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How we test multi-cookers

Here's how we get the results that help you choose a multi-cooker for your kitchen.

chilli shredded beef with beans in a blue bowl

Multi-function appliances that combine a range of capabilities into the one unit are becoming more and more popular. With limited space in our kitchens for a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker and the like, manufacturers are starting to combine all these functions into one appliance to save us kitchen space and money.

Our expert testers

There's no doubt that our home economist Fiona Mair knows her way around a kitchen and has endless knowledge about kitchen appliances. With over 30 years' experience, she's seen lots of new technology enter the kitchen space and knows how to put any appliance through its paces to see if it's worth a spot in your home.

How we choose what we test

With a wide range of products on the market, what makes us choose one multi-cooker to test over another? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular models available and what you're most likely to see in retailers.

We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models, we check market sales information and we also check for any member requests to test specific models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a regular consumer would. We do this so we can be sure what we get is the same as any consumer would find it and not 'tweaked' in any way for better performance.

How we test multi-cookers

Fiona puts multi-cookers through their paces by conducting two main cooking tests to assess their performance. She cooks chilli shredded beef using the pressure cooker setting and lamb shanks on the slow cooker setting.

  • For the chilli shredded beef test (with dried beans), she looks for a rich, fully flavoured sauce, tender beans and meat that falls apart.
  • The lamb shanks test assesses how well each product can cook melt-in-your-mouth meat that falls off the bone, with good flavour development.
  • She also cooks brown rice and jasmine rice using the pressure cook function, to see how well each multi-cooker maintains the desired level of heat at a lower temperature for the duration of cooking.

And as with other kitchen appliances like ovens and cooktops, when she's done, we get to eat the results. One of the perks of working at CHOICE!

Ease of use

Fiona checks how easy the cookers are to assemble, store and clean, and also considers the external temperature of the cooker surface, handles and controls during operation. Ease of use is broken down into the following categories, and each are equally weighted:

  • ease of assembly and storage
  • quality of instructions
  • ease of using controls and functions
  • ease of cleaning (including general cleaning and disassembly of parts for cleaning).

Test criteria explained

The CHOICE Expert Rating is our overall score that determines which products we recommend. For multi-cookers, this score is made up of:

  • cooking performance (60%)
  • ease of use (40%).

Weightings are in brackets.

Our test lab

We maintain a kitchen lab that is up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you the right results.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.