Is it teething time for your little one?
Using a slow cooker is a convenient and easy way to make a delicious meal and save money, ideal for creating the beautiful stews, casseroles and soups while you are doing other things. Slow cooking is ideal for cheaper cuts of meat.
We tested three basic slow cookers with ranging prices. For the test, cookers were set to low from 8am until 6pm (10 hours cooking). In each one we made the same dish – beef casserole using stewing beef. Click here for the recipe
 
Scoring was based on the following criteria:
1. Energy efficiency
2. Capacity
3. Value for money
4. Features
5. Taste test
 
Crock-Pot SCV655B-IUK 6.5L Slow Cooker - €67.49
1. Energy efficiency: 300 watts, highest in the test. 3/5
2. Capacity: 6.5 litres. Ideal for preparing a large amount of food for freezing, and ideal for entertaining. 4/5
3. Value for money: The most expensive in the test. 2/5
4. Features: 3 settings, glass lid, non-stick removable ceramic bowl which is dishwasher safe. Attractive black finish, easy to clean. However, for this price, functions are very limited. 2/5
5. Tender meat, well cooked and flavoured. Bowl is very large and perhaps heat doesn’t distribute as well as a smaller cooker. 3/5
 
Breville ITP137 4.5 Litre Slow Cooker - €40.49
1. Energy efficiency: 265 watts. Low energy usage. 4/5
2. Capacity: 4.5 litres. Ideal size for a 6 servings or more. 5/5
3. Value for money: A mid price cooker, definitely affordable. 3/5
4. Features: 3 settings, glass lid, non-stick removable ceramic bowl which is dishwasher safe. Stainless steel finish, which needs attention to keep clean. 3/5
5. Beautifully tender meat, perfectly cooked and flavoured. 4/5
 
Cookworks 3.5 Litre Slow Cooker - €20.49
1. Energy efficiency: 220 watts. Lowest energy usage. 5/5
2. Capacity: 3.5 litres. Ideal size for a family of four/five, but no extra helpings. 3/5
3. Value for money: Lowest price cooker in the test. 5/5
4. Features: 3 settings, glass lid, non-stick removable ceramic bowl which is dishwasher safe. White finish which is easily cleaned but not very attratcive. 3/5
5. Tender meat, perfectly cooked and flavoured. 4/5
 
The winner, with a score of 20/25
Cookworks Slower Cooker
These three slow cookers performed very similarly and had almost identical features, but given the limited uses of a basic slow cooker, and the possibility that it may be an appliance that sits at the back of the cupboard, unused for long stretches, we would recommend buying the low price, very serviceable Cookworks slow cooker. For a more seasoned and regular user of slow cookers, look for a model that has a browning function and also serves as a streamer and rice cooker.

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