Crock-Pot Stainless Steel 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

Slow cookers and Crock-Pots are pretty great appliances. They can cook hearty, heaping piles of meat, comforting soups and stews, even breakfast and dessert, all in the most delightfully hands-off way while you get other stuff done. And while they’re obviously great in winter, when they’re called upon for warming dishes and drinks to fight the chill, they’re handy in hot weather too, when they save you from standing over a steamy stove.

Slow Cooking 101How to Use a Crock-PotIf you don’t have a slow cooker yet, or are maybe looking to replace the relic you inherited from your parents, you may be surprised by the range of options out there. Many are pretty basic, but plenty of others have intriguing extra features—and then there’s the Instant Pot, of course (which also functions as a slow cooker). So, which one is right for you?

Maybe one of the ones below! Scroll down to find the one that sounds most suitable and click through to read the reviews on Amazon.

For Pretty Much Everyone

Hamilton Beach Programmable 7-Quart Slow Cooker ($40)

Hamilton Beach Programmable 7-Quart Slow Cooker

Amazon

This digital 7-quart slow cooker is roomy and has all the standard features of modern models: dishwasher-safe stoneware crock insert, dishwasher-safe glass lid, three settings (high, low, and warm), the ability to set the length of cooking time, and a feature that automatically switches the temp to warm once that time is up. It’s simple and affordable and should meet all of your slow cooking needs. See It.

For the No-Frills Fam

Crock-Pot Stainless Steel 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker ($27)

Crock-Pot Stainless Steel 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

Amazon

If you’re not in the market for anything even kind of fancy, this is perhaps the most basic you can get—there’s just a manual dial you turn to low, high, or warm (so no setting a cook time or automatically switching over to warm), and the 7-quart ceramic crock and glass lid are dishwasher-safe. It gets the job done, and sometimes that’s all you need. See It.

For the Precision-Minded

Hamilton Beach Programmable 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Temperature Probe and Transport Clips ($50)

Hamilton Beach Programmable 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Temperature Probe and Transport Clips

Amazon

This slow cooker builds on the usual features (digital display and buttons, programmable cook time, and automatic “keep warm” function) by adding a removable digital probe that can cook your roast to the precise temperature you choose (and it displays the temperature in real time on the LED panel). Plus, it has lid clips that lock the top in place, in case you need to transport your beautiful hunk of beef to a tailgating party or potluck. See It.

For Multi-Function Fans

Cuisinart 3-in-1 Multi-Function 4-Quart Slow Cooker ($80)

Cuisinart 3-in-1 Multi-Function 4-Quart Slow Cooker with Searing and Steaming Functions

Amazon

This digital slow cooker isn’t just a slow cooker—it also has settings that allow you to steam and sear food. If you make a lot of meaty dishes, you know the annoyance of having to brown it in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker, so this model means it’s much easier to make truly one-pot meals (it also means the crock insert is aluminum rather than the usual ceramic). It comes with a steaming rack for making healthier fish and vegetable dishes. Another nice feature is that you can set specific cooking temperatures if you want something more precise than low, medium, or high—but like most other slow cookers, it still automatically switches over to warm once time’s up. (If you need a larger model, there is a 6-quart option too.) See It.

For Cheffy Cooks

Hamilton Beach Professional 6-Quart Sous Vide & Slow Cooker ($70)

Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide & Slow Cooker

Amazon

This slow cooker works like any other digital model (you can program the cooking time and have it keep food warm afterward), but it also functions as a sous vide machine, which is a pretty big deal for fans of the water bath cooking method (or those who have been dying to try it). It may not be quite as precise as more expensive sous vide equipment, but it’s great for the more casual experimenter, and it’s still a 2-in-1 appliance, which is always nice. See It.

For Fashionistas and Potluck Perfectionists

Hamilton Beach Wrap and Serve 6-Quart Slow Cooker ($37)

Hamilton Beach Wrap and Serve 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Decorative Wraps

Amazon

This is your basic manual slow cooker, with no bells or whistles where functionality is concerned—but plenty of pizzazz on the outside. You can change up the look for holidays and special occasions with reusable decorative wraps that attach to the sides. This one comes with blue chevron wraps and a chalkboard surface wrap that lets you draw on your own labels or designs, but additional patterns can be purchased separately. See It.

For Couples and Singles

Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Slow Cooker ($33)

Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Slow Cooker for One or Two

Amazon

This manual Crock-Pot’s petite size is perfect for cooking for just 1 or 2 without a lot of leftovers (anyone who’s made pulled pork in a standard size slow cooker can attest to the never-ending mountain of meat that remains even after several dinners). It could also work for small batches of hot dips or appetizers for a party—and it includes locking lid clips, so carrying it to a potluck is easy. See It.

For App Lovers and Tech Fiends

Crock-Pot WeMo Smart Wifi-Enabled 6-Quart Slow Cooker ($110)

Crock-Pot WeMo Smart Wifi-Enabled 6-Quart Slow Cooker

Amazon

That’s “app” as in application, not appetizer. Honestly, this Crock-Pot works just like most other digital models, except it can also be controlled remotely via an app on your phone, which enables you to increase or decrease cooking times and temperatures, or even shut off the slow cooker if you need to. The app sends text notifications to whomever you want to alert when dinner’s ready too. But it comes with a pretty hefty price tag for what might not be quite enough added convenience for some. See It.

For Everyone Who Doesn’t Have One Yet

6-Quart Instant Pot 7-in-1 ($85)

6-Quart Instant Pot 7-in-1

Amazon

While the Instant Pot is most often touted for its quick cooking abilities (I mean, it’s right there in the name…), it does also function as a slow cooker when you want it to, among several other things. This 7-in-1 model, for instance, adds rice cooking and yogurt making functions to the mix, but all Instant Pot versions and sizes include the slow cooker function (and a saute function) in addition to the main draw of the pressure cooker. So you may as well give in and get one if you haven’t already! When it’s not making speedy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, it’s great for any given slow cooker recipe—and if you’re at all concerned about possible trace amounts of lead in ceramic or aluminum crocks, you’ll also like the fact that the Instant Pot’s insert is stainless steel. It does cost a little more than your basic Crock-Pot, but you may find it well worth the price. See It.

Related Video: How to Make Slow Cooker Pork Ramen

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Jen is an associate content producer at Chowhound and hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work here.
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