Slow cookers are the perfect low power appliance to cook delicious meals with a small amount of electricity. The average slow cooker is 200 watts, with a run time of 10 hours per week, it would use 104 kilowatt hours of energy at an estimated cost of $13.84 per year.
Slow cookers are low power and use a small amount of energy to cook food over a long period of time. This article will explore all you need to know about how much energy slow cookers use.
How much electricity a slow cooker uses
To calculate the amount of energy your slow cooker uses, you will need to know the wattage of your machine. Slow cookers can range from 180-240 watts and will use a less power on the low setting.
The average wattage of a slow cooker is 200 watts so if you are unsure, you can use this number to calculate this as an average.
To calculate how much energy a slow cooker uses, check out the calculator below.
How much electricity a slow cooker uses compared to an oven
Ovens will use more electricity per hour than a slow cooker. Ovens are appliances that draw a lot of energy ranging from 2000-5000 watts of energy. This compared to an average of 200 watts for a slow cooker you can see how much more energy an oven will use.
Ovens can use up to 10x more energy than a slow cooker, but they do cook quicker.
The difference between oven use and slow cookers are the temperatures and time to cook. While slow cookers use a low temperature and low wattage to slow cook meat and vegetables, ovens can achieve a similar result in 3 hours rather than 10.
Does a slow cooker use less power than an oven?
Slow cookers use less power than ovens because they operate at a lower temperature and are a lower wattage than ovens. Even when ovens are set on low, they will still draw more energy than a slow cooker will. Slow cookers are smaller so will take less time to heat up and the ceramic dish holds the heat very well.
How to use a slow cooker most efficiently
The best way to use a slow cooker for the best results is to use the auto setting. This will usually set the temperature on high for the first 4 hours and switch to a low temperature for the rest of the cooking time. This brings the food up to a safe temperature quickly and then will reduce the power to cook the food slower.
You can leave the slow cooker on the low setting for as long as you need until you are ready to eat the food. It will keep the food at a safe temperature, but it is best not to leave it on for longer than 12 hours. This can dry out your food.
How to use the least electricity on a slow cooker
To get your slow cooker to use the least energy is to set it on the low setting. This will very slowly heat up the food and keep it at a low cooking temperature. The problem with the low setting is that it can take a while for meat to heat up to the correct temperature.
The best thing to do if you are cooking a casserole, curry or stew is to bring the food up to temperature rapidly on high and then drop the temperature after 2-4 hours to become tender.
How slow cookers save energy
There are 3 main features of slow cookers that make them so energy efficient. That is the use of glass lids, ceramic dishes and long cooking times at low power.
1. Glass lids
The glass lid is actually one of the key features of slow cookers that enable them to cook juicy, delicious meals on such low energy. While the lids will not seal completely, they will close the cooker tightly enough to capture moisture and steam and redirect it back into the dish.
Capturing the steam keeps the food moist, captures the heat and allows the slow cooker to operate on a low temperature. Keep the lid on straight and this will regulate the temperature on the cooker and keep the heat and moisture in.
2. Ceramic dishes
Slow cookers are a simple machine and are made up of a metal outer container and a ceramic dish that sits inside. The ceramic dish sits on a heat pad that slowly heats it up and cooks the food. Ceramic dishes are perfect for this because they hold heat well. They can take a bit of time to heat up but once they are hot, they will stay hot with very little power.
The key to keep your ceramic dishes in good condition and avoid cracking them is to only add warm or room temperature food to the dish. Filling it with boiling water or very hot grilled meat can change the temperature rapidly and cause it to break. Always add liquids to your slow cooker when using it and never cook meat or vegetables dry.
Turn the slow cooker onto the auto function which will heat the machine up and then lower the heat to cook slowly.
3. Long cooking times
The key to a slow cookers success and low electricity use is long cooking times on low heat. To cook meat to perfection and to the point it is tender you usually need to leave it cooking in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours.
The slow cooker runs on low temperatures but will still raise the temperature of the meat enough to make it safe and tender to eat. I like to grill meat first and add it together with stock to the slow cooker and leave it to do its job. I will turn it on in the morning and it is ready by dinner.
Slow Cooker Energy Use | Summary
Slow cookers are one of the lowest energy use kitchen appliances you can use to cook your meals. The ceramic dish will heat through and cook meat, vegetables and legumes until they are tender. Slow cookers use a minimal amount of energy to cook food and are easy to use and pack away.
Don’t forget to check out my Slow Cooker Energy Use Calculator.
For more on slow cookers, check out my previous article here:
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.