Best slow cookers of 2024, tested for easy homecooked meals

Our tried and tested guide to the 9 best slow cookers will have the perfect model for cooking up curries, stews and soups for your kitchen

Three of the best slow cookers on Ideal Home style background
(Image credit: Future)

Everyone should have a good slow cooker in their arsenal of kitchen gadgets - they save on energy costs while still prioritising tasty home-cooked meals to warm you throughout the winter. We've tried a variety of the top-rated slow cookers out there, including picks from Crock-Pot, Sage and more, to tell you all about their selling points, and features that may have missed the mark. 

As these appliances are versatile buys, many of the slow cookers featured below have extra functionalities or accessories for steaming and multi-level cooking, with the cross-over between the best multi-cookers and slow cookers evident in both of our guides. 

Keep reading to discover all of the slow cookers that we've loved after testing at Ideal Home, and delve into what really makes them great for home-cooked recipes.

Best slow cookers 2024

The best slow cooker overall

Ninja Foodi Possible Cooker Slow Cookerproduct badge

(Image credit: Ninja)
The best slow cooker overall

Specifications

Digital : Yes
Capacity : 8 litres
Features: 8 functions, hob and oven safe, included spoon, dishwasher safe

Reasons to buy

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8 functions, all of which improve the slow cooking process
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The pot can go straight in the oven or to the table 
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Versatility is unmatched to create an array of different meals

Reasons to avoid

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Our reviewer wasn't keen on the bake function
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It's expensive. But you get a lot packed in for the price

If you haven't yet been convinced to buy a Ninja because of the hype around the best air fryers, then you might still be converted to this brand with the PossibleCooker. Packed with eight different functions, including searing, braising and simmering, this appliance will make whatever you want to cook taste better than ever.

Our expert reviewer Helen can vouch for that. When she tested it, she first made a beef stew, using the sear function to brown the meat, before moving on to slow cooking. The results were excellent, with softened beef and a hearty taste – all of which was improved when she popped the pot into the oven with some mash on top too. 

Yep, as well as having all of those functions, the pot of this cooker is also ovenproof up to 260°C and can be served straight to the dining table to save on washing up too.  Though it is expensive, our reviewer Helen's final verdict was that it's worth it thanks to its versatility which saw her cook stew, bolognese, steamed veg, chicken stock and even a cake in the cooker. 

Our Ninja Foodi Possible Slow Cooker review has the full details.  

Best affordable slow cooker

Best slow cooker Morphy RichardsBudget buy badge

(Image credit: Morphy Richards)
Best budget slow cooker

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 3.5 litre
Features: Hob and dishwasher-safe bowl, three temperature settings

Reasons to buy

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At a great price to enable you to have homecooked easy meals
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Easy to store thanks to its lightweight design
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Speedy heatup and impressive results, with a good range of settings 

Reasons to avoid

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It's not a digital model, so it won't switch off automatically
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Lacks a keep warm setting

Feature-packed, versatile and so simple to get the hang of, you’ll be slow-cooking everything you can with the Sear and Stew. Its pot is made from aluminium rather than ceramic, meaning you can use it on the hob (not induction) to brown meat and veg. You can then transfer it to the base to slow cook on either high, medium, or low heat. 

The Morphy Richards slow cooker's high setting can also be used to reduce liquid after cooking. In tests, it was used to make a delicious slow-cooked curry, first sautéing meat on the hob. The pan’s base was slippery on the cast-iron support of a gas burner, so it had to be held in position when stirring. This required gloves as the handles grew hot. After, it was transferred to the base to cook on high for four hours.

The slow cooker was easy to set, and although it lacks a keep warm setting, we found that the low heat setting was a suitable alternative. It's not digital, so it won't be able to automatically turn itself off, but while cooking, it certainly bubbled away well. The exterior of the base only grew slightly warm. Both the pot and the toughened glass lid are dishwasher-safe so clean-up was straightforward.

Our Morphy Richards Sear and Stew 3.5 Litre Slow Cooker review has the full details.

Best Instant Pot

Best slow cooker Instant Potproduct badge

(Image credit: Instant Pot)
Best Instant Pot

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 5.7 litre
Features: 8 cooking modes, dishwasher-safe settings

Reasons to buy

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Modes for cooking anything you wish, with tonnes of functionality 
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Safety features to let out steam 
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You can create presets of your favourite settings to cook certain recipes

Reasons to avoid

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Pot isn't non-stick
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There aren't any recipes included

Instant Pot has been making waves in the States for some time, but it's never quite had the same buzz here, and we think it's a very underrated buy. The Instant Pot Pro is one of the most premium options on offer from the brand, with a huge range of smart settings on offer. The functions here range from cooking rice and pressure cooking to steaming – you can browse through them and save your favourites or most-used on a custom setting bar.

