Best Slow Cooker: Our Top 10 Brands Revealed

Black slow cooker on top of a marble

When it comes to fast food, we all have our favorites. But with slow cooking? We may not be so sure.

Finding the best slow cooker can be a challenge, given how many there are on the market and how similar all the ratings online appear to be. Don’t be deceived – certain slow cookers do rise about the rest of the pack, and we did our best detective work to track them down.

For those who don’t know, slow cookers are electric pots that can cook food for hours at a consistent temperature. They are known for making flavorful savory dishes, which are made especially tasty because the ingredients are able to simmer and mix together for hours.

What this means for you is that you can throw some of your favorite meats, vegetables, and spices together, head to work (yep, you don’t even have to watch it like a hawk), and return home to find dinner is ready. All you have to do is grab a bowl.

Comparison Table

How We Choose Our Ratings

In order to choose the best slow cooker, we based our ratings on a variety of product tests, consumer reviews, and expert opinions, then tried to pinpoint the most important slow cooker qualities. From there, we used these different qualities to further pin down the rankings, based on which ones we felt were more critical to an overall better slow cooker experience.

We considered qualities both technical and tasty. A great slow cooker should be able to evenly cook the food inside, and not over-cook it while set to the “Keep Warm” function, if it has one. Furthermore, the temperature should be consistent for the time the slow cooker is cooking.

It is also worth noting that different slow cookers will reach different temperatures at different times, and these factors can affect the quality of the food cooked inside as well. There is also the matter of the slow cooked meal’s tastiness, as well as how well-cooked it is, especially in the case of meats.

Finally, we considered the bulkiness and shape of the slow cooker itself, for cases in which a slow cooker will need to be transported from a kitchen counter to a dining table.

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Top 10 Best Slow Cookers of 2018

Slow cookers are sized in quarts, so that’s something you’ll have to decide on, based on your needs. Six quarts seems to be the most popular size for families, while two quarts is perfect for two people, but you can also find sizes as small as one quart and as big as nearly nine. Whatever the best slow cooker size is for you depends on who you’re feeding.

Below, we’ve rounded up the top 10 slow cookers of 2018. Happy cooking!

1. Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker...
  • 6-QUART CAPACITY: Slow cooker has generous 6-quart oval crock to easily fit a 6 lb chicken or 4 lb roast seves 7+ people
  • Customize your cooking with flexcook: With this programmable slow cooker select first heat setting & cooking time then...
  • Simple programming: Select single temperature and time setting on 6-quart slow cooker automatically shifts to warm when...

This slow cooker swept the competition in our review process, consistently in the top five from a plethora of sources, and ranked number one on three different sites. Perhaps remarkably, it’s on the lower end of the price spectrum as far as these slow cookers go.

In the tests we reviewed, the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker was popular for its cooking of meat, its value, and its possession of a temperature probe, which allows you to check on the temperature of your food without lifting the lid.

It has both an option to set a cooking time, and high, warm, and low settings you can choose without putting in a time at all. The lid clips shut, to prevent spilling, and in the case of a power outage shorter than 5 seconds, it will turn back on and continue to work when the power returns. That’s pretty high tech.

2. Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot SCCPVL605-S, 6 Qt, Stainless
  • 6-quart Cook & Carry Oval Slow Cooker serves 7+ people
  • Removable oval stoneware
  • Includes lid-mounted locking system for the ultimate solution in portability

This beloved slow cooker is known for making tasty food and yielding great results, especially for its relatively affordable price. Reviewers have praised it for its timer, which can be set by 30-minute increments, that can keep your slow cooker going for up to 20 hours - and counts down to make it easy to know when your food will be done.

This slow cooker gives you a lot of control over the temperature and timer, and its lockable lid makes transporting it simple and painless, even when it’s full of food.

The Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker has garnered a lot of praise. It helps, of course, that the name “Crock-Pot” feels especially meaningful since the brand has become synonymous with the appliance itself. Some might even say that a Crock-Pot is the most iconic version of the slow cooker – but that doesn’t mean this one is without its faults.

There are some reviewers who claim that the “Low” and “Keep Warm” settings are not low enough, and that sometimes food will keep cooking even after the cooking settings have switched off and it’s flipped to “Keep Warm.” If you intend to use mostly low settings or may leave a slow cooker on “warm” for a long time, this is something to consider.

3. KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Standard Lid

KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt. Slow Cooker with Standard Lid - Stainless...
  • 6-Quart removable, oval-shaped ceramic vessel
  • Program the slow cooker for a specific cooking time up to 24 hours in 30-minute increments
  • High, medium and low settings for any recipe and keep warm function for up to four hours after finished cooking

This slow cooker is simple and effective. Your settings options include low, medium, high, and warm, and assuming you choose correctly based on your meal, the KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Standard Lid does the rest.

While it might sound bad to the untrained ear that this slow cooker can run lower and slower than most other slow cookers, it’s actually a good thing. This means that all the flavors of your ingredients will spend more time blending slowly, so when you get home and get ready to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy an especially delicious meal. The way this slow cooker does it is by way of thermometer – each of these devices has an internal thermostat that makes sure the temperature in the slow cooker is correct at any given point in time.

Another bonus of this slow cooker is that it starts counting up once it’s flicked to “Warm” after a cooking timer has run out. With this feature, you can check on how long it’s been keeping warm if you’ve left it unattended for a while.

