Looking for the best Instant Pot you can get with your budget? With so many models to choose from here are some of your best options. Some people like to get kitchen appliances that are dedicated to just doing one thing very well. So you can get a pressure cooker, a separate slow cooker, a steamer, a rice cooker, and a microwave oven to warm your food. This approach can really use up a lot of space in your kitchen, and frankly it’s an expensive way to do things. The new modern approach is to simply get an Instant Pot. This is a special brand of countertop multi-cooker that you can program to cook just about anything in many possible ways. Instead of having different kitchen devices, you have a single kitchen cooker that can do just about everything. Of course, the specific capabilities you get depend on the particular model of Instant Pot you buy. It’s up to you to decide which one is best suited for your needs (and your budget), but here are some particularly good options:
5 Top Instant Pot Reviews 2020
Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 Qt (Editor’s Choice)
If you don’t need a large Instant Pot, then you can opt for this 3-quart cooker instead of the larger 6-quart versions. You can save space and save money too. If you already have a bigger Instant Pot, you can still get this for your side dishes such as for the rice and veggies.
Its size works very well for a lot of situations. Students will like this if they live in a dorm. Get this for your RV or for your boat too. It doesn’t emit any smells, nor any heat or steam.
- It measures 11.8 x 10.5 x 11 inches and weighs just 8.6 pounds
- Basically, this offers you 7 kitchen appliances in 1. It can replace your pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, sauté, steamer, yogurt maker, and food warmer.
- It gives you 11 smart built-in programs to choose from, which makes cooking food such an easy exercise. You’ve got single buttons for dishes like beans, meat, porridge, and yogurt.
- As a rice cooker, it can cook up to 6 cups of uncooked rice and can handle all types of rice.
- Your purchase comes with lots of accessories, including a handle-less stainless steel steam rack, rice measuring cup, a rice paddle, a soup spoon, and a condensation collector.
- This has a 24-hour delay start timer so you can have your food ready at just the right time when you come home from work. There’s also an automatic keep warm function so the food is nice and warm until you’re ready to serve it.
- You have dual pressure settings to choose from. With low pressure, you can prevent delicate food items from being overcooked. But you can also use the high pressure to cut the cooking time by 70%.
- You have adjustable settings for temperature as well.
It has up to 10 safety features:
- Steam Release,
- Anti-Block Shield
- Safety Lid Lock
- Lid Position Detection
- Automatic Temperature Control
- Overheat (Burn) Protection
- Automatic Pressure Control
- Electrical Fuse
- Thermal Fuse
- Leaky Lid Detection
- You have lots of many ways to cook many types of food and this is very easy to use. It’s perfect for a small room too. The materials are high quality and food-grade, and the cooking pot, the lid, and the steam rack are all dishwasher safe.
- You do need to do some online research to prepare some food items properly. For example, there are no water markings for cooking rice, but you can do online research to get you the right rice-water ratios.
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 (Budget Pick)
This is the most popular of the Instant Pot multi-cookers, and it’s unsurprisingly excellent. Again, it replaces up to 7 cooking appliances so you save money and countertop space. Still, it’s a rather large cooking pot with its 6-quart capacity. It measures 14.17 x 14.84 x 13.31 inches, so you better make sure that you have the space to accommodate it.
It may seem weird to have this as our Budget Pick, when it’s more expensive than the Duo Mini 3-Qt. But you only pay $20 more and you get a lot of extra benefits beyond the larger food capacity.
- Unlike the Duo Mini, this comes with 14 smart programs to choose from. That means you have more food items that you can cook with just a single touch of a button.
- This has an advanced microprocessor that monitors so many things. It keeps time and notes the temperature and pressure. It can adjust the intensity of the heat and the duration of the cooking time.
- The start timer can be delayed up to 24 hours.
- You have the dual pressure settings as well.
- The temperatures can be adjusted too. In sauté mode, you can choose between searing, simmering, and thickening temperatures. In slow cook mode, you also have 3 temperature options for greater slow cooking flexibility.
- The materials used are food-grade and safe, and the pot, lid, and steam rack are all dishwasher safe.
- You have the 10 safety features in place as well.
- It’s easy and safe to use, and the larger food capacity is great for families. You have lots of options regarding the pressure and the temperature. The 14 smart programs offer greater convenience.
- The brushed stainless steel is resistant to fingerprints.The lid holder works equally well for left- and right-handed users.
- This will need more space, so it may not the best option for cramped settings like a dorm.
Instant Pot Smart Smartcooker Bluetooth-Enabled
With smart capabilities being incorporated into so many types of appliances, it’s not surprising to find a smart Instant Pot as well. This means you can now download a free app for your smartphone and then use it to control and program your Instant Pot.
Many of the features here will be commonly found in all Instant Pot models. Basically, the quality of this particular model is the same as all the others, with the notable exception of the smart capability.
- It can be controlled and programmed through an app via Bluetooth.
- It does the work of 7 separate cooking appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté and food warmer.
- The microprocessor checks on the pressure and temperature, and adjusts the intensity and duration of the heat.
- You have 2 timer presets to choose from, a 24-hour delay start timer, and an automatic keep warm function to keep the food from getting cold until served.
