The best slow cooker will save you a ton of time and effort in the kitchen. Slow cookers are a great invention. They make delicious meals such as stew, pot roast, chicken, and chili to name a few. If you really want to take your slow cooking to the next level there are so many great recipe books to help you.
You can even make delicious slow cooker meals if you follow a specific diet like Paleo. These cookbooks here offer the Paleo enthusiast plenty of satisfying meals to make in a slow cooker. It really is a great appliance to have in your kitchen.
In addition, slow cookers are very easy to use and they last a long time. That is, when you pick a good one.
Slow cookers come in handy when you want dinner to come together effortlessly. After a long day at work, nothing is more comforting than coming home to a hot and ready meal.
Cooking Made Easy
When you buy the best Crock Pot or slow cooker, it can change the entire way you view cooking. You no longer have to stand over a hot stove or follow a dozen steps to make a recipe.
However, you do want to use a variety of different spices in your cooking to really enhance the flavor profile of your slow cooked meals. When you’re looking for spices to add, it’s best to grind your own for maximum freshness. If you need tips and ideas on how to stock your spice rack, these articles on coriander, dry mustard and cumin replacements are a good place to start.
You simply toss the ingredients into the pot, select the right setting, and your dish will be ready in no time. In addition, you’ll always have plenty of left-overs that you can just reheat in your microwave with a cover.
Sounds easy enough, right?
It’s true—using a slow cooker is easy. In fact, using a slow cooker may be easier than researching and selecting one. There are a lot of models to sort through so it can be overwhelming.
Luckily, we’ve tracked down the best slow cookers and comprehensively reviewed each one. All you have to do is select the right one for you.
Slow Cooker & Crock Pot Comparison Table
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7 Best Slow Cooker and Crock Pot Reviews
When choosing the best slow cooker, there are a few factors you should take into consideration such as: the type of slow cooker, size and materials of pot, range of cooking time, and features that make it easier to use. Some of our favorite features are digital touchpad, LED timer, and automatic “Stay Warm” mode.
For some, a classic Crock Pot is perfect. They’re simple, affordable, and long-lasting. We especially like the ceramic pot that’s dishwasher-safe and oven-safe.
For a long time, a manual Crock Pot was your only option. Now, there are many slow cookers to choose from with more features such as even heat distribution and 20+ hours of cook time.
Time Saving & Convenient
For others, you may find that a programmable slow cooker fits all your needs. The pre-programmed buttons and settings make them one of the easiest appliances to use. You can have dinner ready with the click of a button—literally.
A good slow cooker is a must-have in every modern kitchen and picking the right one can make all the difference. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best crock pot and slow cookers. We think you’ll find the perfect match for you in this guide.
Our best pick goes to the Cuisinart because it has an easy-to-use touchpad, 6.5-quart ceramic pot, and 24-hour cooking timer. All we ask of a good slow cooker is that it’s easy to use, high-quality, and has the basic features to make delicious recipes. The Cuisinart has all of that and more.
This slow cooker is made of stainless steel which is a durable material. The handles are chrome-plated and the glass lid is dishwasher-safe. Not only does this slow cooker have a modern design, it’s also functional. It measures at 11.6 x 16.3 x 12 inches. It has non-slip rubber pads on the bottom so it won’t move around on your counter.
In true Crock-Pot fashion, the cooking pot is made of stoneware. It’s removable, oval-shaped, and can hold up to 6.5 quarts. For family-size portions, a slow cooker should be at least 6 quarts. This size is great if you’re cooking for a family or party.
The digital touchpad has 4 programmable options: Warm, Simmer, Low, and High. It also has an LED timer that keeps track of the cooking duration which is good for up to 24 hours. Most slow cookers only have a cook time of 10 hours, so the 24-hour cook time of the Cuisinart really sets it apart.
We also like that this slow cooker automatically switches to the “Keep Warm” mode after cooking is finished. This prevents your dishes from burning or over-cooking. This slow cooker comes with a cooking rack and a spiral-bound recipe book with more than 70 recipes.
The only drawbacks are the price and weight. This is a premium slow cooker that will check all your boxes, so naturally it’s more expensive than other models. It also weighs 21 pounds due to the durable construction and sturdiness but this may be too heavy for some.
