Slow cooker

There are thousands of different cooking tools and appliances to choose from these days, and no two are exactly same. A slow cooker can be an incredibly useful tool for hands-off meal preparation, and many people overlook them in favor of a faster appliance like a microwave, but they’re one of the most reliable ways to have warm food ready when you get home. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to track down the best slow cooker for your kitchen, especially if you’re limiting yourself to in-store purchases. We’ve found a handful of excellent options you could add to your kitchen, either bought online or found in-store.

Below are ten of the best slow cooker options we were able to find, many of which are excellent options in their own right.

Instant Pot Duo Nova

The Instant Pot Duo Nova is a very quiet, customizable and easy-to-use choice that can work in nearly any kitchen, cooking a huge variety of foods with ease!

Best Pick


Elite Gourmet MST-250XW

The Elite Gourmet MST-250XW is a very simple, relatively cheap and fairly reliable slow-cooker that doesn’t feel complicated to use, making it great for all kinds of slow cooking jobs.

Budget Pick


The Best Slow Cooker

1. Instant Pot Duo Nova

The Duo Nova has a high capacity and efficient design, letting it cook hot meals for up to six people at once! The interior is made with stainless steel that can resist high temperatures, and all of its controls are really easy to use even while it’s cooking a meal. As a programmable slow cooker, you can adjust its settings for different heats and times, making it even more of a hands-off experience. On top of that, it has an easy-to-seal lid that you can use to seal in different flavors, or remove to let steam dissipate into the air quickly.


  • Fast cooking speed.
  • Durable stainless steel body.
  • Programmable timer and heat settings.
  • Suitable for cooking a wide range of meals.
  • High capacity.

Why we liked it:

The Duo Nova is easy to use and uses space efficiently, making it ideal for general-purpose meal preparation around the house.

2. Crock-Pot Cook & Carry

The Cook & Carry takes a classic crock pot design and adjusts it for maximum ease of use, including a glass lid and relatively high capacity of a small slow cooker. Like many slow cookers, you can adjust the cooking time between low and high values, as well as using the warm setting to heat up already-cooked meals. Thanks to the standard oval slow cooker design, it’s quite easy to store away in a cupboard or on a shelf when not in use, and the single-pot design makes it much easier to clean as a result.


  • Removable stoneware.
  • Easy-to-carry handles on either side.
  • Extremely easy to transport.
  • Doubles as a serving dish.
  • Reliable oval design.

Why we liked it:

The Cook & Carry lives up to its name, letting you prepare meals quickly and carry them around without having to worry spilling it or letting the heat dissipate too quickly.

3. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Slow Cooker

This might be the most versatile slow cooker Hamilton Beach have released, thanks to the programmable settings that let you stick to a chosen temperature regardless of how cold the rest of the room is. The kit includes a temperature probe that you can use to check the internal temperature of larger meals, especially things like whole chickens or turkeys, making it much easier to tell if they’re being cooked properly on the inside. You can lock down the glass lid of the crock to keep the heat in, using special clips to make sure that it won’t suddenly spill even if it’s being carried in a vehicle.


  • Automatically switches to the “Warm” setting when idle.
  • Keeps meals hot.
  • Allows for accurate temperature checking.
  • Fully programmable.
  • Lockable lid.

Why we liked it:

This cooker provides an excellent range of features that make slow cooking great meals really simple, even if you won’t be at home for most of the day.

4. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

This stainless steel slow cooker can cook an entire 6 pounds of meat at once, giving you plenty of cooking space to create a meal that you can share with your family. While it doesn’t come with many complex parts, it’s one of the best examples of simplicity winning out, acting as an easy way to keep food cooked and ready to eat over the course of an entire day. Its oval design and removable stoneware also make it practical for serving food directly, and the basic locking system for the lid prevents it from spilling while you’re moving it around.


  • Digital countdown display.
  • Programmable cooking timer.
  • Works well with meat.
  • Suitable for multiple recipes.
  • Simple slow cooker design.

Why we liked it:

Crock-Pot are known for great products, and this is an excellent mixture of simplicity and efficiency that lets you create a wide range of hot meals.

5. Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Portable Slow Cooker

This 10-quart slow cooker can hold a huge amount of food at once, making it great for meals that you want to share with family members or friends. Its simple temperature settings make it easy to adjust for different recipes, and the removable stoneware and lid can be cleaned after every meal to ensure that no smoke or grease is left over. The full-sized handles allow you to carry it around, even if it’s loaded up with food, and it’s designed so that you can cook turkeys, chickens or other large pieces of meat without having to cut them up very much.


