UPDATED: January 14, 2019
All of my family and friends know that a Brains’s place is in the kitchen. Consequently, when I get gifts, it’s usually the latest kitchen gadgets. A few Christmases ago was no exception. My wife’s ex-stepmother got us all electric pressure cookers, commonly referred to as Instant Pots. At first, I looked at that behemoth, faked an appreciative smile, and wondered if the Goodwill donation drop-off box was open during the holidays.
Fortunately, my wife talked me into welcoming this new bundle of joy into our household, and much like an atomic clock, she is always right. We use ours to make falling-off-the-bone ribs within minutes, canning, cooking dry beans, and throwing together a healthy dinner anytime I’m feeling lazy, which is always.
Which Is Better Electric or Stove Top Pressure Cookers?
There are a lot of benefits to using a stove top cooker: they reach and maintain higher pressures than electric models, they hold more volume for their compact size, they don’t require electricity, and they are faster. On the downside, you must have a stove, it isn’t as safe, and there is more of a learning curve. Electric models are much easier for beginners to get the hang of. Aside from the air fryer, they are probably the hottest new kitchen appliance this side of the Mississippi. Consequently, for the sake of this piece, please forget that stove top units exist.
What to Look for in an Electric Pressure Cooker
First of all, you gotta know what size works best for your needs. Below, our electric pressure cooker reviews mainly focus on six- and eight-quart models. These work great for families of four to six. You can get your canning done. You might be able to fit an organic, free-range turkey into the eight-quart units, but the steroid-packed 20-pound bruisers will not fit. Also, consider your storage space. Our instant pot lives on our counter because we use it frequently, and it has a small footprint. If counter space is at a premium in your galley, you might want to get a smaller unit.
There are a number of features that are common in the best electric pressure cookers:
Easy to Maintain
Tired of buying appliances that require you to make daily trips to a repairman to clean the elements? This is not a problem with the best pressure cookers! Most have nonstick interiors that are easy to clean and are dishwasher safe. For the best results cleaning, maintaining, and using your unit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They know what they’re talking about.
It used to be that if you wanted to cook a pot roast in the old pressure cookers, you could pretty much count on losing a couple fingers and experiencing fourth-degree burns. These days, we have it easy. If the pressure gets to be too much, cookers automatically release it. What a nanny state!
Who has the time to read these days? In our fast-paced lives, we want to be able to take appliances out of the box and start using them right away. You will have to do some reading of the user manual before you get started, but it won’t be like reading Ulysses.
Price is an important consideration for most people. Since prices change so quickly online, we’ve created a handy-dandy guide to give you a general idea of how much each instant pot costs:
- $ = about $40 to $74.99
- $$ = about $75 to $109.99
- $$$ = about $110 to $250
If you want the current price of any of the pressure cookers in our guide, simply click on them.
NOTE: We reference using an electric pressure cooker for canning. The National Center for Home Food Preservation advises against this. However, we have canned dozens of things and never had any issues. We even have an electric pressure cooker canning cookbook.
Those are the basics. Now that you know what to look for, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the top 10 best electric pressure cookers:
- Overheat protection
- The 8-hour delay timer is perfect for getting dinner ready before leaving for work
- Two pressure-control valves
The name Fagor sounds vaguely offensive. Nonetheless, the aptly-named 670040230 is a no-frills unit that gets the job done. It’s like that one guy you worked with for decades who never missed a day of work, ate lunch at his desk, and never said more than two words to you. The only problem is that Fagor is shutting down operations in the near future. So, you may have trouble finding this unit, but it appears that the parent company will still honor the impressive 10-year limited warranty that comes with this pressure cooker.
- Stainless steel pot
- Accessories include extra silicone gasket, silicone mitts, steamer basket, raised steam rack, ladle, rice paddle, and measuring cup
- Traps nutrients, aromas, and flavors and holds them until you’re ready to have your way with them
The Mealthy MultiPot is new since we originally created this guide, but it has collected quite the following thanks to its stainless steel pot and many useful accessories. It has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon based on nearly 1,000 reviews. Several of the reviewers own this and the ever-popular Instant Pot DUO (#10 on our list.) And, they prefer this one because it’s more user-friendly and heats up faster.
- Sixteen programmable cooking modes, such as pasta/boil, yogurt, hot pot, steam vegetables, and multigrain
- Comes with an extra glass lid for when you want to take things slow
- 10 proven safety mechanisms, including unplugging it
There’s a lot to love about the Cosori Electric Pressure Cooker. It features an 18/8 food-grade stainless steel inner pot that is resistant to corrosion and rust. The bottom is tri-ply for even cooking. The cooker also comes with a recipe book, glass lid, steamer, extra gasket, rice paddle, soup ladle, and measuring cup. It’s available in 2.1, 6, and 8-quart sizes. Buyers report that the presets do an excellent job of cooking foodstuffs like they say they will. Or, you can control the pressure and times on your own.
