Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy

Instant Pot IP-DUO 60 | DadCooksDinner.com

Instant Pot IP-DUO 60

If you had to pick one pressure cooker, what would it be?

I get this question a lot, and, frankly, it’s tough to answer. My response to “Which pressure cooker should I buy?” is “I only get one?” I own four five pressure cookers right now; they’re that useful. But if I could only have one…

There can be only one

If I could only have one pressure cooker, I would choose…

[Image via Amazon.com]

The Instant Pot IP-Duo 60 electric pressure cooker.

(I know, having the picture at the top of the post kind of gives it away.)

Now, this is a change for me. I used to recommend stove top pressure cookers. Nowadays, I reach for the electric pressure cooker first. Set it and forget it cooking is just too convenient. Once I lock the lid and set the timer, the electric PC takes it from there, and I can focus on the rest of dinner. The electric PC brings itself up to high pressure, levels off, maintains high pressure until the end of cooking, and then turns itself to a warming mode and lets the pressure start to come down naturally.

Why the Instant Pot? I prefer the durable, easy to clean stainless steel insert – I’m always worried about scratching the nonstick lining on my other pots. The bracket that holds the Instant Pot silicone gasket is built into the lid, making it easy to install and remove, and the silicone gasket is dishwasher safe. My favorite feature is a simple one – the lid holder in the handle on the body Set the tab on the lid in the slot on the handle. If I could keep only one pressure cooker, the Instant Pot would stay.

The IP-Duo 60 is the new version of the IP-Lux 60 that I’ve used for over a year. It has a slightly easier to understand electronics panel, and a convenient handle/lid holder design. If you have an IP-Lux 60, it’s not worth upgrading…but if you are getting a new for a new pot, get the IP-Duo 60. Also, for more questions and answers about Instant Pots, check out my Instant Pot Frequently Asked Questions.

Choices, Choices

Now for the nuanced answer. I don’t have to restrict myself to one cooker, thank goodness. I own a few of them; different pressure cookers have different strengths.
My wife would be happier if I had only one…but the same can be said of fry pans, grills, chef’s knives, and the countless kitchen gadgets overrunning our house. Yes, I have a problem.

What kind of pressure cooker should *you* buy? Read on, and pick the one that sounds best to you.

[Image via Amazon.com]

Stove top Pressure Cookers

Stove top cooker advantages

  • High pressure is 15PSI – slightly faster cooking times
    • Also – most published recipes assume 15 PSI
  • Wider pots (on some models) make browning easier
  • Quicker to heat up (on a powerful stove)
  • Quick pressure release – cold water pressure release is quicker (and quieter) than opening pressure valve
  • Can double as a regular pot

Stove top cooker disadvantages

  • Manual timing – the cook has to watch the pot, start the timer when the cooker reaches high pressure, and turn off the heat when cooking time is done
  • Manual heat maintenance – the cook has to adjust the burners on the stove to maintain pressure, and this can vary depending on how full the cooker is.

Recommended stove top cookers

For years, these were my only pressure cookers – first the Fagor, then the Kuhn Rikon. The K-R has a better pressure valve – no steam is released when it is at high pressure; it only vents when it is seriously over pressure. Also, the K-R is huge. Bigger is better with pressure cookers – you have to leave 1/3rd of the pot empty so there’s enough airspace to build up pressure. A larger pot gives you room to cook more.

The Fagor’s advantage? At 10 quarts it is bigger than most pressure cookers, and it costs about a third of the K-R price. The Kuhn Rikon and Fagor are also wide for pressure cookers – most cookers are narrow (about 9 inches diameter), but the K-R and Fagor are wider. A wider pot has more room to brown meat and saute aromatics before pressure cooking. (Note – if you don’t want the extra size of these cookers, the 8 quart models are also very good.)

So, which should you get? If you can afford the best, get the Kuhn Rikon. I’ve never regretted switching to it. If cost matters, get the Fagor; dollar for dollar it is the best value in pressure cookers, giving the most space for the least amount of money.

