Ultimate Slow Cooker Buying Guide
Small family or large, the addition of a slow cooker is a must have for any kitchen. These machines are known for making life simple, efficient, and convenient, since you simply place inside the pot the ingredients, set a timer, and go about your day. Meals cooked in the slow cooker have had time to cook slowly, and as any good cook will tell you, that is the real secret ingredient to a delicious meal. Most any type of food you wish to prepare is easy to make inside of a slow cooker, but this all depends on the make and model, the size, and the features of the slow cooker you select. With such a plethora of choices out there, that task isn’t always easy. But now, with this slow cooker guide, life just became much simpler. Upon completion of this article, you’ll be a slow cooker expert and know what there is to know about the best and the worst that is out there today.
In this slow cooker guide, we will provide you with a plethora of information, including details about the types of cookers offered, the sizes available and who they accommodate the best, features, and much more valuable information important to the slow cooker purchase among many appliances that are for sale out there. If you are ready to learn more of your slow cooker 101, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Our job is to ensure that you purchase the best slow cooker for our needs, our budget, and your lifestyle without the extra effort thrown into the equation. And we intend on doing just that, with the insightful information we’ve provided blow. Now, stop procrastinating and learn how to purchase the slow cooker made for your needs so you aren’t going another day without this useful kitchen appliance in your home.
# of Temperature Settings
Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central Multi-Cooker
KitchenAid KMC4241SS Multi-Cooker
Cuisinart PSC-400 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker
VitaClay VM7900-6 Smart Organic Multi Cooker
All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot SCCPWM600-V2 Wemo Smart Wifi-Enabled Slow Cooker
Types of Cookers
When you begin the search for a slow cooker, the first thing that you will notice is that there are tons of brands. The second thing that you will notice is that these cookers all are different from the next. Yes, not only do you get the choice of the brand and size of slow cooker you want, you also get the benefit of choosing the type of cooker, too. Let’s talk about the type of slow cookers here for a moment so you can get better acquainted. Programmable slow cookers are the most popular of the types of the appliance available. These types of cookers have extra settings allowing you to select the time to start and stop cooking plus have a digital read out displaying the amount of cook time left.
The benefits of this type are the ability to pre-program, sometimes as much as 24 hours in advance, and the shut off or warm option. This cooker can minimize over cooking foods and benefit those with long work days. Read here for a sample of programmable crock pot. The mechanical slow cooker is a secondary option. A mechanical cooker is a simple device with basic settings from OFF to Warm to High. You simply place the food in the cooker and choose which temperature and go. The benefits of this type of cooker is the easy options and many of these models tend to be less expensive than programmable cookers.
The downfall is that this type of cooker could require some monitoring since the temperature will not self-adjust, nor will it shut off. If neglected, food could easily overcook or burn. Only you can decide which of the types of slow cookers is best for your needs, but do make sure that you take the time to learn more about each type before spending your hard-earned money.
Best Slow Cooker Size
We’ve told you that there are a plethora of brads and models of slow cookers, as well as a couple of types to choose from. Once those decisions, are made, the next is to decide the size of the slow cooker you want to buy. See this website here for an additional size guide for you. There is no shortage of options here, with some pots as small as 1.5-quart and some as large as 12-quarts.
Choosing the right size slow cooker is important for a few different reasons. First, it saves you time and money. You aren’t wasting energy, either, Food cooked in the right size pot always comes out tasting better. And it protected the lifetime of the unit as well. You will use a small 1.5-quart slow cooker if you are a light eater. The 2 and 3 quart versions typically feed 2 to 3 people, but this isn’t always the case with big appetites. See this for more crock pot for 2-3 persons.
The 4-quart slow cooker is another option, which should be ample enough in size for a family of four. Keep in mind, again, however, that you may have heavy eaters in your home, lessening the available portions. The 6-quatt slow cooker is the most popular of the sizes available. It feeds up to six people. But is perfect for smaller crowds who have larger appetites and for those who know that nothing is better than a meal the second time around.
An 8.5-quart pot is available, with capabilities of feeding up to 9 people. Many people who attend potlucks and other similar events choose this slow cooker. Many models feature locks on the lids so you can transfer from one location to the next with ease and without worry of spilling your food everywhere. Which size slow cooker is right for your needs? Only you can decide based upon the provided information here.
