Crock pots are the saving grace of anyone who wishes to cook delicious food on a busy schedule. Here’s our take on the best ones at the best value for thrifty shoppers.
What Makes a Great Crock Pot?
Cooking ability ranks most important in crock pot criticism. Superior products can tenderly work on food for an entire day, without fear of overcooking, overheating, or overflowing in the kitchen.
A great crock pot cleans and transports easily: its handles will be insulated, for example, and it’ll fit in a standard dishwasher. Prettiness matters, too. Crock pots can be unwieldy, demanding a permanent spot in the kitchen — and ruling out eyesores from contention.
Lastly, a crock pot’s price should represent its quality: an attractive yet poor-performing $200 model can never trump a cheaper yet more functional crock without the glam.
Third Place: CuisinartPSC-400
The hands-down winner for prettiest crock pot, Cuisinart’s chic model would make for a stylish fixture on any kitchen counter ($70-$75). Yet its function impresses along with its form; the PSC-400’s expansive oval bowl can handle long slabs of meat with ease, and its simple programming lets you customize the cook time by the half-hour.
Second Place: Crock-Pot3060-W 6-Quart Round Slow Cooker
Looking for a great slow cooker at a bottom-barrel price? Save with this six-quart product from Crock-Pot ($20-$30). Though priced for the bargain bin, its features land it at the top of the shelf. Its dishwasher-ready stonewear construction, a removable internal crock insert, and, yes, SIX QUARTS of space — large enough to handle a roast for a party of 8 — make this cooker the crock pot poster child for economical excellence.
**First Place, Blue Ribbon Crock Pot**: HamiltonBeach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Slow Cooker
The other two crock pots we featured impressed us mightily, but with nearly 600 extremely positive reviews on Amazon.com, there was no denying the home run winner of our slow cooker assessments: Hamilton Beach’s feature-packed unit here ($40-$50).
To begin, no other crock pot seems to cook as tenderly or with as much force of flavor as this model. Vegetables, pasta, or pot roast, every meal turns out divine wit this product.
Cooking tyros can get their crock-pot feet wet with the Set ‘n Forget’s automatic cooking probe amenity, where the unit shuts off as soon as the food reaches the ideal temperature. This model is also highly portable, complete with a clip-lock gasket lid which prevents leaking. An exceptional value.