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Our Top Choice...
Slow cookers. To us they give us thoughts of fall off the bone roasts and savory soups and stews. The slow cooker is one of those modern cooking appliances that has been found in kitchens for years.
We love cooking in a slow cooker. They allow us to cook our favorite meals, in one pot, over the course of the day, with minimal work. The slow cooker of today is perfect for busy families and individuals that want healthy meals, but don’t want to come home from work just to slave over the stove.
Today’s slow cookers have become a bit more advanced, with timers, and a variety of cooking temperatures, removable crocks, and a variety of accessories, there is little resemblance to the original slow cookers.
This variety of options and new features means that you can cook just about anything in your slow cooker. Sure, they’re still great for roasts and stews, but how about making cake or breakfast in your slow cooker? Today’s slow cookers make this a real possibility.
So with so many options on the market, which do you pick and which is the best buy? We’ve taken a look at many of the slow cookers on the market today, and we’ve cooked in them and read the reviews, and we’ve come up with our list of the best slow cookers on the market.
Our favorite is the 6-Quart slow cooker from Crock-Pot. It cooks evenly, is easy to use, and has plenty of capacity for creating delicious meals for a crowd, or for just a few people. This slow cooker is also easy to clean up after, so you won’t give up convenience after you’re done eating.
Our Best Choice: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Our pick for the best slow cooker is the original, slow cooker, a Crock-Pot. This 6-quart stainless steel with stoneware crock, gives you the most cooking versatility of the slow cookers we tested.
Here are the best slow cookers you can buy:
- Best Overall - Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Runner Up - Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
- Best Budget - Crock-Pot Cook' N Carry Portable Slow Cooker
- Best Large - Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker
- Best Multi-Function - Ninja OP101 Foodi 7-in-1 Pressure Slow Cooker
- Best Value - Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker
- Best High End - All-Clad SD700350 Slow Cooker
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
7 Best Slow Cookers (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
The Crock-Pot is made with the quality that you would expect from a product that’s been on the market since the 1940s. It continues to be a reliable and stand-up option for the home kitchen. It also continues to be one of the most affordable slow cooker options on the market.
The programmable timer on this slow cooker is a handy feature. It has a countdown timer that allows you to delay cooking for 30 minutes to up to 20 hours. This is a great option for starting a delicious and healthy meal, while you’re at work.
The programmable timer also allows you to set the slow cooker to warming mode, when cooking is complete, so your food stays warm until you’re ready to eat. You and your family can skip the drive-thru and have a healthy meal, ready when you are, with minimal work in the kitchen.
The stoneware crock is removable for easy filling, clean-up and transfer to the oven. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for putting the crock in the oven. We found that this is a good option for low heat warming, but at higher heat, the crock can crack.
This crock cannot go on the stove, which is one of the downfalls of this slow cooker, but it’s not inconvenient enough to really bother us.
When you’re done cooking and eating, clean-up is simple. The lid and non-stick crock can go directly into your dishwasher for quick clean-up.
If you are looking to add a slow cooker to your kitchen for easy, healthy meals, we think you’ll really like the Crock-Pot 6-Quart slow cooker. It is simple to use, has a programmable timer that adds to its versatility, and being dishwasher safe, is easy to clean up after. All of these features come with an affordable price tag, making it a great option for any home kitchen.
Easy to program
Versatile size for large and small meals
Shifts to the Warm setting automatically
Stoneware and lid are both dishwasher safe
The shell can get hot
Some rust inside the shell after awhile
2. Runner Up - Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot is an incredibly popular kitchen appliance today. They allow you to do a variety of cooking styles in one convenient appliance. Our runner up slow cooker is the 6-quart Instant Pot, 7-in-1 kitchen appliance.
The Instant Pot Duo does everything that the Crock-Pot does, plus so much more. If you are looking for a single appliance that does a variety of kitchen tasks, the Instant Pot Duo is perfect for you. Not only is it a great slow cooker, but it also can be a pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker and yogurt maker.
The Instant Pot Duo comes in three sizes, 3-quart, 6-quart and 8-quart. This range of sizes allows you to pick the perfect size for your household. However, we think that the round shape of the Instant Pot, even the 8-quart option, limits what you can cook. We struggled with a chicken and larger roast, with the round crock.
The added functions of this slow cooker, make it a bit daunting at first, but the instruction manual is easy to follow, and once you get the hang of it, the Instant Pot Duo is pretty simple to use.
All of the stainless steel parts (except the shell) are dishwasher safe, so clean up is easy with this slow cooker.
