Slow Cooker Energy Consumption Vs Other Kitchen Appliances

Did you know that a slow cooker uses the same amount of energy as your light bulb?

Depending on the model and cooking temperature, a slow cooker will typically use between 0.4-1.7 kW of electricity for an 8-hour cooking session. I will convert that into money below.

This hands-off kitchen appliance will help you effortlessly and affordably cook tough meat cuts, beef briskets, pork shoulders, lamb shanks, beans, casseroles, and other hard-to-cook foods while maintaining great flavor.

slow cooker plugged in and in use

If you’re planning to reduce your kitchen’s electricity consumption without compromising quality, a slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, is your best bet.

Read on to learn more about the energy consumption and the running cost of this must-have countertop cooking appliance.

Breakdown Of a Slow Cookers Energy Consumption

So, how much electricity does an average slow cooker use?

The energy consumption of your slow cooker varies depending on the cooker’s make, model, size, cooking temperature, and cooking time.

Most cookers have three temperatures ranges: 

  • Low 190°F (87°C)
  • High 300°F (149°C)
  • Warm 140°F (74°C)

All cookers have a watt rating which determines the amount of electricity it needs to cook food. To find out how many watts of electricity your particular appliance is using, check the box, user manual, or the label at the bottom of your slow cooker.

Breville slow cooker energy consumption shown on the label
The smallest 1.5-quart slow cooker is rated at 120 W (0.12 KW).

A cooker with a lower watt rating uses less electricity than one with a higher watt rating.

The combination of your cooker’s watt rating, temperature range (low, warm, high), and the length of the cooking session determine the actual energy consumption.

Here is an electricity consumption analysis for a typical slow cooker.

One Hour Electricity Usage

hourly slow cooker energy consumption

A slow cooker may use between 75 to 150 watts per hour on the low setting and between 150 to 250 watts on the high setting.

A slow cooker will consume the following amounts of electricity using a 100-watt rating.

CountrykWPrice/KWhTotal cost/hr
America0.110.42 cents$0.011 
U.K0.117.2 cents£0.017

24-Hour Electricity Usage

Due to their robust, simple design and low cooking temperature, slow cookers can be left on for extended periods.

Although you can safely leave the cooker on for more than 24 hours at a time, and most programmable models will automatically switch off to prevent overcooking.

Read more about the safety of leaving the slow cooker on overnight.

Here is a typical electricity consumption table for 24-hour slow cooker operation.

Using a random wattage of 100 watts, these are the results.

Country kWPrice/KWhTotal cost/24hr
America 0.110.42 cents$0.25
UK0.117.2 cents£0.43

What Affects a Slow Cookers Energy Consumption?

food cooked on low crockpot settings

A slow cooker’s energy consumption is not cast in stone and varies depending on different factors, which include:

1. Size Of a Slow Cooker

Slow cookers come in various sizes ranging from 1.5 quartz to 8 quartz with different dimensions in between.

A slow cooker’s pot size directly affects electricity consumption in two main ways.

  • Large cookers have bigger elements and, therefore, consume more electricity than smaller cookers irrespective of the amount of food in the pot.
  • Larger slow cookers have bigger pots and will need more heat to cook food compared to smaller cookers.

Here is a helpful guide for choosing the right size slow cooker with the right features: What Size Slow Cooker To Buy – Get The Right One For Any Occasion

2. Cooking Temperature 

Different types of food and recipes require different cooking temperatures.

Meats and stews usually require low heat for more extended periods than vegetables, which need higher heat for shorter periods.

If you cook food at higher temperatures, it will consume more electricity than food cooked at lower temperatures.

3. Cooking Time

Cooking time is an essential contributor to your appliance’s electricity consumption.

Cooking food for shorter periods will be less expensive than cooking for more extended periods, using the same temperature setting.

To save more on energy, use the low-temperature setting on your slow cooker.

A four-hour cooking session on high heat will use more electricity than an eight-hour one on low heat.

Are Slow Cookers Energy-Efficient?

slow cookers use little electricity

Because of the unique design and the low cooking temperature, slow cookers are quite energy-efficient kitchen appliances. Although the actual energy consumption of each cooker varies due to many factors, its energy consumption is closer to a standard lightbulb than an oven.

