Best Slow Cooker 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Slow-cookers, also known as crock pots, have become a very popular countertop appliance for the kitchen. They are a highly convenient and easy way to make delicious home cooked meals just like your granny used to, with minimum effort. Usually with two or three heat settings – low, medium and high – you can simply chop up your ingredients, add them to the pot and leave them cooking, so your dinner is ready when you get home. They can be used for all sorts of dishes, from soups and stews to roasts and desserts.

A standard model is comprised of a round or oval slow cooking pot with a lid. They are generally made from ceramic or porcelain materials with a metal casing and glass lid. Inside, your ingredients are cooked at atmospheric pressure – not to be confused with pressure cooking. There is no risk of a sudden pressure release with a slow-cooker.

Our team of savvy experts have tried, tested and reviewed dozens of models. We’ve listed our pick here so you can easily make a decision about which slow cooker to purchase next.

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Slow CookerImageSizeCostShapeTypeFeaturesMaterialsAR RatingBuy Now
Crock Pot 2.4L Slow Cookercrock-pot-slow-cooker2.4 litres£RoundManual- Temp: low and high
- Dishwasher-safe
- Energy-efficient
Removable stoneware pot Tempered glass lid8.0/10
Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew Morphy Richard Slow Cooker Review3.5 litres£OvalManualTemp: low, med and high
- Cool-touch handles
Stainless steel Removable ceramic inner bowl8.0/10
Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi Cookertefal-multi-cooker2.2 litres£RoundProgrammable- 8-in-1 cooking options
- Delayed start and keep-warm function
- Digital display control panel
Stainless steel Non-stick removable bowl8.5/10
Morphy Richards Oval Slow Cookermorphy-richards-oval-slow-cooker6.5 litres£OvalManualTemp: low, medium and high
- Dishwasher-safe
- Non-slip feet and cool-touch handles
Ceramic bowl Toughened glass lid8.0/10
Crock-Pot CSC026 Duraceramic Saute5 litres££RoundManual with timerTemp: low, high and keep-warm
- Sautue feature
Removable die-cast aluminium pot 10/10

Our Top Pick

Crock-Pot

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker, 2.4 Litre - White Review

Crock-Pot is the original and best-known brand of slow-cooker, launched in North America in 1971.

The stoneware inner pot is removable with a rinse-clean coating, so you can clean it easily and even put it in the dishwasher. The lid is tempered glass with cool-touch handles – this is a very useful feature to look out for as it allows you to touch the appliance without burning yourself. To reheat leftovers, you can simply remove the lid and put the pot straight into the oven. Our only gripe with this crock-pot is that there is no signal light to let you know that it’s working – so for the first few minutes it’s hard to tell if anything is happening. However, you soon find out when the pot begins to heat up.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Excellent value
We Didn't Like:
  • Internal pot is a little heavy
  • Lack of indicator light
Crock-Pot
80 %

Our Verdict: This no-frills 2.4 litre model is well suited for one or two people and has two simple settings – high and low – depending on how quickly you want your food to cook. It could be anywhere between 2-10 hours.

Rating: 8/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Capacity of 2.4 L, suitable for up to two people
  • Features two settings – low and high
  • Removable stoneware pot with rinse-clean coating; dishwasher safe
  • Tempered glass lid with cool touch handles
  • Comes with 2 year limited warranty

Crock-Pot user manual

Download the Crock-Pot manual

Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew

Morphy Richard Slow Cooker ReviewThis slow cooker is one of the industry favourites and has been created for simple use, it’s easy to utilise the features, easy to clean and can be used for a whole host of meals. Crock pots have become increasingly popular for good reason with them being versatile and hassle-free but Morphy Richards have again exceeded all expectation with this red innovative product.

You can sear, stew or slow cook in this appliance and it adds a new dimension to your kitchen capabilities, simply put on the food and leave it to soak up the flavours and slowly reach completion. This particular item is one with three heat settings, a lightweight design and a non-stick aluminium pot. You can cook and serve from the same pot plus washing is made super simple with the removable pot that can be washed in the sink or dishwasher.

It boasts a capacity of 3.5 litres and serves up to four people ensuring that you can make food for the family without stress- it contains a durable design and has a transparent, tough lid perfect for checking over your brewing recipe.

It’s perfect for everyday use and has been created to go the distance with a resilient yet functioning structure that makes for ideal use, capitalise with the removable lid, detachable inner-pot and has different cooking options for stews and soups.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • It’s versatile and can be used by all with it’s amazing features
  • Has a removable lid that is transparent ensuring you can check on your food
  • Nice design and looks good in on the counter or surface
We Didn't Like:
  • It is easy to scratch the inside of the pan
Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew
80 %

Our Verdict: A simple, easy to use option for everyday use.

Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew Rating: 8/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Serves 3-4 people and has a 3.5 litre capacity
  • Three heat settings with low, medium and high
  • Transparent, removable glass lid

Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew user manual

Download the Morphy Richard Accents 48702 Sear and Stew user manual here.

Top Multi-Functional Model

Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi-Cooker

Tefal RK302E15 Review

Its capacity is similar to the aforementioned crock-pot, but this option is programmable, like the Andrew James model. Its delayed start function lets you choose the start time, and it has an automatic keep-warm function once it’s finished slow cooking, so your meal is still hot – but not overcooked – when you come to serve it.

The inner bowl is non-stick and is removable, therefore easy to clean. It is also dishwasher safe. This model comes with a free recipe booklet to give you some inspiration – from slow cooked chilli to porridge.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Many functions in one
  • Useful digital features
  • Dishwasher-safe
We Didn't Like:
  • You can only cook one thing at a time
  • Not as good as a dedicated option
Tefal RK302E15 8-in-1 Multi Cooker
85 %

Our Verdict: The Tefal Multi-Cooker is really much more than just a slow cooker, as it has other functions as well, including rice cooking, steaming and even baking.

Tefal RK302E15 Rating: 8.5/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Black and stainless steel finish
  • Multi-cooker for all your favourite dishes
  • 8-in-1 cooking options in one product
  • Capacity: 10 cups (2.2 L)
  • Delayed start and automatic keep warm function

Tefal RK302E15 user manual

Download the Tefal RK302E15 product manual

Top Family Model

Morphy Richards Oval

Morphy Richards Oval Slow Cooker Review

It holds 6.5 litres, which will make several portions of food. You can easily fit a whole chicken or leg of lamb into this appliance, and it will come out incredibly tender and falling off the bone. It’s also great for stews, casseroles, curries and all the usual recipes.

This Morphy Richards model has a toughened glass lid and both the bowl and lid are perfectly fine to go in the dishwasher. You can also place this straight onto the table to serve. This model also looks really nice, with a polished stainless steel outer casing and oval shape – the perfect shape for slow cooking bigger cuts of meat.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Non-slip feet and cool-touch handles
  • Perfect for roasts
  • Dishwasher-safe
We Didn't Like:
  • Medium setting not really necessary
  • Cooks a little on the hot side compared to others
Morphy Richards Oval Slow Cooker
80 %

Our Verdict: This is the perfect family slow cooker, and the biggest (in terms of capacity) on our list.

Morphy Richards Oval Rating: 8/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Toughened glass lid to monitor cooking without letting heat escape
  • Dishwasher proof
  • Non-slip feet and cool-touch handles

Morphy Richards Oval user manual

Download the Morphy Richards Oval product manual

Top Sauté Model

Crock-Pot CSC026 Duraceramic Saute

Crock-Pot CSC026 ReviewThis small appliance is the perfect cook for all of your family with its large pot that can accommodate up to five litres of your gorgeously stewed recipes. The concept is one that’s been met with great enthusiasm from many customers and subsequently slow cookers are growing in popularity, this crock-pot in particular is one that’s received some great reviews for its auto keep warm function.

Crock-Pot are the pioneers of the original slow cooker and that shows in the creation of this item with it’s full-circle of technology and features. It provides a digital display with a countdown, an irrepressible pot and different heat settings. The fantastic thing about this slow cooker is its auto warm feature that means you can rest assured when leaving your meal cooking all day, it doesn’t overheat or burn it just keeps it warm for your return.

Despite it being more expensive than the entry-level products that you now see in many big stores, this large pot is one that is well worth its money.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Ideal for a big family or for entertaining with a big pot
  • A countdown display notifying of how long is left to go
  • Looks good and matches all kitchens
We Didn't Like:
  • Unsure whether the pot can be placed in a dishwasher
Crock-Pot CSC026
100 %

Our Verdict: A lot of product for your money here with the display, settings, removable lid, spacious pot and different qualities.

Crock-Pot CSC026 Rating: 10/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Digital timer with LED countdown display
  • Oven safe transparent lid and removable pot
  • Automatic keep warm feature
  • Stores up to 5 litres

Crock-Pot CSC026 user manual

Download the Crock-Pot CSC026 user manual here.

 

Was this article helpful? What slow cooker would you choose and why?

The beauty of using a slow cooker is that delicious meals are created using very little effort. You just add the ingredients and leave the cooker to do its thing. Some are better than others for different functions, so the right one for you depends on how many of you will use it and what sort of cooking you want to use it for.

