And while many of you will be shopping for a slow cooker that can deliver hands-free, family-sized meals, there are models that can deliver single or smaller serves, too. We’ve trialled the best slow cookers you can buy from the top brands, from Crock-Pot, Hamilton Beach, and Cuisinart and more – no duds here. Many are multi-cookers that can pressure cook and roast as well, and which you’ll also find in our guide to the best Instant Pots. We’ve rated them for ease of use, functionality, cooking results (of course!), ease of cleaning and versatility. And, as you would expect, how they look and their price are factors, too. 

Best slow cooker 2023

Why you should buy it: Adjusts cooking time to be ready for your meal time; three settings plus manual.  The very clever Crock-Pot MyTime Slow Cooker can select the type of food you’re cooking (meat, poultry, soup, veggies) and the volume (under or over 2 pounds, for example) for automatically adjusted timings and temperatures. You can set the clock and use this to schedule your cooking ahead of time, which is perfect for those four-hour meals that you want to arrive home to without having to be in the house to set the slow cooker into motion in the afternoon.  This really removes the guesswork from cooking, too, but for experienced slow cooker users, there’s also the option to tap into manual mode for following recipes of your own.  Size-wise, the six-quart capacity is the perfect middle-ground for making family meals or cooking ahead. Its shape is also well-suited to ribs, pulled pork, and even a whole chicken. It, however, doesn’t have a lock-down lid for taking on the go. Its dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid makes for easy cleaning. Why you should buy it: A temperature probe adds an extra level of precision; lockable lid for potlucks.  True to its name, this Hamilton Beach slow cooker allows you to Set it and Forget it, until it’s time to serve. However, as well as the program mode, which is really useful for when you’re otherwise occupied, there’s the probe mode, and manual mode, for more experienced slow cook chefs.  More about the probe mode: if you’re cooking a big piece of meat, this function really comes into its own; simply insert the probe, set the meat temperature you want to reach and once it’s there, the slow cooker will automatically switch to ‘keep warm’ mode so that you don’t over (or under) cook your meal. One note: there’s no delay start feature if you’re looking to time the start of your recipe to dinner time, but it can cook or keep food warm for up to 14 hours, which we found just as convenient.  Why you should buy it: Lots of useful settings for making everything from stew to bread, and everything in between. Svelte design and easy-to-use controls.  What can’t this sophisticated-looking multi-cooker accomplish? Choose from slow cook, sear/sauté, steam, keep warm, sous vide, braise, bake, and proof. It also multi-functions as a Dutch oven (you can see our list of the best Dutch ovens if that’s piqued your interest in those, too), with a removable oven-safe cooking pot to finish off recipes for a delightful crisp, and plays double duty as an elegant serving dish.  It also features unique cooking technology that sends heat from the bottom and the sides for all-over even heating and releases steam to keep contents juicy.  This roomy 8.5qt. is great for cooking up large batches of chili or It comes with a recipe book too to inspire you on what to cook. Why you should buy it: Oven-safe ceramic insert that also works on electric and gas cooktops; great quality. Foodies like our testing team will love this slow cooker because you can remove the cooking pot to brown or sear food on your cooktop before slow cooking, or put the ceramic insert into the oven, perhaps if you’re putting a dish in the oven to brown.  We think the finish is undeniably high-quality, with simple but tactile controls and a dial to set the timer. There are three settings: high, low, and a keep-warm mode, too. The capacity is a mid-size 5.3 quarts, but the circular shape means the Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker is not suited to some cuts of meat such as turkey and pork shoulder. For chuck meat and chicken though, it’s perfect, and its non-stick coating makes it easy to clean, too.  Why you should buy it: a great slow cooker that’s a pressure cooker too.   While it’s not cheap, for a slow cooker with 14 cooking modes, we think the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is immensely good value. You can sauté your onions and beef before putting on the pressure cooker lid for some slow-cooked casserole.  There are modes for soup, stew, and chili, but there are also inserts to steam veggies and fish or pressure-cook meat for speedy meals. We loved that you can set your Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker to cook in advance, with a 24-hour timer that will ensure you come home to a hot meal or even wake up to some fresh-cooked oatmeal.  The dishwasher-safe bowl and lid also make cleaning amazingly straightforward. Why you should buy it: A family-sized buy at a no nonsense price.  If you love bringing your culinary creations to cookouts and family gatherings, the BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker is for you. It has a generous 7-quart capacity and the stoneware pot can go in the dishwasher.  You can cook up your mac and cheese, pulled pork, or chili in advance of an event and take it along in the BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker. Simply clip on the lid and it will be secure, even in the car. It’s also well-suited to serving because there is an in-built lid holder that means you can prop it open while people pile their plates high, and then hygienically place the lid back on the stoneware pot.  The chalkboard exterior is a unique perk, and you get two sticks of chalk included, which means you can write your recipe, or make a note of when you need to switch it off, with ease.  Why you should buy it: Perfect for one-dish meals. The Cuisinart MSC-800 Cook Central 4-in-1 Multi-Cooker has the dimensions of a roasting tray, which means it’s an excellent buy for complete, one-dish meals and generous servings. There are four modes in this slow cooker, and you can brown or saute meat and veggies without even having to take out the insert. The roasting temperature ranges from 250°F to 450°F, and there is a reversible roasting/steaming rack for added versatility, plus you can steam and brown up to 500°F. A retractable cord means the Cuisinart MSC-800 will not clutter up your counters. When the cooking is over, the lid and pot are dishwasher-safe.  Why you should buy it: Perfect for cooking ribs or large cuts of meat.  It has four settings: low, medium, high, and keep warm. The keep warm setting is ideal for keeping your meal at a safe temperature so that it’s ready to eat as soon as you are ready. With a digital timer for fully adjustable dishes, this slow cooker will show you exactly how long is left for your meal.  The ceramic dish is dishwasher-safe, which will mean you’re in for an easy cleanup. The glass lid can also go in the dishwasher, and it is perfect for keeping a watchful eye on your meal as it cooks.  The dish is not non-stick, so it may cause some sticking at the sides of the pot for stews and curries.  Why you should buy it: One of the smartest and most luxurious slow cookers on the market. For those who take slow cooking seriously, it’s got everything you could ask for.  You can cook rice, sear and saute meat, and even sous vide with the Wolf Gourmet slow cooker. It has a deep insert, meaning you could sous vide a wide range of items at any one time.  The classic red dial will allow you to select from manual settings as well as digital preset programs, too.  The stainless steel insert can be used on induction hobs, in the oven, and can go in the dishwasher. That’s a win because it’s not non-stick. On the plus side, the stainless steel material will make searing easy and pack in heaps of flavor. 

