✔️Capacity:The main thing to consider is the size of the crock or pot. Slow cooker pots can range from as small as 1½ quarts to as large as 10 quarts, so you can find the size that suits your household. A newer trend is inserts that allow you to divide the main crock into smaller zones so you can cook more than one food at the same time.
✔️ Footprint: Consider how much space this appliance will require. Is it too tall to fit under your cabinets? Will it hog an entire shelf if you store it out of sight?
✔️ Functions: One major factor is whether you can sauté foods right in the slow cooker. If you frequently make dishes that require browning foods as as step, you might want to find a model with a function called “brown,” “sauté” or “manual.” Is the appliance’s sole function to slow cook, or can you steam, air fry, pressure cook or sous vide as well? We also recommend those with an automatic “keep warm” setting that usually holds your cooked food at 165°F, which is above the food-safe temperature of 145°F but won’t overcook the food.
✔️Accessories:We found that we liked models that came with a temperature probe that allows you to monitor the internal temperature of foods — or the cooking liquid itself, especially for sous vide — without opening the lid. We were also impressed with the functionality of the Proctor Silex Double Dish Slow Cooker on our list, which includes two small inserts for cooking two items at once.
✔️ Apps and programmable slow cookers: Some slow cookers can be paired with smartphone apps that allow you to set the time and temperature; some will include recipes with ingredient lists and step-by-step instructions. Others have a “delay start” feature that allows you to start cooking without physically pressing any buttons. This is very handy, but we don’t recommend using this feature for longer than two hours, especially when cooking with meat; according to the FDA, when food sits out at room temperature for more than two hours, bacteria can increase exponentially, putting you at risk for illness.