All in one at an affordable price
Very versatile with 14 One-Touch Programs
Fingerprint-resistant and dishwasher safe
Safe- 10+ built-in safety features
Learning curve is steep
Customer service is lacking
3. Best Budget - Crock-Pot Cook' N Carry Portable Slow Cooker
Simple to use and portable. That’s what we like about this Crock-Pot. No bells and whistles to figure out when you go with the oval, 6-quart Crock-Pot Cook n’ Carry slow cooker.
With simple dial operation, you don’t have to learn a new skill to cook in this Crock-Pot. Fill it with ingredients, set the temperature and you’re cooking. It’s that easy. The removable crock and glass lid are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
This Crock-Pot comes with a locking lid, so you can easily transport it from home to your next pot-luck without worrying about making a huge mess.
While simple to use, and exceptionally affordable, this Crock-Pot doesn’t have a programmable timer, which can limit your cooking options, but it is still a great product for the price.
Easy clean up
Serves up to 7 people
Simple to use
Cooks on the hot side
Everything is manual
If you regularly use your slow cooker for entertaining, then you’ll want to consider this Hamilton Beach slow cooker for your next party. This large capacity slow cooker is perfect for making soups, stews, and meat dishes for a crowd. The 10-quart capacity, oval slow cooker is perfect for small turkeys, large roasts or party sized servings of your favorites like stew, macaroni and cheese or hot dips.
There’s no programmable timer on the Hamilton Beach, which is great for simplicity, but not so great if you want to start cooking when you’re away from your kitchen. The locking lid on this slow cooker from Hamilton Beach is a great feature if you take your slow cooker to potlucks or holiday parties.
It is, however, dishwasher safe, so you won’t have to work extra hard to clean-up when the party is done.
Oversized Handle Design
No light indicator
5. Best Multi-Function - Ninja OP101 Foodi 7-in-1 Pressure Slow Cooker
Slightly smaller than the InstaPot, but with some added functionality, the Ninja 7-in-1 multifunction Pressure/Slow Cooker is our pick for the best multifunction slow cooker appliance.
This slow cooker gives you 7 appliances in one small package. Not only does it make great slow cooked meals, but you can also use it as a pressure cooker, air fryer, roaster and steamer.
We like the programmable timer on this slow cooker. It is easy to use, and the instruction manual was fairly simple to understand. The lid and insert are dishwasher safe, so it’s simple to clean up after. However the smaller, round insert does limit the foods you can cook. Even a small sized, whole chicken was a challenge in this slow cooker.
Has 7 functions
Versatile- also a pressure cooker, air fryer, tender crisper
Safe- 14 safety features
Comes in multiple sizes
Only good for small meals
Steep learning curve
6. Best Value - Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker
If you want an affordable slow cooker that can go from the stove-top to the insert, for easy browning and sautéing, then you want the Calphalon Sauté Slow Cooker. The coated porcelain insert for this slow cooker is made to handle the heat of your stove top. This is a great option for browning meats for stews and sautéing onions and other veggies for a more flavorful slow cooked meal. Keep all of the juices from meats in the pot, for hearty stews and soups.
This slow cooker is slightly smaller than others, but has enough capacity for a family of four. It is a bit tight for a whole chicken, but not too bad. The programmable timer is simple to use, and the instruction manual is fairly easy to follow.
While this slow cooker gives you some added versatility by being stove and oven safe, it is not dishwasher safe, which is kind of a letdown. The non-stick coating makes hand washing a bit easier, but you still have to hand wash, which is our biggest complaint about this slow cooker.
Attractive dark stainless steel
Versatile- sear, brown, sauté, and slow cook all in one pot
Solid temperature accuracy
Cookpot is oven safe and cooktop compatible
Non-dishwasher safe pot
7. Best High End - All-Clad SD700350 Slow Cooker
If you don’t mind spending a bit more on a higher end slow cooker, our pick is the All-Clad 7-quart slow cooker. The cast aluminum insert of this slow cooker gives a more even cooking experience, so you don’t have to worry about burnt spots or cool spots in your crock. This is an attractive slow cooker, so it will look great on your countertop or table.
The programmable timer allows you to start cooking when it’s convenient, and the 6-hour warm time keeps food the perfect temperature, even during parties and pot-lucks.
The lid and crock are both dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to work hard when your food is done to clean up.
We do have two concerns, first this is a pretty pricey slow cooker for what you get. You’re paying for the All-Clad name, and the quality of the insert is outstanding.
However, we did notice in our research of customer reviews that the lid has a tendency to shatter during cooking. This wasn’t terribly common, but something to be aware of.
