Buying Guide: Best Slow Cookers (2016 – 2017)

slow cooker

Slow cookers have long been a staple in many American kitchens. Why? Because they are perfect for all of those one pot recipes that are impossible to prepare in the limited amount of time most of us have after getting home from work. Imagine trying to prepare a flavorful soup, stew or a pot roast after rushing home from work? But with a slow cooker, you can throw together the soup, stew, ham, chicken or pot roast in the morning and allow it to simmer all day long. When you get home, that roast, honey ham or glazed chicken will be tender and juicy and all you will have to do is throw together a few basic sides and you have a healthy family meal.

#1 Top Rated Slow Cooker (Editor Selection) — Click Here!

If you’re in the market for a good slow cooker, keep reading to see our editor selections and reviews on the top slow cookers on the market right now.

Our Slow Cooker Ratings At A Glance

slow cooker ratings

Top 10 Best Slow Cookers for the Money (2016 - 2017)

Here you'll find our list of the best slow cooker crock pots we've reviewed based on our team's ratings of the products. If you want to read reviews or get more product information, just scroll down the page or click on the links.
PRODUCTOUR RATING
Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
9.1 Stars (9.1 / 10)
Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker
Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
MaxiMatic MST-250XS Elite Gourmet 1-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker
MaxiMatic MST-250XS Elite Gourmet 1-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker
9.1 Stars (9.1 / 10)
Hamilton Beach 33473 Programmable Slow Cooker, 7-Quart
Hamilton Beach 33473 Programmable Slow Cooker, 7-Quart
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
Hamilton Beach 33461 Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach 33461 Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker
9.1 Stars (9.1 / 10)
Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, 6-Quart
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, 6-Quart
8.9 Stars (8.9 / 10)
Disney Pixar Oval Slow Cooker, 7 quart
Disney Pixar Oval Slow Cooker, 7 quart
9.5 Stars (9.5 / 10)

Our Slow Cooker Reviews

To learn more about each of the models that you see listed in the chart up above, keep reading. Below, our editors share what they like and dislike about each of the top crock pots rated in the chart.

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, 6-Quart Review

Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, 6-Quart (33967A)
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Too busy to get a hot home cooked meal on the table? This newly designed slow cooker makes feeding your hungry family quick and easy.    With three cooking options (probe, program; or manual), any cook can get the desired results.  Not sure how long to cook that roast? Simply place the probe in the meat and turn on. Once the meat reaches the desired temperature, it will revert to a warming stage.  Or set the time to cook your food and walk away. The manual setting allows you to choose low, medium, or high heat.

Pros: offer three different cooking options; large capacity; features a clip on spoon

Cons: no temperature control; comes with a limited 1 year warranty

Disney Pixar Oval Slow Cooker, 7 quart Review

Disney Pixar Oval Slow Cooker, 7 quart, Black
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Include your favorite Disney-Pixar characters in meal preparation with this slow cooker. Enjoy the maximized space thanks to the ovular shape, which has a 7-quart capacity. The stoneware insert lifts out of the cooking base for easy storage and clean up in your dishwasher. Enjoy the adjustable cooking temperature thanks to the multiple heat settings offered by this slow cooker, and prepare everything from slow-roasted whole chicken to stews and chilies. 

Pros: Multiple heat settings, removable insert is dishwasher safe, 7-quart capacity, and rubber feet prevents sliding

Cons: Cord is a little short

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker Review

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer
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This large capacity multi-cooker functions both as a slow cooker and steamer with a steaming rack included.  The slow cooker also has the capability to brown or saute meats and vegetables.  The extra-large blue LCD display has easy-to-read time and temperature settings.  The removable nonstick aluminum cooking pot has an easy to clean Teflon coating and a glass lid with a cool-touch handle.   Dishwasher-safe removable parts allows for easy clean-up.  Limited 3-year warranty is included.  