Other stove top cookers to consider

Some people swear by pressure skillets. (This includes Lorna Sass, author of my pressure cooking bible, Pressure Perfect). They’re low, wide cookers that are best for smaller braises. I’m always pushing the “max fill” line on my 6 quart cookers, so I’ve never been into pressure skillets, but if you’re interested, these are the models I recommend:

I need a really inexpensive stove top pressure cooker

If price is a big issue for you, this inexpensive Presto 6 quart PC is recommended by people I trust:

Street price is about $45. I’d save up and get an 8 or 10 quart model, but for such a low price, this cooker is a deal.

Electric Pressure Cookers - Instant Pot IP-DUO60 and IP-DUO80 | DadCooksDinner.com

Electric Pressure Cookers – Instant Pot IP-DUO60 and IP-DUO80

Electric Pressure Cookers

Advantages of electric pressure cookers:

  • More automated – set the time and it will beep when it is done
  • More convenient
  • Did I mention set it and forget it?

Disadvantages of electric pressure cookers:

  • Large electric pressure cookers (8 quart or larger) are less common
  • Lower pressure – Most top out at 11 or 12 PSI, so add 20% to the cooking time under pressure for published recipes
  • Confusing controls – read the f(ine) manual to figure them out
  • Only way to quick release pressure is to open pressure valve and live with hissing steam for a few minutes

As I said earlier, electric pressure cookers have one advantage, but it’s a big one. Set it and forget it cooking. Once the lid is locked and the timer is set, the cooker takes care of everything else, and beeps at you when it is done.

Recommended electric pressure cookers

IP-DUO80: I already talked about Instant Pot IP-DUO60. If it sounds good, get it. You won’t regret it. Now, let’s talk size. I said “bigger is better” above in the stovetop pressure cooker section – but I still recommend the 6 quart IP-DUO60 over the 8 quart IP-DUO80. The 6 quart is large enough for 95% of my cooking for a family of five. If you’re cooking for larger crowds on a regular basis, go with the 8 quart IP-DUO80 – the two cookers are very similar. Now, if you’re looking for a second pressure cooker, this is what I’d get – I love knowing I have this cooker on standby, in case I need the extra space. (Or to cook two things at once.)

Fagor Lux: I’m a stainless steel pot kind of guy, but if you prefer nonstick, I recommend the Fagor Lux line of cookers, available in a 6 quart and an 8 quart model. They come with a tough ceramic nonstick pot. (In blue!) I like the Fagors, but they aren’t quite as convenient as the Instant Pot. (That integrated lid holder in the Instant Pot is a killer feature.) The Fagor has a stainless pot that you can purchase separately – but that’s an extra expense.

Cheap Option: If you are looking for the lowest cost possible, check out the Instant Pot IP-LUX60. It’s the older version of the IP-DUO60. It doesn’t have the lid holder that the IP-DUO has, but you can usually save about $30 by going with the IP-LUX. (For something that I use many times a week, I’d pay the extra money for the IP-DUO – but your value judgement may be different.

Bluetooth Instant Pot IP-SMART60: The IP-SMART60 is the same cooker as the IP-DUO, but with Bluetooth connectivity. I’m a gadget hound, so I bought one, but I don’t use the Bluetooth connectivity; it’s just an extra expensive IP-DUO60 to me. Get the IP-DUO60 instead.

Instant Pot on sale at Amazon: Keep an eye out around “big purchase” holidays, like Black Friday, Christmas, and Amazon Prime Day . The IP-DUO60 often goes on sale on Amazon for great prices on those days.

General advice: buy from a dedicated pressure cooker manufacturer

Regardless of what type of cooker you get, buy from a company that you can count on. Pressure cooker parts wear out, especially the sealing gaskets. Don’t get stuck with a pot that you can’t get fixed ten years down the road. I buy from companies that are dedicated to pressure cookers, companies that make it obvious how to get spare parts.

I check for two things. Can I find spare parts on Amazon? Or, can I order them directly from the company’s website? If the only support they give is “call our 800 number or email us,” I get suspicious; if they don’t respond to emails asking about how to get spare parts, I move on to the next brand.

