I’m working on an update to my Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy post…and this section kept getting longer, and longer…so I’m posting it on its own.
The LUX line of electric pressure cookers from Fagor is a strong competitor to the Instant Pot. If the Instant Pot didn’t exist, I’d recommend the LUX to everyone. It’s a modern electric pressure cooker from a company with a long history of pressure cooking. Fagor supports their cookers and makes it easy to buy replacement parts.
But…if I had to pick only one pressure cooker, I’d still get the Instant Pot cooker over the LUX. Now, both cookers do a good job of their basic task - pressure cooking - but I find the Instant Pot much more useable day to day. I’ve had the Fagor LUX 8 quart for months, but I keep reaching for my 6 quart Instant Pot, even though it is smaller. I pull out the LUX when I know I need the extra room an 8 quart cooker provides; otherwise, I go with my Instant Pot. And, frankly, that isn’t that often - making a big batch of broth is about the only time I needed the extra space. 1
Here’s a quick comparison of the Fagor LUX 8 quart and the Instant Pot IP-DUO80
Fagor LUX 8 Quart strengths
The one big advantage to the LUX is the ceramic nonstick pot. If you want a nonstick pot, the Fagor LUX is the pressure cooker to buy. First off, the nonstick pot is blue!2 Second, the ceramic nonstick is a lot tougher than traditional nonstick coatings. The problem is, I don’t trust nonstick, even this tough one from Fagor; all my nonstick pans wind up with scratches, no matter how much I baby it. For a pressure cooker, I prefer stainless steel, unless I’m cooking something particularly messy.
That meant the first thing I had to do with the LUX was pay for the add-on stainless pot. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice pot, with a good heft to it. And, good on Fagor for having the stainless pot available and easy to order. But…it is an extra expense right off the bat.
The other thing I like about the Fagor is the control panel. It has a “High Pressure” button. I’m old school when it comes to pressure cooking - I don’t use program modes. “Rice?” “Stew?” What do they mean? I don’t know, so I don’t trust them. I want to follow pressure cooker recipes - cook on high pressure for X minutes - not trust the cooker to think for me. The Fagor makes pressure cooking easy to understand with the High Pressure button.3
[UPDATE 2017-03-30: Another advantage for the 8 quart Fagor - it's a little faster to heat up to pressure. I tested them after reading Good Housekeeping's We Found a Pressure Cooker That’s Better Than the Instant Pot article, and comparing the 8 quart cookers I found the Fagor came up to pressure about 3 minutes faster when heating up 4 cups of water. That is not the big gap that Good Housekeeping said they found, but I figured I should mention it. For more details, see my Fagor Lux vs Instant Pot - Time To Pressure Showdown post.]
So…seems simple, right? Switch from the Instant Pot to the Fagor. Well…that’s not what happened. I never took a liking to the Fagor, and here’s why:
Fagor LUX 8 Quart weaknesses:
The first thing I noticed is how light the Fagor is. If you remove the pot and the lid, it weighs almost nothing. Unfortunately, that means I can’t push the buttons. Literally. When I try to push a button, the cooker is so light that it slides across the counter. Using the Fagor is a two-handed operation - I have to grab the handle to hold it down, then push the button with my other hand.
Another problem is the three-piece lid, gasket holder, and gasket. The silicone gasket sits around a thin stainless steel disc, and the disc pushes onto a pin in the lid. It works, but it’s an extra piece I have to clean every time I use the cooker. 4 I love the Instant Pot style two-piece lid and gasket, where a hoop-shaped ring is welded to the lid and the gasket fits in. 5
Lid holder - the Instant Pot’s built in handle/lid holder is so convenient. Set the lid in the handle, and I’m done. When I use the LUX, I find myself trying to set the lid on the handle, realizing it isn’t a lid holder, and then looking around for some empty counter space where I can put the lid. It’s amazing how big a difference it makes - a notch on the lid, a hole in the handle - and suddenly the cooker is that much easier to use.
Beeping in warming mode. Ugh. The LUX really wants you to know when it is done pressure cooking. It switches to keep warm mode…and then it beeps roughly every thirty seconds until you shut the cooker off. beep…beep…beep…Why. WHY? I can’t let it do a natural pressure release without THE BEEPING. THE BEEPING IS DRILLING INTO MY BRAIN.
It’s not just the High Pressure program, either; if you cancel cooking, then press the “keep warm” button, the beeping starts up again. Now, I can turn the pot off to stop the beeping, but that defeats the purpose of the “keep warm” mode - the constant beeping makes keep warm mode unusable on the LUX. It feels like they really, REALLY want you to shut off the cooker and use a quick pressure release, which is an odd design decision.
