Best Slow Cookers – Reviews & Buying Guide 2019

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Slow cookers and crock pots have been around for quite some time. If you remember any type of pot roast or chicken and dumplings as a child, chances are, your mother used a slow cooker. They work really well and take hardly any attention at all. You can place everything in the machine in the morning, turn it on and by the time you are home from work and the kids are home from school, you will have dinner ready! There have been many new improvements to the slow cooker which will help you even more in the kitchen. Soon, it will not only be the most used kitchen appliance but also become as your best friend.

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Note: The following review contains links to Amazon.com. When you purchase something after clicking these links, we earn a small commission, at no cost to you.

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1. The Best Slow Cooker Overall

Instant Pot DUO 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use (9.5 out of 10)

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Features and Benefits

  • Can replace up to 7 kitchen appliances
  • Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
  • Consistent, fast and user-friendly
  • Energy efficient with 10 safety mechanisms
  • Lifetime warranty

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Pros:

  • The slow cooker will replace up to 7 different kitchen appliances all in one.
  • Very easy to use, energy-efficient and completely safe to use.
  • It is dishwasher safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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Cons:

  • If there was a bad thing about it, the steam nozzle could be tighter.

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Editorial Review

The Instant Pot will be the best kitchen appliance you will ever buy or own. It will replace almost all of your kitchen appliances and you will find yourself using it every single day. It is a slow cooker with many different settings that make it easy to cook dinner for the whole family. But it will also steam, sauté, pressure cook, make yogurt, and act as a rice cooker or warmer. This seems too good to be true, but it actually does all of these things very efficiently. The lid will lock into place, you program the settings and it will do everything on its own from there on out. The machine will set off an alarm when dinner is ready and then you can either release the steam or the locking mechanism. It is very easy to use, easy to clean and is also very energy-efficient, saving you plenty of cash on your utility bills. There are several different models but this is one of the top 10 most sold items on Amazon overall.

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What Others Are Saying

Negative – Out of the 35,000+ reviews left on Amazon, there are only 6 bad reviews. The bad reviews are also user error and mainly about bad customer service. But that is less than 1%, which is awesome.

Positive – Many have wondered why they never purchased one of these sooner. These have made their lives so much easier. Saving on time, money and space that are highly coveted.

Bottom Line

This is one of the best inventions out there and it will do everything. The review rating alone says it all! It is one of the most highly sought out machines on Amazon and comes highly recommended by everyone. This machine will not let you down.

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2. Best Mid-priced Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 8 Quart Programmable Countdown Slow Cooker (9.0 out of 10)

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Features and Benefits

  • Countdown timer display
  • Removeable stoneware and dishwasher safe
  • 8-quart capacity
  • High, low and warm settings

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Pros:

  • Has a LED display which has a timer and program settings.
  • It is easy to use and clean; also dishwasher safe.
  • Has a large 8-quart capacity with 3 different heat settings. 

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Cons:

  • May have a tendency to overheat if used longer than recommended.

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Editorial Review

This slow cooker is one of the more traditional style machines as opposed to the newer types. It is also one of the most often purchased items on Amazon. It will not fail you in providing delicious meals for the whole family with its large capacity. It will easily cook a whole 8-pound chicken or a 6-pound roast. The machine will automatically turn off to warm setting when the timer is up to keep the food from overcooking as well. It has a clear lid to see the inside and is completely dishwasher safe.

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What Others Are Saying

Negative – There have been some problems with the heating element, but not too many. Some say the heating element just stopped working after a few uses, while others said the machine overheated and burned up the heating element.

Positive – After having this product for many months and being used many times, they have no complaints. They love how easy it is to use the machine and the timer comes in handy as well.

Bottom Line

This is one of the more basic models but it is very cheap to purchase for only $40. It is very user-friendly and easy to clean. If you treat this machine well, it should last a lifetime.

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3. Best Budget Slow Cooker

Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker (9.0 out of 10)

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Features and Benefits

  • Dishwasher safe glass lid and stoneware pot
  • 5-quart removable inner stoneware pot
  • Cool to touch handles and knobs
  • 120-watt powered heating element with high, low and warm settings

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Pros:

  • Has three different heat settings with a 120-watt heating element.
  • The lid and inner pot are both dishwasher-safe.
  • The handles and knobs are all heat resistant.

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Cons:

  • The heating settings are a little higher than they should be.

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Editorial Review

This slow cooker is much smaller than most others out there, so it would be perfect for a small household or a student in a college dorm. It is very compact and doesn’t use a lot of energy. It is a traditional style crockpot that will cook your food perfectly every time. It has a clear lid to see what’s cooking inside and has three different heat settings. The handles and knobs are all heat resistant and there is a red indicator light to let you know when the pot is hot. The best thing about this model is that it only costs $10.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.1″ text_font_size=”17px” custom_margin=”-8px|||||” _i=”1″ _address=”0.12.0.1″]

What Others Are Saying

Negative – Aside from most people saying the pot is too small, the main complaint is that the temperature of the settings is off. Where warm should be about 165 degrees, some say it is about 200 degrees.

Positive – Most love this machine for simply how small it is. There is really no point in using the large crockpot for one meal when this works for the single person in a small apartment or dorm room.

Bottom Line

If you are single or living in a house or apartment with limited space, then this is the best option for you. Plus, if you are on a tight budget, $10 is really not that much money to try it out.

