It seems like we all have the same problem – we want a home-cooked meal, but we don’t want to put much effort nor time. In today’s busy schedule, most of us don’t have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen, even if we enjoy the cooking process. The obvious and smart solution to our problem is pressure cooking – the easiest way to get dinner on the table, fast.
Pressure cookers became incredibly popular in the last couple of years, so chances are you’ve already owned a pressure cooker in the past. But, even if you did, today’s pressure cookers are nothing like first or second-generation models. You should expect upgraded memory with dozens of pre-programs, one-touch functionalities that transform the pressure cooker into a slow cooker, steamer, baker, and even a yogurt maker. Best of all, you can set the timer and have a warm meal at any time of the day.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many functionalities and end up buying a product that will frustrate you or deliver poorly cooked meals. To avoid that, we’re sharing our top picks of the best pressure cookers available on the market today.
Additionally, we’ve composed a practical buying guide at the end of the article where you can learn about the features you need to consider when looking for the best pressure cooker.
The Best Pressure Cookers
Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure CookerThe most popular and widely used Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker is our top pick, too. There’s a reason why this pressure cooker is so loved. The unit is very well built and incredibly versatile. It has a wide range of advanced functionalities and more than a fair price for what it has to offer, making it America’s bestselling pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot Duo pressure cooker is very well-built, made of high-quality stainless steel materials, and a pot that has a 3-ply bottom, which makes the unit even more durable. Since it’s completely made of stainless steel (including the inner pot), you can easily toss the inner pot in the dishwasher and clean it thoroughly without a fuss.
However, the quality is not what makes the Instant Pot Duo stand out from the crowd. People love using it due to its amazing smart features that will make your life much easier and tastier as well.
The Instant Pot Duo features 14 one-touch programs for cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts, and more. One-touch programs mean that the optimal settings for each of the 14 meals are pre-programmed and saved, so next time you want to make a soup, you can do that with a click of a button.
When it comes to safety, the unit has more than ten built-in safety features according to the manufacturer. Some of these features include overheating protection and a safety lock which will prevent you from opening it before the pressure is released and it’s completely safe to do so.
Another great thing about the Instant Pot Duo is that it’s available in three different sizes – 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart. Although the 6-quart model is the most popular and best for most people, if you have a large family you can take the 8-quart, or if you’re cooking for one or two people you can dial down and go for the 3-quart capacity.
The only disadvantage that we could find to buying the Instant Pot Duo is the customer service. Customers have complained that although they love the device itself, they’re disappointed that they couldn’t get the support they needed from the brand.
The Instant Pot Duo proudly represents the third-generation pressure cookers with a built-in microprocessor monitor pressure, temperature, time, and heating regulator. On top of that, the unit combines seven different appliances in one pot, saving you time, effort, and money. You can’t really go wrong with this unit, as it’s available in a variety of sizes, meaning it can satisfy most people regardless of their needs and preferences.
Best Quality: All American 910 Pressure Cooker/CannerAnother popular and loved pressure cooker, the All American 910 steals our highest quality spot. A lot pricier, this stovetop pressure cooker doubles as a high-quality pressure canner and raises the bar in the entire industry in terms of quality, durability, and efficiency. Even though it lacks the smart functionalities, the All American 910 is made for professionals, chefs, and hyperenthusiastic cooks who know what they’re doing.
The All American 910 pressure cooker/canner is made of high-quality double aluminum. It’s designed in a way that the aluminum thickens on the edges to ensure that the clamps that seal the unit are strong and stable. This way reliability is no issue even with extremely high-pressure levels and long-term use.
While the other pressure cookers have a 6-quart capacity (max 8-quart), the All American 910 is available in five different sizes, starting from 10.5-quart and going up to 41.5-quarts. The unit’s smallest version, the 10.5-quart, is capable of feeding a large family and can even be overwhelming for some people, while the larger versions are better suited for canning needs or people with small businesses.
When it comes to control, with the All American 910, you can regulate the pressure and temperature yourself. The unit offers three pressure settings – 5 psi, 10 psi, and 15 psi.
The All American 910 also features a safety control valve and an overpressure plug, so you can feel confined and safe while using it.
All American 910 doesn’t have pre-programmed settings or advanced and versatile one-touch functionalities. It can pressure cook perfectly, but that’s it. It’s not really a drawback as it’s a natural limitation due to being a stovetop pressure cooker, but we felt like we should mention it.
Additionally, because it’s meant to handle large food-quantities, the unit is not suited for those cooking for one or two people.
Heavy and strong, with a thick stainless steel edge for a secure sealing mechanism, the All American 910 is one of the most efficient, large-scale pressure cookers/canners. If money is not an issue and you don’t mind investing in professional control over the cooking process we wholeheartedly recommend this incredible device. Just keep in mind that because of its type (stovetop), the All American 910 won’t come with smart display controls that are very user-friendly and make the whole cooking experience more intuitive.
