Getting a crock pot is a great investment. It’s one of those pieces that you can’t go wrong with, much like the food processor and the cast iron skillet. If you’re a novice in the kitchen or don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking, slow cookers are the perfect kitchen gadgets for you.
For starters, they’re super easy to use. Secondly, you can make delicious meals with little effort using your kitchen helper. Be it a holiday meal, healthy meals, or hearty indulgent meals, you can master any recipe with this gadget.
Today, we’re taking a look at the best slow cookers on the market. We’ve picked the ten best-performing gadgets and highlighted their best features. You will also find a short buyer’s guide with tips on how to look for the best gadget for your needs.
We’ve included models with prices ranging from $30 to $120. There is something out there for every budget.
1) Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Crock Pot: Best Overall Pick
The prize for the best slow cooker has to go to the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Cooker. It is easy to use, incredibly versatile, a great bang for your buck, and overwhelmingly popular with customers (it has over sixty-two thousand reviews on Amazon alone).
With a generous capacity of six quarts, this pot is perfect for family meals. Thanks to its compact design, it doesn’t take up as much room as other crockpots with similar capacity.
We love how versatile this gadget is. It serves as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, veggie steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer.
Programming this pot is a breeze. The control panel is straightforward and easy to use. You can adjust the temperature, pressure, time, and heating intensity. By giving you more control over your appliance, it lets you cook a variety of recipes.
Another great thing about this slow cooker is how easy it is to clean. The stainless steel bowl, lid, and accessories are all dishwasher-safe.
Lastly, this appliance boasts more than ten built-in safety features, including overheat protection and a safety lock for when you cook using high pressure.
- Perfect for families, yet doesn’t take up much room
- Well-trusted by home cooks
- Versatile with seven built-in functions
- Comes with a free Android and iOS app with recipes
- Excellent price-quality relationship
- Customer support may be hard to reach sometimes
2) Crockpot 4.5-Quart Round Slow Cooker: Best Budget Pick
If you can’t spend $100 on one of these appliances, don’t worry. What is the best budget crock pot? Meet the Crockpot 4.5-quart round slow cooker. It is trusty, handy, easy to use, and affordable: it will only set you back $30.
This 4.5-quart manual slow cooker is just large enough to cook for a family of four. It is also compact, making it the perfect choice for small kitchens.
While there isn’t a fancy control panel, this crockpot couldn’t be easier to use. To adjust heat intensity, simply turn the knob to your desired setting. Choose between low and high temperatures or opt for the warm setting.
That is about as much as you can do with this crockpot. But don’t be discouraged. It’s more than enough for a bunch of different recipes, such as mac and cheese, chili, hearty soups, and much more.
Lastly, the cute hexagon style and black accent handles make this pot stand out and fit well into any kitchen.
- Roomy for a small family but still compact
- Has a good reputation online
- Easy to use and to clean
- Affordable and good quality
- Not as versatile as other models
- The lid doesn’t lock in place
3) Calphalon Digital Stainless Steel Slow Cooker: Best Premium Pick
At the more expensive side of the spectrum, we have the Calphalon Digital Programmable Slow Cooker. It is both versatile and easy to use. Its stylish minimalist design also makes it a more attractive option. It’s well worth the investment.
You’ll get some of the most tender and evenly seared meat cuts you have ever tasted with this appliance. This is because the pot is made of ceramic (not stainless steel), which is better at evenly distributing heat.
The 5.3-quart capacity makes it large enough for holiday meals and every-day meals for a family of six. Plus, since it is programmable, you can set it to cook and leave it be while you do something else around the house.
Another awesome feature is the easy-to-read LED display. The control panel lets you adjust the crockpot’s settings without having to mess around with too many buttons.
Interestingly enough, you can use this pot on both electric, gas, and induction heat sources. You can even put it in the oven for a good finish. It is one of the few crock-pot cook sets that boat this option.
