This feature saves you energy consumption by not cooking the meal longer than necessary. Of course, the higher the setting and the larger the Crock Pot, the more electricity is needed to power it.
When comparing a slow cooker versus a stove top in regard to energy efficiency, it can be difficult to know which one wins out. To cook the same meal in a slow cooker, you’re going to need to run it for much longer than 30-60 minutes.
You may find that the amount of wattage consumed ends up being about equal in the sense that the slow cooker, while at a much lower wattage consumption, may need just as much to do the same job over a longer period The best way to find out if your slow cooker is more energy efficient than your stove top is to look at the number of amps being drawn from both or compare your electricity bill.
Let’s say you pay twelve cents per kWh to run your stove top and slow cooker, a stove top at 1500 watts is going to cost you $0.18/h while a slow cooker at 250 watts is going to cost you $0.03/h. An oven that is run for 8 hours a day at 1500 watts is going to cost you, $525.66 a year.
If you are looking for a Crock Pot that saves you money by being energy efficient, this one solves a common problem with slow cookers ; your meal only takes six hours to cook but you will be gone for eight. It comes with a low, high, and warm setting that reaches about 210 degrees with a maximum wattage of 240.
The only con associated with it is some users have stated that it cooks too hot on the lowest setting. This slow cooker is perfect for someone who wants to set it and forget it without worrying about whether they will come back to a destroyed meal.
Coming in at only 275 watts, the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart uses smart technology to allow you to cook a recipe to the desired cooking time or specific temperature with an automatic switch to keep warm when done. When run for 8 hours on the low setting, a typical slow cooker will consume about 1.44 kW/hours of electricity.
Calculating the electricity use of a slow cooker depends on several variables including temperature setting (low of high), duration of cooking, and the size of your slow cooker. Let’s start with a quick overview of how power consumption is measured, then we’ll do the math for a slow cooker example.
For most homeowners and renters, the important number for power consumption is going to be kilowatt/hours (kWh). Note: Resistance also plays a role in electrical systems, but we can afford to overlook this for the sake of our slow cooker investigation.
If we increase the pressure or current coming from the hose, we see a higher resulting power output. In order to figure out the Power output, we simply multiply the Amperage and Voltage together using this equation.
To get this amount into kilowatt hours, we then must multiply the product in example two by the time that we were consuming the electricity. At the time of writing this article, the average residential cost for electricity in the United Sates is hovering around $0.13 per kWh.
So, we can see that running a slow cooker for 8 hours on the low setting, would cost about $0.19. We can follow the same steps to calculate that using a slow cooker on a high-cook setting for 8 hours would cost about $0.25 on average.
Of course, there are many variables that can affect this math, including the size of your slow cooker and even the type of food being prepared. In comparison, a stove-top burner may heat/cook the food quickly, but it also loses a lot of energy to the air and other elements of the stove.
Some slow cookers, as well as many ovens, can also operate with what is known as a “duty cycle” in order to help conserve energy use. The heating element will periodically turn off and back on to maintain a constant temperature.
Calculating the cost of running a stove uses the exact same method that we would use for a slow cooker. The main difference is that the amperage and voltage of a stove or oven is going to be drastically higher than a slow cooker.
A residential electric stove/oven, on average, functions using a 220 V outlet and can draw between 30 and 50 amps. Using our equations from earlier, we see that a stove drawing 30 amps would use 6.6 kWh if used continuously for one hour.
If we assume we use a burner for only 20 minutes, the total cost of that particular cooking time would be $0.29. The main variable to consider with an oven is that the primary electrical draw is during its heating cycle.
This makes the power consumption of an oven less than what it would be simply doing the hypothetical math. The trade-off for using the stove-top or oven is going to be in the much shorter cook times compared to using a slow cooker.
Slow cooking originally gained popularity in the 1970s and some 30 years later sales of slow cookers were on the rise again. Over the last decade, we’ve seen slow cookers revival with the emergence of a range of newer appliances such as manual, digital, and portable.
