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Best 3 Quart Instant Pots (2022) Small Yet Functional Pressure Cookers

Are you looking for the best 3 quart Instant Pot for your studio apartment or perhaps your dorm?

For the average household, 6-quart Instant Pots are just the perfect size. It can make 5-6 servings in one go. But, if you’re a student, living independently, starting to build a family, or simply if you don’t have that much space, a compact Instapot would be good enough.

By the way, the brand also refers to their 3-qt electric pressure cooker line as Instant Pot Minis, or they’ll simply append 30 at the end of the product name.

So, when you see an Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini or an Instant Pot Duo Plus 30, you’re looking at a 3-quart (2.84 L) compact electric pressure cooker.

With that said, here are the best small Instant Pots of 2022.

That’s the condensed version of this buying guide. You can click on any of the links above to read the full review of each Instant Pot. Or, you can carry on and read the brief review of each small electric pressure cooker down below.

Top 3 Quart Instant Pots

3 Qt Instant Pot Duo Plus – Best Overall

The Best 3 Quart Instant Pot, IP Duo Plus

The Instant Pot Duo Plus line is the upgraded version of the classic Duo Series, with a safer pressure release, more cooking functions, and a more refined look.

Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini or Duo Plus 30, is the 3-qt version of the best-selling (Duo Plus) pressure cooker.

Why is it the Best Small Instant Pot?

Compared to other compact pressure cookers from the kitchen appliance manufacturer, the Duo Plus 30 is as capable as its 6 or 8-qt sibling. No feature was spared in this compact configuration. Whatever the size you’re getting, you’ll have access to 15 smart programs.

You won’t have that advantage with the Duo Mini nor the Ultra Mini. The brand stripped down two automatic programs from these smaller variants.

The Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini has nine core cooking functions—pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté/searing pan, sous vide, sterilizer, and food warmer. Hence, it’s also called the 9-in-1 Instant Pot.

You can read the full review of the 9-in-1 Instant Pot Duo Plus here.

3 Qt Instant Pot Duo – Best Cheap

Instant Pot Duo Mini, Stainless Steel/Black

The 3 quart Instant Pot Duo Mini or the IP Duo 30 is the cheapest among the three compact pressure cookers. I have to note that this model is a classic, but it’s been retrofitted with the newest features since it was released almost a decade ago.

Well, except for the upgraded vent release and sous-vide function.

Despite not having those features, Instapot Duo Mini is still a skillful multicooker. You can still take advantage of its seven main cooking functions—pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, cook rice, yogurt, and food warmer.

IMHO, those functions are pretty adequate if you’re just starting out. Having sous-vide program is nice, but it’s not as necessary as pressure and slow cooking.

Here’s a demo video of the IP Duo Mini.

You can read the full review of the 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo here.

3 Qt Instant Pot Ultra – Best Premium

Instant Pot Ultra Mini, Silver

Instant Pot Ultra Mini or simply the IP Ultra 30 could have been on top of this best small Instapot roundup if it’s still in stock. The last time I checked, it’s no longer available at Amazon or even the Instant Brands shop.

Hopefully, the company will restock it or release a newer version of this portable digital pressure cooker.

The IP Ultra collection is the predecessor of the Instant Pot Max, which comes with a touch screen interface and a convenient turn dial. It’s a more elegant and user-friendly solution than the traditional buttons.

One fantastic feature it has is the Ultra Mode. That’s where you can access its sous vide feature by dialing in the proper settings. Technically, you can program as many cooking presets as you want with this compact pressure cooker.

IP Ultra Mini is only available as a preloved product at Amazon, but you may still be able find a new one on eBay.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Ultra Mini here.

3 Qt Star Wars Instant Pot

3 quart Star Wars Instant Pot

For Star Wars fans out there who are also into cooking, you might fancy this BB-8 mini pressure cooker. It’s based on the classic Instant Pot Duo grandfathering seven core cooking functions—Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Sauté, Steamer, Rice, Yogurt, and Warmer

Though it’s not as high-end as the 3 quart Instant Pot Ultra, the good news is it’s still available as a brand new product.

Just so you know, BB8 is the smallest among the Instant Pot Star Wars Catalog. You can also get R2D2, Darth Vader, Storm Trooper, and Little Bounty in a much bigger cooking capacity.

Overall the BB8 Instant Pot is a novel mini pressure cooker with a lot to offer.

You can read the full review of Star Wars Instant Pot here.

3 Qt Instant Pot Duo Nova

3 quart Instant Pot Duo Nova

The Instant Pot Duo Nova Mini is more like the protege of the original Instant Pot Duo. It also has seven cooking functions like the BB8 Instant Pot and 13 smart cooking programs.

It can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, cook rice, help you make yogurt, and keep your food warm.

However, I have to mention that it’s no longer being sold as a new product. Instead of taking the original Instant Pot Duo’s place, the brand has been updating its classic models with new features.

As a matter of fact, Instant Pot Duo has already been refreshed for five times while the Duo Plus is on its third version. My point is, you can’t go wrong with those two classic small instant pots.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Duo Nova here.

3 Qt Instant Pot IP Lux

3 quart Instant Pot IP Lux

Speaking of classic, nothing on this list is older than the Instant Pot IP Lux Mini. The brand has discontinued this product, but I still have to mention it on this comprehensive list of 3-quart Instant Pots.