- Great for cooking large meals
- Consistent 5-star reviews on online retail websites
- The ceramic cooking surface distributes heat perfectly
- Easy to clean and easy to program
- May be slightly over budget for some families
- The lid doesn’t lock on the pot
4) COMFEE’ 6-Quart Multi-Purpose Slow Cooker: Best for Small Kitchens
If you need cooking large meals but don’t have much counter space, the COMTEE slow cooker is perfect for you. Its compact design lets it fit in the tightest cupboard while still allowing you to cook delicious meals for a family.
With its twelve digital cooking programs, you won’t need another large kitchen appliance for a long time. This one cooks rice, pasta, soup, stews, sautés, steams, and makes yogurt. The only caveat is it doesn’t allow you to cook at high pressure.
The 5.2-quart (or 20-cup) capacity is great for a family of five or six. Unlike other models, this one takes up less counter space thanks to its compact design.
There are also some useful features, such as the cool-touch handles. On top of that, all parts that usually get dirty are dishwasher-safe.
- The pot comes with twelve versatile built-in cooking settings
- Great for families and cramped kitchen spaces
- The locking lid and cold-touch handles offer safety
- Easy to clean
- Doesn’t come with high-pressure setting
5) Crock Pot SCCPVL600S Cook ‘n Carry Cooker
The Cook ‘n Carry model is one of the most spacious models out there. It is perfect for cooking meals for large gatherings. Plus, it comes with a very reasonable and affordable price tag.
With this 7-quart manual slow cooker, you can easily and quickly meal prep for the week. You can even fit an entire 6-pound roast for a special gathering.
The inside is stainless steel. This helps your appliance heat up faster and also makes it easier to clean. The bowl insert and the lid are both dishwasher-safe.
You don’t have as much control over this appliance as you would if it were a programmable unit. However, this also makes it easy to set up, even if you’re not tech-savvy. Simply turn the black plastic knob to the heat setting you need and set a timer on the side. It’s that simple.
The locking lid with a rubber gasket is a great addition. For starters, it makes cooking using this pot safer. Secondly, it traps the heat inside, speeding up the cooking time. Thirdly, it allows you to carry the pot without fearing breaking the lid.
- Very roomy and spacious, perfect for holiday meals
- Easy to use and clean up
- Not as versatile as other models
- There are no handles to pull out the bowl insert
- There is no indicator light to tell you if the appliance is on or off
- Be careful when touching the outside of the pot, as it will be very hot
6) Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Another great gadget is this Portable Slow Cooker. It comes with a mid-range price tag but checks all of the boxes when it comes to features.
With this 6-quart unit, you can prepare family meals and keep them warm until everyone has served themselves.
Since this is a programmable slow cooker, you have a lot of freedom and control over how you cook your food. You can program it so it cooks at low or high temperatures. On top of that, you can also choose to cook using the “hold temperature” function, useful for when you want to make yogurt, fondue, poach, simmer, or braise.
On the control panel, you’ll see the current temperature inside the pot. This is perfect if you are cooking meat and want to reach a precise point of doneness.
- The LED panel is straightforward and the control easy to use
- The built-in temperature probe makes cooking meat a breeze
- The cooking functions allow you to craft a bunch of recipes
- The glass lid comes with a locking position option
- To be safe, don’t place the lid in the dishwasher
7) KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Quart Slow Cooker
KitchenAid has a reputation for making high-quality kitchen appliances. With this slow cooker model, they have lived up to our expectations.
The 6-quart capacity is perfect for families. You can whip up a delicious supper of tender beef stew and still have some leftovers for the following day.
This model comes with four temperature settings: low, medium, high, and keep warm. Thus, you have a lot more control over how your home-cooked meal will turn out.
Yet another great feature of this oval slow cooker is its programmability. You can set a time of up to twenty-four hours. This way, your food can start cooking the night before and be ready by lunchtime.
- The minimalist design makes it easy to use
- The ceramic bowl can be washed in the dishwasher
- You can set a timer of between 30 minutes and 24 hours
- The four temperature settings give you control over your recipes
- The lid doesn’t lock in place
- Even on high, the temperature reached may be too low for some recipes
8) Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set ‘n Forget Programmable Cooker: Runner Up
The last Hamilton Beach product we have on our list is the Set ‘n Forget Programmable model. It works great and has gotten consistently overwhelmingly positive customer reviews online. No wonder this brand has such a reliable and trustworthy reputation!
