This Review covers 25 Electric Slow Cookers which we consider the best value for money in year 2016. They are divided into the following 5 categories:
- Premium High-End Products
- High-End Products
- Mid-Range Products
- Economy Products
- Budget Range
5 Best Premium High-End Slow Cookers
5 Best High-End Slow Cookers
5 Best Mid-Range Slow Cookers
5 Best Economy Slow Cookers
5 Best Budget Slow Cookers
*Note: Values in fields “User Rating” and “No of Reviews” may change with time. These charts show information valid as of the publication date of this Review.
What To Look for When Buying a Slow Cooker
Before you choose to buy a particular product, consider few of the product features first. Selecting the right cooker can save you commonly occurring post-purchase anxiety or a need to buy some different model later in the future.
You should look at the following 3 areas:
- General Product Features
- Features Specific to Your Requirements
- Few Other Things
1. General Product Features
We advise you to evaluate the following 2 product features (they normally apply to any model; regardless of what you intend to use it for):
Slow Cooker Pots come in 3 most common materials. Cheaper models feature aluminium pots with non-stick coating. From experience these are also the least durable.
Aluminium pots tend to peel-off after some time. You will need to replace them then or buy new products since it may prove difficult to obtain spare parts. At the same time don’t forget that pots with the pealed-off coating may leak aluminium into the food which can pose certain health risks.
Better quality Slow Cookers come with ceramic pots. These are better than aluminium lasting almost 4 times longer.
Ceramic plates are not manufactured with any harmful substances like PFOA or PTFE which are used in standard non-stick coatings. This is their main advantage compared to aluminium pots (and other aluminium cookware as well).
Another advantage of ceramic plates is that they distribute heat more readily as well as evenly, thus shortening the cooking times. You can usually save up to 20% of time.
Third common types are the stoneware pots. Similarly as ceramic pots, stoneware pots do not contain any potentially harmful substances. The good news is that even the cheapest models these days come with stoneware pots.
Some models may also come with stainless steel or pure non-coated aluminium, even though these are very rare today. I would expect bare aluminium pots only in the cheapest models or in products marketed in some Asian warehouses. Surprisingly, aluminium cookware is still quite common in many Asian countries.
Most products come with standard 1-Year Warranty, although few offer up to 3-Year Warranty, especially Cuisinart Slow Cookers.
Slow Cookers are not too expensive appliances, so even if they stop working after one year, it shouldn’t cost a fortune to replace them. However, if you have environmental awareness or prefer not to buy new appliances every year or so, then choosing model with a longer warranty does make sense.
2. Features Specific to Your Requirements
Different recipes will require their own temperature. Better models offer variable temperature controls which allow setting your desired temperature precisely on Digital Displays in degrees Fahrenheit.
Cheaper models usually have only 2 or 3 heat controls clock-style knob, letting you choose the temperature only as low, medium or high heat setting.
Even though not very common feature, some Slow Cookers come with a probe. Temperature probes will help you ensuring that your food won’t become over- or under-cooked.
If you plan to use your Slow Cooker at home for just one or two people then small volume of 3 to 4-Quart will be more than enough.
For restaurants or larger families we recommend a product with minimum volume of 6-Quart. This will allow you to serve food for all your guests at the same time.
The worst thing that can happen during a party is when you have to cook the same meal twice. While the first half of your guests is eating and the other half is waiting. You can easily avoid that with a larger Slow Cooker.
Programmability is a very handy feature. You can set your desired temperate plus specify the cooking time and leave the cooker do the rest.
With this option you won’t need to keep watching the time or cooking progress. After the cooking is complete, the cooker will automatically switch itself to a “warm” mode. This will keep your food hot and ready to serve at any time.
3. Few Others Things
There are few more features worth considering which may determine the product quality, usability and finally its lifespan (not breaking down after a few months).
One of those things is a country where the product was manufactured.
Products made in the USA or Europe (countries like Germany, France, Switzerland or Italy) are usually of better quality than those made in China. I know, there aren’t many manufacturing plants left in the developed world these days, but few still exist. If you can get such product, then get it.
However, take this rule only as a general guide, not something written in stone. This might have been largely truth in the past. Chinese plants are getting better and many higher-end products manufactured in China today are of good quality.
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