Best slow cooker 2019

Looking for the best slow cooker? Whether you're cooking for just yourself or a huge party, a slow cooker will help you cook super tasty meals with a minimum of effort

Best slow cooker: Crock-Pot Lift & Serve Digital Slow Cooker
(Image credit: Crock Pot)

After the best slow cooker for your kitchen? Slow cookers are coming back, big time. Gone are the days when the mention of a slow cooker evoked memories of bland, cooked-to-death vegetables and cabbage (the horror). Nowadays, we have the benefit of countless international cuisines to help us come up with healthy, varied meals that are anything but bland. 

There is now such a wide range of slow cookers, in fact, that it can be hard to figure out which one is worth the spend. We've trawled through tons of them to help you choose from the best models out there (don't worry, we've dwindled it down).

Our top slow cookers below are perfect for preparing everything from casseroles and curries to ragu and rice pudding. They are also great for batch cooking and are extremely energy efficient, as they have a low wattage that uses time rather than energy, to cook. First, though, scroll down for the very latest, best slow cooker sales and deals.

Black Friday slow cooker sales

With Black Friday sales fast approaching (29 November is the Friday in question, in case you were wondering), you may well consider getting the slow cooker that has caught your eye during the shopping bonanza. Kitchen appliances are some of the best items to get during the Black Friday sales, with many retailers, including John Lewis, Argos, and Lakeland offering amazing price drops around Black Friday every year. This year will be no exception – and some deals, below, have already been released. If the slow cooker from our list you really like is a little out of budget, keep checking back here, or on our Black Friday deals hub page for a bargain.

Cookworks 3.5L Slow Cooker| Was £20, now £15

For £15, you can't go wrong with this simple slow cooker. It has three heat settings, including a keep warm setting, and a ceramic inner bowl. The glass lid lets you see through to watch how your cooking is going. Note that the ceramic bowl is handwash only. View Deal

Morphy Richards 3.5L Sear and Stew Slow Cooker | Was £40, now £30

Take your winter cooking to the next level with this sleek offering from Morphy Richards that is safe to go on a hob. The aluminium inner bowl is dishwasher safe; but what makes this slow cooker really special is the sear mode, which means you can crisp up your meat before slow cooking it. Yum.


View Deal

Crockpot SCCPRC507B-060 | Was £70, now £40

This larger-than-average, 4.7-litre Crock Pot has a keep warm option, a timer, and three heat settings, as well as being dishwasher safe. Choose a cooking time between 30 minutes and 20 hours.View Deal

Morphy Richards 6.5L Auto-Stir Slow Cooker | Was £70, now £60

This is another nice on-the-hob slow cooker, but this one has the ability to not only sear the food, but also to stir it to ensure perfectly even cooking. The handles of this slow cooker always stay cool, making serving easy.View Deal

What is the best slow cooker?

We think the Sage Fast Slow Pro is the best slow cooker around, as it can do so many things such as searing, sautéing, slow and pressure cooking as well as keeping meals warm. It also automatically knows the time, temperature and pressure to use for best results every time.

We also highly rate the Tefal Cook4Me Connect, as it comes with smart connectivity that allows you to browse mouthwatering recipes on your smart device via the app before forwarding them to the cooker to follow them step by step.

Read on the find out more about these models as well as the rest of our best slow cookers. No time (even those of us who like slow cookers are still busy)? Here's a quick list of our top slow cooker buys:

  • Best slow cooker: Sage Fast Slow Pro
  • Best slow cooker with timer dely: Tefal Cook4Me Connect
  • Best small slow cooker: Swan Slow Cooker Retro
  • Best slow cooker with hinged lid: Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Hinged Lid Slow Cooker
  • Best slow cooker for families: Crock-Pot slow cooker
  • Best budget slow cooker: Russell Hobbs Chalkboard Slow Cooker
  • Best oval slow cooker: Crock-Pot Slow Cooker 3.5 L in Red
  • Best Lakeland slow cooker: Lakeland 3.5L Slow Cooker
  • Best Instant Pot slow cooker: Instant Pot Duo V2

Best slow cookers

Best slow cooker you can buy: SAGE FAST SLOW PRO™

(Image credit: Sage)

1. Sage Fast Slow Pro™

Best slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 6L
Power: 1100W
Finish: Brushed stainless steel
Dimensions: H32cm x W30cm x D37cm
Reasons to buy
+Three-way safety steam release+The variety of 11 settings+Keep warm function, ideal for when the family eats at different times+This one can reduce, sauté, sear and slow cook+Locks in flavour and nutrients+Clear LCD display to see food’s progress
Reasons to avoid
-The price tag, which is rather hefty-Quite large so can be hard to store

Get more for your money by splashing out on this professional-looking design, which is a pressure and slow cooker in one. With the Sage Fast Slow Pro, it automatically adjusts the time, temperature and pressure between fast and slow cooking to make sure you get the most from your meals.