Slow Cooker Features
Features of a slow cooker are also very important when making your purchase. Some of the cheaper models have few feature, while some of the more upscale models have an array to choose from. The brand, the type, and the model slow cooker chosen usually affects the features that you will enjoy. Nonetheless, there are ton features that may be enticing to cooks depending on the type of dishes created in the kitchen. The shape of the slow cooker is one feature worth considering.
Some are shaped in an oval shape, while others are oblong, triangular, or other unique shapes. If cooks anticipate cooking large items such as a roast or whole chicken an oblong cooker would be the best choice. The lid of the slow cooker is generally glass enabling the cook to view the food being cooked. A small vent hole allows steam to escape. Some lids have added features such as a slot for a serving spoon or a split to open a section of the lid for stirring, tasting, or adding additional ingredients during the cook time. Some slow cookers have bungee cords or other type of latching to secure the lid which makes it convenient to transport from room to room or if the dish will be taken to another location. Read the full info here to discover more of the best performing crock pots right now.
A secure lid is beneficial for anyone making a dish to share ahead of time and can rest assured that no spills will occur in their vehicle. Final features include the insert of the slow cooker. Most inserts are ceramic while others are metal, this can impact how easy it is to clean the cooker. There are some cookers that also have temperature controls which is especially helpful when cooking meats. Depending on the needs of the cook and size of household there is a cooker for every household. So be sure to check crock pot quick reviews and in-depth product features from authentic buyers.
Slow Cooker Buying Guide: Getting the Model You Want
When spending your money on the purchase of a slow cooker, it is obvious that you want to invest your money into a worthwhile product that isn’t going to disappoint you or need replacing a short time after it is purchased. Using the slow cooker buying guide information above, you can certainly save you time, energy, as well as effort. Although it might add a bit of time to the overall purchase, consider it time well-spent. Check on this Hamilton Beach crock pot brand that will surely be worth your money.
But before we leave you, there are a few additional features that you should consider when purchasing a slow cooker. First, what are others saying about the slow cooker? Here's a useful source to check that out. Checking the reputation of the slow cooker before spending your money is a wise decision because if it is a god model worth the money, you’ll learn, just as you will learn if it is nothing more than a piece of junk and a waste.
Oftentimes you can find many websites offering free reviews that many find helpful, but this is only one of many ways in which you can find the best. Be sure that the brand of slow cooker you purchase is also considered. Choosing a brand can be hard since so many great names exist, however, Crockpot, Hamilton Beach, All Clad, and Cuisinart are a few of the names that stick out in the slow cooker best-of crowd. It is up to you to know why you want a slow cooker, what you want that slow cooker to have, and the amount of money you want to spend on type unit. Which reminds us to let you know it is important that a budget is set before you go out to purchase a slow cooker. Slow cooker prices vary from price as low as $20 to those that cost hundreds of dollars. How much shall you spend to own a slow cooker?
Slow Cooker Sizes, Shapes & Design
Slow cookers, they are all the same thing right? The question is how come some slow cookers cost way more than others, is it that they are better or is it in the marketing?
By now you’ve noticed that slow cookers are measured by quarts, 1 quart is equivalent to 4 cups of water. For instance, if you buy a 4 quart slow cooker it will hold 16 cups of water. But there is an issue “the 3 quarter rule”
The three quarter rule states that if you want to get the best results you should make sure that your slow cooker is at least half full but no more than 3 quarters full; this simply means that you should not fill it to the brim.
Generally you can categorize slow cookers in the following way:
- Small 1-3 quarts (1-4 people)
- Medium 3-4 quarts (4-6 people)
- Large 5 quarts and more
Have you ever tried to fit an entire chicken into a round Crockpot? If you have you know how problematic it can be. The shape of your Crockpot matters, look at it this way. Fitting a whole chicken inside an oval slow cooker is way easier than trying to put it in a round one.
Oval slow cookers are best used to prepare meats, the round ones on the other hand are best used to prepare stews and curries.
There are two types of slow cookers:
- Programmable slow cookers
- Manual slow cookers
The difference between these two is manual slow cookers come with three basic settings high, low and warm. Programmable slow cookers come with other functions that you may or may not need. Get more info here of your perfect programmable crock pot.