Best on a Budget: Mueller UltraPot 6Q Pressure CookerChoosing Mueller UltraPot as the best pressure cooker on a budget was an easy task considering all the advanced functionalities this unit features. In fact, the Mueller UltraPot comes with more smart programs than all of our other recommendations. You’re also getting a safe and long-lasting pressure cooker for a fraction of the cost of some higher-end devices.
The unit is engineered in Germany and made of high-quality materials, rubber seal, and heat-resistant handles. The interior is made of ceramic non-stick coating, the pot from stainless steel, while the outside is made of plastic that’s free from PTFE and PFOA. All these features make the Mueller UltraPot durable and safe when it comes to your health.
The device is also safe from hazards as it’s UL and ULC certified with 8 safety mechanisms.
The Mueller UltraPot is incredibly versatile as it comes equipped with 10 different functionalities and 15 smart pre-programmed settings. Some of the settings offered include oatmeal, broth/soup, poultry, yogurt, egg, beans/chili, rice, meat/stew, cake, and so much more. You can even manually input cooking times if you want a more personalized recipe.
Adding to its versatility is the stainless steel basket that’s included with the package. The steaming basket allows you to cook two different food ingredients at once, furthermore saving time and money on electricity bills.
One drawback regarding the device is its customer service. Some customers have complained that the customer service was unresponsive when they needed to replace some parts – they were unable to.
Additionally, the instructions may feel a little vague and hard to figure out, so the device has a bit of a learning curve.
The Mueller UltraPot surprised us with its performance and convenience thanks to the smart functionalities and pre-programmed settings. It comes equipped with features that you would normally find in higher-end models. However, the affordability of the Mueller UltraPot doesn’t stand in the way of its quality and safety. It’s the perfect choice for people on a budget.
Best Smart Features: Instant Pot Smart WiFi 8-in-1 Electric Pressure CookerLast but not least on our list of best pressure cookers is the futuristic Instant Pot Smart WiFI pressure cooker. Basically, you’re getting the same quality and similar functionalities as our best overall choice, but with a bunch of smart features that connect this device with your mobile phone. It’s the perfect choice for those who prefer convenience above everything and enjoy new technological advancements.
Just like its cousin the Instant Pot Duo, the Instant Pot Smart Wifi is made of high-quality stainless steel materials and a 3-ply bottom that prolongs the life of the unit and contributes to even heating throughout the surface of the device.
The Instant Pot Smart Wifi combines eight different appliances in one pot, as you have functionalities to pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, make yogurt, cake, saute, steam, and keep the food warm for extended periods of time.
On top of that, you’re getting 13 different pre-programmed settings for cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry.
However, the feature that really sets this model apart from the competition is its connectivity with the internet and your mobile phone. The Instant Pot Smart Wifi is compatible with Alexa, too, so you can choose to control it through Alexa with direct voice commands or an app on your mobile phone.
You’ll have access to over 1,000 pre-programmed recipes on the app, which you can use to make delicious meals, as well as receive notifications on your mobile phone for any change in the cooking process.
Customers have complained that they’re required to share personal information and register through the company’s website if they want to use the app, which might be uncomfortable for some people.
Also, if your WiFi is down and you’re not home, you might be left halfway through the cooking process without access to your device.
You know you’ve hit the jackpot when you find a device that appeals to tech enthusiasts, yet still manages to be highly intuitive and easy-to-use. In fact, you can remotely start, pause, and turn off the device by giving a voice command on your google assistant – it doesn’t get easier than that.
After going through hundreds of pressure cookers available on the market today, we chose the Instant Pot Duo as the absolute winner. We believe the Instant Pot Duo is the best electric pressure cooker for most people as it’s very convenient, easy-to-use, incredibly versatile, and fast. Best of all, it’s in a price range that most people would find affordable. The advanced functionalities and pre-programmed settings will quickly make you wonder how you lived without it all this time.
On the other hand, a pricier, heavier, and a more professional option is the All American 910 stovetop pressure cooker, which is made for chefs and experienced cooks who need higher pressure and heat for their cooking endeavors. The unit doesn’t have one-touch pre-programmed functionalities, but you can regulate pressure levels and temperature manually. It’s the perfect choice for large families and people who handle large food-quantities daily.
When money is tight and you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive devices, the Mueller UltraPot offers a similar experience and great quality that would make a lot of higher-end devices a run for their money. Buying this device, you’ll be getting a lot of versatility, convenience, and all the safety standards you need to keep your anxiety at bay.
We’re reaching the future of pressure cooking with the Instant Pot Smart Wifi model. This unit is the perfect choice for tech enthusiasts and people who want the ultimate convenience – to control their pressure cooker though their voice or a phone app. Aside from that, the device is well-built, delivers perfectly cooked meals, and it passes all the safety standards.
Everything You Need To Know About Pressure Cookers
There is a myriad of options to choose from when shopping for a pressure cooker these days. Modern-day pressure cookers, known as “third-generation”, have features such as smart programming technology, where the cooking settings, time, pressure, and temperature can all be pre-set.
