To be worthy of counter space, a digital slow cooker should be easy to program, have a keep-warm setting low enough to keep a pot roast from turning dry, and be able to handle delicate recipes like rice pudding. We tested three midrange models—the Cuisinart Programmable Slow Cooker, the Crock-Pot Countdown Touchscreen Digital Slow Cooker, and the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker—to see which would have a permanent place in our kitchen.
We performed three tests on each of the slow cookers: heating and holding water at the High, Low, and Warm settings; braising a five-pound pork shoulder for our Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe; and making a batch of our Slow Cooker Rice Pudding. Turns out a slow cooker doesn't have to be the fanciest, priciest, or most feature-rich model to be a keeper.
This is a no-nonsense midrange digital slow-cooker with a good temperature range (especially at the low end) that braises beautifully and can also handle delicate ingredients.
Does a fine job cooking meats but can't handle more delicate recipes. Ultimately, the extra features hinder more than help.
This is a good midpriced slow cooker for those who regularly cook large cuts of meat or big-batch foods for crowds.