The most useful features to look out for are:
- Auto cook: mostly found on high end models, this function starts the machine on high and drops to low until the cooking process completes.
- Timer: a timer helps you to keep an eye on things when you are not around, once the timer runs out your slow cooker will automatically switch to keep warm
- Indicator light: this will keep you from opening the lid to check progress
Slow Cooker Brand Comparison
Slow cookers make your life easy; they save you money and keep you healthy.
The good thing about buying slow cookers is no one will force you to be loyal to one brand; this means that you are at liberty to buy any brand slow cooker you want.
This is the company that started all this, this year they brought something special to the table. The WI-FI enabled WeMo 6 quart slow cooker. What’s special about this slow cooker is it is the most technologically advanced slow cooker we’ve ever seen.
Get this, you can control temperature settings, cook time or turn it on/off with your smart phone from anywhere (even if you are at work). All you need is internet connection. And as an added bonus the removable parts are dishwasher safe.
This year Cuisinart brings to the table a slow cooker that will change the way you live and eat.
The Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central 6 Quart Multi Slow Cooker lets you sauté/brown, steam or slow cook your meals thanks to three programmable functions.
It also comes with a large LCD display screen that makes it easy to keep an eye on food.
West Bend Oval Shaped Programmable Slow Cooker
This is a slow cooker designed for meat lovers, what special about this slow cooker is the griddle setting and its shape. Plus, the griddle setting allows you to lightly grill meat and the shape makes it easy to fit large portions of meat. Get to know West Bend more right here.
Frigidare Professional Programmable Slow Cooker
Thanks to the Pro Select One Touch option, if you buy this slow cooker you will have access to six settings, low, medium, high, buffet, warm and soup. This is a slow cooker built for convenience.
When comparing brands you should think about what you intend to do with the slow cooker, the above are just examples therefore look at the features and figure out which one you need. See the full article of our best crock pot cookers.
Crockpot Types and Materials
From afar Crock Pots and slow cookers are the same thing, however, if you take a closer look you will notice that the word “Crockpot” is a registered trademark owned by the original slow cooker company named Crockpot. Note that not all slow cookers on the market are crock pots, confusing right?
Let me explain it to you, there are slow cookers on the market that have characteristics that distinguish them from crock pots. These commercially styled slow cookers have different brand names, construction, and settings.
Types of Slow Cookers
There are two types of slow cookers on the market:
- Programmable slow cookers
- Manual/Non programmable slow cookers
Programmable Slow Cookers
These are “modern” slow cookers, this means that they come with all the modern features you expect. For example, some come with WI-FI, and digital display.
Picture this, you want your slow cooker to start cooking and turn itself off at a certain time. If you have a programmable slow cooker all you have to do is set the timer/delay timer and leave. Interested? Check out our best 8 quart programmable slow cooker reviews.
The slow cooker will start the cooking process and when done it will automatically shift to keep warm; the “keep warm” feature is a notable feature that’s mostly found on programmable slow cookers, this setting can keep food warm for up to 8 hours (depending on the type of slow cooker).
Manual Slow Cookers
Manual slow cookers have three basic temperature settings, low, warm and high.
What Materials are Slow Cookers Made of?
Basic slow cookers are made up of three parts:
- Housing: contains the heating element and usually made of metal
- Cooking pot: made of porcelain or glazed ceramic
- Heating element: provides the heat
It is important to note that there are slow cookers on the market that leach lead, lead is a heavy metal that can cause major health problems. Therefore my advice is when shopping for slow cookers look for non toxic, no lead versions.
Slow Cooker Heating Methods
Unlike conventional means of cooking slow cookers just as the name suggests take a long time to cook, the beauty of this is, the longer cook time means that you can leave your slow cooker running without having to worry about your food getting burnt or overcooked.
Slow cookers are by design built to cook for long periods of time e.g. 12 hours; this is convenient and saves you time and money.
Note that there is a slight difference between crock pots and slow cookers. The difference is the heating elements on a crock pot are found on the bottom and sides of the Crock Pot.
On the other hand heating elements on a slow cooker are found on the bottom; apart from that they are somewhat the same thing.
Both slow cookers and Crock Pots work by trapping heat, this means that if you open a slow cooker/crock pot when cooking you let heat out and in effect you lengthen cook time.