Multi function
Simply press one button and the cooker will decide how to cook your food. There are sensors both at the top and bottom that will keep a check on its progress, setting the temperature and pressure needed.

Auto steam
Some people are scared of using a pressure cooker, as they imagine the designs of old where the steam shot up without warning. Today’s models are completely safe, and this model has a hands-free automatic steam release, which can be Quick, Pulse or Natural.

Easy cleaning
As well as a three-way safety system, the lid is also removable and can be cleaned in the dishwasher while the ceramic cooking bowl can also double as a serving dish.

Shop more slow cookers at John Lewis

Best slow cooker with smart capabilities: TEFAL COOK4ME CONNECT

(Image credit: Tefal)

2. Tefal Cook4Me Connect

Best slow cooker with timer delay

Specifications
Capacity: 6L
Power: 1300W
Finish: Black
Dimensions: H38cm x W35cm x D35cm
Reasons to buy
+Smart Bluetooth connectivity+Does all the hard work for you+Comes with 100 pre-programmed recipes+Takes you through recipes step by step+Offers gentle cooking as well as simmering+Makes meals in minutes, ideal for busy families
Reasons to avoid
-Pretty expensive for a slow cooker, even with the smart features-Quite bulky so not so easy to store away

The Tefal Cook4Me Connect is the bee’s knees! It’s advertised as being your very own cooking assistant and we think it makes the perfect sous chef in any kitchen. The smart multi-cooker connects via Bluetooth to an app, which shows tasty recipes on your smartphone or tablet. It comes with 100 pre-programmed recipes such as chicken tikka masala, potato and leek soup and butternut squash risotto and will guide you through each step. 

Fast cook
This smart model can cook meals in less than 15 minutes if you want it to! Plus it cooks for up to six people, so great for larger families or those who enjoy entertaining at home.

Connected cooking
Thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity, you can send recipes to the slow cooker from the dedicated app. Available on the App Store as well as Google Play.

Find more multi cookers at AO.com

Best slow cooker for looks: SWAN 1.5L SLOW COOKER RETRO

(Image credit: Swan)

3. Swan 1.5L Slow Cooker Retro

Best small slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 1.5L
Power: 120W
Finish: Green, cream, black, grey or blue
Dimensions: H20.5cm x W28cm x D20cm
Reasons to buy
+It can add a pop of colour to your kitchen+Its retro look+The removable, dishwasher-safe ceramic bowl +Basic warming and cooking+Allows you to check on food’s progress thanks to its glass lid+Auto function keeps meals warmer for longer
Reasons to avoid
-It is pretty basic so no fancy programmes or features-Some say the control knob is difficult to turn-Others complain that it gets quite hot on the outside

When you don’t want to spend much, the Swan 1.5L Slow Cooker Retro is for you as it’s keenly priced and still comes with all the basics you’d expect from a slow cooker. There are three temperature settings – low, high and automatic – as well as a removable ceramic bowl that can be taken straight to the table for serving. A great choice for warming stews or perfecting porridge, it also comes with a handy recipe book to give you some inspiration.

Removable pot
For ease of use and easy cleaning, look for a slow cooker with a removable bowl inside. This means you can carry your food straight to the table for serving and wash it afterwards too. Check if it’s dishwasher proof. Most models are.

Toughened glass lid
With a see-through lid you can keep an eye on cooking progress without letting the heat escape. 

Heat settings
Get more for your money with a slow cooker that offers a variety of heat settings. This one comes with low, high and auto – which keeps food warmer for longer. Ideal if the family eats at different times or you go back for seconds.

Shop more slow cookers at Robert Dyas

Best slow cooker for ease of use: MORPHY RICHARDS SEAR & STEW HINGED LID SLOW COOKER

(Image credit: Morphy Richards)

4. Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Hinged Lid Slow Cooker

Best slow cooker with hinged lid

Specifications
Capacity: 3.5L
Power: 163W
Finish: Black
Dimensions: H20cm x W33cm x D25cm
Reasons to buy
+Non-stick pot that can be used on a gas or ceramic hob+No more condensation on the lid that drips on to the worktop after stirring+It’s lightweight so easy to move around+Can be used to sear or sauté before slow cooking+Stores away easily after use+Lid stays closed, keeping the heat in
Reasons to avoid
-The bowl can get hot so transferring it back into the slow cooker can be tricky-Basic settings only-Not induction compatible

This Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Hinged Lid Slow Cooker is a redesign of the original Sear & Stew, as it now comes with a hinged lid that makes it easier to add ingredients as you’re cooking. The aluminium non-stick pot can be used on the hob before slow cooking, allowing you to sear meat for a nice brown finish. Perfect for curries and stews. There are three heat settings – low, medium and high – as well as cool-touch handles.

