After a long, long day at work, the last thing anyone wants to do is to slave over a hot stove to feed yourself and/or your family. Takeout is a good option but there are times when a delicious, home-cooked meal is just the thing to make the bad, bad day go away. Lucky for you (and us), you can come home to just that if you have a slow cooker.
A slow cooker, as the name implies, can cook various types of dishes (soup, stew, braised meat, etc.) slowly at a low temperature. This means that you can safely leave it unattended while your food gets cooked and just go back once everything is done. Great, right? Now, the question is, which one should you get? Well, here are our recommended slow cookers from 1 through 10.
Top 10 Slow Cookers in 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Slow Cookers in 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
- 2. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
- 3. Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
- 4. Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1
- 5. Focus Electrics West Bend 84905 Oblong Slow Cooker
- 6. Smart Wi-Fi-Enabled WeMo 6-Quart Slow Cooker
- 7. Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker
- 8. Crock-Pot SCV400B 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
- 9. Bella Triple Slow Cooker and Buffet Server
- 10. Breville EasySear
- How to Choose a Slow Cooker
1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow CookerSlow Cooker For The Money
It’s only right that the original slow cooker should take the number one spot on our list. After all, without their product, we wouldn’t be enjoying “food that cooks while the cook’s away!” This model from the Crock-Pot brand is a bestseller for several reasons. It comes with a 20-hour digital countdown timer, an easy-to-use locking lid, and a removable oval stoneware. You can cook food on this baby for 7 people. And you don’t have to rush home just to turn it off because this Crock-Pot automatically goes to the warm setting.
- handles are bigger and easier to grip for transporting
- hinged locking mechanism is secure
- stoneware is microwave and oven safe
- Some users have complained that the warm setting is too hot
- rubbery smell when first used
- some users have found it hard to clean
2. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow CookerSlow Cooker With Probe
The Hamilton Beach Set’n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is aptly named. One of the three cooking modes include the program mode which allows you to set the temp & time then just forget about it. The cooker will automatically shift to warm when the timer stops. In addition to this, you get 2 modes (probe for meat and manual for cooking without a tier), a programmable timer, a thermometer probe, full-grip handles, a serving spoon, and a locking lid.
- comes with a temperature probe
- large enough for a 6-lb chicken
- lots of features for under $50
- exterior of the slow cooker gets very hot
- the rubber gasket on the lid smells though it doesn’t affect the taste of the food
- short power cord
3. Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-CookerSlow Cooker With A Timer
As the name already states, this slow cooker is actually a multi-cooker which, in our opinion, justifies the higher price. Not only will you be able to cook low and slow throughout the day, you can also opt to steam or brown/sauté your food in the same appliance.
- programmable timer
- clear LED display
- nonstick coating may scratch or flake
- takes up a lot of counter space/ not for small kitchens
4. Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1Slow Cooker With Delayed Start
Thousands of cooks are going crazy for Instant Pot and we can’t really blame them. It’s the perfect answer to cooking in a small kitchen. Like the Cuisinart, it is also a multi-cooker. Unlike the Cuisinart, it does more than just steam, slow cook, and brown/sauté your food. This is where the 7-in-1 features come in. It’s a slow cooker, an electric pressure cooker, a skillet for sauteing food, a steamer, a yogurt maker, and a rice cooker. Yes, it does all that and does them well. Not only that, you also get a delayed programmable start time – a feature that you don’t get with many other slow cookers in the market today.
- incredibly versatile
- decent price point for a device that has so many features
- has a large community of users that offer support
- manual lacks information
- controls are not intuitive
- has a learning curve
5. Focus Electrics West Bend 84905 Oblong Slow Cooker
The West Bend slow cooker is designed differently compared to most, if not all, of our top 10 picks. The heating element is still at the base but it doesn’t cover the entire cooking vessel. Instead, it heats up the bottom and lets the heat travel all the way up the sides for even cooking. Despite the difference in design, West Bend’s slow cooker still delivers excellent results. And because of the unique design, the base can also be used as a griddle!
- base can be used as a mini griddle
- small footprint on your counter top
- cooking pot is oven-top and range-top safe
- some users have complained about the fit of the lid
- no off button; needs to be unplugged
- handles can get really hot
6. Smart Wi-Fi-Enabled WeMo 6-Quart Slow CookerProgrammable Slow Cooker
For some of us who are scared of leaving their food cooking for an entire day, you’ll be really happy to know that there’s a solution to your problem. Slow cook your food using your smartphone! Yes, we’re not kidding. Crock-Pot’s WeMo app allows you to monitor and control your Smart Slow Cooker while you’re away from home. It allows you to check the status of the cooker, adjust the temperature and time, and get notified once the meal is done or if the appliance has turned off.