Considering you can easily choose an appliance based on your specific needs at an affordable rate and a myriad of recipes for what to cook in it, let’s see what its advantages are compared to the traditional electrical oven. It takes a lot of time, especially if the cooker’s been neglected for a while, and, in most of the cases, a professional oven cleaning hand is needed to give an edge to the messy situation.
It’s hardly a coincidence that the slow cooker was first introduced at a time when more and more women were getting jobs and leaving the housewife occupation. This device allowed them to simply add the ingredients in it, let it do its magic all day and come back home from work to a hot meal.
And this function of the slow cooker is still a major advantage today when busy lifestyles and the myriad of eat-out, take-out, and drive-in options are a reason and excuse to skip the cooking part. Unlike in the oven, where high temperatures can both break down the nutrients in food and create unhealthy chemical compounds, cooking on low temperature allows each ingredient to preserve its nutrients and prevents the production of dangerous chemicals.
Recipes that require large cuts of meat or other ingredients which need browning are hardly suitable for slow cooking. However, electric ovens maintain temperature by switching their elements on and off, often being on for only about one fourth of the actual cooking time.
The heating elements in slow cookers, on the other hand, stay on continuously, and considering the fact that they are used on high for at least twice the amount of time as an electric oven, the difference in energy usage will probably not be significant. A cooker might run hotter than expected, drying out the food or turning it mushy, or slower than you want, so dinner isn’t ready when you are.
We tested these eight slow cookers, preparing a variety of recipes using both low and high temperature settings and varied cooking times. We used temperature probes to map heating patterns, and a panel of testers evaluated how easy the cookers were to use and clean.
It offers the advantages of a light, unbreakable metal crock with stay-cool plastic handles, as well as a brown-and-sear function that lets you skip using a separate skillet before slow -cooking in recipes that call for it. It’s not uncommon, as you walk through the offices of America's Test Kitchen, to pass a table of 25 or so staffers silently concentrating on tasting a dozen varieties of olive oil, peanut butter, or soy sauce.
If you continue to the main test kitchen, you might find, say, eight slow cookers, each hooked up to a separate thermometer, each of which is connected to a computer, so we can gauge how evenly they maintain a temperature over time (pictured below). The lengths they go to in order to be sure that their tests are accurate, comprehensive, and conducted on a level playing field are enough to make the rest of us look relaxed.
Sometimes it seems random to the rest of us, but these folks don’t believe in that word, so they keep digging and analyzing, consulting experts all over the world and sending samples to labs for analysis, until they find the keys to the particular puzzle. It might be the number of bevels on a serrated knife (spoiler: fewer is actually better) or the processing method used in making a particular soy sauce, but there will be a reason.
This kitchen tool is far more useful that just about anything you might ever add to your home, which is why it’s so important to choose wisely. Slow cookers don’t just make cooking chili and pot roast easy; they have far more uses that you could even imagine.
So if you’re still on the fence about whether a slow cooker is for you or just trying to find the best one to purchase, allow us to be your guide for a moment. For those who aren’t yet convinced they need a slow cooker in their life, let’s talk about all the types of meals you can make using one.
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Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. It’s perfect for those who entertain a lot, and want to keep dishes or dips nice and warm while guests mingle.
If you’re in the market for a smaller size, the Cuisinart 3.5 quart slow cooker is definitely for you. It’s completely programmable, switches to the “warm” setting when the timer runs out and the inside is dishwasher safe.
In terms of what this Cuisinart 6.5-quart slow cooker can do, it has similar features to most other programmable slow cookers. The rectangular shape helps this slow cooker fit into corners of your kitchen, and the extra room allows you to cook a true feast.
The Crock-Pot casserole slow cooker is totally programmable with a locking lid for safe transport. The stoneware insert is even oven-safe, so you can cook your favorite dish in the slow cooker, then brown the top before you serve.