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A slow cooker, colloquially known as a crock pot, is a kitchen appliance that uses the method of slow-boiling food to easily create a variety of meals that is good for your health. Simmering at such low temperatures extracts flavours from meats and vegetables over a longer period, without resulting in burning. Therefore, it is one of those useful tools which enable you to simply set-it-and-forget-it and enjoy a delicious meal with little effort. The best slow cooker allows you to serve less expensive cuts of meat that may be tough to chew, reduce the chances of burning your dinner, as well as help free up your stovetop or induction hob in the process. But which slow cooker is good for you?
In this article, we take a look at our top 10 slow cooker reviews so you can decide yourself.
Top 10 Best Slow Cooker Reviews
If you’re looking for a classic style slow cooker with some modern twists, the Crock-Pot CSC026 is a great choice. This slow cooker offers all the benefits of a traditional slow cooking appliance, with some handy extra features thrown in.
For example, if you like to prepare lots of meat dishes, you will find the die-cast aluminium removable pot very useful. This enables you to pre-sear the meat on the hob first, without having to use any extra pans. The pot and lid are also oven-safe, so you can easily transfer your meal to the oven for an extra boost if required.
Furthermore, this slow cooker features an ‘auto keep-warm’ function, which ensures that once your food has been cooked, it’s still kept warm, so you don’t have to rush back if you get caught up with friends or at work. The non-stick Duraceramic bonding makes it quick to clean, but it’s not dishwasher friendly, which may be a dealbreaker for you if you hate washing up.
With a 5L capacity, it’s ideal if you have a family to feed, or for those occasions when you’re having friends over for a dinner party. Moreover, thanks to its LED timer – there’s no need to keep an eye on it once you set the cooking time. You can relax while you know your food is being well cooked. However, some users found this timer wasn’t very durable and broke easily.
- Pot & lid are oven-safe for versatility
- Digital timer with LED countdown
- Auto keep warm function means that food stays warm until you’re ready
- Big enough to cook for a whole family
- Duraceramic bonding means it’s quick to clean
- Not dishwasher friendly
- LED timer isn’t very durable and may break quickly
- Colour can begin to flake very easily
If you are part of a busy small family, the Prestige offers an easy to use solution to home cooking. The 3.5L capacity is big enough for up to 4 people, and the inclusion of a digital programmable timer means you can simply set the cooking time and get on with your day, without having to worry about burning your evening meal. The timer can be set from as little as 30 minutes to a maximum of 20 hours, but some users found the display difficult to read.
Once the timer ends, it will automatically switch to a keep warm setting; so even if you get caught in traffic, your meal should be warm and ready for you once you get in the door. Having said that, a few people found that the temperature inside can be uneven, meaning that bigger meals come out slightly undercooked on some sides.
The internal wipe-clean ceramic pot is also removable, making it easy for you to transport your dinner from the kitchen to the dining table, as well as clean up after your meal. However, you may need to be wary of the handle on the glass lid, as many users reported this was prone to coming off fairly easily
- Wipe-clean surface saves time
- Easy to operate digital display
- Programmable digital timer can be set from 30 minutes to 20 hours
- Keep warm function means food is ready when you are
- Cooks enough food for an average sized family
- Inside temperature can be uneven
- Lid handle can come off easily
- Digital timer can be difficult to read
Offering an attractive design, this 3.5-litre slow cooker by Swan is a funky, yet functional choice to liven up your home. With variable heat control, you can easily prepare a large variety of warming meals, without having to slave over multiple pots and pans.
In line with other slow cookers we have seen, the Swan 3.5L offers a convenient keep-warm setting, so you don’t need to rush home when dinner is ready. Also, if you prefer tender meat dishes, the shape is well-suited for joints, with lots of room for your accompanying vegetables to stew in the juices.
On the downside, there’s no timer, so you’ll have to use your phone alarm or similar to notify you when the time is up. The toughened glass lid makes it really easy to check on progress without letting all the heat escape. But some people felt that the lid could’ve fitted more closely and didn’t create a perfect seal, which extended slow cooking times.
- Removable pot and dishwasher safe makes it easy to clean
- Keep warm function means you can eat whenever you are ready
- Shape makes it ideal for meat joints
- Toughened glass lid means you can monitor food while it cooks
- Lid fits poorly.
