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Best Slow Cooker For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Slow Cooker at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
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Product
West Bend 5-Quart Oblong-ShapedHamilton Beach Set ‘n ForgetFrigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable SlowCrock-Pot 6.5 Quart Programmable TouchCuisinart 3-In-1
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Product Rating
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Amazing
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Amazing
Average Price
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($40)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($66)
 
 
 
 
 
Average ($80)
 
 
 
 
 
Average ($135)
 
 
 
 
 
Average ($149)
Frugal5 Score
Details
8.7
8.4
7.5
6.4
6.3
Additional Info
Capacity
5 Quarts
6 Quarts
7 Quarts
6.5 Quarts
4 or 6 Quarts
Warranty
1 Year Parts
1 year Full Warranty
1 Year Parts
3 year Warranty
3 year limited Warranty
Features Needed
Keep Warm Function
Removable Crock
Features Not Needed
Diswashwer Safe
Glass Lid
High Quality Metal Exterior
LED Display
Locking Lid
Programmable
Saute' Brown Feature
Steam Feature
Stove-Top Safe Crock
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

The slow cooker is the busy cook's best friend!  Standing over a hot stove watching, stirring, flipping and adding ingredients is just not an effective use of your time every time it's time to cook.  With a slow cooker, cut that time down dramatically, to give you more time for other activities.  Toss in the ingredients to your favorite roasted recipe and then go about your business.  Hours later, just in time for everyone to be feeling hungry, with the aroma filling your kitchen, your delicious dinner is ready.  Turn around and be the hit of the party with hot  dips and snacks  that are easy to prepare and stay the perfect temperature.  It's always best to have the right tool for the job, and none of us want to spend more than we need to get that job done. 

Slow cookers come in a wide variety of sizes for different situations and uses.  For couples, or small families, a small one quart capacity cooker might be all that's required.  A slow cooker of this size can be found for as little as ten dollars.  These small units are also great for serving dips and hot dishes at parties and pot-lucks.  Not only are they  an inexpensive serving solution, but the small size takes up less space on crowded counter-tops  and drains less power from already overloaded circuits.  For large families or for someone who tends to entertain often, slow cookers are available in two, four, or even six quart sizes.  Of course, prices increase, as the capacity increases, so it's a good idea to think about what your needs are and what dishes you will be preparing to avoid paying for extra space you don't need.  This also comes into play when you think about storing the cooker between uses. 

If all you need is a two quart size slow cooker, paying for and then trying to store the six quart size is an unnecessary expense and hassle. On the other hand, if you are famous for bringing massive quantities of your famous chili to family get functions, the six quart size might be exactly what you've been looking for.  Expect to spend twenty to thirty dollars for the midsize models and upwards of fifty dollars for the large size slow cooker.       

A feature that makes life a lot easier is the remove-able crock.  Most newer slow cookers have this feature, but it is a good idea to check, because the remove-able crock makes it easier to serve food, store left-overs, and clean up.  People who are taking food in their slow cooker to go as part of participating in parties, pot-lucks, or chili cook-offs should consider a slow cooker with a locking lid.  One quick break slamming incident that results in hot baked beans on the dashboard should convince you of the value of this upgrade!   Crock-Pot makes a six quart "Cook 'N Carry" model with snappy latches that hold the lid in place, and the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go model that has a clip lock that goes across the entire lid to keep it secure.  The Stay or Go even cleverly comes with its own serving spoon that is built to attach securely to the clip lock.  Never forget that essential item again.  Both of these models are in the forty dollar range. 

It is also possible to get optional carrying cases for many slow cooker models that make it even easier to get your masterpiece from one place to another. Another useful feature is the programmable option.  For the ultimate set it and forget it, these slow cookers let you set a cook time, usually in thirty minute increments, for up to twenty-four hours of no worries, slow cooking.  No "watching the pot" required!  When the programmed cook time has completed, these slow cookers switch to a lower heat keep warm function.  So your dish is cooked perfectly and kept at the perfect temperature, even if you are late getting back to it.  This is a nice feature, and if you think you will be away from the kitchen for longer than your roast or stew needs to cook, this is for you.  The program allows you to come back to your dinner without worrying you'll be confronted with food burned to the sides of the pot.  

Breaking down the available features, a simple two quart, non-programmable slow cooker with a standard lid will do most jobs you want to do and give you easy, delicious cooking options for the lowest price.  Larger sizes, programmable, locking lid options can make using your slow cooker even easier, but the overall performance won't improve a great deal.  The only truly essential upgrade in my experience is the remove-able serving crock.

Crock-Pot is the most recognized brand name in slow cookers, and their catalog includes options in all of the sizes and with all of the options we've discussed.  They even offer large sizes in stainless steel with touch screen programmable control panel for upwards of one hundred dollars.  Most of the well known manufacturers of small kitchen appliances offer some versions of the slow cooker as well.  Hamilton Beach, Proctor Silex, and West Bend all offer their own slow cookers with different features for a reasonable price.    

Waring and  Bierhaus both have their versions of the slow cooker, but they are priced much higher overall without much improvement in features or performance from the more cost-effective models.   

Over all, a slow cooker is an excellent addition to your kitchen.  It is a time saver, as well as a great method for cooking certain foods that may be troublesome to prepare with your conventional stove or oven.  They are great for serving food at parties, especially when guests may wander in and out of the kitchen.  Considering the uses you will be putting your slow cooker to, the features you want, and the capacity you need will help you get the best deal on the cooker that will best fit your cooking style and your lifestyle.    

Features You Need
Keep Warm Function, Removable Crock
Features You Don't Need
Diswashwer Safe, Glass Lid, High Quality Metal Exterior, LED Display, Locking Lid, Programmable, Saute' Brown Feature, Steam Feature, Stove-Top Safe Crock
What You Should Pay
Between $40.00 - $149.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $199.99