For many of us, the humble slow cooker is an absolute saviour. After all, how can you not love the thought of chucking a few ingredients into a pot before leaving the house and finding a ready-to-serve meal when you get home? Talk about quick and easy! Few appliances can match a slow cooker’s ease of use and its convenience can be worth its weight in gold. But when it comes to finding the right slow cooker for your kitchen, some may ‘feel the heat’ during the decision-making process. To help you out, Canstar Blue has compared the top brands on the market.
Canstar Blue surveyed 1,126 Australians for their feedback on the slow cooker they have purchased in the last three years.
Respondents rate their satisfaction with their slow cooker brand(s) from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Russell Hobbs cooked up a hot win with five stars in performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use and ease of cleaning. Other brands Breville, Sunbeam, Kambrook and Crockpot received four stars for overall satisfaction while Kmart, Bellini and ALDI Lumina earned three stars.
Find more detailed information on our ratings methodology.
Russell Hobbs steamed ahead with five stars in every research category. This win included top marks in performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use and ease of cleaning.
Well-known within the home appliance market, British manufacturer Russell Hobbs has plenty of products on offer to help consumers fill their kitchens, ranging from toasters to microwaves, as well as the humble slow cooker. Available at major homeware stores and electronic retailers, Russell Hobbs has several models available, regardless of whether you’re cooking for one, or a mob.
Russell Hobbs’ slow cooker range includes models priced from $49.95 up to $129.95, with capacities varying between 3.5L and 7L. In addition to slow cooking, products including the 6L Searing Slow Cooker have a stove-top searing function. This lets you use the removable non-stick bowl on the stove, to boost flavours by searing the ingredients before placing them in the pot to slow cook. This model is said to produce eight serves and contains three heat settings (low, high and keep-warm).
Breville received a solid result across the board, with four stars for performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use, ease of cleaning and overall satisfaction.
Australian brand Breville is a household name when it comes to kitchen appliances, with several slow cookers to help with your dinner plans. Available to purchase online as well as in-store, you can pick up a Breville slow cooker at major electronics and homeware retailers.
Breville’s introductory model, the ‘Flavour Maker’, is available in 5L and 7L capacities, which might be handy for larger families. The Flavour Maker additionally comes with searing capabilities, allowing users to change up dinner plans to suit different textures and preferences when it comes to what you serve up on the plate. With a stainless-steel finish and a dishwasher-safe lid, the Flavour Maker can also be used on a cooktop for easy use.
Other Breville slow cookers include the ‘Smart Temp’, which has a programmable timer and a sensor to automatically control the temperature to prevent overheating, and the ‘Fast Slow Cooker’ which comes with pressure cooker functionality to further open up dinner options.
Sunbeam enjoyed four stars in performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use, ease of cleaning and overall satisfaction.
American brand Sunbeam has a number of slow cookers for Aussie families to choose from, including a ‘SecretChef’ range. Most models offer a 5.5L capacity, although there is a 7.5L option available. Prices range between $64.95 for a basic slow cooker and up to $219 for a multi-cooker which includes a slow cooker function.
Each Sunbeam model features a wrap-around heating element, ensuring that your food is evenly cooked throughout, as well as preventing food from sticking to the bottom, making it a handy feature for when it comes time to clean up. Sunbeam’s slow cookers also contain dishwasher-safe pans and lids, making it even easier when it’s your turn to do the dishes.
Certain Sunbeam slow cookers, including the SecretChef Electronic Sear & Slow Cooker (HP8555) additionally include a frypan function to brown and cook meats before switching to slow cooking. This searing model has an electronic timer and temperature control, along with multiple heat settings to ensure you get the most out of your meal.
If you’re looking to mix things up in the kitchen, Sunbeam also offers a multi cooker which combines a slow cooker and pressure cooker into one, allowing you to cook low and slow meals, or fast & succulent feasts. Including an electronic user panel for temperature control and seven different pre-set cooking options, the multi cooker may be better suited for those looking to get adventurous in the kitchen.
Kambrook rated fours stars in every research category including performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use and ease of cleaning.
Australian brand Kambrook has been offering household kitchen appliances for over 50 years, with the slow cooker being no exception, although there are only two models available: the Kambrook World of Flavours and the Kambrook Temp Control. There are on the cheaper end of the slow cookers available, with prices starting from $79.95 and going up to $129.95.
