It’s easy to fall into the doldrums of routine when it comes to making dinner. I know that’s common with me. I might prepare the same old taco Tuesday fare, get a pizza on Fridays, grab some fast food, or even nuke up TV dinners on any given busy weeknight.
By the weekend, I’m so overwhelmed with household chores that the thought of preparing dinner doesn’t seem possible, much less enjoyable. Isn’t there a quicker, easier way to cook a homemade meal without all the hassle and time? Fortunately, there is! I found a new method of enjoying culinary delights without losing time out of my busy schedule – pressure cookers.
Pressure Cooker Review Center
|#1 - Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker||99%|
|#2 - Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker||96%|
|#3 - T-fal P25107 Pressure Cooker||92%|
|#4 - Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker||89%|
|#5 - All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner||85%|
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Without further ado, let’s check out 10 different models of pressure cookers: the good, the bad, and the steamy. We’ve made it easy to avoid all the scams and junkers by compiling all of the best pressure cookers available.
#1 – The Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker
The best-rated pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is one of the most popular electric pressure cooker options out there. Over 21,000 customers on Amazon have purchased and reviewed this pressure cooker, and over 90% of those customers have rated it a 4 or a 5 out of 5 stars. Impressive!
First of all, the Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cooker does everything it is supposed to do. That may sound obvious, but not all electric pressure cookers seem to have the capability to do its job reliably. When the Instant Pot claims to have 14 smart programs, it will deliver just that – from soup and sauté, to its steam and yogurt settings.
Secondly, the Instant Pot has 10 safety mechanisms to ensure your peace of mind while your meal is cooking away in the kitchen. The UL and ULC even certified the Instant Pot’s safety integrity.
The Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cooker is also generous with its inclusion of accessories. With the purchase of the Instant Pot, you also get:
- stainless-steel steam rack
- rice paddle
- soup spoon
- measuring cup
- condensation collector
- recipe book
Finally (and unlike almost every other electric pressure cooker out there), the inner lining of the Instant Pot is made of stainless steel; it does not have a non-stick coating. Sure, non-stick coatings make cleanup slightly easier. However, the health implications of non-stick chemical coatings are uncertain and under high heat or any misuse (i.e. scraping the bottom of the pot with a metal knife or spatula), the non-stick coating will come off – and right into your food. Stainless steel is much stronger, so you can feel secure about cooking and eating your pressure cooker meals.
- Extremely favorable customer reviews
- Performs all pressure cooking functions, including yogurt
- Lots of accessories.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Slightly expensive
Don’t underestimate the significance of the Instant Pot’s default stainless steel interior pot. Some electric pressure cookers offer a stainless-steel liner as a potential option or an additional purchase. However, most just give you a non-stick liner – along with the negative health and longevity implications that come with it.
#2 – Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Do you like to keep things simple? It’s possible to have the convenience and safety of newer technology without getting confused by crazy alarms and buttons. If you’re looking for just the basics without going too cheap or too extravagant, we’ve got just the thing! The Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker gives you a new-fashion feeling with the comfort of modern safety measures.
One aspect that does stand out about the Instant Pot Ultra pressure cooker is the simplicity of its functionality. Unlike other electric pressure cookers, the Instant Pot Ultra has only three buttons to push (Cancel, Menu, and Start) and 16 preset modes to choose from. It’s good to have an uncomplicated option – a pressure cooker you can learn how to use almost immediately.
What’s the Catch?
Less appealing is the fact that this electric pressure cooker only offers one accessory: a trivet. At least the trivet is dishwasher safe – just like the Cuisinart’s nonstick interior cooking pot – but it still isn’t a very exciting addition.
Additionally, Instant Pot Ultra pressure cooker suffers from some of the harshest Amazon customer ratings. Over 21% of customers who have rated this product have given it 3 stars or fewer, which is never a good sign for a product.
- Dishwasher Safe
- Easy to use
- Only one accessory
- Non-stick coating
- Low customer ratings
The Instant Pot Ultra pressure cooker offers simplicity. This art of “just enough” is often overlooked in the electric pressure cooker market for the sake of more whiz-bang features.
#3 – T-fal P25107 Pressure Cooker
T-fal is unarguably one of the best companies out there for pressure cookers. They have a long reputation for building amazingly intuitive designs and high-quality products that are known to last. They don’t deviate from this basic guarantee with this model.