What is the best slow cooker?

Our top pick of the best slow cookers is the Crock-Pot MyTime Slow Cooker (opens in new tab). It allows you to schedule your meals well in advance and it also features a family-sized capacity. We also like the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker (opens in new tab) if you want a multi-cooker to tackle all your slow-cooking needs. If you like appliances for multi-tasking you can also take a look at the best toaster ovens in our roundup. 

Where to buy slow cookers

Should you buy a digital or a manual slow cooker?

Something to consider when buying a slow cooker is whether you’d prefer a digital or manual option.  A digital slow cooker will give you more control, allowing you to set timers and automatically switch to keep-warm settings.  If you don’t mind a slow cooker that requires a little more monitoring, a manual slow cooker will cost far less than its digital counterpart, and will still offer you numerous heat levels and a keep warm setting to keep your meal warm even if it’s finished cooking before dinner.  A slow cooker will turn hands-on recipes with plenty of preparation into speedy tasks that are finished at the touch of a button. While some of our top picks, from the likes of Calphalon, Cuisinart, and KitchenAid, come with smart digital controls, there are also manual options that can often be less expensive but do require more supervision as they will not switch off automatically.  In our guide, we’ve included both manual and digital slow cookers. While manual slow cookers are cheaper, they cannot be set on a timer or automatically switch to keep warm settings when done cooking, which means they need more supervision. Most slow cookers offer three heat settings – low, high, and keep warm, but some high-end digital slow cookers come with more features. For example, the Calphalon Digital Sauté has an oven-safe cooking pot that allows you to sear and oven-cook ingredients before slow cooking. This allows you to pack in the flavor and seal the moisture in your meat while still keeping your meals one-pot and easy to clean.  

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