The best pressure cooker will steam your garlic vegetables or sear your steak to perfection.
To help you find a top rated electric or stove top pressure cooker, there are reviews of popular models and notes about their pros and cons.
>>> Read customer reviews and ratings on Amazon if you know what pressure cooker you want to buy. <<<
If not, here’s a brief summary: An electric pressure cooker is convenient with automated features and is easy to use. They may not last as long as a stove top unit.
A stove top pressurized cooker is more accurate in cooking because it allows manual regulation of the heat. They are better long-term investments, as well.
The best rated stove top heavy pots with airtight lids have replacement parts and repair options available. If a good electric pressure cooker fails after the warranty has expired, it is usually not economical to get spare parts for it and get it repaired.
Guide to buying the best pressure cooker in 2016
Your biggest obstacle is to determine if you want a stove top or electric unit. This depends on your needs in the kitchen.
An electric unit is a set-and-forget setup: You press a few buttons and it turns off when done and keep your dish warm.
This timed, built in heating unit is convenient and easy to use. That’s the biggest value of an electronic cooking vessel.
A top rated stove top pressure cooker offers better control over the heat. This provides the best cooking results because you can sear food, seal it, then cook with pressure.
An electronic unit would require heating up to the right searing temperature, canceling it, and then restarting it to cook it.
Also, these vessels range in sizes — from 4 quart to 23 quart cooking vessels. They also operate in the 8 to 15 pounds per square inch range.
A higher PSI allows for faster cooking times and most recipe call for a 15 PSI value.
Electronic models usually top out at 10 to 11 PSI.
>>> Read customer reviews and ratings on Amazon if you don’t know what is the best pressure cooker for you. <<<
An pressure cooker is an investment rather than just another cookware appliance for your kitchen.
I have a listing of pressure cooker pros and cons.
Good pressure cookers
- Made of light weight aluminum
- Aluminum is a good conductor for heat
- Good choice for occasional use
- Parts such as gaskets, rubber and silicone seals are hard to clean
- Discoloration of the aluminum after use
- Aluminum warps, corrodes, dents, pits, and scratches
- No quick release valve
Better pressure cookers
- Made of stainless steel
- More durable material and not easily damaged
- Longer life
- Doesn’t retain flavor or odors after using
- Gaskets, rubber and silicone seals are easier to clean
- Parts more readily available
- Two settings: High and low pressure
- Has steam release option
- Parts may wear quickly with frequent use
- Higher costs to maintain
- Not as many features as premium units
Best rated pressure cookers
- Made of stainless steel and aluminum clad base
- Heavier and more durable
- Many pressure settings for more accurate temp control
- Accessories like steamer basket or cooking rack
- Easier to use
What size pressure cooker pot should I buy?
The size will depend on your needs. A large quart vessel can cook small amounts of food, but a small unit can’t cook large amounts of food.
- 4 quart models: Suitable for a couple
- 6 quart models: Family size of 3 to 5 people
- 8 quart: Large families
>>> Read customer reviews and ratings on Amazon if you know what model and type you want to buy. <<<
General tips for stove top pressure cookers
Regulation of pressure is crucial. Most recipes call for 15 psi for cooking. You should verify that your unit is designed and can reach 15 PSI.
If not, the general rule of thumb for a 11 to 13 PSI model is to lengthen the cooking time by about 10 percent. Add about 20 percent more time for a 8 to 10 PSI model.
The regulator is essential for determining how accurate the temp is and how the food is being cooked.
There are a few different regulation devices, including weighted valve regulators, modified weighted valve regulators, and spring valve regulators.
Weighted valve regulators
The weighted valve regulator is called the jiggle-top. It is at the top of the vessels vent pipe.
As steam is released during cooking, the jiggle top regulator begins to jiggle back and forth. This means that the food is being cooked and the temp is right.
The beauty of this top is that you can see it moving and hear it. When you don’t hear it, that means the vessel is not pressurized — i.e., nothing’s cooking.
Modified weighted valve regulators
A modified weight valve regulator doesn’t jiggle back and forth. Instead, steam is released in short bursts, which signals cooking has began. This type of regulator requires monitoring and adjustments.
Spring valve pressure regulators
A spring valve regulator is convenient, modern, and expensive. It has a valve that pops up, which confirms the unit is maintaining a consistent pressure.
Adjustments are easily made to keep the unit pressurized at the appropriate level.
Aluminum is affordable, a great conductor of heat, and lightweight.
The downside is that aluminum becomes damaged easily and doesn’t last long.
The best materials are found in 18/10 stainless steel pressure cookers.
The 18/10 stainless steel means that 18 percent of the steel is made of chromium and 10 percent is made from nickel. This combination makes your unit shiny, easy to clean, and durable.
Don’t opt for nonstick pressure cookers. The nonstick surface has a limited life and probably won’t hold up to the pressures in the unit and utensils used.
Handles and cover interlock mechanisms
Handles are important. Remember, your pressure cooker will be hot and heavy with food and liquid.
It is essential to get a top selling pressure cooker with large handles. And there should be handles on each side, which will allow you to move it safely and easily.
The interlocking mechanism on the cover is just as important. You don’t want a model to start pressurizing when the cover is unlocked.
If you’re lazy like me, you can put your pressure cooker in the dishwasher.