- Stainless steel and chrome finish make for a sleek, modern look
- Automatic shut-off and switch to “Keep Warm” mode
- 3-year limited warranty
- Weighs 21 pounds
- Premium price
- Rectangular design deviates from the norm
Hamilton Beach makes high-quality kitchen appliances at affordable prices. Their Set N’ Forget Slow Cooker is no exception. If you want an affordable slow cooker with all the basic features, consider the Hamilton Beach.
This brand makes several slow cookers but we like this model because of the easy-to-use LED control panel. Touchpads are becoming the standard, and Hamilton Beach meets the demand with this user-friendly slow cooker.
Both automatic and manual cooking options set this slow cooker apart from others. This is the only slow cooker we’ve seen with a third cooking option: a temperature probe. It also keeps food warm automatically when cooking is complete regardless of which cooking option you choose.
Most slow cookers come with a user manual and a few recipes. The Hamilton Beach Set N’ Forget includes those materials plus a temperature probe and a clip-on spoon.
Temperature Probe Included
You won’t realize how convenient a temperature probe is until you have one. Temperature plays an important role in slow cooking, so many slow cooker recipes will include temperature instructions.
With the temperature probe, you can monitor the temperature of your dish from beginning to end. With the set and forget feature, you can set the temperature probe to the desired temperature. When it reaches that temperature, it automatically shifts to warming mode.
Another feature that’s unique to this slow cooker is that it’s travel-friendly. While it’s a decent size, measuring in at 16 x 10.4 x 16.1 inches and weighing about 15 pounds, it packs up nicely and has a clip-on spoon for serving.
One limiting feature in this model is the cooking time. Most slow cookers can cook on low for up to 10 hours but this model has a maximum time of 8 hours.
- LED digital control panel is easy to use
- Both automatic and manual cooking options
- Temperature probe and clip-on spoon included
- 1-year limited warranty only
- Cooks up to 8 hours rather than 10
- Clips to transport the appliance obstruct the pot handles
This Crock Pot has only 3 settings, but for some, that’s all you need. It’s fully manual, easy to use, and budget-friendly. If you’re on a budget and need a Crock Pot that will do its job without the bells and whistles, you should consider this model.
Many people grew up using the Crock Pot to make family dinners. Now, slow cookers are much different. For tech lovers, the automatic settings, touchpads, and LED timers are convenient. For some, they’re intimidating. This Crock Pot has all the versatility of a premium slow cooker but it’s very simple to use.
To cook with this Crock Pot, you only have to follow 2 steps: fill the pot with food and turn the knob to one of the three temperature settings: Low, High, or Warm.
Space Saving, Portable & Affordable
This Crock Pot is our best budget pick for an obvious reason—anyone can afford it!
We also like that this Crock Pot is a space saver. Its measurements are 9.9 x 15.2 x 15.2 inches and it weighs 13.5 pounds. It’s slightly smaller than the average slow cooker. The size, hinged locking lid, and carrying handles make it portable, too.
For some, the lack of features may be a drawback. This Crock Pot is operated manually. So users run the risk of burning or over-cooking their food if they don’t keep track of time themselves.
- Crock-Pot is authentic and affordable
- Stoneware is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, and microwave-safe
- 2-step cooking process: Fill pot with contents and select temperature setting
- No programmable or automatic settings
- Manual means no timer or “Keep Warm” setting
- 1-year warranty only
The All-Clad Programmable Slow Cooker is a premium appliance at its finest. Not only is it visually appealing with all stainless steel and ceramic materials, it’s also very versatile.
10 hours is all we ask of a good slow cooker—that’s plenty of time for dinner to cook all day while you’re at work. This slow cooker is ahead of the game because the timer lasts for up to 26 hours: 20 hours of cook time on low and 6 hours in Stay Warm mode. This allows users to prep dinner 26 hours in advance, which is a great feature for people who meal prep the night before.
The ceramic pot can hold up to 6.5 quarts of food which can easily feed a family. The ceramic pot can be easily removed from the case, so you can transport the cooked food directly to the dinner table.
