5 Best Instant Pots (2021) Comparison, Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Instant Pot Pressure Cookers of 2021
Best Instant Pot Pressure Cookers of 2021

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Are you on the hunt for the Best Instant Pot in the market?

The good news is we’ve already combed through all the Instant Pot Pressure Cookers the brand is selling, even those classic ones.

To set the record straight, let’s be clear about InstaPot and Instant Pot. InstaPot is a common misspelling of Instant Pot, but they do mean the same thing. Some also call it Instant Cooker and the brand occasionally abbreviate it as simply IP.

In this guide, we’ll be using those terms interchangeably.

On the bright side, the Instant Pot pressure cooker line is not too complex. In fact, there are only five options to choose from if we’re looking at their most recent products. It’s just going to be a simple question of how much cooking capacity your household requires.

After reading this guide, you’ll have all the necessary information to pick the best multicooker that will complement your needs and budget.

Without further delay, here are the Best Instant Pots of 2021.

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 InstaPot. Or, we can continue exploring your options down below.

Top 5 Best Instant Pot Pressure Cookers

#1 Instant Pot Pro Plus – Best Overall

Instant Pot Pro Plus, The Best Instant Pot

This year’s Best Instant Pot is undoubtedly the Instant Pot Pro Plus. It’s their latest product and, at the same time, the third iteration of their smart pressure cooker line.

Their very first take on smart multicooker was the Instant Pot Smart Wifi. It was okay, but the app was horrible. The new Instant Brands app is way way better, loaded with thousands of follow-along recipes. Design-wise, it’s crisp and user-friendly, giving me the Yummly vibe.

Instant Brands App
Instant Brands App Screenshot

Anyways, let’s focus on the capabilities of this amazing electric pressure cooker. Apart from pressure cooking, you can also slow cook, sauté, steam, cook rice, can (pressure can), sous vide, and make yogurt with it.

This particular InstaPot also has a Nutriboost feature to complete the 10-in-1 cooking functions.

One of its best features however, is over-the-air venting. Instead of turning a knob or pushing a button, you can manually release the pressure from the Instant Brands app. How cool is that?

Another thing that I need to mention is it’s one of a few electric pressure cookers that can reach 15 psi. Having a higher pressure means that it’s capable of pressure canning, and faster cooking time.

The only downside about the Pro Plus is it’s only available in 6-quart, plus I also have to warn you that it’s not compatible with the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid. We’re going to talk about this accessory in a bit.

However, for its price, it’s definitely worth it.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Pro Plus here.

#2 Instant Pot Duo Plus – Best Cheap InstaPot

InstaPot Duo Plus, Stainless Steel/Black

Now, if you don’t fancy a smart pressure cooker, the Instant
Pot Duo Plus
would be your next best choice. But, we can’t talk about it without briefly discussing the original Instant Pot Duo.

The Instant Pot Duo has been their all-time best-seller up to this day. It’s hard to explain, but it’s still their most popular product by a wide margin. The brand kept updating its features and released a product line under the Duo umbrella to keep up with the demand.

You can find out more about it in this review.

In our opinion, the IP Duo Plus is the best Duo model there is. It comes with a safer vent release, more cooking functions, and the control panel is more intuitive than the previous model.

Unlike our #1 Best InstaPot, the IP Duo Plus comes in three pot sizes. It’s available as a Duo Plus Mini (3-quart instant pot), Duo Plus 60 (6-quart instant pot), and Duo Plus 80 (8-quart instant pot).

If you’re planning to get the air fryer lid as an upgrade later on, the 6-quart model is 100% compatible.

The best part, however, is it’s one of the cheapest Instapot.

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

#3 Instant Pot Pro Crisp – Best Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

Instant Cooker Pro Crisp Multi-cooker

I’ll state the obvious; the air fryer feature is certainly the best aspect of the Instant Pot Pro Crisp. Simultaneously, it has the most built-in cooking functionalities of all Instant Cookers. On paper, it’s 11-in-1, but after counting all of its features, it’s actually a 16-in-1 kitchen appliance. Hence, it has a lot more to offer than its advertised capabilities.

Instant Pot has built a cult following, but air frying has taken the world by storm. With the Instant Pot Pro Crisp, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds. You have a pressure cooker with multiple cooking functions, and at the same time, you have a healthier way to fry foods.

Depending on the model you bought, if it’s a 6-quart model, there’s a good chance that it’s compatible with the Instant Air Fryer Lid.

While it’s a good option, it will only work with a selection of 6-quart Instant Pot Pressure Cookers.

Should you need a bigger capacity, that’s where the Instant Pot Pro Crisp will come into play. It’s an 8-quart pressure cooker that can take on hefty proportions.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Pro Crisp here.

#4 InstaPot Max – Best Digital Instant Pot

InstaPot Max, Silver

If the Pro Plus had not been released, the Instant Pot Max should have been our best InstaPot. Then, I should have bought it instead of the Max 60.

