Multifunctional pressure cookers were once a best-kept secret, as few people knew all of the benefits of a cooker like an Instant Pot. Now, the perks of using an Instant Pot — speed, ease of use, and cooking ingredients from frozen — are pretty well known, so many people have come to enjoy what Instant Pots have to offer. If you’re in the market for an Instant Pot, you have quite a few choices when deciding which model to go with. You can opt for a tried and true model, like the Duo, or you could go with one of Instant Pot’s newer offerings, like the Instant Pot Viva. Which is better? We compare the Instant Pot Duo vs. the Viva side-by-side to find out.
Design: A new lid and color options
If you saw a six-quart Instant Pot Duo sitting next to a six-quart stainless steel Instant Pot Viva, the two pots would look very similar. So much so, it might be hard to tell the difference between the two pots at first glance. However, there are key design differences that set them apart.
First, the Instant Pot Duo comes in a 3-quart mini version in addition to the 6-quart and 8-quart size offerings. The Viva only comes in 6- or 8-quarts—no mini 3-quart model is available. The Viva also comes in different color options aside from just regular stainless steel. You can find lid or body colors like black, blue, cinnamon, and copper. At first, the Duo was only available in stainless steel, but you can now find the Duo in different designs like red, teal, or different Star Wars editions. The Duo does not, however, offer all of the same color choices as the Viva.
The Viva has an updated lid design that’s unique from that of the Duo. The Viva’s lid has auto-seal and quick-steam release features that help making cooking easier. The displays on each pot look different as well, and the Viva’s display has a slightly more modern look than the older Duo.
Features: Sous vide and more
The Instant Pot Viva is a 9-in-1 cooker, serving as a pressure cooker, sauté pan, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, yogurt maker, cake maker, stockpot, steamer, and sous vide machine.
The Instant Pot Duo is a 7-in-1 pressure cooker, and it can serve as a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker.
Both pots have the following cooking programs:
- Slow Cook
- Keep Warm
- Pressure Cook
However, the Instant Pot Duo lacks these programs, which are available on the Viva:
- Sous vide
Both the Duo and the Viva deliver exceptional performance when pressure cooking, steaming, and slow cooking. You can make all of the staples — shredded chicken, steamed veggies, pot roast, chili, and even cheesecake — and your recipe should come out excellent in either pot. The Pots are very similar when it comes to their pressure cooking capabilities, except the lid enhancements on the Viva might make it slightly easier to use for beginners. The sterilize feature is also nice to have on the Viva. You can sterilize in any Instant Pot, but without the time and temp requirements programmed in, it’s tough to know for sure whether or not you’ve actually killed all of those germs. Therefore, the Viva might be a better pot for sterilizing simply because it has that preset.
Recipes for eggs and cake might be slightly easier in the Viva as well, given it has those programs ready to go. You can still make those recipes in the Duo, and they won’t taste any better or worse as long as you set the time and temperature correctly. If you’re looking for a pot to make sous vide recipes, the Viva is clearly the better choice. It will be much more difficult to prepare sous vide foods in the Duo without that designated program.
Instant Pots have lowered in price significantly across the board. A few years back, it was tough to find any 6- or 8-quart model for less than $100. The six-quart Viva originally retailed for $120, but you can often find it on sale for $50 to $80. The Duo (six-quart) retails for $100, but you can also usually find it on sale for around $50 to $80.
Which is better?
The Viva has more feature upgrades than the Duo, making it the better option in terms of flexibility and value for the money. However, when you find recipes and accessories for the Instant Pot, they are often designed for the Duo because it’s one of the most popular Instant Pot models. If you’re willing to give up a few features to get a tried and true model with more support from the user community (think recipes, feedback, etc.), the Duo is the better option. If you just want the best Instant Pot for the price in terms of features, go with the Viva.
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