The Best Instant Pots of 2019

Which Instant Pot is best? Whether cooking for 1 or 9, here are the best options

Because there are so many Instant Pot models to choose from, looking through the company website can make even the most seasoned cook’s head spin. We’ve spent at least 5,000 hours testing more than 60 kitchen gadgets ranging from sous vide machines to multifunctional pressure cookers like Instant Pots. Based on our testing and research, our pick for the best Instant Pot is the Duo80. The 8-quart Instant Pot Duo offers user-friendly features and perks without breaking the bank.

In addition to the Instant Pot Duo80, other Instant Pot models have a lot to offer. We’ve also included our picks for the best Instant Pot for a single person or couple, the best Instant Pot for a beginner, the best Instant Pot for a family or four, and the best Instant Pot for a larger family.

Best Instant Pot at a glance:

Best Instant Pot: Instant Pot Duo 80

amazon instant pot deals duo 60

Who should buy this? Beginners or experienced pressure cookers who want a device that can pressure cook, slow cook, saute and more.

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to make fast and easy meals.

Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo80:

When people think “Instant Pot,” this is the model that comes to mind for most people. The 8-quart Instant Pot Duo stands out for its features and affordable price point. This is not to say other Instant Pot models aren’t solid devices, because many other Instant Pots are excellent multifunctional pressure cookers. However, the Duo strikes a perfect balance between affordability and the features offered.

The Instant Pot Duo is the number-one selling multi-cooker, and it combines a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer into one convenient package. It boasts a variety of user-friendly features, ranging from a slot on the handle to place the lid to a steaming rack with handles so you can easily remove it from the pot.

You can fit a lot of ingredients in the 8-quart Duo too. You can easily fit a whole chicken into this Instant Pot, you can brown three or four pounds of frozen ground beef, or you can cook a large roast. If you like making stews, this pot can hold enough to feed eight to 12 people. For dessert lovers, the 8-quart Duo can easily fit an 8-inch springform pan and some 9-inch round pans.

Best instant pot for a single person or couple: Instant Pot Duo Mini

instant pot post christmas sales duo mini 3 qt 7 in 1 multi  use programmable pressure cooker

Who should buy this? Single people or couples who want a reliable pressure cooking device.

Who’s it for? Small households who want to save money on takeout and cook more meals at home.

Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Mini:

For single people, roommates looking to save cash on takeout, or couples looking to cut down on cooking time, the Instant Pot Duo Mini is a great place to start.

The small size also makes it an ideal option for college dorm rooms, camping trips, and even boating excursions. But you can still cook a decent amount of food in this appliance. Soup, stew, broth, yogurt, risotto, potato dishes, and fall-off-the-bone meals are all fair game, albeit in smaller doses. For reference, it can handle up to six cups of uncooked rice (that’s 12 cups cooked).

You’ll receive a bundle of accessories with your pressure cooker, including a rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack, soup spoon, and recipe booklet. If you want a larger version of the Instant Pot Duo, it also comes in 6-quarts (retails for $100) and 8-quarts (featured above). You can check out our full review of the 6-quart Instant Pot Duo here.

Best Instant Pot for Beginners: Instant Pot LUX Mini

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

Who should buy this? Those who want to try out an Instant Pot, or those who want to purchase a second or third pot.

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants to try a low-priced Instant Pot.

Why we picked the Instant Pot Lux Mini:

Trying out an Instant Pot for the very first time? You might not want to invest a lot of money (or kitchen space, for that matter) on an appliance you have no experience with. Although the Instant Pot Lux is the baseline Instant Pot model, you can still cook just about anything in the Lux. It features six different functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steamer, and warmer. There are also ten different built-in programs to help you cook specific foods, including soup/broth, multigrain, and meat/stew, so you can easily cook your favorite Instant Pot recipes with the press of a button.

The 3rd generation microprocessor enables up to 240 minutes of pressure cooking, with up to 24-hour start delay, so you can program the machine ahead of time and come home to a ready-to-eat meal. The machine can also automatically keep food warm for several hours, so you can cook your food, binge Netflix, and still have warm and ready-to-eat food.

