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Instant Pot has totally replaced the word “pressure cooker”. With the increasing use of instant pots and several other Multi-functional pressure cookers, there are a whole lot of recipes listed online from, appetizers to desserts. This comprises any kind of food you want to make.
You might want to buy your first, second or third instant pot, you might have a couple of experience with instant pot but the truth be told, picking an instant pot from the high varieties and option available might be really difficult.
Instant Pot provides different types of multi-functional pressure cookers. Which one is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of each Instant Pot, what it does, how much it cost, and any notable pros and cons. And once you know which Instant Pot is best for you, we also suggest deals from amazon (From which we might make a commission if you buy using our link).
Instant Pot Lux
The Lux is the baseline Instant Pot model, and it’s a good starter pressure cooker. It has six primary functions: Pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté machine, steamer, and warmer. There are 12 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, cake, egg, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, pressure cook, steam, keep warm and slow cook.
One big advantage of the Lux Instant Pot is that you can cook just about anything in it. While the downside, the pot is quite limited compared with the higher- tier model, this means you will have to get even more creative with the recipes to fit the functionality you have in the Lux. It doesn’t have a yogurt function, nor does the Lux have separate high and low-pressure settings. The included steaming rack is also very basic, and it doesn’t have handles.
The Lux is affordable though. The mini (3-quart) version has a retail price of about $65, and you can buy the 6-quart and 8-quart versions for around $80 and $110, respectively. In the 6-quart size, you can even choose between unique colors and floral patterns, although those are priced higher. The Lux comes in a 5-quart version as well. You can typically find the Lux on sale, especially in the 6-quart size.
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This is particularly the most popular model of instant pot. It has less flairs and many more functionalities compared to the earlier mentioned model. It’s perfect for a first time user and awesome for those who already have one or two experience with pressure cooker. The main difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the Lux is that The Duo is a 7-in-1 cooker, instead of a 6-in-1 cooker like the Lux. This practically means that The Duo is a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, sauté machine, steam, yogurt maker and warmer; and it has 14 cooking programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, sauté/searing, steam, rice, porridge, multigrain, slow cook, keep-warm, yogurt, pasteurize, pressure cook.
Another advantage of the Duo over the Lux is that the Duo has both a high- and low-pressure setting, while the Lux only has one pressure setting. The Instant Pot Duo also has quite noticeable improvements in design over the Lux, For example, the Instant Pot Duo has a place to store the lid on its side, a steaming rack with handles (on the 6-quart and higher sizes), and an improved lid design (the lid is easier to open and the steam release valve is a bit easier to secure in place).
These extra advancements in designs and features have a trail in the price though. The 3-quart Duo goes for around $80, the 6-quart retails for around $100, and the 8-quart retails for about $140 or thereabout on amazon. Like the Lux, you can often find the Duo on sale for significantly less than the retail price.
You can also see what other buyers say on amazon.
In 2019, Instant Pot thought they could make some more improvement in the existing Duo. This new Instant Pot Duo Nova has a lot of similarities with the Instant Pot Duo. Like the Duo, it combines seven appliances into one device. It’s a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker.
The most noticeable improvement Instant Pot made in the Duo Nova’s design is in the lid. Instant Pot updated the lid and gave it a smart steam release valve. This means the steam release valve automatically closes when you close the lid, so you don’t have to worry about whether you remembered to seal the valve or whether or not you positioned it correctly. This is really one reason I would go for the Duo Nova anytime over the Duo.
The Duo Nova comes in three sizes: 3-quarts, 6-quarts, and 8-quarts.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is a step up from the regular Duo, and those who make recipes like yogurts and desserts will probably appreciate the Plus. It adds in a few extra programs and features over the Duo.
It’s a 9-in-1 device — with settings that include pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake/egg maker, sauté/searing machine, steamer, warmer and sterilizer. It also has 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, keep warm, and pressure cook.
Instant pot added a large blue LCD display with status icons to indicate the cooker’s status, while the display in the Duo is more basic. Aside the upgrade in the display, the additional cooking programs, and of course, the price, the Duo and Duo Plus are almost the same.
The 3-quart Duo Plus sells for around $100; the 6-quart retails for $130, and the 8-quart retails for $160. This model doesn’t go on sale as often as some of the other IP models.
Initially made as a QVC-exclusive product, the Instant Pot Viva comes in the 6-quart and 8-quart sizes. There’s no mini version available. In the 6-quart size, however, you can choose between different color options like eggplant, cobalt, or cinnamon.
The Viva is a 9-in-1 device — pressure cooker, slow cooker, sauté pan, rice/porridge cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, warmer, cake maker, and sterilizer. It has 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, warm, and pressure cook.
The Instant Pot Viva is similar to the Duo Plus, except it doesn’t have the blue display screen and status icons. The 6-quart model typically sells for around $13
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Instant Pot Nova Plus
A product made out of a collaboration between Instant Pot and Costco, the Nova Plus is only available in the 6-quart size. As of 2019, this model is not as readily available as most of the other IP models.
It’s a 9-in-1 cooker with 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, ferment, warm, and pressure cook. It has a blue LCD display with status icons, and it lets you adjust the settings while cooking is in progress.
The Instant Pot Ultra is a higher-tier pressure cooker with 10 functions and 16 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, warm, pressure cook, and ultra.
The Ultra has a large LCD display with progress indicators, a steam release button for easier manual pressure releasing, and it has a dial that toggles between the different programs. For more advanced recipes, you can customize parameters like altitude, temperature, and time so you can be more exact with your cooking. You can also use this machine as a sous vide cooker.
The Ultra comes in a 3-quart size (usually sells for $120), a 6-quart size ($150), and an 8-quart version ($180).
Currently Instant Pot Ultra has over 4 thousand reviews on Amazon
The Instant Pot Max can pretty much do it all, and it’s ideals for chefs or those who do a lot of pressure cooking. The Max can achieve the full temperature cooking spectrum, whether you’re fermenting ingredients, cooking steak sous vide, simmering a sauce, boiling pasta, pressure cooking chicken, or searing your finished product.
The Max controls the amount of air in the pot, releasing as much air as possible for faster and better cooking. You can even use the Max as a pressure canner. The Max has additional safety mechanisms (13 instead of 10 like many of the other Instant Pot models), and the lid on the Max is dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning easier.
The Max comes in 6-quarts, and it retails for $200.
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The IP Smart Wi-Fi replaced the previous Smart Bluetooth version. You can control it with your phone via the Instant Pot app. The app also has pre-programmed recipes and alerts to make cooking even easier. The cooker has an LCD display and status icons too, so you can easily check on your meal. As of right now, you can’t connect the Instant Pot Smart to Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control though.
The Smart Wi-Fi has 13 different built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, keep warm, and pressure cook. The 6-quart version (the only size available) is sleek and stylish, and it retails for $120.