Shopping Guide for Instant Pots 2019
Let’s face it, the chances are probably good that you want to find the Best Instant Pots but have no idea how you would go about choosing one. These small appliances provide you with all the tools that you need for cooking dips and stews for your next party or for making a hot dinner waiting to serve when you get home from a long day at work. The models that we’ve selected in our chart come from the original manufacturer and feature some nice settings for making rice or baking a dessert. Though you’ll find some knock offs on the market today, it’s best to stick with one of the originals.
To help you find the right model for you, we actually sought out and tested all the top models and put each one through the ringer.
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We used our tests to find out which one performs well for a crowd and which one is right for dinner for two. Don’t spend another day feeling confused about how to buy one of these products. Use our ranking of the best Instant Pots 2018 models to find the one perfect for you.
Best Instant Pots 2018
Retailing for much less than other pots with a larger capacity, the DUO80 is a good choice for budget shoppers. When first released, it took just a few months for this to become the best selling multi-cooker of all time, and while other models later replaced it, this model still has a number of fans. It has an impressive 14 settings for making everything from rice and porridge to soups and stews. It can even cook a full chicken or turkey, though you won’t find the cake and egg settings found on newer models.
Capable of making dishes up to 70% times faster than standard appliances do, the DUO80 is easy to use. Colorful buttons on the front help you find the exact setting that you want to use, and you can adjust any of those settings based on your cooking preferences. A microprocessor inside regulates the cooking temperature and helps evenly distribute the heat through the machine.
The DUO80 has a nice eight-quart capacity that provides you with more cooking space. This lets you make enough food to feed up to six people. The pot inside uses stainless steel to keep food from sticking as it cooks to make clean up easy too.
With 14 built-in smart programs and a heavy steel lining inside, this model produces delicious foods and gives you access to loads of recipes. It has built-in safety features to protect your home and family too.
As the largest model on the market, the DUO80 may be just a little too heavy to move on your own. Its large size also makes this better for groups than cooking for yourself or your spouse.
The top model for many homes and families is the Ultra. As one of the newest models on the market, it comes with all the tech features that you want like a timer setting that lets you set a delay of up to 24 hours.
You can come home from work or a trip out of town and have dinner ready for you.
As a 10-in-1 model, this one offers all the settings that you might want. It can make dishes like soups and broths, cook chilli and other dishes with beans, steam rice and even bake cakes and other desserts. Touch buttons on the front let you select the dish that you want to cook before turning it on, and you can use the sleek silver button to adjust all the settings. The intuitive design makes this suitable for those with less cooking experience too.
A microprocessor inside extends the life of the machine and provides a more stable level of heat to move through the liner, which prevents foods from burning and sticking. It comes with a user manual, recipe book, measuring cup and a soup spoon for serving. You also get a steam rack that fits inside.
Some reviewers complained that the included recipe book featured recipes that involved too many steps. That book skips over some of the automatic settings too.
With a six-quart capacity, the LUX60 is one of the top models for cooking family dinners every night of the week. This was one of the first enhanced versions to land on the market and comes with the all-new egg cooker. It also features a cake setting that helps you make desserts from your favorite recipe or a simple boxed mix.
Other settings include a saute with different temperature options for searing meats and sauteing ingredients for soups and other dishes. It has one-touch settings for making stews, porridge, rice, meats and multigrain dishes. You can also use the LUX60 as a slow cooker or steamer.
Weighing less than 15 pounds, this model is easy to move too. It comes with a 33-inch power cord that lets you plug it in anywhere in your kitchen.
Some of the accessories that come included with the LUX60 are a steam rack for steaming ingredients inside and a rice paddle for giving your rice the perfect consistency. The microprocessor that comes included inside this machine allows you to use it as a pressure cooker. That microprocessor provides up to six full hours of pressure, which is enough for making your own canned items.
A number of users complained that their model broke after a few weeks.
BOTTOM LINE: Thanks to a delay start feature, you can now tell the pot when to come on up to 24 hours in advance. You can save money with this budget-friendly model too.
One of the best Instant Pots 2018 models is the DUO Plus, which features the latest in technology. That technology allows you to use two different pressure settings at the same time to cook dishes of two different types. You can actually steam some fresh veggies or rice to go with dinner while cooking meat. It also has a slow cooker setting for using a low and slow cooking method and a saute setting that lets you pick from three different temperatures.