- Thirteen programmable cooking modes
- Patented 12-level lid safety lock system
- Will even automatically continue cooking if you lose power (once the power is back on)
Just about all of the best pressure cooker manufacturers claim their units will cook meals up to 70% faster. This is true of just about every model. It should not serve as a selling point for specific models. That said, the Gourmia GPC400 is the most affordable cooker on this list. But, due to its small four-quart size, I only recommend it if you just want to make smaller meals for one or two people.
- 2-year limited warranty
- 11 program functions, including steaming, browning, brown rice, and slow cook high and low
- Delay Start button lets you prepare your dinner ahead of time
Black+Decker is one of the few big-name brands to figure this electric pressure cooker thing out. This unit has seven pressure cooking options and four presets for slow cooking. In addition to replacing your slow cooker, the Cooking Pot also does a good job with rice cooking. Buyers appreciate how intuitive the modes and design are and that the presets do precisely what they say they will. The biggest negative we found was that the pot doesn’t brown at hot enough of a temperature to provide a good sear.
- The latest generation of Instant Pot
- Adjusts pressure based on your altitude
- Won’t burn your face off
By now, you should realize that “Instant Pot” is not some sort of marijuana delivery service (true story: my mom actually thought this.) They exist solely to make sure you can have delicious meals cooked quickly with the use of intense pressure. In fact, the term “instant pot” is now used to describe any brand of electric pressure cooker. Anyway, the Ultra allows you to cook dinner at any elevation, and it features a microprocessor that shows you precisely how your food is coming along and can adjust the heating intensity and duration based on how the cooking process is proceeding.
- Slow cooks, fast cooks, browns, and steams
- 8 built-in high-pressure cooking programs, including risotto, yogurt, multigrain, and beans plus stuff you actually want to eat, like meat
- Comes with steam rack, serving spoon, and recipe book
The Crock-Pot Express is what we currently have in our kitchen. And, so far, it works great! We’ve used it to make falling-off-the-bone ribs in under an hour, poached salmon, from-frozen shredded chili lime chicken, and much more. The only thing I don’t like about it is that you really need to make sure you have the steam release valve set just right or else the pressure doesn’t build. It may be pointing at the “no steam” symbol, but it also has to be seated correctly.
- Color-changing LCD with detailed information
- Dishwasher-safe removable lid
- Dual sensors at the top and bottom that monitor ingredients and adjust pressure and temperature
For number eight, I almost put one of the winners of the over-produced Gordon Ramsay show Hell’s Kitchen as a great “pressure cooker,” but I was not willing to sacrifice journalistic integrity for a simple pun. You’re welcome. Anyway, the Breville Fast Slow Pro is the most expensive option on our list. Buyers have found that this unit replaces a lot of other appliances in their kitchen, but there are complaints about it taking a little while to get up to pressure and the gasket retaining food odors.
9. Power Pressure Cooker XL – $
- Automatic keep warm mode for when you forget you’re cooking
- Uses fancy technology to force moisture and liquid into your food
- One-year warranty
The Power Pressure Cooker XL is what I used to use for my day-to-day electric pressure cooking. I like that it’s easy to clean. You gotta do it by hand, but the mold, mildew, and weeks-old soup come off it really easily. That said, don’t just leave leftover food in your unit and tell yourself you’ll get to it later. You won’t get to it later, and you’ll be tempted to just throw the whole thing away. Don’t throw the whole thing away! Other users have reported that the company has poor customer service, but I haven’t had any reason to call them up.
- 10 safety mechanisms to keep finger loss to a minimum
- 14 smart programs for yogurt, porridge, rice, poultry, chili, meat, and more
- Comes with a recipe booklet
The DUO is by far the most popular Instant Pot pressure cooker on the market. According to Brains Report Department of Made-Up Statistics, this appliance has 80 percent of the market share. What are the seven-in-one uses? I’m glad you asked: yogurt maker, steamer, slow cooker, warmer, sauté, rice cooker, and pressure cooker. So, why isn’t the DUO number 1 on our list? There are hundreds of buyer complaints about the unit breaking within a few months of purchase. And, Instant Pot’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
Did you find our electric pressure cooker reviews helpful? Well, what are you waiting for? Share them with your children/parents.