Skip to main content

Best Instant Pots 2021

Best Instant Pots: image shows Instant Pot and food dishes
(Image credit: Amazon)

The best Instant Pots not only allow you to make use of multiple functions within one appliance but can revolutionize the way you cook with their features and programs. With an array of different models to choose from, there’s an Instant Pot for any level of home chef and a whole bunch of creative new recipes waiting to be unlocked upon your purchase.

Planning midweek meals can often feel like a drag, but with one of the best Instant Pots, whipping up a healthy dinner needn’t be a chore. With functions that can speed up the cooking process by up to 70%, the addition of one of these multicookers to your kitchen countertops will be sure to leave you inspired. Instant Pots are available in a range of sizes, with a single person and larger families both catered for in their quart-size designs, so you can whip up enough to leave everyone in your home satisfied.

The price of the best Instant Pots is dependent on just how capable you want your cooker to be, with high-end models boasting over 11 cooking functions and even the capability to air fry. These pots are best for cooks who love to experiment, and will really make the most of the extensive features. At the other end of the spectrum, those seeking something a little more intuitive to use will be impressed with the tailor-made cooking presets available on many Instant Pots, as well as the included recipe booklet. 

Taking the jump with one of the best Instant Pots will change the way you cook for good, with the number of loyal followers of this brand growing all the time. If you’re looking for other innovative kitchen appliances, check out our guide to the best stand mixers, or the best air fryers.

1. Instant Pot Duo Nova: Best Instant Pot overall  

Instant Pot Duo Nova review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Duo Nova

A great all rounder that slow cookers, pressure cooks, and more – the Duo Nova is one of Instant Pot’s best-sellers for a reason.

Cooking functions: 7 | Size options: 3-quarts, 6-quarts, 8-quarts, and 10-quarts

Good value for money
Easy to use
 Not as many cooking features as other Instant Pots 
Not as many safety features

The Instant Pot Duo Nova is one of the brand’s best sellers – and we can see why. It acts as seven appliances in one. You can use it as a pressure cooker, steamer, and you can also sauté food. Plus, it acts as a second oven thanks to its ’warm food’ feature. It’s available in four different quart sizes, which means there is a Duo Nova for every kitchen. 

This kitchen gadget is the cheapest Instant Pot in our buying guide as you can get an 8-quart Duo Nova for around $100. This makes it perfect for first time cooks or those looking to invest in their first multi-cooker. 

It was hard to find any negatives about this device as the Duo Nova ranks as the number 1 slow cooker to buy on Amazon. If you’re after an Instant Pot with air frying capabilities though, the Instant Pot Duo Nova isn’t the one for you. While it offers great value for money, it doesn’t have as many cooking functions as some of the other models we’ve included. 

2. Instant Pot Max:  Best Instant Pot for experimental cooks 

Instant Pot Max

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Instant Pot Max

This Instant Pot reaches for the maximum in terms of both pressure and price. With nine functions and the capability to perform home canning, there’s a world of cooking possibilities available with the Instant Pot Max.

Cooking functions: 9 | Size options: 6-quart

Touch screen interface
Home canning for up to four pints at a time
New 'Nutriboost'
Most expensive model

The Instant Pot Max is a standout addition to the brand’s range, with tweaks that make it more capable than models before. This includes the increased sustained pressure of 15psi, previously only found in stovetop pressure cookers, and amped up safety measures, such as the automatic steam release. Instant Pots are known for their speedy cooking, and the Instant Pot Max can cook up to 15% faster than previous models, making it a great choice if you’re looking to upgrade.

The Instant Pot Max is an extremely customizable multicooker, meaning you can set it to very exact temperatures and pressures. This is great if you’re an experienced home cook and no longer need to benefit from the presets built into other models. However, the improvements of the Instant Pot Max come at a hefty price and it can retail at over $200. If you’re just starting out on your Instant Pot journey, a more affordable model such as the Instant Pot Lux may be better for you.

3. Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus: Best Instant Pot for a keen cook 

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus combines 10 different cooking appliances in one cooker. If you’re looking to up your cooking game, this machine will help you do it.

Cooking functions: 10 | Size options: 6-quarts, 8-quarts

 10-in-1 methods of cooking 
 11 safety features 
 No air frying option 
 More expensive  

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus is the third release in the brand’s Duo line and in terms of features – you could say it’s the best so far. This Instant Pot comes with a larger LED screen in comparison to the Duo Nova and three more one-touch buttons for easy cooking. 