Perfect for those who spend a lot of time away from home, the DUO Plus has a timer that you can set to tell the pot when to come to life. With a 10-hour keep warm setting, you can cook a meal and keep it warm for guests or family members coming home late. This model will replace up to nine of your traditional kitchen appliances and has a sterilize setting for fast and efficient cleaning.
A three-ply lining keeps dishes at the perfect temperature. You can use a stay cool setting to keep that food ready for a party.
Whether you want to cook at home or on vacation, you’ll appreciate that the DUO Mini is the only model that you can take with you. It has two squat handles on either side of the lid and a handle on the top of that lid for carrying with you. The DUO Mini requires a smaller amount of power, which lets you use it in an RV or while boating.
Designed for smaller families, this model has a three-quart capacity that might not be large enough for your family. Though it only features seven cooking settings, which is less than some of the top models do, it still features some of the more popular settings. It works as both a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, but you can also use it to saute ingredients, make yogurt and cook rice. Some of the other settings include one for cooking meats, another for steaming and a setting for making soup.
Included in the box is a measuring cup for adding up to the maximum amount of rice per use. It also comes with a collector that catches any of the condensation that drips off your food to keep the machine in working condition.
The small size limits the dishes that you can make and may not be large enough for your home.
What is an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is a handy kitchen gadget taking the world by storm. Professional chefs and home cooks have wanted to get their hands on one since it first landed on the market. It allows you to make all the dishes that you want in minimal time and without wasting valuable kitchen space with dozens of other appliances. Though this simple pot acts like an electric pressure cooker for making your own jams and canned goods at home, it’s much more than that. It also functions as a yogurt maker and a rice cooker, but also has tons of other nifty features.
Easy to use push buttons and controls on the front help you select what you want to make. Those buttons include options for baking, cooking meats, making soups and even slow cooking dishes while you’re away from home. You can use the timer setting to select how long you want foods to cook and to turn the pot off once it finishes. The pot comes with an instructional manual that walks you through how to use it, but this manual also includes some recipes that help you come up with your own ideas.
Price of Instant Pots
You likely have a few questions about how much it costs to bring home one of these pots. The cost usually relates to size as well as model number and age. As the manufacturer discontinued some models in the past, you can get those used or from other sellers at a steep discount. Newer models often cost a little more because those come with more settings and features. You can use our handy chart to see how much you’ll pay. Prices usually start at around $80.
- The DUO80, which has an eight-quart capacity, costs around $70 – $90.
- The Ultra, which has a six-quart capacity, costs around $140 – $160.
- The LUX60, with its six-quart capacity, has a retail price of right around $90 – $110.
- The DUO Plus has a nine-quart capacity and retails for around $90 – $110.
- The DUO Mini has a smaller capacity of just three quarts and retails for around $70 – $90.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: The popularity of these kitchen tools led to a number of knock offs appearing on the market. Even General Electric, which makes larger appliances like stoves and refrigerators, now makes one. These models function more as electric pressure cookers though, which will limit how you can use it. Buying one of the best Instant Pot original models allows you to make dishes like soups and yogurt in addition to doing pressure cooking.
A: One of the most important things that you should consider is the size that you need. These models now come with a three-quart capacity all the way up to a nine-quart capacity. Smaller models are better for couples and individuals who cook for one or two people. You can use one to make a dip before a Super Bowl party or to whip up an appetizer for guests. Larger capacity models are better for those who need to cook for a group. Some of these can feed up to six people or even more from a single pot.
You may want to think about the circuit breaker or fuse box in your home too. Three-quart models need only 700 watts of power, but the larger models need more than 1,000 watts to run. You may find that using one at the same time that you use any other appliances or electronics will trip your circuit breaker or blow one of your fuses.
The size also tells you how long it will take for the product to produce the steam needed to cook. The three-quart and smaller models take longer to produce this steam because the products do not have as much power. It takes larger models less time to produce steam, which reduces your overall cooking time.
A: You probably want to know how long it will really take to cook in one of these pots, but the answer is that it really depends on what you want to make. Pressure cookers are popular with professional chefs because these models cook dishes faster. They can make ribs or another rough cut of meat in an hour or less. Using a traditional pot will take several hours to produce the same results. Though you probably won’t make a soup or stew from scratch instantly, you can get dinner on the table in an hour or less.
Another benefit of using one of these products is that you can use the timer to cook in advance. These pots allow you to set a timer up to 24 hours ahead of time. When it reaches the time that you set, it will automatically come on and use all the settings you selected. These products also have a keep warm setting that allows the pots to stop cooking but keep foods warm for up to 10 full hours.
