After looking at hundreds of pressure cookers, we narrowed the market down to 20 of the top models to consider for our review and ultimately decided on the two best pressure cookers. After cooking dozens of dishes (and more carnitas than we could handle) we’ve decided on our top pick electric pressure cooker as well as our favorite cooker for the stovetop.
Best Electric Pressure Cooker
Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Electric Pressure Cooker vs. Stovetop
The two major types of cookers are very different. Choosing the one that’s right for you will depend on what type of cooking experience you want and how much you want to spend. We’ve found that there are no major changes to the outcome of the dish, so the choice between an electric and stovetop pressure cookers is a matter of preference.
Benefits of a stovetop pressure cooker
You’re looking for power and speed – these appliances have the ability to reach higher pressure and heat compared to electric cookers, reducing your cook times.
You’re prefer durability over convenience – Electric pressure cookers can function for years whereas the stovetop ones can last for generations if handled properly
You’re eager to try out more advanced techniques – a modern stovetop pressure cooker comes with functions that allow less evaporation and high pressure for cooking. Stovetop pressure cookers can cook up to 15 psi, whereas most electric pressure cookers top out at 12 psi.
Benefits of an electric pressure cooker
You want to leave the kitchen – It works automatically, so you don’t have to monitor the food while it’s being prepared. You don’t need to worry about watching the burner, the cooker has the ability to turn off itself once your meal is ready. All you have to do is set the pressure cooker and move on.
You make use of the other functions – This single appliance can easily replace other appliances in your kitchen. Our top pick, the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1, is like a swiss army knife of kitchen appliances. Most cookers can handle sautéing or browning, pressure cooking, slow cooking, canning, warming and more.
Best Electric – Instant Pot Duo 9 in 1 Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot is one of the leading brands when it comes to electric pressure cookers. Its latest launch, the Duo Plus 9 in 1, is the best electric pressure cooker you can buy. It’s a new and improved version of the Instant Pot Duo 60, which established a cult-like following of kitchen connoisseurs. There are quite a few things that make the Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1 the best pressure cooker on the market.
Improved Display Panel – This cooker comes with a larger control panel that is easier to use. It features updated icons that you can read easily, and new buttons have been introduced so you can use the 3 new cooking presets.
3 New Functions – The Duo Plus 9 in 1 has been named so because it has 9 distinct settings: slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, warmer, sauté/browning, sterilizer, egg cooker, and it also has the ability to make cake. Compared to the Instant Pot Duo 60, the 9-in-1 adds 3 brand new programmed functions – sterilization, egg cooking and cake making. Programs can be customized for whatever recipe you’re making – you can even change cooking modes completely while the pressure cooking process is underway. This is great if you want to change from high pressure to low pressure in the middle of the cycle, cooking slowly over the course of the day.
Certified Safety – It is UL certified and features ten safety mechanisms, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it to run by itself. The safety features also make it easy and safe to release the pressure at the end of a cook. Moreover, it does not emit any steam or smell during cooking.
Easy to clean – The food grade stainless steel inner pot has no chemical coatings and features inner pot markings at ½ and 2/3 for pressure cooking safety. The cooking pot, lid and steam rack are dishwasher safe.
Completely Silent – This kitchen appliance is great for cooking in the late hours of the night. Its “Sound Off” feature keeps you from disturbing the sleep of your kids, guest and your better half – and who doesn’t like to wake up to a warm, ready to eat breakfast!
The Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1 comes with a recipe booklet, steam racks (including handles), measuring cup, soup spoon and serving spoon.
Best Stovetop – Presto 8-quart stainless steel pressure cooker
Among stovetop pressure cookers, we recommend the Presto 8-quart stainless steel pressure cooker. This stovetop pressure cooker comes with automatic pressure release, a modern pressure regulator design that makes it safe and easy to use. It is a treat for those that prefer stovetop pressure cookers, or for those who are looking for a budget friendly way to try pressure cooking.
Design and Construction – This stovetop pressure cooker is made from 18/8 stainless steel and could literally last for generations if properly taken care of. Presto gives it a 12 year limited warranty. The tri-clad base sandwiches a piece of aluminum between two plates of stainless steal which allows the pressure cooker to heat up quickly, maintain consistent heat throughout the cook, and spread the heat evenly through the entire pot. The flat stainless steel bottom also allows you to use this pressure cooker on electric, cooktops, gas, ceramic and induction stovetops.
