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The best slow cookers according to Mumsnetters

They’re the ultimate in low-effort cooking, use less electricity than a lightbulb and, with a bit of organisation, you can have a home-cooked meal on the table within minutes of arriving home. It’s no wonder so many Mumsnetters swear by their slow cooker for fuss-free mid-week meals.

By Tammy Jacks | Last updated Feb 2, 2022

Bean stew prepared in slow cooker

Whether you need help putting a healthy dinner on the table during a busy work week or are planning a more elaborate meal for a special occasion, you’ll find a great resource in your trusty slow cooker.

Beyond classic comfort foods like curries, stews and soups, you can use your slow cooker to start the day off with creamy overnight oats or jazz up dinner with slow cooker pulled pork, mushroom risotto or the tastiest seafood paella. Best of all, the latest slow cooker models are multi-functional and great for busy people. You can throw in your food and cook it slowly overnight or as you go about your day.

If you're not quite sure which slow cooker is right for you, or you're a complete slow-cooking newbie (you'll never look back), read on for a more in-depth look at the most-recommended models on Mumsnet.

Here are the best slow cookers to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall slow cooker: Drew&Cole CleverChef 14-in-1 Intelligent Digital Multi-Cooker

Drew and Cole Slow Cooker

Price: £69.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use this one. I couldn't do without it. It roasts, slow cooks, simmers, and bakes cakes and bread etc. And it's a doddle to clean. I don't use my cooker at all.” TopShelf

Ditch all the clutter on your workspace. The Drew&Cole CleverChef 14-in-1 Intelligent Digital Multi-Cooker does the job of six appliances with 14 preset, smart cooking programmes including versatile options such as ‘bake’ for desserts, ‘bread’ for loaves, ‘pasta’ for dishes like lasagne, and others such as ‘poach’ and ‘fish’.

While not strictly a slow cooker, this multi-cooker functions easily as one with high and low cook settings, or use it as a pressure cooker, steamer, rice maker, sauté pan, yoghurt maker, soup pot or food warmer. It also has a DIY customisable button to adapt cooking time and temperature for your own family favourites.

The non-stick aluminium pot is easy to remove and clean, and the device comes with a bonus steam tray - although some say it stains easily, particularly when steaming beetroot or carrots. The programme buttons are sensitive so may take some getting used to as well.

While more expensive than a basic model, the quality and versatility of the Drew&Cole CleverChef deserves a top spot on our list.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Two
  • Digital display: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes

2. Best budget slow cooker: Swan Retro Slow Cooker

Swan Retro Blue

Price: From £19 | Buy now from Amazon

The Swan Retro Slow Cooker is small, portable and is ready for cooking in mere seconds with its three simple temperature settings (including an auto simmer function). The removable ceramic inner pot makes it easy to serve meals and clean up afterwards.

While you’ll get to enjoy a wide variety of dishes including roasts, curries, stews, soups and chillies (with more inspiration from the 32-page recipe booklet that comes with your purchase), the smaller 1.5-litre oval ceramic pot may not be the best choice for larger families. It’s compact size won’t take up too much space in your kitchen though if that’s what you’re after.

With Swan’s philosophy being, “Life’s colourful,” this retro-inspired slow cooker is made from durable stainless steel and is available in a variety of bold colours including black, red, cream, grey, blue and green - perfect for pretty countertop displays.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 1.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? Inner pot only

3. Best multi-purpose slow cooker: Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot

Price: £57.97 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’ve had an Instant Pot for about three months. I’m just getting the hang of it, but I absolutely love it. Chicken comes out soft and tasty. I make curries and fajitas every week in it. YouTube has loads of videos to learn from.” Quibblewibble

Yes, it's pricey, but this multi-purpose device is well worth splashing out on according to Mumsnetters. If you're looking for an all-in-one slow cooker that can brown meat and sauté onions before cooking, and then keep your dish warm once it's finished cooking, the Instant Pot Duo is a great option. The 5.7-litre cooking pot can easily feed a family of five and is dishwasher- friendly.