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4. Best Value Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker (9.0 out of 10)

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Features and Benefits

  • Has a large 7-quart capacity
  • Manual heat settings for warm, low and high
  • Clear glass lid that locks in place
  • Cool to touch handles and knobs
  • Dishwasher safe stoneware and lid

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Pros:

  • It has three different heat settings and a red-light indicator when it is on.
  • Has a see-through glass lid that locks in place to keep heat and moisture in.
  • The lid and inner stoneware are both dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.

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Cons:

  • If used improperly, may have a tendency to overheat: melting handles or breaking the glass lid.

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Editorial Review

This slow cooker comes from the original maker, Crock-Pot which some people have come to call slow cookers. It can cook a large whole chicken or a decent sized roast with all the fixings. The handles are heat resistant which makes it easy to transfer from one place to another. The manual dial allows you to easily switch between 3 different settings to ensure dinner is ready when you want it to be. The lid is made of glass to see inside the pot and is locked down tightly with a locking mechanism on the side of the pot. Everything but the heating element is dishwasher safe which also makes cleaning a cinch.

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What Others Are Saying

Negative – For the most part, the bad reviews are about how hot the high setting is. People decided to set on high, lock and leave for 8 or more hours and the handles melted or the glass shattered. This is a user error and is stated that it is not recommended.

Positive – After reading several of the bad reviews about the glass breaking, many have chosen to purchase this anyway and were pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t break after multiple uses. Using this machine correctly and taking care of it has worked well for them and will continue to.

Bottom Line

This crockpot is only $25, which is a great deal when it comes to quality crockpots. If you use it as it is described and take care of it, then it will last a long time with no additional problems.

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Buyer’s Guide to Slow Cookers

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How to choose the best slow cooker

When choosing the best slow cooker, make sure you have all your bases covered in case something happens to your machine while in use or during the shipping process. A warranty or some kind of manufacturer guarantee will cover this by acting as a form of insurance on your unit. With that being said, it is wise to make sure the machine is made of high-quality materials with sound construction. Most slow cookers tend to be on for hours at a time under low heat so you don’t want the inner workings overheating due to poor construction.

For the most part, you want to make sure the machine is easy to use and clean. Having a machine that has very few buttons or switches will ensure the user will know how to properly operate it or have some kind of user’s manual as well. Get one that has a removable inner bowl from the actual heating element. This makes it much easier to clean. An inner bowl or lining that is dishwasher safe will also help to save you some time on cleanup.

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What to look for when purchasing a new slow cooker

The slow cooker has come a long way in new developments since it was first created. Nowadays, they make them with many other options aside from just being used as a slow cooker. Some have the ability to sauté, boil water, steam, pressure cook and even act as a rice cooker. But there are the same old traditional style slow cookers where they just do the one function. You will pay a little extra for the other features but it is really not that much more when you think about all the cool extra things it can do. Try and figure out your budget then make a decision on what you want the machine to actually do. This will definitely narrow down your search.

You will also need to know how big of a pot you are actually wanting as they come in all different shapes and sizes. If you have a large family or are planning to make a lot of food all at once, then it would be wise to get a much larger 6 to 10-quart inner pot. But if you are cooking for just yourself or if you are stretched for counter space or storage space, then it might be best to go with a smaller model. Some of the machines also come with extra gadgets or tools to use along with the machine. You will also need to make a decision if you want to be able to see inside the pot with a clear lid or if you want a locking mechanism on the lid to prevent any spills and contain all the heat and moisture you possibly can.

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Construction and Design

When it comes to the construction of the slow cooker, there really is not a whole lot of difference from one to another. The general outlook is that a metal or ceramic pot is placed inside of a metal or plastic container with a heating element at the bottom which will heat up the inner pot to a low or high temperature. For most traditional style crock pots, this is the same all around. For some of the newer models, it is the same concept and construction but it is not limited to just one or two heat settings.

Some of the newer models will have a lid that locks in place and will not start until the machine has been programmed to a specific use. Some of these have other functions to cook with the lid off or even on and locked as if a pressure cooker would work. There is a steam release valve on most of these to regulate heat and moisture but more specifically to gauge the amount of steam or pressure for the pressure cooker setting. The interface for these newer types of machines is fairly easy to understand and they come with a user’s manual as well. If you are able to program your microwave at home to do a specific job then you will have no problem working one of these.

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How to care for your slow cooker

The cool thing about these types of machines is that if you have leftovers in your pot when you’re done cooking and feeding the family. You can wait till the pot cools down and place it in the fridge to heat up at a later time again. This is fine and all but it is best to always clean your inner pot after every use. You may forget about it in the fridge and after some time will create molds that can damage the inner lining of the pot.

When cleaning the inner pot, make sure to use a soft towel or soft bristle scrub brush, warm water and dish soap to clean it. Never use steel wool or metal cleaning supplies as it might damage the inner lining of the pot as well. If your slow cooker pot can be placed in the dishwasher, make sure to rinse it first and follow the manufacturer guidelines for placing in a dishwasher. Make sure to dry the inner pot off before placing back in the heating element and store in a cabinet or on top of your kitchen counter. These machines are very easy to clean and maintain as long as you stay on top of it all.

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Kevin Gillenwater has been decorated with various awards and certifications while working as executive chef and general manager of the Crown Uptown Theatre. After he and his wife decided to have a family he hung up his chef coat to become a stay at home father and freelance writer while also providing a service as a temporary “gun for hire” in many fine dining restaurants and private caterings.

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