Slaving over a hot stove can be a real slog, especially when it comes time to whip up a batch of summertime chili. If you're finding yourself sweating over hot burners when you'd rather not, or you simply have a hard time fitting in enough hours for meal preparation, a pressure cooker could be a viable alternative to traditional pots and pans.
Using pressurized steam to thoroughly cook hundreds of different food items, pressure cookers take up relatively little space on your counter, are easy to use and clean, and come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you're new to the art of pressure cooking or have been creating amazing Instant Pot meals for years, we've done all the hard work of vetting and testing to bring you this roundup of the best pressure cookers you can buy today.
Instant Pot Duo Plus
The best overall
- Incredibly user-friendly
- Multiple cooking presets
- Easy to clean
- Steam valve is fool-proof
- Certain foods can stick to the bottom
- Narrow cooking chamber makes it hard to prepare certain items
Why you should buy this: You want a pressure cooker that does it all.
Who it's for: First-time pressure cooker chefs, seasoned pros, and everyone in-between.
Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Plus:
Many have tried, but few can compete with the Instant Pot. The best words to describe this cooker are "user-friendly." The features make it difficult to mess up your pressure cooked meals. You have low- and high-pressure options to help you control the amount of pressure without much guesswork. The lid has an alert, which lets you know it is in the correct position. The steam valve is designed in such a way that it won't allow you to position it incorrectly; you can only put it in a vent or seal position.
In addition to all of the user-friendly features, this pot also provides you with options. Using the sauté feature, you can brown your meat in the Instant Pot before or after pressure cooking. The Duo Plus also has cake, egg, and sterilize program modes, which means you can cook just about anything. While this Instant Pot multi-cooker is an outstanding small appliance, it certainly isn't perfect.
The inner pot (especially on the 6-quart and smaller versions) is a bit narrow, which can create a challenge when you're cooking things like roasts or a whole chicken. Foods like rice and potatoes also tend to stick to the bottom and lower sides of this pot more than with other pressure cookers that have a non-stick coating. All in all, the Instant Pot Plus appears to be a pressure cooker first and foremost, and the other functions (slow cook, etc.) are secondary.
T-fal Clipso Stainless Steel 8-Quart Pressure Cooker
The most durable pressure cooker
- Tough stainless steel design
- Encapsulated base for even heat distribution
- Quick and easy lid operation
- Lacks cooking presets
Why you should buy this: You need a pressure cooker that can withstand any meal or high temperature you throw at it.
Who it's for: Cooks that are constantly using their pressure cookers.
Why we picked the T-fal Stainless Steel 8-Quart Pressure Cooker:
This 8-quart cooker by T-fal is coated in a tough stainless steel, ensuring your cooker will provide consistent cooking for the life of your pot. You can also look forward to this cooker's encapsulated base -- intentional product design that evenly distributes heat to your food, regardless of your cooking surface or heating method.
T-fal also knows how tough a pressure cooker can be on the hands, so the Clipso lid is designed for quick and easy single-hand operation. Just push in the lock tabs on the side of the lid handle and pull up to remove. To re-seal, simply push down on the handle. The pot itself is also dishwasher safe, once the gasket and pressure valve are removed.
Mueller UltraPro 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
The best budget pressure cooker
- 15 cooking presets
- PTFE- and PFOA-free non-stick coating
- Temperature-resistant handles
- Can be used for canning
- A bit on the heavy side
Why you should buy this: You're looking to try your hand at pressure-cooking and want a solid first cooker that is easy to use, clean, and stow away.
Who it's for: Those shopping for a pressure cooker on a limited budget.
Why we picked the Mueller UltraPot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker:
This 6-quart titan by the folks at Mueller has it all. We're talking 15 cooking presets (including poultry, oatmeal, yogurt, meat/stew, and cake), a PTFE- and PFOA-free non-stick coating that locks in flavors and nutrients, and durable rubber seals and temperature-resistant handles for protecting you and your cooker from high heat.
The UltraPro uses a series of microprocessors that constantly monitor for pressure, temperature, and time and will automatically adjust the cooker at various points in the cook cycle. You can also manually input your own timer settings for both your main cooking cycle (adjustable between 1 and 99 minutes), as well as the pot's Delay Timer (up to 24 hours).
Best of all, you can even use the UltraPro for basic canning of various fruits and veggies. One of the only drawbacks we could find is the device weight. The cooker itself is a bit on the heavy side, which can make storing and pulling out the pot a little challenging.
Sistema Microwave Multicooker
The best microwaveable multicooker
- One of the cheapest multicooker options
- BPA-free plastic design
- User-friendly cooking
- About as barebones as it gets
Why you should buy this: You're thinking that a dedicated countertop pressure cooker is too much of an investment, and would rather use something very basic for most of your pressure cooking needs.
