Best Pressure Cookers of 2018

Rebecca Spear ·
Digital Photo Editing & Small Appliance Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

This year we spent over 85 hours researching, comparing and cooking with 10 electric pressure cookers to find the ones that make the tastiest meals with the least effort. The Instant Pot 7-in-1 Duo is the best overall pressure cooker because of its many safety features, preset buttons, its dishwasher-safe pot and its ability to make flavorful dishes. This unit is the only one that comes with a dishwasher-safe ladle, spoon, measuring cup and steamer rack, so cleaning up after cooking is super easy.    

Best Overall
Instant Pot
In addition to making some of the best food in our comparison, this pressure cooker was also the easiest to clean, saving you time before and after you cook.
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Best Budget
Crock-Pot Express
This is easily the least expensive pressure cooker in our comparison. The interface is also one of the easiest to use so you don’t need to refer back to the manual constantly.
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Best Splurge
Breville Fast Slow Pro
This pressure cooker not only looks sleek – it also creates flavorful meals in little time. When you’re done eating, the ceramic non-stick pot is incredibly easy to clean. It's ideal for the foodie or home chef but isn't a good choice for the budget-minded.
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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Price
Cooking Test Results
Design
Accessories
Cleaning
Warranty & Safety
Pricing
Performance
Ease of Use
Pot Roast Test
Cleaning Score
Overall Rice Cooking Time (minutes:seconds)
Bowl Size (quarts)
Pot Type
Machine Washable Pot
Other Size Options (quarts)
Warranty
Preset Food Buttons
Cooking Options
Delay Start (hours)
Slow Cook
Saute/Browning
Width (inches)
Depth (inches)
Height (inches)
Weight (pounds)
Cord Length (inches)
$99.95 Amazon
8.9 9.3 8 9.8 8.8 10 9.3
$99.95
90%
85%
80%
100%
29:05
6 Quart
Stainless-Steel
Yes
3, 5, 8
1 Year
8
4
24
13.25
12.1
13.25
11.7
35.8
$79.99 Amazon
8.8 9.3 8.5 8.8 7 9.5 9.8
$99.99
90%
90%
50%
90%
21:45
6 Quart
Non-stick
Yes
0
2 Years
5
4
24
13
12
13
11
33.1
$57.10 Amazon
8.4 10 8 9.3 4.5 7.5 9.3
$69.99
85%
90%
65%
75%
28:28
6 Quart
Non-stick
Yes
0
1 Year
8
3
4
13.5
11.75
14.1
12.3
32.8
$74.00 Amazon
8.2 9.3 8.5 6 3 9.5 10
$99.95
90%
70%
70%
90%
18:49
6 Quart
Non-stick
Yes
0
3 Years
0
5
None
-
12.5
11.9
10.25
11.6
49.5
$223.13 Amazon
8.1 6 10 10 5.3 8.3 9.3
$249.95
100%
100%
100%
90%
20:08
6 Quart
Ceramic Non-Stick Coating
Yes
0
1 Year
11
5
24
13.4
13
13.75
12.7
35.25
$79.99 Amazon
8.1 9.8 6.5 9 10 3.5 9.3
$79.99
65%
80%
60%
35%
27:55
6.3 Quart
Stainless-Steel
No
2, 8
1 Year
8
6
12
12.9
11.8
10.75
12
36.5
$59.99 Amazon
7.8 9 7.5 7.8 7 4.5 9.3
$119.99
80%
80%
60%
35%
28:30
6 Quart
Non-Stick
No
4, 8, 10, 12
1 Year
7
4
24
13.25
11.5
14
10.1
52.25
$119.95 Amazon
7.5 8.3 8 8.8 5.8 4.5 7.8
$149.00
85%
85%
60%
80%
23:30
14 Quart
Ceramic Coated Stainless-Steel
No
3, 6, 8, 10, 12
1 Year
9
3
24
15.75
15.25
14.5
20.3
37.25
$84.99 Amazon
7 9.3 6 6.8 7.8 4.5 5.3
$99.99
70%
70%
65%
80%
32:35
6 Quart
Non-Stick
No
8, 10
60 days
5
3
24
-
13.5
11.25
13.7
10.5
41.25
$88.98 Amazon
6.6 9.3 3.5 8.8 7.8 1.8 9.3
$98.80
35%
30%
30%
10%
35:50
6 Quart
Stainless-Steel
No
0
1 Year
11
3
24
11
11.25
12.3
13
32.9
Best Overall
The Instant Pot was one of the best performers in our testing and was also easy to operate. During our pot roast test, the beef was flavorful and tender. Similarly, in our rice test, this device created some of the best-cooked grains with hardly any sticking to the bottom of the pot. However, it did take longer than other pressure cookers to finish the rice cooking process.
Instant Pot is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive pressure cooker brand on the market. It is priced fairly and offers high quality cooking. The pot we tested has a 6-quart capacity. If you are wanting a larger or smaller size, the company also offers 3, 5 and 8-quart options. This device has eight preset food buttons, covering the most common food types like meat/stew, poultry and bean/chili. In addition to pressure cooking, the Instant Pot allows you to steam, sauté and slow cook your food. The inner bowl is made of stainless steel so it‘s one of the most durable pots we tested. We were easily able to remove any remaining food by handwashing the inner pot with warm water and soap. Fortunately, this pot and all of the accompanying accessories are dishwasher safe, so you can let your machine take care of the cleaning. The Instant Pot Duo comes with a steamer rack, measuring cup, ladle, rice spoon, instruction manual and a recipe book. You'll find helpful cooking time tables in the recipe book to help you prepare foods that aren't covered by the eight preset food buttons. The one thing this pressure cooker is missing is a glass lid for slow cooking. But if you really want one, you can purchase one along with other pressure cooker accessories on Instant Pot's website. It is also the only device that comes with a mobile app to help you rate and share recipes with fellow users. The delay start button allows you to schedule your meals 24 hours in advance, which is perfect when you're busy. The Instant Pot Duo is covered by a one-year warranty, which is average for pressure cookers. The cord is detachable, making this pressure cooker easier to store and clean.
Pros
  • The stainless steel pot, ladle, rice spoon, measuring cup and steamer rack are all dishwasher safe.
  • It comes with eight preset food buttons to help you cook faster.
  • The recipe book is thorough and will help get you started.
Cons
  • It took a long time to cook rice compared to others we tested.
  • Instant Pot only offers one color option: stainless steel and black.
  • It doesn't come with a glass lid for slow cooking.
$99.95Amazon
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Best Budget
The Crock-Pot Express is the least expensive pressure cooker that we tested. It performed well in both our rice test and our pot roast test with testers mainly finding the beef flavorful and tender, if just a tad dry. As far as cooking times went, it wasn’t the fastest device to cook rice, but it wasn’t the slowest either. No rice stuck to the pot after cooking, but there was more to clean after performing the pot roast test. Fortunately, this pot is dishwasher safe so you don’t have to scrub it. The accompanying rice spoon and measuring cup must be hand washed –they could melt in the dishwasher.
