a Dutch oven braises food for a long time, leading to thicker, browner, more flavorful, and concentrated broth.
What slow cooker type is considered superior?
The slow cooker type that is considered superior is the multi-function slow cooker. This type comes in multiple compartments, allowing you to cook more than one dish at a time in various settings. It is also designed with a special digital panel and has an automatic keep-warm function, perfect for running late or forgetting that you need to turn it off. It uses about 70% less energy than a conventional oven.
What are the common mistakes in using a slow cooker?
Here are some of the common mistakes for using a slow cooker:
Adding too much liquid may cause your soup or stew to become too watery. If you happen to pour too much liquid, remove about half of it and transfer it to a saucepan to boil. You can always add this boiled liquid into the dish after it’s slow-cooked.
Forgetting to defrost your meat and deciding to toss it straight into the slow cooker is not a great idea in terms of food safety. The slow cooker’s low temperature may not be enough to kill the bacteria that could breed while slow cooking. Plus, failing to defrost may give you a midsection that is raw. To avoid this, thaw the meat first in cold water.
Cooking meat such as beef on high could only make it more rigid and chewy. Consider putting it on a low setting, and you’re likely to get more tender and flavorful meat.
Tossing ingredients such as peppers and raw onions without sautéing them first may not give you the flavor you want. Make sure you sauté certain ingredients on a stovetop first, and you can expect a much deeper flavor.
Putting all vegetables simultaneously into the slow cooker may not produce the best effect for your dish. Some vegetables cook quicker than others. Peas, mushrooms, and carrots are better added closer to serving time, while onions can be added earlier than others.
Knowing how to use a slow cooker carefully and adequately will ensure durability and make it last longer for your household.
What criteria define the best slow cooker?
Here are five criteria of the best slow cookers:
Pot. Some models have an oval-shaped pot, which is ideal for slow-cooking pot roast or other chunky meat cuts compared to round pots.
Space and capacity. Determine how much food you will be cooking using this appliance. If you’re cooking for a household of 6 or 7, you need a unit with more than 20-quart capacity. Consider your bench space and storage—do you have enough space to place and store your slow cooker? If not, you may be better off picking a smaller model like the KOOC small slow cooker. Rectangular slow cookers are typically more storage- and space-friendly than round ones.
Timer. A timer helps count down the time on your slow cooker and alerts you when it is done cooking.
Ease of cleaning. Does the slow cooker have dishwasher-friendly parts that can simplify cleaning? Is it easy to clean with a damp cloth, or does it require special cleaning tools and products for maintenance and upkeep?
Automatic setting. This setting is practical as it starts cooking on high heat as the food is being prepared and then switches to low heat for the remainder of the time.
What type of reviews do the best slow cookers have?
Reviews on the best slow cookers slow cooker from positive to negative. Some people are satisfied with the sizes, style, temperature control, and heating efficiency. Others are frustrated with faulty parts, installation issues, and durability issues.
Here are some of the typical reviews about each type of slow cooker:
Manual slow cooker. Some users are pleased with their control over this kitchen appliance coupled with the intuitive, straightforward way to use it. Others find it too simple and are looking for more features that would allow them to perform different kinds of cooking such as steaming, keeping warm, grilling, baking, and many more.
Programmable slow cooker. Many users enjoy the multiple pre-programmed settings found in one unit, which allows them to multitask better. Others find certain durability and safety issues, such as exploding lids and faulty displays.
Multi-function slow cooker. Most customers are delighted about the flexibility and versatility found in this type of slow cooker. They appreciate the multiple functions found in one appliance, which allows them to multitask and even sleep while the dish cooks overnight. Others find durability and safety issues, such as lids that don’t fit well or exploding units.
Digital slow cooker. Modern-day users enjoy the smart features found in a digital slow cooker, specifically operating the appliance remotely. Others see the digital panels as faulty.
What are the best slow cooker brands?
The best slow cooker brands include Crock-Pot, Hamilton Beach, Instant Pot, All-Clad, and KitchenAid.
How long do the top slow cookers last?
The average lifespan of a slow cooker is between 6-10 years.
The frequency of use and maintenance of the slow cooker affects longevity. Keeping up with cleaning and maintenance will help your slow cooker last longer.
Where to buy a slow cooker?
Nowadays, slow cookers are widely available both online and in stores.
You can purchase them directly from manufacturers, but online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and even eBay sell various slow cookers.
Amazon is one of the biggest names in online retail and is considered reliable. You can get next-day delivery and discounts with a premium membership.
Walmart offers free shipping when you buy for a certain amount onwards, and you can return units for free.
Best Buy sells a wide, slow cooker of electronics, digital goods, and appliances. You can either pick up or have your slow cooker delivered for free.
Home Depot is the go-to place for items needed for your home. You can get free delivery and return a slow cooker free of charge.
eBay is another big name in online retail. It is similar to Amazon, except that it allows you to bid for slow cookers, hence getting the unit for cheaper than other retailers in some cases.
Lowe’s is an American chain that sells home improvement goods. They also provide services like installations and repairs.
What are the other best kitchen appliances?
Other best kitchen appliances that you can use alongside the slow cooker in the kitchen are as follows:
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Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.