Canstar Blue’s slow cookers review has compared Russell Hobbs, Sunbeam, Contempo, Crock-Pot, Breville, Kambrook, Philips, Kmart, ALDI Lumina, Target and Bellini on their cooking performance, functions & features, ease of use, ease of cleaning, design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
For many of us, the humble slow cooker is an absolute saviour. Culinary novices, lazy bachelors and busy mums can rejoice at the thought of preparing a meal in the morning, and coming home at the end of the day to find dinner all but served. Few appliances can match a slow cooker’s ease of use, with the handy cooker able to be left alone while you kick back and relax or keep busy with household chores. The 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 get the best deal, Canstar Blue produces an annual customer review of slow cookers, whereby nearly 1,200 consumers rated their recent purchase on a number of important factors to help you make a more informed decision when you go shopping. Their feedback and views are reflected by the star ratings table you see above, with each brand needing a minimum of 30 survey responses to feature.
So, which slow cooker was rated best? Russell Hobbs served up a stellar five-star performance in most categories, including for overall satisfaction!
Here are the best slow cookers in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Russell Hobbs topped our 2021 ratings with a five-star review for overall satisfaction and in the majority of categories, while most brands landed on four stars for overall satisfaction. Target and Bellini rounded up the scores on three stars overall.
It’s worth mentioning that runner-up Sunbeam also managed to score five stars for cooking performance, ease of use and functions & features. Contempo was additionally rated best for value for money, with Crock-Pot and Philips similarly scoring full marks for functions and features.
To help you find the right slow cooker for you, let’s take a look at what each brand has on offer before we go into detail on how slow cookers work and what to consider when buying one.
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.
With capacities ranging from 3.5L up to 7L, Russell Hobbs’ slow cookers include a removable ceramic bowl, as well as a tempered glass lid and cool-touch handles for easy use and to help ensure you keep safe while cooking. With multiple heat settings – including a handy keep-warm function for when you have to round up the troops for dinner – most Russell Hobbs models additionally include dishwasher-safe parts, making the after-dinner clean up easy.
If you’re looking to add a twist to your cooking, Russell Hobbs offers a searing slow cooker, which allows those busy in the kitchen to place the slow cooker on the stove to sear the ingredients before returning to low heat, cutting down on cooking time.
The Russell Hobbs slow cooker range includes:
Russell Hobbs was rated five stars for cooking performance, ease of use & cleaning, design, functions & features and overall satisfaction. It got four stars for value for money.
American brand Sunbeam has a number of slow cookers for Aussie families to choose from, including a ‘SecretChef’ range. Capacities range from 5.5L up to 7.5L, meaning home cooks will be able to find a size suitable to how many mouths there are to feed.
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. Speaking of, Sunbeam’s slow cookers also contain dishwasher-safe pans and lids, making it even easier for when it’s your turn to do the dishes.
Sunbeam’s cooker range additionally includes a searing model (HP8555), which has a frypan function to brown and cook meats before switching to slow cooking. The 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 sous vide and slow cooker in one, allowing you to cook from a low heat or steam. Including an electronic user panel for temperature control and pre-setting cooking times, the sous vide cooker may be better suited for those looking to get adventurous in the kitchen.
Sunbeam’s slow cooker range includes:
Sunbeam achieved five-star reviews for cooking performance, ease of use and functions & features. It scored four stars for overall satisfaction and everywhere else.
The private label of affordable department store, Big W, ‘Contempo’ appliances are designed to kit out your kitchen without breaking the bank. When it comes to slow cookers, it offers just one model, and if you aren’t looking to get something flashy and excessive, it could be the best bet for you.
Contempo’s 5.5L Slow Cooker (XJ-13220C0) is designed to create a variety of meals at home, with three functions: high, low, and warm. It features a glass lid for easy viewing, handles for lifting, and an internal wrap-around heating element for even cooking all the way through, according to the brand. It also has stainless-steel housing.
Big W’s Contempo slow cooker range includes:
Contempo was rated five stars for value for money, before achieving four stars for overall satisfaction and the remaining categories.
Available at electronic retailers and homeware stores, popular brand Crock-Pot offers a number of models for all household sizes and culinary levels, with classic slow cookers and hybrid appliances available.
Crock-Pot’s introductory model, aptly named Traditional, may be suited for smaller households with a 3.5L capacity, but it includes plenty of features to 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 Crock-Pot appliances include the Lift & Serve model, 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 extra for larger households, or those who like to cook in bulk.
Crock-Pot’s slow cooker range includes:
Crock-Pot earned a five-star review for functions & features and four stars everywhere else, including cooking performance, value for money 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.
Breville’s slow cooker range includes:
Breville scored four stars in most categories, including cooking performance, ease of use & cleaning, functions & features, design and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for value for money.
Australian brand Kambrook has been offering household kitchen appliances for over 50 years, with the slow cooker being no exception, although there are only a few models available. One of the cheapest options available on the market, Kambrook might be a good option for those trying a slow cooker for the first time.
Its 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.
