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Slow Cooker Reviews

By: Angela Stringfellow on September 27, 2017

Editor's note:
Hamilton Beach and Crock Pot brand slow cookers rise to the top in our latest update to this report. Both brands make fully-featured, fully-programmable slow cookers at a great price. We also name the best portable slow cooker so there's no mess when transporting a dish to a pot luck.

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity – 6 quarts Programmable timer – Yes Locking lid – Yes

Best basic slow cooker

Experts and owners agree: the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget packs in a lot of features at a very reasonable price. You'll get extras that you won't find on other basic slow cookers, including a programmable timer, a serving spoon, and a temperature probe. The roomy 6-quart capacity means you can feed a big crew, and even large cuts of meat fit. The Set 'n Forget also manages to perform admirably in expert cooking tests.

Buy for $49.00
Best portable slow cooker
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity – 6 quarts Programmable timer – Yes Locking lid – Yes

Best portable slow cooker

With a compact size, large, easy-to-grip handles and a secure locking lid, the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Digital Slow Cooker earns praise from both experts and users alike for its portability and performance. It has an ample, 6-quart capacity and a lid gasket that provides an additional seal to prevent leaks, making it ideal for potlucks, church gatherings and other events, and its timer can be set from 30 minutes to 20 hours in 30-minute increments.

Buy for $36.94
Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity – 6.5 quarts Programmable timer – Yes Locking lid – No

Best programmable slow cooker

Owners and experts say the Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker offers the best blend of features, value and performance in its category. Digital controls and a 20-hour timer make the model easy to use, and a stainless-steel exterior means it's easy on the eyes, too. The stoneware insert is more versatile than most, cleared for use in the dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave or oven. This Crock-Pot is also a solid performer in expert cooking tests.

Buy for $59.99

Types of Slow Cookers

Basic Slow Cookers

Just like their pricier counterparts, basic slow cookers can turn out tasty meals after allowing food to simmer at a low temperature all day long. The main difference is that you'll have fewer features. For instance, buyers often won't get a timer or any cooking modes beyond the basics: low, high, and keep warm. You may also be limited to a smaller capacity, and it can be harder to find the sleekest stainless-steel designs in this category. But many owners prefer the simplicity of these models, and they certainly prefer the cheaper price.

Portable Slow Cookers

Some slow cookers, whether basic or programmable, offer additional features that make them more portable. Locking lids and rubber gaskets help keep food from spilling during transport. Others will have rubberized handles that are easy to grip on the go, or sleeves they can be set into with handles.

Programmable Slow Cookers

Programmable slow cookers boast a few more bells and whistles than basic models. For a little more money, you'll get up to a 24-hour timer that will automatically keep your food warm once it's done cooking. You'll also typically have a digital display. If money is no object, you may also get additional slow-cooking modes or even a model that can sautŽ, brown or steam your food, too.

Finding The Best Slow Cookers
Our Sources
"The Best Slow Cookers"
"Slow Cookers"
"The Best Slow Cooker"

There's no shortage of expert and owner reviews of slow cookers, including comprehensive tests by FoodandWine.com, TheSweethome.com and Techlicious.com, all of which compare several slow cookers by preparing various types of meals in each and evaluating factors such as ease of use, how evenly the food is cooked and design. Good Housekeeping and Cook's Illustrated are also good sources for hands-on tests, as are roundups from magazines including Real Simple and food blogs such as TheKitchn.com.

For crucial information on how slow cookers stood up to day-to-day wear and tear, we consulted thousands of user reviews at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, where many owners provide detailed feedback on real-world use. In all of these reviews, we focused on ease of use, durability, features, and performance to choose the top slow cookers for your kitchen.

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