You can tell by looking at this slow cooker that it’s a premium model. The large digital display is easy to use, read, and program.
Plus, the pre-programmed settings allow cooks of all experience levels to choose from three temperatures: High, Low, and Hi/Lo.
Overall, a lot of thought went into the making of this model. It’s user-friendly, easy to clean, and long-lasting. It’s also surprisingly high-tech with 20 hours of cook time and 6 hours of automatic warm time.
One drawback is the size. The measurements are 19.9 x 14 x 11.4 inches which indicate that it’s longer than others. It also comes at a premium price but we think it’s worth it for the long cook time and digital interface.
- Timer is good for up to 26 years
- Digital display is user-friendly
- Lifetime limited warranty
- Premium price
- Ceramic pot isn’t safe to use on stovetop or in the oven
- Not space saving
If you’re looking for a slow cooker that’s larger than the standard 6 quarts, consider the Black & Decker 7-quart model. The large stoneware pot is roomy and can make approximately 8 servings. This is plenty for a family dinner and there’s a good chance there will be leftovers.
This model can compete with some of the top slow cookers because of its large size, digital controls, and versatility. There are 3 settings users can choose from on the digital touchpad: Low, High, and Warm.
It also has one of our favorite features: Automatic switch to warm mode. Slow cookers without this feature run the risk of two extremes—burning dinner or letting it go cold. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that with the Black & Decker.
Unique Chalkboard Surface & Travel Friendly
This slow cooker has a feature that virtually no other slow cooker has: a surface made of chalkboard. Yes, you can actually write and erase messages on this slow cooker.
This is a unique feature that Black & Decker decided to include so users can write recipe and allergy information where no one can miss it. Black & Decker even includes two pieces of chalk so users can utilize this feature immediately.
The Black & Decker model is also travel-friendly. The lid locks into place with clamps on the side. Once your meal is ready, simply lock down the lid and take the whole appliance with you.
The locking lid also traps in heat so food stays warm during transport. This is a great option if you plan on bringing warm food to tailgate parties, soccer games, and potlucks.
Due to its larger food capacity, it’s no surprise that this slow cooker is a bit bigger than normal. The measurements—14.1 x 17.3 x 9.7 inches—aren’t outrageously large but this is a tall slow cooker.
- Chalkboard surface to write notes on
- 7-quart stoneware pot is larger than average
- 2-year limited warranty
- Tall measurements take up cabinet space
- Weighs 15 pounds
- Chalkboard surface may make children want to play with it
Hamilton Beach has multiple slow cookers and this programmable 7-quart model is one of them. Despite its features and large size, it’s still on the affordable side.
For being a budget-friendly model, this Hamilton Beach slow cooker is packed with features. One of our favorites is the easy-to-use programmable settings. You can cook anywhere from 30 minutes to 18 hours on this slow cooker. To do so, simply use the touchpad to start the timer.
Another feature we like is that the timer counts down, so it’s easy to see how much time is remaining. When time is up, the cooker automatically shifts to warm so food doesn’t burn or go cold.
The worst part about making dinner is the clean-up. With this Hamilton Beach slow cooker, cleanup is easy since both the stoneware pot and lid are dishwasher safe.
Even Heat Distribution
Traditional Crock Pots heat from the bottom, so some users notice uneven cooking. This Hamilton Beach set out to eliminate that problem by distributing heat all around the oval-shaped cooker.
With all the features that this model comes with, there’s no need to watch, stir, or time your dinner. Plus, it has a large capacity of up to 7 quarts of food. Even with the 7-quart pot, it still has conservative measurements: 14.1 x 17.3 x 9.7 inches.
The only drawback is that users must choose from 2-hour time increments. If a recipe calls for 7 hours on low, users must choose between 6 or 8 hours. We’d like to see this model with 1-hour time increments.
- 10 hours of cooking time
- 7-quart stoneware pot that distributes heat evenly
- Affordable price
- 1-year limited warranty only
- Not travel-friendly
- 2-hour increments are inconvenient
The Chefman is a unique slow cooker because the materials are 100% natural. It’s a great choice for conscious consumers who try to avoid harmful materials that may be hiding in our everyday cookware.
