Steam pressure: cooking up healthy food in half the time of traditional cooking methods. To achieve this level of efficient cooking, it is a good idea to look into what makes the best pressure cooker in terms of speed and quality of finished food.
Reviewed: The Best Pressure Cookers
What is a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker resembles a slow cooker pot in many ways: a large pot with a lid that generally has a digital (or dial) temperature display and cooking control adjustments on the front of the device. Unlike a slow cooker, however, a pressure cooker is anything but slow.
Pressure cookers utilize the power of steam pressure inside their tightly sealed pots to quickly cook food and tenderize tougher meats and vegetables with little to no effort. The internal temperature of this cooker tends to reach upwards of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and can cook nearly anything.
The cooking method of a quality pressure cooker will also help you retain more nutrients in your food, making for a healthier meal or snack. This device is also more energy efficient than other cooking methods and most any review of pressure cookers will give you an idea of just how much energy can be saved in your home.
When you decide that this kitchen tool is your next investment, be sure to look carefully at pressure cooker reviews to make sure that you understand the ins and outs of your new device. This short guide will provide a brief review of pressure cookers at the end of the article with five of the tools we consider top of the market.
Choosing the Right Pressure Cooker
There are plenty of important features that the best pressure cooker will include, and understanding what to look for will help you make the right choice for your purchase. That being said, again, make sure that you read pressure cooker reviews to make sure that the model you are interested in does not have any hidden flaws (as nothing is perfect).
As with any tool, you will want to make sure that you balance price with quality for the best investment of your time and money. Pressure cookers range in price anywhere from $40 to $400, and this wide price range reflects the different types of cookers that exist (more on this below).
If you are looking to purchase a cheaper pressure cooker, read through a review of pressure cookers for the model you are interested in to see if fellow customers have complained of cheap material, or if the general consensus is that the cheaper model is a solid construction. Pressure cooker reviews can help you make your most educated decision.
Modern pressure cookers come with plenty of safety features to make sure that you and/or your family are secure when using this tool. For the best pressure cooker, look for the following safety options:
- Locking Lid - Ensures the cooker stays closed when hot so you do not have to worry about boiling water or the like.
- Primary and Secondary Pressure Releases - As the tool cooks, pressure will build; when the pressure gets too high, the cooker should have a main pressure valve that will automatically relieve extra, unnecessary pressure. If the main valve is blocked, there should be a secondary valve in place to take over.
- Lid Lip Vent - If both pressure release valves fail, then extra pressure and steam will be able to escape via the lid's lip vent to prevent dangerous pressure build up.
- Auto Shut Off - Electric pressure cookers have the ability to sense temperature variations and determine if something in the cooking process has gone wrong. If this is the case, the device will automatically shut down and cool off.
Types of Pressure Cookers
There are two main types of pressure cookers to choose from: stovetop and electric. Stovetop pressure cookers require heating from a stove to operate. These are smaller on average and usually cheaper. Additionally, they cook a lot quicker than the electric option, but they do require more consistent vigilance to ensure that the cooking is going well. Stovetop pressure cookers also tend to be more durable than electric ones.
Electric pressure cookers are far easier to operate, but they tend to be more expensive and can take a little longer than the manual version. Internal electric sensors can determine cook times and temperatures needed for optimal results, but the components and overall construction of an electric pressure cooker is far inferior to a stovetop version.
Both types of cookers are excellent tools, and it is up to you to decide which style works best for your situation (both financially and as a cook). A good review of pressure cookers will give you an idea of the specific pros and cons of each model.
Important Features of Pressure Cookers
When you go in to find your new pressure cooker, there are a few key features you should look for in order to find the best pressure cooker for your money. These features include:
- Spring Valve (Stovetop) or Float Valve (Electric): Modern spring valve stovetop pressure cookers are an efficient, quiet means of cooking that do away with the old-school venting method. A spring valve also requires far less energy than a venting pressure cooker. Float valves are essentially the same idea, but for electric pressure cookers.
- Stainless Steel Construction: Stainless steel is not only more durable than aluminum and other similar materials, but it will not warp the flavor of your foods in the same way as cheaper, more pliant materials.
- Avoid Non-Stick Coatings: Non-stick coatings scratch and damage easily, and can leave residue in your food as a result. Once the non-stick coating is gone, the device will be unusable.
- Two Pressure Settings: The best pressure cooker should have a "high" pressure setting for meats and other denser foods and a "low" pressure setting for fish and softer foods. This way, you have a greater amount of diversity in what you can cook.
- Look for Established Manufacturers: Name brand manufacturers will most often offer more comprehensive warranties on their products, and they have generally spent more time developing these products so you can be more assured of your new pressure cooker's quality.
Pounds Per Inch (PSI)
PSI refers to the total amount of pressure that a pressure cooker uses to cook foods. 15 PSI is standard, though many electric pressure cookers will not exceed 10-12 PSI. This does not mean that an electric pressure cooker will not do a good job, simply that a stovetop cooker may do a better one.