Pros:  Affordably priced, easy to clean, dual use as both a slow cooker and steamer

Cons:  Non-stick material flakes off on occasion

Hamilton Beach 33461 Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker Review

Hamilton Beach 33461 Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker
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Slow cook your family’s dinner or bring special dishes to your next potluck!  This 6 quart slow cooker features lid clips that seal to prevent spills when you travel.  Large enough to accommodate a 6 lb. chicken or 4 lb. roast.  Specially designed hinged lid stays up when serving but conveniently folds for storage and carrying.  Interior pot and hinged lid are easily removed for cleaning and are dishwasher safe.  Silver and black finish is stylish.  Dimensions:  9.8 inches x 14.4 inches x 14.8 inches.  Oval shape with High/Low/Keep Warm temperature settings.

Pros:  Convenient, easy to use, very portable

Cons:  No automatic timer/shut off feature

Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker Review

Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
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Are you looking for high quality slow cooker for a reasonable price? The Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker is exactly what you need. Durable, round stoneware made from stainless steel, this pot is the prefect size to serve 3 or more people or a 3-pound roast. Dishwasher safe, this pot is perfect for slow cooking stews, chili’s, sauces, and much more. 

Pros: Nice Looking, Durable, Easy to clean

Cons: The top gets stuck from time to time 

Hamilton Beach 33473 Programmable Slow Cooker, 7-Quart Review

Hamilton Beach 33473 Programmable Slow Cooker, 7-Quart, Silver
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Effortlessly make delicious meals in this 7-quart Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker. No need to stir or watch over your recipe – the slow cooker does all the work so you can go about your day as you normally do. Choose a temperature setting, warm, low, or high. When your crock pot recipe is done, the cooker automatically switches to the "warm" setting to keep your meal heated and ready to eat. Select 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours of cooking. Crock pot will cook evenly and thoroughly, thanks to the insulated wraparound technology.

Pros: Easy to use, programmable, even cooking

Cons: Shipping could cause cracks due to fragile exterior – be sure to get padded shipping.

MaxiMatic MST-250XS Elite Gourmet 1-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker Review

Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Maxi-Matic 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker, Silver (Stainless Steel Finish)
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Create gourmet meals while you are out at work!  When you arrive home, dinner will be ready with less muss and fuss.  Round 6” x 6” x 4” round slow cooker features a 1.5-quart inner stoneware pot.  Pot and tempered glass lid are dishwasher safe.  The cool-touch handles, knobs and stainless steel finish provide stylish form and function.  Settings include LOW/HIGH/KEEP WARM. 

Pros:  Easy to use, easy to clean, great for dips

Cons:  Not suitable for families – small size is appropriate for 1-2 person meals

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker Review

Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, 6-Quart (33969A)
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Cooking a large cut of meat to perfection has never been easier with the new Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker. You have a choice between three modes of cooking: probe, program, and manual. Comes with a thermometer probe that shows the actual temperature of your roast while it cooks. In "probe mode", the slow cooker automatically shifts to "keep warm" mode after the desired temperature has been reached. This product also still offers options for standard slow cooking on three levels: high, low, or warm.

Pros: Clip-tight gasket lid reduces the chance for spills when on the go. Slow Cooker easily fits 6lb chicken. Convenient, full-grip handles.

Cons: User must be mindful of what cooking mode to use.

Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker Review

Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker
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Do you want dinner ready when you arrive home from work? You can with this easy to clean 4-quart slow cooker. The removable stoneware crock and glass lid are dishwasher safe for easy clean up. Large enough for a large pot of stew or a whole chicken this crockpot can cook enough for a crowd. The warming feature lets you keep dinner warm after the meal is cooked. Easy to clean and easy to use you can store it when not in use.

