Before you impulsively click “add to cart” on that all-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, or yogurt maker, here’s the scoop: the Instant Pot is more than just a single kitchen gadget. It’s a versatile powerhouse.

However, with numerous models to sift through, how do you determine which one will be your ultimate cooking companion? Fret not, as we’re here to simplify the process and highlight the key features that should guide your decision.

What is the Instant Pot Electic Pressure Cooker?

The Instant Pot is an innovative kitchen appliance that allows you to complete many cooking tasks simultaneously. In addition to functioning as a pressure cooker, it can sauté foods, slow cook, make rice, steam vegetables and poultry, and more.

This all-in-one device allows you to brown meat and finish cooking everything in the same pot. Thanks to its fast cooking abilities, many Instant Pot recipes are ready in under an hour.

The Instant Pot is able to cook so quickly through its pressure cooking function. When liquid is added to the pot and the lid is locked in place, steam builds up pressure that gets pushed back into the food.

You can make complete family meals like rice and chicken, beef stew, chili, or even a whole roasted chicken in only 30-60 minutes from start to finish. The Instant Pot is also capable of baking bread and other baked goods through its versatile functions. It provides an easy and time-saving option for home-cooked meals.

Is the Instant Pot a Worthwhile Addition to My Kitchen?

While a slow cooker and rice cooker can handle some tasks, the Instant Pot offers greater versatility by combining the functions of multiple appliances. As a pressure cooker, it significantly reduces cooking times for foods that ordinarily require lengthy simmering or braising. This makes it possible to prepare meals much faster than with a slow cooker alone.

The Instant Pot performs well for cooking rice, though dedicated rice cookers may yield fluffier results, especially for specialty grains. Rice enthusiasts may prefer keeping their rice cooker. However, for casual rice preparations, the Instant Pot produces tasty rice with less hassle.

For those concerned about extra kitchen devices, donating or passing on existing appliances can help avoid clutter. A slow cooker or rice cooker handed down could be appreciated by others just starting their cooking journey and free up space for the Instant Pot’s multi-functional use.

Overall, the Instant Pot offers valuable extra functionality over single-purpose appliances for many home cooks.

Key Considerations to Keep In Mind While Buying an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Size for Your Needs

Instant Pots come in three main capacities: 3 quarts, 6 quarts, and 8 quarts. Each size has pros and cons depending on your household.

The 6-quart Instant Pot is a popular choice as it suits most families. Recipes are often written with this size in mind, and it can generally feed 3-6 people per meal.

Larger families may prefer an 8-quart model for its ability to accommodate larger recipe servings or batch-cooking meals. It’s also well-suited for dishes like turkey or casseroles. More space is required, however.

Smaller kitchens or those cooking for 1-2 can benefit from a 3-quart “Mini” Instant Pot. It takes up less counter space while still providing quick and easy meals for couples or singles.

Control Panel

When shopping for an Instant Pot, it’s important to consider the display and control panel. All models provide multiple cooking functions and controls to enable these various modes. However, some displays are more sophisticated than others.

High-end Instant Pots feature touchscreen displays for easily selecting different programs with the swipe of a finger. Many also include guidance indicators, such as an “OK to open lid” light, to inform the user when it’s safe to remove the sealing lid. The touch controls tend to have a cleaner, more modern aesthetic compared to basic dial interfaces.


Safety should be a top priority when shopping for an instant cooker. While instant cookers are convenient kitchen appliances, they operate under pressure and require careful handling. Instant Pot explosion incidents can unfortunately occur if not used properly.

According to TorHoerman Law, in 2021, a woman experienced severe burns when her instant pot unexpectedly released hot contents. This tragic incident underscores the importance of safety features and controls. When an appliance works under pressure, risks are involved if seals or other components fail.

Look for models with robust safety systems to feel confident in an instant cooker purchase. The lid should seal tightly and have overrides if opened during pressure cooking. Additionally, pressure indicators help users know when the contents have fully depressurized before opening.

Thorough user guides and online tutorials can educate new owners on safe use. Take time to understand all functions to avoid accidents down the road. With careful attention to instructions and recommended practices, instant cooking need not come at the cost of safety in the home. Prioritizing models from manufacturers with good safety records offers additional peace of mind.

Pressure Level Options

Instant cookers give home chefs flexibility in cooking methods. Models vary in their pressure settings to suit different recipes. Some have a single high-pressure option well-suited for most dishes.

Others include low pressure for slower cooking foods like stew. Models with an additional maximum pressure level deliver ultra-fast results for stock or broth. No matter the settings, carefully following guidelines at each pressure level helps prioritize safety.

The conveniences of instant cookers are worthwhile when users feel informed and in control of the pressure cooking process. Choosing a machine with thoughtful safety features offers peace of mind alongside the benefits of fast, hands-free cooking. Safety should always be the top consideration for any kitchen appliance operating under high heat and pressure.

Cooking Vessel Advancements

While every Instant Pot features a stainless-steel (18/8) inner pot equipped with a tri-ply base suitable for sautéing, enhanced models offer extra advantages.

The Instant Pot Pro incorporates an additional layer of 3.5mm thick aluminum for quicker and more efficient heating. Meanwhile, the Instant Pot Pro Plus boasts an inner pot that is both stovetop-safe and compatible with induction cooktops.

In conclusion, there are many great Instant Pot models to choose from. When deciding which one is right for you and your household, focus on features that prioritize safety, functionality for your needs, and ease of use.

Consider the size, control panel design, safety systems, pressure level options, and cooking vessel advancements. Choosing a trusted brand and model with those key areas in mind will lead to many years of safe, convenient, and versatile cooking with your Instant Pot. It’s an investment that can become a trusted kitchen companion.