How Much Electricity Does a Slow Cooker Use?

Slow cookers are energy efficient because they only cook food slowly at low temperatures and once warmed up they keep the heat trapped and only need to reheat in brief cycles during which little electrical energy is used. This way, a modern slow cooker uses less than half the electrical energy of regular cooking on an electric stove and can cut your cooking electricity cost by half.

Still, many consumers have concerns about energy and high electric bills.  So, how much electricity does a slow cooker use, and how energy efficent are slow cookers?

Are Slow Cookers Energy-Efficient?

There are several factors that determine how much energy your slow cooker consumes. The most important factor is, buying a modern slow cooker with efficient energy ratings.  That means, paying attention to the slow cooker wattage. The wattage is the amount of power expressed in watts that an electric slow cooker consumes.

Modern units are insulated against heat loss and heating is not continuous but cycled to short intervals. Further factors include:

  • the right size of the slow cooker
  • the cooking temperature
  • the length of the cooking time

Soo… how much electricity does a slow cooker use?

Modern electrical slow cookers consume as little as 150 Watts per hour at Low setting. So in 6 hours on a low setting, the total use is 900 -watt-hours.

This is a much lower consumption than an electric stovetop or an oven needs to get a meal cooked. Even a pressure cooker will consume much more electricity.

Considering the factors such as the size, temperature, length of cooking time, and the amount of food cooked, slow cookers can cut your electricity cost for cooking by half.

Use this Energy use calculator to find out how much electricity does a slow cooker use compared to an electric stovetop.  Just enter the cooking hours, the Watt rating – slow cooker electricity use, and what you paying per uni electricity.

Let’s look at the details: Why are slow cookers energy efficient and how much electricity does a slow cooker use?

Slow cookers in America use 120 volts AC in the range of 0.6 to 2 amps, and slow cooker power consumption is in the range of 70 watts (low temperature) to 250 watts (high temperature).

For example, suppose you used a large slow cooker (e.g. 6 quarts) that had 180 watts on the low setting and 250 watts on the high setting.

If you cook your food on high for 5 hours, the calculation is:

  • 5 hours x 250 watts = 1,250 watt-hours

The calculation shows that your slow cooker consumes 1,250 watt-hours of electricity.

How energy efficient is it if you use it on the low setting for 9 hours?

  • 9 hours x 180 watts = 1,620 watt hours

The rough calculation shows that if you cook for 9 hours on the low setting, you will use 1,620 watt-hours of electricity.

But the effective power consumption will be a little lower because slow cookers do not heat continuously. Rather, the power consumption is cyclical, which means the device is warmed up to the desired temperature, then the built-in temperature sensor switches off to avoid overheating and when the temperature falls below a threshold again, the heating mechanism switches on again. This cyclic heating saves electricity.

The average electricity rate in the US is 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). So the electricity cost of cooking a meal in an average-sized slow cooker is just around 20 cents.

How Much Electricity Does An Electric Stove Use?

Compared to a slow cooker, an electric stove uses considerably more electricity.

Electric stoves usually have four or more heating elements of different sizes. Energy use for the smallest cook element may be as low as 1200 watts per hour to well over 3000 watts for the largest cooktop element.

Even a regular electric stove does not continuously heat during the cooking process as the pot and food inside retain some heat and the element only heats when it notices a drop in temperature, the calculation is not as favorable as the one for the slow cooker.

Let us say that your largest heating element consumes electricity only 30 minutes out of every hour; it only consumes 1/2 of the 3,000 watts element.

1/2 x 3,000 watts = 1,500 watt-hours.  But be honest, you will not cook a delicious meal in that short time using a regular stove.

However, this is the energy that your slow cooker will use to cook a delicious meal in 8 hours.

Benefits of slow cooking

Aside from being more energy-efficient compared to other electrical cooking appliances, slow cookers have a lot more benefits. Generally, slow cookers can soften tough ingredients such as stew meat, tendons, and ligaments and you can save energy by simply adding all the ingredients to the pot and turning on a low setting.

Slow cooking also preserves nutrients and vitamins. It is the gentle cooking at low temperature which saves the nutrients from breaking down.

With slow cookers, you are able to cook home-cooked, healthy meals, without spending all day in the kitchen tending the cooking. Slow cookers are very energy efficient and reliable devices; you can leave them while they are cooking your food without requiring you to frequently check on them.

Home-cooked slow cooker dishes will reduce your consumption of processed foods that contain plenty of added sugars, salt, and other unhealthy ingredients.

You will be more creative when it comes to cooking recipes with a slow cooker. Experiment with combinations of ingredients and create your own recipes of sumptuous meals.

You can add more of your favorite ingredients or more vegetables to increase your nutritional content.

With a slow cooker, you can prepare healthy meals for the whole family. Even when you are working, you can prepare healthy dishes for your children and spouse.

All you have to do is prepare the ingredients, throw them in the pot, and turn on the dial. You don’t have to frequently check on it as the slow cooker does its job. 

Is There an Advantage?

An electrical slow cooker is an energy-efficient kitchen appliance that not only allows you to cook unattended but also allows you to save money thanks to its power-saving functionality.

Of course, this works best if you have a modern electric crock pot that heats up cyclically. It is also important to ensure that the slow cooker is the right size and that the pot is filled to the brim. If you have also set the correct cooking time and the right temperature is essential, you have done everything right.

Using an energy-efficient slow cooker is well worth it because not only do you cut your energy costs for cookingIt also allows you to prepare healthy, delicious, home-cooked meals without spending all day in the kitchen watching the food not burn as this will not happen at low temperatures.

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7 thoughts on “How Much Electricity Does a Slow Cooker Use?”

  1. We have solar power energy. I use my slow cooker nearly every day but if you buy one check on the label on the bottom what wattage it is.a few have high wattage and are not any use.

  2. You should update some of the electrical terms above.

    “5 hours x 250 watts = 1,250 watts
    The calculation shows that your slow cooker uses 1,250 watts of electricity.
    If you use it for 9 hours on low setting, how energy efficient it is?
    9 hours x 180 watts = 1,620 watts
    The calculation shows that you consume 1,620 watts of electricity if you cook at a low setting for 9 hours”

    5 hours x 250 watts = 1,250 watt-hours. Or 1.25kWh.
    The calculation shows that your slow cooker uses 1.25 kWh of electricity.
    9 hours x 180 watts = 1,620 watt-hours. Or 1.62 kWh.
    The calculation shows that you consume 1.62 kWh of electricity if you cook at a low setting for 9 hours

    • Thank you Anon for your attention.
      I have changed it and now use the correct units for power consumption.

      • This is actually incorrect as it assumes that there is NO thermostatic control and therefor the 250W (high setting) is ON all the time.
        This is not generally the case.
        Typically, when the product reaches the desired temperature, the element will cycle on/off. I’m not sure of the duty cycle as it would depend greatly on heat losses etc. but it should NOT be 100% of the math above.

        Just FYI

        • Yes, you’re right. Thank you for pointing this out.
          Many programmable slow cookers have a thermal control built in that cuts off heating when the desired temperature is reached. If you account for cyclical heating, the slow cooker is even more economical.

          Older and very simple slow cookers do not heat in cycles. The heating elements are dimensioned so that a certain temperature is maintained at a certain fill level. If this is exceeded or fallen below, the temperature will differ accordingly. However, they have a thermal fuse, which cuts power in case of severe overheating.

  3. Thanks for the useful info. What a sweet website!
    I just saw your profile picture – good luck from a mom! 😉

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