Pros: Easy to clean, oval shape, warm setting, cooks great, number of heat settings, removable crock

Cons: Short power cord, no ‘on’ light, lid does not fit well

Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker Review

Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
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Do you have a busy schedule but still want to make delicious home-cooked meals? This 6-quart crock pot is perfect for easy morning meal preparation for a hot meal that’s ready by the time you return home. This crock pot’s lid-mounted locking system keeps food warm and prevent spills in transit, making potlucks and chili cook-offs hassle-free since you can take your meal on the go. Perfect for beef stews, sauces, and pulled pork roasts. Let your culinary imagination take flight with your new crock pot!

Pros: Lid and stoneware are dishwasher safe. Convenient locking system. Stoneware’s oval size fits more diverse cuts of meat. Maintains constant temperature.

Cons: Carrying bag sold separately.

Why You Should Buy a New Slow Cooker

Buying a slow cooker is a great idea for anyone who has a busy lifestyle. Slow cookers allow you to prepare, heat and serve a healthy meal using one simple appliance. As the name suggests, slow cookers are used to prepare foods slowly, over the course of several hours, by evenly distributing heat throughout the food. Cooking food at a low and steady temperature is a great way to lock in great depth of flavor. This allows you to prepare delicious and healthy meals no matter how busy your schedule happens to be. Aside from the convenience, the best part of using a slow cooker is the way the flavors develop over a period of hours, without burning the food around the edges. Most cookbooks have a section of recipes dedicated to getting the most out of your slow cooker. If you are yet to purchase a slow cooker, here is a quick guide to finding the best slow cooker to suit your family’s needs.

What To Consider Before Buying

There are several things that you have to consider when you are choosing the right slow cooker for your family. Slow cookers range from around $40 up to $250. The price differences are based on the size of the slow cooker and the features that each model offers. If you look around in a department store at all of the different models available, it will not be readily apparent why one is around $50 and another is priced around $150. This is because they will look basically the same to you. But the truth is that there are many subtle differences between slow cooker models that the savvy shopper will learn about before they buy.

General Types of Slow Cookers

The most basic type of slow cooker will have little more than an on/off button on it with a switch for high, medium or low heat. These basic models are non-programmable and are generally on the small size, designed for simple meals like soups and roasts that require little more than steady heat to cook well.

More advanced slow cookers are fully programmable which allows you to set the temperature and cooking time. If you need a pork roast to cook for 4 hours at high temperature, you can set your programmable slow cooker to do this. Non-programmable models will cook at either high or low temperature basically until you turn them off.

Features & Factors to Consider

  • Size – are you cooking for yourself and your partner or for an army of hungry kids? The number of people in your family will determine the size of the slow cooker that you need. With sizes that range from 1.5 to 8.5 quarts, you will be able to find a size that will work perfectly for your needs. You might also want to factor in how often you contribute dishes to community potluck dinners and family functions.
  • Versatility – many slow cookers are designed only for single pot recipes like soups and sauces, but some come with special features like metal cooking racks, trays, compartments and cooking surfaces that allow you to sear and roast meats, heat dips and sauces and even steam vegetables.
  • Portability – as noted before, sometimes you will be called on to bring a dish to a potluck dinner or a large family gathering. Finding the right slow cooker can make this easy. Not only can you cook the meal entirely in the slow cooker, but many models come with special handles and covers that are designed to facilitate complete portability. Best of all, once you get there, all you have to do is plug your slow cooker in to keep the dish warm for the duration of the event.
  • Ease of Use and Cleaning – when buying a slow cooker you will want to find a model that is dishwasher safe. This will make clean up really fast and easy. When shopping for a slow cooker be sure to look for models with dishwasher safe inserts, components and lids.
  • See Through Lids – one of the best features to look for in a slow cooker is a see-through lid. Glass lids are preferable to plastic lids because they are both are dishwasher safe, and they allow you to monitor the food without having to open the lid and release the heat. Plastic lids tend to become opaque from frequent washing and use.
  • Temperature Probes – a temperature probe is a special feature available on some slow cookers that allows you to cook meat to a specific temperature without over-cooking it. Simply insert the probe in the meat and when it reaches the desired temperature, the slow cooker will switch from cooking to warming mode.
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