This slow cooker still has all the capabilities of traditional slow cookers. It has three manual settings: Low, High, and Warm. It’s also more versatile than other slow cookers because it can be used on the counter, in the oven, and on the stove.
The 7-quart pot is a great size for large families. However, the large food capacity doesn’t make this slow cooker bulky. It’s 14.5 x 14.3 x 9.2 inches, which is comparable to other models.
Most slow cookers aren’t non-stick. In order to make them non-stick, manufacturers would have to use unsafe materials such as artificial coating.
Exclusive Club Chefman Access
However, the Chefman uses all-natural materials such as ceramic and 70% less lead. The result is a coating-free, non-stick surface that’s easy to clean. It’s also certified Paleo.
Free access to Club Chefman is another perk we like when you purchase this product. This exclusive access includes hundreds of recipes, video tutorials, and more. This may help beginners learn how to use their new slow cooker while trying new recipes.
While we like the healthy components of this slow cooker, it has some limitations. This slow cooker must be operated manually, so it doesn’t have some of the features that automatic slow cookers have. For example, there’s no digital display, timer, or automatic “Stay Warm” mode.
Overall, this is a high-quality, versatile slow cooker. Despite being a health-oriented product, it’s not over-priced. We’d like to see it come with more features, but we do like the 7-quart pot, natural materials, and non-stick surface.
- Natural non-stick pot
- Used both in the oven and on stovetop
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 1-year warranty only
- Manual operation
- No timer
Slow Cooker Buying Guide
New kitchen appliances come out every year but the slow cooker will never go out of fashion. Check out this helpful video on mistakes to avoid when using your slow cooker.
We love slow cookers and crock pots because of how convenient they are. One-pot recipes are so popular these days because no one has the time to make complicated dishes. The slow cooker is perfect for busy people who still want to make healthy and delicious meals. If you want to simplify your dinner routine by investing in a slow cooker, here are some points to consider.
How to Select the Right Slow Cooker
If you can fill it up with ingredients and come back in a few hours to a hot and ready meal, then it’s technically a slow cooker. However, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one. There are a few key characteristics that distinguish a good slow cooker from a subpar one. Here are those characteristics to help you decide which slow cooker is best for you.
Length of Cook Time
What makes a slow cooker different from other appliances, such as the pressure cooker, is the drawn-out cooking time. This allows the flavors to marinate longer and makes the ingredients more tender. It’s also convenient for people with busy schedules who want to prep dinner in advance.
If a slow cooker only cooks for 6 hours but your work day is 8 hours, then dinner will be ready too early. This is a good example of why the length of cook time should influence your decision.
Some slow cookers can even cook for a full 24 hours. Just imagine the convenience of being able to prep your dinner the night before. Your meal will cook through a full night’s rest and an entire workday.
Since most people have an 8-hour workday, the average slow cooker can cook up to 10 hours. This is plenty of time to plan and prep your meal in advance Some slow cookers have a maximum cook time of 8 hours which may not be enough for some people. It’s better to have a higher maximum length of cook time, so aim for 10 hours or more.
Size of Pot
The size of your slow cooker is something that many people overlook. A lot of people assume that all slow cookers are the same size, but this is not true. Each slow cooker has its own dimensions which usually depend on the size of the inner pot.
The size of the pot affects how much food you can put in it. Therefore, this affects the number of servings a slow cooker can yield.
Most slow cookers can hold up to 6 quarts of food. This is a standard size for a family of 4. For a larger family or for throwing parties, you may want to look at the 7-quart models.
Most slow cooker manufacturers recommend not filling the pot more than three-quarters of the way. This is to prevent spilling and allow for the food to cook evenly.
Material of Pot
The insert of a slow cooker is where the magic happens. Naturally, you’ll want to pay attention to what materials are used to craft this part of the slow cooker.
The most common types of inserts are ceramic or stoneware. These are very similar materials, and they’re considered safe to cook food in.
They’re also preferable because they’re generally safe to use in the oven and dishwasher. Sometimes ceramic inserts are safe to use on a stovetop or in the microwave.
Some pots are made from metal or non-stick surface. However, metal crocks aren’t preferable because some people worry about food exposure to heavy metals. Non-stick surfaces also have safety concerns, but a good example of a safe, non-stick slow cooker is the Chefman.