FCC Notice

I paid for all the pressure cookers with my own money – except for the Kuhn Rikon, which I was given as a review model years ago. I’ve used almost all the pots mentioned in my own kitchen, or a very similar model. None of these comments were paid for – I’m on my own. I get a small sales commission if you buy something through my links to Amazon. (And, if you do, thank you for your support!)

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Instant Pot FAQ – where I try to answer all the Instant Pot questions that I can
Pressure Cooker Recipe Index
Things I Love: Pressure Cookers
Things I Love: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker
Review: Kuhn-Rikon 12 Quart Family Stockpot Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot IP-DUO80: First Look and Longer Term Testing Notes

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42 Comments

  1. Erica /

    I have 2 Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers. The 5L one I use all the time, but the 8L one I hardly ever use because it is tall and skinny rather than wide. The tall skinny size makes it somewhat impractical plus it takes longer to get up to pressure, so things tend to burn. If I could have a do over, I would spend more for a wider 8L pot. I just got a new instant pot (the DUO direct from Instant pot), and I love it! It has very quickly become my most used kitchen appliance. I can see now why you make almost all your PC recipes in the Instant Pot

  2. Chris Lukowski /

    Is the lid/latching mechanism much improved on the Duo? I have an unopened LUX 60 that’s making me wonder what to do about the upgrade situation. I don’t think I would use the low pressure or yogurt making settings, and to me the buttons don’t look that much different. Is there anything else different about it that would make one tempted to pawn it on eBay and getting the Duo?

  3. Chris,

    If you already have a LUX, I wouldn’t trade it in just to get a DUO. The LUX would still be my first choice over all the other cookers in this article.

    The lid is improved on the DUO – a better pressure valve, and a built in lid stand in the handle – and the controls are a little simpler. Not enough improvements to trade in a working LUX.

  4. Wow, that’s quite a testimonial. Thank you!

  5. Debbie T /

    I ordered the new 7 function instantpot last night. I’m so thrilled to start using it. Going to browse your site for recipes. It’s exciting to find so much supportive blogs online. Thank you very much for your recipes and advice!

  6. You’re welcome – I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Bill Noble /

    Mike V , If you here of a great 8 quart pressure cooker coming on the market let me know i had the 6 quart Cuisinart for 2 years and it just died… i used it 5 times a month and i am very sad right now……

  8. I’m sorry, Bill, but I don’t know of one that’s worth buying. I got the GoWise 8 quart, but the pressure in the cooker bounces around way too much – from 11 Psi down to 7 psi – spends a lot if its time at what I would call “less than low pressure”. It is an OK cooker, but I much prefer the instant pot, even if it is only 6 quarts.

  9. I’ve had a pressure cooker for about 5 years and it’s always made delicious meals, easily too. Can’t recommend these things enough. Although most machines can handle any recipe, they have unique functions, so for new buyers make sure you buy one that suits your needs. Larger families might want to consider models that are at least 8 quarts. Don’t skimp out either! You get what you pay for in terms of durability. Anyway, this is a good website to start your research.

  10. Lorelei /

    There seems to be a lot of hype about the instant pot lately. I know you stated this in the post already. I just find it hard to believe that the instant pot is better than the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic. I have a fagor that just died. I love pressure cookers but I can only afford one. Thanks for your reply.

    • You have to get the pressure cooker that’s best for you. I favor the Instant Pot over the Kuhn Rikon because of the convenience of an electric pressure cooker; I can program it, and ignore it until it beeps at me to say it’s done. If you’re used to stove top pressure cookers (and it sounds like you are, with the Fagor), then maybe the Kuhn Rikon is a better choice for you. Me? I use my Duo many days a week.