- No timer function
- Inner pot is prone to cracks
If you need to prepare meals for a big family, the Andrew James could be the best crock pot for you. Offering an impressive 6.5-litre capacity, this slow cooker is large enough to accommodate plenty of food for everyone, in only 1 pot.
Once your meal is ready, the ceramic bowl can be removed and carried to the dinner table, where your whole family can dish up as much as they like. There’s no timer function, so you’ll have to manually check your cooking time and food. However, a strong tempered glass lid means you can check the progress without having to let heat escape.
Three heat settings enable you to prepare a wide variety of dishes, from stews and casseroles to desserts; which is useful if you have a busy lifestyle and prefer to ‘set it and forget it’. However, this slow cooker isn’t dishwasher compatible, so you will have to put the work in when it comes to washing up.
If you are watching your bills, it is also an economical choice. Using only 320W, this slow cooker consumes much less electricity, so you can enjoy daily use without worrying about energy costs.
- Large size makes it perfect for cooking for parties or large families
- Uses less electricity, making it quite economical
- Variety of temperature settings enable versatility
- Ceramic bowl can be removed for easy transfer to the dining area
- Capable of cooking a variety of meals
- At over 6kg it is quite heavy
- Not dishwasher compatible
- No timer, so you must monitor slow cooking by eye
Another worthy contender for the best slow cooker is the Lift & Serve Digital Slow Cooker by Crock-Pot. Oven-safe and with three heat settings, this kitchen tool offers a great way to create delicious and wholesome meals with little effort.
Featuring a 3.5-litre capacity which is perfect for smaller households, this slow cooker also boasts a removable inner ceramic bowl for easy serving at the table.
The hinged lid prevents condensation marks on the countertop and makes stirring your ingredients easy. There’s also a built-in digital timer that can be set from 30-minutes to as long as 20 hours for ultimate flexibility. Furthermore, once your food is ready, the clever keep warm feature will ensure your dinner won’t go cold, even if you’re running late.
Both the bowl and lid are dishwasher safe for simple cleaning. This model also comes complete with a recipe book and user guide – great if you’re new to slow cookers.
However, there are a few negative points to keep in mind. The digital display isn’t particularly bright, which may be a problem if you struggle with your eyesight. Furthermore, the circular shape of the bowl prevents you from cooking whole birds and the seal on the lid wasn’t as tight as we expected.
Overall, the Crock-Pot Lift & Serve is a fantastic choice if you have a busy lifestyle and would like to cook healthy meals without the hassle.
- 3.5L capacity is great for families
- Removable inner bowl for easy serving
- Hinged lid prevents condensation mess
- Dishwasher safe bowl
- Digital timer and keep warm function
- Display is a little dull
- Lid doesn’t seal very well
- Circular shape limits cooking possibilities
If you like to have big gatherings of friends or family, the Crock-Pot CSC031 could be a great option. Offering a 5.7-litre capacity, it can contain enough food to dish out 6 servings. It is perfect when you have more many mouths to feed.
Thanks to its oven friendly parts, your culinary choices are not limited, so you can choose from a wide variety of dishes to impress your guests. If you get caught up in conversation, the automatic keep-warm feature and removable pot ensure your meal won’t go cold if you end up eating later than planned.
Once you’re ready to eat, the hinged lid makes the contents easier to serve, without any mess on the countertop, however, food can get into the hinges. This is compounded by the fact that this slow cooker isn’t dishwasher friendly, so you’ll have to clean up by hand once your guests have left.
- Pot and lid are oven safe which expands meal choices
- Removable pot if you want to serve at the table
- Large enough to cook for a big family or a gathering
- Auto keep-warm feature
- Hinged lid prevents marks on surfaces
- Not dishwasher friendly
- Food can get into the hinges
- Paint can start to peel off fairly quickly
The Morphy Richards 48718A slow cooker is a good choice if you are searching for a day-to-day appliance which can prepare healthy meals for the whole family. Able to cook everything from curries and casseroles to meat joints, the large 6.5L capacity means there will be plenty of food for everyone, and maybe even some left for your lunch the next day.
Like many other slow cookers, this model features a removable pot for effortless table serving, which is a nice way to gather your family together for quality time. The cool touch handles also mean it is safe to transport without burning your hands and dropping your dinner on the floor.