The brands’ cheapest model is the ‘World Of Flavours’ slow cooker (pictured) available in a 4.5L capacity with multiple heat settings to match your cooking style and personal preferences. With a wrap-around heating element, Kambrook’s model also includes cool-touch handles for increased safety, as well as a dishwasher-safe bowl and lid for easy clean-up.
Slow cooker veteran Crockpot impressed with four stars for performance, value for money, ease of use and ease of cleaning. The brand finished on three stars for features & functionality and design.
Available at electronic retailers and homeware stores, premium brand Crockpot offers a number of models for all household sizes and culinary levels, with classic slow cookers and multi-cookers available.
Crockpot’s introductory model, aptly named Traditional, may be suited for smaller households with a 3.5L capacity, but it includes the sort of features that will score plenty of compliments when dinner is served. Including oven-safe materials, the Traditional Cooker includes a wrap-around heating element, as well as multiple heat settings and a keep-warm function to ensure dinner is never served cold.
Other Crockpot models include the Lift & Serve, which includes a hinged lid for easy serving, as well as dishwasher-safe materials for easy clean-up. With a 5.7L capacity, it may be a handy kitchen appliance for larger households or those who like to cook in bulk.
Kmart earned four stars for performance, value for money, ease of use and ease of cleaning. It settled on three stars for features & functionality, design and overall satisfaction.
One of the cheapest ranges on the market, homewares giant Kmart provides a number of slow cookers available for shoppers to snatch up, with capacities ranging between 3L and 6.5L to suit most household sizes. These usually cost between $24 and $45.
Available with multiple heating settings, Kmart’s slow cookers can be purchased in either black or silver finishes, with a tempered glass lid and removable crock pot. While the Kmart range might not include as many features as some of the other brands available on the market, the discounter may be a worthwhile visit for those on a budget or those who aren’t looking for all the bells and whistles.
Kmart’s 3L Slow Cooker (pictured) features three settings: low, high, and keep-warm. It’s designed with iron housing and chalkboard coating. It comes with a ceramic pot and a tempered glass lid. It’s stated to have had durability and performance testing carried before QA approval and is compliant with applicable Australian electrical safety standards.
Bellini rated a solid three stars in every research category. This result included three stars for performance, features & functionality, design, value for money, ease of use, ease of cleaning and overall satisfaction.
Household electronics manufacturer Bellini has just one entry in the slow cooker market, the Bellini 5L Digital Slow Cooker (BTDSC50B).
The Digital Slow Cooker has a 5L cooking capacity, an LED 20-hour programmable cooking timer, see-through glass lid, a removable ceramic bowl for serving dishes and three heat settings. It also features an electric control panel, warming indicator and stainless-steel housing. The Bellini Digital Slow Cooker also comes with dinner and dessert recipes to get your creative juices flowing.
ALDI brand Lumina achieved four stars for value for money and ease of cleaning, and three stars for performance, features & functionality, design, ease of use and overall satisfaction.
Only available at the occasional Special Buys event, ALDI’s slow cookers might be a suitable option for those looking to snag a bargain or trying a slow cooker for the first time. While they may be short in the features department, ALDI’s slow cookers might be worth a trip down the middle aisle, if you’re looking for something simple to produce slow-cooked meals with. But keep in mind that models may vary with each Special Buys and are only available for a limited time. The ALDI slow cooker was previously sold for $20.
Not all slow cooker brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are several more brands to check out before making a purchase decision.
As the name implies, a slow cooker is an appliance that slowly cooks food at low temperatures, helping to bring out flavours and textures you can’t generally get from cooking at higher temperatures. Usually used for stews, soups, curries and meats, slow cookers are an ideal option for those looking to cater to plenty of hungry mouths, with many slow cookers featuring a ‘keep-warm’ function for when dinner is ready, but your guests aren’t.
Slow cookers are generally comprised of three components – a heating element, ceramic bowl, and a lid. The outer case is usually made from metal and uses heating coils to generate heat, before indirectly transferring the warmth to the inner ceramic bowl (or crock pot). The food starts to simmer as soon as the heat begins transferring to the inner pot. But unlike other cooking appliances, this all happens at a low temperature, which is why slow cookers are set to cook for hours or during the day while at work.
