Cooking healthy and delicious family meals is a priority for many people, but resorting to unhealthy options can easily become a habit after a long working day. Coming home and cooking a meal from scratch is often the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling tired.  

Slow cookers offer a great solution to this common problem. These convenient appliances are a welcome addition to your arsenal of kitchen gadgets – since they are time savers when it comes to weekday meals or on the weekends when you’d rather catch up on other things. Versatile and easy to use, slow cookers allow you to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals, hassle-free.

If you’re on the hunt for a slow cooker, where should you begin? With so many slow cookers on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one which is best for your needs and your budget. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of exceptional slow cookers for under $150, to help you find the perfect slow cooker for you and your wallet.

  • Programmable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy touch-pad controls
  • Countdown timer
  • High/Low settings
  • Doesn’t require stirring

  • Large capacity
  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Faster cooking mode
  • Keep warm function
  • Locking lid
  • Easy to use

  • Large capacity
  • Multiple cooking modes
  • Delayed start option
  • Stainless steel insert
  • Easy to clean
  • Doubles as a pressure cooker

  • Large size
  • Removable stone inserts
  • Secure lid lock
  • Dishwasher & oven safe
  • Digital countdown control
  • Auto keep warm setting

  • Extra large capacity
  • 3 temperature settings
  • Clip tight lid
  • Easy-grip handles
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Keep warm function

  • 80 pre-programmed recipes
  • 4 cooking functions
  • Lightweight design
  • Countdown timer
  • Auto keep warm setting
  • Oven and microwave safe insert

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1. Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker Crock with Touchpad and Flexible Easy Programming Options

This Hamilton Beach slow cooker is an easily programmable appliance that’s effortless to use. While cooking, it requires no supervision or stirring. It automatically switches to warm after it has finished cooking which means you don’t have to go back to your cooker until you ready to serve your food. This is an ideal function for busy work days or weekends when you’re out with the family.

The touch pad is easy to clean and a handy countdown timer clearly displays how much time remains until dinner is ready. Once you have enjoyed your meal, the dishwasher safe cooking insert makes cleaning up simple.

Unfortunately, the settings only go up in increments of 2 hours, so you’ll need to experiment if have a dish that needs cooking for 5 or 7 hours. In addition, the lid is prone to breaking if you’re not careful.

Pros

  • Easily programmable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Touch pad controls
  • High/Low Setting
  • Countdown Timer

Cons

  • Timing increments of 2 hours
  • Lid isn’t durable

The Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Manual Portable Slow Cooker is an excellent addition to your kitchen. At 7-quarts capacity, it can serve a large number of people in one sitting or batch-cook for the week ahead. It comes in a sleek silver exterior that will easily match your kitchen furnishings.

The high setting shortens the cooking duration, which is handy if you have unexpected guests and need to get a meal on the go while you entertain them. Likewise, the slow cooking feature means your dinner can slowly come together while you’re out at work all day. With a secure locking lid feature, it is handy for situations when you want to take your meal on the go.

Once cooked, the “keep warm” function will keep your food ready to serve. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t switch to this function automatically like some other cookers. This slow cooker can also get very hot while operating and doesn’t have a light feature to indicate whether it is in operation. There have also been numerous complaints of the lid cracking while in use.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Secure locking lid
  • Neutral stainless steel
  • Easy to use and clean

Cons

  • Lid is not durable
  • No light indicating operation
  • Appliance can get very hot

The Instant Pot 6-in-1 is a highly popular slow cooker choice. Featuring a tall design, this 6-quart cooker offers many more options than just slow cooking. With separate functions for sauteing, steaming, and cooking rice, it’s a perfect all-in-one purchase for the savvy chef.

The pressure cooking mode can shave hours off cooking time. If you’re looking to cook fall-off-the-bone meat, lentil soups, and broths in half the time, then this could be ideal. The option of a 24-hour delayed start is perfect if want set-and-forget your slow-cooked meal: simply put in your ingredients and use the delay start function to come home to a freshly cooked meal the next day.