However, the fun doesn't stop there. You can also use your Instant Pot to make soup, produce perfect fluffy rice, and as a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking time of your favourite dishes. The more ambitious among you can even use it to make your own yoghurt. The cooker comes with some useful tools like a stainless steel long handled steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon and measuring cup, as well as an instruction manual and a booklet with 29 recipes to get you started.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 5.7 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Low or high pressure
  • Digital display: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes - all parts except the cooker base

4. Best ceramic slow cooker: Crock-Pot 5.7L Slow Cooker

Crockpot small

Price: £39.97 | Buy now from Amazon

“Mine is a Crockpot with a timer and ‘high,’ ‘low’ and ‘keep warm’ settings. I use them all and would get the same functionality again, should I have to replace it. It's oval, which is very convenient for countertop space, and also means I can fit a whole chicken into it. The one downside is the ceramic pot. It's stovetop-safe (I can sear food in it, but never do) and oven-safe, and looks good enough to put on the table for dishing-up. But grains stick badly to it and the glaze is breaking down where food has stuck. It’s also heavy to wash.” NeverUseThisName

What this classic ceramic slow cooker lacks in fancy bells and whistles, it makes up for in reliability. It's pretty foolproof to operate – you could even get your teens using it – and it's roomy enough to accommodate five or six adult portions.

Unlike most ceramic slow cookers, the inner pot is oven-safe and it has a hinged lid which makes serving your slow-cooked creations a breeze. On the downside, it’s not ideal for small quantities as it cooks too quickly, and it doesn’t come with a cooking timer so won’t switch off automatically.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 5.7 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes

5. Best slow cooker for cooking meat: Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Digital Slow Cooker

Morphy Richards Slow Cooker

Price: £54.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have the Sear and Stew. It's a basic Morphy Richards one. Really happy with it and it's lasted years. I do have a gas hob though. Really useful for browning meat and not having to dirty another pot.” Invisimamma

“I also like the Sear and Stew because it doesn’t chip when I drop it, it’s light enough that I don’t drop it so much, and I can brown things in it.” AnUnlikelyCombination

A kitchen gadget that reduces washing up is a guaranteed winner with Mumsnetters. Unlike other slow cookers with ceramic inner pots, this Morphy Richards option has a non-stick metal cooking pot so you can fry onions and brown meat on the hob before finishing your meal off in the slow cooker. It’s also surprisingly lightweight at just 1.9kg considering how solid it feels.

The digital interface means you can set a timer for your recipe and, once it's finished cooking, the slow cooker will automatically switch to the ‘keep warm’ setting until you're ready to serve – ideal if you’re distracted with your children’s homework or other household chores.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 3.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Two
  • Digital display: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes

6. Best slow cooker for small kitchens: Cookworks Compact Slow Cooker

Cookworks slow cooker

Price: £17.99 | Buy now from Argos

Even if you have limited counter space or you're just cooking for one, you can still get in on the slow-cooking action. This mini slow cooker is no bigger than a medium-sized saucepan, so it's easy to store in a small kitchen and it can hold enough ingredients for two adult portions, plus a little more for a toddler-size meal.

It has a handy removable bowl to transfer the meal straight to the table and is simple to clean afterwards as the ceramic inner pot has a non-stick coating. Because it’s so easy to use, it would also make a great gift for a time-strapped student struggling to cook proper meals in halls as it comes with a booklet full of recipe ideas.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 1.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three including keep warm function
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? No - handwash-only pot and lid

7. Best slow cooker for soup making: Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker

russell hobbs slow cooker

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

If you love the idea of coming home to a hearty soup on a chilly winter’s night, this ceramic slow cooker deserves a permanent spot in your kitchen.

While it’s useful for making everything from your favourite pot roast to curries and stews, it works particularly well with hard winter vegetables that take a while to cook like potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips and turnips. It also makes ideal baby food for the later stages of weaning, as well as vegetarian dishes like chickpea tagine and vegetable stews. Simple to use with no special bells and whistles, the brushed stainless-steel pot is durable and reliable enough to produce consistently tasty dishes.

