How to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot

Determine Your Needs

The first step is deciding how you plan to use your slow cooker. Consider the following:

  • Capacity – Slow cookers come in capacities ranging from 1-7 quarts or more. Choose a larger capacity if cooking for a family or meal prepping. Go smaller for singles or couples.
  • Features – Basic models have High/Low settings while advanced ones have digital panels with programmable timers and temperature probes. Decide if you need any extra features.
  • Portability – Some compact models have locking lids and carry handles for easy transport to potlucks.
  • Oval vs Round – Oval cookers fit roasts better while round ones are better for soups/stews.
  • Removable ceramic vs metal insert – Ceramic is preferred for even heating but metal inserts are easier to clean.

Choose a Reputable Brand

Stick with well-known brands like Crock-Pot, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, All-Clad, or Instant Pot. Check reviews and avoid models with consistent complaints about food not cooking properly or units failing early.

Consider the Size and Material

  • For 1-2 people, a 3-4 quart cooker is sufficient.
  • For families, a 6-7 quart is ideal for creating leftovers.
  • Large oval 7+ quart cookers work well for entertaining or meal prepping.
  • Ceramic or porcelain interiors retain heat better than aluminum or plastic.
  • Handles and lid materials (wood, plastic, metal) impact ease of use.

Verify the Features Offered

  • High/Low settings are suitable for most users.
  • Programmable cookers allow you to customize time and temperature.
  • Auto warm keeps food piping hot after cooking completes.
  • Clear lid lets you monitor food without removing it.
  • Dishwasher-safe inserts make cleanup easy.
  • Locking lids allow for secure transport to potlucks/parties.

Compare Prices and Warranties

  • Entry-level cookers range from $20-$50 while multi-function models can cost $150 and up.
  • Compare prices online and look for sales. Units often go on sale right before the holidays.
  • Check the warranty. Common options are 1 year limited or 3-5 years on the heating element.

Read Reviews Before Buying

  • Read buyer reviews on retail sites to learn about ease of use, durability, and potential issues.
  • Check reviews of your desired model to confirm it heats properly and cooks food thoroughly.
  • Look for common complaints about lids not sealing properly, inserts getting stained, or electronics failing.

Shop Retailers You Trust

Purchase from reputable retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.

  • Check company policies regarding returns/exchanges in case you need to send it back.
  • Buying directly from the manufacturer’s site can also be an option.

Takeaway Tips

  • Focus on your intended use, capacity needs, and any extra features desired.
  • Stick with proven brands and read plenty of reviews before deciding.
  • Compare prices across retailers and look for sales/deals.
  • Inspect your model thoroughly once purchased and test it out!

Following this guide will help you select the perfect slow cooker or crock-pot for your cooking needs and budget. With a little research, you can find a quality appliance that will provide years of delicious and hassle-free meals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Slow Cooker

What size slow cooker should I get?

Choose a 3-4 quart cooker for 1-2 people, a 6-7 quart for families, or a large 7+ quart oval cooker for meal prepping or entertaining. Make sure to account for how much food you’ll want to cook at one time.

Are more expensive slow cookers better?

Not necessarily. Higher end models offer more features like digital panels and locking lids but entry level cookers can still perform well for basic use. Focus on size, brand reputation, and reviews over price alone.

Should I get a programmable slow cooker?

Programmable cookers allow you to set custom cook times and temperatures. This offers more flexibility but isn’t essential for basic recipes. Consider your cooking needs and if you value the preset options.

What should I look for in a slow cooker insert?

Ceramic or porcelain inserts retain heat well and resist staining. Avoid aluminum or plastic inserts. Removable inserts make serving and cleaning much easier.

How do I know if a slow cooker will cook properly?

Read reviews to confirm consistent food cooking through and models heating to the proper temperature on all settings. Avoid cookers with common complaints about undercooked food.

What warranties are typical for slow cookers?

Most come with a 1 year limited warranty. Higher end models may offer longer 3-5 year warranties, especially on the heating element which is most likely to fail over time.

Should I buy directly from the manufacturer?

The manufacturer’s site may offer deals or customization options but you can likely find competitive pricing from other major retailers. Buying from a retailer also gives you the option of easier returns if needed.


Buying a quality slow cooker or crock-pot is an investment that can make home cooking efficient, flavorful, and convenient for years to come. Avoid frustration by carefully considering your needs, reading reviews of models that interest you, comparing prices across retailers, and verifying warranty coverage. Taking the time to research will ensure you select the perfect cooker to suit your cooking requirements so you can enjoy delicious homemade meals with minimal hassle.

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# Heading 1 
## Heading 2
### Heading 3
#### Heading 4
##### Heading 5
###### Heading 6

This produces:

Heading 1

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Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6


Surround text with asterisks * or underscores _ to make it italic. Use two asterisks or underscores to make text bold.

*This text is italic*

**This text is bold**

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1. First item 
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Format links using [Text](

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Renders as:

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Embed images using ![Alt Text](image url)

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Markdown Logo

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