Three heat settings are provided for slow cooking flexibility, but unfortunately, there is no built-in timer, so you will have to monitor the food yourself or buy a timer separately. Furthermore, many customers complained that the non-stick surface flaked off easily and that it also seemed to retain food smells, even after being put through the dishwasher.
- Attractive steel design
- Large 6.5L capacity suitable for families
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
- Multiple heat adjustments to allow flexibility of meals
- Cool touch handles for safe transportation
- Can retain food smells after being washed
- No built-in timer, needs to constantly check cooking time and progress
- Non-stick surface can flake away after only a few uses.
If you live alone, this compact slow cooker by Breville is an excellent choice for simple home-cooked meals.
Featuring a 1.5-litre capacity, this slow cooker is great for students or single people with limited kitchen or storage space. It is suitable for cooking a variety of dishes, from curries and wholesome stews to delicious desserts.
What’s great about the Breville VTP169 is that it is easy to use, even for complete beginners. With three simple heat settings to choose from, you only need to set the temperature and leave to cook for up to 10 hours. On top of that, the removable ceramic bowl makes serving at the table easy. The polished stainless steel outer will look stylish on your counter as well.
It’s worth noting, however, that using this slow cooker may require a bit of trial and error and first, as the lowest heat setting may be too high for some recipes. In addition, this model doesn’t include a timer. But after some practice, you’ll be able to enjoy hassle-free cooking while getting on with your day. Once you have enjoyed your dinner, simply place the lid and bowl in the dishwasher for effortless cleanup.
The only real negative point of this model is the seal around the lid. Many users have complained that it doesn’t fit tightly enough. Hence, the condensation may leak down the sides and onto the worktop. This is frustrating but can be easily resolved by placing a folded tea towel under the unit.
- 1.5L capacity is perfect for single people and students
- Removable ceramic bowl for serving
- Three heat settings
- Dishwasher safe ceramic bowl
- Compact and easy to store
- Low setting is still quite hot
- No timer
Tired of preparing meals after a long day at work? The Morphy Richards Accents Sear and Stew Slow Cooker could be the answer!
Perfect for busy households, this slow cooker can create a delicious range of healthy meals with little to no fuss. Coming complete with a handy recipe book, the Morphy Richards Accents features a non-stick aluminium pot that can also be used to sear meat before leaving it to cook and tenderise over several hours. This means you can cook a meal from start to finish in just one pot, saving you from additional washing up.
Lightweight but with a generous 6.5L capacity, this slow cooker can serve between 8-10 people, making it ideal for large families or dinner parties. This cooking essential is also simple to use with a choice of three temperature settings. Just load your ingredients, select your cooking setting, and get on with your day.
In addition, the transparent glass lid allows you to keep an eye on cooking progress without having to lift the cover and let the heat out. Once you have enjoyed your meal, the pot can be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
On the downside, many users have complained that the non-stick coating is prone to flaking. Furthermore, the low heat setting is still too hot for some recipes that require gentle heat. It is also worth noting that the searing pot is not compatible with induction hobs, which may or may not be a dealbreaker for you.
- 6.5L capacity is large enough to serve 8-10 people
- Sear and slow cook with one pot
- Recipe book included
- Three temperature settings
- Dishwasher safe
- Teflon coating prone to flaking
- Low setting is still very hot
- Searing pot isn’t suitable for use with induction hobs
Offering a large 6-litre capacity, the Sage by Heston Blumenthal slow cooker can produce high-quality meals for large families or those occasions when you are entertaining friends. Able to pressure cook, steam, reduce, sear and saute too, this slow cooker provides you with the versatility to create almost any dish you please.
An LCD digital display keeps you informed of progress, while the multiple pressure levels and 12 smart menus can make you feel like a pro chef. When you combine these features with accurate temperature sensors, built-in programs and sensitive pressure control, you should find creating delicious meals hassle-free.
Having said that, there are a few downsides to this otherwise impressive slow cooker. Many people found that it retained food odours even after a thorough cleaning, which you may find off-putting. The valve seal also isn’t very durable, with users complaining it started to wear within a few months of use. Lastly, the cooking alert sounds are not very loud, so you may miss the alarm if you are in another room.
