Slow Cooker Buying Guide


Slow cookers have long been a must-have in the kitchen. These appliances distribute heat evenly and cook food at a steady temperature so it doesn't burn at the edges. With a slow cooker, you can cook meals throughout the day that stay moist and flavorful. The slow cooker helps lock in flavor and allows the ingredients to mingle, giving you a perfect bite every time. They can handle anything from a savory cheese dip for a party to a large chicken or roast. Look through your cookbook and consider some key features to find the best slow cooker for your kitchen.  

Why buy a new slow cooker?

New slow cookers have more temperature settings, allowing you to prepare your meals with precision.

Many new models come with a removable ceramic or metal insert that is dishwasher safe. This makes clean up a breeze.

Mini slow cookers are perfect for individual meals, but you might also want to pick up a larger model for family meals and parties.

Slow cookers are now available in a variety of designs and looks to complement your style. Pick up a sleek stainless steel model or an appliance in bright colors and designs that suit your


Features of new slow cookers

Slow cooker accessories

  • Slow cooker liners make clean up easy and can help even out hot spots.
  • Lid clips ensure heat and moisture are locked into the crock pot, and help prevent spills during travel.
  • Temperature probes allow you to track the internal temperature of large cuts of meat, ensuring your meal is fully cooked and safe to eat .

Cook Modes

  • The warm setting will sustain a very low temperature to keep items just hot enough without continuing to cook the dish
  • Low uses a level of heat that is best for cooking your meal over a period of eight to 10 hours
  • High typically cooks meals in a period of two to six hours

Types of Slow Cookers

Slow cooker

Available in sizes ranging from mini models that can warm a couple of cups of food to large sizes for the whole family, these are the perfect tool for cooking up all kinds of meals and sides from roasts to soups and dips.


  • Price range: $15-$95
  • Capacity: 2 cups to 8 quarts
  • Number of people served: 1-6
  • Cook modes: Warm, low and high  

A slow cooker is best for...

Roasts: Large slow cookers are great for cooking roasts because they can slowly cook them all day and keep them moist.


Cheese dip: For parties, a mini crock pot can keep your cheese dips melted and warm for hours without burning them.


Tri-slow cooker

These models feature three separately heated pots so you can cook chicken, veggies and a side soup at once and have an entire meal ready when you get home.

  • Price range: $35-$45
  • Capacity: 3 x 1.5 quarts-3 x 2.5 quarts
  • Number of people served: 3-4
  • Cook modes: Warm, low and high

A tri-slow cooker is best for...

Multi-part meals: You can cook three dishes that need separate temperatures, like a main course and sides, so you have a complete meal ready to go by the time you get home.

Buffet style meals: Create a buffet at home for large parties or family breakfasts by heating up different favorites in each crock pot.

Electric pressure cooker

Cook food quickly and precisely within a pressure sealed vessel. The high steam pressure inside the cooker lets food cook quickly and helps keep it moist and flavorful.

  • Price range: $90-$120
  • Capacity: 4-8 quarts
  • Number of people served: 4-6
  • Cook modes: Low and high pressure, slow cooking, rice, steam and brown

A pressure cooker is best for...

Beans and rice: The high pressure boiling environment cooks foods that typically take a long time to cook like beans and grains quickly while sealing in moisture to produce a tender end product.


Creating complex flavors: Some dishes and ingredients lose flavor when they're steamed traditionally, but a pressure cooker requires little extra liquid, and the high pressure helps flavors permeate ingredients like cuts of meat.

Bottom Line

If you make individual servings of soup or need to warm dips for parties, a mini slow cooker will be perfect for your needs. For a family meal, you might prefer a larger model of the traditional slow cooker so you can make plenty for everyone. Creating multi-part meals is efficient and easy with the help of a trio slow cooker. Either type of slow cooker will give you a convenient, hands-off cooking experience while you're out during the day or busy with other tasks around the house. Pressure cookers let you cook more quickly than a traditional slow cooker, and have modes suited to specific types of foods like beans and grains. Consider your favorite types of meals and how you prefer to cook to find the right appliance to fit your schedule and your lifestyle.