Hinged lid
An update on the original Sear & Stew design, this new model has a hinged lid, which makes it easier to add ingredients, herbs or spices, as you cook.

Sear and stew
Simply remove the non-stick pot before you start and use it on a gas or ceramic hob to sear or seal meat before returning to the slow cooker to carry on with stock and vegetables. This means less mess and less washing up.

Aluminium pot
Lightweight and hardwearing, the non-stick bowl inside can not only be used on the hob but it can also be taken directly to the table for serving. It won’t crack or shatter if you drop it either and it’s dishwasher-safe, too.

Shop more slow cookers at Currys PC World

Best slow cooker for families: CROCK-POT CSC052 LIFT & SERVE DIGITAL SLOW COOKER

(Image credit: Crock Pot)

5. Crock-Pot CSC052 Lift & Serve Digital Slow Cooker

Best slow cooker for families

Specifications
Capacity: 4.7L
Power: 220W
Finish: Black
Dimensions: H22.3cm x W35cm x D32cm
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Hinged lid comes off easily+Digital timer+Cooks large batches, perfect for families, entertaining or freezing+Makes it easy to read thanks to the digital screen+It’s easy to clean after use
Reasons to avoid
-No recipe book to give you some ideas to get started-Some say the lid seal isn’t great, this means moisture can drip onto the worktop while cooking

Ideal for cooking everything from casseroles and soups to tagines and chocolate puds, this Crock-Pot slow cooker has a large capacity bowl, which makes it perfect for families. It’s also great for entertaining or batch cooking to store in the freezer for the busy week ahead. There are just three settings – low, high and keep warm, so nothing fancy.

Digital timer
Set your cooking time from 30 minutes to 20 hours, ideal for having dinner ready when you get home from work or Saturday’s footie match with the kids. It also has a keep warm setting so there’s no rush to eat as soon as it’s ready.

Hinged lid
This makes serving and stirring while cooking so much easier and less messy. No more splashes and spills on the worktop when you remove the lid. It’s also dishwasher safe, too.

Large capacity
The 4.7L bowl is great for cooking larger quantities and it’s also removable, dishwasher safe and oven-proof.

Shop more Crock-Pot products at Amazon

Best slow cooker for fun: RUSSELL HOBBS CHALK BOARD SLOW COOKER

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs )

6. Russell Hobbs Chalkboard Slow Cooker

Best budget slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 3.5L
Power: 1000W
Finish: Matt black
Dimensions: H23cm x W23cm x D23cm
Reasons to buy
+The chalk board exterior+Removable pot and lid+Easy to use+Retains food’s vitamins and nutrients+Feeds a family of four+Cooks on three basic settings
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing high-tech in terms of features-No digital timer

Kids will love this Russell Hobbs Chalkboard Slow Cooker, as it has a matt black finish that you can write on with chalk – so you can let the family know what’s for dinner before you get home! Or why not use it to leave notes such as, ‘stir and add seasoning at 5pm’. This family sized model is ideal for soups, stews, curries, chillis and more and can easily serve a family of four.

Large capacity
The 3.5L black ceramic bowl makes this model a perfect choice for families, those who like to have friends round for meals or those who freeze food for later on in the week. It easily cooks up to four portions so is also a great buy for singles or couples.

Matt black coating
Use the two pieces of chalk that come with the slow cooker to write menus on the side, or instructions or notes for the family.

Shop more Russell Hobbs products at Amazon

Best slow cooker on a budget: Crock-Pot Slow Cooker 3.5 L - Red

(Image credit: Crock Pot)

7. Crock-Pot Slow Cooker 3.5 L in Red

Best oval slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 3.5L
Power: 210W
Finish: Red, grey, cream or blue
Dimensions: H25 x W36 x D23.5 cm
Reasons to buy
+Different colours available+Affordable+3 different settings+Bowl and lid are dishwasher safe+Cool touch handles+Comes with utensils
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller capacity than others-No digital timer-Basic settings

The Crock-Pot Red is the original slow cooker. Made in 1971, the product soon became hugely popular in North America and now, worldwide – we find it very easy to see why. Although very much affordable, it's most definitely up there with the best slow cookers you can buy since it's easy to use, clean and store – and it comes in a range of colours to jazz up your worktop.