With their P25107 stovetop pressure cooker, they’ve hit the sweet spot between price, quality, and usability. This makes it perfect for your average household with someone who loves to cook. The stove-top pressure cooker offers more control over the cooking process, giving way to some really delicious recipes.
Stainless Steel and Safety
It also has a solid stainless-steel build, riveted handles, and a safe locking lid. You can bet this pressure cooker will outlast any of your home appliances comfortably.
Ideal Psi Settings
Since it is a modern pressure cooker, it does have settings for 10psi and 15 psi to help ease the throes of cooking a bit. Just be sure you check the settings are correct before starting your cooker, or you may end up with a completely new recipe; something I’ve embarrassingly done more times than I’d like to admit.
What’s the Catch?
This model is one of the easiest I’ve found replacement parts for but at steep prices. A single Internet search immediately produces results. The gaskets may not be hard to find but they are relatively expensive.
- Proven quality
- Sturdy build
- Two pressure settings
- Low price
- Expensive replacement parts
With a solid construction that prioritizes safety, it’s perfect for anyone to use. Stick to the basics and this machine won’t fail you!
#4 – Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
For this low of a price, there’s no way you can go wrong with the Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. If you’re just experimenting with pressure cooking – this is the model for you. It’s especially great for new cooks or anyone on a budget.
For this cheap, you’d expect low-quality materials, but, surprisingly, it’s made of stainless steel. The handles are heat resistant plastic (thermoset) so you won’t burn your hands. All while keeping the Benjamin in your pocket snug and cozy.
But it makes up for this by being friendly on all types of stoves. Even inductive ones. It’s also dishwasher friendly, so no whining about who’s doing the dishes.
Another good feature is the cover lock indicator tells the pressure in real-time. Not only that, but it also won’t allow the lid to open until the pressure lowers to safe levels once again. That means you will never get your face melted off like in “The raiders of the lost ark” when you open the pot too soon.
We’re not the only ones raving about this product on Amazon it has a 4.5 star out of 5. It’s cheap, safe, functional, semi-sturdy and great for beginners. If you’re new to the world of pressure cookers, this is the pressure cooker to get.
What’s the Catch?
Although it’s great, there are a few drawbacks to this model. While the cooker itself has great materials, the screws used to keep this pressure cooker together aren’t rust-resistant. This cuts down the lifespan of this product by a few features.
- Very affordable price
- Real-time pressure indicator
- Rust prone screws
This safe and functional machine will take all the pressure off of you and direct it into cooking! It can ease your stress without breaking the bank.
#5- All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner
Safety Measures and Settings
Everything you can upgrade on a pressure cooker is already implemented in the All American 21-1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker. Only the best and most durable materials will be found on this machine. Plenty of clamping locks nullify worries of overwhelming pressure. Easy-to-read pressure gauge, automatic overpressure release, and various preset from 5psi, 10psi, and even 15psi settings. This pressure cooker is a beast of a pressure cooker.
The determination to design a powerful pressure cooker can even be found in the gaskets. This model doesn’t use rubber gaskets but instead chose to go with a metal gasket. You read that right. This metal gasket is specifically engineered with a steam-tight design that encloses the mixture.
Made in America
The name “All American” isn’t just for show either. Not only is this pressure cooker bigger and better – just like everything in America – but it’s all made here. Not “assembled” here; made here. Every single part of this pressure cooker is made in the USA. Even a foundry in Wisconsin deals with the pouring of the aluminum – American-style.
- No rubber gaskets
- Automatic overpressure release
- Three pressure settings: at 5psi, 10psi, or 15psi
- Not made of Steel.
It may seem like a small thing, but having a “stay-cool” handle on top of such a large pressure cooker is a great touch (no pun intended!). When it’s time to open your piping-hot pot, it’s important to be able to handle the lid safely!
#6 – Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that pressure cooking is the only safe way of conserving and canning most foods. And when they say that, keeping in mind that the stovetop cooker will be used just for canning, this is the type they’re thinking of. Not to say you can’t do your normal, everyday cooking with it if you wish.
The Presto 01781 doubles as a boiling-water canner for preserving fruits, jams and the like. It goes without saying it’s as good as a large capacity pressure cooker. But its primary purpose is for large scale pressure canning. That’s why it comes with a handy instruction and recipe book with a wide range of over 50 recipes.
