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Instant Pot Duo vs. Lux: Which is better?

In our fast-paced world, you need quick and tasty meals. Instant Pots save you time, significantly reduce cooking times, and eliminate the need to hover over your meal while it’s cooking.

With so many types of Instant Pots on the market, how do you decide which is best? We’ve done the research to help save you time in selecting an Instant Pot. Two of our favorites are the Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Lux. We compare the two models — Instant Pot Lux versus Duo– to help you pick the right Instant Pot to fit your needs.

Appearance

Both the Duo and Lux look very similar at first glance. They are both cylindrically shaped multifunctional pressure cookers that are stainless steel coated, have black bases, and sport 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 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 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). You may also be able to find the Lux in a 5-quart option. 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 floral pattern 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.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Lid design

Pressure cooker lids have handles so you can securely open and close the pot. The Duo’s 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 and 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:

  1. Soup/Broth
  2. Meat/Stew
  3. Bean/Chili
  4. Poultry
  5. Sauté/Searing
  6. Steam
  7. Rice
  8. Porridge
  9. Multigrain
  10. Slow Cook
  11. Keep Warm
  12. Yogurt
  13. Pasteurize
  14. 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:

  1. Soup/Broth
  2. Meat/Stew
  3. Cake
  4. Egg
  5. Sauté
  6. Rice
  7. Multigrain
  8. Porridge
  9. Pressure Cook
  10. Steam
  11. Keep Warm
  12. Slow Cook

Like 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

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Both devices are very user-friendly and they both perform well. Small differences, like the handle 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?

Instant Pot asparagus
Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

Without taking the 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 additional cooking programs, a better steaming rack, an easier-to-use lid and steam release valve, and a place to set the cover 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).

The playing field appears more even when you see the pricing comparisons. Though we have to say, it’s more common to see the Duo on sale. Depending on where (and when) you shop, you could get the Duo for a steal. In our opinion, if you can get the Duo for a lower price, it’s the obvious choice.

As far as non-sale pricing, we still have a favorite. The Lux is a decent option because the two models are similar, yet the Lux is cheaper. Plus, you can make almost everything in the Lux that you can make in the Duo. Then again, paying an extra $15 to $30 (depending on the size) isn’t a deal-breaker, especially if the bump in price means making things a bit easier for yourself with the Duo.

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