4. All-Clad Programmable Oval Slow Cooker 

All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker with Black...
  • 6.5-quart, oval-shaped, stainless-steel slow cooker with removable black ceramic insert, large enough to cook food for a...
  • 4-20 hours cooking times with a complete cycle time of up to 26 hours for preparing home-cooked meals on any schedule
  • Easy to read digital display and large push-button controls for intuitive use to easily find your perfect programs

The All-Clad Programmable Oval Slow Cooker is noticeably higher in price than the slow cookers we’ve discussed so far, but it’s a very good high end slow cooker worth noting for those willing to drop a little more dough.

This slow cooker will be in your life for a while. It’s sturdy and stylish, with a removable ceramic dish set into it. You can program the timer to up to 26 hours, and choose between heat settings of warm, low, and high. Food bloggers gushed about this one, praising the stainless steel and the automatic “Keep Warm” setting that kicks in when your timer runs out.

5. Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 4-Quart Slow Cooker 

Hamilton Beach (33249) Slow Cooker, 4 Quart, Model, Black
  • Clip-tight sealed lid for spill resistance
  • Use the clips on either side to seal the lid securely for travel
  • Dishwasher safe stoneware & lid

This affordable slow cooker is a little simpler than some of the others. It has its settings (off, low, high, and warm) on a dial, so there is no automatic function for it to turn off or turn to “keep warm” when finished cooking. That said, the food it cooks comes out beautifully, and it does have a lid you can clip on tight to prevent spills from ruining your day.

Given its affordable price and despite its lack of additional functionalities, this slow cooker is a steal. Some even argue that its simple dial means it could function for longer than a digital display might.

6. Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow...
  • Included Components: 1 x Digital Slow Cooker 1 x User Manual
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

This slow cooker puts the power of three different and delicious cooking methods in your hands – as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

The Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central took first in several tests and reviews, and was noted for being especially good at temperature control. It’s pricey, but that’s because it can do so much. The Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central can sauté, steam, and slow cook, and you can control the temperature much more precisely, thanks to an LCD display screen with the temperature in numbers. This is great for the home cook who knows what they want.

7. KitchenAid Slow Cooker with Easy Serve Glass Lid

KitchenAid Slow Cooker, 10.6 x 17.5 x 11.6 inches, Stainless Steel
  • 6-Quart Removable, Oval-Shaped Ceramic Vessel
  • 4 temperature settings helps ensure that your food will be ready to serve when you're ready
  • Program the slow cooker for a specific cooking time up to 24 hours in 30-minute increments

Unlike the previous KitchenAid slow cooker we mentioned, this one includes two small glass lids, making it transform into a way for serving others in seconds.

It can cook for up to 24 hours, which you can set by half-hour increments, and has low, medium, high, and “Keep Warm” temperature settings for you to choose between. Plus, it automatically switches to “Keep Warm” once it’s finished cooking. This makes this slow cooker convenient for cooking, heating, and eating purposes – a real triple threat.

8. All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker

All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker with Black...
  • 6.5-quart, oval-shaped, stainless-steel slow cooker with removable black ceramic insert, large enough to cook food for a...
  • 4-20 hours cooking times with a complete cycle time of up to 26 hours for preparing home-cooked meals on any schedule
  • Easy to read digital display and large push-button controls for intuitive use to easily find your perfect programs

The All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker is very stylish, but also the priciest slow cooker on our list. It can sear chicken beautifully and make soups with ease, in addition to fitting a lot in it with its expansive surface area. It’s also stovetop safe, which is always an added bonus.

9. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Red -...
  • 6-quart portable slow cooker serves 7+ people
  • Handles make it easy to carry and lid-mounted locking system
  • High/Low/Warm settings

This startlingly cheap slow cooker happened to test incredibly well, making it a great budget choice. It is incredibly simple, with no timer and a simple manual dial, but it does have a “warm” setting and a locking lid – so it is not completely devoid of additional features. Its handles are great for transporting it safely, and the stainless-steel exterior looks notably chic.

10. Instant Pot DUO Plus-60 Multi-Cooker 

Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow...
  • Upgrade from duo: Instant Pot Duo plus is the updated duo. Duo plus upgrades include the easyseal lid to automatically...
  • Cooks fast and saves time: The Instant Pot Duo plus multi-cooker combines 9 Appliances in one: pressure cooker, slow...
  • Consistently delicious: 15 one-touch smart programs put cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts and...

The Instant Pot is a cult classic in slow cooking (and other types of cooking!) and we could not go without mentioning it. It can make rice and yogurt, and can steam, warm, and slow cook food for you.

For those looking for something that can do a lot more than just a simple slow cooker can, this might be the right pick for you.

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the best slow cooker for you ultimately comes down to your own needs. How many people will you be serving? Are you looking for an appliance with more than one ability or use? Will you be bringing your slow cooker to potlucks, or will you not be moving it at all? How much are you willing to pay for a slow cooker, and what quality of food do you expect from it?

Once you know what you’re hoping for, it becomes a little easier to pin down which slow cookers are best.

Our top choices are the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, the KitchenAid Slow Cooker with Standard Lid, the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker, and the All-Clad Programmable Oval Slow Cooker, but one of the others might personally be a better fit for you.

Regardless, any of these slow cookers will give you a great experience and a wonderful meal – as long as you know what to put in it! We’ll leave that part up to you.


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