Our reviewer loved practically everything about the Instnat Pot Pro, even down to the matte black colour (which is much nicer than the stainless steel in our opinion). She made a vegan lentil daal, which had a perfect texture, perfected brown rice, and lasagne filling with the pot. She used the slow cooking function for chicken, which emerged perfectly softened and succulent too. 

Amazingly smart, the Instant Pot Pro is also very safe to use, and the pot allows you to sear either on the hob or inside the cooker before adding stock or tomatoes and setting your meal on to slow cook.

The lid screws into place and can even go in the dishwasher after you're done. We found that it took just three and a half minutes to preheat and allowed us to preset your cooking mode for up to 24 hours. Our principal complaints is that the pot itself isn't strictly non-stick, and that the included recipe manual was lacking a little. Overall though, we were mega-impressed.

Our Instant Pot Pro review has the full details.

Best slow cooker with griddle

Cuisinart Cook Inproduct badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)
Best slow cooker with griddle

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 3.5 litre
Features: Chalkboard exterior, dishwasher safe

Reasons to buy

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Very versatile
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A lot of temperature variety
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Can be used to griddle and slow cook
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Gets hot quick

Reasons to avoid

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Cooking pot could be deeper

The Cuisinart Cook In is one of the most versatile slow cookers on the market, with an efficient heating base and a removable griddle plate that can be swapped out for the slow cooking base to sear your aubergines before baking them into a delicious parmagiana. 

We really enjoyed the wide and more shallow pot of this slow cooker, which offers a lot of versatility when compared to a regular slow cooker, including the ability to griddle with it. That enabled our reviewer to master a classic shakshouka, after grilling peppers to begin before adding tomatoes and eggs. 

Sure, it has only one simple temperature dial but turning it offers a lot more variety than the usual options, which tend to come with a low, medium and high mode. This feature was especially good when it came to our reviewer's lamb stew, as she customised the temperature to get the perfect pull-apart texture. 

As far as cleaning is concerned, all removable parts (including the glass lid) can go in the dishwasher, and there is also a steaming rack for added options. For one-pot meals on a budget, you absolutely can't go wrong with this Cuisinart buy. 

Our Cuisinart Cook In review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for families

Crockpot slow cooker in blackproduct badge

(Image credit: Crockpot)
Best slow cooker for large servings

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 4.7 litre
Features: Hinged lid, lift-out pot

Reasons to buy

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Hinged lid and lift-out pot
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Excellent slow-cooking results 
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Perfect for midweek meals, all you need to do is load in the ingredients and press 2 buttons

Reasons to avoid

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The controls are too basic if anything

Some things can deter us all from cooking. Having to transfer food from a pan to a pot, cleaning up or that annoying puddle of water you get from putting the lid down on the worktop when it comes to the best slow cookers. If that's you, you need this model, which can act as a cooker and a serving pot that you can plonk down straight on the dining table.

This slow cooker has been designed to be as easy as possible to use, including with the addition of a hinged lid, which makes checking on the progress of your curry or stew much less hassle. It's also dishwasher-safe, and the inner pot is oven friendly, if you need to transfer it over. 

The digital control features three heat settings – high, low and keep warm – and there’s an indicator light to let you know which one you're on. We think it can take a minute to get used to the controls, as clicking between the modes is a bit harder than it needs to be, but after your first use, we think you'll have the hang of it. We made a fantastic Bolognese sauce in four hours on high and a rich and tasty curry on the lower setting with perfectly cooked meat and veg during testing. The large size also makes it perfect for a Christmas ham, when the slow cooker comes into its own!

Our full Crockpot Lift and Serve slow cooker review has the full details. 

The best large capacity slow cooker

Best slow cooker Russell Hobbsproduct badge

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)
Best large slow cooker for families

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6.5 litre
Features: Sous-vide, timer settings, keep warm mode, temperature probe

Reasons to buy

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Removable pot goes in the dishwasher
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Steaming attachment
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A variety of cooking modes including keep warm

Reasons to avoid

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Gets hot to touch

The Russell Hobbs Good to Go Multicooker is a true multi-tasker. Armed with a variety of capabilities, you can make sure that your meat is cooked just right before you cut it open, or fill up a water bath for succulent sous vide fish or veggies. 

