The summer sun may still be a long way off but winter has a bright side – now is the perfect time to enjoy hearty, warming food cooked in a slow cooker. Here we round up the best and worst cheap slow cookers.
Using a slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to make affordable hearty meals such as soups and stews, making January a great time to consider adding this handy gadget to your kitchen arsenal.
If you want to come home to warm food on icy evenings, check out our slow cooker reviews to find the best slow cooker for you. We’ve reviewed 29 slow cookers, including several budget models.
Cheap slow cookers
Some budget models performed really well in our test lab, achieving scores similar to models costing three times as much, while others failed miserably. We’ve tested eight slow cookers that cost £20 or less:
- Argos Value Range MD-YHJ20 – £10
- Tesco SC356 – £10
- Argos Cookworks 422/8709 – £12
- Asda ESC-30 – £15
- Russell Hobbs Compact 18446 – £15
- Argos Cookworks 422/8826 – £18
- Crock-Pot SCCPQK5025W – £20
- Lakeland 13662 – £20
The good cheap slow cookers
Two of these cheap slow cookers sailed through our expert tests, scoring 79% and 77% and easily achieving Best Buy status. These two slow cookers are a breeze to operate and cook expertly, leaving you with tender meat and flavoursome vegetables. Both have dishwasher safe lids and pots to make cleaning up a bit easier and one is large enough to roast a chicken in.
The bad cheap slow cookers
A couple of these cheap slow cookers only managed average results in our test lab. They scored just over 50% because they cook more slowly than they should and fall down on flavour, drying out some recipes and undercooking others.
The ugly cheap slow cooker
We were really disappointed with one budget slow cooker – it’s difficult to use, has a lid that doesn’t fit properly and produces watery stews with still-chewy meat. With a pitiful score of just 27%, it performed so badly in our tests we’ve named it a Don’t Buy.
Slow cooker recipes
A good slow cooker can churn out fantastic soup and stews, but that’s not where the possibilities end. A slow cooker’s output is limited only by your imagination – slow cookers can be used to create dishes including roasts, casseroles, rice, chutneys, desserts and puddings, stock, baked potatoes and even bread.
Many slow cookers come with a handy recipe book. And this Crock-Pot slow cooker comes with a bumper cook book that extends to no less than 56 different meals you can use it to make.
- For help picking the right model for you, read how to buy the best slow cooker
- Find out which cuts of meat to use with the help of our slow cooker FAQs
- Want to make food preparation easier? Read our food processor reviews