Slow Cooker Buying Guide

Cost

Compared to other kitchen appliances, slow cookers are actually on the cheaper side. They are more energy-efficient than ovens, and allow you to use cheaper cuts of meat because the slow cooking tenderizes them so well. Depending on the model you choose, you should expect to pay anything from £15 to £80 for your slow cooker. On the more expensive end, what you’re paying for are the extra features, things like a searing function, digital controls and timer options. For some these are highly useful, but they are not necessary for everyone. The basic models will still serve you well for a tasty stew or casserole.

Size

Bear in mind that the litre value advertised won’t be the same as the quantity of food that the slow cooker will make, as you should only fill the pot by around two thirds. As a guide, here are the recommended sizes per number of people:

  • Small pot for 1-2 people = 1.5-3 litres
  • Medium pot for 3-4 people = 3-5 litres
  • Large pot for 5 or more people = 5-6.5 litres

If you’re going to be using your pot to do lots of family cooking, or if you like to cook in bulk, then a 6-litre pot is a good size to aim for. If it’s mostly just the two of you, you could make do with a smaller pot of around 3.5 litres.

Shape

The right shape for you depends on what you will mostly want to use the appliance for. Round models do a better job at cooking stews and curries, so if you will mainly be using it for these then you can stick to a round pot. However, oval pots are a better choice for cooking a whole chicken or a rack of lamb, for example, as it’s an easier shape for fitting in these large pieces, and it will work perfectly fine for a stew as well.

Digital vs. Manual

There are two variations of slow cooker – digital or manual. A digital modelis one that allows you to choose and program your cooking time. These often have a keep-warm setting that they switch to when the timer ends, so you don’t come home to a cold dinner. Manual cookers are more simple – you just switch it to the desired setting – high or low – and it will keep going until you turn it off. With manual cookers you shouldn’t really leave them, so if you will leave it running all day you would be better off with a digital option.

Functions

Here are some common useful functions:

  • Keep-warm setting: does what it says on the tin – keeps your food warm once cooked
  • Timer: switches the appliance off after a certain amount of time, so you don’t have to monitor it
  • Indicator light: lets you know that the appliance is working (they can take a while to warm up)
  • Auto-cook: the appliance starts on high to get things going then drops to a lower temperature for the remainder of the cooking time (mostly found on the more expensive models)
  • Sear function: means you can use the same machine to brown meats and vegetables before cooking them, to speed up the process

Materials

Most crock pots are ceramic, porcelain or metal, which are all good at conducting heat. A lot of it is down to personal preference. The main thing is to find one with a removable pot, as it makes cleaning much easier. If you use a dishwasher, make sure it’s dishwasher-safe. Transparent glass lids (avoid clear plastic) are also preferable, as it means you can see how the food is getting on without taking the lid off and letting the heat out.

Slow Cooking FAQs

What is the temperature of a slow cooker?

With a slow cooker you simply set the temperature to low or high. There are no degrees or in-betweens – it either cooks quickly on a high heat or slowly on a low heat. When set to low, the heating element in the appliance gives out less heat, and vice versa. If you’re going to leave it overnight or during the day, it is better to leave it on low.

How do you use a slow cooker?

Using these appliances is ridiculously easy. You prepare the ingredients and add them to the cooker, making sure it’s filled by no more than two-thirds. Liquid should come about halfway up, or slightly less, depending on what you’re making – bear in mind that it won’t evaporate much. Then you set it to cook and it slowly cooks the food, usually taking between 3-8 hours depending on which heat setting you’ve chosen.

When was the first crock pot made?

The first brand to come out was Crock-Pot in 1971. Slow cookers gradually grew in popularity throughout the rest of the 1970s, particularly as more women started having careers and spending less time at home.

What are the best recipes?

A lot of slow cookers that you buy online will come with a free recipe book or pamphlet to help give you some initial inspiration. Slow cookers are famously good for cooking meat – beef, lamb, gammon, pork, even a whole chicken can be done in the slow cooker. They are also incredible devices for stews, casseroles, curries and hotpots. Another popular choice is overnight porridge. There are countless recipes available, both online and in cookbooks, and you can adapt many traditional recipes for the crock pot too.

Which is the ultimate recipe book?

There are several excellent recipe books out there. These three are particularly popular buys and will set you on the right track:

Are slow cooker meals healthy?

Any meal is only as healthy as the ingredients you use to make it. There are several excellent suggestions on the BBC Good Food website. The novel thing about the slow cooking process is that it retains the moisture in food and helps to keep nutrients locked in – rather than losing them, as is common with cooking methods such as boiling, for example. So happily, slow cooker recipes tend to be both delicious and nutritious!

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