Best Pressure Cookers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
The pressure cooker is one of those pieces of cooking equipment that seem intimidating until you really use one. The whole idea of pressure when working with really hot water, and hot oil and hot things, in general, leads to images that involve the explosion of ultra-hot liquids all over your house. And nobody wants that to happen so we can understand your reticence to dive into the joys of pressure cooking. But we’re here to tell you that you need not be afraid. Because these things are going to take the idea of retaining moisture and slow cooking to an entirely new level of deliciousness. So go ahead don’t be afraid dive in and pick one of the great selections on our list here and get to cooking. You will not regret it.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Cooking quality, especially when dealing with chicken is excellent
Does the job quickly
10 Best Pressure Cookers
1. Presto 6 Quart
Cooking quality, especially when dealing with chicken is excellent
Does the job quickly
Handle tends to come loose rather easily
Screws tend to rust
Next up, it’s the Presto 6-quart stainless steel variant. It doesn’t get much simpler than this as it almost resembles a generation 1 cooker which uses a weight-based valve that rises and falls to let the steam out.
The cooking quality is quite something with the flavor being quite rich and whole chickens can be cooked in anything between 25 to 30 mins. It’s also much quicker than microwaves when handling simpler items too. All the parts are machine washable as well which makes it very handy indeed.
Other users opinions
The downside is that, as many users reported, the handle comes loose very easily. Since the handle is held together by a single screw instead of two it does tend to be more susceptible to the movement caused by the cooking process. Another issue faced by many users is that the screws can rust. Replacement parts can be obtained easily enough though and this also comes with an extended but limited 12-year warranty.
Cost and Value
In terms of value, it doesn’t get better than Presto. You almost get what you pay for with this cooker and if Presto manages to improve the build quality of the screws this one becomes a no-brainer.
2. T-fal Stainless
Safety features are great
Build quality is top-notch
Replacement gaskets are expensive
Pressure mechanism can take time to master
Another one of our favorites, at least with respect to stovetop models, is the T-Fal P25107. A simplistic overall design but it employs adjustable pressure settings as well as enhanced safety.
Ergonomically the T-Fal gets one over some of the other models as it has a handle on the opposite side as well. This may seem like a simple thing but it helps greatly when moving the piping hot cooker from place to place. The build quality is something we were impressed by with not many rusty screws among other positives.
What you are getting
Performance-wise the flavor and taste at the end were quite good. The speed was marginally slower than the Presto but excellent nonetheless. The downsides are more related to the replacement parts as the gasket size is not standard so you cant swap the existing one with any generic model. Hence you have to buy a T-Fal. The pressure mechanisms when cooking different items like chicken, fish or vegetables is not the easiest to master as we found that many users too had trouble getting to grips quickly. Not a major downside though.
Cost and Value
The T-Fal is slightly more expensive when compared to the 2 Prestos on the list but you certainly get better quality to match the price tag. T-fal's replacement parts can be expensive so this will drive up the cost in the long run.
3. Tayama TMC- 60XL
Great for Searing
Quiet and easy to use
Now let's just say that when it comes to anything dealing with pressure, cheaper isn't necessarily better. But in this case, we're pretty confident that despite its low price point The Tayama is a tremendous deal for not much cash. It's got most everything you're looking for in more expensive models. Digital display and 8 in 1 feature that allows it does everything from simple warmups to ricing, canning and steaming. A huge bang for the buck. Take a close look at this one.
Flavor Infusion Technology
A really complicated way of saying that the pressure forces flavors inside your food, which is the whole idea still, it works, and so does this cooker.
This is another model that employs extensive safety features and has a safe-lock mechanism that prevents you from accidentally opening the cooker while it is being used.
Cost and Value
The Tayama is cheap, straight up cheap. It's so cheap we feel like we're missing something, but after some fairly extensive research, we're comfortable recommending it in our best value category.