The Heating Element
The purpose of the heating element is to provide and maintain a steady temperature normally 174-199 degrees, the enclosed space where food is placed ensures that heat is evenly distributed.
Basic slow cookers have three settings, high, low and medium. However, most modern/programmable slow cookers have a “keep warm” function.
This function kicks in when your programmed cook time ends, its purpose is to keep food warm by maintaining the temperature inside the slow cooker at 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is true that most slow cookers today burn too hot, this means that if you are using old recipes you should be extra careful. But generally cook times will vary depending on what you are cooking.
For example, if you are preparing meat or roast it will take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours depending on the meat itself and the slow cooker. Other meals such as dips take less time e.g. 4-6 hours.
What makes slow cookers safer than stoves and other conventional cooking methods is, they operate at low temperatures and have closed lids. This means that you can leave them running and not worry about anything going wrong.
Slow Cooker Brand Warranty and Part Replacement
Things don’t always go as expected after you buy something; for instance, assume that you buy a slow cooker today.
Two weeks from now you notice a hairline crack on the ceramic insert, when you try to find a replacement you realize that it costs a lot or there is none to be found, what do you do?
All I can tell you is if you don’t have a warranty you are royally screwed, why?
A warranty is a guarantee that protects buyers from defective products, the purpose of getting one is.
You are guaranteed replacement or repair if something bad happens to your slow cooker within a specified period of time.
If you own an original Crockpot you will find warranty information in your instruction manual, the good thing is this company offers you a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their products.
When it comes to parts replacement simply visit their website and search for what you want.
Cuisinart makes things easy by allowing you to register your slow cooker on their website, there you can also purchase or replace broken parts.
Note that, if you don’t register your product your warranty rights are not diminished therefore read your instructions manual.
The Best Place to Get Slow Cooker Part Replacement
From the two examples above I’m guessing by now you know that the best place to get part replacement is from the manufacturer’s website. When it comes to warranty information you should read your instructions manual. However there other sources of replacement parts, the best options are:
Fagor LUX Multi-Cooker Review
The Fagor Lux Multi-cooker is the latest slow cooker that is causing quite a buzz in the industry right now. In fact, it is an all-in-one multi-cooker that consists of a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, and even a Yogurt Making program. It comes with 12 preset programs such as the slow cook (high & low), pressure cook (high & low), brown rice, white rice, yogurt, Risotto, Saute, Simmer, steam, and brown programs. In fact, the Lux is a set-it-and-forget-it type of cooker on the market today. It is quite safe, quiet, and automatically switches to keep the food warm once it is cooked. The cooker beeps when it reaches the pressure and the time will start counting down. This read provides a comprehensive review of the Fagor LUX Multi-Cookers.
The user manual of the product is well-written and easy to follow with less contradictory information compared to the manuals of other pressure cookers. The Lux cooker is supposed to cook at 9psi on high pressure. This is another salient feature of the product. This is why the Lux pressure cooker is so popular on the market today. It has been positively reviewed by a majority of the clients out there. Most of them have stated that the cooker is one of the best on the market today. You can find most of these reviews on numerous online forums dedicated to cooking. This is why you need to purchase this product right now.
In conclusion, the Lux multi cooker is creating quite a buzz on the market right now. There are many clients who have reviewed this product quite highly. In fact, it is one of the best pressure cookers on the market today. This read provides a comprehensive overview of the Fagor Lux multi cooker.
Ease of Use
Gourmia GP600 8-In-1 Smartpot Review
The Gourmia GP600 8-in-1 Smartpot slow cooker is one of the most intelligent slow cookers ever made. This programmable pressure cooker could function as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, BBQ/grill, and steamer sautee. The fully programmable computerized heating technology makes the product so versatile. In fact, you are able to cook delicious meals fast thanks to this product. Simply push a button and get a delicious meal ready within a few minutes with this slow cooker. This read offers a comprehensive review of the Gourmia GP600 8-In-1 Smartpot.
The cooker comes with a precision thermostat that will automatically regulate the pressure and temperature of the cooker for more tender and flavorful results. The product is ideal to use since it can reduce your cooking time by at least 50%. In fact, it is a must-have product for any modern kitchen. It is fast, energy-efficient, and the easiest way to preparing family meals. There is a large easy to read LCD panel to set the cook modes and other settings. There is a built-in 24-hour timer will let you prepare the meals in advance. It eliminates the process of monitoring your food while cooking. This saves a lot of time of the user. This is why you need to buy the product without further delay.