Even Heating and Durability
The heavy gauge aluminum nicely compensates for the extra weight brought on by the larger size. It also allows for faster and even heating. So be a little more careful when touching it as soon as you turn it on. Additionally, the aluminum highly warp-resistant so it’ll look brand-new for years!
Lots of Accessories
- With this purchase, you also receive a canning kit that includes:
- canning rack.
- funnel for the canning jars
- bubble remover
- magnetic lid lifter
- jar lifter
- kitchen tongs
What’s the Catch?
Nonabrasive cleansers work best for cleaning the aluminum. You should also remove the sealing ring after each use to clean along with the inside of the rim. I know this is bothersome but it’s not such a big deal if you use it just to prepare food for the winter.
- Availability of kits
- Cheap canner
- Very accurate pressure gauge
- Endurance at high altitudes
- Aluminum build
While I personally prefer stainless steel, I’m quite impressed with this heavy gauge aluminum. It reduces the weight so you don’t have to break your back carrying it. This can come in handy if you carry it to higher elevations where other pressure cookers are unreliable.
#76 – The Instant Pot LUX60 6-in-1 Pressure Cooker
Did you like the 7-in-1 Instant Pot but could use a bit of a discount off its price tag? Then the Instant Pot LUX60 6Qt 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker could be the best pressure cooker option for you. What do you gain in the 7-in-1 option that you lose in the 6-in-1 Instant Pot?
What’s the Difference?
The answer is yogurt. The Instant Pot 6-in-1 does not have yogurt-making capabilities. If you have a dairy allergy, don’t like yogurt, or just have no interest in making yogurt, this is ideal. However, depending on where your interests lie in the kitchen, yogurt could be an important factor.
Lots of Accessories
The accessories for the Instant Pot 6-in-1 pressure cooker are very similar to what comes with its pricier big brother.
- steam rack
- rice paddle
- recipe book
- soup spoon
- measuring cup
- time table guide
Granted, the steam rack for the 6-in-1 doesn’t have handles and you don’t get the 7-in-1’s condensation collector. Finally, like the 7-in-1 pressure cooker, the Instant Pot 6-in-1 features a stainless steel inner pot. No mystery coatings or flaky non-stick concerns here!
- Affordable version of the wildly popular Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cooker
- Generous with accessories.
- More reliable (longer-lasting) than many electric pressure cookers.
- 10 Built-in Programs
- Does not make yogurt
It’s important to have a budget model for something many people want (but not everyone can afford). Also, saving a little money on the Instant Pot 6-in-1 can help home chefs new to pressure cooking try a quality pressure cooker without having to invest quite as much money.
#8 – Gourmia GPC400 Smart Pot Electric Digital Multifunction Pressure Cooker
The Gourmia GPC400 Smart Pot is on the lower side of the price spectrum. Not only are the buttons for the programs for all kinds of food right there on the front. But the cooker is actually protected from power outages.
This is its main selling point. Next to the low-price tag of course. What this means is that if it loses power for some reason as soon as it’s back up the timer will resume its job.
It’s made out of stainless steel but it has a removable non-stick liner on the inside. Which is the best of both worlds when it comes to pressure cookers and non-stick liners/coatings. This also makes it very easy to clean.
Unlike some other cookers (like my best pressure cooker seen above) it has a 24-hour delay timer.
This is especially good if you spend most of your days outside. For example, if you have a job. There’s nothing better than coming home to a freshly cooked meal. And with a good timer, you can get that without the hassle of getting a different human being to do it for you (like your wife).
- Recovery after a power outage
- Non-stick insert
- Hit or miss arrival
It may have 13 different programs built-in and resumes working during power outages, which is becoming more common. Other than that, it doesn’t really stick out much. This is a double-edged sword. But on the bright side, you don’t have to spend much time researching the positives and negatives and just get a good electric pressure cooker fast.
#9 – Ninja FD401 Foodi 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker
Like the Gourmia Smart Pot pressure cooker, the Ninja FD401 Foodi 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker can resume cooking after being cut off by power failure. However, this electric pressure cooker has a few unique features that help set it apart from other similar products.
