What is the best slow cooker to buy in 2018? Slow Cookers are a popular appliance and a great addition to any kitchen. Sometimes referred to as a crock pot, they utilize a simmering method of cooking, which means that the temperature isn’t as high as with methods such as baking or boiling, and cooking time is longer, providing an amazing method of cooking stews, pot roasts, stews and casseroles as well as loads of other dishes. The reason so many people love this method is the fact that it can be done unattended. Shove the ingredients in and leave for however many hours and hey presto, a beautiful meal on the table whenever you want it. This method lets flavors really blend together and also turns meat so soft it will almost melt in your mouth!
Before we delve into listing down the best slow cookers to buy, below are some of the crucial guidelines, the 3 S-es to buying a great slow cooker that will fit your needs:
Quarts basically denote the size of your slow cooker. In the metric system, one quart is approximately 1 liter of liquid. The more quarts your slow cooker can hold, the more you can cook. This will depend on how many people you have to feed in your household. I chose a 7-quart slow cooker because I have a family of five and a large slow cooker fits my needs.
The shape of your slow cooker will help determine your decision as well. My personal opinion is that oval slow cookers are better than the round ones because you can actually cook whole birds of chicken in them. Imagine making roast chicken in your slow cooker?
Besides that, check out the other parts of a slow cooker’s anatomy. Are the handles sturdy? Is the lid see-through? That’s very important, so you can check on your food without lifting the lid and causing moisture to escape. If you’re very busy, which most of us are, make sure that your new slow cooker is easy to clean too!
The main reason for buying a slow cooker is to have the ability to cook great-tasting food unattended for long hours. Therefore, the settings of your slow cooker are paramount. Check out the timer. Is it digital or analog? Digital is generally more accurate. What about temperature settings? It should have at least three, low, medium and high.
Ask about a keep warm mode. Keep warm mode keeps your food warm even after you have finished cooking it. Settings are important. The basic slow cooker should have at least those, and the more advanced (and expensive) ones might even be programmable with manual modes for optimum food quality.
Here are the best slow cookers to buy in 2018;
2Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
3Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker
3Cuisinart PSC-400 Programmable Slow Cooker
Below are more details on each of the slow cookers highlighted above. Hopefully this guide helps you make an informed decision on the right slow cooker to buy.
If you’re tired of using and cleaning the same kitchen utensils over and over again then the Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker may just be the solution to your problems. This versatile device will allow you to saute veggies, brown various types of meat and slow cook all kinds of comfort food using just one unit. So if you’ve made a hobby of cooking then this is one device that you should definitely add to your kitchen cabinet.
Key Features of Cuisinart MSC-600
Clear Glass Lid Plus Handle
This particular feature is useful for checking on the progress of each dish without having to worry about opening the lid.
The Cuisinart Multi-Cooker’s steaming features will allow you to place your ingredients on an elevated position, so as to prepare them for steaming.
Aluminum Cooking Pot
The non-stick aluminum cooking pot allows for the even distribution of heat around the cooker, so to make your food tastier. This special feature will allow you to brown and saute your various ingredients right within the unit itself.
The Cuisinart Multi-Cooker’s removal parts can be cleaned in a dishwasher. This also includes the steaming rack, and it’s worth remembering that each of these parts have a 3 year warranty. So if ever one of them breaks down, you can have them replaced quite easily.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker offers excellent lighting for its various controls. A sizable back-lit LCD display allows users to read the time and temperature settings even under the least illuminating conditions.
Who Should Buy This Item?
The Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker was designed specifically for people who enjoy experimenting with various cooking techniques. By allowing users to cook different types of food using only one tool, users are not only able to save money (since they won’t need to buy different types of cooking tools), they also have fewer items to clean, once they’re done cooking. So if you’re the kind of person who enjoys cooking different types of food in different ways then you should give the Cuisinart Multi-cooker a try.
Easy To Use: Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker allows users to cook in different ways using only one pot. This sort of feature is ideal for people who enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and cooking them in different ways.
Because of the Multi-cooker’s versatility, users will no longer have to worry about cleaning their pots and pans very often.
Cleaning the Multi-cooker itself is very easy, and can be done without even taking up the entire counter. Also, because the various parts are removable, cleaning each one of them is relatively easy as well
Cooking the same foods using the same cooker means that you will have to clean this item thoroughly, because if you don’t, some of the smells from previous ingredients might affect the smell and taste of your future meals. For example, if you tried steaming fish using the multi-cooker previously then you better clean the steaming rack thoroughly or your next meal might smell a little fishy.