Family-friendly
Featuring a 3.4 litre capacity, the Crock-Pot Red can happily serve three to four people or two adults and three children. It also features dishwasher friendly components for easy cleaning, as well as cool touch handles for safety reasons. 

A bargain
With an RRP of just £36.99, this slow cooker is a steal. Not to mention it's usually on sale, too. Included in the price is also three machine compatible utensils.

Click to shop more Crock-Pot products at Amazon

best simple slow cooker: Lakeland 3.5L Slow Cooker

(Image credit: Lakeland)

8. Lakeland 3.5L Slow Cooker

Best Lakeland slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 3.5L
Power: 2010W
Finish: Steel
Dimensions: H35 x W24 x D17cm
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Simple to use+Glass lid to see the cooking+Easy to clean
Reasons to avoid
-Not hob safe

For those who like a simply made, delicious slow cooked meal, without any additional fuss or a huge number of settings, the Lakeland 3.5L slow cooker offers a neat and sturdy construction and unbeatable value for money. 

Three heat settings
There are basically three settings on this slow cooker, which makes it extremely easy to use. Want the absolute best tenderness and flavour? Set it on low. In a hurry? Set it on high. Couldn't be easier

Three sizes
We've picked the standard 3.5 litre size, but the Lakeland slow cooker also comes in a family-sized six litre size, and a very compact 1.5 litres, which is ideal for making meals for one. 

Dishwasher safe
All the parts of this slow cooker can be safely washed in the dishwasher.

Glass lid
Like to see what's going on in your slow cooker? The glass lid on this is very satisfying to look through. 

The best Instant Pot slow cooker: Instant Pot Duo V2

(Image credit: Amazon)

9. Instant Pot Duo V2

The best Instant Pot slow cooker

Specifications
Capacity: 3.5L-8L
Power: 1000W
Finish: Steel
Dimensions: H31 x W34 x D31.7cm in the 6L size
Reasons to buy
+Great for making complex dishes+Cooks fast
Reasons to avoid
-Might not be best for simple food prep

A slow cooker for so much more than just a basic stew, the Instant Pot Duo V2 is perfect if you're ready to do some serious cooking. It can do so much, from pulled pork to curry to yoghurt.

Three temperatures for versatility:
The choice is yours here: want a quick meal after work that tastes like it's taken much longer to prepare? The fastest cooking time on this Instant Pot is 30 minutes. Want the full benefits of slow cooking during the weekend? Its longest programme is 20 hours.

Delayed cooking:
Want to come back straight to a hot meal? There's a delay option of up to 24 hours.

For more than just stews:
This cooker doubles up as a rice cooker and even yoghurt maker, and has a dedicated 'bean/chili' programme.

What to watch for:
Some users say that it's maybe not so perfect for very basic cooking such as porridge and boiled potatoes. Use your ordinary pots/microwave for simpler food prep.

What can I cook in a slow cooker

Slow cookers are ideal for cooking everything from breakfast porridge to lunchtime soups to snacky dips to delicious curries and tasty puddings – in fact most dishes that you can create on a hob and many that you can create in an oven, too. See our favourite slow cooker recipes for ideas on what to cook.

There are lots of upsides to using a slow cooker over a traditional cooking method:

  • For many dishes you simply pop the raw ingredients into the pot, set it to go and leave it until it's time to serve up;
  • A slow cooker can transform cheap ingredients, whether meat or pulses, into hearty meals that don't rely on tons of fat to be tasty; 
  • You'll be surprised at what you can cook in a slow cooker: yoghurt, porridge and the Sunday roast are just three unexpected slow cooker meals. Find more things you didn't know you could cook in a slow cooker in our guide.
  • They're cheap to run, despite being left on all day.

How much are slow cookers and what should I spend

Slow cooker friendly ingredients to have in your cupboard

For those evenings when you just don't want to go to the supermarket/don't feel like making anything elaborate, the following ingredients can very easily be thrown in together for a delicious stew (no cooking knowledge required):
1. Tinned tomato: there's nothing it won't make better;
2. Carrot: use sparingly, as it's a strong flavour;
3. Potato: best peeled first;
4. Tinned chickpeas/beans: to add protein;
5. Stock. Choose veggie or chicken for even more flavour;
6. Mixed herbs and salt, for flavouring.