The pressure cooker features 10 mechanisms to ensure users can handle the device safely, and the inner cooking pot is made of food-grade 304 stainless steel with no chemical coating. In addition to the 3-quart size, the Instant Pot Lux also comes in 6-quarts (retails for $80) and 8-quarts (for a retail price of $110). There’s a 5-quart version too, but it’s more difficult to find. You can also buy the 6-quart model in different colors and floral patterns.

Best Instant Pot for a Family of 4: Instant Pot Ultra 6

best instant pots main variation default view 1 715x715

Who should buy this? Those who do a lot of cooking at home.

Who’s it for? Families who want to shorten their nightly meal prep times.

Why we picked the Instant Pot Ultra 6-quart:

The Instant Pot Ultra electric pressure cooker covers just about anything you might want to do in the kitchen. It has a whopping ten functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, saute/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. That means you can have just one appliance take the place of ten. It’s also easy to use, with a central dial that makes it easy to select different programs, adjust times, and more.

This device also features an embedded microprocessor, which helps to monitor the pressure and temperature while adjusting  the intensity accordingly, helping to ensure perfectly cooked food every time. Plus, the pressure cooker offers 11 safety features, including a new steam release reset button that makes it safer for users to handle the appliance. The mid-sized 6-quart size is perfect for a family of four, but you can also choose the 3-quart (retails for $120) or 8-quart (retails for $180) option.

Best instant pot for a Large Family: Instant Pot DUO Plus 8

best instant pots img8o

Who should buy this? Those who want a large Instant Pot with a lot of cooking functions and options.

Who’s it for? Large families who like a variety of different foods.

Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-quart:

The Duo Plus carries the power of nine different kitchen appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sterilizer, and warmer. For a large family with different people who like different foods, this cooker is ideal because it’s extremely versatile.

The egg-cooker function can create perfectly prepared eggs in just a couple minutes, while the sterilizing capability can effectively pasteurize milk and clean utensils. This pot is also great for making desserts, like cheesecake, cakes, and brownies.

The embedded microprocessor constantly monitors the pressure, temperature, and intensity of the cooking process, evenly distributing heat to ensure a perfectly pressure-cooked and delicious creation every time. If you’re ever concerned about high pressure, you can use the quick release toggle on the top of the lid to release. However, if you’re just using this one-pot system for slow-cooking, there’s no need to worry.

Research and buying tips:

How is an Instant Pot different from a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker can either be an electric device you plug into the wall, or it can be a stovetop cooker that uses the heat of your cooktop. A pressure cooker builds up steam pressure inside of an airtight pot to quickly cook foods.

An Instant Pot is a multifunctional pressure cooker, meaning it has additional cooking functions outside of pressure cooking. Instant Pots are also slow cookers, sauté pots, warmers, steamers, and more (depending on the model).

Are Instant Pots safe?

You may have heard stories in the past of exploding pressure cookers that resulted from a malfunctioning unit or from a random case of bad luck.

Instant Pots have multiple built-in safety mechanisms such as lid closing and locking mechanisms, anti-blockage vents, automatic temperature controls, high temperature and burn warnings, pressure regulation and excess pressure protection mechanisms, and extreme temperature and power protection features. These safety features help to prevent accidental fires and other dangerous situations, and encountering a dangerous situation is pretty rare.

Can you buy an Instant Pot with an air fryer?

There are several models of Instant Pots, and they offer a variety of different cooking functions. Currently, there’s not an Instant Pot brand multifunctional pressure cooker with an air frying function. However, Ninja’s Foodi does have a TenderCrisp function, and it is a pressure cooker, air fryer, steamer, and more. You can check out our full review of the Ninja Foodi here.

Where can I find Instant Pot recipes?

Over the past few years, as Instant Pots have increased in popularity and so have Instant Pot recipes. Creative home cooks and chefs all over the place have published countless recipes online.

You can find recipes for almost anything, from desserts to appetizers to easy weeknight dinners. We’ve found that some of the best online food blogs and websites for Instant Pot recipes are Amy + JackyAll Recipes, and Genius Kitchen.

What can’t I make in an Instant Pot?

You can make almost anything in an Instant Pot, but there are a few foods you shouldn’t cook in a pressure cooker. Foods with a breading, like chicken tenders, probably won’t turn out very well because the Instant Pot moistens rather than crisps. Some berries, like strawberries and blueberries can also be a nightmare, as they tend to sputter out of the top as the pressure releases.