The interface is one of the most intuitive, so it is easy to start using without constantly referring to the manual. Most pressure cookers can set a delayed start for up to 24 hours later, but this device only lets you set the timer four hours in advance, which can severely limit your planning schedule. Most devices come with a chart either in the manual or a recipe book that explains how to cook common foods that aren’t covered by the pressure cooker’s preset buttons. Unfortunately, this device doesn’t include this cooking table, so you can’t quickly reference it when cooking something new. Fortunately, the internet is full of helpful blogs and recipes that can tell you the right times and pressure settings for your next dish. The Crock-Pot Express comes with a one-year warranty, which is average for a pressure cooker. It features multiple safety mechanisms like a locking and sealing lid and lid close detection to keep your family safe. It has the shortest cord in our comparison, so it might not be able to reach an electrical plug as easily as some other devices and could be a problem if you have limited counter space. Fortunately, the cord is also detachable, which helps make the device easier to store and clean.
Pros
  • It’s the least expensive pot.
  • The non-stick inner pot is dishwasher safe.
  • This pressure cooker is one of the easiest to use.
Cons
  • Delay start only counts up to four hours instead of the industry standard 24 hours.
  • There is no cooking time chart included in the manual or recipe book.
  • None of the accessories can be washed in the dishwasher.
$63.00Amazon
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Best Splurge
The Breville Fast Slow Pro is by far the most expensive pressure cooker in our lineup. When we decided to test it, we were sure the extra cost wouldn’t be worth it. However, the convenience of the dial interface and the juicy, flavorful food went beyond our expectations. We cooked similar cuts of meat in all the pressure cookers, and the Breville’s pot roast was much more flavorful and tender than roasts cooked with the other devices. In our rice test, the grains were soft and didn’t clump together. This device also had the second fastest overall rice cooking time, taking only 20 minutes and 8 seconds to heat up, cook and depressurize.
This pressure cooker offers five additional cooking settings – slow cook, steam, sear, sauté and reduce – which gives you plenty of cooking options. It comes with both a stainless steel steamer basket and a rack to help you cook meat or steam vegetables. Unlike most other devices, it doesn’t come with a measuring cup, ladle or spoon. This is one of the only devices that keeps track of the current pressure (psi) and allows you to adjust it. It is also the only device that gives you three steam release settings, which is not only convenient but gives you more control over your meal’s flavor and texture. When it came time for cleaning, we were pleased to find that the inner pot had one of the most stick-resistant interiors, which made cleaning time much shorter. The inner pot is also dishwasher safe. Breville only covers this device with a one-year warranty, which isn’t very long especially when you take the initial cost of the product into consideration. For your safety, the display screen informs you if the lid is not properly secured, and when sealed properly it cannot be opened until the steam has been released. This 6-quart pressure cooker is among the largest we tested, and it’s also the second heaviest, weighing 12.7 pounds, so it is a little harder to store and carry than others. Bottom line: This device is definitely one of the best we tested. If it were more affordably priced, it would have scored better on the review.
Pros
  • It created the most flavorful and tender meals.
  • It was one of the fastest devices.
  • The non-stick inner pot is very easy to clean.
Cons
  • It’s quite expensive.
  • It doesn’t come with any utensils.
  • It is one of the largest and heaviest 6-quart pressure cookers.
$229.95Amazon
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Best for Large Families
This cooker’s 14-quart capacity is perfect for family get-togethers and will feed around 10 to 15 people.
Although it’s larger in size, the cooking time is comparable to other models we tested. Clean up takes just a bit longer since the manufacturer recommends hand washing this pressure cooker. The GoWISE 4th-Generation is also available in 3-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-quart sizes. This unit comes with a measuring cup, rice scooper, recipe book and heating plate – but not a steamer rack. You’ll see a plethora of preset options: rice, multigrain, porridge, soup, sauté, steam, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, yogurt, slow cook and egg maker. You can manually adjust the cooking time and pressure of your meal, and with the sauté setting you can brown meat or vegetables on low, medium or high. GoWISE backs this pressure cooker with the average one-year warranty.
Pros
  • GoWISE has 12 preset options for cooking and several accessories.
Cons
  • It doesn’t come with a steamer rack.
-
Read the full review
Best Warranty
The Cuisinart CPC-600 three-year warranty is impressive, especially considering that most of the pressure cookers we reviewed only have one-year warranties.
This device is best for making simple pressure cooker meals because it doesn’t have a lot of extra features or accessories. There are five cooking settings, including browning and sauté. However, it doesn’t offer steam, slow cook or boil settings. While its lacking in accessories, it’s cooking time for rice was the fastest of all units tested, including the time to warm up and depressurize the unit. The button setup isn’t as intuitive as other devices we tested, so it can take some time to get used to. The non-stick coating on the inner pot makes cleanup go pretty quickly, and the inner pot and trivet accessory are dishwasher safe. On the safety side, the lid seals while you’re cooking and won’t unlock until after all pressure inside has been released.
Pros
  • It’s backed with a three-year warranty.
Cons
  • Cuisinart offers limited preset food buttons.
-
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We spent over 85 hours researching, testing and comparing electric pressure cookers to see which ones cook foods the best, offer the most convenient accessories and features, and are the easiest to use. As part of our research, we contacted Barbara Schieving, Digital Publisher from pressurecookingtoday.com – a pressure cooking blog started in 2012 – to get cooking tips and insights. We also found canning information pertaining to electric pressure cookers on the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) website.

