Best Slow Cookers

Best Slow Cookers of 2018

 

Portable, ideal serving temperatureIf you are here right now, you are probably looking for the best slow cookers in the market. Congrats! Because many people are just go whatever product is recommended by their family members, friends, teachers, or a spouse. Not too many have time and pleasure to do their research and read hundreds review.

We are committed to researching, testing and recommend only the best products and services here in Orion Best in Classes.

You’ve worked all day, and you come home to yet another take-out meal, or worse, something cold and leftover from last weekend.

In another scenario, you’ve got to bring something to a potluck happening tonight, but you won’t get home in time to cook something homemade, and you can’t stand your friends’ eye rolls when you bring yet another box of cookies.

So what do you do?

If you’ve never had a slow cooker, let’s revolutionize your kitchen duty, shall we? With a slow cooker, you can put food in, set a timer, and in a few hours, after you’ve gotten other things done, you walk into your house to find a complete meal.

Magic.

Take the easy way and invest in a good slow cooker so that you’ve always got a meal ready for you after a long day or you aren’t just bringing an old box of crackers to that party. Let’s take a look at the three most important things to consider when buying your perfect slow cooker.

Choosing a Slow Cooker

There are a few different aspects to consider when you’re buying your first, or your additional, slow cooker. You’ve got to think about how you plan to use the slow cooker the most, how many people you want to serve, and if there are particular types of food you tend to make.

Capacity

Slow cookers come in capacities from ultra tiny dip appliances of a half quart all the way to massive 18-quart cookers that can handle a Thanksgiving turkey. You probably won’t need that kind of space, but you do want to consider how much slow cooker you can handle.

If you’re mostly cooking for just yourself or one other person, you don’t need to take up valuable kitchen space to accommodate a massive piece of equipment. If you host a lot of parties, you might take the opposite direction and get one that can handle serving a group of people.

Programmable or not

For some slow cookers, you turn a dial to one of three heat settings and leave it alone. It doesn’t have a timer or a digital display that can break. It’s simple to use, and you can set it in the morning even half asleep before your coffee.

Other options include the ability to set a timer in two-hour increments. Choose high or low temperature and then two, four, six, or eight hours. These are also simple to use but allow you the luxury of having a timer option that will likely switch to warm when the timer runs out so you won’t scorch your food.

Manual controls are usually less expensive and simpler to use. Digital offers more flexibility and control, but often, those come with a higher price tag. Consider what will make your slow cooker more comfortable to use. Otherwise, it will sit unused in your cabinet.

Shape

Slow cookers come in a variety of shapes. Round slow cookers are good all-purpose appliances and are suitable for just about any kind of food except long pieces of meat. They distribute heat evenly and aren’t likely to scorch.

Oval slow cookers offer better space to cook whole pieces of meat like whole chicken or pot roast. They allow the meat to sit in the middle so that it cooks evenly and doesn’t scorch by being smashed up against the sides of the slow cooker. Larger capacity slow cookers are likely to be this shape.

Oblong and rectangular slow cookers are optimized for casserole-style dishes. They are long but shallow so that the casserole cooks all the way through and isn’t too thick. Casseroles and lasagnas will get cooked in the middle without scorching the sides and bottom.

Other features

Slow cooker heating elements come in some different styles. The most common is a wrap-around element that nestles the crock down inside. Others have a heating element on the bottom that the pot sits on and often can perform double duty as a light griddle.

Some slow cookers have hinged lids. They lift easily to allow guests to serve themselves without leaving food uncovered or having to find a place to sit the lid while in the middle of dipping out food. Some of those lids can be latched for fewer spills during travel.

You can find accessories such as meat thermometers that can program a stopping point for a slow cooker or an extra long cord so you won’t scramble for an extension cord. These options are likely to be more expensive, but again, choose what will get you using it regularly.