Ease of Use
Slow cookers are one of the easiest kitchen appliances to use. They’re especially great for beginners, busy people, and large families. However, some are easier to use than others. If you’re looking for a user-friendly slow cooker, here are some features to look out for.
Most slow cookers are pre-programmed with certain settings like: Low, High, Warm, etc. In that case, those are your only options to choose from.
When a slow cooker is programmable, you can adjust the settings according to your own needs. Usually, you can still choose from those preselected settings, but you can also make your own settings.
For example, a programmable slow cooker may let you set the timer to 6.5 hours on low. This feature makes it much easier to follow recipes. Instead of adjusting your schedule around the pre-programmed settings, programmable options allow you to adjust the slow cooker to meet your needs.
Many automatic slow cookers come with touchpads. If you take a look at manual slow cookers, you adjust the settings by turning a knob. With a touchpad, you simply press a button or two.
Some slow cookers have very simple touchpads while others have high-tech ones. If you’re a technology lover, you may want a slow cooker with a digital touchpad. For some, using a digital interface is preferable to turning a knob. Plus, touchpads usually come with more settings, making them more versatile.
This feature goes hand-in-hand with a touchpad. If a slow cooker has a touchpad, it likely has a timer. Most manual slow cookers don’t have an attached timer, so you must keep track of time yourself. However, timers are becoming standard on automatic slow cookers.
A timer is a convenient feature because it allows you to walk away from the slow cooker. You can set the timer yourself or choose from pre-selected time lengths. The maximum amount of cook time you can set the timer to will vary per slow cooker.
Automatic Stay Warm Mode
This is another feature that’s more common in automatic slow cookers than manual ones. With a manual slow cooker, you must adjust the settings from Cooking to Stay Warm by turning a knob. On an automatic slow cooker with this feature, the appliance will automatically shift to Stay Warm when the cook time is up.
For instance, if you’re making a soup with a cook time of 8 hours, the slow cooker will stop cooking at the 8-hour mark but still keep your food warm. This prevents the food from either going cold or burning.
Different Types of Slow Cookers
The words “Crock-Pot” and “slow cooker” are often used interchangeably. However, they’re not the same. Similarly, there’s a difference between manual and automatic slow cookers.
All of these are great options, but one type of slow cooker may be a better fit for your needs. In order to make the best decision on which slow cooker is right for you, you need to understand the difference between the various types of slow cookers.
The very first slow cookers were manual. Manual slow cookers usually don’t have all the premium features that automatic ones do. They still work just fine though.
Some people prefer manual slow cookers because they tend to be more affordable. They also tend to have fewer settings, which is good for people who like simple appliances.
To operate a manual slow cooker, fill the pot with your ingredients as you would any slow cooker. Then, you’ll turn the knob on the front of the slow cooker. Typically, manual slow cookers have 3 options: Low, High, and Warm.
Low and High indicate the temperature, so use these settings when you want your food to cook. When your food is done cooking but you don’t want it to get cold, manually shift the knob to the Warm setting.
You can still get the same great tasting food with a manual slow cooker and they come in various sizes.
So what’s lacking in a manual slow cooker?
The features mentioned above—programmable options, touchpad, timer, and automatic warm mode—may not be included in a manual slow cooker. Fortunately, these features aren’t required. They just add an extra layer of convenience.
The main difference between manual and automatic slow cookers is how they’re operated. For the most part, they still cook food the same way and look very similar.
Automatic slow cookers appeal to technology lovers. Many people strive to have a high-tech kitchen—some refrigerators even come with touch screens these days.
The main appeal of an automatic slow cooker, besides the high-tech features mentioned above, is they can be more versatile than manual slow cookers. For instance, you may be able to set the timer to a specific amount of hours.
Then, it will automatically shift to Keep Warm mode. This is something you just can’t do automatically with a manual slow cooker—you would have to keep an eye on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best slow cooker?
A: The best slow cooker for your household depends on a few factors. First, you need to decide what size to get based on the number of people in your household. Then, you can consider what features you really need or want.