I have been using my IP Max for a couple of months now, and I’m so happy with it. There’s just one instance when the automatic release didn’t work. I restarted it multiple times to get it unstuck. Perhaps, the cause could have been food debris, since I forgot to wash the lid the day before.

At least I can share that you need to keep your vent clean to prevent that issue from happening.

Anyway, what I love about my Instant Pot Max is its touchscreen interface. One unique feature it has is you can set the elevation. You see, the boiling point varies by altitude. Having the option to precisely set the elevation will make your pressure cooker more efficient.

I know that’s a lot to digest, but I promise you, it’s not that hard. As a matter of fact, it took me weeks to figure it out, so you are not alone.

What it shares from the Pro Plus model is its maximum pressure, it can also handle 15 psi. This feat make the IP Max as the second Instant Cooker that can pressure can.

Like its newer sibling, it’s only offered as a 6-quart pressure cooker.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Max here.

#5 Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid – Best Attachment

Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid, Black

Now, let’s talk about the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid.

I know it’s not a proper InstaPot, but it’s a multi-cooker on its own. On top of the multiple cooking functions, the air fryer lid also offers six in total—air fry, broil, bake, roast, dehydrate, and reheat.

Instead of buying a separate air fryer, why not buy this accessory for your Instant Pot? It’s a cheaper option, and at the same time, it will save you a little bit of counter space.

But, before clicking that purchase button, these are the only models that will work with the air fryer lid accessory: 6-quart IP Lux, 6-quart IP Duo, 6-quart IP Duo Nova, 6-quart IP Duo Plus, 6-quart IP Duo Gourmet, 6-quart IP Viva, 6-quart IP Nova Plus, and 6-quart IP Ultra.

On the other hand, the Smart WiFi 60, Duo Evo Plus 60, Duo SV 60 or Max 60 are not compatible with it.

As an alternative option, you can buy a model with a complimentary air fryer lid. We talked about the first option, the Pro Crisp. Your next best choice is the Duo Crisp.

You can read the full review of Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid here.

Compare Instant Pots

The top 5 models above are indeed the best pressure cookers from the brand. However, there are actually more than ten models available at Amazon, including the classic ones. We’ll briefly touch each product in this comparison table, and if you want to learn more, there’s a link to its respective product review.

If you want to compare InstaPots side by side, this comparison table is a surefire way to know the difference between each multicooker. We made it as simple and as concise as possible.

IP Pro Plus

Get at Amazon →
NEW! InstaPot Pro Plus (full review)
The Best Instant Pot of 2021
✔ 10 core cooking functions with infinite smart
programs accessible via the Instant Brands app
Smart multi-cooker (connects to your phone)
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Can sous vide
✔ Suitable for pressure canning
✔ With stovetop compatible handled inner pot
✔ Touch interface
✔ Compatible with Quick Cool tray
for faster pressure release
✘ 6 quarts only
✘ Not compatible with air fryer lid accessory
IP Max

Get at Amazon →
Instant Pot Max (full review)
✔ 9 core cooking functions and smart programs
Adjustable elevation setting
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Suitable for pressure canning
✔ Touch interface
✔ Can sous vide
✘ 6 quarts only
✘ Not compatible with air fryer lid accessory
IP Pro 10-in-1

Get at Amazon →
InstaPot Pro (full review)
✔ 10 core cooking functions with 28 smart programs
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ With stovetop compatible handled inner pot
✔ Programmable (5 extra favorite programs)
✔ Can sous vide
✔ Available in 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with Quick Cool tray
for faster pressure release
✘ Not compatible with air fryer lid accessory
IP Pro Crisp

Get at Amazon →
Instant Pot Pro Crisp (full review)
✔ 11 core cooking functions and smart programs
Air Fryer Lid included
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ With stovetop compatible handled inner pot
✔ Can sous vide
✘ 8 quarts only
IP Duo

Get at Amazon →
The Original InstaPot Duo (full review)
✔ Available in Star Wars Edition
✔ 7 core cooking functions with 13 smart programs
Most affordable option
✔ Available in 3, 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
✘ Traditional pressure release
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide
IP Duo Plus

Get at Amazon →
Instant Pot Duo Plus (full review)
✔ 9 core cooking functions with 15 smart programs
Best Budget
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Can sous vide
✔ Available in 3, 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
IP Duo Crisp

Get at Amazon →
InstaPot Duo Crisp (full review)
✔ 11 core cooking functions with 8 smart programs
Air frying lid included
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Can sous vide
✔ Available in 6 and 8 quarts model
IP Ultra

Get at Amazon →
InstaPot Ultra (full review)
✔ 10 core cooking functions with 16 smart programs
Amazon exclusive
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Available in 3, 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide
IP viva InstaPot Viva (full review)
✔ 9 core cooking functions with 15 smart programs
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Available in 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
✔ Can sous vide
IP Lux, Silver Instant Pot IP Lux (full review)
✔ 6 core cooking functions with 12 smart programs
Oldest model
✔ Traditional pressure release
✔ Available in 3, 5, 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
✘ Manual sealing
✘ No sous vide
✘ Discontinued
IP Duo Evo Plus