This includes being able to cook a stock pot, use the Duo Nova as a rice cooker, turn it into a yogurt marker, warm food, or use it as a steamer. You can also bake and use this machine to sous vide food, along with using it to slow cook, pressure cook, and sauté food. 

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus also has 11 safety features and it’s available in two different sizes - a 6-quart option and an 8-quart model. However, some users criticized this Instant Pot’s ability to cook rice, and others found it tricky to navigate. 

4. Instant Pot Ultra: Best Instant Pot for upgrading

Instant Pot Ultra review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Ultra

The Instant Pot Ultra is perfect for seasoned home chefs who want ultimate control over their cooking, with customizable programming and extensive functions.

Cooking functions: 10 | Size options: 3-quarts, 6-quarts and 8-quarts

Extremely customizable 
Ten functions 
Improved safety features

The Instant Pot Ultra lives up to its name with a wide range of modes and smart programs, including a feature that remembers the specific preferences set in your last use. Ten cooking options include a brand new cake-making function, as well as the usual pressure cooker, slow cooker, and steamer. It comes with a sterilizer mode too, making it an even more practical addition to a family kitchen.

In terms of aesthetics, the Instant Pot Ultra has an extremely refined interface; its large LED screen replacing the multiple buttons of previous models. More than just looking great on a kitchen countertop, it also has improved technology to update the user on every possible change, from preheating to keeping cooked food warm. Those cooking at a higher altitude will also thank its ‘Altitude Adjustment’ feature, which automatically converts recipes according to the user’s elevation.

The Instant Pot Ultra is available in three sizes (three, six, and eight quarts), so for those regularly cooking for over eight people, this pot may not hold enough volume. Some reviewers found this Instant Pot’s manual to be lacking in clear instructions and others expressed frustration with the ‘burn’ mode being triggered very easily.

5. Instant Pot Aura Pro: Best Instant Pot for slow cooking 

Instant Pot Aura Pro review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Aura Pro

No job is too big for the Instant Pot Aura Pro as it acts as 11 kitchen gadgets in one appliance. If you are looking to trade in multiple cooking appliances, do it with the Instant Pot Aura.

Cooking functions: 11 | Size options: 8-quarts

 11 cooking functions 
 Easy to store  
 Doesn’t pressure cook  

The Instant Pot Aura Pro gives you the most functionality in comparison to the other gadgets we have reviewed. It effectively works out as 11 kitchen gadgets in one machine. However, you do pay the price for it as it is one of the most expensive models in this line up. But the price can be justified with how many features you get.

The Instant Pot Aura Pro is available in an eight-quart size, and it has a great deal of power thanks to its 1500 watts. According to Instant Pot, despite its modest size, it can actually fit a medium-size chicken in it. It’s oval in shape and it comes with a range of accessories to help you cook. This includes the likes of a measuring jug, a sous vide rack, roasting rack, and a steam rack, which are all able to fold away making for easy storage.

Despite being able to do many different functions, the Instant Pot can’t pressure cook food. Some users of the machine marked it down because of this. You also won’t be able to air fry with this model either. 

6. Instant Pot Duo Crisp: Best Instant Pot for air frying  

Instant Pot Duo Crisp review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Duo Crisp

Make frying your food even easier and healthier to fry with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.

Cooking functions: 11 | Size options: 8-quarts

 Uses little to no oil  
 Acts as 11 cooking gadgets in one  
 Hard to store due to size 

This Instant Pot is your guilt-free answer to all your fried food needs. The Instant Pot Duo Crisp enables you to fry a whole range of food (think: French fries, chicken strips, onion rings, and more) with 95% less oil. 

The clever contraption is from the brand’s best-selling Duo line. Essentially it takes all the great things about the Duo range but has added the air fryer component on top. To use the air fryer, the kitchen device comes with two lids. One lid you use for when you want to slow cook or pressure cook foods. Whilst the other lid is only to be used when you want air fry food. 

One thing to bear in mind with this Instant Pot is the fact it’s quite bulky when it comes to storing it, and you’ll need to find room for the two lids. 

7. Instant Pot Viva: Best Instant Pot for customization

Instant Pot Viva

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Instant Pot Viva

Equipped with an ample range of cooking modes and programs, the Instant Pot Viva is also available in six different colors, so you can find the perfect shade to match your kitchen.

Cooking functions: 9 | Size options: 6-quarts, 8-quarts

 Easy to use 
 Includes a caking making mode 
 Lacks LED interface of later models 
 Fewer functions than later models 

The Instant Pot Viva is a capable and affordable multicooker, complete with nine modes and easy-to-use controls. In addition to the classic stainless steel design, the Instant Pot Viva is available in five colors: black, blue, cinnamon, copper, and eggplant. That makes it the perfect pot for adding a pop of color to your kitchen or coordinating your Instant Pot with your countertop.