4. All American 21-1/2
Easy to Read Gauges
Steel to Steel Seals
Can be Used for Canning
Stainless Steel Classic Look
Steel Lid Bends Easily
Now, this is a unit like they used to make them. A solid stainless steel cooker with valves and the screw handles just like in the old days. And it works like a charm. And while it’s primarily meant for canning we think it’s just about perfect for anything you want to do.
Metal-to-Metal Sealing System
This ensures a tight seal and also ensure there are any gaskets that can wear out over time. This is simply put metal to metal tightening cooker. It’ll take a bit of muscle to get it open and closed but it’s worth it.
Automatic Pressure Release
The easy to use display allows you to release pressure as needed and allows you to keep a close eye on exactly what’s going on with your cooker.
Cost and Value
This is a pricey option no doubt about it. But if you’re looking for a cooker that can serve double duty as a canner than this is the one for you.
5. Presto 6 Quart Aluminum
Searing is very good
Lightweight & good build
Aluminum’s appearance can diminish
Does not last as long as the stainless steel models
It’s the Aluminium brother of the model we touched on earlier. Aluminum is a superb heat conductor hence performance-wise these cookers are very fast.
The material is also light so if you are looking for a cooker that is not so hard on the wrist to list then this is certainly the one for you. The quality & softness of the meat is what really caught our attention. Not many cookers can produce soups, sauces, meat, rice and other things at such high quality.
The appearance of the cooker can diminish over time when compared to stainless steel. It can appear black & be a hassle to clean. Durability wise, stainless steel models are slowly beginning to take over. This cooker is not ideal for tossing in the dishwasher too. The quality of the connecting mechanism on the handle is similar to the faults the stainless steel presto has. Redesigning this can greatly increase the effectiveness of this model. Overall, a nice spare cooker to have around to supplement your tasks.
Cost and Value
For the most inexpensive on our list, the performance is quite stunning. If you can look past the downsides that aluminum has in the long run, you can very easily go all out with this and replace it in a few years’ time. For the price, it’s certainly worth buying in our opinion.
6. Farberware 7-1
9 Different Settings
So Preprogrammed Hard to Freelance Cook
Farberware has a great reputation and it’s easy to see why. Not only does this cooker seal in moisture, and brown your food and a lot of other things, it has a safety seal and a pressure release valve just in case you get nervous about all that pressure that’s just sitting in your kitchen. The 9 different settings and built-in time add to the ease of use factor.
6 Quart Capacity
This is a mighty big cooker which means you can get whole chickens in this baby and not worry about having to stuff it in like a sardine. And trust us when we say there are few things better than a chicken cooked in one of these. With plenty of room, it’s easy to see why this is a poster child for people who love to use them.
This makes all the difference in the world as these things can get messy after a day of slow pressure cooking. So, when all is done and dinner is over just rinse it out a bit and throw it in the washing machine and it’s good for the next round of cooking.
Cost and Value
The Farberware comes in at a great price for everything that it gives you. Nine Presets, pressure lock, and safety valve, it’s plenty big and can do everything from making stews to brown a chicken. We’re big fans of pressure cookers in general but have a particular soft spot for Farberware.
7. Cuisinart CPC-600
Very economical for an electric
Great quality overall
The non-stick quality of the cooking pot is not great
Has some issues getting up to desired pressures
Next up, is the Cuisinart CPC-600 which is no slouch either. For the occasional and avid cook, this cooker can really handle most things you can throw at it.
Granted the performance may not be as good as the Instant Pot or the Breville which we will touch on in a bit, it’s nonetheless a force to reckon with. You have settings for browning, Sautéing, simmer, and a setting to maintain the warmth of the food for long after the completion of the cooking process.
The major downside which most users have tended to agree with is that the non-stickiness of the cooking pot is not very good. Food does tend to stick to the surface which means you have to soak the inner pot in hot water which can be followed by a long scrubbing process to get the pot ready for the next session. The Cuisinart does get the job done however at times the pressure maintenance is not as good as the Instant Pot in our opinion.
Cost and Value
Its main selling point as you can probably tell by now is its price. If you are looking for a basic electric cooker that can do most things really well, then the Cuisinart is the one for you.