Our Purch Labs testers used the same recipes in each device to ensure that testing was standard and regulated. We had several taste testers give feedback on the flavor and texture of the prepared meals to determine which machines cooked food more favorably.

How We Tested

To keep things fair, we ordered a 6-quart pressure cooker from each company. The only device that breaks this uniformity is the GoWISE 4th-Generation, which can hold 14 quarts of food. When testing, we made sure that the recipes we used would be enough to exceed the GoWise’s minimum fill levels so that it could be judged fairly. We initially tested each device by cooking a batch of white rice. Particular attention was given to how fast the unit heated up, cooked and then depressurized. Products that thoroughly prepared rice in the shortest overall times scored higher in our testing.

We then cooked a 3-pound pot roast in each device to see how well it performed with a large portion of meat. Once again, we measured how long it took each device to warm up, cook and naturally depressurize. We only considered cook time to be complete if the meat was thoroughly cooked. Devices that provided tender cooking in a shorter amount of time scored higher.

We cooked a 3-pound pot roast in each device to see how well it performed with a large portion of meat.We cooked a 3-pound pot roast in each device to see how well it performed with a large portion of meat.

After our cooking was finished, we timed how long it took to clean the pots, spoons and racks that came with each device. Some of the non-stick pots needed to be treated more carefully so they took longer to clean, while others were easy to clean. Multi-cookers that have stainless steel pots scored higher since they were more likely to last longer and didn’t get scratched or dinged during testing.