- It comes with 14 smart programs to prepare various food items.
- It can cook food 2 to 6 times faster, with 70% less energy expended.
- There are dual pressure settings available, and 3 different temperature settings to choose from.
- The stainless steel pot bottom is absolutely safe.
- It comes with the standard 10 safety features.
- Like many of the other Instant Pots, this can cook various food items in many different ways. It offers lots of smart programs and timer options, and it is utterly safe to use. Now there’s even added smart capabilities.
- The app works through Bluetooth, but not through Wi-Fi. That capability can be found in another Instant Pot model.
Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1
So far we’ve been discussing the merits of Instant Pot models that can take the place of 7 different cooking appliances. Now this Ultra model goes even further, as its capabilities are so versatile that it can do the work of 10 appliances instead.
What’s more, it comes with an extra safety feature along with new features.
- The appliances it can replace include the pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, sauté/searing, steamer, food warmer, and sterilizer.
- Other new features include altitude adjustment, cooking indicator, and a steam release reset button.
- The new steam release reset button is the additional 11th safety measure. It makes for safer handling as it offers continuous and pulse steam release.
- You now have a central dial to make your adjustments.
- A free app also helps you with recipes and videos, along with personalized grocery lists.
- The pressure cooking time is extended to 6 hours.
- A large blue LCD display quickly informs you of your current settings.
- This offers even greater versatility, and somehow it’s also safer to use as well. With the 6-quart capacity, you’re able to cook food for 4 to 6 people.
- With greater capabilities,you also have greater complexity. Hopefully,you have to patience to learn all the things the Ultra model can do.
Instant Pot DUO Plus 8 Qt 9-in-1
- The 9 appliances it can replace include pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, food warmer, and sterilizer. But you can also use it to make cakes too.
- You now have 15 microprocessor programs to choose from.
- All the components that come into contact with the food are absolutely food-grade and safe.
- You also get the standard 10 safety features.
- Now you can cook just about any food item in many different ways for a large gathering. Again, it’s safe to use.
- You need to give yourself time to understand its full capabilities.
What Exactly Is the Instant Pot? Here’s Everything You Should Know
Technically, Instant Pot is a particular brand of kitchen cookware that specializes in multi-cooker devices. However, nowadays it’s like the “Google” brand. People call other multi-cooker devices “Instant Pots” even though they’re made by other brands. Still, the original does offer a lot of benefits, which is why we’ve stuck with the original Instant Pot models on our list.
Here are some important facts you need to know:
Look online for Instant Pot recipes and you’ll eventually realize that you can cook just about anything with the right model of Instant Pot on your kitchen countertop. It’s even possible to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal with your Instant Pot.
This means you can use the Instant Pot to make the dessert, which can be cheesecake, apple crisp, or pumpkin pie bites. Then you can prepare the Mac and Cheese, which kids really love. After that you have the sweet potatoes, or maybe mashed potatoes too.
The Instant Pot really shows its worth with the turkey, although you need a large pot to cook the entire bird. You can add some stuffing to the turkey as well.
Of course, even with a small Instant Pot you can still opt for a nice juice turkey breast. With some room in the pot, you can add some potatoes too, and the nearby turkey adds an interesting flavor to the potatoes.
Next you can prepare the vegetables, which you need to cook very quickly so you don’t get limp soggy veggies. Finally, you can use the reserved broth you saved from the turkey to help make your gravy.
Cook in Many Ways
You can use it as a pressure cooker and cook on high or low pressure. You can have it as a slow cooker, or blast your way through your food with a quick recipe. It works as a rice cooker, as a steamer, or as a warmer. You can use it to sauté. Even frozen meat can be put inside the Instant Pot. You can boil eggs with it or even make yogurt.
You Don’t Have to Lose Veggie Nutrients
Some people seem to think that vegetables are only healthy if they’re raw, and high temperatures can eliminate the nutrients. This isn’t exactly accurate. The problem is if you immerse the vegetables in water. Since you can use the Instant Pot as a high-pressure cooker, you don’t need to immerse the veggies in water at all. The heat is distributed quickly and evenly without the water. This means the vitamins and nutrients are retained.
In addition, your food us surrounded by steam so it doesn’t get oxidized due to exposure to air. Your green veggies will remain green afterward, and they’ll still have their particular fresh flavors.
What about Safety?
It’s true that the early 1980s pressure cookers weren’t exactly the most advanced cookware ever. However, technology has advanced a lot during the last few decades, so Instant Pot has put in numerous safety features to make sure that there are no problems whatsoever when it comes to safety.
These features include automatic lid lock and lid detection, which makes it impossible for you to open the lid until the pressure has been released. There’s an anti-blocking vent that makes sure the release of the steam isn’t blocked by food particles. The inside temperature of the Instant Pot is also always within a safe range, due to the automatic temperature control.
Even though buying an Instant Pot saves you a lot of space as it takes the place of several different cooking appliances, for the most part these things are generally bulky. They can be very awkward to use in tiny kitchens.
You also need to take some time to master the various programs and controls. It’s a bit like using a smartphone compared to the traditional landline phone. The Instant Pot is like the smartphone—it’s more advanced and more versatile, but you do need to take some time to learn the various features.