“Fourth-generation” pressure cookers are even more advanced and pricier. They come with Bluetooth technology and can be controlled by tablets or smartphones. You can even purchase apps and share recipes online. It’s amazing to think about the advances made in pressure cooking in the last couple of years, but we should not forget the basics that still separate the workhorses from the wimps.
How Does Pressure Cookers Work?
Pressure cookers were invented when physicist Denis Papin came up with the idea of expelling air out of a container and then trapping steam from boiling water inside. This revolutionized cooking as we got a new, faster way to enjoy delicious meals and even preserve foods for future seasons (pressure canners).
Once you turn on the device, the lid will lock and seal. Usually, pressure cookers have valves from which the air leaves the pot. After all of the air is expelled, the valve will close, trapping steam inside the pot. This raises the internal pressure, which creates intensely high cooking temperatures, resulting in fast cooking times. Once the pressure is released, you can open the device.
Pressure cookers today are incredibly smart, and they have indicators for each process. For example, they’ll indicate when the cooking is complete, so you can turn on the “quick pressure release” option (if applicable) or wait for natural pressure release. Once it’s safe to get your food, they’ll let you know.
How Much Do The Best Pressure Cookers Cost?
You can actually get a high-quality pressure cooker online, like on Amazon, in the vicinity of $40. Of course, that is for a basic, small, no-frills device that does the job and it’s good enough for those who aren’t looking to go all out. There are also those that have all the bells and whistles and go up to the near two hundred dollar range. A lot will depend upon your intentions with the device – how much you plan to use it, and for what. As with most products, you get what you pay for, so if you want an average pressure cooker, you can get one for less than $100.
What Are the Advantages of Pressure Cookers?
A good pressure cooker will deliver a tender and delicious meal quickly – 70% faster than traditional cooking methods is the average speed. You won’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen to receive a homemade-quality dish. Meats turn out moist and juicy while vegetables are crisp and nutritions. The convenience of being able to deliver such quality with such speed is what people find most appealing about the pressure cooker.
Another advantage of having a pressure cooker is that you’ll eat highly-nutritious, healthy meals every day. Because you can make a nutritional meal quickly and conveniently, you are much less likely to grab a bite at a fast-food chain or settle for preservative-laden instant food from the grocery store.
Pressure cookers will make you more creative in the kitchen. Eating healthy means eating a variety of different food ingredients, but we’re creatures of habit. Thankfully, pressure cookers come with booklets of amazing recipes, which will make you more creative and encourage you to experiment in your kitchen – as every recipe is super easy and fast to make.
Yet one more advantage of having a pressure cooker is that they are energy efficient. Because they cook in much less time than other methods do, they use less electricity. It’s estimated that using a pressure cooker saves up to ⅔ less of energy usage than with a conventional method.
How To Find the Best Pressure Cookers?
Electric vs. Stovetop
Whether to buy a stovetop or electric pressure cooker is one of the biggest dilemmas you’ll face when purchasing this appliance. Electric ones are usually less bulky and come with many functionalities, as they can double as rice cookers, steamers, and so on. If you need your cooker for extremely high temperatures and pressure, you may want to opt for a stovetop unit. On the other hand, if you prefer versatility and no-fuss cooking, you might be better off with an electric pressure cooker.
After you have decided on the type of pressure cooker you want, you need to consider how big you need your pressure cooker to be. Typical pressure cookers these days come with a 6-quart capacity, which more or less means you can feed six people with one batch – although this still depends on the dish you’re preparing.
While electric pressure cookers are smaller (6-quart), stovetop pressure cookers, which double as pressure canners, can go up to 40-quarts, like our highest quality pick, the All American.
Consider your daily needs, and choose a pressure cooker that won’t be too small, nor too big.
Pre-Programs And Additional Functionalities
Like we already mentioned, pressure cookers have advanced significantly, so they come with an amazing display of one-touch programs and functionalities. While stovetop pressure cookers are superior in raising pressure and temperature, electric pressure cookers are a lot more convenient and versatile.
Here’s what you should expect from your future pressure cooker:
- Cooking options: rice cooker, slow cooker, saute function, steam function, yogurt maker, etc.
- Time delay – to be able to set when you want your food to be done.
- Quick-pressure release – to be able to release pressure quickly, so you don’t spend time waiting for natural pressure release.
- Smart programs – specifically customized pre-programs for different food ingredients, like soups, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, etc.
- Keep warm function – keeps your food warm for hours.
- Recipe memory – so you can adjust the settings for your favorite meal and save them for your future cooking needs.
Before You Go
It seems like owning a pressure cooker is like owning a stove these days – useful and indispensable, which is why you need to make sure you’re investing in the right product.
Hopefully, our reviews have helped you decide on the best pressure cooker for your needs and preferences. However, if you’re still in doubt, make sure to follow the links where you can learn more about each product – check out current prices, in-depth product specifications, and customer reviews.
You can also check out our blog because we have many more product reviews and product guides essential for any kitchen. You can even find delicious recipes that would be perfect for your new pressure cooker.
Want to see our favorite pressure cookers one more time before you go? Here they are!
Amazon product information last updated on September 19, 2020. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.