After the brand released its first Instant Pot back in 2010, Instant Pot IP Lux took the spotlight. It’s available in 8 qt., 6 qt., 5 qt., and 3 qt. cooking capacity.

It’s a 6-in-1 electric pressure cooker that can also slow cook, make your favorite rice, steam, sauté and keep your food warm. One thing that’s missing from this list is the yogurt function.

In any case you want this classic model, it’s still available at eBay as a used product.

You can read the full review of the 6-in-1 Instant Pot IP Lux here.

Compare Small Instant Pots

If you’re still having second thoughts on which 3 quart pressure cooker to pick, perhaps this comparison table might help you decide. We made it as clear and concise as possible and easier to read on mobile devices.

Those with asterisks (*) were already discontinued by the brand.

3 quart IP Duo Plus
Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini (read full review)
Upgraded model with more cooking functions
Can reach higher pressure
Automatic sealing vent + safer pressure release
9-in-1 pressure cooker
15 smart programs
With sous vide function
3-quart IP DuoInstant Pot Duo Mini (read full review)
✔ Most affordable option
✔ Classic model
✔ 7-in-1 pressure cooker
✔ 11 smart programs
✘ Traditional pressure release
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide function
3 qt IP UltraInstant Pot Ultra Mini (read full review)
Programmable + digital interface
Can reach higher pressure
Automatic sealing vent + safer pressure release
10-in-1 pressure cooker
14 smart programs
Can sous vide using the “ultra” mode
BB8 Instant PotBB8 Instant Pot (read full review)
✔ 7-in-1 pressure cooker
✔ 11 smart programs
✘ Traditional pressure release
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide function
3-qt Instant Pot Duo Nova*Instant Pot Duo Nova Mini (read full review)
✔ 7-in-1 pressure cooker
✔ 12 smart programs
Automatic sealing vent + safer pressure release
✘ No sous vide function
✘ Discontinued
3 quart Instant Pot IP Lux*Instant Pot IP Lux Mini (read full review)
✔ Classic model
✔ 6-in-1 pressure cooker
✔ 10 smart programs
✘ Traditional pressure release
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide function
✘ Discontinued
This table compares all Instant Pot with 3-quart models by their number of functions and smart features.

What to consider when buying a Mini Instant Pot?

Budget

Here’s a thing: You’ll only get a small discount when opting for a smaller Instant Pot.

budget graphics

At the time I’m writing this buying guide, the price of a 3 quart Instant Pot Duo Plus is just the same as a 6-quart model.

IMHO, you’ll get the best bang for your buck on a 6-quart Instant Pot. It offers a bigger capacity, and you also have the option to upgrade to an Air Fryer lid later on.

However, if space doesn’t allow you to get a full-sized pressure cooker, that’s a valid reason to get a more compact model.

Safety

If you’re concerned about your safety when operating a pressure cooker, you are not alone. The risk is never zero, but most modern electric pressure cookers have a multitude of features to keep them from exploding.

instant pot pro lid with arrow
Pressure release switch located farther away from the vent

For Instant Pots, it includes these ten safeguards—close lid detection, leak protection, anti-block vent, automatic temperature controls, high-temperature warning, pressure detection, automatic pressure control, excess pressure protection, extreme temperature and power protection, and pressure regulator.

Some models like the IP ProIP Ultra, or the IP Pro Plus are also equipped with overheat protection.

In conclusion, operating an electric pressure cooker is generally safe. However, this doesn’t exempt you from reading the product manual.

Capabilities

There are just a few Instant Pot Minis. To be exact, there are just six of them, and only two are available as brand new products—the Instant Duo Plus Mini and the Original Instant Duo Mini.

IP Ultra Mini is the most capable machine among those six options. It’s a 10-in-1 kitchen appliance with 14 smart programs. The “ultra mode” is more like a programmable function where you can adjust the pressure, temperature, and cooking duration.

However, it’s such a bummer that it’s only available as a used item. You’re lucky if you can score a new one.

instant pot capabilities

Inner Pot Design

Sadly, there aren’t any compact Instant Pot that offers this convenient pot design. It’s only available with the IP Pro Plus, IP Pro, and IP Pro Crisp.

Smart Features

Another downside of a 3 quart Instant Pot is there are no smart models in this size category. But as a consolation, the Instant Pot Ultra Mini offers a modern touch screen interface just like the Instant Pot Max.

Maintenance

Cleaning your electric pressure cooker can be a daunting task, but it’s one that you should not worry about. The inner pot is very straightforward to wash, plus the lid is dishwasher safe.

Here’s a quick demonstration on how to clean your pressure cooker.

Over To You

In our opinion, every household should own a multicooker. The pressure cooking function alone will pay for itself in no time. Instead of waiting for hours, your can tenderize your meat in 10 to 20 minutes.

Now, if your kitchen doesn’t have much space for a massive kitchen appliance, a 3 quart Instant Pot would be your best option.

With that said, I’m leaving you with our best small Instant PotIP Duo Plus Mini.

FAQs

What is the smallest Instant Pot?

Dimension-wise, the smallest Instant Pot is the IP Duo Mini, followed by Instapot Ultra Mini, and lastly Instapot Duo Plus Mini. The size differences are subtle, so mainly, they all have a minor footprint than other pressure cookers.

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