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As a parent with a career, I often use my slow cooker to make meals. I prepare the ingredients in the morning, set everything up, and the food is ready when I return home. I’ve been wondering if the slow cooker has been the most cost-effective way for me to make healthy meals for my family.
- Is a Slow Cooker Cost-Effective?
- Are there Benefits to Using a Slow Cooker?
- Related Questions
Is a Slow Cooker Cost-Effective?
Yes, slow cookers are effective. It turns out that slow cookers are pretty economical to run. Depending on the brand, size, and setting, you can expect to use between 50 to 300 watts. A low-wattage slow cooker running for 8 hours can use less electricity than a lightbulb!
Like most people, I want to ensure my family gets filling, healthy meals, but I’m also keeping an eye on my costs, especially with prices skyrocketing. I love using my slow cooker because I can batch-cook larger meals in advance, and it’s especially useful for slow-cooking challenging, cheap pieces of meat like stewing steaks or picnic roasts.
I would like to know if using a slow cooker costs me less than my oven.
How Much Energy Does a Slow Cooker Use?
Even with rising energy bills, using a slow cooker will help me keep those costs down. While microwaving can be even more cost-effective, I want my family to live on something other than pre-packaged microwave foods.
Besides, no microwave meal will beat the taste of a slow-cooked stew or some delicious pulled pork.
Calculating the Cost to Run Your Slow Cooker
To get an accurate idea of how much money you’re spending, you can input your hours, the wattage of your slow cooker, and your energy costs into this handy calculator.
This Energybot calculator made me realize that running my slow cooker for eight hours costs me around 24 cents! When I calculated the cost of cooking a similar meal in an oven, even though it was a shorter time, it was closer to $1,35 for three hours.
Are there Benefits to Using a Slow Cooker?
Besides the obvious savings on power, there are other significant advantages to using a slow cooker:
- Slow cookers are perfect for cooking more demanding meals. Those picnic roasts and stewing steaks benefit from a longer cook time at a lower temperature to make them soft and flavorful. Often these challenging pieces of meat are the cheapest ones you can buy.
- You can leave your meal to cook while you’re out at work or busy with something else. Once the food is in the cooker, the whole process is hands-off.
- The longer cook time helps bring out the rich flavors in your meal. Reducing before cooking is another way to bring rich flavors to your meal
- They are simple to use—most slow cooker recipes require adding the ingredients, setting the time, and leaving it. You will hardly ever need to stand at the cooker adding new ingredients and stirring to prevent sticking.
- Many slow cooker meals are healthy, as the nutrients cook into the meal instead of being poured out with cook water. There are several healthy slow cooker recipes to choose from.
- My slow cooker is so easy to clean—simply remove the inner pot and wash clean.
Slow Cookers are Great for Vegetarians
Like many families, we’ve been switching to a meat-free Monday to save money, help the environment, and reduce meat consumption.
The slow cooker has been excellent for cooking beans perfectly every time. After soaking dried beans overnight, I add plenty of herbs and spices and let them cook on low for 6-8 hours to make the tastiest, soft-cooked beans for Mexican meals and stews. Additionally, slow cookers is the choice for most when cooking delicious and cheap crockpot soups.
How Much Does a Slow Cooker Cost to Run Per Hour?
Slow cookers are cost-efficient to run because they use a low amount of power. You can get an idea of your area’s cost by determining your state’s electricity rate. The average rate is 16 cents an hour, so a slow cooker will cost 1-3 cents to run for an hour.
Does a Slow Cooker Use Much Electricity?
Most slow cookers use 75-150 watts on the low setting and 150-210 watts on the high. You can use 200 watts as a general estimation to give you a rough idea of how much electricity a slow cooker uses. A slow cooker on a low setting for 8-9 hours will use in the region of 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Is It Cheaper To Run A Slow Cooker Than An Oven?
Although a slow cooker runs for longer than an oven, the cost per hour is far cheaper with a slow cooker. An oven uses 2000-3000 watts, so you will spend less running a slow cooker for 8 hours than running a range for one hour.
A slow cooker is a great way to prepare meals that need to be cooked for a long time, as they are incredibly cost-efficient. If you plan on making stews, casseroles, and other food that requires a long, slow cook time, like pulled pork, I advise using a slow cooker.
If you question me, is buying slow cooker worth it? My answer is definitely yes. Not only is it cheaper, but you can safely leave the food to cook while you’re out, giving you more time to get on with other things.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.