- large cooking capacity
- push notifications when cooking is done or if the unit has turned off
- retractable power cord
- no locking lid
- hard to set up
- app needs to have more options other than just changing the temperature
7. Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow CookerSlow Cooker On A Budgeta
If you’re a no-frills guy or gal who just wants a simple slow cooker to cook a meal good for one or two people, then this should be your pick. At under $20, you’re getting a 4-quart slow cooker with one dial that you can turn to control the setting – off, keep warm, low, and high. The stoneware is removable and dishwasher-safe. The glass lid is also dishwasher-safe.
- really cheap
- no hot spots
- holds temperature really well
- needs to be shut off manually
- no timer
- no indicator light
8. Crock-Pot SCV400B 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow CookerSlow Cooker For Two
This is our second pick that’s perfect for a family of two with a smaller wallet. Much like the Proctor-Silex, it’s definitely nothing fancy with only a dial for setting the temperature at high, low, and warm. But for less than $25, it definitely delivers delicious results. And it’s made by the original slow cooker so you know it’s a brand you can trust. Just don’t forget to turn it off since it doesn’t have a timer.
- really affordable
- easy to use especially for beginners
- easy to clean
- some users have complained about a hot spot on one end of the pot
- no timer
- no on/off light
9. Bella Triple Slow Cooker and Buffet Server
If you love hosting parties or just like serving a variety of dishes during a meal, then the Bella Triple Slow Cooker is the best buy you can make. There are three stoneware pots that has three separate controls. The settings are low, high, and warm. And each pot can hold roughly around 5 lbs of food.
- stable lid holders
- comes with servers/spoons
- independent controls for each pot
- short power cord
- takes up a lot of counter space
- very heavy
10. Breville EasySearSlow Cooker With Sear Function
One thing that really stands out with the Breville EasySear is the fact that its pot is stovetop and oven-safe, perfect for searing meats (hence, the name). Aside from this unique feature, this slow cooker is easy to use with a control dial that allows you to choose a setting. It should be noted that there isn’t a “keep warm” setting though. It also doesn’t have a timer so you need to make sure that you get home on time. Otherwise, your goose will be overcooked. Despite its lack of certain preferred features, the Breville EasySear does deliver scrumptious beef stew.
- Stovetop safe pot
- Easy to use
- Performs well
- Expensive considering its features
- No “keep warm” setting
- No timer
How to Choose a Slow Cooker
Low and slow is the way to go if you want a delicious, home-cooked meal after a long day at work. It’s also the best way to enjoy good food without having to do a lot of work. Set it and forget it. But like all things in life, slow cookers aren’t all created equal. So you can’t really just go into a store and pick the first thing you see. There are certain features that you need to look for as well as specific questions you need to answer so that you can make the right choice.
How many people will you be cooking for?
The size of your slow cooker will determine how much food you’ll be able to cook. A 4-quart pot like the Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker and the Crock-Pot SCV400B 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Black will be able to feed 3 people at the most. The Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, on the other hand, can feed 7 people easy. You might also want to consider the Bella Triple Slow Cooker and Buffet Server if you plan on hosting parties.
What will you be cooking?
The type of food you plan on cooking will determine the shape of your slow cooker. Whole chickens, meat loaf, and the like will fit much better in an oval-shaped pot than a round one. One example is the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker.
Are you planning on bringing the food somewhere else?
This means that you’ll need a slow cooker that has a locking lid and large handles for gripping like those found on the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer.
Will you be able to check on your slow cooker from time to time?
If you plan on being away from your pot far longer than the time it will take to cook your food, you need to get a slow cooker that comes with a timer and will automatically shift to the “keep warm” setting to avoid overcooking. One good model that has this feature is the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker.
How easy is it to use?
A slow cooker doesn’t have to be complicated. You need to find one that’s fairly intuitive; no need to read the manual. Some of the simpler models on our list are Crock-Pot SCV400B 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Black and the Breville EasySear.
Remember, when choosing a slow cooker, it’s important to keep in mind that life is just too short to eat mediocre food. Make sure that you find one that will fit your requirements and include all the features you want. After all, a happy bite equals a happy life.