Our favorite thing about this unit is how hands-off it is. As the name suggests, you can just turn it on and forget about it! That’s because the controls are super easy to use and the pot has built-in safety features.
Say you want to make a roast, which will take six hours to cook, but you won’t be home for the next eight hours. Go about with your regular recipe, turn on the “program” function, select the heating setting and six-hour timer, and go on with your life. When the timer runs out, the pot will automatically turn on its “keep warm” setting and keep your food warm (but not overcooked!).
Lastly, the temperature probe is a very handy feature. If you’re cooking meat, it lets you get that perfect degree of doneness without overcooking it.
- This unit is simple and easy to use and very hands-off
- The locking lead prevents spillages
- You can still cook on the manual setting and control the heat setting
- The oval design might take up too much counter space
9) Crock-Pot 2100467 Express Easy Release 6-Quart Cooker
The last slow cooker on our list is the Crock-Pot 2100467 unit. It’s one of the best-performing models on the market and is fairly affordable, considering how powerful and reliable it is.
First of all, the control panel shows you the wealth of options you have when cooking. This multi-function cooker lets you sauté, slow cook, simmer, boil, make yogurt, cook rice, steam veggies, and pressure cook.
The locking lid keeps the pot closed and prevents spillages. It also means it can speed up the cooking time.
You can release the built-up steam during the pressure cooking process by pressing the “easy release” button. This will make the steam come out of the valve located on the other side of the pot, keeping your hands safe.
On top of that, you can also manually set the temperature, heat setting, and timer before you start cooking.
- Very roomy, making it a perfect choice for families
- It incorporates a lot of necessary safety features
- The wide array of cooking settings give you freedom when cooking
- Sometimes, food tends to stick to the bottom of the ceramic insert
Slow Cooker or Crock Pot?
In a nutshell, a crockpot and a slow cooker mean more or less the same thing. Crock-Pot was the name of the first brand manufacturing these “set it and forget it” kitchen appliances. “Slow cooker” is the generic name given to them.
Over the years, other brands have developed their gadgets and so the name of the first products stuck. It’s a bit like the distinction between Kleenex and tissue.
Instant Pot vs. Crock Pot
An Instant Pot looks a lot like a crockpot (or slow cooker), but they’re not the same thing. For starters, instant pots have a lot more setting than just the traditional “low,” “medium,” and “high.” They can pressure cook most of the time and even let you make yogurt.
How to Choose the Best Crock-Pot?: Buyer’s Guide
Still haven’t found the best crockpot for your needs? Don’t worry. With this checklist finding the right gadget for your home will be a breeze.
Many people ask themselves “What is the best size crock pot to buy?” Well, that depends on how many people you’re cooking for. Most models come in three-, four-, six-, and eight-quart sizes. For reference, keep in mind that one serving is usually around one-quart. So, for a family of four, we recommend getting a six-quart pot so that you can have enough for seconds or leftovers.
Ease of Use
Some of these gadgets are fairly complicated to use. The more different functions they have, the harder it will be to get them started, usually. If you’re not comfortable with techy kitchen gadgets, getting a minimalist three temperature-setting pot is a good idea. If you feel adventurous, why not try your luck with an Instant Pot?
Each model is different. How hot does a crock pot get? What temperature is low on a crock pot? This all depends on the maker! More often than not, you’ll find this information on the package or on the maker’s website online.
Quality of Materials
Choosing a good-quality pot starts with ensuring the materials are also good quality. Ceramic and stainless steel are the most common materials used. The best way to know if they’re sturdy and durable is to read customer reviews. Has anyone complained because their bowl insert cracked? Or because the outside of their pot melted?
Final Words: What Is the Best Crock-Pot to Buy?
Best manual crockpot: Crock Pot SCCPVL600S
Best programmable crockpot: Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set ‘n Forget Programmable Cooker
Most versatile slow cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1