Who it's for: Those of us that don't want a dedicated pressure cooker taking up valuable countertop real estate.
Why we picked the Sistema Microwave Multicooker:
If you shop for microwave pressure cookers, you will find that a lot of products don’t have good reviews. There are usually problems with quality, some shoppers feel they overpaid for the product, or run into issues with cooking food evenly. Sistema has built an international business by creating products that can handle microwaves and other common kitchen appliances, so it’s no surprise that their cooker is one of the most dependable — and very affordable.
Here at Digital Trends, we believe that customer reviews tell it all. Both the Sistema rice cooker and multicooker have earned public praise and recognition for their user-friendly functionality and the incredible cooking performance they offer, no matter the ingredients. Sistema possesses many diverse microwave products, from soup cups to egg poachers and even rice cookers, all made of synthetic plastics, 100% free of BPA and phthalates.
Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker
The best pressure cooker for features
- 11 cooking presets
- Automatic temperature sensors
- Triple-point safety system
- Interactive touchscreen
- 6-quart pot may be too small for some
- Pretty expensive
Why you should buy this: You've outgrown some of your basic pressure cookers and require something with a little more power and versatility.
Who it's for: Longtime pressure cooker fans who want as many presets, customizations, and user preferences as possible.
Why we picked the Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker:
Sometimes we need a pressure cooker that goes above and beyond the standard fare. If customization is key for your next pressure-cooked meal, look no further than the mighty Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker.
This cooker has it all: 11 cooking presets and a dedicated "custom" preset for whatever special meals aren't on the menu, top and bottom food sensors that automatically adjust the temperature based on what's in the pot, a triple-point safety system, and an interactive touchscreen for all of your settings and meal adjustments.
While the 6-quart pot size may not be ideal for larger food items, the Breville Fast Slow Pro is simple to clean and is made from PTFE- and PFOA-free materials, ensuring your non-stick coating is environmentally friendly.
Chef iQ Smart Cooker
The best web-connected pressure cooker
- Over 300 cooking presets
- Excellent app
- Integrated food scale
- Automatic pressure release
- A bit expensive
- 6-quart pot may be too small for some
Why you should buy this: You're looking for a pressure cooker that unleashes the power of the internet to cook your next meal.
Who it's for: Those looking to control their pressure cookers with an app.
Why we picked the Chef iQ Smart Cooker:
When you add web connectivity to a pressure cooker, you're opening up your small appliance to a world of automations, easy-to-input recipes from around the globe, and handy controls through a companion app. For our money, one of the very best smart cookers you can get your hands on is the Chef iQ Smart Cooker.
In terms of variety, the Chef iQ's diverse selection of over 300 cooking presets will ensure you'll never eat the same meal twice (if you don't want to). These recipes are also accessed through the cooker's interactive touchscreen, a command post that also allows you to weigh and measure food through the cooker's integrated scale and program the pot to release pressure once your meal nears the end of its cooking cycle.
And with the Chef iQ app, you'll be able to bring a lot of the touchscreen settings to the palm of your hand. Use your phone or tablet to monitor your food and make adjustments as necessary.
While six quarts may be too small for some, the Chef iQ Smart Cooker more than makes up for its relatively small pot size with features-galore.
We searched for the six multicookers with the most significant amount of 5-star customer rankings to test. We cooked a couple of identical recipes with the same ingredients in each cooker. The two recipes included gluten-free cheesecake and an entire rotisserie chicken. We analyzed numerous distinct features, including the taste of the completed recipe, how quickly the device maxed out on pressure, how easy and user-friendly it was to set up, use, and clean, and how useful the manufacturer's directions were. Our studies prioritize the cost and functionality of each product.
Although we certainly gave it our best shot, there were too many products included on our list and not enough resources to experiment with every single one. When it came to the pressure cookers we didn't get the chance to try, we made rational conclusions depending on other sources such as buyer reviews, user interviews, manufacturer guidebooks, and product specifications to determine which of these devices was the winner in functionality, value, and overall quality.
Yes, for the most part. Many of today's pressure cookers have been designed and engineered with safety as a top priority. Safety features include things like temperature-resistant grips and handles, locked lids that are only un-lockable once the pot's internal pressure has been released, and non-stick coatings that are free of harsh chemicals.
That said, you'll still want to be cautious when operating your pressure cooker as you would any other kitchen appliance. Ensure it's plugged in away from water sources, keep it clean, and if it's web-connected, check to make sure you've got your pressure cooker loaded up with the latest firmware.
They can be. Depending on what kind of features and tech you want your pressure cooker to sport, you could be looking at $300 or more for some of the most advanced units on the market.
Generally speaking, though, the average price for a decent pressure cooker is right around $150.
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