Perhaps you want a manual slow cooker because they’re simple and affordable, so Crock-Pot would be a good fit for you. Or, you may want an automatic slow cooker with the most versatile settings because they’re user-friendly. The best slow cooker will vary per household depending on your preferences.
Q: Which is better: Crock Pot or slow cooker?
A: This comes down to personal preference. If you grew up with a Crock-Pot in the house, you may prefer to stick to the brand you know and love. However, Crock-Pot makes a lot of manual models that heat from the bottom and are easy to use.
Other brands make more automatic models with even heating around the sides and programmable options. Both have their pros and cons, so weigh all of your options before deciding which brand is best for you.
Q: What size slow cooker do you need?
A: The two most common slow cooker sizes are 6 quarts and 7 quarts. It’s amazing how much food you can fit in the inner pots. For a family of 4, a 6-quart slow cooker should be fine.
For larger families and parties, you may want to upgrade to a 7-quart model. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t fill the inner pot to the very top as it may bubble up or spill over during use. For this reason, some people prefer 7 quarts to be on the safe side.
Q: Can a slow cooker go in the oven, dishwasher, or microwave?
A: The base of a slow cooker (a.k.a. the part that heats up) should never go in the oven, dishwasher, microwave, etc. However, the inner pot (a.k.a. the part that you fill up with food) and the glass lid may be able to go in the oven, dishwasher, or microwave.
This depends on the materials used, and it can also vary by model or brand. Glass lids and ceramic or stoneware pots are almost always dishwasher-safe. Ceramic pots also tend to be safe to use in the oven, microwave, and on the stovetop. However, check the manufacturer’s user manual as this varies.
Q: What’s the difference between a Crock Pot and a slow cooker?
A: The difference is that Crock Pot is a brand and a slow cooker is an appliance. All Crock Pots are slow cookers but not all slow cookers are Crock Pots. There are other brands that make slow cookers.
The defining feature of a Crock Pot is that the inner pot is made of ceramic, porcelain, or stoneware. Crock Pots also heat from the bottom of the appliance. Other brands of slow cookers can have these features, too.
Slow cookers have been around for ages but nowadays they come with a few more features than they used to. If you wanted a slow cooker many years ago, your only option was a Crock Pot. This is a trustworthy brand that makes durable slow cookers, but they’re not as versatile as the newer automatic ones.
The great thing about having a slow cooker on hand is that you can make roasts, soups, stews, and more very easily. Even though the food cooks for longer, it’s quicker for you to toss the ingredients into the pot and walk away until dinnertime. This allows you to save time and money by eating out less frequently.
Some slow cookers, like the Cuisinart PSC-650, come with all the top features. This model can cook for up to 24 hours, so you can prep dinner a full day in advance. It’s also made with high-quality stainless steel and ceramic, so it will last a long time. The digital touchpad, LED timer, and automatic Keep Warm mode also make it one of the most convenient slow cookers.
The Hamilton Beach Set N’ Forget slow cooker has many premium features at half the price. If you want an affordable slow cooker that still has a digital control panel, consider the Hamilton Beach. It also comes with a temperature probe which is a rare feature in slow cookers.
This is convenient for following recipes, though. The only drawback is the 8-hour cook time, which cuts it close to the typical 8-hour workday. Fortunately, it switches to Keep Warm automatically when cook time is up.
The manual Crock Pot is a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly model that will get the job done. The best Crock Pots are very reliable and durable. The stoneware inner pot is safe to use in the dishwasher and oven. It can even be used in the microwave.
The locking lid also makes it easy to travel with so it’s perfect for parties, tailgates, and other events. Keep in mind that manual models like this one don’t have as many programmable features as automatic models do.
Cooking is time-consuming and feeding a family can be stressful. Plus, making healthy meals can be intimidating. If you want to make quick and easy meals at home that are also healthy and delicious, then investing in a good slow cooker is something to consider.
With most slow cookers, you can set it and forget it. If you have a busy schedule, it can be a lifesaver. Cooking dinner can be the hardest part of your day. With a slow cooker, it’s the easiest.
We hope that after reading our detailed reviews and comprehensive buying guide, you’ll have all the information you need to select the best slow cooker that is perfect for your kitchen.