Our ease of use score was determined by how intuitive the button interface was to use and the number of food presets and cooking options each device provided. After listing the cooking features of each device, we compared them against each other to see which ones provided the most convenience. Machines that feature sautéing/browning, slow cook, and steaming options in addition to pressure cooking scored higher.

We evaluated the safety features of each device, with lid close protection and lid locking systems scoring higher. This safety feature means the pressure cooker won’t operate unless the lid is properly installed and won’t unlock unless the pressure levels inside the inner pot are at safe levels. Most of these units get relatively hot, especially the lids. You’ll want to keep them away from children and pets when in use, but they typically aren’t hot enough to burn your skin unless you are near a steam vent.

How Much Does It Cost to Purchase a Pressure Cooker?

The cost of most pressure cookers on the market ranges from $69 to $120, but high-end brands are a bit more expensive at just over $200. If you have the budget to splurge on a more expensive model, you’ll get extra features and settings that allow you to bring out exceptional flavors and textures of your meals. For some cooks, the extra cost will be worth it.

Quick Tips

Stainless steel pots do not tarnish and can usually be cleaned in a dishwasher to save you time.

Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Pressure Cooker

Here are some of the most important things to consider when looking for an electric pressure cooker:

The Infamous Melting Pot and Canning Functions

Recently, some users have reported that the Instant Pot Gem overheats and melts. This device technically is not a pressure cooker as it doesn’t have a pressure cook function. It is used for slow cooking and roasting among other cooking methods. For those who own the Gem 65, the company states that there are only five batch codes that have been affected by this defect: 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734 and 1746. You can find the batch code on the bottom of your device. What this means is that the regular Instant Pot pressure cooker models have not had this issue. The vast majority of pressure cookers are safe as long as they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Electric multi-cookers should not be used for pressure canning whether or not the manufacturers claim it can be used in this capacity. According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), these devices have not undergone USDA testing to determine if they maintain heat and pressure levels correctly so that foods are safely preserved. That being said, it‘s possible that you could safely can food within a pressure cooker, but it would be best to buy a pressure canner since they have been specifically created for canning and have been tested and approved.

The Fast Food Alternative

“The set it and forget it ability of the electric pressure cooker is what elevates it above other methods of cooking,” says Barbara Schieving from pressurecookingtoday.com. “Unlike a stove top pressure cooker, you don't have to stay close by and monitor the pressure cooker, you can run and get the kids from school knowing that the pressure cooker will switch to Keep Warm until you're ready to eat.”

This echoes the sentiments of what users love most about electric pressure cookers. In our fast-paced society, the electric pressure cooker allows you to get food ready without taking up all of your time so you can do other things while your meals are getting cooked. Most units boast that they can help you create meals 70 percent faster than traditional cooking methods. But what makes it super impressive is that these meals aren’t just fast but can be healthy as well.

Sizing Options

Obviously, the size of a pressure cooker will determine how much food you can prepare at a time. Typically, 3- to 4-quart cookers are perfect for feeding two adults, making this a good choice for couples. The most commonly purchased pressure cooker sizes are 6-quart and 8-quart cookers as they can easily feed a family of four. If there are more people in your family or your family has a larger appetite, you will likely want something larger like the GoWISE. The 12- and 14-quart sizes allow you to make food for roughly eight people.

Often, companies will offer pressure cookers in various sizes. If you like one of the units we tested but want it to be larger or smaller, check with the company to see what else they offer.

Power & Cooking

Electric pressure cookers are lauded for their multi-purpose abilities. The most basic devices take over the job of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, egg cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker and warmer all in one. These devices can also function as a sterilizer and cake maker and sometimes come with these preset buttons. You should consider what functions you want most before buying a machine.

These units feature a list of food preset buttons, like soup, meat, bean, rice, porridge, poultry and yogurt, that automatically change the heat, pressure level and length of your session to perfectly cook the kind of foods you place inside. You can typically adjust the pressure and cooking times manually after choosing one of these presets, or you can set up your own cooking settings from the get-go using the manual option. Perhaps the most important feature of all is the cancel button, which allows you to reset your settings immediately if you accidentally set them up incorrectly or if you smell food burning.

Sauté or browning buttons can take over the need for a stovetop by allowing you to caramelize onions, sear meat and more. Many users sauté their meat and vegetables before pressure cooking their food, which gives everything a wonderful texture and flavor.