Interestingly, the Ninja FD401 Foodi pressure cooker only comes in 5, 6.5, 8 w/dehydrator/skewer stand quarts. This detail could be important if you plan to only make one-person meals; the Ninja FD401 Foodi pressure cooker has enough room for much larger family dishes.
As the title suggests, this electric pressure cooker is not only big – it’s beautiful, too. The Ninja FD401 Foodi cooker comes in five different colors, and you can choose whether to purchase a non-stick insert or a stainless steel insert. Keep in mind that the various insert or lid options are different models and will be priced differently – and they could potentially have different modes or other features.
As for accessories, the Ninja FD401 Foodi comes with:
- Deluxe Reversible Rack
- Cook & Crisp Basket
- Condensation Collector
- Competitively priced on sale
- Several color options – something to match any kitchen’s color theme.
- Resumes cooking after a power outage.
- More expensive than your typical electric pressure cooker when it’s not on sale.
You can choose a fun color for your Ninja FD401 Foodi pressure cooker, which is not an option for most pressure cookers out there. Also, the fact that if your power flickers off your cooking will resume when the power comes back on is a pretty smart feature.
#10 – Power Pressure Cooker XL 10 Qt
The Power Pressure Cooker XL 10 Qt, like the Presto 01362 6-Quart and the Gourmia Smart Pot electric pressure cookers, is most affordable when at its significantly marked-down sale price (around a $100 price difference!). At its sale price, the Power Pressure Cooker XL is a competitive buy. This is especially true since 94% of the customers who have rated it give it 5 out of 5 stars!
However, those 100+ reviewers indicate intense customer satisfaction about their purchase. The main complaint amidst all the praise is that the manual may not explain all of the Power’s features and functions sufficiently. Still, when it’s on sale this pressure cooker could bring a lot of value for its cost.
The purchase of a Power Pressure Cooker XL does include a few accessories:
- Inner Pot
- user manual
That’s a moderate to light amount of pressure cooker swag. Of course, buying an electric pressure cooker is supposed to be mostly about the pressure cooker itself, but it never hurts to throw in a few extra freebies, right?
- High Customer Reviews
- Affordable price when on sale
- One of the Power Pressure Cooker XL’s seven modes is “Beans/Lentils,” which sounds both intriguing and delicious.
- This electric pressure cooker has a non-stick coating on its interior surface.
- Fairly expensive at regular price
- Offers less built-in programs than the competition
When this product is on sale, it can go for under half of its original price. For how much its customers seem to like the Power Pressure Cooker XL, that sounds like quite a steal!
Finding the Best Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers use heat and pressure to cook beans, meats, potatoes, stews, and sometimes even yogurt! Plus it only takes a fraction of the time as conventional cooking methods.
Although there are countless options you can choose from when shopping for a pressure cooker, the wide selection doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can narrow down your options first by thinking about how you plan to use your pressure cooker. Although there is some crossover between the two primary uses for pressure cookers, most excel at only one of the following two functions.
- Canning with a pressure cooker requires a large pot; some have a capacity of over 22 quarts, which is nearly four times the size of most electric pressure cookers!
- Canning pressure cookers are typically stovetop models rather than electrical appliances.
- Although large canning pressure cookers are for stovetop cooking, you can find some stovetop pressure cookers that are smaller and meant for cooking.
- Canning pressure cookers are often made of aluminum.
- Pressure cookers (for cooking meals) are usually much smaller than pressure cookers intended for canning.
- Most pressure cookers for cooking can hold 6 quarts of food, though some are smaller (4 quarts), while some are as big as 12 quarts.
- Many pressure cookers (for cooking) are electrical appliances, but some are made for stovetop use.
- Most pressure cookers for cooking are made of steel, though the material may vary for the interior lining of the cooker. This innermost liner is important because it is what comes in contact with your food
These functional differences lead directly into another factor you should consider when buying a pressure cooker. How does your pressure cooker become pressurized? That is, what is the source of its heat?
Electric pressure cookers vs. stove-top pressure cookers
An electric pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that you have to “plugin” to use. Even relatively simple models will have computerized modes to control most (if not all) of the pressure cooker’s processes. Most electric pressure cookers are “cookers” rather than “canners”. Electric pressure cooking is great for a casual or busy chef who would like to throw a few ingredients into a pot, close the lid, press a button, and come back a little later to find that their delicious dinner is ready to be served.
