Cooking and money saving: Are slow cookers energy efficient?

Are slow cookers energy efficient? How much electricity does a slow cooker use?

Slow cookers are a very convenient kitchen appliance. You just have to prepare the ingredients, put them into the pot, set the temperature and return houres later to a ready cooked meal. Slow cookers cook food unattended at low temperatures for longer hours. But many users and potential users have concerns about energy and electric bills.  So, how much electricity does a slow cooker use, are slow cookers energy efficient?

To summarize whats outlined below in detail: Yes, a slow cooker is energy efficient and it can reduce your electricity cost by half.

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.  Further factors include the right size of the slow cooker, the cooking temperature, and length of cooking time. 

Soo… how much electricity does a slow cooker use

Modern Slow cookers can consume as low as 600-watt-hours (4 hours on a low setting) which is lower than an electric stovetop or an oven. 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 stove top.  Just enter 8 hours and 150 Watt for the slow cooker electricity use.

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

Slow cookers use 120 volts AC which range from 0.6 amps to 2 amps and consume electricity that ranges from 70 watts (low temperature) to 250 watts (high temperature). Let us say that you used a large sized slow cooker (6 quarts for example) which has 180-watt power on low setting and 250-watt power on high setting.

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

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.

Comparing slow cooker energy efficiency with ovens

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

So 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 it being quite more energy-efficient compared to other electrical appliances, slow cookers have a lot of benefits too. Generally, slow cookers can soften tough ingredients such as stew meat, tendons, ligaments, and dried beans and can save your energy by just simply throwing the ingredients into the pot and turning on the settings.

Slow cooking also saves nutrients and actually increases nutrients. Since it uses a low-temperature for a longer cooking time, slow cookers prevent nutrients from breaking down. You can also add nutrients by putting in additional vegetables.

With slow cookers, you are able to cook your own home-cooked, healthy meals. Slow cookers are very efficient and reliable; you can leave them while they are cooking your food without requiring you to frequently check on it.

Because of this, you will reduce your consumption of processed foods which contain too much sodium and other unhealthy ingredients.

You will be more creative when it comes to cooking recipes with a slow cooker. You can experiment with the combination of ingredients to make up sumptuous meals.

You can add more of your favorite ingredients or add more vegetables to increase the nutrient level.

With a slow cooker, you can cook healthy meals for the whole family. Even if you are a working mom or dad, you can still create healthy meals for your kids 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. 

Summary

Using a slow cooker is worth it because aside from cutting your energy cost for cooking, you also don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen watching the food not to burn as this will not happen at low temperatures.

It also allows you to prepare healthy, delicious, home-cooked meals without spending much time and effort.

1 comment

  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.

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