- Large capacity suitable for a big family
- Can saute, sear, steam and reduce, as well as slow cook
- Smart LCD screen keeps you informed of progress
- Built-in slow cooking programs for ease of use
- Accurate temperature and pressure sensors for perfect results
- Retains food odours
- Valve seal wears easily
- Alarms are rather quiet
What Is a Slow Cooker?
The modern slow cooker hasn’t changed much in its design since it was popularised in the 1970s. Most have an oval pot and a lid which are made out of ceramic, porcelain or glass. An electric heating element heats up the pot in a controlled manner, so you can leave it running and get on with your day.
These appliances are a fantastic way to cook wholesome, warming meals that are good for your health without slaving in the kitchen all day and creating lots of washing up. Furthermore, they retain more nutrients from the ingredients, as everything is all cooked together and the juices are generally not drained away after slow cooking.
Overall, slow cookers offer a good way of cooking nutritious meals without the hassle.
Distinguishing a Slow Cooker from Similar Appliances
The design of a slow cooker is certainly akin to other appliances. But even though they may look alike, before you buy, it is important to understand that they have different mechanisms.
Slow Cooker vs Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers can quickly steam foods until they are thoroughly cooked, with the ingredients sealed within the pressure cooker capable of being cooked within minutes. Unlike a slow cooker, a pressure pan is better for those with more culinary skills, as they tend to be more difficult to use to get the end results just right.
This is because you simply cannot remove the lid in a pressure pan while it’s still on the stove, which bars you from the visual cues that your food is thoroughly cooked and ready to be consumed. That said, some newer models of slow cookers also combine capabilities from pressure cookers, making for a multi-functional appliance.
On the other hand, a slow cooker is much safer and easier to use than a pressure pot. Even though it will not cook as fast as a pressure pan, the slow simmering function extracts the natural flavours from the ingredients, making for a really tasty meal with little effort. They’re also convenient to use since all you need to do is mix in your ingredients and set it aside for several hours. Cheaper cuts of meat are tenderised to a greater degree when slow cooked, too.
Slow Cooker vs Rice Cooker
Slow cookers can also appear similar to a rice cooker, but these employ a different type of technology. While slow cookers are designed to simmer your dish over the extent of several hours, rice cookers are designed to boil rice. Most of the dishes that you want to prepare in a slow cooker are therefore not compatible with a rice cooker.
What to Consider When Buying a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers save time, money, and give you the option of creating more dishes that are good for your health because it has less fat. However, there are many features and factors that you need to consider before you buy a new slow cooker.
If you’ve already decided that you want to jump the bandwagon and buy it for yourself, here are some things to think about in your search.
As mentioned, ceramic and porcelain generally make up the body of the slow cooker pot. These materials dissipate heat evenly and reduce the likelihood of any hot spots which can contribute to unevenly cooked food. Regardless, if it is made from ceramic, metal, or porcelain, slow cookers are designed to be efficient. Therefore, which material you choose is up to your personal preference.
The material of the lid is also important. When using a slow cooker, you do not want to raise the lid because the steam, and heat will get out. Look for a ceramic lid or better yet, a glass cover that allows you to visually monitor your food without disrupting progress.
Ease Of Cleaning
Whichever material you prefer, make sure that the pot is easily removable from the body for quick cleaning. If fused to the cooker’s chassis, then you will have a difficult time cleaning once you are done using it. Furthermore, many slow cookers feature dishwasher-safe parts, which is certainly beneficial unless you particularly enjoy washing up.
Consider the placement of the heating element in the machine. Most crackpots only have a heating component at the bottom. Even though they are great for most liquid-based recipes, those that distribute heat along the bottom and sides of the pot will ensure safe and even preparation of dishes, especially ones which involve meat joints.
Each of the options in our slow cooker reviews would undoubtedly make great choices, but if we had to choose our favourite, it would have to be the Crock-Pot CSC026.
We were really impressed by the option to sear meat on the hob first, without having to use another pan. We also liked how it is oven-safe, so you have even greater flexibility with your meal options. The keep-warm setting is an added bonus, which when combined with the digital LED timer, certainly makes for a stress-free cooking experience.
Last but not least, we like how the 5L capacity is generous enough to accommodate large gatherings, but still remains easy to clean when all your friends have gone home.
Overall, we think the Crock-Pot CSC026 just has to be the best slow cooker the UK market has to offer.