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5 Things To Consider Before Buying an Instant Pot

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We’re sure by now that most people have heard of the wonder cooker that is an Instant Pot. If you haven’t heard it even in passing, then it’s definitely time to crawl out of the rock you’re hiding under because this device may just be the saving grace that your kitchen is missing. 

An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. However, unlike your usual pressure cookers, this one comes with a variety of programs and settings that allow you to just press buttons, let your food cook, and walk away from it. The Instant Pot is also more than just a pressure cooker — this appliance can cook almost everything under the sun. Pot roast, yogurt, rice, vegetables — you name it. There are some exceptions. But really, you can toss in almost any food that you like and the Instant Pot will get to work with it. 

While the Instant Pot sounds like a fantastic appliance, it’s also something that may or may not be for everyone. In this article, we’ll be talking about the things one should consider before getting an Instant Pot and whether it’ll suit your kitchen needs or not. We’ve also included a short Instant Pot model buying guide in this article. Check it out!

Is an Instant Pot Really Worth It?

Pressure cookers are kitchen appliances that work by creating heat under a tight seal, allowing the temperature to be much higher than the boiling point of water and preventing steam from escaping. Just like pressure cookers, Instant Pots are specialized devices that can do a multitude of things. 

Many people who own Instant Pots consider their appliances to be game-changers. But for those who are considering if it’s worth it, the Instant Pot can be worth it in several cases. The Instant Pot can be your all-in-one cooker, replacing your rice cooker, steamer, or even your slow cooker. 

If you’re someone who wants to cook meals in a faster way, the Instant Pot can be your saver. This kitchen appliance also has several cooking programs to aid you in your kitchen adventures. If you’re thinking twice about getting an Instant Pot, we made a list of things that you should consider before buying one.

Things To Consider Before Buying an Instant Pot Over a Pressure Cooker

Kitchen appliances are a great help in the kitchen, and the Instant Pot could become your cooking companion as well. However, before buying such products, here are some things that you should consider to make the best decision.

Size

Size does matter, especially with Instant Pots. There are four sizes available to choose from: 3-quart, 6-quart, 8-quart, and 10-quart Instant Pots. Among those four, the most popular choice seems to be the 6-quart Instant Pot as it’s medium-sized and can feed about 3-6 people. If you’re cooking for a large household or cooking for a party or doing meal prep, you might want to consider the 8-quart and 10-quart Instant Pot sizes. If you live alone or if there’s only two of you in the household, the 3-quart Instant Pot model is the most ideal. 

Cooking Time

Despite the “instant” in its name, an Instant Pot isn’t a magic trick that you can conjure meals with just a snap of a finger. What the Instant Pot does though is to cook things fast. The Instant Pot requires a couple of minutes to build up steam that can be strong enough for pressure cooking, and then you can start with the actual pressure cooking. 

You might be slightly disappointed that the Instant Pot won’t magically make your dishes in a matter of seconds, but it does an incredible job in making pressure cooking easier to do and manage. As an example, an Instant Pot can cook a brisket or pulled pork in under an hour, which isn’t something that you can really do with a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. 

Features

The Instant Pot is pretty much your wonder multi-cooker in the kitchen. As Instant Pots are pressure cookers, they’re great for recipes that need pressure cooking. Instant Pots can also be used for sauteing or pan frying as it has a saute function. 

There’s also a slow cook function that allows the Instant Pot to let off more steam than the usual pressure cook function. Instant Pots can also be used for cooking frozen foods quickly, and for rapidly cooking dry foods such as beans or brown rice. 

Cooking without the use of oil is also possible with the Instant Pot. Because Instant Pots use steam, they’re good for people who would like to avoid cooking using oil, butter, or any fat. The Instant Pot is also good to use as a vegetable steamer. You can even use an Instant Pot to meal prep ingredients for your other recipes. For example, you can use it for cooking potatoes before frying them. 

Last but not the least, perhaps the most important benefit of the Instant Pot is its safety features. Most people are terrified of using a pressure cooker because it could quickly turn from a good appliance into an exploding device that could harm the household. An Instant Pot has more safety and security measures than a pressure cooker. You can safely cook using an Instant Pot without worrying for any accidents to happen.

Smart Programs

Instant Pot models have the same multi-cook functionality and the like, but a lot of them also differ in their smart programs. Each Instant Pot model has a minimum of four built-in smart programs, making it a versatile appliance. These smart programs include:

  • Pressure Cook
  • Slow Cook
  • Saute
  • Keep Warm.