Get at Amazon →
Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus (full review)
✔ 8 core cooking functions with 48 smart programs
Faster natural release
✔ Automatic sealing + safer pressure release
✔ Can sous vide
✔ Available in 6 and 8 quarts model
✔ Compatible with Quick Cool tray
for faster pressure release
✘ Not compatible with air fryer lid accessory
✘ Discontinued
IP Nova

Get at Amazon →
InstaPot Duo Nova (full review)
✔ 7 core cooking functions with 14 smart programs
The only one with 10-qt capacity
✔ Automatic sealing vent + safer pressure release
✔ Available in 3, 6, 8 and 10 quarts model
✔ Compatible with air fryer lid accessory
(6-quart model)
✘ No sous vide
✘ Discontinued

This comparison chart pretty much sums up all the available Instant Pot Pressure Cookers in the market. As I told you a while ago, we have not included Costco-exclusive product such as the Instant Nova Plus, Instant Duo SV, and the Instant Duo Guormet. These multi-cookers are only available as preloved items at eBay.

What to consider when buying an Instant Cooker?

Budget

kitchen budget

The most expensive multicooker from the brand is the Pro Crisp, but it will just cost you more than two hundred bucks. On the lower end of the spectrum, the cheapest Instapot title belongs to the classic Duo, hovering around ninety dollars at the time I’m writing these reviews.

IMHO, it’s not a huge investment considering all the techniques it will add to your home-cooking arsenal. It’s one of those kitchen appliance that will give you the best bang for your buck.

Safety

One question I have in mind before buying my first multicooker is, “Will it explode?” After months of using it, I feel pretty safe now. The chance of Instant Cooker explosion is never zero, but if you think about the multiple safeguards it has, you’ll have a better sense of security.

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

These ten safety features include 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.

If you opt for the IP Pro, IP Ultra, or the IP Pro Plus, they also include overheat protection.

But one thing that I need to mention is, don’t pick a pressure cooker with a pressure release that is integrated into the vent itself. There’s a slim risk of getting burn injuries from it, but I won’t take that chance. This inconvenience is the very reason why I’m not too fond of the IP Lux or the original IP Duo.

Capabilities

Newer models usually have 9-10 core cooking functions. But if you’re looking for an electric pressure cooker with the most automatic programs, that recognition belongs to the Instant Pot Pro with 28 built-in smart presets.

It’s supposedly the Duo Evo Plus with 48 preprogrammed cooking functions, but the brand has already replaced it with the Pro model.

The least that you need to consider is if you’ll be needing the sous vide and pressure canning feature and if you’ll upgrade to the optional Air Fryer lid later on. There are only a few models that offer those capabilities.

instant pot capabilities

Capacity

The most popular capacity is the 6-quart Instant Pot. It’s perfect for a medium-sized household, plus it’s the only size that will work with the Air Fryer Lid attachment.

If you’re buying it for your dorm or apartment, a 3-quart Instant Pot is your best option.

8-quart Instant Pots are the most generous in terms of capacity. However, at one point, the brand released a 10-quart model in the Duo Nova collection. If you have a big household, or perhaps buying this pressure cooker for a catering business, 8 to 10-quart cooking capacity will definitely give you enough room for bulk recipes.

Inner Pot Design

Instant Pot Inner Pot with Handle

This feature isn’t a big deal, but I really find sautéing with my Instant Cooker Max a little challenging. Tossing your ingredients in a tall container that you can barely reach is not that convenient.

Well, guess what?

Newer models such as the Pro Plus, Pro, and the Pro Crisp offer an ergonomic pot. It has a built-in handle with heat protection. In addition, it’s stove stop compatible so that you can do your sautéing in a less-awkward position.

Smart Features

You also have to decide if you’ll need a smart multi-cooker or you’re okay with the traditional buttons. I prefer kitchen appliances with a touch screen interface, but some favor the classic push buttons. It’s just a matter of preference.

If you’re on the techie side, there are only two models with a touch interface—IP Max and IP Pro Plus.

Maintenance

Thankfully, cleaning your electric pressure cooker is something that you should not worry about. Washing the inner pot is very straightforward; just make sure you don’t lose any of its small components.

Don’t believe me? Watch this quick video demonstration.

There will be times when you’ll have to face tough-to-remove grease, but filling your inner pot with soapy water overnight always does the trick.

Are Instant Pots really worth it?

If you have a rice cooker at home and you’re also deciding on getting a pressure cooker, or maybe, an air fryer. Well, you can have all those functionalities in one kitchen equipment.

Without mentioning all the cooking techniques it offers, I believe it’s worth every penny. Buying a multicooker is definitely an excellent investment.

Just in case, here’s the best of the best Instant Pot Pressure CookerInstant Pot Pro Plus.

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