The product is being highly rated by a majority of clients who purchased it. You can find these reviews and ratings on online forums relating to cooking and food. There is a detailed manual with the product. The operation is straightforward, and the buttons are easy to use.
In conclusion, the Gourmia GP600 is creating quite a buzz out there. The product is one of the best slow cookers on the market today. This read offers an overview of Gourmia GP600 8-In-1 Smartpot
Ease of Use
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker Review
When many people think back to the days of our grandmas they can remember that she had one big electric range with a built-in oven and maybe an electric toaster as well. Since then, appliance makers have been quite busy making sure that most people have at least a half-dozen countertop appliances battling it out for space on a daily basis. There are now microwaves, toaster ovens, rice cookers, crock pots, and pressure cookers just to get started. Add to that your electric grill, sandwich maker, muffin maker, and bread maker, and there's barely any elbow room left. This is why the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker makes so much sense for most kitchens.
This Amazing Machine Can Do Nearly Everything You Need
The Multi-Cooker can work the same as a slow cooker, the maker, rice cooker, pressure cooker, vegetable steamer and even to sautéing and Browning as well. The inner cooking vessel provided is high-quality three-ply stainless steel so you're not going to have any problems with it cracking like many crock pots. Plus, it's very easy to keep clean and comes with a removable stainless steel rack for steaming that can be easily removed with a special handle.
It has a computer controlled processor that has the ability to cook 14 different programs depending on the recipe that you desire. There are special programs for soup, rice, yogurt, beans, meats, and fermented rice. The recipe book comes in four different languages including French, Spanish, English and even Chinese so you can read the recipes and adapt them to your own that have similar ingredients.
If you haven't experienced the ease of cooking with a steamer you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out that many vegetables like peas, corn, potatoes, and carrots can be cooked in about five minutes whether they are fresh or straight from the freezer. And even chili with beans can be cooked in just an hour instead of the standard four hours that it takes for dried beans.
You'll also be amazed at how easy it is to make yogurt with the special temperature controls that will perfectly maintain the heat for the yogurt cultures to propagate and turn any milk into homemade, healthy yogurt. The money savings on yogurt alone will pay for your Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker in very short order.
For the busy family, the multi-cooker has up to a 24 hour delayed cooking time and additionally can keep the food warm for another 10 hours awaiting your arrival after a long day at work. You can save thousands dollars a year by not having to stop at fast food restaurants, plus eat more healthy and avoid the high-fat, high salt and preservative laden foods that are making us all sick. This is one well-built, high-quality, and durable machine that can replace a half dozen other appliances you have sitting on the counter in your kitchen right now.
Ease of Use
Features of the TIGER NFI-A800 Non-Electric Thermal Slowcooker
Get ready to cook healthy meals the easy way without using any electricity at all. The TIGER NFI-A800 Non-Electric Thermal Slowcooker is made to hold over eight quarts of liquid and comes with a stainless steel finish that is easy to clean.
It comes with a pot that goes over your stove top to boil the soups, sauces, or other meals you are cooking. After the food is boiled, you set the inner pot into the outer one. The stainless steel insulation automatically lets your food thoroughly without fire or electricity.
The outside stays cool to the touch, so it is very safe to work around. The TIGER NFI-A800 Non-Electric Thermal Slowcooker can keep food hot for up to six hours.
The inner pot is made of three layers of aluminum and stainless steel. The lid is made of tempered glass.
You can make meals healthy and do so economically. Food stays hot and delicious until you are ready to serve it. You never have to worry about burning the food, either.
You can save money by not having to cook your meals with gas or electricity. This slowcooker is a marvel and you want to buy one like this that is made in Japan and made with quality. While there is no warranty, many users have remarked that there is no need for one since it can never break down due to not needing an external heating element
Ideally, you should cook foods with it only being about 80 percent full to get everything as delicious as possible. This size is excellent for making big meals to serve a family or to cook holiday meals or other special dishes for a bigger crowd. It will keep food hot all through special events.
Ease of Use