Safe To Use – It comes with a gasket that creates a concealed seal between the lid and the pot, making this pressure cooker safe for cooking. Two short handles ensure balanced weight transfer and easy transport. The handle also provides space for the cover lock/air vent, overpressure plug and the pressure regulator.
3 Different Methods For Pressure Release – The cooker is equipped with 3 distinct pressure release methods including “steam”, “cold water” and “natural release”. This let’s you to cook your food at different pressure levels, and gives you different options to depressurize your cooker when it’s time to eat.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance – Cleaning this cooker is no sweat. The stainless steel body requires little cleaning after use, it’s dishwasher safe, or just give it a quick scrub and you’re done.
Runner Up – Instant Pot Duo 60
The Instant Pot Duo 60 finds its place as the runner up – despite being an older model, this pressure cooker is less expensive that our top pick and still highly functional, making it a great value buy. In previous years, this pressure cooker took the top prize, and it’s still a great option.
It is a versatile cooker with 14 programs, including soup making, sautéing, yogurt making, steaming and warming, cooking rice among others. It features a large LED based display that helps you monitor the cooking process clearly. It also includes condensation collector, stainless-steel steam rack (along with handles), soup spoon, measuring cup and rice paddle. Plus, you get a 1-year warranty with this cooker.
If you’re looking to test the waters before splurging on our top pick we have some recommendations for budget pressure cookers.
For electric pressure cookers our budget pick is the Power Pressure Cooker XL 6 Quart. An “As Seen On TV” purchase, this pressure cooker offers great value for beginners based on it’s price. Like our other picks it will cook food quickly, is convenient to use, and is easy to clean. We put it lower on our list because it doesn’t offer as many features or programmed settings as some of the Instant Pots do, so it’s not going to replace every appliance in your kitchen. We’ve also heard some customers have issues with the Power Pressure Cookers over the long haul – errors in the electronics and poor customer service have caused some customers headaches. It’s probably not going to last you years like an Instant Pot would, but it’s a great way to test the waters with an entry level cooker.
For budget stovetop pressure cookers our pick is the Presto 6-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker. At a smaller size and a much lower price, this cooker is the lowest cost entry point into pressure cooking. The aluminum construction is durable, but won’t have the longevity of stainless steel like our top pick. The all aluminum construction also means it’s more susceptible to temperature swings. But at this price, it’s hard to beat.
The power of a pressure cooker
When using a pressure cooker, you can prepare tastier and healthier meals without spending as much time or energy in the kitchen. These small appliances are versatile, easy-to-use and most importantly, they can add a flavorful punch to your meals.
It has been found that using a pressure cooker helps you cook food at 70% faster rate in comparison to other conventional techniques for cooking. With food being prepared at faster rate, you can save energy, which in turn will save you money spent on energy bills.
A pressure cooker can fill the gap for tons of kitchen appliances, like a rice cooker or a crock pot, but they have some less obvious uses too – including that of a steamer, baking pan, Dutch oven or a sauce pan. It is the multi-purpose appliance that is a must have for your kitchen.
How you prepare food actually matters. Several studies have revealed that cooking food for longer time period as well as adding extra liquids in the food results in loss of nutrients. Using a pressure cooker can help retain the nutrients and quality of food while cooking as it takes very little time and liquid (like water) for food preparation. The steam used in pressure cooking helps intensify natural flavors, so you can enjoy your meals to the fullest without having to add extra seasoning like salt.
Who should get this?
So, the question is who all can actually use a pressure cooker? Well, here’s what we recommend.
Busy Lifestyle – If your lifestyle keeps you from spending a lot of time in the kitchen then pressure cooker can change the way you cook for the better. It can cook any food at a much faster rate than normal cooking time. And electric pressure cookers with programmable functions, like our top pick, allow you to prep your meal ahead of time. Start your cook in the morning and come home from work with a warm, delicious and succulent meal waiting for you.
Canners – Pressure cookers are great for canning and jarring. When preserving low acid foods like vegetables, meats, or sea food you use a process called pressure canning.
Small Kitchens – If space is limited buying an electric pressure cooker is a great bang for your buck. It can replace the need for a lot of other appliances and won’t need to be stored on your countertop when it’s not in use.
Ready to replace an existing cooker – If your pressure cooker is older (pre-1990) you might want to consider upgrading. New pressure cookers have come a long way when it comes to safety, and electric pressure cookers make the process much more convenient.