In addition to letting you use a specific setting, the best Instant Pots 2018 models also allow you to set a cook time. Once you decide what you want to make and add all the ingredients in the pot, look for the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons on the front. Using the plus button lets you add more minutes to the total cooking time, while pressing the minus button reduces the cooking time. This helps you make rice that is a little fluffier, cook meats to a rarer level and cook other dishes to the preferences of your family.
A common worry that some users have is how to clean one of these pots. They worry because they cannot run one through the dishwasher. Though smaller models will fit in a dishwasher, larger ones will not It’s important that you do some basic cleaning and some deep cleaning to keep your pot in good shape. This also keeps bacteria from sticking to the liner and carrying over into your food.
You can use a damp cloth to wipe off the inside of the machine. The liner is completely removable too, which allows you to clean it in your sink. This is a big advantage to choosing one of these models over an electric pressure cooker because electric pressure cookers often have a liner that does not come out. After rinsing off the inside of the liner, dry the inside and outside with a cloth or let dry overnight. Any moisture still clinging to the liner when you use it can damage the electronics inside the machine.
Make sure that you clean both the sealing ring and the lid too. This ring pops out and is safe to clean in your dishwasher or sink. Check the ring each time you clean it to look for any cracks, which indicate that you need to replace it. You can use a damp towel to clean the inside and outside of the lid. Now is a good time to clean off any liquids or ingredients sticking to the outside of the pot before those stains burn in place.
You’ll also want to opt for a deep cleaning every two to three months. Deep clean the machine every two months or so if you use it more often. Use a damp towel and a little dish soap to clean the lid and the outside of the machine. Run a damp cloth dipped in plain water across those surfaces to remove any soap residue. Take the time to check the machine for any damaged parts while deep cleaning it too.
Most of these models come with a steaming rack, but you’ll find that those on the smaller models lack the handles found on the larger models. This is simply because the smaller capacity does not have enough space to accommodate the handles. The steaming rack allows you to make rice without using the rice setting and to steam fresh or frozen vegetables.
The best way to use this rack is with a heatproof bowl or dish. Add the liquid that you want to use for steaming in the base of the Instant Pot. While you may want to use plain water, you can also opt for chicken broth or a liquid with some more flavor. Place the steaming rack directly in the base of the unit. You can then put the dish or bowl with your ingredients on top. Once the machine finishes cooking, use oven mitts to carefully lift the dish out. Though you can remove the steaming rack after cooking, you can also leave it inside to cool down before removing it.
When you remove your pot from the box and read through the instructions, you’ll find information about the water test. This is something that the manufacturer recommends to ensure that the pot works properly. You only need to do this test the first time that you turn on the pot, but you’ll need to do it before cooking a single thing.
Look at the valve located on the top of the lid. It should face of the machine and be in a downward position. Once it reaches its temperature, this valve will open to release steam. Check the sealing ring on the inside of the lid to make sure that it’s in place too. You will then want to check underneath the lid to ensure that you have the metal lid in place.
After doing all these steps, use the included measuring cup to measure out two cups of water. Set the water inside, close the lid and plug the machine into an outlet. When you press on the manual button on the front, the digital display will ask you to input a time. Select five minutes before sitting back and taking a break. Once the machine finishes its countdown, it will release the valve on the top and automatically turn off. This test ensures that you have a working machine and serves as an introduction on how to use it.
Instant Pot reviews make it seem like you can cook anything in one of these machines, and thanks to all the settings on these models, you really can. Think about the settings and buttons as mere suggestions from which you can draw inspiration to make all your family’s favorite dishes. Those buttons help you saute and cook vegetables and meats before making a soup or stew, but you can use chicken bones and other ingredients to make your own broth. Using one of these machines also allows you to make a holiday dinner faster too.
These products also allow you to cook multiple ingredients at the same time to make a pulled together meal. The steaming rack holds your meat or protein on the top and provides space beneath for vegetables, rice or other grains that you want to serve as a side dish. You’ll also want to add a little liquid to create the steam that flavors those ingredients, and you can add some herbs to produce a richer flavor.
The best Instant Pots also allow you to make individual servings of your favorite desserts or an entire cake. When making individual servings, use a heatproof dish inside the machine. It can take up to 45 minutes to completely bake the dish all the way through, which is why some prefer making larger cakes instead. The included recipe book features some basic dessert recipes that you can customize with flavorings and ingredients of your own. The more you experiment with your new toy, the more ways you’ll find to use it.
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