Slow cookers, as their name implies, cook food slowly for long periods at low temperatures. They’re great for bringing out the flavour in food, and because they don’t cook at too high a temperature, they allow food to keep its nutrients. Now, this all sounds great, but: do slow cookers use a lot of electricity? We’re going to explore precisely this.
We’re going to look at how slow cookers work and their benefits, how much they cost to run, and we’ll compare these appliances to others that use more electricity.
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How much does a slow cooker cost to run?
They don’t use a lot of electricity; in fact, they’re pretty energy efficient. Slow cookers typically use between 50-300 watts, but depending on the model, they may use more or less.
Slow cookers use less electricity depending on whether they are set to high or low temperatures. And, for perspective, did you know that a small slow cooker will use less electricity than a lightbulb and an average-sized slow cooker only slightly more?
In contrast, an oven is one of the most common ways to make dinner and uses much more electricity. Cooking in a slow cooker for eight hours (they have a very long cooking time) is equivalent to (and sometimes less than) the energy used by running an oven for 35-55 minutes.
How much energy do they use exactly? The average slow cooker energy use is around 1.2-1.7 kWh for cooking a meal for eight hours.
Why you should buy a slow cooker
In addition to slow cookers’ energy efficient ways to keep average household bills down, they’re an excellent overall investment for many reasons:
- They’re easy to use because of their uncomplicated features.
- They’re easy to clean because you can remove their inner pot without issue.
- They’re cheap to buy: they’re inexpensive compared to an oven, which can cost up to £2,000. A new one might cost only £40!
- There are loads of cheap slow cooker recipes, and you can use cheaper cuts of meat. You can even cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker.
- They use less oil: Using a slow cooker will retain moisture while cooking well, so they require less oil (or fat) for cooking.
- Safe: What temperature does a slow cooker cook at? Don’t worry; modern slow cookers cook at high enough temperatures to kill pathogens in food.
How hot do slow cookers get?
These energy-efficient appliances typically run between 77-150°C; you’ll want this to be slightly lower at about 60°C when warming food.
Because of these low temperatures, a slow cooker cooks and warms at a very slow pace compared to the average electric oven.
Appliances that use the most electricity
The appliance with the highest average electricity usage is the refrigerator, with a refrigerator/freezer combination using up to 1800 kWh each year. And it’s not because they actively use a lot of electricity, but it’s because they’re left on every day, all day. And the older your refrigerator model, the more electricity it’ll use.
One of the everyday cooking appliances, your oven, usually between 1000 to 5000 watts, uses about 1.2kWh to preheat and then a further 6-8.5 kWh to cook a meal. This can also become quite costly in the long term.
Even a coffee machine isn’t a very energy-efficient appliance – typically, annual consumption will range between 13-42 kWh each year, using around 500 to 1000 watts to make your coffee.
Take a look in more detail at what uses the most electricity in a home.
Is it cheaper to use a slow cooker?
They can be a huge money saver because they’re much cheaper to purchase than an oven, they can batch cook, and they’re highly efficient on energy.
Is it cheaper to run a microwave or slow cooker?
A slow cooker uses about the same amount of energy as microwaves because they only run for short bursts; however, a slow cooker is more suitable for cooking high-quality meals.
Is it cheaper to run a slow cooker or an oven?
It’s much cheaper to run a slower cooker than it is to run an oven. They cost, on average and at the current price cap, 16p a day to use, whereas an oven costs you about 30p a day if used only once a day.
Which kitchen appliances use the most electricity?
Your refrigerator uses a lot of electricity, not because it requires a lot of energy to run, but because it’s always on. It’s estimated that this appliance uses up to 150 kWh every month. Your oven is a distant second, likely using about 58 kWh a month, if not more.
A slow cooker is an energy-efficient alternative to an oven and can be used to prepare delicious, healthy family meals with minimal effort. It’s a win-win!