Instant Pot Models: Do you feel overwhelmed by all the options of pressure cookers?? I break down the different models and accessories so you can choose the right Instant Pot for yourself.
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There are SO many options it can certainly be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the right pressure cooker. In fact, several times a day I get an email asking me what Instant Pot I recommend.
Which Electric Pressure Cooker Brand is Best?
I personally love Instant Pot brand, and that is the brand of pressure cooker I personally use–so I know the most about it. However, Crock Pot’s brand has great reviews as well.
I can say that Instant Pot has great customer service, so that is something to keep in mind when purchasing your electric pressure cooker.
Which size Instant Pot should you get?
- The Mini (3 quart): Perfect for a college student or single person home
- 6 quart (MY FAVORITE) : Great for a family of 4-6 and I even recommend this for families with 2 or more people, as you can still cook small amounts but you also have enough room to cook for company or to make leftovers.
- 8 quart: Great for families larger than 6.
What are the differences between the models of Instant Pots?
Once you have landed on which size pressure cooker you need, you need to chose which model is best suited for your needs.
The Instant Pot Lux only has the option of cooking on high pressure.
But guess what? As, I discussed in Instant Pot Functions, 99% of the time I use high pressure when pressure cooking. You can still make easy weeknight Instant Pot Meals with the use of high pressure.
If your budget is tight, this is likely your best choice. It does have slow-cook and sauté functions, so you are able to still sear meat and use your instant pot as a slow cooker with the Instant Pot Lux.
The Instant Pot Duo cooks on high AND low pressure and also has the added benefit of the yogurt function.
The precision needed for homemade yogurt is perfected with this yogurt function. And Instant Pot yogurt in my opinion is SO much better than anything you can purchase at the store.
This Duo Plus has the added functions for cooking eggs and cakes, along with a sterilize function. As I have gone over in great detailed in my explanation of Instant Pot Functions, these additional functions are not only unnecessary, they are also inaccurate.
You can not hit the cake function and expect a perfect Instant Pot Cheesecake or chocolate cake without manually adjusting for each individual recipe. These functions are just set based on averages.
And honestly, there is a lot of debate as to whether or not the instant pot can REALLY get hot enough to fully sterilize, so that function may be completely useless.
So you guessed it–NOT worth the added price tag!
The Instant Pot Ultra does everything the Instant Pot Duo Plus and it also adjusts for altitude.
If you read the description of the Instant Pot Ultra it makes it seem like you have more control over temperature and cook time than other models, but I have not found this to be the case.
The differences in the Instant Pot Ultra that I note are:
- altitude adjustment
- selected functions, pressure, and cook time are all displayed on a LCD panel
- you can turn sound on or off
- you can turn the keep warm function off (the other models default to keep warm after cook time has elapsed.)
Instant Pot Smart BT
This newer model is like the Instant Pot Duo but is Bluetooth® enabled allowing programming and monitoring from smartphones or tablets–which in my book, just means more potential for things to malfunction.
Upon writing this post, they are impossible to find.
Which Instant Pot Model Do I think is best?
I love the 6 quart Instant Pot Duo (also the 7:1). It does not have the bells and whistles of some of the other models, but it is perfect for feeding my family of 4 and for making homemade yogurt.
Other than the yogurt and saute function, I cook everything else on manual pressure (either high or low) and adjust cooking times accordingly. Therefore the added egg and cake functions available in the Instant Pot Duo Plus and Instant Pot Ultra, I don’t feel are necessary.
If you aren’t interested in cooking yogurt, the Lux Model (6 in 1) will suffice, but keep in mind it does not let you adjust from high pressure down to low pressure–meaning it is harder to cook delicate seafood.
What are the essential tools for the Instant Pot?
The only tools that are a MUST are the inner pot and a rack, which come with your instant pot.
However, to make cakes, cheesecakes, casserole, or other pot in pot recipes in your instant pot, there are few nifty tools that you can use.
- Silicone Pot Holders–protect your fingers as you remove pots or racks from pressure cooker
- Steamer Basket–great to steam small vegetables (otherwise your rack works just fine)
- Extra Silicone Seals–I like to have one for sweet and one for savory. Also need replaced after wear and tear.
- 7 inch Cake Pan--great for cakes, brownies and casseroles
- 7 inch spring-form pan–perfect size for IP cheesecakes
- oven safe glass dishes (like Pyrex)–used for pot in pot method of cooking
- oven safe ramekins–perfect for creme brulee or baked eggs
- Egg rack–keeps eggs perfectly contained when hard boiling
- Stackable Stainless Steel pans— for cooking more than one item at a time
- Extra rack–used for stacking
- Clear lid–if you want to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker or pop popcorn (you can remove this lid while it cooks, but it won’t seal pressure inside).
- Extra float valves if you accidentally lose one down the drain–been there, done that!
What pressure cooker is best?
Honestly, the best pressure cooker for one person is not going to be the best for another. Take a look at the differences between each pressure cooker and think about what you need. Then choose accordingly.