What every best Slow Cookers has:
Sarah DiGregorio tested seven programmable slow cookers from six brands, including four models with browning capabilities. Each slow cooker is tested by cooking beans, preparing strata and using the browning and searing functions to sauté onions and brown chicken thighs. One overall winner is chosen, as well as other models that excel at stovetop searing and in-cooker searing based on temperature stability, ease of use, how evenly they cook foods and other features.
Editors of Cook's Illustrated rate eight popular slow cookers under $150 by cooking three identical meals in each model. It gives each slow cooker one, two, or three stars for ease of use, cooking abilities and cleanup. Two slow cookers are highly recommended, but only one is named the winner. One model is recommended, one is recommended with reservations, and the remaining four are not recommended.
Christine Cyr Clisset, Camille Chatterjee and Lesley Stockton narrow down a list of more than 40 slow cookers, testing a handful that range in price from $30 to $180. In the latest update, they test two newer models against their three-years-running winner by making batches of presoaked cannellini beans in each slow cooker, evaluating each model for ease of use, design, and how sturdy the hardware feels.
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.
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. One slow cooker is named best, and both pros and limitations are described for those that didn't make the cut.
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.
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.
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.
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, including one best overall, one best for entertaining, one best deluxe and one best for small families slow cooker. The remaining six are noted as editor's picks.
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.