Stove-top pressure cookers are more similar to regular cooking pots and pans than they are to electric appliances. The base for a stove-top pressure cooker is a simple cooking pot, but the pot’s accompanying lid can seal tightly – very tightly. This air-tight seal is key to pressurized cooking, so it’s important for stove-top pressure cookers to also have accurate pressure indicators. It’s also important for any pressure cooker to have several built-in safety features.
Features to look for
While a pressure cooker’s function and a heat source are big-picture attributes, there are some smaller details to consider as well. Although they don’t have a strong effect on the overall use, they can make the biggest everyday differences!
It starts from the outside of your pressure cooker. Just like an oven, the materials of pressure cookers are very important as some do better than others at high pressures and temperatures than others.
It doesn’t matter how good of a pressure cooker you have if the materials are bad – the product is bad.
Aluminum seems to be the most commonly used material in pressure cookers, as it’s usually cheaper. This material is usually found on cheaper pressure cookers due to this quality.
They are easy to notice since they’re significantly lighter than the steel ones. Aluminum has better thermal conductivity than steel, making it a popular choice for various pots and pans. However, they will usually not last as long as steel models.
The good ones use high quality and heavy gauge steel. Steel is a lot heavier and tougher than aluminum. Most importantly will not retain any tastes or odors, if you clean it of course. These will have low and high-pressure settings making it easier to cook a wider variety of foods. Still not as many settings as the higher end ones but it’s still handy to have.
- Stainless Steel
The best ones make use of high-quality stainless steel. But not all stainless steel is the same. Look for “18/10” on the stamp indicating 18% chromium and 10% nickel for best results. They add to its durability, resistance to stains, rust and corrosion and overall shininess. With stainless steel, you know what you’re getting. Alternatives to pressure cookers are usually some sort of ceramic pot for the slow roast.
However, ceramics may contain contaminants of heavy metals like lead and cadmium. We all know that any amount of lead is bad. On the other hand, people don’t even know to look out for cadmium which is toxic. It can occur naturally, along with lead, in the ceramics making process. But for us, it’s important because it’s sometimes used as an inner coating to further add corrosion resistance. And being on the inside of a pressure cooker means it’s always in contact with your food.
Also, do note that the inside of the cooker is usually the same material as the outside. But some cookers offer non-stick materials on the inside. Depending on your use you can either love or hate this. However, non-stick materials don’t last really long after long exposures to high pressure and temperature. If you do get the non-stick variant it will have a lower lifespan than its sticky counterpart. My suggestion would be to avoid non-stick altogether.
Accurate pressure indicators
Since most pressure cooker recipes require 15psi – or pounds per square inch – be sure that your cooker will support or at least come close to that psi. Also, look for those cookers that have some way of letting you know when they reach the desired pressure. A pop-up indicator or just a simple colored marker does the job.
The lower your psi, the more your cooking time expands. A good rule of thumb is to add about 5% of the cooking time for every psi you’re lacking.
You might find it tempting, like I did, to use your nans old pressure cooker, like a family heirloom. But even she knows that, while they may still work, they don’t have the modern-day safety features we take for granted.
If the pressure exceeds a certain limit, modern pressure cookers will vent excess steam with a loud “hiss.” If the pressure still continues to rise, it will push out a sealing gasket to safely release some of it.
Electric pressure cookers can even turn themselves off if the pressure is too much to handle. Mechanical locks are there so if the power runs out the lid won’t burst open.
The size depends on how much food you plan to cook. You also need to keep in mind that you shouldn’t fill pressure cookers to the brim. You can only fill them up 2/3 the way full for most foods, while 1/2 the way full for foods that foam or otherwise rise.
A good rule of thumb is that for every 1 quart or liter full is enough for one person. For my family of four, a 6-quart cooker is enough for everyday use and can even support extra guests. Couples can get away with a 4 quart/liter one. If you cook for more than 6 people or store meals for later then the bigger ones are for you.
Some recipes require special accessories. So, to save your money and nerves get a pressure cooker that already has them included.
While the cooker itself will most likely last for years, some of the parts may not. Some parts, like gaskets, will need to be replaced at some point. This shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you don’t stray too far, and buy a completely new pressure cooker while you’re at the store.