  • 10-quart capacity.
  • Clip-based lid.
  • Easy to seal.
  • Simple to clean.
  • Can cook a wide
  • Range of ingredients.

Why we liked it:

Large cookers are sometimes the best choice, especially for making big meals for a large group. This Extra-Large model is no exception, and doesn’t skimp on the results either.

6. West Bend Large Capacity Non-Stick Cooker

This oddly-designed slow cooker has a five-quart capacity that can cook a wide range of meals, as well as an easy-to-transport shape that lets you slow-cook on the go! This, along with its carrying case, makes it far easier to keep food warm when you’re transporting it, so it can work well for festivals or other outdoor events. The controls are built into the cooker base itself, rather than the main crock pot, and the entire interior is non-stick to help food slide out once it’s warmed up and ready to eat.


  • Multiple settings.
  • Griddle option for flatter food.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Removable base for easy carrying.
  • Comes with a carrying case.

Why we liked it:

Unlike a lot of cookers, this model is designed to be transported easily, making it ideal for all kinds of different purposes, including road trips or festivals that need a constant supply of hot food.

7. Crock-Pot Multi-Use XL Express Crock

This crock cooker acts as an all-in-one cooking tool, offering the features of both a pressure cooker and slow cookers in the same body. It can be easily adjusted using the Manual Pressure settings to change how fast each meal cooks, and the non-stick pot means that even the greasiest, stickiest meat won’t get trapped inside when you’re serving it. It also offers the ability to boil, simmer, sauté, steam and brown your food, and comes with a steaming rack for exactly that purpose.


  • 70% faster pressure-based cooking options.
  • Perfect for a varied diet of meals.
  • 13 pre-programmed settings.
  • On-stick pot.
  • Comes with a steaming rack.

Why we liked it:

Having two different utilities in one is always helpful, and being able to prepare meals at an extremely fast rate makes this perfect for people who want to eat on short notice, or prepare multiple meals in a single day.

8. Instant Pot Max 60Electric Pressure Cooker

This pressure cooker boasts a large touch screen display that makes it extremely easy to adjust different settings, ranging from the temperature and time to things like pressure level and the delay before it starts cooking. It also offers altitude adjustment to give you a more precise value for the remaining cooking time, and the extra safety features help prevent you from burning yourself or spilling the food if you’re trying to move it around. The location of the handles compared to the touch screen means that you won’t accidentally change a setting if you’re moving it around your kitchen while it’s cooking, too.


  • Stainless steel body.
  • Easy to clean design.
  • Made with recycled materials.
  • Breaks down ingredients.
  • Wide range of options.

Why we liked it:

Having so many options in a single appliance gives you much more control over the meals you make and the way that they’re cooked.

9. Elite Gourmet MST-250XW

This slow cooker is one of the most basic and condensed versions of standard slow cooker designs, giving you a very simple way to cook excellent meals without having to fiddle with a probe or an entire screen of settings. The simple “low”, “high” and “keep warm” settings are enough for most recipes, and the cool exterior means that you won’t burn yourself while you’re moving it around or adjusting its position. The lid also has a similar handle, allowing you to check on how well the food has cooked without putting your skin at risk. This lid is dishwasher-safe and won’t break or crack easily, keeping the flavor inside.


  • Easy to use.
  • Great for cooking small meals.
  • Simple settings.
  • Lockable lid.
  • Dishwasher-safe.

Why we liked it:

Simplicity is sometimes the way to go, and this design is incredibly easy to use without falling short of other, more complex slow cookers.

10. Hamilton Beach 33140V 4-Quart Slow Cooker

This slow cooker uses a similar design to a lot of Hamilton Beach slow cookers, taking the classic oval shape and giving it a minimalist design. The single control knob on the front lets you adjust between “low”, “high” and “keep warm”, and the wide shape means that you can easily fit large cuts of meat into the cooking space without having to slice it up. The interior stoneware is removable, meaning that you can use it to serve the meals you’ve cooked, and you can also store it inside a refrigerator without risk of it breaking.


  • Dishwasher-safe.
  • Stainproof
  • Easy to adjust.
  • Designed for slow food preparation.
  • Tenderizes meat.