Because there are so many slow cookers out there, it can be a little confusing when it comes to making a choice, especially if your budget is limited. So, how much do slow cookers cost – and what do you get for your money?

As with any kitchen appliance, to a degree, you get what you pay for – but the good news is that slow cookers don't have to be expensive. 

Budget slow cookers

At the cheaper end of the market (think £20 upwards, such as the Swan 1.5L Slow Cooker Retro; the Morphy Richards Sear & Stew Hinged Lid Slow Cooker; the Russell Hobbs Chalkboard Slow Cooker or the Crock Pot 3.5L Slow Cooker, which all feature on our list above), you'll get basic features and you may find the slow cooker gets hot on the outside or that it's not as easy to clean or to use on a hob as a more expensive model. However, they'll still do the job of slow cooking many dishes – and if you're new to this type of cooking, they're a good place to start.

What won't they do? You can't sauté in them because they don't reach the required heat, so you'll need to dirty a frying pan for this (and ensure you scrape all the juices into the pot from it to capture the flavours). 

Blow the budget slow cookers

Bump the budget up towards and beyond £100 and you'll get a multi-functional appliance that might have pre-programmed recipes, smart features (such as the Tefal Cook4Me Connect), can be used on the hob, go in the dishwasher and may even be perform the functions of a pressure cooker, too (such as the Sage Fast Slow Pro).

There's more on slow cooker features to look out for below. Our advice? If you're new to slow cooking, start with the best model you can afford and be prepared to upgrade if you become hooked on it.

How to buy the best slow cooker

Here's where to start on your search for the best slow cooker.

1) Slow cooker capacity
Depending on how many people you regularly cook for, the size of the pot inside the slow cooker will be an important factor in the buying process. Anything around 1.5 litres is pretty small so only really suitable for one or two-person households, whereas 3.5 litres or more is great for families, entertaining or batch cooking. Huge family or love to entertain? Look for a 6.5 litre capacity.

If you're judging the slow cooker's capacity with your eyes (what does 3.5 litres actually look like, after all?), bear in mind that you never fill the bowl to the brim with ingredients (so that it can bubble away without overflowing). Instead, work to the rule that it'll be three quarters full with you press 'go'.

2) Slow cooker controls and smart features 

Basic slow cookers and more expensive models alike will all have standard controls in common: low heat for day-long slow cooking and higher heat settings for speedier meals. Many will also have a keep warm heat setting that is designed to do exactly that – keep your meal warm until you are ready to eat it. And this is where basic and more expensive models can differ: an expensive model will switch to this setting automatically when your food is cooked; a cheaper model may need to be switched by hand. 

Look, too for other timing modes, all of which help ensure your meal is ready just how you like it. A delayed start mode is a really useful feature if you want your 8 hour recipe to be ready to eat for 8pm, but you're going out at 10am, for example. An 'on' light is helpful, too. 

As for smart features, when you want a slow cooker that does more than just gently cook your meals, look for a design that offers extra features such as digital control, automatic time and temperature adjustment and even Bluetooth connectivity, so you can control progress from work, for example. Tefal’s Cook4Me Connect has a downloadable free app that can be used to view recipes on your smartphone or tablet, with handy step-by-step guides so you get perfect results, every time.

3) Energy saving features 

By their very nature, slow cookers are energy efficient as they use a low wattage to cook food slowly over a long period of time. It’s much more energy efficient than using the oven or hob, so check the wattage before you buy if you want to get the most energy efficient.

4) Slow cookers with transparent lids

Sounds simple, right? But choosing a model with a see-through lid is a real advantage. Why? Well, it means you can easily check your meal without lifting the lid, which in turn allows heat/steam to escape and makes the whole process less efficient. 

5) Slow cooker heat distribution

If you're carefully reading reviews (or the side of the slow cooker's box in store), make the effort to seek out any comments on heat distribution. Ideally, it needs to be even so that the food cooks evenly with no hot spots that will dry out an unstirred dish. 

6) Slow cooker bowl shape

Oval or round? This partly depends on what you're more likely to cook within your slow cooker: soups, curries and stews (and the like) are better suited to round bowls (and the heat distributions is usually good in these models – worth knowing if you're buying a cheaper model), while larger joints (think boned chicken joints) suit the shape of an oval bowl more.

7) Ease of cleaning

The easier any kitchen appliance is to clean afterwards, the more likely you are to use it in the first place – in our experience anyway. Check how much of the slow cooker you're interested in is dishwasher safe (you'll only usually need to wash the bowl and lid – the rest will just need a good wipe over).

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