There’s a lot to love about a slow cooker. The ease of arriving home to a hot meal ready to eat is a convenient luxury that simply makes life easier.


The best slow cookers help you to get the very best out of cheaper cuts of meat. Slow cookers are less energy intensive than conventional electric ovens, and therefore more economical. They also offer a healthier, low-fat way of cooking and often preserve more nutrients than other methods like baking, boiling and frying. For inspiration, check out our collection of healthy slow cooker recipes. We've also reviewed the best slow cooker cookbooks to get you started.

Slow cookers tend to be simple and easy to use too. Usually comprised of just a few components, most can be used straight out of the box. Some models feature sous-vide settings and ingredient pre-sets to help you make the most of your meal.

Slow cooker recipes are hugely popular and can be used to cook a range of delicious stews, casseroles, soups and curries, as well as less obvious dishes such as yogurt, grains, dhal and puddings.

Read on to learn more about the different kinds of slow cookers on the market.

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Best slow cookers 2024 at a glance

  • Best slow cooker for families: Lakeland 6.5L searing slow cooker, £79.99
  • Best blowout multi-tasking slow cooker: Ninja 9-in-1 multicooker OP350UK, £149.99
  • Best simple slow cooker with timer: Morphy Richards EasyTime, £64.99
  • Best slow cooker for entertaining: GreenPan Elite 8-in-1 slow cooker, £199
  • Best small slow cooker: Crock Pot Lift & Serve digital slow cooker, £40
  • Best budget slow cooker: Daewoo slow cooker, £30
  • Best hob-safe slow cooker: Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew, £44
  • Best slow cooker for automatic functions: Crock Pot Time Select, £74.98
  • Best slow cooker for experimental cooks: Russell Hobbs 25630, £92.59
  • Best no-nonsense slow cooker: Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker, £29

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Best slow cookers 2024

Lakeland 6.5L searing slow cooker

Lakeland 6.5L searing slow cooker

Best slow cooker for families


  • Searing and sautéing functions
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Wide handles
  • Retains heat well


  • Large footprint
  • Beeper is very noisy

Star rating: 5/5

Wattage: 1350W

Without a hob-safe cooking pot, searing your meat before it goes in the slow cooker often comes with the admin of having to transfer it from one vessel to another – creating twice the amount of washing-up. Lakeland solves this issue with its newest slow cooker, which has searing and sautéing functionality built into it with five heat levels. There are also high and low settings for slow cooking, plus presets for steaming and making yogurt, too.

With a 6.5-litre capacity, it has a wide build and easy-grip handles for lifting – ideal if you're serving from pot to plate at the dinner table. The manual is thorough and packed with tips and tricks for slow cooking, not to mention recipes and cooking charts. We would have liked to have been able to adjust the volume of the timer as we found it too loud, but the advantage it is you shouldn't miss hearing it going off.

We made a beef stew in this cooker for four hours on high, and found the meat was tender with some light chewiness. The sauce was also thick and flavoursome, and the vegetables had a soft but slight bite. Even better, the exterior of the slow cooker got lukewarm at most during cooking – which is a reassuring safety feature for those with littles ones in the kitchen.

Cost to run on high for one hour: 2.41p

Ninja 9-in-1 multicooker OP350UK

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 multicooker 6-litre OP350UK

Best blowout multi-tasking slow cooker


  • Nine functions in one countertop cooker
  • Accompanying recipe book
  • Clear instructions


  • Requires an additional slow cooker lid
  • Large footprint for storage

Star rating: 5/5

Wattage: 1460W

This is a newer, more sophisticated step-up from Ninja Foodi's 6-in-1 multicooker, packing in nine functions for performing key kitchen tasks, plus a couple for fun. We're talking slow cooking (which is very user-friendly) searing/sautéing, air-crisping, grilling, dehydrating, baking/roasting, yogurt-making, pressure cooking and steaming. It has a modern-feel with intuitive controls and an outer casing that only gets warm to the touch, rather than excessively hot. It's the ultimate kitchen gadget.

Read our full Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 6-litre multicooker review.

Morphy Richards Easy Time Slow Cooker

Morphy Richards Easy Time slow cooker

Best simple slow cooker with timer


  • Hob-safe cooking pot
  • Auto-keep warm setting
  • Easy to use controls
  • Clear countdown timer
  • Non-stick pot
  • Lid forms a good seal


  • Pot not suitable for induction

Star rating: 5/5

Wattage: 130 – 163W

Simple, manual slow cookers are great for the job at hand, but often the only thing missing to elevate them (without overcomplicating things) is a timer. The Easy Time slow cooker ticks that box. It comes with three settings: high, medium and low, and has an automatic timer that runs for up to 12 hours in one-hour increments. We all know that life can throw us curveballs, so if you’re not able to get home before the timer is up, the Easy Time slow cooker will keep your food at the optimum temperature for two hours. A basic slow cooker, with just a little bit extra.