Why we liked it:

This oval design is perfect for people who don’t need any extreme tools to create their meals, especially if you just want something that works without needing to fiddle through dozens of different settings and programmed options.

Buyers Guide To Panini Presses

Slow cookers are very different from regular ovens, and it can be tricky to choose the best slow cooker from a large list. In fact, many of them might seem the same in terms of size and cooking power, so you’ll need to look at the finer details before you can make a properly-informed decision.

Extra Features

One of the most common ways to choose cooking gear is by looking at its special features, and a slow cooker is no exception. For example, a temperature probe can be an extra attachment that you completely overlook when you’re choosing which one to buy, but it can make a massive difference to certain people. A probe like this makes it extremely easy to check the internal heat of what you’re cooking: this isn’t just for perfection’s sake, but can be a vital part of making sure that you’re cooking something correctly if you’re inexperienced, or can help you get the perfect temperature on a meal that’s being served to a paying customer or catering client.

Some slow cookers might also have some automatic features, but not always. For example, certain slow cooker models might have a setting that puts them into “warm” mode once their programmed cooking time expires. This means that it automatically switches to the right setting for keeping the meal warm and ready to eat, rather than just turning off and letting it go cold again.

However, every new feature can add to the price, power requirement and weight of your slow cooker, not to mention size and complexity. None of these features are required for it to work properly, and it’s entirely possible to create some of the best meals you’ve ever made with nothing but a basic slow cooking tool. Work out what’s actually necessary, and try to find features that you’ll get some use out of.


The size of your slow cooker affects how much it can cook. The larger the cooking pot, the more it’ll be able to prepare at once, which can be the difference between feeding two people and providing meals for an entire family. It’s not a bad thing to have a smaller slow cooker depending on how you use it, but larger slow cookers are purpose-built for cooking and warming far more than their smaller counterparts.

It mainly comes down to what you think you’ll personally need. For example, if you’re only feeding a family of four and plan to have other items cooked at the same time (such as chili in the slow cooker, but fries made in a regular oven), you don’t necessarily need a slow cooker big enough to cook for four people, since you’re not just relying on that appliance. On the other hand, if you’re going to use it to prepare a big meal for a large family, it’s worth getting one that can feed more people, especially if you expect some of your family to want seconds.

Size doesn’t always mean more cooking space, though. Some can have bulkier frames or extra features that push the size slightly higher – for example, the probe mentioned earlier needs its own space to connect to the body, as well as more circuitry on the inside to read the temperature and send it back to the digital display. This doesn’t add more room for cooking, but it still makes the unit slightly bigger.

Your definition of "best"

“Best” is a difficult thing to agree on when it comes to slow cookers, since cooking, in general, is quite subjective. The best slow cooker for your favorite meal might be different from the best slow cookers needed for another person’s favorite, for example. There’s no cooker that’s perfect for every single meal ever made, so it’s important to know what you’ll actually be making with it.

One of the main points of a slow cooker is in its name: it’s a cooker that works at a slow pace. Some people will feel that longer cooking times are actually the best option here, since it brings more of an opportunity to squeeze out more flavor, whereas others will feel that slow cookers should still be fast enough to feel convenient. This comes down to your personal opinion, but it can also make it really hard to choose a slow cooker that you’ll like.

The meals you’re cooking also matter. Just like a microwave might struggle to heat up certain soups or pastries, a slow cooker sill find it hard to deal with specific types of meal that you want to cook inside it. If you’re not careful, it might even end up causing damage to its internal parts, but this is extremely rare and only really happens if you misuse it.

Is a crockpot the best option?

Crockpots are slightly different, and have their own special functionality. They’re named after the brand of the same name, and have some subtle changes that aren’t obvious until you use them. They are generally made with different materials (although there’s arguments over which is the best) and have a limited amount of settings, usually only one or two at most. Some people claim that they’re the best choice if you want to trap moisture in your meals, but this is, again, subjective.

They’re said to be the best option if you want the meats in your meals to tenderize over time, rather than just being cooked or boiled like their normal counterparts. This could be due to the design, which has some slight changes in terms of how the heat is applied. However, these days they’re so similar that both could be called the “best” of the two, and the only major difference is the amount of settings on offer.

Did you know?

It's possible to overcook your meals, even if you've been careful with the settings. Be sure to get them right and keep track of your cooking time if possible.

Expert Tip

Not every cooker comes with a timers. Don't take them for granted, and make sure you check before you actually make a purchase.