8. Instant Pot Multi Use
A multitude of functions are available for one to use
3rd gen microprocessor for greater efficiency
Pressure not as high as some of the other models
Many users reported durability issues after about a year
The instant Pot Lux 60, we feel, is an ideal choice for those who are willing to sacrifice some of the added functionality that comes with the Duo60 for the more affordable but good performing Lux60.
You get some fewer functions on the Lux60 when compared to the DUO which we touched on but for those who are not making things like yogurt the 6 quart – V3 is quite a sweet deal. Things like eggs, potatoes, soups, and meat come out really well. You can pressure cook for 4 hours straight with this model too, something which is a commonality amongst many affordable options.
The only limitation is that the pressure doesn’t quite get up to the ideal 15 PSI mark although this is quite common on many mid-range options. Durability wise too many users found the Instant Pot to be on the iffy side in the long run.
Cost and Value
The v3 that features the new microprocessor is a very affordable pressure cooking solution. The V2 can be much more expensive however since the company would like you to make the shift to the more advanced V3.
9. Breville Fast Slow Pro
Advanced LCD display
Good safety features
Doesn’t sear so well
The Fast Slow Pro by Breville is another fantastic cooking option. The first thing that appealed to use was its build quality and you are not just paying for a fancy LCD display. The pressure functions work like a treat.
Easy to use
It’s fairly easy to clean and control interface is a breeze to handle. There are about 11 inbuilt pressure cooking settings and a custom option too for you to cook items to your own preferences. This is quite handy to have especially if you know exactly what you want. We liked the fact that the slow cooking option is no slouch either. It really works well and you can cook on two different settings from two to 12 hours.
The good with the bad
A downside is that the Breville doesn’t sear so well. This is the direct result of using the non-stick pot instead of stainless steel. The latter can reach higher temperatures and is known to be more durable. The non-stickiness is very good which is a testament to the build quality on offer by Breville. For those who want to opt-out and buy a stainless steel option, well this is not possible at the moment.
Cost and Value
The Breville certainly won’t be easy on the wallet. One of the higher-end models available, this can really save you space on the counter as you will not have to go out and buy a separate pressure cooking solution.
10. Fagor LUX Multi-Cooker
Breaks Down Easily
The Fagor will allow you to set it and forget it for up to a 10-hour time limit, so leave something in the cooker in the morning and come home to dinner and a house that smells heavenly. That’s hard to beat. The stainless steel is dishwasher safe and it comes with a user manual to make sure everything is working as it should.
This is incredibly helpful in case you’re morning is as chaotic as ours. Set it up the night before and set a delay so in the morning you don’t even have to think about the cooker, just leave and come home to dinner. It’s almost like delivery on your kitchen counter.
Just in case you can’t make it home in time this can be programmed to automatically switch to warm mode to keep your food warm but not overcooked. This is a nice little lifesaver for anyone whose life is a bit hectic, which is all of us really.
Cost and Value
A little bit pricier than some of the others on our list but we’re partial to Fagor and they come with all kinds of little features that take the guesswork out of pressure cooking and we appreciate that.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Ease of use is where these cookers have come a long way. Whilst, stovetops have remained standard with the most you can do is to add additional handles for convenient gripping, electric have taken advantage of LCD and LED screens. Models like the Breville have such an intuitive and easy to use interface which makes selecting a pre-set and cooking an absolute pleasure.
The Instant Pot is not too far behind in this aspect with easy to use one-touch functions available. These we felt are more than adequate. Standard features like the ability to keep the food warm, the ability for it to start at a particular time are greatly valued. The auto-off features when the pressure or temperature rises to unsafe levels has grown to be common too. Visual pressure indicators are present on some variants too which we liked.
Another important ease of use element is related to its functionality. If the electric cookers can double up for a number of things and do it well like the Cuisinart for instance, then it can save you the trouble of buying other items and keep your kitchen counter clutter-free.
