The 7 best slow cookers and Crock-Pots to buy in 2018

The new features make it easier than ever to set it and forget it.
by Megan O. Steintrager / / Source: TODAY

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Looking to upgrade your Crock-Pot or slow cooker or get your first one for yourself or a gift? Here are some great new models to consider, in every budget. Whether you're looking for cute color schemes or cool features — including WiFi compatibility and the ability to saute, steam, sear, brown and even bake — at least one of these models released in the past year is likely to fit your slow cooking needs.

1. Pioneer Woman 6-Quart Slow-Cooker by Hamilton Beach, $25, Walmart

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Also available for $30 at Jet and for $35 at Amazon.

Fans of Ree Drummond love this Pioneer Woman-branded Hamilton Beach slow cooker, which comes in four different floral patterns. When the slow cooker was released in the fall, several of the patterns sold out immediately. The designs earned kudos from Southern Living and Country Living, and got more than 50,000 likes on the Pioneer Woman's Instagram.

The slow cooker is inexpensive and easy to use and clean — both the inner stoneware and the lid can go into the dishwasher. The lid also locks in place, so you can take your slow cooked meal to go, a feature that appealed to many reviewers on the Walmart website. Note that the slow cooker is a manual model — if you're looking for something you can program ahead, consider one of the other cookers on this list.

2. Hamilton Beach Programmable 6 Quart Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, $47 (usually $50), Amazon

Also available for $50 at Walmart and for $90 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

The newest version of Hamilton Beach's popular set & forget programmable slow cooker was released in February of this year and is currently available at Bed Bath & Beyond. The model's most notable new feature is an oven-safe aluminum crock, which can be used in the oven for broiling, as well as on the stovetop for browning and searing. If those are features you can do without, you can find the older version of the pot for $34 from Amazon and Walmart.

3. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker, $69 (usually $80), Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

If you can't decide between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot, a multi-cooker like this one from Crock-Pot might be the right appliance for you. In addition to slow cooking and pressure cooking, this device also has brown, saute and steam functions. It's programmable and has eight preset cooking functions, including yogurt and dessert. With more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon, the cooker has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

4. Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System, $82, Amazon

Also available for $80 at Bed Bath & Beyond and for $100 at Walmart.

Another new option in the emerging multi-cooker market is the Multi-Cooker Plus from Ninja, which has slowcook, stovetop, steam, sear and bake settings. In addition to more traditional slow cooker functions, like making soups and stews, the multi-cooker can also stand in for an oven or toaster oven to bake cakes and roast meats.

5. Presto Nomad Traveling 8 Quart Slow Cooker, $70, Amazon

Also available in a smaller capacity for $60 at Walmart and Target.

If you take your home-cooked meals on the road often, this slow cooker masquerading as a picnic cooler could be the ticket. A sturdy handle makes it easy to carry and the exterior is designed to be cool to the touch.

6. Crock-Pot 6-Quart ThermoShield Cook and Carry Slow Cooker, $80, Amazon

Also available for $70 at Bed Bath & Beyond and for $80 at Crock-Pot.

Another option for frequent potluckers and partygoers, this new model from Crock-Pot has a proprietary "ThermoShield" exterior designed to keep it cool to the touch and a locking lid to prevent spills.

7. Crock-Pot Wemo Smart Wifi-Enabled Slow Cooker, $147, Amazon

Never know when you're actually going to get home for dinner? Well, this WiFi-enabled Crock-Pot allows you to control the cooker remotely with an app. You can control the temperature, change the cooking time and switch the cooker to the "warm" setting so you'll have a hot (but not overcooked) meal whenever you get home.

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