Read our full Morphy Richards Easy Time Slow Cooker review.

GreenPan Elite 8-in-1 slow cooker

GreenPan 8-in-1 slow cooker

Best slow cooker for entertaining


  • Attractive
  • Easy to move around
  • Useful, intuitive design
  • Outside remains cool


  • Timer a little inconsistent

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1350W

Marking their first foray into the world of appliances, this slow cooker from GreenPan impressed us with its wealth of settings and brilliant cooking results. There are high or low slow-cooking settings, as well as steam, reheat and simmer/buffet, making it perfect for entertaining.

There’s no need to reach for separate pans when prepping food for this slow cooker; it’s equipped with a powerful and even brown/sauté setting, meaning anything that needs to be seared ahead of time can be done directly in the cooking pot.

We cooked a beef stew in this slow cooker. We enjoyed beautifully tender meat, soft carrots that retained a little bite, as well as a richly flavoured sauce. The sauce was a little on the thin side at the end of the cooking time, but reduced nicely after half an hour on the simmer/buffet setting.

Despite this model being from GreenPan, it lost points for the amount of difficult-to-recycle plastic packaging it came with – a disappointing oversight from a brand that puts sustainability at the forefront.

Cost to run on high for one hour: 2.62p

Crock Pot Lift & Serve digital slow cooker

Crock Pot Lift & Serve digital slow cooker

Best small slow cooker


  • Attractive
  • Robust design
  • Hinged lid
  • Can cook for up to 20 hours
  • Value price tag


  • Lack of detail in manual
  • Some controls can be confusing
  • Beeper is too quiet

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 300W

Crock Pot is the name synonymous with slow cookers, and this compact 3.5-litre gadget is a solid choice for those with limited kitchen space. It has a simple interface and sturdy design, and alongside the usual low and high settings, there's also a keep-warm function that switches on automatically once the timer has ended.

The timer itself is frustratingly quiet, so much so that we missed it going off the first time. Some of the controls also confused us – the button that looks like an 'on/off' switch is actually just an 'off' switch, and we failed to find any reference to this in the manual.

On the plus side, the hinged lid allowed us to check in on our dishes without leaving splatters or drips of condensation on the worktop. We also enjoyed the beef stew we made in this slow cooker: the veg was a little too soft, but the meat was tender and the sauce was rich and thick.

Cost to run on high for one hour: 2.92p

Daewoo slow cooker

Daewoo slow cooker

Best budget slow cooker


  • Two-year warranty
  • Dishwasher-safe pot and lid
  • Three heat settings


  • 'Keep warm' setting isn't the most powerful

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 160W

Despite the price and its relatively cheap steel outer, the Daewoo is a front-runner for its ability to cook gently, creating deliciously tender meat chunks for beef stew and softened vegetables overnight without singeing around the inside. This is a 160W slow cooker with the capacity to feed a family of four, or two with leftovers the next day.

Read our full Daewoo 3.5-litre slow cooker review.

Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew


Best hob-safe slow cooker


  • Large capacity
  • Main pot can be used on the hob
  • Simple design
  • Dishwasher-safe pot


  • Carrots still a little firm
  • No recipes in manual

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 180W

The Sizzle and Stew is a brilliant example of Crock Pot's simple but effective engineering. This model has a large 6.5L capacity, ideal for big families, meal-preppers or when entertaining. Unlike other models that come with a hefty ceramic bowl, the Sizzle and Stew’s pot is made from heavy-duty aluminium.

This pot is hob-safe (gas and electric), meaning you can sear any meat or cook ingredients on the hob before transferring it to the slow cooker. Not only does this save on the washing-up, but it also means you don’t lose any flavour.

Read our full Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew review.

Crock Pot Time Select

Crockpot TimeSelect Digital Slow Cooker

Best slow cooker for automatic functions


  • Lots of useful functions
  • Bowl and lid dishwasher and oven-safe
  • Capacity markings on bowl


  • No recipes in the manual

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 240W

Another model from well-known brand, Crock Pot. The Time Select is a lot more high-tech than the Sizzle and Stew above, but still produced fantastic results. This model features automatic cooking functions for meat, poultry, soup and vegetables. Simply select your main ingredient, input the weight and desired finish time, and the Time Select will automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature of the ingredients to get the best results. For your much-loved tried-and-tested recipes, there’s also a manual setting.

Read our full Crock Pot Time Select review.

Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker and Sous Vide 25630

Russell Hobbs slow cooker and sous vide

Best slow cooker for experimental cooks


  • Temperature probe included
  • Lid locks into place, clear control panel, digital display


  • Control panel isn’t intuitive
  • Power cord quite short
  • No sous vide bags provided

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 350W

This slow cooker is a fabulous option for the home cook who loves experimental techniques and gadgetry. With an option for sous vide cooking as well as a temperature probe, this model is so much more than a slow cooker. It did a fantastic job on our slow cooker test though; the locks kept the lid firmly in place and our beef stew had been nicely reduced, though the meat was ever so slightly dry.

Consult the manual before using as the control panel is made up of symbols only, so isn’t overly intuitive. But for versatility and quality of the results, this Russell Hobbs model is a great option in our eyes.

Read our full Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker and Sous Vide 25630 review.

Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker


Best no-nonsense slow cooker


  • Available in a range of designs
  • Simple to use
  • Dishwasher-safe pot


  • A little plasticky

Star rating: 4/5

Wattage: 210W

This compact little slow cooker from Tower is a fuss-free option. It’s a modest option owing to the three simple settings: low, high and keep warm, but it gets the basics right. The design is simple, but if you’re looking to add a pop of colour with your new slow cooker, this one is available in pink and navy blue, as well as simple black and grey.

Setting this model up is easy to do and it handled our beef stew recipe with ease; the meat was tender and the veggies still had some bite. Our only quibble was that the sauce was still a little watery.

Read our full Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker review.

Other slow cookers tried and tested

What to look out for when buying a slow cooker

With so many different slow cookers out there, choosing the right one for you can be confusing. Here are a few questions you might want to consider.

  • Design: Are you looking for a simple, budget-friendly option that just slow-cooks (but does it extremely well) or something more versatile that sous-vides, pressure cooks, bakes and roasts too? Do bear in mind that the more technological the slow cooker, the higher the price.
  • Size: With sizes starting at 1-litre through to a whopping 6.5-litres, choosing the right size for you is imperative. The smallest sizes are suitable when cooking for one or two. 3-litres to 4.5-litres (one of the most popular sizes on the market) serve four, and the large 6-6.5-litre models are super for families and batch cooking. It's also worth bearing in mind that the capacity stated on the sales blurb is the size of the bowl, not the working capacity, which can sometimes be half that.
  • Space: A slow cooker takes up space on the worktop and in the cupboard. There are two shapes, the round and tall, which has less of a footprint, and the oval, which takes up more room but can be more versatile.

How to use a slow cooker

  • No liquid escapes from a slow cooker, so when adapting a recipe not specifically written for a slow cooker, reduce any added liquid by a third.
  • Don't remove the lid too often to avoid heat loss.
  • The inner pot needs to be at room temperature before you start cooking. If you've kept a slow cooker dish in the fridge, you must wait for it to warm up before turning it on.
  • Slow cookers vary considerably, so follow your manufacturer's manual for guidelines on temperatures and cooking times.
  • Rice and pasta dishes work best cooked on high for the shortest time possible. Always use easy-cook rice, rinsed well first – the more starch you rinse from the rice, the better the finished result.
  • Take time to brown your meat really well. Slow cookers tend to leach meat of its colour, so it’s important for appearance and flavour that they are well browned to start with. Flavours won't become more concentrated because the liquid doesn't reduce, so try to pack in as much flavour as you can.

Pot roast, in a crock pot, resting in front of fresh vegetables. Critical focus is on the roast.

How we tested slow cookers

We put a variety of slow cookers through their paces by cooking Good Food’s slow cooker beef stew recipe. As the meat requires searing before cooking, if we were able to do this straight in the cooking pot, we did so. We looked for three key qualities in our final stews: tender and succulent meat, well cooked vegetables that retained some bite, and a flavoursome, slightly thickened sauce.

We also scored the slow cookers against the following criteria:

  • Capacity and size: the bowl capacity and the footprint for using and storing in the kitchen
  • Heat retention: how the cooker holds heat for safety on the worktop and whether the food catches or burns
  • Ease of use: how easy it is to assemble and use
  • Functions: additional functions on the slow cooker including browning, reheating, reducing and whether it is hob or oven-safe
  • Versatility: does the cooker make a range of dishes?
  • Quality of material: the material and the construction of the machines
  • Design features: the type of lid, handles, automatic warming, countdown timer and indicator lights
  • Finished results: the tenderness of the meat and vegetables, the consistency of the cooked sauce and the heat of the food when serving
  • Manual: how helpful was the instruction book and did it include recipes?
  • Sustainability: excessive use of plastic in packaging was scored negatively. We wanted to see brands pointing us in the direction of spare parts and transparency around how to recycle the product after use and where the product was made.

We test hundreds of products from kitchen appliances, cooking tools and food every year – read more about how we test products.

All costs-to-run calculations were measured against the variable tariff at the time of testing (16.6p/kWh), which has since changed – read more on the current energy price guarantee rates.

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