The 9 best slow cookers for every possible purpose and aesthetic

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With all of the time you’ve been spending at home, you’ve likely gained a newfound appreciation for your kitchen. Some have used this time of social distancing to perfect recipes, while others have learned to cook from scratch.

No matter your skill level, spending less time standing in the kitchen is preferred by all. Needless to say, this is why our collective love for slow cookers runs so deep.

Slow cookers are compact countertop appliances that help you easily prepare meals without the use of a standard stovetop and multiple pans. Not to be confused with pressure cookers, slow cookers follow a “low and slow,” hands-off approach, which allows you to set it and forget it until it’s time to eat.

Cooking with slow cookers is easier than you think. All you have to do is place the prepped or raw food items in the vessel, seal the top and select the cooking setting of your choice by simply pressing a button. Then, all that’s left to do is simply wait and enjoy.

Currently, there are dozens of slow cooker variations on the market. In order to make your shopping experience a bit easier, we’ve listed our favorites, separated into nine categories:

1. Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker And Slow Cooker, $79 (Orig. $99.95)

Credit: Amazon

Perhaps one of the most popular slow cookers — and likely the most noted kitchen-top appliance overall — is the Instant Pot Duo. In addition to performing several other cooking tasks besides slow cooking, this product is a long-standing customer favorite. Boasting over 85,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s also a No. 1 best seller on the platform.

2. Best Budget-Friendly Slow Cooker: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker, $44.99 (Orig. $59.99)

Credit: Amazon

Many consider a slow cooker to be a modern-day kitchen necessity for all. However, for this to hold any validity, it must be budget-friendly. Considered the OG by many is the Crock-Pot — and this reliable option currently retails for just $45. Serving as an introduction to slow cooking for many, this option will last you for years to come.

3. Temperature-Regulated: Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker With Temperature Tracking, $69.99

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While most slow cookers are digitally programmable, only a select few feature temperature-tracking technology, which particularly comes in handy when braising. This option from Hamilton Beach allows you to track temperature with an included probe, which minimizes the chances of overcooking proteins.

4. Best Multi-Use Slow Cooker: Instant Pot Aura Pro 11-In-1 Multicooker Slow Cooker, $149.95

Credit: Amazon

Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a slow cooker that only slow cooks, as most options available perform multiple tasks. While these laundry list-like features can be overwhelming, a few brands present this complexity in a simpler, elegant way. Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling Instant Pot’s Aura Pro 11-in-1 Multicooker does this perfectly with its one-touch programs and sleek design.

5. Best-Looking Slow Cooker: All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker With Black Ceramic Insert, $179.95

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Since slow cookers usually remain on the kitchen counter when not in use, it’s a bonus if you find one that’s aesthetically pleasing. This option from trusted luxury cookware brand All-Clad is made of stainless steel and ceramic — and it doesn’t feature large, distracting controls on the front. Shoppers constantly boast that it’s “a beautiful product to look at,” and we agree.

6. Best Slow Cooker For Parties: Crock-Pot Connectable Entertaining System, $49.99

Credit: Amazon

Picture this: You’ve decided to have a few friends over for an intimate dinner. To avoid the hassle and build-up of pots and pans, this Crock-Pot Connectable Entertaining System with double oval one-quart dishes is the perfect solution. In addition to providing the trusted slow cooking technology Crock-Pot is known for, this option comes in six colors to fit any decor.

7. Best Smart Slow Cooker: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Slow Cooker With Amazon Alexa, $119.99

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Crock-Pot is continuing to reinvent and expand its line of reliable slow cookers. For example, the brand now has an Alexa-compatible six-quart slow cooker that is fully voice-controlled. You can use your voice to easily start or stop the appliance, program cook times and heat settings and even check the status of your meal. A smart home owner’s dream!

8. Top-Rated On Amazon: Ninja Foodi 9-In-1 Pressure Cooker, Air Fryer, Slow Cooker (And More), $139.99 (Orig. $169.99)

Credit: Amazon

As one of the most popular countertop kitchen appliances of 2020, the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 product does it all, including slow cooking, pressure cooking, air frying and broiling. It’s a kitchen one-stop-shop — and shoppers can’t get enough. It has an overall customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the highest of any option on this list.

9. Amazon’s Choice: Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker, $119.99 (Orig. $149.99)

Credit: Amazon

When a product is labeled “Amazon’s Choice,” it indicates that it’s recommended by the massive retailer as highly-rated and well-priced. This option from Calphalon boasts that coveted seal — and it delivers. The product features technology that can sear, brown, sauté and slow cook. For added multi-functionality, the included pot can be used in the oven or on electric, gas and induction cooktop surface. Looks like that “Amazon’s Choice” badge was rightly earned.

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