Our favorite slow cookers

1. Hamilton Beach 5 Quart Portable Slow Cooker, Model# 33155, Red

Hamilton Beach’s attractive, red slow cooker is a mid-size slow cooker with a gasket lid anchored to the base. The lid latches to reduce spills. It comes with a safety strap for spill-proof transport. It’s a convenient oval shape to allow more usable space for cooking things like whole chickens or larger beef products.

It’s the perfect size for a whole chicken of just under five pounds, plenty for a family meal, or two two-pound roasts. It has a low, medium, and high setting, plus a keep warm setting once your food has finished cooking.

It’s easy to clean and to use. Both the crock ware and the lid are dishwasher safe and can be detached from the cooking base for easy cleanup. It’s a durable stoneware base and a glass lid, materials that are good for holding and distributing heat for an even slow cook.

The lid itself is glass with a reinforced metal rim. It has a rubberized lid liner. There’s an inset steam release within the lid to allow for depressurization. You can place the liner in to hold in steam or remove to allow steam to escape.

One drawback of this particular model is that it has a two-foot cord. If you have a convenient outlet where you can place the crockpot, this may not be an issue. If you frequently travel or have to set your crock pot away from an outlet, you might want to find a model with a longer cord rather than use an extension cord.

2. Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Countertop Programmable Slow Cooker, Model# 33473, Silver

This silver and black Hamilton slow cooker offers more cooking space for larger amounts of food. It’s seven quarts, which can cook a chicken up to eight pounds or two four-pound roasts. It’s a slow cooker intended to prepare larger amounts while still distributing heat evenly.

It has a simple lid without a gasket, but a travel strap is available to reduce spills during transport. The wraparound heating element ensures even cooking in three different heat levels, high, medium, and low. You can also set it to warm to keep food at a suitable temperature without further cooking.

You can set cooking times in increments of two hours, and once the cooking time is up, the unit automatically switches to warm. The touchpad is smooth and easy to wipe clean if anything gets on it, and the entire electric element can be wiped clean.

The crock is a durable stoneware, and the lid is glass with a reinforced metal rim. Both transmit heat evenly and allow for better cooking without scorching food during long cooking times. Both are removable from the unit and are dishwasher safe.

It doesn’t have an attachable lid, but without the rubber liner, the lid is simple to clean without holding on to gunk and debris. It doesn’t have a very long cord, so consider where you’ll likely be placing the pot for most of your cooking and serving.

3. Crock-Pot Casserole Crook 3.5 Quart Slow Cooker, Red

Crock-Pot is the original slow cooker. Their red casserole crook is just under four quarts of available space, perfect for smaller cooking needs. It has a unique rectangular shape for cooking casseroles, lasagnas, and other dishes that don’t require as much depth but need more space.

The crock is stoneware and the lid is glass, making it great for transmitting even heat. You can choose between three different heat settings, high, medium, and low. When food is done cooking, you can choose warm to keep food at a suitable temperature for serving without further cooking.

The crock itself is removable and can be placed in the oven if you need to brown or finish off parts of your dish. The lid and the pot are dishwasher safe and remove entirely for cleaning. They are stain resistant, and the materials will last a long time.

The lid itself locks in place with two gasket attachments on either side. Once you cook, you can transport without spilling. This model is also useful for cooking food in the conventional oven and conveniently transporting to the slow cooker to maintain proper temperature.

It’s on the shallow side because it’s optimized for side dishes and casserole type meals. If you want to cook full sized meat, it might be challenging to fit everything in. It’s best for side dishes and as a helper to your standard oven or slow cooker.

 

4. Crock-Pot Programmable -6 Quart, 1.OCT, Silver

The programmable crock pot is a six-quart slow cooker that serves about seven people. You can adjust time settings anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It features three heat settings, high, medium, and low, and a warm option to keep food at the proper temperature after cooking.

You can combine any temperature setting with any length of time. When food is done cooking, the crock shifts automatically to warm to prevent food scorching and to make sure food is ready to serve whenever you get to it.

The lid is a gasket lid that attaches to the base and seals entirely for more comfortable transport. The hinges are on both sides of the crock to ensure there are no spills. The crock is stoneware and the lid is glass. Both provide even cooking and heating. You can remove them completely to wash or to place in the dishwasher.

