Slow cookers, which are often commonly referred to as Crock-Pots, are essentially just small to medium-sized containers with heating elements built-in. These devices allow you to slowly cook food, generally over the course of several hours. There are hundreds of these machines on the market today. Some are manual models, while others feature digital interfaces, programmable heating options, and even timers.
Finding the ideal slow-cooker can be a bit tricky. The price of the device doesn’t always indicate the quality or performance. Plus, some operate a bit differently than others. The team at Consumer Essentials has extensively tested dozens of slow-cookers and created a list of the best slow cookers available to make the selection process a bit easier. Below is a list of our favorite cookers based on performance, price, and features.
Want a slow cooker that heats up your food properly without bringing it too a boil or making it tough? Finding the perfect device can be tricky. Some have different heating methods. Some aren’t built for a “set and forget” dinner. No worries, though, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a list of our five favorite cookers. These are all available from Amazon.com, have performed well in our tests, and are generally well-liked by consumers.
Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Perfect Slow Cooker
Still having a hard time determining which cooker is the best for your needs? Don’t stress yourself out. Sure, figuring out which device to buy can be a bit tough, but it’s not impossible! To ensure that you get the best slow cooker possible there are several things you need to look for when shopping around. We talk about these things below.
One of the biggest things you’ll want to go for is getting a cooker that has programmable cooking options. Most models offer some degree of programming, but there are devices that are solely intended for manual use. Why do you want this feature? Well, one of the biggest reasons for having a slow-cooker is so that you can set it up to cook and meal, leave your home, and have your food ready once you’re back.
Manual cookers don’t allow you to do this. They require you to check on your food and adjust the heat yourself. Programmable models, however, can be set to cook your food for a predetermined amount of time or cook until the meal reaches a set internal temperature. Once the meal is done, these machines will automatically switch to a warming mode. This allows you to be away from the kitchen all day and still have dinner ready for consumption once you’re home from work, school, or wherever else you may be.
Another feature you definitely want to look for is a locking lid. A lot of cookers are equipped with simple lids that do not tightly lock to the actual crock. This means that heat will escape and food will often be cooked unevenly or, sometimes, not thoroughly enough. To avoid this you’ll want to purchase a model that has a locking lid.
The locking lead seals in the heat. This allows the machine to cook food better and, believe it or not, it actually makes food taste better, too. Plus, it makes it easier to move the pot around without having to worry about spilling the contents. This is perfect for individuals that may have prepared a meal in a crock that is intended to be taken to a party or a neighbor’s home.
Perhaps one of the most important features you’ll want to have with your slow-cooker is a silicone gasket. Why? It helps to better secure the contents of the crock. The gasket makes it next to impossible for even an ounce of liquid to make it beyond the lid. This means less having to worry about spills and messes. It’s too easy for the family dog, a child, or anyone to bump into a cooker, knock it over, and have hot food splatter all over the place. This can be easily avoided by purchasing a unit that has a locking lid with a gasket in it.