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The Best Slow Cooker

Last updated on August 16, 2019

We looked at the top 8 Slow Cookers and dug through the reviews from 32 of the most popular review sites including Good Housekeeping, Best Products, BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Digital Trends, The Spruce Eats and more. The result is a ranking of the best Slow Cookers.

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Our Picks For The Top Slow Cookers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Hamilton Beach

Set & Forget

Overall Take

Special FeaturesA portable, versatile slow cooker that won't break the bank.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Good Housekeeping, BestReviews, CNET, Reviews.com, New York Times Wirecutter, Top Ten Reviews and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Target, Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Electronic controls were easy to read. Timed cooking. Signal light. Automatic keep warm setting. Dishwasher safe."
Cons
"Temperature flaws affect quality. Gasket lid is hard to seat. Exterior housing grows very hot."

Cuisinart

PSC-350 Slow Cooker

Overall Take

Versatile CookerFour cooking options and a programmable timer make this slow cooker a top choice.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Good Housekeeping, Best Products and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" This stainless steel cooker with a six-and-a-half-quart stoneware insert and electronic controls can be programmed to cook for up to 24 hours on the high, low, or warm settings; it automatically switches to the warm setting after cooking and remains..."

Crock-Pot

Programmable Cook & Carry

Overall Take

Easy to UseA programmable slow cooker with a large capacity, big handles and locking lid.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Good Housekeeping, CNET, New York Times Wirecutter, BestReviews, Best Products and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Walmart, Target, Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" Spacious six-quart insert. Dial control is very easy to use. Lid latches onto insert for easy transport. Owner's manual includes 10 recipes. Excellent customer service."
Cons
"It kept food warm while it was unplugged, but it was close enough to the food-safety red zone that you'll still want to keep tabs via a separate thermometer."
  The Best Value

Crock-Pot

Manual Slow Cooker

Overall Take

Classic Slow CookerA classic slow cooker with a simple, manual dial setting.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter. Along with user reviews from Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart and Target.
Pros
" If you’re fine with a small, old-school slow cooker without bells and whistles (like a timer), the Crock-Pot 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker should serve you well. It has excellent user reviews and a low, low price to boot."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
15

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the slow cookers available to purchase.
8

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

32

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Good Housekeeping, Best Products, BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Digital Trends.

25,052

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Our experts reviewed the top 8 Slow Cookers and also dug through the reviews from 32 of the most popular review sites including Good Housekeeping, Best Products, BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Digital Trends, The Spruce Eats and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Slow Cookers.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.5
1,407 user reviews
Our Take

A combination of special features, portability and affordable price make the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget the top recommended pick for slow cookers. Meat lovers will rejoice at the built-in probe that gives you a temperature readout on the easy-to-use interface. The lid clamps make toting to potlucks a breeze. Plus it has programmable and manual features, and even keeps cooking if you have a brief power outage. In our test kitchen, it cooked a batch of potatoes perfectly well.

What other experts liked
Electronic controls were easy to read. Timed cooking. Signal light. Automatic keep warm setting. Dishwasher safe.
- Good Housekeeping
Many great features, including programmable time and temperature. Handles stay cool.
- BestReviews
Thanks to its excellent heat retention, lid clips, and spoon rest, the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker travels incredibly well. It's also a great value at $59.99.
- CNET
If you attend a lot of potlucks, chili cook-offs, or sporting events, you’ll most likely want a slow cooker that emphasizes portability features. Hamilton Beach Set and Forget 6 Qt Programmable Slow cooks well and travels well. The Set &...
- Reviews.com
The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker strikes a balance between affordability and features that creates an impressive bang for your buck—even if you have to make a few compromises to get there. Most notably, this unit runs a...
- Reviewed
It’s not fancy, but the intuitive interface, locking lid, and modest price have made it the best deal for your money three years running—and it’s the only slow cooker with a heat probe to monitor the doneness of roasts and...
- New York Times Wirecutter
This device can be used to create delicious meals but the digital interface and clamps are unnecessarily more complex than other slow cookers.
- Top Ten Reviews
May 31, 2018 | Full review
This model will continue operating even during brief outages, so you’ll still come home to a meal that’s ready to enjoy (even if you will be eating in the dark). Plus, the affordable price tag means everyone from college students...
- Digital Trends
April 10, 2018 | Full review
This slow cooker checks all the boxes on your wish list. It’s programmable or you can operate it manually. There’s a temperature probe to check the temperature of your food as you cook it. And at six quarts, it’s the...
- The Spruce Eats
September 20, 2018 | Full review
This programmable slow cooker includes a temperature probe that makes cooking meat a total breeze. You don't even have to open the lid to take the temperature, and you'll never have to risk serving undercooked meat to guests or family.
- Best Products
June 29, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Temperature flaws affect quality. Gasket lid is hard to seat. Exterior housing grows very hot.
- BestReviews
The display panel design is a little dated, and the button configuration could be more intuitive. It also lacks some design touches that make its competitors easier to carry and store.
- CNET

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker

Expert Summarized Score
7.0
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.5
2,165 user reviews
Our Take

You can't argue with the price and ease of the classic Crock-pot Manual Slow Cooker. While it lacks a digital timer and uses the old-school low, high, warm dial setting, it can cook quick, slow and for a crowd. Plus, it has a few modern updates like a removable crock for easy cleaning and up-to-date stainless steel design.