Kambrook’s slow cooker range features:
Kambrook achieved a solid four stars across the board, including for cooking performance, ease of use & cleaning, functions & features, design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
High-end household electronics manufacturer Philips has just one entry in the slow cooker market. The All-In-One Cooker comes in three different models and is a combination of slow cooker, pressure cooker and multi-cooker. With its 6L capacity, progress bar, detachable inner lid for easier cleaning, automatic keep-warm for 12 hours and automatic pressure release, Philips slow cookers offer plenty of features to add a bit more convenience to an already convenient appliance.
On the Original Cooker version, you can pressure cook with various direct menu buttons (soup, risotto, rice, steam, meat/poultry, and manual). Additional multi-cook programs include steaming, baking and yoghurt. You can also saute for up to 20 minutes and slow cook for up to 12 hours.
The Philips slow cooker range includes:
Philips was rated five stars for functions & features, before landing on four stars for value for money, overall satisfaction and everywhere else.
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.
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.
Its 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.
For something a little larger, Kmart also features a 6.5L slow cooker with the same three functions. It’s additionally equipped with an LED display. Expect stainless-steel housing, plus a ceramic pot in a similar fashion to the model mentioned above.
Kmart’s slow cooker range features:
Kmart received four-star reviews in most areas, including for cooking performance, functions & features, ease of use, value for money and overall satisfaction. The two exceptions were ease of cleaning and design, where it got three stars.
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. A good entry-level appliance, you may say.
While they may be short in the features department, ALDI’s slow cookers might be worth a trip down the middle aisle for, if you’re looking for something simple to produce slow-cooked meals with.
ALDI’s range includes just one model from its trademark brand:
ALDI achieved four-star reviews for functions & features and overall satisfaction. It got three stars in the remaining categories.
Target is another retailer offering a budget-friendly slow cooker, with its 5.5L model costing just $25. It comes with the basic features you would expect, including a removable ceramic pot for supposedly easy cleaning as well as cool-touch handles.
Target additionally sells a range of slow cookers from several major brands including Russell Hobbs, Crock-Pot and Bellini. Prices usually start from $25 and reach up to $199.
At the time of writing, Target currently only has one slow cooker model available:
Target scored four stars for cooking performance, ease of use and functions & features. It got three stars for value for money, ease of cleaning, design and overall satisfaction.
Home appliance brand Bellini has a $39 Bellini 5.5L Sear Slow Cooker for an affordable option with standard features. Some include a removable non-stick pot, three heat settings (auto, high and low), digital controls with timer and a stainless-steel design.
There is currently only one Bellini slow cooker available:
Bellini rounded up the scores on three stars across the board, including for cooking performance, ease of use & cleaning, functions & features, design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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 for 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 glass lid. The heat generated by the element spreads evenly through the bowl, with the steam generated inside the bowl creating a vacuum seal with the lid, helping the pot to retain moisture during cooking.
The low temperature and moisture retention of slow cookers makes it virtually impossible to burn food. This means that certain slow cooker recipes will permit you to leave the cooker unattended for hours. If you’re often too tired to cook after work, slow cookers give you the option to start cooking dinner in the morning and come home to a perfectly cooked meal in the evening.
Our latest research found that value for money and cooking performance are the two biggest drivers of slow cooker satisfaction for Australian consumers, with design, ease of cleaning, functions & features and ease of use behind. That’s 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:
Slow cookers come in a number of sizes, with capacities usually ranging between 3.5L and 7L. Larger slow cookers will also have large heating elements, so size should not affect performance. With that said, large capacity slow cookers are also generally more expensive.
Most slow cookers are oval in shape, but some are rectangular. The different shapes don’t amount to any considerable difference in performance, though rectangular slow cookers are generally considered easier to store.
Cheap slow cookers usually have two settings: Low and high. Some mid-range slow cookers will include a medium or ‘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.
Like many modern kitchen appliances, certain slow cookers include features to make cooking a little bit easier.
The short answer is yes, if you’re going to use it often enough to justify the purchase price. To explain why, here are some of the highlights of slow cookers.
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 with 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.
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.
As you can tell from the brands featured in this report – and their respective prices – you have plenty of cheap, moderate or high-end options to choose from, depending on what you’re looking to ‘get out of’ your slow cooking. Starting with a budget buy from the likes of Kmart, Target, Bellini, Contempo or Kambrook seems like a sensible bet before you move on to something more substantial, if you feel the need.
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 17% of survey respondents indicating 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, as you may find a better deal elsewhere, or even decide that a multi-cooker may be the way to go for your household.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: sherwood/shutterstock.com, Michael Leslie/shutterstock.com, New Africa/shutterstock.com, Kiian Oksana/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from respective retailer websites, correct as of March 2021.
Our latest customer satisfaction research saw Russell Hobbs dominate most categories:
You can find a variety of slow cookers from different retailers, either in-store or online. Some include:
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new slow cooker (including standard slow cookers, multi-cookers and pressure cookers) in the last three years – in this case, 1,199 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here are the past winners from Canstar Blue’s slow cookers review:
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*Prices correct as of publication date.