Slow cookers have been around for centuries, but not quite the way we envision them. Back in the day, a simmering cast iron pot full of food was the best way to tenderize tough meat. Later on, purpose-made Dutch ovens were all the rage with their capacious pot-like bottoms and high-hat tops. You could effectively say these were the first modern version of a slow cooker. They could cook enough food for a very large family and as long as the stove top was kept heated, they would keep on cooking. Slow cookers also go by the name of crock pots. These units are self contained with either a built-in heating unit that surrounds the entire crock or a heated base the crock rests on. They all heat up to a minimum of 200 degrees with some heating higher for faster cooking but even the lowest temperature is easily hot enough to kill salmonella bacteria.
Since slow cookers are considered family cookers, these selections will have at least a 4 quart capacity since the larger the crock, the more efficient it cooks since less heat is lost over the long run. This occurs because more ingredients inside store heat instead of releasing it. Smaller crocks bleed heat, so they run longer on the heating cycle and waste energy to compensate. Each of these slow cookers will give you a superior cooking ability since they evenly heat your food and maintain a precise temperature throughout, and all of the crocks themselves will be removable unlike outdated designs where the base and crock is one solid unit. Lastly, all of these slow cookers will feature a minimum one year, limited manufacturer’s warranty, unless otherwise stated in the description,
The West Bend 84905 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker is a heated base unit with a removable crock and five temperature settings accessed with a rotary dial. The crock is dishwasher safe and can be used as a Dutch oven on any stove top while the sturdy base can be damp wiped cleaned. Read Full Review
For simplicity and versatility, the West Bend 84905 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker makes it right to the top of this list. Easy to use and dishwasher safe, it doesn't get any better than this slow cooker. This options has a heated base that the crock sits on; the heat rises evenly through the food, cooking it completely and thoroughly. It has a rotary temperature dial with 5 settings, but for most meals, leave it on 3 and let this cooker handle the rest.
To warm leftovers, turn it to setting one, and if you want your food cooked for lunch, turn the dial to setting five. The actual crock can be removed for dishwashing, the base can be damp wiped clean and better still, the crock doubles as a Dutch oven that can be placed on the stove top. The West Bend 84905 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker is also one of the lower priced units on this list.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S Countdown Slow Cooker with Stove-Top Browning allows you to program the time in when you want your food done. The crock is removable for browning food on a stove top before putting it back into the crock for final cooking. This appliance is also dishwasher safe and the base unit can be damp wiped clean. Read Full Review
If having a programmable slow cooker is your thing, than check out the Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S Countdown Slow Cooker with Stove-Top Browning, the easiest to use programmable option on this list. The Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S Countdown Slow Cooker has a removable, dishwasher-safe crock while the heated unit itself surrounds the entire crock for even-heating while your food cooks. The crock can be removed to brown, saut, or sear on a regular stove, and then placed back into the base unit for final cooking. This unit features a countdown timer that goes off when the food has been cooked as well as programmable for any time setting. Say for example you want your meal done in four hours; simply set the timer and it will automatically adjust to the correct temperature to have your meal ready when the timer goes off.
The Bella BLA13898 Diamonds Collection Manual Slow Cooker, 6-Quart is as close to the original slow cooker ideal as possible with a dishwasher-safe removable crock and glass cover. There are three essential temperature dial settings (low, high and warm) and it’s the most affordable option on our list. Read Full Review
Just like the slow cookers of yesteryear, the Bella BLA13898 Diamonds Collection Manual Slow Cooker, 6-Quart is a no frills unit that still cooks as good as higher-end options. This retro-looking slow cooker has no bells or whistles. Instead, it just has a straightforward three-setting rotary dial with low and high temperature functions along with a warmer mode to keep food heated while serving. This is the lowest priced unit here, yet the crock is removable and dishwasher safe. If all you want is a basic, easy-to-use slow cooker, your search ends here.
The Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Stay Or Go Slow Cooker is the only portable slow cooker on this list. The cover latch secures tightly and won't allow any of the ingredients to spill out. The hinged lid keeps the cover from being misplaced, and the straightforward warm/low/high dial makes cooking easy. Read Full Review
The Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Stay Or Go Slow Cooker can be taken anywhere thanks to a latch over the top to keep tasty contents sealed inside until you reach your destination. It’s great for pot-luck lunches, parties, get togethers at friends, or anytime you want to take your cooking with you. The folding side handles make carrying easy while the dial control has simple warm/low/high settings. The crock, latch and lid are dishwasher safe, and unlike our other options, the lid is hinged to keep the cover in place no matter where you’re headed.
The Westinghouse WSC801RD Metallic Slow Cooker with 0.6-Quart Sauce Warmer, 8-Quart offers the cooking versatility of two separate crocks. Use the large crock for your main meal while the smaller crock heats sauce, melts butter/chocolate, or keeps gravy warm and ready. They’re both removable and are dishwasher easy to clean. Read Full Review
If there was going to be a most bang for the buck category, this versatile slow cooker combo takes the cake. The Westinghouse WSC801RD Metallic Slow Cooker comes with a big eight quart main crock and a smaller crock to heat up such things as sauces or dips and you can even melt chocolate too. The controls are a simple dial control with low, high, and warm settings. All day cooking is set on low, half day cooking is set on high, and when serving, set to warm. The mini-crock is just a preset-temperature plug-in unit which warms up side-dishes so they’re ready to serve when needed. Both crock pots are removable from the base, and they come in metallic red to add little pizzazz to wherever they’re placed.