How Can Slow Cookers Cook So Efficiently?

how does slow cooker work

To properly understand why slow cookers are so energy efficient, it’s vital to know how slow cookers work.

A slow cooker has three main parts:

  • ceramic pot
  • heating element
  • clear glass lid

Slow cooker’s intelligent yet straightforward design ensures cost-effective, even, and steady cooking.

The slow cooker’s energy source is a low-wattage electric coil located at the cooker’s base inside the metal casing. In some models, the heating element wraps around the sides on the lower part of the ceramic bowl. 

Around the heating element, throughout the casing, there are one or more layers of insulation to preserve the heat and prevent hot spots. That is why the slow cookers are so economical and completely cool to the touch outside, as all the heat is kept inside the appliance around the ceramic bowl. 

The inner bowl or container, also called a crock, comes in a round or oval shape and is made of porcelain, stoneware, or glazed ceramic and fits perfectly inside the metal heating element.

The ceramic pot also contributes to energy saving because it retains its heat for quite a while, and once warm it transmits heat very gently and steadily so that the cooking temperature is always stable and evenly distributed.

And then, there is a glass lid that fits tightly onto the ceramic bowl and traps the steam. This condensation generates a vacuum seal between the rim of the bowl and the lid. Although the vacuum is not very strong, it is sufficient enough to keep the moisture in the food to help the extended cooking process.

And lastly, there are temperature sensors that adjust and monitor cooking temperature and keep the food at a steady simmer just below the boiling point.

Slow Cooker vs Oven Energy Consumption And The Running Cost

hot oven

Slow cookers use way less electricity than most kitchen appliances.

Check out this comparison table for the energy consumption of common kitchen appliances like oven and microwave.

Keep in mind that this chart is only for illustrative purposes just to give you a general comparison, as in real life you probably won’t be using your oven or microwave for 24 hours non-top.

ApplianceAverage kWhTotal cost/24hr($)Total cost/24hr(£)
Slow cooker0.075-0.210.18-0.530.31-0.87
Electric oven2-55-12.58.26-20.6
Electric cooker1.2-33-7.55-12.4

Benefits Of a Slow Cooker

The Crocpots’ popularity really took off in the early 1970s, however, slow cookers are making a comeback to most modern kitchens due to their ease of use and the wide variety of recipes available.

Here are a few benefits why you should consider getting a slow cooker:

  • Set and forget. These cookers give you the freedom and flexibility we all crave in the kitchen. Just pop your food inside, set the timer, and enjoy your food later.
  • Energy-efficient. Let’s face it; slow cookers are at the top of the game regarding power savings when compared to other cooking appliances.
  • Preserves the flavor. Imagine having your meats or perfectly seasoned beef stew simmering for hours with all the delicious flavors locked in. Slow cookers will give you exceptional food taste and flavor by allowing the ingredients to blend together at a low temperature and become better balanced.
  • Easy to clean. No more hassle of cleaning dozens of pots, plates, and other utensils. This one-pot cooking technique makes cleaning much more manageable. You can even go a step further and use Slow Cooker Liners so you don’t even need to wash the pot, simply remove the bag and throw it away.
  • Healthy and affordable cooking. Using the one-pot method makes cooking easier and faster. This ease of cooking promotes home cooking with such a wide variety of healthy recipes to choose from which are nutritious and affordable, keeping your grocery bill under control.
  • Helps tenderize hard foods. Some types of foods like lentils, grains, or less-expensive cuts of meat are tough and naturally complex and don’t cook as fast. Using other cooking methods to get the same tender and delicate result could significantly increase your energy bills.

A slow cooker is an excellent energy-efficient addition to your kitchen and will save you money on your electricity bill and make your life easier. This simple appliance will not only reduce your electricity cost but help you eat tastier and healthier food.

Additionally, the extended cooking period will kill germs and help to bring out the flavor in foods.

And because you are saving time and money, it does not mean that you are sacrificing the flavor.

Why don’t you give it a try today and make one of these classic and flavorsome Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipes With Ham And Potatoes?

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.