For anyone looking for more convenient meal prep (not to mention tender, flavorful food), slow cookers are a kitchen essential. But with the abundance of models on the market, choosing the right one for your household requires just as much strategy as finding your favorite recipe. The best slow cookers have optimal heat conduction, user-friendly features and are easy to clean. A glass lid also helps, so you can keep an eye on your food without opening it and releasing heat.
When considering your options, make sure to look closely at each model’s capacity and functions. The average size is around six quarts, but if you plan to regularly cook large meals, a higher-capacity slow cooker makes sense. Avid cooks or those with limited storage space might prefer a versatile slow cooker with multiple functions, or additional accessories such as roasting racks or temperature probes. Whatever your preferences, here are the best slow cookers across a variety of categories.
Dimensions: 19.9 x 14 x 11.4 inches | Capacity: 6.5 quarts
The All-Clad programmable slow cooker takes convenience to the next level with an up to 20-hour programmable timer. It features an LCD display with large push button controls and an automatic “keep warm” function so if you’re not around when the timer goes off, not to worry. Plus, the sleek, stainless steel design looks beautiful on your counter and both the ceramic pot and glass lid are dishwasher safe, so cleanup will be as easy as preparing a gourmet meal. It also comes in a 4-quart model.
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker
Dimensions: 11.25 x 17.5 x 11.75 inches | Capacity: 6 quarts
With almost 9,000 ratings and an 83% five-star average, the Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart is Amazon’s Choice when it comes to slow cookers. Like the All-Clad, it has an LCD display and custom settings for precision while cooking. As an added bonus, it comes with a temperature probe that makes it easy to cook meat exactly how you want it. If you can’t serve your food right away, it sets to “keep warm” when it’s done cooking and comes with a clipping lid to prevent spills. Plus, it has a dishwasher-safe ceramic pot for simple cleanup.
Dimensions: 17 x 14.5 x 11 inches | Capacity: 7 quarts
There’s no denying that this gourmet slow cooker comes with a lofty price tag, but if you’ve ever used a Wolf Gourmet appliance, you already know the advanced engineering is worth every penny. This slow cooker has a stainless steel pot and six cooking modes—slow cook, program, meal timer, sous vide, rice and sauté/sear. Like the Hamilton Beach model, it also has a temperature probe that lets you precisely monitor meat temperatures as you cook, as well as dual controls that allow you to cook two separate items at different temperatures.
Dimensions: 9.5 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches | Capacity: 7 quarts
At less than $50, this manual slow cooker from Crockpot—one of the most recognizable names in the slow cooker game—is a total steal. It has a 7-quart capacity and a simple, manual operation that lets you choose between three temperature settings: high, low and warm. Plus, the removable stone insert is both microwave- and oven-safe (up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit), so if you’re making a recipe that requires more than one cooking method, you don’t have to dirty extra dishes.
Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.75 x 11.5 inches | Capacity: 10 quarts
A few extra quarts can go a long way when you’re preparing food for a large group. Nearly twice the size of average slow cookers, this Hamilton Beach model can hold a 10-pound turkey or a 12-pound roast. It has three temperature settings—high, low and keep warm—that are easily controlled by the manual knob on the front of the cooker. And thanks to the clip-on lid, it’s easy to transport if you want to take your award-winning chili to your next party or tailgate.
Dimensions: 12.67 x 9.1 x 9.5 inches | Capacity: 3.5 quarts
If you’re looking for advanced functions in a compact size, the Cuisinart 3.5-Quart Slow Cooker has it all. It’s equipped with four cooking modes—simmer, low, high and warm—and features a user-friendly touchpad control panel with a backlit LED display that makes it easy to track remaining cooking time. A 24-hour countdown timer lets you prep your food in advance so it’s ready when you get home, and an automatic “warm” function kicks on if your timing was just a bit off.
Dimensions: 16.8 x 11.6 x 11.3 inches | Capacity: 8 quarts
While technically a slow cooker, the Instant Pot Aura Pro can do so much more, too. It has 11 functions, including sous vide, steam, stew, yogurt, rice and roast. There’s no pressure cooker function, though. Along with customizable cooking time and temperature, the Aura Pro has a “delay start” feature so you can meal prep before work and start cooking during the day. Plus, the cooking pot, lid and steam-roasting rack are all dishwasher-safe.
How We Chose The Best Slow Cookers
To determine the best of the best, we first identified the most popular models on the market from trusted brands including All-Clad, Crockpot and Hamilton Beach. Then, we took a closer look at those slow cookers, poring over customer reviews to learn what owners love about each (and what they don’t like). From there, we whittled down the list based on factors like capacity, versatility, ease of use and price.