It has a digital panel and an easy to read display for programming ease. Bright numbers are readable even in the dark, and it provides a convenient countdown so you know how much time you have left.

The crock is microwave safe and oven safe though it isn’t recommended that you use the broiler. It can cook an entire five-pound chicken or two two-pound roasts side by side. It’s plenty of space to cook and freeze part of the meal for later.

It doesn’t have a very long cord, so the unit will have to remain close to an outlet, or you’ll have to use a good extension cord. Keep that in mind when choosing your slow cooker.

 

5. West Bend 5 Qt. Oblong Slow Cooker

West Bend’s oblong slow cooker is a five-quart capacity unit. This is a good mid-range size for a family. It can cook smaller whole chicken or a medium sized roast, for perspective.

It doesn’t use the wrap-around heating element design of other types of slow cookers. Instead, the heating element is located on the bottom. This allows the crock to cook thoroughly without scorching food on the top.

You can remove the crock itself and use the base as a skillet or other type of small stove. If you allow the unit to warm up completely, it will cook grilled cheese sandwiches and other kinds of griddle food.

The crock itself is dishwasher, oven, range, and microwave safe. Begin your food in the oven and transfer it to the element for a warmer or cook entire meals. It can be removed for easy cleaning and to wipe down the heating element. The lid is made of glass with a reinforced metal rim. It is also dishwasher safe.

The temperature control is adjustable in a range of one to five. The control is a simple dial. No need to set timers or temperatures. Just turn the heating element on and cook. It offers a simple multi-use kitchen tool.

You don’t have much control over the temperature specifications, and there’s no automatic setting to return to warm once the food is done cooking. You can’t set it and forget about it if you’re going to be gone all day.

6. Crock-Pot The Original Slow Cooker- 4 Quart, 1.0 CT, Red

The original Crock Pot is a four-quart slow cooker without all the bells and whistles. It’s a reliable and easy to use cooker that’s the perfect range for family cooking.

It’s an attractive red stainless steel. The heating element is wraparound which ensures even cooking even in a full pot. The crock itself is stoneware which conducts heat well, and the lid is glass with a reinforced metal edge.

The gasket lid attaches on both sides with hinge locks to prevent spillage during transportation. It makes it easy to cook and then transport the entire unit to wherever you need to go.

You can remove both the crock and the lid to clean. Both are dishwasher safe. The heating element can be wiped down with a damp cloth to take care of any spills on the interior. You can also wipe the temperature knob if you need to.

It features three different cooking temperatures, high, medium, and low. It also has a warm setting to keep the heat correct for serving. It’s manual control, so it’s simple to use and set.

It won’t automatically switch over to warm once your food is done cooking, so you’ll have to set that temperature manually. There’s no digital display. It’s a simple design that doesn’t have a lot of frills but will last a long time with consistent cooking temperature and durable materials.

7. Hamilton Beach 6 Quart Portable Set ‘n’ Forget Probe Slow Cooker, Model# 33967, Silver

Hamilton Beach’s programmable cooker gives you three different ways to set the correct temperature and timing for your dish. It’s a classic silver with a wrap-around heating element and digital display.

The first way to cook is using the manual setting if you’re around to supervise cooking. Simply choose between high, low, or keep warm and the slow cooker will get to work. You can use the accompanying meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your cooking meat.

You can also program it to cook for a specific time on a particular heat level. When the time is up, the heating element automatically switches to warm to keep your food ready to serve.

You can also use the meat thermometer. You can program the unit to stop cooking when the internal temperature reaches a certain point. Place the meat probe through a small opening in the lid, and when the center of the meat reaches the correct temperature, an alarm goes off indicating that it’s done.

These three options give you the most control over each kind of dish you might prepare in the cookware. It’s a set it and forget it crockpot that can handle different types of meals, not just soup or chili.

