Buying a slow cooker

Size: Slow cookers range in size from 2.5 to 6.5 quarts. If you're cooking for a family, try a 3- to 4-quart model.

Features: A programmable timer allows you to choose the cooking time and temperature. Some models automatically shift to a warming mode when the dish is done. Others have an automatic shut-off feature, useful if you'll be gone long.

Cost: Pots cost from $20 to $60… but watch garage sales for real bargains!

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