Here are some important factors to think about when shopping for a new slow cooker:
Many brands like Crockpot measure capacity in litres and quarts, with 1-quart equivalent to just under 1L. Generally, 3-quart models and under can be a little restrictive – especially when slow cookers should ideally be filled at least halfway and no more than two-thirds full. A 1-2 quarts slow cooker is typically suitable for creating dips and other side dishes, as well as desserts and small meals for one person. A slow cooker that’s between 5-6 quarts is usually the sweet spot for families since it can comfortably feed more than four people and not take up too much benchtop space.
Most slow cookers are oval in shape, but you can also find rectangular or round models. The different shapes don’t amount to any considerable difference in performance, though rectangular slow cookers are generally considered easier to store. Some single-serve slow cookers can also be used as a food warmer. These usually come in a round, compact design with a carry handle.
Cheap slow cookers usually have two settings: low and high. Some mid-range slow cookers will include a medium or ‘keep-warm’ setting. For those who are serious about their slow cooking, some top-tier models have temperature controls that let you perfectly set your cooking temperature.
Here are some functions to look out for:
Our latest research found that cooking performance and features & functionality are the two biggest drivers of satisfaction for slow cookers, ahead of factors like value for money, ease of cleaning and design. Our survey respondents also spent an average of $94 on a new slow cooker, which is on the more budget-friendly side. This is worth keeping in mind when you’re looking for a new slow cooker – a competitive price is obviously important, but it’s also the cooker’s performance and functionality that will keep you happy in the long run.
Here are some of the other standout findings from our survey:
Yes – slow cookers are worth buying, especially if you prefer to ‘play the long game’ and start preparing meals several hours in advance. This makes the appliance particularly useful for larger households and families that are big on entertaining. You can even serve food straight from the pot, adding extra convenience. Here are some other benefits of getting a slow cooker:
The most glaringly obvious downside to a slow cooker is of course that it’s slow at cooking. This means its cooking application is rather restricted. While some of the best slow cookers out there will provide a myriad of features that let them cook a wide range of foods, most cheap models will be limited to three settings – low, high and warm.
Slow cookers tend to be large and bulky, which can be troublesome if cabinet space is at a premium in your kitchen. If storage space is a concern, keep in mind that oval-shaped cookers tend to take up more space than rectangular models.
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Russell Hobbs is the quick and easy solution, according to our latest ratings, satisfying consumers with everything from performance to design, value, cleaning, use and features & functionality. Brands such as Breville, Sunbeam and Kambrook also left a good impression among those surveyed, receiving respectable four-star reviews across the board.
When it comes to putting food on the table, there are plenty of appliances that help create crowd-pleasers, with the slow cooker adding another element when it comes to grabbing a feed. The ability to simply set a timer and come back a few hours later to find a nicely cooked meat dish or curry is often a winner for many households, but which cooker you decide to trust your next meal with can be a tough decision.
Ultimately, which slow cooker you add to your kitchen will come down to your preferences, as well as how many meals you plan on cooking with it. With 19% of survey respondents admitting that they don’t use their slow cooker as much as they thought they would, it’s important to do your research before you head in-store, because you may find a better deal elsewhere, or even decide that a multi-cooker may actually be a better option for your household.
Megan is Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Editor, leading the team that focuses on consumer products and services, ranging from supermarkets and groceries to home and personal appliances and retail stores. She interprets Canstar Blue’s bespoke research on the thousands of brands that we compare, rate and review, to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.
Picture credits: sherwood/shutterstock.com, Michael Leslie/shutterstock.com, New Africa/shutterstock.com, Kiian Oksana/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from respective retailer websites and Appliances Online correct as of February 2023.
Here are the past winners of Canstar Blue’s slow cookers review:
Appliances - April 10th
Cooking rice the traditional way can be a pain. Is it worth buying a new appliance to get that perfect fluffy rice? Canstar Blue reviews rice cookers.– Read more
Appliances - February 22nd
Slow cookers are a convenient and easy way to get maximum flavour and create melt-in-your-mouth dishes like fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs or a deliciously moist sticky date pudding. Fortunately, Kmart’s Anko range offers a few budget-friendly …– Read more
Appliances - January 27th
Is there anything Kmart can’t do? The cult department store recently launched its own Anko range of big-ticket appliances and white goods and now it’s selling a thermal cooker that comes with touch controls, multiple …– Read more
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*Prices correct as of publication date.