Pressure Cooking
Just because the device tells you that it will take 10 minutes to cook poultry, that doesn’t mean your chicken breast will be ready in 10 minutes. You have to give your machine time to heat up and pressurize before it will start the actual cooking process. Once your food has cooked and the timer has gone off, the machine will still need to depressurize. Depending on what you cook, depressurizing can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, but it will still be faster than other cooking methods.

To quicken the depressurizing process, many machines feature a manual steam release valve which you can adjust to remove air. Be aware that prematurely depressurizing can affect the flavor and texture of your food. The hot air escaping will be burning hot, so you should be careful not to burn your face, hands, ceiling, cabinets or other kitchen items when doing this. In our testing, the fastest overall rice cooking time was 18 minutes and 49 seconds, while the longest took 35 minutes and 50 seconds.


The Delay Start feature can be especially nice if you won’t have time to start or monitor your food near meal time. Most electric pressure cookers can delay the start time for up to 24 hours, which allows you to place food in the pot before you leave for the day and come home to a prepared meal. Remember that this only works safely with foods that do not need refrigeration, like broths and chili. Most machines automatically switch to keep warm once they are done cooking, but the length of time they can do this for varies anywhere from 30 minutes to just a few hours. Be aware that leaving foods in the keep warm setting for too long can cause them to spoil or at least lose their flavor.

Design & Accessories

Many pressure cookers come with an instruction manual as well as a recipe book to help you get started. The most helpful feature of any recipe book is the cooking times table, which tells you the device’s ideal cooking times and settings for various foods, whether they are fresh, frozen, soaked or dried. Some will also feature an accompanying app to help you write, find and keep track of recipes. If you are willing to pay more, there are also Bluetooth-enabled pressure cookers, like the Instant Pot Smart, that let you program and monitor your cooking progress from your phone.

It isn’t uncommon for pressure cookers to come with a measuring cup, steamer tray, rice spoon and ladle. The most important accessory is a steamer tray. Manufacturers stress that you should only use items that have been approved for use inside their pressure cookers. Some uncommon accessories include cake pans, pots and heating plates. You can store all of these items inside the machine when not in use to save room in your kitchen. The majority of multi-cookers only come in silver and black, but you can find a few that offer various colors if you truly wish to spice up your purchase. On that topic, it’s common within the pressure cooker community for people to personalize their pots with vinyl stickers, so if you are stuck with a color you don’t like you still have this creative option.

Pot Types & Cleaning
Typically, a pressure cooker’s inner pot is either stainless steel or a metal blend with a non-stick inner coating. These both have strengths and weaknesses. If you want something durable, look for a machine that comes with a stainless steel pot. They look good and can often be machine washed. Additionally, stainless steel doesn’t tarnish or affect the integrity of your food flavors or colors. However, removing food can sometimes be more work. Non-stick coated pots are more common and often make it easier to remove food after cooking. However, they can easily get dinged and tarnished after a while. They should also be hand washed to prevent the coating from peeling off, which can happen over time.

To thoroughly clean your device, make sure you remove the sealing ring, as well as the quick release cover. Cleaning these parts reduces food smells and helps your device function properly. Some devices feature a sterilize button, but you do not need to pay extra to get a device that offers this feature – you just need the steam setting. Fill your machine with a mixture of water, vinegar and lemon, then set your device to steam for two minutes and let it depressurize.

You’ll also want to remove and clean the pressure cooker lid and the removable condensation collection cup that attaches on the outside of your machine. Buildup and food particles can make these device work improperly. The steam rack and pans that come with pressure cookers are sometimes machine washable, but you should check your device’s manual to verify. Most rice scoopers and ladles that come with these devices need to be hand washed so they don’t melt.

Warranty & Safety

The average warranty length for pressure cookers is one year, although there are some subpar warranties that only cover 60 days, like the Power Pressure Cooker XL. The best coverage options we’ve seen last for two or three years, which can really give you peace of mind. Some pressure cookers feature a detachable cord, which isn’t necessary but it makes cleaning safer and the device easier to store.

Since pressurizing can be dangerous, these machines use a variety of measures to keep you safe. Make sure the unit you purchase will not pressure cook unless the lid is properly attached. Additionally, when the device is pressurized, the lid should lock and cannot be removed until the unit releases enough pressure. Many of these devices also feature a special fuse which disconnects power if the machine reaches dangerously high temperatures or electrical currents.

“You should never see steam coming out around the sides of the lid," Barbara from pressurecookingtoday.com told us. “If you see steam coming out around the sides of the lid, press the cancel button and determine the problem – usually it's something as easy as the gasket is not in place or seated properly." To keep yourself safe, you should also check the release valve and float valve before cooking to make sure they aren’t blocked by food or other buildup.