[UPDATE 2017-03-30: I was asked by a reader who also owns a Fagor about beeping in keep warm mode - he wasn't hearing it. Turns out, I was wrong. If you stop pressure cooker mode, turn on keep warm mode, and press "start", it will only beep once more, after a few seconds. (I think it's a signal that it is at "keep warm" temperature.) I was confused by the additional beep, and kept shutting the cooker down in frustration. So, if the beeping makes you crazy, you can stop it without losing warming mode entirely. Not ideal, but not as bad as I originally thought.]
[UPDATE 2017-03-30: While I was testing for my Fagor Lux vs Instant Pot - Time To Pressure Showdown post, I decided to find out how long the beeping will go. Turns out, it gives up on the beeping after five minutes. That's way too long - it shouldn't beep more than once to let you know the cooking is done - but if you can stand strong you can eventually wait out the beeping Beeping BEEPING...I can't make it. I have to go turn it off now.]
The Fagor LUX 8 Quart is a very good pressure cooker, with a lot to recommend it. If you prefer cooking with a nonstick pot, it is the obvious choice. 6 But, it is less convenient to use than the Instant Pot IP-DUO80, so I still recommend the IP-DUO80 over the LUX. (I own both...but I own way too many pressure cookers.)
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?
Instant Pot FAQ
First Thoughts: 8 Quart Instant Pot IP-DUO80
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cathie orozco says
I have the fagor model 670041880 that a neighbor is selling for 50.00. I have never really used an Insta Pot so wondering your thoughts. I noticed there isn't a rake to put in the bottom for cooking spaghetti squash. Can those be purchased? I wouldn't look at purchasing this item except that it has only been used 4 times and she finds she just doesn't use it! Thanks.
Mike Vrobel says
That's a good price for a good cooker. And, yes, you can get your own cooking rack - I love this silicone one from Oxo: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/things-i-love-oxo-pressure-cooker-baking-sling/
I just purchased the Instant Pot/7functions and the new 8 qt Fagor Lux. It has a stainless steel inside with a stainless steaming basket. Now that they have the newer model, which is easier to use the Fagor or Instant Pot. I'm going crazy trying to decide which to keep.
Mike Vrobel says
Luckily, I didn't have to make that decision - I like them both, and I kept them both. 🙂
But, if I had to give one up, I'd send the Fagor back. But it's close, and I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.
(I bought the stainless pot for the Fagor, but I like having it with the nonstick pot as an option.)
Susan Hill says
Thank you. I am reading reviews before I buy one for 2 of my grown kids. I know Instant Pot is most recognized and lots of recipes to be found (although I find most work with any comparable model/brand). I personally love, Love, LOVE my Fagor. It's been my 1st and only electric pc; bought because I loved my Fagor stove top models. I've given them for wedding gifts as well. I do like the non-stick pan and never had any issue with scratching and I've abused it for several years now. 😉 Great for cooking brown rice. The beeping you are spot on with! I can overlook (except on a migraine day) but my husband (whose office is near the kitchen) goes absolutely bonkers over.
Hi Mike, thank you so much for your excellent review! I am a copper fanatic and I am really attracted to the copper color of the fagor. I am concerned about the lid that has the circular holes in it on the fagor. A review on Amazon said that lid is actually aluminum and is getting discolored and rusting within a week. I've contacted their customer service and they don't seem to know much about what their product is made of, I was wondering if you were sure it was stainless steel or is aluminum?
Mike Vrobel says
I'm not noticing any issues. I'm not sure what it's made out of - it's a thin metal, could be aluminum, could be steel. But if it's aluminum, that review sounds fishy to me, because aluminum does not rust. It will get a little discolored when (if) you run it through a dishwasher, but it will still work fine.
Which one comes to pressure faster? Does it depend on what you are cooking or is it a standard time? Thanks!
Mike V says
Time to come up to pressure mainly depends on what you're cooking. More stuff in the pot means it takes longer to heat up, build up steam, and build up pressure. I think the two are roughly equal in heat-up time, but I haven't actually timed them - that's just my general impression. Neither one stands out as faster or slower.
Instant pot not selling or even mentioning 8 quart on their site
Mike V says
Only on Amazon so far - looks like they're having a hard time keeping up with demand.
Alfred Gorlick says
Don't forget that Breville makes a really good 6 and 8 qt. pressure cooker with non stick pot.
Mike V says
Can you find me a link to the 8 quart model? I only see a 6 quart PC from Breville.
I've heard good things about the Breville Fast Slow Pro, but the cost (twice as much as my instant pot) and nonstick pot make it a non-starter for me. If they had a stainless pot, I'd get one, if only to try the auto quick pressure release.