Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Which multi-cooker is best?

They look similar, they do a similar job, and they’re often available for a similar price, so you’d be forgiven for wondering what the difference is between the Instant Pot vs the Ninja Foodi. Both ranges of multi-cookers can achieve a great deal in the kitchen, but come in varying shapes, sizes, and models.

We’re about to spell out some key differences, with a comparison of the two most like-for-like cookers: the Ninja Foodi Smart XL 14-in-1 and the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. 

Investing in a pressure cooker is a smart idea. It not only offers pressure cooking, but it’s a stand-in for the best slow cookers, rice cookers, food steamers, and even sous vide machines, effectively giving you a range of kitchen appliances for the price of one  — and freeing up valuable kitchen space in the process. 

You may know the Instant Pot as the original pressure cooker. While that’s not quite true, it certainly reinvented the game and brought the concept of multi-cookers into homes across America. 

In fact, some households even use the words “Instant Pot” and “pressure cooker” interchangeably. While the same can’t be said of the Ninja Foodi, it does bring an extra element that forced Instant Pot to up its game even further. Although it’s great for cooking rice, steaming vegetables, slow-cooking meat, and pressure cooking casseroles in a jiffy, Instant Pot was never competing with the best air fryers until Ninja came along. 

Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Which pressure cooker is best?

(Image credit: Ninja)

Following the launch of the Ninja Foodi, Instant Pot came out with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. This multi-cooker includes an air frying lid as standard to compete with the Foodi. With this in mind, what is the difference between the Instant Pot Duo Crisp and the Ninja Foodi Smart XL?

Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Price

The Ninja Foodi will cost more up-front than the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. The Instant Pot Duo Crisp currently retails at $229.95, while the Ninja Foodi SMART XL is listed at $349.99. That's over $100 difference, so it's worth seeing how the specs compare to see whether it's worth the extra spend.

Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Features

Instant pot vs ninja foodi

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

You can expect all multi-cookers to steam cook, pressure cook, slow cook, and bake, but there are a few extra features that companies such as Ninja and Instant Pot like to add to give it the edge.

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a 13-in-1 multi-cooker. It: 

  • Pressure cooks 
  • Air fries 
  • Sautés 
  • Steams 
  • Slow cooks 
  • Cooks sous vide 
  • Warms 
  • Roasts 
  • Bakes 
  • Broils
  • Dehydrates
  • Makes yogurt
  • Proofs bread

By contrast, the Ninja Foodi SMART XL is a 14-in-1 multi-cooker. It can:

  • Pressure Cook
  • Steam & Crisp
  • Steam & Bake
  • Air Fry
  • Broil
  • Bake/Roast
  • Dehydrate
  • Sear/Sauté
  • Steam
  • Sous Vide 
  • Slow Cook
  • Yogurt
  • Keep Warm
  • Proof

The Ninja Foodi has one more cooking function than the Instant Pot, and this is thanks to Ninja's SteamCrisp tech that can simultaneously steam and air fry. This results in food that is both crispy and juicy, and gives the Foodi a slight edge over Instant Pot in terms of what it can achieve.

Ninja and Instant Pot rival each other with their respective Smart Lids and Ultimate Lids, but Instant Pot's Ultimate Lid wins here thanks to its wi-fi connectivity. Particularly useful for slow cooking, you can monitor your cooking through the Instant Brands Connect App with step-by-step guides and recipes. 

Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Size & dimensions

Ninja foodi

(Image credit: Ninja)

The capacity can make all the difference when comparing multi-cookers. If it’s a case of bigger is better, the Ninja Foodi wins here with its 8-qt capacity, as the Instant Pot's capacity is 6.5 quarts.

But saying that, Ninja and Instant Pot both have plenty of options in their range of multi-cookers. Ninja's smallest Foodi is the Foodi Everyday PossibleCooker Pro at 6.5 quarts, and the largest is the new Combi All-in-One Multicooker that's said to feed up to 8 people. The Combi is not part of Ninja's Foodi range but holds many of the same cooking functions.

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is also available in a 8-qt capacity, which is the biggest size found across their range. The smallest is the Instant Pot Duo Mini, followed by any of the 6-qt multi-cookers, like the new Instant Pot RIO.

Instant Pot vs Ninja Foodi: Our verdict

Realistically, both multi-cookers can achieve similar things in the kitchen. The Ninja Foodi SMART XL technically has one more cooking function, but the results will likely be similar to what you can cook in the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. 

The Instant Pot is more than $100 cheaper, and has wi-fi connectivity for remote cooking, so it's hard to argue with the value for money here. But, the Ninja Foodi has a larger capacity, so it's worth weighing up whether the extra cooking space is worth the steeper cost. 

Dan Fauzi
TTR Features Editor, Large Appliances

Dan Fauzi, former Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews, is a seasoned product reviewer with expertise in tech, homes & gardens, outdoor living, and sports. Dan is currently based in Bristol and holds a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Magazine Journalism. Outside work, Dan enjoys music, art, trekking, and DJing.