It can be confusing to choose a slow cooker size, especially online; it's hard to estimate how big a 7-quart model is versus a 4-quart model and know exactly what you're going to need. To complicate things further, the volumes of slow cookers increase in half-quart increments. If you're thinking you need a small one, keep in mind that one of the most popular sizes for compact cookers is 3.5-quarts; here are some tips to help figure out if this is the right size for you:
- 3.5-quart slow cookers are on the smaller end capacity-wise. They are ideal for small families of 2-3, or individuals who like leftovers.
- A good rule of thumb with meats: is 1qt = 1lb. In other words, if you have a 3.5-quart slow cooker, you should be able to fit a 3.5lb roast or bird in it (depending on the shape of the pot).
- A 3.5-quart slow cooker can contain almost as much as a 9x13 baking dish.
Opinions on 3.5-quart slow cookers show that they are usually of good quality and perform well. Surprisingly, smaller doesn't mean cheaper with slow cookers; this size sells for an average of around $45. Slightly larger slow cookers (4-5qts) have the same average price and a wider range of products. It might be worth your while to consider a larger slow cooker - if you can spare the space - for the same price.