What other experts liked
If you’re fine with a small, old-school slow cooker without bells and whistles (like a timer), the Crock-Pot 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker should serve you well. It has excellent user reviews and a low, low price to boot.
- New York Times Wirecutter
What other experts didn't like

Overall Product Rankings

1. Hamilton Beach Set & Forget

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 13

2. Cuisinart PSC-350 Slow Cooker

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 6

3. Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 11

4. Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 5

5. Philips HD9630/98

Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 7

6. All-Clad Programmable Slow Cooker

Overall Score: 6.6
Reviews Included: 6

7. Hamilton Beach FlexCook Stay or Go Slow

Overall Score: 6.4
Reviews Included: 5

8. Proctor-Silex Manual Slow Cooker

Overall Score: 5.9
Reviews Included: 7

Our Findings

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget

What We Liked: A combination of special features, portability and affordable price make the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget the top recommended pick for slow cookers. Meat lovers will rejoice at the built-in probe that gives you a temperature readout on the easy-to-use interface. The lid clamps make toting to potlucks a breeze. Plus it has programmable and manual features, and even keeps cooking if you have a brief power outage. In our test kitchen, it cooked a batch of potatoes perfectly well.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker

Best Value

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker | Stainless Steel (SCV700SS) (Kitchen)


List Price: $39.99
New From: $40.20 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: You can’t argue with the price and ease of the classic Crock-pot Manual Slow Cooker. While it lacks a digital timer and uses the old-school low, high, warm dial setting, it can cook quick, slow and for a crowd. Plus, it has a few modern updates like a removable crock for easy cleaning and up-to-date stainless steel design.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Cuisinart PSC-350 Slow Cooker

Also Consider

Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker (Kitchen)


List Price:
New From: $43.75 USD In Stock
Used from: $43.75 USD In Stock

What We Liked: Get all the basics you know and love about slow cookers with a few extras, from the Cuisinart PSC-350. It has a 24-hour programmable timer,  with 4 cooking options including simmer, plus a function that auto shifts to warm.  A smaller cooking capacity with only 3 1/2 quarts makes it a great choice for people with limited space and singles or couples.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Our Slow Cooker Buying Guide

Slow cookers are the preferred way to make a delicious, hot meal even when you’re busy and on the go. From soups and stews to meats and even oatmeal all you have to do is prep your ingredients, dump them into the crock, set it and the slow cooker does the rest.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Slow cookers were first introduced in the 1950s, and many of the basics are still the same. However, there are a variety of different brands, sizes and features available. To get the most out of it and choose the best slow cooker for you, learn about the parts, functions, uses and added extras available in some of the top slow cookers available today.

Every slow cooker has a base that houses the heating unit, a ceramic insert — also called a crock — and a glass lid. Original models from the 1970s and 80s had a dial that could be set to high, low and off. As time went on, some models added an auto-shift feature which would start out high and shift to low over the course of the cook time. You can still get slow cookers with a dial, like the Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker, which has high, low and warm settings.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

A slow cooker heats starting from the base, up into the ceramic insert and then finally into the food. Stoneware is used for the insert because it keeps a constant, even heat. The lid helps traps steam to retain moisture, which is why it’s recommended not to lift the lid during cooking.

One important modernization of the slow cooker available in almost all newer models is the removable crock. The base and stoneware used to be attached, which made slow cookers a huge pain to clean. Now the ceramic insert can be taken out to handwash or put in the dishwasher. Some models like the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry even allow you to put the crock in the oven or microwave for reheating purposes.

Another update to new slow cookers is time and heat settings. Many models now have programmable interfaces that go beyond high, low and warm. The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget takes it a step further giving you the option to set a specific cooking time or temperature. Both automatically switch to warm when they’re done.

Even slow cooker lids have seen some improvements. Slow cookers have always been ideal for feeding larger groups and keeping food warm at potlucks, tailgating and other events. But without a tight seal, they were difficult to transport without risking a major spill. Now, slow cookers like the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry and Hamilton Brach Set & Forget have locking lids with gaskets making them much easier to tote around, without the worry of making a mess.

Glass lids are also preferable to plastic or metal. Because glass is heavier it should lock in heat and moisture better. Plus, you can see what’s going on inside your pot without taking the lid off!

When choosing a slow cooker you will also want to consider the size. Slow cookers typically come in quart sizes. A smaller unit may be perfect for people with limited space or who only cook for one to two people at a time.

The Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker has one of the largest sizes available at 7 quarts. You may want to consider a larger size if you plan to cook for big groups frequently or will be cooking larger cuts of meat. A slow cooker should also always be at least 1/2 to 2/3 full to work properly, so a larger size won’t work if you’re cooking smaller portions.

If you’re looking for extra features you should definitely expect to go up in cost from the standard slow cooker price. If you’re new to using a slow cooker you may want to stick with a more standard model so you can get the hang of it before you spring for more bells and whistles, like hold temp and searing functions.

Lastly, think about how you will use it. If you plan to use your slow cooker to do the majority of cooking you may want to pay for a more robust model. A manual option may be better if you plan to be around while food is cooking so you can check for doneness. If you’ll be using it while being gone for most of the day, a slow cooker with programmable settings would be more ideal. This way, it has the ability to automatically keep food warm if you’re home later than expected or keep cooking even if the power goes out briefly.

The shape can also be a consideration, but most slow cookers these days are oval. If you plan to cook a lot of meats oval is probably best, while round will work well for soups, stews and just about anything else.

DWYM Fun Fact

The slow cooker was first sold in the 1950s and was called the Naxon Beanery, after the inventor, Irving Naxon. It was originally marketed as a way to cook beans, chili and stews. Its roots are in the Jewish religious practice of not cooking on the Sabbath. Rival manufacturing bought Naxon Beanery and rebranded it as the Crock-Pot we know and love today in 1972.

The Crock-Pot was initially very popular among women who were joining the workforce in higher numbers at the time. It allowed them to balance work and home by still having a hot meal waiting for their family at the end of the day. It also helped during the oil crisis in the 1970s because slow cookers require about as much power as a light bulb. At their peak, there were eventually 40 different companies making slow cookers.

As time has gone on, the convenience factor is still attractive to families and single working people alike. Now, slow cookers are used for everything from morning oatmeal to potlucks and even tailgating. In 2002, Betty Crocker Kitchens found that 80.6 percent of U.S. households had slow cookers.

The Slow Cooker Tips and Advice

  • Modern-day slow cookers are fairly easy to clean. Most have removable crocks and some can even be put in the dishwasher like the Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker. Even so, if you want to make clean up even simpler you can buy liners the go inside the pot before you add your ingredients. After you’re done cooking and eating, just scoop out any leftovers and toss the liner. Clean up done!
  • As tempting as it may be, try not to open the lid of a slow cooker unless the recipe requires it during cooking. Every time you open the lid it lets accumulated heat and moisture escape. It also increases cook time by 15-20 minutes every time it’s opened. In most cases, there isn’t a need to stir ingredients, just follow the recipe instructions for how to layer properly for optimal cooking.
  • Depending on the recipe it’s usually not necessary to cook ingredients before placing in the slow cooker. Still, many recommend sauteing or browning ingredients in a pan prior to adding it to the crock to help deepen the flavor.
  • Always thaw meat and veggies before placing in the slow cooker. Putting frozen items in the cooker will keep the temperature too low and put your food in the danger zone for bacteria growth. Keeping raw foods in the fridge prior to starting your slow cooker is also key to food safety.
  • Another important safeguard is using a thermometer to test doneness. The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget has a built-in temperature probe that gives you a readout on the interface. For other models without a feature for checking the internal temperature, you’ll want to use a separate thermometer at the time your recipe says your food should be done. Keep cooking if it’s not over 165 F.
  • Always take extra food out of the slow cooker as soon as possible and store in reheatable leftover containers. It’s not safe to use the slow cooker itself for storage or reheating.
  • Whether you’re feeding a crowd or prepping a stew you can eat for a week, the budget-friendly benefits of a slow cooker are clear. But did you know that slow cookers also only use as much electricity as a light bulb? Plus, they’re the perfect way to cook inexpensive cuts of meat like beef or pork shoulder because they stay juicy and tender even with long cook times.
  • As a general rule of thumb, place harder ingredients like root veggies or potatoes on the bottom layer in the slow cooker and softer items on the top. The bottom will have more moisture and heat for faster cooking.
  • Because liquid doesn’t cook off in a slow cooker you don’t need to add too much. Same goes for wine and fat on meat. The alcohol content won’t diminish and the excess fat can cause oil to pool, so it’s a healthy choice to reduce both.
  • With any luck, your food should have a deep, rich flavor. You can also always add fresh lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs once it’s done to brighten your dish and add more dimension.

About The Author

Avatar
Amanda Stout 

Open up Amanda Stout's pantry and you'll find a food processor, juicer, blender, spiralizer, Instant Pot, slow cooker and the list goes on. While she loves a simple one-bowl meal she also likes to be prepared with the latest kitchen gadgets. She has also written and tested recipes for many years professionally, and on her forgiving family.