Pressure Cooker Sizes
Pressure cookers come in many sizes, and most models have a few different size options to choose from. Choosing the right size cooker depends on how many people you’ll be cooking for at a time, what types of meal you’ll be cooking, and how much space you have in your kitchen.
We’ve laid out some recommendations below:
- Less Than 5 liters- This size is perfect for single person or couples. It can also be used to cook side dishes for a small-sized family.
- 5 to 7 liters- This size is normally recommended for families of 3 to 5 members, or couples who are meal prepping. These cookers can often cook a small whole chicken.
- 7.5 to 10 liters- This size is recommended for large-sized families comprising of 6 or more members. It is also recommended for those who cook often for several people at a time, or for those who prefer to freeze their food. In some cases you may be able to cook whole cuts of larger meats without breaking them down, like ribs or pork shoulders.
- More Than 10 Liters- This size is usually recommended to those who prefer cooking large amounts at a time – either for large families, to cook large meals for preserving or freezing, to prepare very large cuts of meat, or for caterers who prepare food for over 15 people at one go.
There were a number of other pressure cookers we considered as part of our review process. While they may not be our top picks, they still offer many of the same benefits of pressure cooking, and their meals will taste just as good. In some cases they narrowly missed the top spot because they lacked certain features, were not as convenient, or were not constructed with the same quality as our top picks.
As an electric cooker, the Instant Pot Lux 60 can hold its own in the Instant Pot family. It is a 6-in-1 appliance that comes with functions like sautéing, browning, steaming and rice cooking. It’s not as fully featured as the Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1, but it comes in at a small size and a lower price point, which may make it a better match for some.
We also liked the Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. This Bluetooth enabled electric pressure cooker adds another layer of convenience to the process and can be controlled using Instant Pot’s Smart Cooker app. As a 7-in-1 cooker, it is versatile and can function as a yogurt maker, warmer, porridge maker, rice cooker, sauté pan, etc. With the ability to use a smart phone app, this cooker can execute complex recipes. It’s also much easier to program custom recipes through the Smart Cooker app. At about $160, we didn’t think it was the right choice for most buyers. But if you are willing to splurge, and you want the added convenience and ability to up your recipe game, the Instant Pot with Bluetooth might be right for you.
The GoWISE 4th-Generation Electric Pressure Cooker is also an interesting model to us. The design is pretty utilitarian, it’s not as friendly to use as the Instant Pots. But they offer sturdy construction, and it does offer some pre-set functions which makes cooking easier than other low end cookers. We’ve seen these go on sale for as low as $69 on Amazon, so for nearly half the price of some of the Instant Pots they are worth considering.
In the stovetop category, we also considered many other models, and a few piqued our interest. If you compare the Presto 8-Quart 03170 with the T-Fal P45007 Clipso model, you will find that Presto has better pressure level than T-Fal. Presto can go as high as 15 psi while the T-fal model reaches only 12 psi at maximum. This pressure prevents T-fal from cooking food as fast as the Presto at higher temperatures. Also, The Presto 8Q is larger than the 6.3Q T-Fal, making the former a better choice for large servings. The Presto also comes in at a lower price point, which solidified it as our pick relative to the T-Fal. We did like the design of the T-Fal model though, the single grip lid made it easy to use.
We also liked the NuWave 6.5Q pressure cooker for is sleek design and easy to use release valve. Like the T-Fal, it also has a lower psi than Presto 8Q. NuWave gets as high as 13 psi and has a capacity of 6.5 quarts. It may not perform as well as our top pick, but we’ve seen it on sale for as low as $29 on Amazon.
How do pressure cookers work?
A pressure cooker works by raising the water’s boiling point. It applies pressure (up to 12 psi in case of electric ones and up to 15 psi in case of stovetop ones) so that water’s boiling point can escalate to a temperature of up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the cooking time is reduced by as much as two-thirds the normal time.
While the older pressure cookers did not provide any convenience of pressure variations while cooking, the new ones including the stovetops (second generation pressure cookers) and the electric ones (third-generation pressure cookers) offer you the option of cooking at various pressure levels, and are comparatively safer than the older models.
Gone are the days when using a pressure cooker came with its own set of worries. The new and improved pressure cookers have their own safety features that make using them much safer. Features such as gaskets that vent steam, or backup pressure-relief valve ensure that the steam gets released in case of any overpressurization. The stovetop cookers require a wee bit more attention in comparison to their electric counterparts, but they are also much safer to use than their predecessors. That’s why we believe if your pressure cooker was made before 1990 we highly recommend upgrading.