If there is a criticism that has lasted decades then it has to do with the safety element. When pressurized chambers are created it requires a lot of safety features to ensure the pressure is not released all at ones which can result in injuries or if you are lucky enough not to be around then a ceiling full of rice. Electricity consumption wise most cookers are between 1000W and 1200W; the quality of the cables also have a part to play in how comfortably your new cooker sits on the kitchen counter.
Safety-wise, especially electric options, have come a long way. Models like the Instant Pot regularly feature 3 to 5 safety mechanisms to ensure that you have a failsafe option. These cookers also needed to have passed relevant safety tests to make it onto our list. Features that allow you to vary the level of steam released between natural and quick also aid in the cooking process when making things like poached eggs.
This is primarily related to the quality and type of parts used. The golden combo is usually a stainless steel version with an aluminium base. The durability and usability of the former is coupled with the heat conductivity of the latter. Another common pot type is a non-stick and this is primarily found in electric options. We do however feel that steel is still much superior to that of a non-stick pot even in an electric option.
The parts in a stovetop and an electric variant do tend to vary and we took into account the build quality of the things like screws, what the handle is made of and how well it’s fastened.
The most common problem that plagues most stovetops is the loosening of the handle. Models that have good screw fastening capabilities and rust resistance is something we were on the lookout for and you must too. Things like curved and straight surfaces were also monitored and cooking options with straight sides were preferred. All of what we have mentioned so far factors into durability which in turn ties in well with our maintenance criteria.
In order to have a cooker than effectively works to cook your food right and keep you safe in the process, it needs to be properly maintained.
Maintaining an electric and a stovetop is very much different. Typically stovetops are much easier to clean and unless they are aluminum they do tend to retain their appearance well. Most stovetops are also dishwasher safe making them a breeze to clean. Electric options can be harder to clean so models that have more dishwasher safe parts or a solid non-stick profile were highly regarded. Cookers that retained an odor even after cleaning was not something we favored even if the odor does disappear quickly.
Another trait that is greatly desired is the availability of spare parts for a specific model. If general replacement parts can be purchased without shelling a premium fairly frequently then it’s a very big positive. Brands like T-Fal which have a very specific type of gasket will need more monetary input to maintain in the long term. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to spend half of the price of the cooker on just buying a spare gasket.
Pressure cookers are generally frequent use products so they will wear out; we’ve looked at the durability element of the cables in the case of electric options and even the ability to wipe off excess steam off the surface. Customer service is another thing that is vitally important for us considering it’s a frequent use product. The ability to offers solutions quickly and replace defective products swiftly without causing much hassle for the consumer is what we looked for.
When we say "style" we don't necessarily mean the one that looks the coolest or the cutest. We are breaking down the difference between different types. Check it out:
As mentioned earlier there are 2 main types, the traditional stovetop, and the ever-improving electric model cookers. Before you think an electric can never be as good as a stovetop think again there are many features especially safety-related where an electric can exceeds a stovetop model. The stovetops also resemble their initial incarnations a lot and much of the idea and tech is the same with spring-loaded valves employed instead of the weighted valves. One can also get confused between a rice cooker and an electric cooker at times but believe us, electric pressure models can handle a lot more. Here are some of the highlights of what’s on offer when choosing between the two types.
Stovetop versions are kind of self-explanatory, they need an electric or gas stove to function. They do not offer any pre-sets or major customization options. They also tend to cook much faster than their electric counterparts. Another added benefit is that they come in a range of sizes; you can buy smaller ones if it’s just yourself or very large models when cooking for the whole family.
Stovetops are a bit noisier and constantly throw out a lot of steam through the pressure valves. This keeps the pressure regulated within the cooking chamber. They do need constant attention so that you don’t overcook your food & for safety reasons too. Stovetops excel as they have superior searing qualities. Many of these also double up as canners too!
Electric models have been getting better year after year. They don’t quite make as much noise but are comparatively much harder to clean. Since stove tops can be soaked completely the contents can be scrubbed very easily. An advantage is that they are quite versatile and have pre-set for all kinds of meat, rice, and vegetables.
