Choosing a electric pressure cooker from the plethora of models on the market is no easy task. There are so many factors to consider, so many choices to make. And unless you take the time to educate yourself about what each of the various features mean, chances are you will not be able to make a wise buying choice.
Which is why we have this page about the best electric pressure cooker reviews – to help you cut through the clutter and choose a model that’s good for you.
But first, take a quick look at this comparison table … we have narrowed your choices by listing the best models on the market today, along with all of the important features to help you make the right choice.
Best Rated Electric Pressure Cooker
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The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Buying Guide
Commonly, the term “cooker” refers to a freestanding cooker. But some people also refer to just about every food heating device as a “cooker” – microwave ovens, ovens and sometimes even cooking ranges.
Here, by a cooker we mean a freestanding cooker.
The main advantage of a freestanding cooker is its easy to move around. It gives you a lot of flexibility – more so if you frequently move stuff around in your kitchen. Electric cookers have one advantage over conventional cooktop models that you simply cannot ignore – you can set the timer and walk away, without having to watch them.
You can place an electric cooker against any available wall in your kitchen – as long as you can connect it to the nearest electric socket. You can move it around – or slot it between your cabinets and save counter space.
Depending on the material used for construction, there are two main types you would want to be aware of …
Aluminum or Stainless Steel
Aluminum : Aluminum is cheaper – and lighter than stainless steel, and is a better conductor of heat as well. So cookers made from aluminum are cheaper, conduct heat better, are lightweight and hence easier to move around and can withstand high temperatures. But since the metal is not quite as strong as steel, it cannot withstand the kind of pressures steel can.
Stainless Steel : Steel is a lot stronger than aluminum. Hence stainless steel cookers can withstand higher cooking temperatures and pressures. They are also more durable as well. As you would expect, steel cookers cost more than aluminum models. But since they last longer, these might actually prove to be cheaper over the long run.
Ideally, you would want to buy a stainless steel cooker with a bi-metal clad bottom. In most of the better steel cookers, an aluminum plate is welded to the outside bottom. This aluminum disc significantly enhances the performance of the cooker. With a stainless steel bottom, hotspots can form during cooking and the heat distribution will be uneven. With aluminum, hotspots are avoided and heat distribution is excellent.
How Big A Model Would You Need ?
It’s critical that you know the size of the cooker you would want to buy.
The volume of a cooker is measured in quarts.
1 quart = 0.95 litre
1 quart = 948ml
You would want to note that this measurement considers the total capacity of the canner.But since you will not always be able to make use of the entire capacity, you will always want to buy a model that has more capacity than what you feel you require.
Here are the most common sizes …
4 quart : This is as small as cookers get. If you have to cook for just 1 or 2, this would be the ideal choice.
6 quart : Ideal for 2 to 4 people. Or for small families.
8 quart : This is just what a larger family with a few childdren would need. This would also be ideal if you frequently enertain guests.
10 quart / 12 quart : Most people would not require something this large.
You would want to be aware that the most common size is 6 quart. Hence, the 4 and 6 quart models tend to be the most reliable and well designed – simply because these sell the most. This can be a problem if you want a larger model. Some 8 and 10 quart models are available on the market, but since these do not have the best reviews – either due to reliability or confusing controls, we are not recommending any here.
Features to Look For …
Pressure regulation : You would want to be able to monitor and control the pressure inside the cooker. And most of the models on the market today allow you to do that, and have one of the following three types of pressure regulators : spring valves, weighted valve or modified weight valve pressure regulators. While any of these three types would be good to have, you would want to note that they should be able to support a pressure of at least 15 psi.
Every pressure cooker is provided with a small vent pipe – which is essentially a tiny opening in the top cover whose main function is to let excess steam out of the cooker. The pressure regulator is placed at the top of this vent.
It’s essential that you buy a model with a removable pressure regulator. This would allow you to remove the regulator and clean the vent pipe before cooking. You wouldn’t want the vent pipe to get clogged, and being unable to clean it would make things worse.
Cover Interlock System : This is a feature you simply cannot do without in a pressure cooker. This system prevents you from opening the cover when there is still a high pressure within the cooker. Having a cover lock is an essential feature, and most models these days are equipped with this. Additionally, some models are also equipped with a system that prevents pressure from building up inside the cooker is the cover is improperly closed.
Cooking Rack / Basket : A cooking rack will enable you to cook several types of food at once. You place the rack above the cooking liquid, and in the steamy environment various types of foods can be cooked simultaneously without the flavors getting all mixed up.
Handles : It goes without saying that the handles of the pressure cooker need to be secure, feel comfortable and be designed ergonomically. It would be best if the model has handles on both sides for easy lifting.
Independent Test Approval : Most US cookers bear the seal of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). It’s essential that any model you buy have the seal of an independent testing organization.
There are also a few more things you would want to be aware of …
The inside of most electric cookers have a small liner pot – similar to what you would see in a rice cooker. This liner pot has a nonstick coating which in many cases is flimsy. The coating is not durable in the vast majority of cases. What’s more – these pots are light and not anchored. So when you stir food, they spin around. And sine they do not have any handles, pouring off hot liquids can sometimes feel like a challenge.
The heating elements are not rugged and sturdy – like those you would find in a stove. Browning food can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.
Here’s one key difference between electric cookers are stovetop models you would want to be aware of – electric cookers do not turn off and release pressure after cooking. They switch to “warm” mode. This is usually a good thing because this means they do not always require your constant attention. But if the recipe you are preparing requires quick release of pressure, you will have to vent steam manually and turn the appliance off. This can aloso happen when there is insufficient liquid in the cooker.
If you want a modern, seamless look you would be better off with a electric oven. It’s much easier to blend an electric oven with the rest of your kitchen decor.
Based on the type of fuel used, cookers can be classified into the following types …
Gas Cookers : These are responsive and fast. You can cook food pretty fast – and can cook each dish at a speed appropriate to the dish. If you choose to buy a gas cooker, you would wnat to ensure you buy one with a flame failure device. The FFD cuts off the gas supply automatically when the flame is turned off – or goes out for whatever reason. This is an invaluable safety feature – one you should not compromise on.
Electric Cookers : These are slower when compared with gas cookers. But electric fan ovens are faster than gas cookers – and these have one pretty significant advantage over gas moidels as well . With a electric fan oven, it’s possible to cook multiple dishes with strong flavors – and the flavors do not get transferred.
Dual Fuel Cookers : These are the best kind. The speed of gas, and the advantages of the lectric fan ovens.
Range Cookers : These are much larger, and suitable if you need to frequently prepare food for several people. They typically have a double oven, 8 gas burners and a large work hob.
Cookers with Double Ovens : With these, you get two ovens – and can use each independent of the other. The oven at the bottom is usually a electric fan oven and the one at the top is a conventional oven.
Integrated Ovens : Regardless of the type of cooker you choose to buy, you would want to consider whether it would be good to have a built in oven. You can have one installed in one of your kitchen cupboards – giving a clean, seamless appearance to your kitchen.