Sometimes food may need a quick stir as it can stick to the sides of the pot. Some bonus features include a glass lid for easy viewing, cool touch handles for lifting and serving, non-slip feet and a power indicator light.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 3.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes - pot and lid

8. Best sauté slow cooker: Emperial Slow Cooker

Emperial slow cooker

Price: £23.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Pop this heavy-duty ceramic slow cooker on the hob for sautéing everything from meat, fish, chicken breasts and vegetables like mushrooms, onions, courgettes and peppers before setting it to slow cook for the day.

The Emperial Slow Cooker is controlled with a simple manual dial (with three heat settings) and can whip up meals for up to six people without a fuss. It’s also made with non-slip feet and cool-touch handles so you can move the cooker around during cooking and serving. The oval shape is also ideal for bulkier food items like pork chops or ribs and its dishwasher-safe to reduce washing up time.

It doesn’t come with a timer or auto cook function but, like most models, it does have a ‘keep warm’ function which is great for retaining the temperature without overcooking your food.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 3.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes - inner dish and lid

9. Best versatile slow cooker: Sage The Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker

Sage Fast Slow Pro

Price: £198.95 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“On the other end of the price spectrum, I had the Sage The Fast Slow Pro for Christmas and it is the business. It sears, slow cooks, pressure cooks and has a warming function. We can have a proper risotto ready in about 15 minutes!” Nong45

Another favourite amongst Mumsnetters, the Sage The Fast Slow Pro deserves a standing ovation for innovation. It’s a slow cooker and pressure cooker in one, with additional preset settings including searing, sautéing, reducing and steaming.

Once you’ve selected your preferred cooking method, the savvy device automatically adjusts the time, temperature and pressure between fast and slow cooking for best results. Dual sensors at the top and bottom monitor ingredients for more accurate temperature and pressure control, while the variable steam release function allows steam to be automatically released as your food cooks.

Cleaning is a cinch too thanks to the wipe-clean moat, removable drip cup and six-litre cooking bowl that has an easy-clean ceramic coating, plus a dishwasher-safe lid. It also comes with a stainless-steel steaming basket and roasting trivet. Some feel it’s too large for a smaller kitchen and the round shape isn’t ideal for whole chickens, turkeys or bigger rectangular loaf tins.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 6 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: Yes
  • Dishwasher-safe? Lid only (but easy wipe-clean cooking bowl)

10. best slow cooker for large families: Crockpot Sizzle and Stew Slow Cooker

Crockpot large

Price: £44.99 | Buy now from Argos

“Get a six-litre one (I prefer the metal liner, rather than the ceramic one, as it’s not so heavy and you can brown stuff on the stove first if you want) and then you can do enough for all of you plus a batch for the freezer.” SheShriekedShrilly

The Crockpot Sizzle and Stew Slow Cooker is not only ideal for simple, mid-week meals, it’s also the perfect kitchen gadget for large family get-togethers and special occasions thanks to its large, 6.5-litre capacity. And for under £50, the solid stainless-steel pot is a good long-term, budget-friendly investment.

Just as its name suggests, this slow cooker is multi-functional, meaning it can brown and sear your protein (even tougher cuts like meat joints) on the hob before slow cooking to enhance flavour and lock in moisture. It comes with three standard settings including ‘low,’ ‘high’ and ‘keep warm.’ And, if a recipe calls for finishing a roast off in the oven, the Crockpot brand’s inner pot is safe for oven use up to 250°C.

Although it can comfortably feed up to eight people, it’s surprisingly light to lift and handle - a bonus in a busy kitchen.

Key specs

  • Capacity: 6.5 litres
  • Number of heat settings: Three
  • Digital display: No
  • Dishwasher-safe? Yes - bowl and lid

Is it worth getting a slow cooker?

Gone are the days where ancient, rickety slow cookers were only used to simmer bean soup for hours on end. Today’s modern slow cookers, Crock Pots and multi-cookers are versatile, innovative and the perfect cooking tool for busy families.