The inner cooking insert is made of sturdy stainless steel and is fully sealed to keep flavors and aromas in until you’re ready to open it. On the downside, the steam release valve can release exceptional amounts of steam that may damage your kitchen cabinets. This can limit where you situate your Instant Pot.

Pros

  • Multiple functions
  • Can be set to up to 24 hours delayed start
  • Stainless steel cooking insert
  • Doubles as a pressure cooker

Cons

  • Steam valve can be dangerous

This handy 6-quart slow cooker is on the larger side and can easily make meals for more than 7 people at a time or can be a timesaving way to batch cook for the week ahead.

The digital countdown clock enables to you to program cooking times between 30 mins and 20 hours for ultimate versatility and flexibility in cooking. Better still, once the time is up, this slow cooker automatically switches to a keep warm setting to keep your meal ready until you are.

Like other slow cookers by Crock-Pot, it has a secure lock sealer which means traveling with your slow cooker is made easy. In addition, the stone insert is removable and can be used safely in the microwave and oven. This enables you to make use of an extra heatproof dish for those recipes which require some baking.

Unfortunately the locking mechanism on the lid has been criticized as being designed poorly. It can break easily after few uses, so you should take care to be gentle with it if you choose this model.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Removable stone inserts
  • Secure lid lock
  • Dishwasher & oven safe
  • Digital countdown control

Cons

Locking feature is not reliable

The  Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Stay or Go Slow Cooker is the largest model on our list. At 10 quarts it’s large enough to roast a whole turkey, so it’s the ideal size for cooking for large families or hosting dinner parties.

Featuring 3 temperature settings, this slow cooker gives you the potential to cook a wide range of delicious recipes without fuss. All your meals will also be kept warm automatically, so you can get on with your day without worrying about burning your dinner. The lid seals tightly when clipped shut, so you can easily bring your food to a party and not worry about spills.

Furthermore, the stoneware and glass lid are all dishwasher safe, making it easy to keep clean and re-use frequently. It also has well-designed, easily graspable handles for safe carrying. You should note, though, that this slow cooker can become exceptionally hot while in operation.

Pros

  • Very large size
  • 3 temperature settings
  • Clip tight lid
  • Well-designed handles
  • Easy to clean
  • Keep warm mode

Cons

  • Gets very hot in operation

This slow cooker from Ninja will likely be one of your go-to multifunction appliances. It’s on the upper end of the market in terms of price, but it’s a great value considering all the options and pre-programmed functions it provides.

This slow cooker is incredibly versatile. It comes complete with 80 pre-programmed recipes, so you just have to add the relevant ingredients and press a button.  Aside from these, the Ninja has 4 cooking functions: slow cook, saute, steam, and bake, which means this model can do much more than your regular slow cooker.

The digital countdown timer gives you the option of up to 20 hours cooking time, which is perfect if you want to cook super-tender meat dishes. When the timer is up, the cooking process automatically switches to its “keep warm” temperature until you’re ready to eat. The inserts are microwave and oven safe, too. As an added bonus, the Ninja Auto IQ is a lightweight slow cooker, weighing in at only 11 lbs. This means it’s a great option if you often bring meals with you to gatherings.

Pros

  • Pre-programmed recipes
  • Multi cooking functions
  • Lightweight and easily transportable
  • Countdown timer
  • Microwave and oven safe insert

Cons

  • Top end of the <$150 range

Comparison Chart


Slow Cookers Buyer’s Guide


What Are The Benefits Of Using A Slow Cooker?

1. Easy To Use

A slow cooker will make life simple by offering an effortless way to fuse flavors and cook a variety of wholesome dishes. It facilitates easy cooking, since most recipes involve just throwing in some ingredients and waiting for the result at the end. The delicious results after 6 hours of slow cooking will give the impression that you’ve spent hours perfecting your recipe in the kitchen.

2. Saves Time

A slow cooker is an excellent time-saving device. You simply switch it on in the morning and come home to a beautifully cooked dinner. The ability to set timers and delayed starts mean you can easily fit in your cooking while you’re at work or out with the family.