Another advantage is that they are silent. Many cookers like the Instant Pot have a number of customization options and require much less attention as a result. Electric options can take longer to reach desired pressures so cooking can take longer. They can also keep food warm for a very long time.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Selecting the best, as you can tell isn’t easy. Which is why to make things easier for you we looked at most 6 to 8-quart cookers. These are mid-sized and ideal for family meals. Even if you are a bachelor it’s probably better to have something that’s larger where you can cook smaller quantities instead of the opposite. A fantastic unit must have the ability to sear, produce sumptuous dishes, be easy to handle, safe and very easy to clean. Hence, we’ve made sure we selected ones that don’t disappoint you nevermind what your preferences are.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How does a pressure cooker work?
How these work is also what makes it very efficient and effective. In a nutshell, the pressure is created inside the cooker by boiling broth or water, the steam is then trapped which in turn raises the temperature inside which can cook food very quickly. The pressure is then released at the end following which the device can be opened.
q: I still see a lot of cookers around that use weighted valves and not spring loaded ones. Which ones are better?
Spring-loaded valves are usually better as the mechanism ensures that no steam escapes; this will help you cook your food much faster. Weighted valved cookers have steam constantly escaping so the cooker always has to work to maintain the pressure. Weights also have to be made of good quality to ensure they stay on. Also, these tend to collect a lot of grime and dirt quickly and can be a pain to clean. Another advantage with a properly executed spring option is that you have the ability to adjust pressure settings manually. Typically with a dial.
q: If my cooker has a quick release option then what benefits does the natural pressure release have?
While some foods come out just right when the pressure is quickly released most are still being cooked even when the stove is turned off or the power stops. Food like soup or pasta usually foams and even rises to an extent so you wouldn’t want this foam shooting out of the valve.
The quick-release comes in handy in foods you want just right and in scenarios where you would really like to avoid the risk of overcooking them, so things like vegetables, potatoes, and eggs even tend to fall in this category. In electric models, the device switches to the Keep Warm mode most of the time so that you never have to have a cold meal even if you are delayed.
When you do decide to release the pressure quickly make sure your hands and eyes are away from the valve as it can mean a trip to the ER if you fail to do so.
q: How long does the natural pressure release process typically take?
About 5 to 30 mins depending on the size and what it is you are cooking.
q: Since the pressure is important, what characteristics design wise do I look for?
The bottom of the cooker is quite important. Look for a model that has a thick bottom made of steel & aluminum. These cookers are the best because they take advantage of the conductive properties that aluminum has without it reacting with the food. These cookers can also keep the pressure steady which means you can cook better faster. Look for a cooker that’s wider and not taller. Another characteristic is that you don’t want bulging sides as straight sides are better at keeping the pressure steady getting you the best results.
q: Countertop or Stovetop: which cooks better?
We touched on the differences earlier but the countertop or electric options tend to do a better job of cooking things evenly. The energy efficiency means that no heat energy is wasted and the juices and flavor are better retained instead of escaping with the outgoing steam. It’s easy to scorch things, especially when making things like risotto or grainy mixtures. These scorched items can be very hard to remove. Stovetops cook them faster and are better for searing.
q: Why do aluminium cookers & surfaces darken & is it bad for my food?
Aluminum tends to turn grey or black when you boil water and cook low acid foods. Alkaline foods will darken them and acidic foods do the opposite. Which is why manufacturers will advise you not to chuck them in the dishwasher if you wish to keep their appearance. The acidic food can sometimes have a metallic taste too.
As for the safety question. Yes, it is safe. Even if some Aluminium mixes with the food it is most certainly harmless and you can ingest more from other sources anyway. This is not great for all folks though especially if you have kidney issues.
q: When I look for pressure cookers I also come across things that are called pressure canners, what are they for?
The cookers & canners are similar. They both can be used to pressure cook foods well with the canner having the ability to handle more types of foods better. Pressure canners are larger and do a great job of holding the pressure well. Canners are great at safely cooking foods that need extra care. Like high acid foods require the pressure to remain constant and be monitored for safe cooking and typically have a pressure valve on top of them to ensure this takes place.