The Instant Pot Viva is extremely popular with users, with 97% of purchasers on BestBuy saying they would recommend it to a friend. This is likely due to its range of functions, including the new cake-making mode and simple interface, which makes it easy to operate. The Instant Pot Viva is also available in the 8-quart size, which is perfect for those with bigger households or who want to cater for family functions. 

The Instant Pot Viva lacks the extensive features and customization options of later models, such as the Instant Pot Ultra. It also doesn’t have air frying capabilities and only has ten safety features while later models have 12 or 13. However, overall, the Instant Pot Viva is an incredibly affordable and efficient appliance and would be a great addition to any kitchen.

8. Instant Pot Lux: Best Instant Pot for the basics

Instant Pot Lux review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Lux

A simpler model, with just six modes, for those looking for a no-frills Instant Pot experience.

Cooking functions: 6 | Size options: 3-quarts, 6-quarts and 8-quarts

 Easy to use 
 Less cooking functions 

The Instant Pot Lux is the best option for getting to grips with the fundamentals of multi-cooking. Its six modes are plenty for a beginner, not to mention that it’s the most affordable Instant Pot available. A sturdy and reliable choice, the Instant Pot Lux has all the classic functions of the brand like pressure cooking and slow cooking.

One advantage of the Instant Pot Lux is its range of sizing options, with the three-quart pot, the Instant Pot Lux Mini is ideally suited to smaller homes. Perfect for those who live on their own or who would prefer their Instant Pot to be portable, the Mini is an accessible option for many who wouldn’t be suited to a heftier model. The interface of the Instant Pot Lux has been designed with simplicity in mind meaning a range of cooking presets for various foods are available at the touch of a button. 

The Instant Pot Lux doesn’t deliver on the extravagance of later models, with a limited feature set. Some reviewers of the product were also disappointed with the provided recipe manual, as it did not size down for users of the three-quart model.

9. Instant Pot Smart WiFi: Best Instant Pot for a smart home  

Instant Pot Smart WiFi review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Smart WiFi

Gain more control over your cooking with the Instant Pot Smart WiFi that connects to your smartphone.

Cooking functions: 8 | Size options : 6-quarts

 Adjust cooking over WiFi 
 App with more than 1,000 recipes 
 Limited app controls
 Not as many cooking functions as others 

If you’re looking to make your cooking even smarter, look no further than the Instant Pot Smart WiFi. This clever device allows you to adjust, monitor, and take back control over your cooking via your phone, or by using voice commands if you’ve got a smart speaker.

The Instant Pot Smart WiFi connects to the internet and is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. Once you have downloaded the app, it also gives you access to more than 1,000 Instant Pot recipes. This Instant Pot acts as eight kitchen gadgets in one, thanks to its ability to slow cook, pressure cook, make yogurt, cook rice, sauté, warm food, cook cake, and sous vide. 

However, some users criticize the amount of control you actually have in this Instant Pot’s app. You’ll also pay a premium for the smart features, but won’t be getting as many cooking functions as the other Instant Pots offer.

10. Instant Pot Pro Crisp: Best Instant Pot for the hottest temperatures

Instant Pot Pro Crisp

(Image credit: Amazon)

Instant Pot Pro Crisp

An improved interface and higher cooking temperatures give the Instant Pot Pro Crisp its upgraded status. But the new features don’t go far enough to justify the $215 price-tag.

Cooking functions: 11 | Size options: 8-quarts

Improved safety features 
Remodeled inner pot 
Not dramatically different from the Duo Crisp 

The Instant Pot Pro Crisp an impressive pot in terms of aesthetics and features, with 11 different cooking modes and a further 11 smart programs allowing you to cook your favorite meals at the touch of a button. However, for its hefty $215 price tag, the Pro Crisp is not distinctive enough from the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, the model which preceded it. 

The Instant Pot Pro Crisp has certain tweaks that may interest those looking to upgrade their Instant Pot, or those interested in their technical abilities. It has the widest temperature range of any of the Instant Pot models and can cook foods at up to 450°F, which is ideal for the pot’s air frying function. It also has a new inner pot design, with fill markings and a flat bottom, for more even cooking. 

If you’re taken by the new look of the Instant Pot Pro Crisp or want to capitalize on its new features, then an investment in this model is advisable, as it is a very versatile multi-cooker. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative with almost all of the same features, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp will not disappoint.