With the veritable benefits of the Instant Pot—from speedy 20-minute macaroni and cheese to absurdly simple chocolate lava cake—it can be easy to overlook its more laidback counterpart: the slow cooker.
But the low-and-slow method has its advantages, too. For starters, it's the easiest way to have dinner ready to go the second you walk in the door after a long day at work (so long as you've set everything to go in the morning and let the slow cooker work its magic throughout the day). It's also a pinch hitter in the summertime when turning on the stove or the oven makes the whole kitchen way too hot. Best of all, it brings out those deep, complex flavors in your favorite soups, stews, and so much more with the simple push of a button.
But picking out the very best slow cooker for you can be a trickier task. Type "slow cooker" into Amazon and you'll get well over 2,000 results.
So to make things a bit easier, I've combed through Amazon to find the 10 highest-rated slow cookers—from every major retailer, for every budget. Starting at $24.99 and working all the way up to almost $250, each slow cooker in this bunch has an average of 4 stars or more. The best part: more than a few are currently on sale.
$24.99 / 4.3 stars
This simple, no-frills slow cooker may not come with fancy-schmancy features like a programmable timer or cook-and-carry attachments, but it gets the job done reliably well at an excellent price.
$30.99 $25.80 / 4.5 stars
This teeny two-quart slow cooker with dishwasher-safe glass lid and stoneware pot is perfect for solo cooking, á la our popular column, Table for One (or for college students and city dwellers with limited kitchen space).
$34.99 $31.64 / 4.3 Stars
This budget-friendly slow cooker from Hamilton Beach covers all the basics, with an extra feature—a single clip that seals the lid onto the base for mess-free travel—that makes it a ridiculously good value for the price.
$39.00 $35.47 / 4.2 Stars
Ah, Crock-Pot, the sovereign of slow cookers. This particular six-quart model gets high marks for its handy features: a digital countdown control that lets you program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours; an easy-to-use locking lid for spill-free travel; and a removable stone insert that's safe for the microwave and the oven (up to 400°F).
$37.95 / 4.2 Stars
The naturally nonstick stoneware base of this five-quart slow cooker comes with a few extra perks that contributed to its rating: It can be used on the stovetop to sear and sauté, or in the oven for roasting or reheating, plus it's dishwasher-safe. One reviewer felt very enthusiastic about it, writing in all caps, "USED ON STOVE TO SEAR THE MEAT, DID A GOOD JOB." Enough said.
$59.99 $49.39 / 4.6 Stars
This family-size multicooker can do a lot more than just slow-cook; it can steam, sauté, and even cook rice. With an average of 4.6 stars and over 160 reviews, people love it. One fan recently wrote: "It has been working extra hard for us so far, but it handled everything perfectly. Exactly what we asked for." What more could a home cook want?
$99.95 $75.99 / 4.6 Stars
The much-beloved—and absurdly popular—Instant Pot is best known for its pressure-cooking powers, but it also makes a wonderful slow cooker. With over 35,000 (!!!) reviews averaging 4.6 stars, it's no surprise that this six-quart Instant Pot is one of the most popular kitchen gadgets in Amazon's shop. Oh, and did we mention it's currently on sale for 24% off?
$149.99 $99.00 / 4.6 Stars
This digital slow cooker from Calphalon may be a bit on the pricier side (though it's currently 34% off), but it's a worthy investment according to reviewers, with one writing: "Absolutely our best kitchen appliance purchase we've made. High-quality materials, easy to use, and clean."
$179.99 $146.80 / 4 Stars
Think of this stainless-steel slow cooker with a removable black ceramic insert as your best buddy for whipping crowd-friendly fare, like pot roasts, stews, big batches of chili, and the like. It even has an automatic feature that keeps food warm for up to six hours or until serving time. One user gave it this glowing review: "I have purchased many slow cookers in the past 10 years and this is my favorite one!"
$248.99 / 4.1 Stars
This brushed stainless-steel slow cooker from Breville comes with allllll the bells and whistles, like a color-changing LCD screen that lets you know when it's pressurizing, cooking, or releasing steam. In addition to slow cooking, it also comes with 11 handy pressure-cook settings, like risotto, rice, soup, stock, and beans. On the price (which is, well, pricy), one reviewer wrote this: "Yes, I could have saved money on the cheaper Instant Pot, but my thinking is if the Breville is doing the job of other appliances, then it's worth spending money on a better quality product that's easier to use."