Instant Pot recipes are everywhere, and people keep talking about how these kitchen gadgets make their lives so much easier. If you’ve made the decision to buy an Instant Pot, congratulations! Welcome to the world of easy weeknight dinners and new and wonderful recipe creations. Making the decision to become part of the growing Instant Pot community is only the first step though.
You have to decide which model you want. Two models — the Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Lux — are the more common ones, and both are good options. But what’s the difference between the Instant Pot Duo and Lux? Which one is better? Let’s break it down.
Both the Duo and Lux look very similar at first glance. The are both cylindrically shaped multi-functional pressure cookers that are stainless steel coated, have black bases, and black and stainless steel lids. They both have durable, stainless steel inner pots, and they both come with similar accessories: A steaming rack, stirring spoon, condensation collection cup, and measuring cup. However, the steaming rack on the Duo has handles that make it much easier to insert and remove from the pot. The steaming rack that comes with the Lux doesn’t have handles.
The displays on both devices look similar, however you’ll notice the edges are more squared off on the Lux’s display, while they’re a bit more rounded on the Duo. The Lux and Duo also have some different buttons as well (more on that later).
Both the Lux and Duo come in a Mini 3-quart version (ideal for families of two to three people or for side dishes), a 6-quart size (ideal for families of four to six people), and an 8-quart model (ideal for larger families of six people or more). However, the Lux also comes in a 5-quart model, while the Duo doesn’t. The Lux also comes in different colors, including red, blue, stainless steel red, and stainless steel black; and you can choose different design options with the Lux, like floral patterns. The different colors and a floral patterns are a bit more expensive than the traditional Lux.
Both pots have small side handles for easy carrying, but the side handles on each pot are slightly different. The Duo’s side handles have a rectangular portion cut out. This allows you to set the lid on the side of the pot while you’re stirring, checking your meal, or adding ingredients. The Lux’s side handles don’t have these rectangular cutouts, so there’s no place to store the lid on the device.
Pressure cooker lids have handles on them so you can securely open and close to pot. The Duo’s lid handle runs across the entire diameter of the lid, so you can use your whole hand to twist the lid securely into place. The Lux however, has a slot handle on the lid that you can grip with only four fingers. It’s slightly less ergonomic, and a bit more difficult to secure the lid into place.
Instant pots and similar pressure cooking devices have a steam release valve that you secure into the “seal” position while pressure cooking and place into the “vent” position when you want to release the pressure or prevent pressure from accumulating. The steam release valves on the Lux and Duo are very different. The Duo’s valve has one vent and one seal position, while the Lux’s valve has two vent positions and one seal position centered between the two vent positions.
Features and functions
The major difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Lux is that the Duo is a 7-in-1 cooker (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steam, Sauté Machine, Yogurt Maker and Warmer), and it has 14 cooking programs; but the Lux is a 6-in-1 cooker (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté Machine, Steamer, and Warmer), and has 12 cooking programs. The Duo also has a high and low pressure setting, while the Lux only has a high pressure setting. Both pots have a third generation microprocessor that monitors pressure, monitor temperature, and makes adjustments based on how much food you put in the pot.
Here are the 14 cooking programs you get with the Duo:
- Slow Cook
- Pressure Cook
Keep in mind that the 6-quart and 8-quart models have full functionality, but the Duo Mini is a condensed version. The Mini doesn’t some of the programs, like multigrain, poultry, or pasteurize buttons. You can check out our full review of the Instant Pot Duo here.
Here are the 12 cooking programs you get with the Lux:
- Pressure Cook
- Keep Warm
- Slow Cook
Like with the Duo, the Mini version of the Lux doesn’t include all of the functions you get with the larger models. The Lux Mini doesn’t have a cake or multigrain function. You can still perform these functions using other buttons though.
Ease of use and performance
Both devices are very user-friendly and they both perform well. Small differences, like the handle and lid design and steam release valve, make the Duo slightly easier to use.
In spite of the different cooking programs, we have yet to find anything we can cook in the Duo that we can’t cook in the Lux (or vice versa). Once you know what you’re doing, you can create virtually any Instant Pot recipe in either the Lux or the Duo as long as you have a large enough model for that specific recipe.
Which model is better?
Without taking price into account, the Duo is the better model. It has more functionality and a few extra perks that make cooking faster and easier, like extra cooking programs, a better steaming rack, an easier-to-use lid and steam release valve, and a place to set the lid while cooking.
If you’re paying retail price, the Lux is generally more affordable than the Duo. In the basic brushed steel color, the 3-quart Lux is $65 (compared to $80 for the 3-quart Duo), the 6-quart is $80 (compared to $100 for the 6-quart Duo), and the 8-quart is $110 (compared to $140 for the 8-quart Duo). When you take price into consideration, this evens the playing field. However, while we’ve seen both models on sale, we tend to see the Duo on sale more often than Lux, so you can often get the Duo for a great deal. If you can find the Duo for a lower price, the Duo is the obvious choice.
If you’re paying retail prices, it comes down to your individual preferences. The Lux is a solid option because the two models are similar, the Lux is cheaper, and you can make almost everything in the Lux that you can make in the Duo. But if you want to pay the extra $15 to $30 (depending on the size) to make things a tiny bit easier for yourself, you should go with the Duo.