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. A takeout is a good option, but there are times when a delicious, home-cooked meal is just the thing to make the bad day go away. Lucky for you, you can come home to just that if you have a slow cooker.
A slow cooker, as the name implies, is designed to slow-cook food to the perfect texture and taste. This appliance cooks various types of dishes (soup, stew, braised meat, etc.) slowly at a low temperature. This means that you can safely leave it unattended and just go back once everything is done.
Great, right? Now, the question is, which one should you get? Well, here are our recommended best slow cookers from 1 through 10.
Top 10 Slow Cookers Of 2020 Reviewed
- Top 10 Slow Cookers Of 2020 Reviewed
- 1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
- 2. Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1
- 3. West Bend 87905B Large Capacity Non-Stick Versatility Cooker
- 4. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
- 5. Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-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 BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function Cooker
- Choosing The Best Slow Cooker – The Ultimate Buying Guide
- Type of Slow Cooker
- The Material of the Pot
- How Long do You Plan to Cook?
- How Many People will You be Cooking for?
- What will You Be Cooking?
- Are You Planning on bringing the Food Somewhere Else?
- Will You be able to Check on Your Slow Cooker from Time to Time?
- How Easy is it to Use?
- Additional Features to Look For
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
- The hinged locking mechanism is secure
- Stoneware is microwave and oven safe
- Some users have complained that the warm setting is too hot
- The rubbery smell when first used
- Some users have found it hard to clean
2. 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, but 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
- The 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
3. West Bend 87905B Large Capacity Non-Stick Versatility CookerBest Non-Stick Slow cooker
The West Bend 87905B Capacity Non-Stick Versatility cooker has a 5-quart capacity. It is suitable for cooking meals of all sizes. Whether it is for two people or a crowd, this cooker will help you to slowly prepare a sizeable meal. But it is not the capacity that best defines this cooker. Rather, the cooker has a non-stick interior, which makes it extremely easy to clean. That is the reason we consider it to be the best non-stick slow cooker.
Another thing about the cooker is that it can be used in the refrigerator, freezer, stovetop or oven. It has a heating base that also works very well as a griddle. It comes with a glass lid through which you can watch cooking food. Using a warm setting, you will be able to keep the food at a reasonable temperature. It comes with a thermal carrying case and a lid so that you can carry it with you wherever you go.
- The cooking vessel is 5-quart capacity
- Has a non-stick interior
- A see-through glass lid
- Reports of the bottom peeling off
- Has smaller than average handles
- Complaints about a poor lining
4. 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
- The 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
5. 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, but you can also opt to stream 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
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 was 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
- The 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 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 ServerSlow Cooker With Sear Function
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 have 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 BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function CookerSlow Cooker With Sear Function
Looking for a high-quality pressure cooker? If so, then you need to buy the Breville BPR700BSS, which comes with up to 11 pressure settings. With that, you can customize the cooking environment depending on the type of food you are preparing. It also has a custom setting with which you can narrow down to a specific recipe. The LCD display makes it possible to see pressure changes and steam releases.
Once you are through with the cooking, the Keep Warm function will kick into place to maintain the temperature of the food at a certain level. That is until you are ready to serve the food. This is a safe slow cooker, given that it comes with a safety valve, steam release, and safety lid locking. You can use it to prepare a meal for a few as well as many people, thanks to its 6-quart capacity.
- An LCD display to show pressure changes
- Has various safety mechanisms
- Comes with a keep-warm function
- Reports of the unit suddenly breaking down
- An odor-retaining pot
- Big and may not fit in most kitchen cabinets
Choosing The Best Slow Cooker – The Ultimate Buying Guide
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.
Type of Slow Cooker
Crock pot are slightly different from the instant pots. If you look at instant pot vs crock pot, you’ll realize that they have different features for cooking. And still, when it comes to slow cookers, there are two main types based on the way they are operated. Thus, you may have a manual or an automatic cooker. These cookers cook food in the same way with the only difference being how they are operated. So as to know the best to choose, we explain to you the two in great detail below.