What are the best Instant Pot accessories?

The best Instant Pot accessories are ones that will make your pot perform better, make your recipes come out better, and make cooking easier. A good steamer basket is extremely important. And, while the Instant Pot comes with a trivet or steaming rack, it’s a good idea to get a larger and better one. Why? For many recipes, like steamed veggies, most chicken recipes, eggs, and potatoes, you don’t want your ingredients touching the water at the bottom.

It also helps to have a glass lid for your pot. This way, when you slow cook or sauté, you can see inside of the pot and still have it covered.

A lot of people like to have baking accessories for their pot, like a good springform pan or cupcake liners that fit into their Instant Pot. This makes it so you can easily make recipes like cheesecake, brownies, and lava cakes.

Does the Instant Pot offer ‘smart’ features?

All models have a microprocessor that adjusts variables like temperature based on quantity of ingredients in the pot. Instant Pots also have features like 24-hour delay start times, and some models have an LCD display. But only one Instant Pot model — the Instant Pot Smart WiFi — actually connects to the internet. You can do things like control and monitor the IP Smart with your phone, receive alerts about the status of your meal, and the use the pre-programmed recipes in the Instant Pot App. We conducted a review of the Instant Pot Smart, which you can check out here.

Deals

Walmart drops Instant Pot LUX60 to its lowest price since Black Friday

Amazon cut the Instant Pot LUX60 6-quart, 6-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker price so low, people who already have an Instant Pot may buy it as a spare. Digital Trends' reviewer said, "The Instant Pot Lux won't disappoint."
Smart Home

Get baked while you bake with these clever cannabis cooking gadgets

Ready to step up your edibles game? Here are the best cannabis cooking gadgets for your kitchen, from an "Instant Pot" for your cannabutter to the best grinders and decarbing devices on the market. Check out the full list for more.
Smart Home

Making hard-boiled eggs isn’t hard — here’s how to do it perfectly every time

With the help of science or some kitchen gadgets, making hard-boiled eggs can be a little easier. It may not be the hardest task in the world, but a few of these methods are foolproof.
Deals

Amazon drops a killer Instant Pot deal, with prices under $60

Instant Pots are the popular kitchen device known for making cooking easier and faster. Thinking of finally getting yourself one? Amazon dropped the price of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. Prepare delicious meals this Easter Sunday with this…
Smart Home

You can now have your Amazon packages delivered in your garage

Amazon is expanding its Amazon Key service with Key for Garage. Eligible Amazon Prime subscribers in 50 U.S. cities will be able to sign up, assuming they have a myQ-enabled smart garage door opener.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.
Smart Home

The Dyson Pure Cool air purifier fan gets a massive $210 price drop

Allergy season is here in strength, but you don't have to suffer. NewEgg and Rakuten have refurbished Dyson AM11 Pure Cool Tower Purifier Fans for $210 off, less than half the regular price. This unit cools in summer and purifies all year.
Smart Home

Not only is Chucky back, he haunts your smart home in Child’s Play reboot

Chucky is a classic horror movie villain dating back more than 30 years and the character is getting reimagined in the new reboot coming in June that gives the evil doll control over smart home functions.
Smart Home

You can soon take your Amazon returns to any Kohl’s store across the U.S.

Amazon has offered returns via a limited number of Kohl's stores since 2017, but the service is about to expand to all 1,150 of its outlets across 48 states. The service is free, too.
Smart Home

Postmates expands to 1,000 more cities to take on DoorDash and Uber Eats

Postmates has expanded its on-demand delivery service to 1,000 additional U.S. cities, taking the total number served to more than 3,500 across all 50 states and putting it within reach of 70% of households.
Computing

Working hard or hardly working? Do it right with these versatile PC desks

Looking for a new piece of furniture that will fit in your office, dorm, or gaming cave? Here are some of our favorite computer desks on the market, whether you're a serious gamer looking for an upgrade, or just moved into a new space.
Smart Home

The startup behind the world’s first laundry robot has folded

When the Laundroid was first announced almost three years ago, then shown off at last year's CES, it was met with a fair bit of both intrigue and derision. But now Seven Dreamers, the company behind it, says the company is out of money.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

Our favorite coffee makers make flavorful cups of joe from the comforts of home

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.