You can decide for yourself which crock pot is the best for your needs. When you find the right one, you will totally be hooked on slow cooking. It makes meals so easy to do and even non-cooks can do a great job of making a tasty meal.
How I Picked The Winners
I was actually looking to replace my 10+ year old crock pot that was still working, but not very well. I knew there were things I was looking for in a new slow cooker but I had no idea there were so many options out there.
It’s amazing what slow cookers can do now a days. It makes them even more of a “must have” for your kitchen.
With so many options though, I had to research a lot of different slow cookers to figure out what the best cooker is for the money. I wanted one that had the least amount of complaints and the most amount of customer satisfaction.
I came up with a list of the top 5 slow cookers. Many of them have special features that other slow cookers on the market don’t have.
Fore me personally, I wanted one that would automatically switch to warm after it finished cooking as I have a family that eats at different times. It’s also good if you know you won’t be home in time to turn it off when it’s done.
I wanted one with adjustable settings. My old crock pot only had 2 settings, high and low. It would be great to have several more settings or better yet, one that could be adjustable for a wide range of temperatures.
Though not mandatory, it would be nice to have a cooker that can be used on the stove first to brown the meat and veggies (like onions).
Of course just about all the newer models have an cooker insert that lifts out for easy cleaning and serving. I wanted that and the lid too to be dishwasher safe.
It would also be nice to have some decent handles as my old crock pot didn’t have any handles at all.
I didn’t need to have everything listed. I would have been happy with just some of them. Surprisingly though, I found several models that had all these features and more. Also surprisingly, most were relatively inexpensive, with many being under $50.
After I picked my new slow cooker, I decided to get 2 more for my 2 daughters for Christmas. Though they are young and relatively inexperienced with cooking, crock pot cooking is something just about anyone can do with great results.
Comparisons of Top 5 Slow Cookers
West Bend 84915 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker Review
What I did and didn’t like about this slow cooker
I liked that there were so many good reviews for the product with few bad ones.
I’ll talk about the pros below but I think my favorite thing about this appliance is it’s several kitchen appliances in one. You can use it as a griddle or use it on the stove top or in the oven, and of course as a crock pot too.
Stove, Oven and Freezer Safe – This is one of the most kitchen friendly slow cookers out there. You can freeze food in it (Hint* If you have leftovers,that you want to use for another meal in the future, just freeze the cooking pot with the food in it. When it’s frozen, pop out the frozen food and transfer it to a gallon size freezer bag and put back in the freezer. Next time you want it, you can pull out the food and either pop it in the microwave or put it back in the slow cooker and warm up on the stove, oven or slow cooker).
Another great thing about being able to use it on the stove top is you can brown your meat and veggies first on the stove before adding the remaining ingredients and switch to slow cooker setting.
Griddle – Speaking of this being a versatile product, you can pull off the cooking pot and use the base as an electric griddle. Two kitchen appliances for the price of one! It takes up less space than 2 kitchen appliances too.
Keep Warm Setting – This is great if you have a busy family like mine who eats at different times. Just put it on the warm setting and they can have a warm meal ready whenever they get home.
Insulated Tote – If you have a church social or party to go to and need to bring your crock pot, well this slow cooker has it’s own insulated carrying case.
Easy to Clean – The cooking pot and the lid are both dishwasher safe. But from what some customers are saying, you really don’t need to put it in the dishwasher. It cleans off very easy with just soap and water.
1 Year WarrantyXX -This cooker comes with a 1 year warranty which is always good to have on any product you buy.
No product is completely perfect and they are a few drawbacks to this slow cooker.
Not Programmable – Some of the cookers are programmable where you can set them for a certain amount of time and they either shut off at the end of that time or swithc to the warm setting. This slow cooker doesn’t have that feature. It does have several temperatures you can set it on but you can’t program for a period of time.
Non Stick Coating -This is actually a “pro” for many people as it helps to keep the food from sticking to the cooker and cleans easily. However, someof us are concerned about the non stick coatings used in cookware and would prefer not to have it.
Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker Review
What I did and didn’t like about this slow cooker
Temperature Probe – This is great for roasts or poultry. You can make sure the food cooks to the right temperature internally.
Clip On Spoon – There’s a handy clip on spoon. This is definitely something you don’t see on other crock pots.
Control Panel – The Hamilton beach 33967 has a programmable flat panel control psnrl with 3 different ways to cook your meals: programmable (for a certain perios of time), manual (set high or low and turn it off when you are ready) and probe (use the thermometer probe).
Auto Warm – When using the programmable setting it will turn off to Auto Warm when done so your food will be still be warm when your family is ready to eat it.
Dishwasher Safe – The stoneware insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe making it easy to clean.
