Today's slow cookers cook food faster than earlier models. Most slow cookers have at least two temperature settings, giving the home cook more options.
The most significant benefit of modern day slow cookers is thermostat control. The thermostat control allows you to cook on low or high heat. Some slow cookers also have a warm setting. This allows the food to stay warm after cooking if you aren't home when it's ready.
Slow cookers come in sizes ranging from 1 qt. to 8.5 qt. While most have thermostat controls, they vary in features. Some have programmable controls, and others have manual controls.
Lifting the lid off of a slow cooker while cooking can increase the cooking time by 30 minutes. This holds true even if the food is cooking on the highest heat setting.
Clean the inside and outside of the slow cooker, including the thermostat, after each use. This helps prevent a build-up of food particles on the thermostat control.
For easier cleaning, consider using a slow cooker liner. The liner is placed over the interior of the slow cooker, and thrown away after each use.