  11. Becky Downing /

    Mike, I gifted myself an Instant Pot Duo60 7 in 1 for Christmas as my first foray into pressure cooking. I agree with you, I love it! I eagerly search the internet for PC recipes and adaptions just to have an “excuse” to try out something different for dinner. I do use the yogurt maker function at least once a week. I find myself a bit disappointed if I don’t have a need to use the “new toy” (even though I’ve had it for over 3 months) We travel 200 miles to see our granddaughter about 2x a month and I make sure the IP Duo is packed in the car so I can use it away from home. I’m seriously considering gifting my son an IP Duo60 so my husband won’t have to grouse about packing mine in the car!

    I love the stainless steel cooking pot – it has been very easy to clean and move onto the next cooking project. Thank you for your site and the recipes and experiences you have shared.

    • Ha! I love the idea of passing out Instant Pot “gifts” wherever I need them. “Happy Birthday, Mom! Keep this where I can find it.”

  12. è oro cartier anelli /

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  13. Five years ago I bought a fagor pressure cooker at your suggestion. I’ve been happy with it but recently have had to change the gasket for the third time in a year and I don’t use it that much. Also the yellow button and the dial button don’t work well anymore. Anyway, I’ve decided to buy a new one. So following your suggestion I am looking at the Instant Pot IP-Duo60. My question is how much of a learning curve is there to switch from stove top to electric. I am not ancient yet but am a senior so am getting slightly apprehensive about new technology.

    Looking forward to your reply and thanks for your always interesting columns.

    • Not much of a learning curve at all. And, it’s easier to use – no more fiddling with the stove, just set the cooking time and go.

  14. Inga Russ /

    I bought the Wolfgang Puck electric pessure cooker because watching him making all kinds of real food fast was great! Did not know these things even existed. I have been canning for many years with a giant pressure cooker on the stovetop but i cant lift it anymore. Is the Puck pressure cooker good do you know. I only used it once so far and made cubed venison in gravy. It was good and fast. Where can I get more recipes. In the tiny book that came with the pot there are a lot of sweets and things I don’t care for. I am diabetic and am aiming for a healthier diet. Let me hear from you if you have time. Thanks

  15. I recently bought the Fagor LUX Multi Cooker 8 qt. model. The good news: the controls are very intuitive so it’s easy to use; it feels solid and substantially built; everything worked as designed (but see below); it did everything well and although the pot has a ceramic non-stick coating, it did not show any signs of use from the 15 times I used it; the 8 qt. pot made making soup a breeze. By first pressure cooking with most of the ingredients and half the liquid in the pot then adding quick-cooking stuff like tomatoes and spinach and the rest of the stock to within 3/4″ of the rim I was able to make 7 quarts of soup. The bad news: 29 days after I ordered it my Fagor Lux died while I was browning country ribs. The symptoms (no heat, no lights) suggest a fuse but fortunately I could return it to Amazon so that’s what I did. I’ve had good luck with Fagor stovetop pressure cookers and so far I’m the only Amazon buyer to comment about a failure so don’t know if this will prove to be a fluke or a real issue. I really liked the Fagor Lux and considered buying another one but decided to switch rather than fight.

    I bought an Instant Pot that arrived three days ago so I’m just learning to use it. This cooker is smaller and seems a bit more lightly constructed. The controls are less intuitive but I’ll likely do most things using Manual/Time so no matter. I do like the stainless pot with the triple-layer bottom. Time will tell if the 6 qt. capacity proves limiting.

  16. If you needed a larger capacity, would you buy a second Instant Pot or opt for a larger stove top model?

    Thanks!

    • I have a family of 5, and my instant pot is big enough 90% of the time. The only time it isn’t is when I’m making a big batch of stock, or chili for a crowd. If that is your use case as well, then I’d suggest the instant pot with the Fagor 10 quart as a backup for the times you need the large pot. (It costs about the same as an instant pot).

      If you need the bigger pot all the time, spend the extra to get the Kuhn Rikon family stockpot. It is nicer than the Fagor, and, while not as convenient as the instant pot, it is easy to use.

  17. Great site and info. Thanks for all the real experience-based advice. I’ve been wanting an electric pressure cooker for years and have finally justified a decision to buy one. Interestingly enough, I had narrowed my short list down to the Cuisinart, the Instant Pot, and a Fagor; so it was good to see 2 out of 3 of those are on your list too.