The unit has protection against brief power outages so that when you get home, you aren’t greeted by an uncooked meal. The crock and lid are dishwasher safe, and the crock can be used in the oven, just not on broil. The power cord isn’t that long, but with all the different settings, you’re still getting one of the most convenient and versatile slow cookers out there.

8. Crock-Pot 4.5 Quart Hinged Lid Programmable Slow Cooker, Black

This is a party-friendly Crock-Pot with a 4.5-quart capacity. This is a programmable slow cooker with three different heat levels, high, low, and a warm setting that comes on automatically when food is done cooking.

The gasket lid is attached by a hinge, so you don’t have to find a place to set the lid when you take it off. It has a single hinge at the back, which makes it easy to open and stay open while your guests serve themselves.

You can program the slow cooker to cook for four, six, eight, or ten hours at a time with any of the heat settings. The wrap-around heating element cooks food evenly and allows for better heat distribution throughout the crock.

The crock itself is dishwasher safe and removes from the heating element for easy cleanup. The lid is also dishwasher safe and can be disassembled from the hinge so that everything can go in the dishwasher.

The one-touch control makes it simple to choose the heat and timer. The display is a flat panel that can be wiped clean easily. It lights up underneath your choice of time and heat, so you’ll know what you’re settings are at a glance.

As with most Crock Pots, the cord is short, so make sure that you have an outlet handy. Otherwise, it offers just a little bit more than the standard Crock-Pot basic package.

9. Hamilton Beach 8 Quart Extra-Large Capacity Slow Cooker, Model# 33183, Black

Hamilton Beach’s eight-quart slow cooker is a large capacity cooker for parties and get-togethers. It can cook up to an eight-pound chicken or a six-pound roast, offering plenty of food for larger groups.

It has a ceramic crock that is dishwasher safe and removable for easy cleanup. The glass lid is reinforced with a metal rim and fits snugly into the crock for a good cooking seal. It’s also dishwasher safe.

The heating element is a wrap-around for thorough and even cooking even with larger pieces of meat or a full pot of stew. It can be wiped down with a damp cloth to clean any spills.

It has three simple settings. Just turn the dial to low or high and allow the slow cooker to go. When your food is finished, you can adjust the settings to warm to prevent further cooking and scorch but to keep your food at the perfect serving temperature.

It doesn’t offer a lot in the way of programming, but the massive crock is one of the best out there for serving large amounts of food. You can’t set it and walk away, but there’s so much room, you’ll find yourself using it for any occasion where you’re serving more than just your immediate family or close friends.

It has a black enamel finish that’s classic and goes with most kitchen decor. It’s one of the biggest sizes available in a slow cooker.

10. Crock-Pot 8 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker In Black Stainless Black/ Stainless Steel

Crock-Pot’s eight-quart slow cooker is a programmable model that allows you to count down from cooking times up to 20 hours. It’s a black and stainless steel design that looks great in your kitchen and cooks a massive amount of food for a party or large family gathering.

The finish is softer than traditional stainless steel, so it’s easier to keep clean when you wipe it down. It won’t show smudges as quickly as conventional stainless steel either. The crock is a durable stoneware that can be cleaned in the dishwasher and removes completely from the heating element.

The lid is tempered glass. It doesn’t attach to the crock with a hinge, but it is completely dishwasher safe making the entire system easy to clean. You can wipe down the heating element with a damp cloth, and the display is nearly flat for an easy wipe down.

You can program three different heat settings, high, low, and warm. You can adjust the time in 30-minute increments up to 20 hours, and when the timer is done, the unit automatically switches to warm to keep your food at the perfect temperature for serving.

It’s possible to feed over ten people with this large capacity slow cooker, and at the end of the day, your cooking is done, and clean-up is simple. The cord isn’t that long, so make sure you have an outlet convenient. Otherwise, it’s the perfect accessory for your hosting.

The bottom line

Slow cookers are about to revolutionize your time in the kitchen. You may not see yourself as a cook now. You may see nothing but leftover take out unless you strike it rich and can hire a maid. Once you invest in a slow cooker that you actually use, you’ll be eating home cooked meals and less takeout in no time.

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