Here are just a few benefits of using a slow cooker:

  • They’re energy-saving as only a small amount of heat is used over a longer period and some models include a timer to automatically stop cooking when the meal is ready.
  • They free up time to allow you to get on with work or other tasks as your food cooks unaided.
  • They’re efficient. Simply put, slow cookers deliver fuss-free, delicious, one-pot meals with less washing up.
  • You can prep and plan healthy meals ahead. Most slow cookers are made with round or oval inner pots that can hold at least two portions of food. This allows you to cook in batches and freeze leftovers.
  • They’re versatile. From desserts to breads, tagines, curries, stews and soups, slow cookers are also great for making roasts complete with all the trimmings.
  • They’re simple and safe to use. Thanks to a variety of features such as cooling handles, hinge lids and non-slip legs, most slow cookers are safe for older children and teens if you need an extra hand.

What’s the difference between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker?

As the name suggests, slow cookers cook food slowly (sometimes overnight), while pressure cookers will have your meal on the table in less than an hour. “Pressure cookers use heated steam creating a high pressure environment, which mimics the action of slow cooking, but in a fraction of the time,” explain food experts at Yuppiechef.

And while slow cookers don’t require much attention from you throughout the cooking process, most standard pressure cookers (not the digital ones) are stove-top versions, which of course means you’ll need to keep an eye on them.

How to choose the best slow cooker

First things first, you’ll need to think about what you most want to get out of your slow cooker. For instance, are you looking for a basic, manual slow cooker to prepare regular family favourites like chicken soup and beef stew, or do you want to unleash your inner Masterchef and experiment with home baked bread and new recipes?

If it’s the latter, you may want to consider a digital multicooker such as the Drew&Cole CleverChef or Sage’s The Fast Slow Pro which come with additional features such as timers and temperature sensors, as well as a range of meal options you can whip up with a click of a button. Who knew making bread was so simple?

Here are a few more factors to consider:

  • Digital display versus manual function: Most manual slow cookers only have three cooking settings – ‘low,’ ‘high’ or ‘keep warm’ - whereas digital slow cookers often come with additional features such as delay timers, meal/cook options, DIY functions and temperature settings.
  • Inner round pot versus oval pot: Oval pots can fit more inside, such as a whole chicken, but take up more space on kitchen counters.
  • Ceramic versus metal: Ceramic slow cookers are durable, resilient and oven-proof. Some models are also non-stick. Most metal or brushed stainless-steel slow cookers are non-stick and are ideal for browning meat or sautéing vegetables on the hob before switching to the slow cook function. Slow cookers aren’t dishwasher safe as a complete unit, however most have dishwasher safe components such as lids and removable inner pots.
  • Size/capacity: Slow cookers can range in size from 1.5 litres to a whopping seven litres. Your choice will depend on your family size and kitchen space.
  • Hob versus oven: Some models such as the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew can be used to brown meat on the hob, whereas most ceramic slow cookers are oven-proof. Other standard models are simply placed on the kitchen counter and used as a slow cooker.
  • Pressure cooker versus slow cooker (or both): Nowadays, you don’t have to choose between a slow cooker and pressure cooker as some multi-cookers, such as the Sage The Fast Slow Pro, have both. This means you can adjust the cooking time, temperature and method of cooking per recipe.

How much does it cost to run a slow cooker per hour?

An average-sized slow cooker will use about 1.3 kWh of electricity per meal cooked, which breaks down to less than 1p per hour at an average energy tariff, according to experts at Money.co.uk.

What is the best slow cooker to buy?

After much research including plenty of reviews, we think the best slow cooker for busy families is the Drew&Cole CleverChef. Not only does this savvy kitchen device save you time and money – as it eliminates the need for an additional rice cooker, steamer, soup maker, stock pot and frying pan - but it also comes with delay timer and time adjustment functions, as well as a DIY button to create your own recipes from scratch.

Another clever feature is the boiling function, which boils water and beeps when ready if you select ‘poach’ or ‘pasta.’ Again, this eliminates the need for a kettle. We also love the free recipe guide to help you get started.

How we chose our recommendations

Most of our recommendations for slow cookers came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which slow cookers Mumsnetters really rated. We also researched various review sites to find out which slow cookers performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.