    My primary question is:
    Is there anything the Instant Pot can do that the Cuisinart can’t do? More specifically: what do the extra functions/modes (rice vs meat vs beans, etc) actually do? Do they merely suggest a time (and perhaps pressure)? Or does using one of these modes cause the cooker to adjust something during the cooking process?

    My other question is:
    Is the only reason for your preference for the Instant Pot vs the Cuisinart just the stainless steel insert? Or are there other advantages?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

    • I believe the extra modes change the time and temperature curves in the pressure cooker – less heat for rice, say – but I never use them, so I can’t say for sure.
      Other than the stainless pot, I find the Instant Pot easier to use than the cuisinart. The silicone gasket holder integrated into the lid is easier to use, and the lid holder built into the handles on the pot is a genius feature. They are very similar in how they cook in the end, but I reach for my instant pot every time over the cuisinart.

  18. Laura H. /

    Hi,

    I’m about to take the plunge and replace my slow cooker with a multi-cooker – I’m very attached to my stovetop pressure cooker and would love a set it and forget it option! I was leaning towards the Fagor Lux because it seems to have the best reviews, but after reading your comments I’m thinking I should consider the the One Pot (I’m also ambivalent about non-stick, though for the rice cooker this might be a plus). Do you have any experience with the Fagor LUX? Also, since I generally cook for 2, I’m torn about whether to get a 4 or 6 quart model. I’d like to have the option of cooking for a crowd but not sure if there are drawbacks to using a larger cooker at less that capacity on a regular basis.

    • I am testing a Fagor LUX right now – the 8 quart model – and it’s a nice cooker. But, I still prefer the InstantPot. It is more convenient to use, and you won’t have to pay extra for the stainless steel pot. (That said, if you go with the Fagor LUX, you won’t be disappointed.)

      Get a 6 quart cooker. There are no drawbacks to using a 6 quart vs a 4 quart for smaller amounts of food.

      • Laura H. /

        Thanks for confirming my instincts. I went ahead and bought the 6 quart instant pot and am vary happy with it!

      • Raydar1788 /

        Anxiously awaiting your review on the Fagor Lux. Leaning that way only because I can walk into a local store that carries them. I can’t find the Instant Pot local anywhere.

        • So far: Lux is not a bad choice, works fine. But the Instant Pot is better, more convenient. I only pull out the Lux when I have to have the extra space the 8 quart pot gives – which means only to make turkey stock.

  19. Hi Mike. What about the Bluetooth model. … Any thoughts on thst

    • I have one, and like it, but it doesn’t have any extra functions that I use. (I don’t use the Bluetooth). If you want to make sure you have the newest model, go ahead and get it, but the Duo is almost exactly the same for less money.

  20. Hello…. seems this is an old post, but I would like to purchase the Duo60… I will be buying it from Wal-mart and they offer an extra $14.00 protection option. Do you think that is necessary? Walmart does take back there products pretty readily… thanks.

    • I don’t think you need the protection option. Instant Pot has good customer support, and if you have an issue, you should be able to contact them for a repair.

  21. Jessica /

    I bought the Cuisinart CPC-600 before I knew about Instant Pot’s stainless pot. I love my PC but was bummed about it not being stainless! But, I found a stainless replacement pot for $30! It’s by Secura and can be purchased from Amazon; I’ll not drop the link in hopes anyone looking will go through your link and find it.
    The photos don’t do it justice; it’s a heavy duty and well made pot. I broke it in with your Senate Navy Bean Soup, and it’s perfect!

  22. Any thoughts about the IP duo80… larger sibling of the 60. in theory seems it would be better for stocks and soups and browning… I’ll be using it for set and forget curries, wots, and irish stews. Any thoughts?

  23. I have the Fagor duo 8 quart stoveto which works well I also have a Stellar 4 qt stovetop which I bought years ago in England. Do you know if Stellar are still in business. I can find their cookware but not pressure cookers. I need a new valve and gasket

    Thanks

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