This digital slow cooker comes with a removable control dial on its front control panel, which has pre-set modes for steaming and stewing as well as high and low manual temperature levels. There is also a keep warm mode. 

We tested the Russell Hobbs Good to Go Multicooker out on slow cooker stews, as well as a whole-cooked chicken, which was possible thanks to just how large the pot is with this cooker. Our tester also managed perfect rice with this cooker, as well as a  tender stew.

Instead of a removable pot this slow cooker has a single layer of aluminum housing, which can be pulled away from the control panel and base of the slow cooker and placed straight in the dishwasher. 

Our Russell Hobbs Good To Go 6.5L Electric Multi Cooker review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for functionality

Best slow cooker Ninjaproduct badge

(Image credit: Ninja)
Best slow cooker for range of functions

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6 litres
Features: Air frying, grilling, sear, pressure cook, keep warm, adjustable time and temperature

Reasons to buy

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It allows you to sear and simmer
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Air frying lid included, so you only have to buy one appliance
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Keep warm functionality

Reasons to avoid

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Noisy when using the crisping lid 

The Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker is a high-cost investment, but if you like your gadgets it could be the best one you make for your kitchen yet. You can of course just use this multi-cooker as a slow cooker, for which it has a generous 6 litre capacity, but you can also take advantage of the sear setting to brown meat and veggies before slow cooking for a more rich flavour.

When we tested its slow cooking mode we found that it's almost too good at retaining moisture. Recipes that came out more saucy in some slow cookers were a little less rich because it's also designed to be an airtight pressure cooker. That can be remedied though by adding less liquid or taking into account the liquid that will come out of meat and veggies when you add them.

All in all, our reviewer baked a (perfectly moist) cake, roasted a chicken, air fried chips and steamed sweetcorn. While the chicken was probably a little too large for the pot, the results were still impressive, and slow cooking has always yielded soft and tender results for us. 

You can place the cooking pot in the dishwasher or wash by hand fairly easily. The Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker also has a basket insert and can be used to air fry other treats when not in use as a slow cooker. Is this the future of slow cooking? We think so.

Our Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP350UK review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for batch cooking

Best slow cooker Sageproduct badge

(Image credit: Sage)
Best slow cooker for batch cooking

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6 litre
Features: Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté/ sear, sous vide, reduce

Reasons to buy

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It's a real multi-tasker
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Automatic pressure release
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Controls are easy to use and clearly laid out

Reasons to avoid

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If you don't want to pressure cook there are cheaper options out there

Removing the need to sauté in a pan before transferring to the pot, the Sage Fast Slow Go is as useful for slow cooking converts as it is to experienced cooks. Functioning as both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, it includes sensors at the top and bottom to monitor temperature. This makes inconsistently cooked stews a thing of the past.

The controls are a little cluttered, but the illustrations make the Sage The Fast Slow Go easy to use and very clear. The lid his hinged, which we don't love, but it does mean the Sage The Fast Slow Go will transition easily between slow cooking and pressure cooking for a range of the cooking modes.

You can activate a keep warm setting to keep your food ready for as long as six hours after your cooking mode has finished. The sear mode took only a few minutes to pre-heat and we were able to brown our onions before adding curry ingredients, which delivered a lot of extra flavour, with the overall result being wonderfully cooked. The slow cooker's 'reduce' function was useful for bubbling away excess liquid after slow cooking.

Our Sage The Fast Slow Go review has the full details.

Best smart slow cooker

Drew & Cole Cleverchef slow cooker with blue digital screenproduct badge

(Image credit: Drew & Cole Cleverchef)
Best slow cooker for app pairing

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 4.8 litre
Features: Non-stick pot, keep warm function, digital display

Reasons to buy

+
The exterior stays cool
+
The app has loads of recipes

Reasons to avoid

-
Accessories need to be hand-washed

We tried everything from baking a cake to pressure cooking rice in the Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro, and it's a smart multi-cooker that also wows when slow cooking. The inner pot is non-stick which made cleaning a breeze, and we made good use of the keep warm function which switched on automatically when the recipe had finished cooking.

One of the best things about the Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro is the app, which comes with a huge range of recipes at the touch of a button. Compared to a lot of multi-cookers