Although the Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker is relatively easy to clean, it is possible that certain smells may be left behind from previous ingredients. Because of this, it’s best not to take any chances. Keep cleaning the Multi-cooker until it smells completely clean.
Value for Money
Considering the versatility of this device, getting value for your money is certainly not an issue. The Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker can function just as well as most cooking tools, so it really is multi-purpose and well worth money. The steaming and slow cooking functions are very popular among users, and most users have remarked that how they often enjoy the taste of their food when cooked using this device. Although not everyone needs a multi-cooker, there are some who consider cooking a hobby, and it is those people who should buy the Cuisinart Multi-cooker.
2Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
The Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker from Hamilton Beach comes with not just one, but three different cooking modes for manual (traditional) slow cooking, timed (programmed) slow cooking, or fully-automatic cooking with the probing thermometer anytime. Let’s take a closer look at this innovative slow cooker and its other distinctive features:
Cooking Customization Made Easy
The unique touchpad control panel of the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker provides several options for a total cooking customization. It has a wide 2” digital screen display which indicates the actual or programmed temperature settings and the countdown timer. Even at a distance, the clear display of its digital screen will let you know the selected functions and let you monitor your food conveniently. Its touchpad interface are also easy to use despite being a little more complicated than the usual 3-point control dials found on traditional slow cookers.
Functional and Stylish Appliance
The Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker has a stylish, 7.5 inch tall, 18.5-inch wide and 12-inch-deep stainless-steel and black encasing finish. But more than just an aesthetically pleasing piece of appliance in your kitchen, the Hamilton Set n Forget Slow Cooker is also fully-functional. It has a pair of stay-cool, metal handles which are securely riveted at the sides and extends far enough from the cookware to avoid getting burned when holding or lifting it. Another wonderful feature is the clip tight gasket lid which enables a ready meal to the dinner table. This also makes it perfect for tailgating parties or pot luck suppers without the worries of spilling your food. For a no-rattle operation, the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker also has a nice cushion for the lid even during extended simmers.
Features and Specifications
- three separate cooking modes for easier cooking – Manual, Timed, and Probe
- Includes thermometer probe for meat and other food choices
- Clip-tight gasket lid to avoid spillage while carrying or transferring food
- 2 side clips that secures the glass lid in place
- Power failure protection
- Stay cool side handles extend far enough to prevent burning when holding or lifting
- Rubber gasket support to keep the food and ingredients within the cookware
- Rubber bottom cushion to keep the appliance in place
- Comes with user manual and recipes
- Measures 16 inches by 10.4 inches by 16.1 inches
- Weighs 15 pounds
Customer Scores and Reviews
There is a total of 706 customer reviews of the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker on Amazon at the time of writing. These customers awarded the product with an average of 4.3 out of a possible 5 star rating.
While most of the customer reviews about the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker are favorable, some users warned that the control panel can get pretty complicated. However, following the user manual and taking the time and effort to familiarize how it works isn’t really difficult and it won’t take long to get accustomed to it. Overall, the customers who reviewed the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker highly recommend it.
3Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker
The Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker with 2, 4, and 6-Quart Crocks is one of the most versatile slow cookers on the market but comes to you at a price that is identical to other standard cookers. The reason it is so versatile is it comes with 3 different size crock pots. You get a 2 quart, 4 quart and a 6 quart crock pot and a compatible lid which fits all three. This is ideal if you just want to make a meal for yourself or alternatively want to cook for the whole family. The Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker with 2, 4, and 6-Quart Crocks will do just that.
The main features that come with this slow cooker are similar to other cookers. It has variable heat settings depending on whether you want to cook something fast or leave it overnight. All three cocks and the lid are dishwasher safe so it’s easy to clean them. They all slot inside each other too, so when not in use it doesn’t take up any extra space. But then you just choose the size you need and away you go!
Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker with 2, 4, and 6-Quart Crocks Features
• Extremely versatile slow cooker that comes with three different size crocks, 2 quart, 4 quart and a 6 quart.
• 3 different heat settings allow for flexibility on how fast you want to cook your food.
• Dishwasher safe lid fits all 3 crocks which are also suitable for the dishwasher.
• All 3 crocks slot inside each other for compact storage.
• The size is approx 15 x 9 x 15 inches.
Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker with 2, 4, and 6-Quart Crocks Reviews
We found 87 reviews for this product from people who have actually bought it. Of those 87 reviews, 75 of them gave it at least 4 stars out of 5. A total of 58 people gave it the full 5 out of 5. So on average we can safely say that most people who buy this product are extremely happy with how it works and how reliable it is.
Of all the positive reviews we read, it seems people just love the versatility you get with having the 3 different size crocks. It makes it easier to make various types of foods without having to use a large one for no reason or trying to fit too much food into a small one.