Manual Slow Cookers
These are basic slow cookers, which do not come loaded with a lot of features. Even though they work well, they are more affordable than their automatic counterparts. No toggling setting after setting. Simply fill the pot with the necessary ingredients and turn the knob.
You can choose between the “low”, “warm”, and “high” temperature settings. Thus you may choose the “low” or “high” temperature for cooking and the “warm” for maintaining the temperature of cooked food at a certain level. Since they have no time, you need to monitor the cooking manually.
Automatic (Programmable) Slow Cookers
Automatic cookers are technologically advanced, given the many electronic controls with which they come. Some of these kitchen appliances even have a digital timer which means you can program the cooker to work for between 30 minutes and 24 hours. Through an easy-to-read digital display, you will be able to read the remaining cooking time.
When the cooking is done, the cooker will automatically switch to the keep-warm function. Thus, you are able to get warm food when you need it.
The Material of the Pot
The most important part that determines how a slow cooker works is the pot. That’s why it is important to check out the kind of materials from which it is made. Most pots are made from stoneware or ceramics. In addition to being safe, these materials are safe to use in the dishwasher and oven.
You should buy a slow cooker with a ceramic pot if you intend to use it in the microwave or stovetop. However, these are not the only materials from which the pots are made. There is a number, which is made from metallic materials with non-stick surfaces. Only that some non-stick surfaces may not be safe. They may also expose people to heavy metals.
How Long do You Plan to Cook?
The reason it is called a slow cooker is that it takes time to cook the food. In the process, it ensures that the flavors are able to take a long time to marinate. In the end, you will get food that is tenderer. If you have a busy schedule, you can set the cooker to a time when you want the food to be ready and go to work. That is because most slow cookers have a maximum time of up to 10 to 24 hours.
With this, you can easily prepare dinner the night before and eat it right on time. Depending on how you intend to use the slow cooker, pick one with a length of time that will serve your needs.
How Many People will You be Cooking for?
The size of your cooker will determine how much food you’ll be able to cook. A 4-quart pot like 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 Cooker with Digital Timer, on the other hand, can feed 7 people easy. You might also want to consider the Bella Triple 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, meatloaf, 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 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 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 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.
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.
Additional Features to Look For
- Sturdy Handles: You will need to use the handles when cooking. Thus, the handles need to be sturdy and big enough for you to hold. They should be insulated in order to prevent you from getting scorched by the fire.
- Pots: So as to cook food, the pot should be a good heat conductor and retainer. Most slow cookers are made of ceramic pots, which retain heat for longer. These are also great when it comes to the preparation of roast meat.
- Temperature Probes: There are a number of slow cookers, which come with temperature probes. What is the work of a temperature probe? It is inserted into the cooking food to measure the temperature on a progressive basis. When the desired temperature is attained, the cooker will automatically go into the food warming mode.
- Capacity: The capacity of slow cookers ranges from 1.5 quarts to 8.5 quarts. But that doesn’t mean that you can fill the pot to full capacity. In most cases, you only need to fill half-way or ¾-way to prevent spillovers and overcooking. What you need to know is that the capacity of a cooker has no relationship with the size. You might find a bulky cooker which has a small capacity and so on.
- Lids: The lids used on slow cookers can be see-through or opaque. People prefer clear plastic or glass lids since they enable them to watch the progress of the food as it cooks. Some even come with hinged lids. The rest may have fully removable lids. Importantly, you should pay attention to whether the lid is lockable or not. Lockable lids are more desirable, given that they prevent food spillage while being transported. If you intend to carry the pot around, make sure that the lid has a handle.
- Cleaning Ease: Another key feature to consider is how easy it is to clean a pot. The good thing is that many of them are made to be non-stick, which is makes it easy to clean. Even better, the slow cooker should be such that it can be thrown into the dishwasher without worrying about anything.
Looking for a slow cooker? You are in the right place. In this write-up, we have provided detailed product reviews to help you make a good choice. Take time to read the features, pros, and cons of the products under review to find exactly what you are looking for.
You may want to narrow down your search using the detailed information in the buying guide. Make sure the cooker you buy is good enough to meet your needs.