The range of colours, shapes, sizes and prices that slow cookers now come in is huge. This vast choice can make choosing the right slow cooker somewhat daunting. However if you consider a few main factors and use our slow cooker buying guide you should be able to make the right choice for you.
When choosing a slow cooker I would advise you to consider:
The first slow cookers on the market were predominantly round in shape and generally cream and brown in colour. Nowadays there are an extensive array of colours, sizes and shapes.
While for most dishes, such as soups, stews and puddings cooked in round basins the shape of the the slow cooker isn’t important. However the introduction of the modern oval shaped slow cookers means they are more suitable for pot-roasting larger joints of meat and for cooking cakes in loaf-shaped tins than the original round slow cookers.
Lids are usually available as either solid ceramic or toughened glass. The toughened glass ones have the advantage that you are able to monitor what is cooking without to lifting the lid. Lifting a lid of a slow cooker while it is on let’s out precious heat and increases the cooking time.
Some slow cookers come with a removable cooking pot that can be used on a hob or in the oven. These are often the more high-end models but their versatility does mean you can save time, energy and washing-up by not having to mover your ingredients from one pot to your slow cooker.
There are also some high-tech machines on the market that not only slow cook but they also do a myriad of other options such as pressure cook, steam, cook rice and/or make yoghurt. They are of course more expensive but might help you cut down on the amount of appliances you need in your kitchen.
The introduction of some modern slow cooker designs means that some inserts are suitable to be used in the dishwasher. This is such an added advantage as it vastly reduces the number of dishes that need hand washing at the end of your meal.
The size of slow cookers vary from 1.5 litres right up to a massive 6.5 litres. The question you need to consider is how many people do you regularly cook for? Do you wish to do large batch cooking and want to freeze leftovers for future meals?
Will you usually be setting the slow cooker and then going out? In which case one with a timer might be worth considering. These are usually more expensive models that allow you to cook for a certain amount of time and then it will switch to warm. Thus enabling you to not over cook a meal and have something warm to come home to. If however you will mainly be around the kitchen when you are using the slow cooker a basic function model may suit you best with only three setting of high, low and off.
Slow cookers range from the most basic budget busting models to high-tech deluxe machines that will be highly priced. The good news it is possible to find a good slow cooker for any budget. It all depends how much you want your slow cooker to do and how big you need it.