Cooks very evenly
Easy to use digital display
Keeps your food warm for an extended period
Pot and lid are dishwasher safe
Lid is not good
It is a little overpriced
Our pick for the best slow cooker on the market in 2020 is the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker . It is easy to use, easy to clean, and cooks evenly. It’s not the fanciest slow cooker on the market, but it’s simplicity and quality results make it our favorite.
Slow cookers have been a staple in kitchens for many years. They allow you to make healthy, delicious meals, without spending tons of time hovering over your stove. They’re perfect for entertaining and for busy families. For today’s busy families they are a great alternative to eating out, or getting drive-thru, making healthy, fast meals, a reality for every home.
How to Choose the Best Slow Cooker
If you’re shopping for a slow cooker, or if you want to expand your options beyond those that we’ve included in our review, you’ll want to have a standard list of features that you should look for in every slow cooker you consider. In this handy buying guide, we’ve put together a list of features that are important to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a slow cooker.
When it comes to materials, what you really need to consider is the material of the crock. Slow cookers used to be made mostly of ceramic or porcelain. This made them great for slow cooking, but heavy and not terribly versatile. Today, you’ve got a couple of options for crock material that can make cooking your favorite foods easier.
- Porcelain – porcelain or ceramic is still a common material for slow cooker crocks. If you are looking for a basic slow cooker, you’ll be perfectly happy with a porcelain crock. Most of these crocks are enamel coated, so they are relatively non-stick, and can go into a warm oven with no problems. If you are making dishes that want foods to be sautéed or seared first, you’ll need to do this in a separate pan, when using a porcelain crock. They are not made for the high heat of the stove top.
- Aluminum – Aluminum crocks are less common, and more expensive, but they are also much more versatile. These crocks have all of the same easy cooking features of the porcelain crock, but with the added advantage that they can be put on the stove for browning meats or sautéing onions or vegetables. For stews and soups, this means that you don’t lose any of the juices or fats from your meats, when transferring from another pot. This also means you have fewer dishes to wash.
Ease of Use
Slow cookers are really supposed to make your life easier. So if they require you to spend a ton of time reading the instruction manual, or if you have to pull out the instruction manual every time you use the slow cooker, it’s probably not making your life easier.
Look for slow cookers with simple, intuitive controls and crocks that remove from the cooker. We found that these were the two most important features for ease of use. Programmable timers are also a handy feature, as they allow you to start cooking at a particular time, and then shut off or switch to warm when cooking is done. This does make for a more relaxed cooking experience, just make sure it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to program the slow cooker.
There are a variety of size options available on the market today. We think that the best size, for the most versatility is a six quart, oval slow cooker. This size allows you to cook a perfectly sized meal for four people, but is also roomy enough for a whole chicken or a large roast. The 6-quart size can also comfortably hold a regular sized loaf pan, for making breads, cakes and other desserts.
While 6-quarts seem to be the perfect size, you can’t go wrong with any slow cooker that ranges between 4 and 7 quarts. Four quart slow cookers allow you to cook a decent sized meal for four people, but it’s a stretch for larger cuts of meats. If you need to cook for a larger crowd, the 7-quart option will be perfect for both entertaining and everyday cooking.
We also like some of the smaller sized slow cookers. These allow you to make sauces and dips without having to lug around your full size slow cooker. These 2-quart or smaller slow cookers are perfect for entertaining or for holiday meals.
In reality, there aren’t a ton of added extras that your slow cooker is going to come with. However there are a few features that we think you should look for when you’re shopping for a slow cooker.
- Programmable – Can you set a start timer, and then a shut off time? This is a handy feature if you want to create great meals when you’re away at work. Put all of your ingredients in the crock, set the timer to start in a particular number of hours, and then have it shut off or go to warm, when the allotted cooking time is completed.
- Temperature Options – Look for a slow cooker that gives you high, low and warm heating options. This gives you the most versatility when cooking.
- Locking Lid – If you use your slow cooker for pot-lucks or for holiday meals at other people’s homes, you’ll want to look for a slow cooker that has a locking lid. This makes traveling with hot foods much safer and less messy.
Easy to Clean
It makes no sense to use a slow cooker for easy, delicious meals, if it’s a pain in the neck to clean afterwards. Our recommendation, look for slow cookers with removable crocks that can go in the dishwasher. Also look for crocks with a non-stick enamel coating or some other non-stick coating so that you don’t have to scrub before tossing the crock in the dishwasher.
You may also follow our top picks of the best rice cooker in the market today.