Instant Pot took the kitchen appliances market by storm, and with so many cooking functions, a vast amount of free one-pot recipes available online, and a cult-like following, you might be ready to see what all the fuss is about. A dizzying 17 models exist in the Instant Pot family, and we’re here to help you figure out the best one for your cooking needs.
While Instant Pots all look overwhelmingly similar on the outside, they aren’t all created equal. Different models are better for different kinds of cooking, whether you’re using it as a slow cooker, steamer, or for sauteing. If you’re looking for an Instant Pot that performs specific food functions such as cooking eggs, making yogurt, or even canning fruit, you’ll need to know which models can actually do that. Here are our favorite and best instant pots model for getting meals on the table in a jiffy.
Instant Pot Lux:
Sometimes, fewer bells and whistles are better. This is your basic 6-in-1 multi-cooker: It pressure cooks, slow cooks, makes rice, sautés, steams, and has a “keep warm” setting. The key feature this Instant Pot lacks is the ability to pressure cook on low. The Lux is only able to pressure cook on high, but for the average home chef, this shouldn’t get in the way of your meal prep — just make sure to use the built-in timer to avoid overcooking anything.
The Lux will still save you tons of time (hours, really) when cooking dishes like chili, stew, or hearty cuts of meat. Do note that if the idea of making your own yogurt is part of what’s drawing you to purchase an Instant Pot, you’ll be disappointed to know that this model doesn’t include that setting.
The DUO and DUO PLUS Series ($70 to $130)
These are the most popular models on the market today and can be found in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart sizes. Apart from all the basic functions present in Lux models, they can also be used to make yogurt and cook at low pressures.
Instant Pot Smart WiFi
This is the Tesla of Instant Pots. The Smart WiFi multi-cooker has many of the extras that other Instant Pot models offer along with the addition of WiFi connectivity, which allows you to set, monitor, and control your cooking from virtually anywhere. It also comes with more than 750 pre-programmed recipes that you can peruse via the Instant Pot app.
When your dish is nearly done, you’ll receive an alert on your smartphone and can even send your recipes and cooking results to your family. Cooking function-wise, this 8-in-1 model is more similar to the Duo or Duo Plus (rather than the Ultra), though it does have three different “keep warm” temperature settings.
The ULTRA (From $150 Upwards)
These models stand out for providing higher capacities than their counterparts. Well known as the 10-in-1 cooker, they can handle all the cooking tasks. The cooking time, temperature, pressure level, and even a time delay can also be programmed in for the perfect personalized recipe, which is a great selling point to many people.