3. Makes it Easier to Eat Healthily

Most people turn to fast food since it is quick and easy. Cooking your own meals can feel like a difficult task when you have a busy schedule every day, but the convenience of a slow cooker makes it much easier to enjoy nutritious meals. By the time you get home from work, your meal will be ready to eat, so you can enjoy your food and relax without having to slave over a hot stove in the kitchen.

4. Perfect for Large Families/Gatherings

Some of the larger sized slow cookers are big enough to cook for 7 people or more. This makes them a perfect solution when you need to prepare meals for large families or at parties. These larger models are also fantastic when cooking for celebrations.

5. Creates Great-Tasting Meals

Slow cooked meals are renowned for their rich flavors. The ‘low and slow’ method brings together the flavors in a way that is hard to replicate without spending hours in the kitchen. No matter what ingredients you put into your slow cooker, after a few hours all the juices and goodness will have simmered for so long that you’re guaranteed mouthwatering results.

6. Saves Money

Operating on low voltage, slow cookers can help save on gas and electricity. Also, due to the low and slow cooking method, they’re a great way to get the most out of cheaper cuts of meat. This means you can enjoy delicious and filling meals without having to spend much on your ingredients or utility bills.

What To Consider When Buying A Slow Cooker

As we have seen, slow cookers are a neat asset that help spare the mess and time of traditional cooking methods. Before you rush out to buy one, though, there are a number of features to consider. Here are some of the most important ones to think about prior to making a purchase:

Size

Slow cookers come in various sizes. It’s important to choose one will be big enough for your needs. If it’s for everyday cooking for one or two people, then the smaller options will suffice and also take up less of your kitchen space. If, however, you have a large family or if you host substantial dinner parties, then a bigger model will be best suited to your needs.

Number of Functions

Some slow cookers have additional functions such as pressure cooking, rice cooking, sauteing, and steaming which considerably reduce overall cooking time. If you’re likely to need these features often, then it’s important to invest in a slow cooker that can do this so you won’t need to switch between appliances.

Timer

Some slow cookers have their timings set in increments, while other models allow you to select timings to the minute. It’s imperative that you choose a slow cooker that allows you to cook in the time frames you’ll require. In most cases, being able to choose specific hours and minutes is the ideal option since it gives you flexibility over the recipes you can choose. Some slow cookers also allow delayed starts. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time outside the house and likes to come home to freshly cooked meals, then this feature is key.

Removable Inserts

Some slow cookers allow you to remove the inner insert. This is ideal for easy serving and cleaning and may be something you want to consider when choosing your slow cooker. Furthermore, some models have inserts which can be placed in the dishwasher or microwave for optimal convenience.

Pros:Cons:
Best Slow Cookers Under $150
  • Easy to use
  • Make healthy meals simple
  • Convenient
  • Economical
  • Often multifunctional
  • Meals require preparation early in the day
  • Some models get hot on the outside
  • Difficult to create a single serving

FAQ

Can slow cookers be placed on regular countertops?

Yes, most slow cookers are designed to operate safely on any flat and stable surface without causing any heat damage.

Will my slow cooker automatically keep food warm when it has finished cooking?

This will depend on the slow cooker. Some slow cookers have this function, whereas others do not. Manual slow cookers will need to be switched on and off to prevent overcooking and don’t use timers or automatic switch functions, but the majority of our reviews above feature slow cookers which have automatic keep warm functions.

Does the exterior of the slow cooker get hot while in use?

Again, this depends on the slow cooker. If you wish to use it on the go or with small children around, then you will want to select one that has good heat insulation. In most cases, though, you should expect the outer body of a slow cooker to become hot to the touch.

Can I use a liner in my slow cooker?

Yes, there are many liners that are compatible with slow cookers and can make cleanup considerably easier.

Final Thoughts

A slow cooker can be an excellent addition to your kitchen. These convenient appliances are a time and money-saving investment that help you to eat well and cook cheaper ingredients without spending hours in the kitchen. For busy families as well as single professionals, slow cookers can have a positive impact on health since they make healthy home cooking simple and effortless.

Furthermore, if you spend a lot of time hosting and entertaining, a slow cooker will be a welcome appliance. Slow cooker recipes are widely available, so there will always be different dishes and delicious recipes to try until you discover your firm favorites.