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Help Me Choose: Slow Cookers, Pressure Cookers and Multi Cookers

Appliances in general are made to make life easier, but these days, just picking one out is starting to be a challenge of its own. As technology evolves, you may find yourself wondering why exactly you’re seeing temperature probes on slow cookers or what features are worth spending a little more for in a multi cooker.In general:

  • Slow cookers gently heat food at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. This results in juicy, tender meals with little effort. You’d probably want a slow cooker if you’re happy to plan ahead in exchange for little to no hands-on cook time.
  • Multi cookers typically have a core set of functions, like sauté, sear, roast, steam, rice and slow cook. Different models will have additional features that differentiate them from the rest, like pressure cook or roast.
  • Pressure cookers are a subset of multi cookers, but have gotten so popular they’re essentially now in a league of their own. They cook food under pressure to make it fall-off-the-bone tender, similar to a slow cooker but without the 4-8 hour lead time (in other words, little to no planning ahead necessary).

And of course, within those categories, there’s even more options to choose from. Take a look through our top picks from each category to figure out which one is right for you.

Slow Cookers

The Ultimate Slow Cooker

A probe lets you cook your meal to an exact temperature, so even the newest of chefs can get the roast right on the first try. And if you’re still stuck in the office when your meal is ready, this slow cooker will hold it at the right temperature, making this model incredibly unique. Even if you’re no stranger to slow cooking, you might consider the upgrade—this one can braise, sous vide, simmer, make fondue, poach, prepare yogurt and more.
Shop Temp Tracker™ 6 Quart Slow Cooker
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The Budget Friendly Slow Cooker

This 6-quart slow cooker is worth its weight in gold, but you’ll pay under $20 for it. If you value a lower price point, this one’s for you. Cook on low or high, then switch to keep warm when your food’s done.
Shop 6 Quart Slow Cooker
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Pressure Cookers

The Multi Cooker that Cooks Like an Instant Pot® Pressure Cooker*

This multi cooker cooks under pressure, like an Instant Pot® pressure cooker. Choose this model if you want meals in a fraction of the time: think pulled pork carnitas, tender pot roast, hearty beef chili and more in under an hour. It also has non-pressure cook modes including brown/sauté and slow cook.
Shop 6 Quart Multi-Function Pressure Cooker
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Multi Cookers

The Classic Multi Cooker

With 9 cooking functions and a digital countdown timer, this multi cooker has got all the basics down: searing and sautéing, steaming, rice and hot cereal functions, and slow cooking, among others. Choose this model if you want to consolidate your collection of appliances or if you hate doing a sink full of dishes after making a meal.
Shop 4.5 Quart Digital Multi Cooker
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The Multi Cooker for Rice Aficionados

With 14 cooking functions, this multi cooker is a step (or five) above the standard 9-in-1. It excels at rice and grains: choose this model if you want the addition of whole grains, quinoa, sushi rice and quick rice cooking functions. Other functions include: white and brown rice, hot cereals, quinoa, sauté, steam, soup/simmer, slow cook and sear/brown.
Shop 4.5 Quart Digital Multi Cooker
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The Multi Cooker that Roasts

This multi cooker comes with a roasting rack and a rectangular shape, so you can roast chicken, beef, turkey and ham to perfect tenderness in about 3 hours. The glass lid lets you keep an eye on things as your meal progresses without needing to unseal it. Choose this multi cooker model if roasting is high on your wish list. Other functions include: slow cook, rice and grains, steam, sear, brown and sauté.
Shop 6 Quart 9-in-1 Multi Cooker/Rice Cooker
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The Space-Saving Multi Cooker

At 1.5 quarts, this mini multi cooker is perfect for making rice, grains, cereal, steaming veggies, and even eggs; plus, it slow cooks. Choose this compact cooker if you’re working with limited kitchen space, living in a dorm or just cooking for 1-2 people.
Shop 1.5 Quart Compact Multi Cooker
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*INSTANT POT is a registered trademark of Instant Brands Inc. Use of the mark does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by Instant Brands Inc.

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  1. I love cooking with a pressure cooker. I’ve used a stove top pressure cooker for years, electric takes the staying close by needed with stove top use.

  2. I will pick slow cookers any day. I have one of yours and love it. I am also an HB Ambassador and have done a few reviews. I like stove top pressure cookers over the electric. I have an unused Instant Pot and Air Fryer on my counters. I love everything best about slow cookers.

  3. I would pick the small space saving multi cooker. I’m single and live in a small apartment. I also can only use one hand so the bigger items are beyond my control.

  4. My Hamiltonbeach Digital MultiCooker
    Isn’t working I need a instruction book.

    Thank You!!!

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