There are also Instant Pot models on the higher end that have additional smart programs such as Sous Vide, Broil, Dehydrate, Air Fry, and more. 

With its multi-cooking functionality, Instant Pot also provides access to a multitude of Instant Pot recipes. You can explore their wide range of recipes and make everything — from side dishes such as mixed vegetables and avocado corn salad, to main dishes such as sweet soy pork ribs, mushroom risotto, honey baked ham, and more. The possibilities are endless. 

Price

Instant Pots can be affordable, especially when you buy them during holiday sales. While Instant Pot prices can vary, the majority of them go for around USD 50 to USD 70. Higher-end models can be priced anywhere from USD 80, and even go as high as USD 150, depending on the model and the included smart programs.

Still, even if you only buy the classic Instant Pot, it’ll only set you back USD 50 and slightly higher, making it a budget-friendly, affordable pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooking device and more.

What is the Best Instant Pot to Buy?

Instant Pot LUX Mini main image

Every Instant Pot model includes a display panel, buttons, a lid, a pressure valve, a steam release valve, a plastic collector cup, a stainless steel or non-stick inner pot, a sealing ring, and a steamer rack that can keep your food raised. 

While they are more or less the same physically, a lot of Instant Pot models differ in what they offer. You might find it daunting to go through all of the available ones out there, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Here’s our Instant Pot buying guide! We’ve listed down some of the best models for you to consider.

The Instant Pot Duo is the classic, beginner-friendly pot that can steam, saute, make rice, and more. Available in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart sizes, this one has 7 basic smart programs you need to make your dishes at home. Additionally, the Duo can also double as a yogurt maker. Imagine making yogurt right in the comfort of your home. Amazing, right? 

The Duo Nova is quite similar to the Duo. While they have the same smart programs, the Duo Nova differs in the way that it’s equipped with an easy-seal lid, a simple steam release, a cooking progress indicator, and an LED display panel. Moreover, the Duo Nova is the only pot that is offered in a 10-quart model. 

Here’s the upgraded version of your standard Duo pot. With 10 built-in programs, the Duo Evo Plus takes it up a notch by having a blue LED display panel and an even better interface. This one is available in 6-quart and 8-quart sizes.

If you want more power with your pot, the Instant Pot Duo Plus may be the one you’re looking for. It’s a pot that has more cooking programs, such as Egg, Cake, and Sterilization. It also has a wide blue LCD screen, bigger than the other pot models. It comes in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart sizes.

This model stands out from the rest as this is the only one that can air fry food. It has built-in 11 smart programs and is only available in an 8-quart size. Similar to the other though, it has advanced safety features and can give you access to more than 1,000 Instant Pot recipes.

Here’s a pot that can be paired with your smartphone! The 6-quart Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi allows one to create their own recipes on their phones and upload them to the pot. One needs to be within 30 to 45 feet of the Instant Pot to maintain the wi-fi connection. As for cooking, it can do everything that the Duo can; their difference is that this one comes with three Keep Warm temperatures.

The Ultra is quite similar to the Instant Pot Duo Plus series. Their difference lies in the way that the Ultra allows a user to have a custom cook control on all settings. You can warm, slow cook, and pressure cook according to your preference. 

Due to that, this one has slightly more advanced controls than other models and may not be friendly for beginners. The Ultra also has an auto-closing pressure valve that streamlines the process, aiding in the safety of pressure cooking food.

Instant Pot Nova Plus

This one was a Costco exclusive that is no longer being sold in stores. However, you may come across it on Amazon. The Nova Plus has the same functions and programs as the Duo and has the blue LED screen of the Duo Plus. It gives the user a Duo Plus experience without paying the same price tag.

Check out our guide to the Best Instant Pot Rice Cookers to find the best model for your household. 

When Can I Buy an Instant Pot?

The best time to buy an Instant Pot is during major sale events and holiday sales. As mentioned earlier, depending on the model, size, and features, Instant Pots can go from USD 50 to above USD 100. Major sale events slash down prices on Instant Pots by a whole lot. You can save yourself USD 20 or even USD 40 by finding the right deal. 

Where is the Best Place to Buy an Instant Pot?

Amazon has the best deals and prices when it comes to Instant Pots. You can take a look at our Instant Pot reviews to get a deeper insight into the products and find the best Instant Pot suitable for your home.

We hope that this article was able to help you out in considering an Instant Pot! Once you have this handy helper in the kitchen, you’ll be able to make magic with your food.

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Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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