Of the negative reviews, it seems some units have failed after a year or two for some people. These are isolated cases and it has only happened to a few people who have reported it.
From what we have read, the vast majority of buyers of the Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Slow Cooker with 2, 4, and 6-Quart Crocks are absolutely delighted with their purchase. The unit works well and the 3 different size crocks are a great addition. We recommend this product for people who want that extra bit of flexibility with their cooking.
3Cuisinart PSC-400 Programmable Slow Cooker
Cuisinart is one of the most trusted names in household appliances and kitchen, and this Cuisinart slow cooker is sure to be one that pleases. In this Cuisinart PSC-400 review, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the model, its specifications and features, and why you might want to consider bringing one home for yourself as well.
As the name implies, this is a fully programmable slow cooker, which adds great flexibility and convenience to your meal preparation at home. It has a 24-hour programmable cook time, as well as an LCD cook time countdown timer to make it as intuitive and easy to work with as possible.
All types of foods can be prepared with this Cuisinart slow cooker. It has three separate cooking modes that can fit the bill for different applications, allowing you to cook on low or high, or to simmer cook. It also has an auto keep-warm function which shifts on as soon as the cook time has ended, so your meals will always be fresh and ready to eat.
Another important point with this Cuisinart PSC-400 review is that it’s extremely easy to handle and work with. It has cool-touch chrome handles so you never burn yourself, and the lid and the pot can both be cleaned in the dishwasher. It also features retractable cord storage, nonslip rubber feet, wrap-around heating elements for even cooking and more, making it a complete and well rounded slow cooker.
Here are some specific features and highlights from this Cuisinart slow cooker:
- Programmable slow cooking features
- Three different modes: simmer, low and high, as well as auto keep-warm
- Stainless steel housing, glass lid with stainless steel rim
- Cool-touch chrome plated handles
- Dishwasher safe lid and pot
- Also includes a recipe book
While most consumers have been happy with this model, there have been some complaints that the temperature can get too high, and therefore food can get overcooked. But, it’s important to note that that is probably due to misuse of the product. One reviewer notes the real issue, which they learned the hard way, “Avoid filling a slow cooker only 1/2 way. Try to fill it at least 2/3, or you will likely overcook your food.”
Ultimately, it’s hard to go wrong with a trusted brand and manufacturer like Cuisinart. This Cuisinart slow cooker isn’t the cheapest model on the market, but it’s accessibly priced, convenient and can help you put together some great, easy meals.
What You Need To Know About Slow Cookers
Slow cookers as we know them are relatively recent as an invention, having only been with us since the 70s. The design is usually a ceramic or porcelain pot, oval in shape, with a housing that provides heat to the cooker, and will come with different capacities, from relatively small to absolutely huge, as well as different heat settings for different speeds. As with all the different kitchen appliances we can get today, loads of manufacturers are putting their own hat in the ring which means varying features, competing models and a lot of choice, which we are here to try and decipher on our best Slow Cooker guide by picking out the best, most reliable and top value for money on the market today.
Anyway, slow cookers are ideal for cooking soups and stews. But if you oven is occupied by another long-cooking dish, you can use slow cooker as another oven or burner. This helps.
While you using slow cooker to cook, it’s important to know that meats will not brown in the slow cooker, so any recipes requiring browned meat will need to brown the meat in a skillet before placing it in the slow cooker. This is something that you might want to know when you are using slow cooker to cook meat.
Besides that, it’s also helpful to know that slow cooker can’t use it for reheating because the slow cooker will cook gradually before hitting the cooking temperature, this give the bacteria the chance to grow, so don’t use slow cooker for heating.
Well, don’t keep your finished dish in the slow cooker for long either – it will continue to cook for a while and overcook the food. And as you know, the slow cooker will not stay hot enough to prevent bacteria growth.
Advantages of Slow Cookers
- They can save you money! Cheap cuts of meat in fact taste better put in a stew or other slow cooked dish, the tissue and muscle fiber found on cheap meats will add a lot of flavor to a stew.
- You really can set your slow cooker and forget about it. The hazards of doing so are very low, and this is an extremely safe way to cook.
- You can’t really burn many foods cooking them in a slow cooker, as the temperatures don’t get high enough to do so.
- It really is the low maintenance way to cook! You can put everything in just one dish to save on the washing up afterwards, and because you’re just shoving everything in a pot you don’t need to worry about timing everything right, it will be cooked when it is cooked!
So, if you’re sold on the idea of a slow cooker (why wouldn’t you be!) then we can begin to look at some models and manufacturers, showing you excellent features and the choice that is available to you today.