Cliptight Lid – If you need to travel with this slow cooker, it has a cliptight lid so it won’t spill.
Full Grip Handles – The full grip handles also make it easy when travelling to carry.
1 Year Warranty – Always good to have for any appliance you buy.
There are a few things I don’t like about the Hamilton Beach 33967
Short Cord – A few people complained that the cord is so short, you have to use this cooker right next to an outlet. Persoannly, I like the shorter cords as I hate having a tangled mess of cords all over my countertop.
Cooks Too Fast – A few folks complained about the cooker cooking too fast. Really this is all relative to what you are used to in a slow cooker. The first few times you use it, you might want to moniter how fast your food is cooking until you are used to how this slow cooker works.
Only 2 Settings – There were some complaints that there were only 2 settings: hot and low. But when you include the auto warm feature and the 3 different modes you can cook in (programmable, manual or probe) there are more options than just the high and low.
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Oval Slow Cooker Review
The good and the bad about this Crock Pot
Programmable -You can program it for up to 20 hours!
Auto Warm – When it’s done with it’s cooking cycle, it switches to warm and will stay there for up to 6 hours.
Countdown Timer – The timer counts down to how many hours and minutes you have left until your food is done. Conveniant for planning on when to cook the rest of the meal.
Locking Lid – The lid locks so you can easily travel with it.
Easy Carry Handles – The handles make this crock pot easy to carry if need be.
Dishwasher Safe – The stoneware and lid can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Oven and Microwave Safe – The stoneware can also be used in the oven and in the microwave.
1 Year Warranty – It’s always good to have at least a one year warranty with small appliances.
Here are the cons for the Crock-Pot SCCPVL610
Runs Hot -About the only real complaint I found was some said it cooked too hot. But then someone else thought it didn’t get hot enough. Go figure. Anyway, like I mentioned in the review above this one, keep tabs on it the first few times you use it until you are comfortable with how it cooks.
Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker Review
What was good and not so good about this slow cooker
Touchpad Control Panel – For a modern look and ease of use.
Programmable – The Cuisinart PSC-350 is programmable for up to 24 hours of cooking time.
Countdown Timer – It counts down so you can easily see how much time until your meal is ready.
4 Cooking Modes – This little slow cooker has 4 cooking mdes: High, Low, Simmer and Warm.
Auto Warm – After the cooking cycle is over, it automatically switches to auto warm and stays on the warm setting for up to 8 hours.
Stay Cool Side Handles – The handles will stay cool so you can easily move it without having to use pot holders.
Dishwasher Safe – The ceramic pot and glass lid are both dishwasher safe.
3 Year Warranty – This the only slow cooker I found that actually had a 3 year warranty instead of the typical 1 year warranty..
Here are the cons for this slow cooker
Short cord – A few folks complained about the short electric cord. But like I said before, I see that as a plus as you don’t have a long cord hanging on your kitchen counter.
Small but Deep – A few complained about it’s size. True, this cooker won’t be big enough to cook a large pot roast. The larger slow cookers are better for that. This model is best for small families who will be cooking smaller meals.
Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker Review
The good and bad about this slow cooker
6 Cooking Options – The Frigidaire Professional has 6 cooking options: Buffet, Soup, Low, Medium, High and Warm.
Touchpad Control Panel – The touchpad sports a bright LED display for easy reading.
Auto Warm Function – After the food has finished cooking, it switches over to the warm mode and will stay there up to 3 hours.
Ergonomic Handles – To make it easy to carry.
Dishwasher Safe – The ceramic crock and glass lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Beautiful Design – Many customers remarked on how beautiful this slow cooker is.
Below are the bad things about this cooker.
Too Hot – Some complained about it cooking at a too high temperature.
Lid Not Tight – There were several complaints that the lid was loose but one person reported after several uses, the lid “settled” in to fit correctly.
What size slow cooker is best?
Slow cookers come in all sizes. I have seen them from 16 ounce capacity to 8 1/2 quart capacity. It just depends on how big of a crowd you are cooking for.
When I had 6 people living here, my 7 quart slow cooker was just right.
Now that there are only 4 of us living here, the 5 quart works well. The only time I wish I had a bigger one is if I’m cooking a large roast or if I need to take my slow cooker to a party or a church thing.
So, the question is how often would you need a large slow cooker? If it’s often, even if you have a smaller family, then go ahead and choose a larger slow cooker.
Or you could choose a crock pot like the one shown in the picture above. The Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Slow Cooker has 3 different sized crocks to fit in it: 2 quarts, 4 quarts or 6 quarts.
Here’s a Yummy Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff Recipe
Article by Cathy Ratcliffe