Slow Cookers: Ratings of Sources
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute has tested three dozen slow cookers, ultimately rating each model on a 5-star scale. Its most recent reviews are based on tests that evaluate each model on criteria including helpfulness of instructions; ease of use of controls; ease of cleaning; and versatility. Each review notes pros and cons, highlighting performance wherever possible.
Editors of Cook's Illustrated rate seven popular slow cookers under $100 by cooking four identical meals in each model. It gives each slow cooker one, two, or three stars for design and cooking abilities. One slow cooker is highly recommended, one is recommended four are recommended with reservations, and one is not recommended.
CNET's Rich Brown focuses on high-end slow cookers with a little something extra in this roundup. Detailed reviews rate each model on performance, usability, design, and features, ultimately assigning a rating on a 10-point scale. Accompanying photos are large, detailed, and comparative. The Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker snags the top rating here.
Techlicious.com's Josh Kirschner pitted five top-rated slow cookers against one another by cooking beef stew in each for eight hours. Thorough reviews of each model consider testing performance as well as features and ease of use. The Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker is his No. 1 pick.
Amazon.com is easily the best source for owner feedback on slow cookers. Popular models typically have hundreds of reviews, many of which are extremely detailed. Reviews are easy to sort and fully searchable. Many reviews also include long-term feedback on performance and durability over time. We were able to find a number of helpful reviews for every slow cooker featured in this report.
Christine Cyr Clisset narrowed down a list of 40 slow cookers and actually tested four models. She picks the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker as the best overall, citing its range of features and relatively low price. A recent update notes that she's been using the slow cooker for a year with no complaints.
John Birdsall and Lisa Lavery test three popular slow cookers to see how well they heat and hold water at different settings, braise a 5-pound pork shoulder, and make a batch of pudding. Ultimately, models are rated on a 1- to 5-star scale; links direct readers to more in-depth reviews. The Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker narrowly gets the site's nod over the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.
Jessica Harlan focuses on four popular slow cookers at a variety of price points in this roundup, , though it's unclear what models were originally in the running. Models are tested by cooking three dishes and comparing the results. Each slow cooker is thoroughly evaluated for pros and cons, but Harlan does not pick an overall favorite. The roundup includes one of our top picks, the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.
Lindsay Hunt and Brigitt Hauck evaluate 10 slow cookers, proclaiming each model best in a certain category, such as "Best Deluxe" or "Best for Entertaining." However, it's unclear whether there was any first-hand testing. Hunt and Hauck recommend four of the models in this report: the Crock-Pot 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Proctor Silex Portable Oval Slow Cooker, Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, and KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Standard Lid.
Technology site Engadget has an extensive collection of in-depth, even-handed reviews. This review of the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo is no exception. Kris Naudus tackles all aspects of the slow cooker, discussing hardware, software, and performance. He notes a number of pros and cons regarding ease of use, value, and ultimate usefulness.
Currie reviews the Wonderbag Non-electric Portable Slow Cooker for food blog Serious Eats, cooking beans and beef stew in the bag to see how well it works. She says success requires a fair amount of trial and error, but ultimately likes Wonderbag for its portability and versatility.
Cambria Bold of food blog TheKitchn.com recommends three slow cookers based on a fellow editor's experiences as well as owner and expert reviews. The resulting picks are the Cuisinart MSC-600 Cook Central, Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker, and Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Recommendations focus mostly on features and ease of use, but don't discuss performance, or any negatives at all.
BestBuy.com doesn't have the enormous variety of slow-cooker models that Amazon.com sells, and those it does sell attract fewer, less-detailed reviews. Still, some top-rated models have hundreds of reviews. Owners rate each model on a 1- to 5-star scale overall, with an option to do the same for value, durability, and usefulness.
Popular design and technology blog Gizmodo.com sometimes weighs in on kitchen gadgets if there's a significant twist, such as with the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo. Unsurprisingly, this review focuses mostly on design and technology of the Crock-Pot, but it doesn't appear to draw on any first-hand testing beyond setting up Internet connectivity.