When searching for the best pressure cooker, look for those that include a PSI adjustment option so that you can expertly control the pressure of your cooker for best results. And while 15 PSI might be the standard, that does not mean it is the best pressure option for all foods. As we briefly touched on above, a "low" pressure setting is best for softer foods, like seafood.
Depending on what you plan on cooking in your pressure cooker, an electric cooker that cannot reach above 12 PSI may not be an issue. Once again, check out pressure cooker reviews before purchasing to see what other consumers have discovered about the pressure settings of their pressure cookers.
Top 5 Best Pressure Cooker Reviews
With 9 programmable settings, 6 quarts to cook with, and a high quality stainless steel construction, Multipot has crafted a truly remarkable kitchen device. The space in this pot is expertly managed so that you can cook two meals at a time, and the LCD front display is excellent for keeping track of your cooking.
- 9-in-1 cooking functions
- 1 year warranty
- Cook 2 dishes at once
- Stainless steel construction
- LCD display with push button interface and 14 cooking programs
- Includes extra silicone gasket, silicone mitts, steamer basket, 4 cm raised steam rack/trivet, ladle, rice paddle, and measuring cup
- Includes access to Mealthy recipe app via iOS or Andriod devices
- Includes quick reference sheets and a full color recipe booklet
- Float valve to let you know what pressure has been reached
- Extra wide steam vent handle to prevent burns
- Moderately Expensive $$$
- Lid grows very hot to the touch during cooking
Kuhn Rikon is one of the top names in pressure cooking technology, and this stovetop cooker is an excellent example of why they hold that prestigious position. 8.4 quarts of space allows for plenty of cooking possibilities and will make hosting a large gathering stress-free when it comes to the food. And not only does this cooker cook fast and evenly, but it is quiet, so no loud background noise to distract you or your guests.
- Stainless steel construction
- Integrated lid-locking system stays tightly secured during cooking
- Spring loaded safety valve with included visual pressure indicator pin
- Includes "Quick Cuisine Cookbook"
- 10 year warranty
- Quiet while cooking
- Energy efficient
- Trusted manufacturer (one of the top three in the pressure cooker game)
- Hand wash only
- Very Expensive $$$$
The wattage on this cooker is a bit lower than others, but it makes up for that with a variety of "texture" cooking options, ample safety features, stainless steel construction, and 8 present cooking options to make using this tool easy and fast. With 6 quarts of space, you can feed your family and then some with ease.
- 8-in-1 cooking functions
- 24 hour delay cooking time (so you can plan ahead)
- 3 "texture" options (rare, medium and well done)
- Stainless steel construction
- Includes presenting spoon, measuring cup, and steamer rack
- Insulated handle to prevent burning of hands
- Auto shut down feature at temperatures higher than 150 degrees Fahrenheit
- Internal pressure valves to prevent overheating and damage
- Tightly sealed lid during cooking process
- Difficult to clean
- Complex instructions
- Expensive $$$
Simple, but highly efficient: the perfect description for this stovetop pressure cooker. The 6 quart size is large and perfect for a family or small gathering. Stainless steel construction that is dishwasher safe means this pot will last a long time and is easy to clean, unlike many other stovetop options.
- Affordable $
- Included pressure regulator
- Includes 64 page instruction and recipe book
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Cover lock indicator lets you know when there is pressure building
- Heavy duty locking lid with convenient handle
- Inner sealing ring keeps pressure and steam in
- Extended 12 year warranty
- Can facilitate canning
- Induction oven capable
- Aluminum screws in construction
- More difficult to clean (have to remove smaller components for more effective clean
With a large cooking capacity and 7 different cooking programs, this instant pot is perfect for whipping up a quick family dinner or prepping some snacks for a gathering. The digital control panel is particularly useful because it is easy to use and keeps you updated on how the cooking process is going. Furthermore, this instant pot is made of 3-ply stainless steel with no non-stick coating, so it will last for years to come.
- Large enough to cook for 4-6 people
- 7-in-1 cooking functions
- Large digital front control panel with 14 built in programs
- Dual pressure
- Automatic warming function
- 3 temperatures
- Delay cooking up to 24 hours (when you want to plan ahead)
- 120 minute cooking timer
- Energy efficient
- 3-ply bottom
- Stainless steel
- Recipes included
- Cheaper materials
- Shorter lifespan
- Customer service questionable
- Somewhat expensive $$-$$$
Without a doubt, the MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker 6 Quarts by Mealthy is the clear winner in this review of pressure cookers. Although it may not be as durable as stovetop pressure cookers, the Mealthy multipot is still made of a sturdy and functional design that will allow you to either quickly make meals or set and leave the device to cook on its own.
This stainless steel cooking pot does not have a no-stick coating, it is equipped with plenty of high quality safety features, it includes a float valve, and it has both low and high pressure cook settings. With its 14 programmable cooking programs and efficient design, this pressure cooker is built to please even the pickiest of cooks.
If you enjoyed this review, check out our review of the best immersion blenders!