How we test slow cookers


Here's how we get the results to help you buy the best slow cooker.

Slowly, slowly


If you have a busy lifestyle a slow cooker is a great kitchen companion. On the days when you need a hand in the kitchen all you'll need to do is decide what you want to have for dinner, put the ingredients together in the morning, then walk away. The appliance will cook the meal at a relatively low temperature while you're busy elsewhere, and is designed to cook safely while unattended. At the end of the day, dinner will be ready and waiting for you when you get home.

Our home economist Fiona Mair has put many slow cookers through their paces and can tell you which ones work best at their different settings and over different time periods.

Our expert testers

There's no doubt that our home economist knows her way around a kitchen and has endless knowledge about kitchen appliances. With 30 years of experience she has seen lots of new technology enter the kitchen space. She has seen slow cookers advance to now incorporate searing capabilities in the same pot to minimise cleaning, and is watching the growth of the multi-cooker segment which combines slow and pressure cooking (as well as other functions).

How we choose what we test

With a range of products on the market, what makes us choose one slow cooker over another to test? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular models on the market and what you are most likely to see in the 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 normal consumer would. We do this so we can be sure they are the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way.

How we test

Performance

Our home economist puts slow cookers through their paces by conducting two main cooking tests to assess their performance:

  • Corned beef on the low setting: she uses standard-sized pieces of corned silverside and this test serves to check the slow cookers ability to cook a dish at a low temperature over an extended period of time (eight hours).
  • Chilli shredded beef (with dried beans) on the high setting: this test establishes how well each cooker can cook a dish at high temperatures over a shorter time (five hours) without it sticking to the bottom.

Fiona assesses how well the dishes look and taste and scores are awarded for appearance and texture, with deductions for dark or dried-out areas, overcooked texture or chilli shredded beef sticking to the pot.

And 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
  • how easy they are to store
  • how easy they are to clean
  • the external temperature of the cooker surface, handles and controls during operation.

Test criteria explained

Overall score

The overall score is made up of:

  • Cooking performance (60%)
  • Ease of use (40%)

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.

Ready to buy? 

Take a look at our latest test results for slow cookers or learn more about what to look for in our slow cooker buying guide.



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