Instant Pot Duo Plus
Instant Pot Pro
Instant Pot Aura Pro

5 Best Instant Pots of 2021

These modern pressure cookers do the work of multiple kitchen appliances
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Erica Puisis

Known as an electric pressure cooker or multi-cooker, the Instant Pot is a versatile kitchen appliance that cooks in a fraction of time compared with conventional cooking methods. Its claim to fame is high-pressure cooking, but most models are equipped to handle a variety of cooking functions, including slow cooking, baking, air frying, and more. The Instant Pot is ideal for anyone who is short on time or looking for a hands-off way to prepare roasts, rice, yogurt, and more. 

5 things to know about Instant Pots before making a purchase: 

  1. Capacity: The Instant Pot is usually equipped with a 6- or 8-quart pot, though some models are available as small as 3 quarts or as large as 10 quarts. Larger capacity models are better for batch cooking or big meals but will take up more storage space.
  2. Appliance Functions: This refers to how many different types of cooking tasks the Instant Pot is equipped to do, such as pressure cooking, rice cooking, baking, air frying, sous vide, and more. 
  3. Cooking Modes: Using one-touch buttons, you can select standardized cooking programs to quickly and easily prepare specific items. It eliminates the time and guesswork of selecting individual time, temperature, and pressure settings.  
  4. Pot Material: The Instant Pot has a food-grade stainless steel pot. You can buy additional or replacement cooking pots, including ceramic nonstick versions. 
  5. Accessories: Most Instant Pot models include a steaming rack. Popular accessory bundles (available for purchase separately) include an air fryer lid and basket, an extra sealing ring, steamer basket, and more. 

We’ve compared all of the current Instant Pot models, the features they offer, and factored in price, safety features, and customer reviews and ratings. The best choice for most people is the Instant Pot Duo Plus. This model does the work of nine appliances and includes 15 preset cooking programs. It includes accessory essentials like a steaming basket and an extra sealing ring. No matter what you plan to cook up, check out this list of the best Instant Pots available now.

If you find this helpful, you might also want to check out the Best ToastersBest Pressure CookersBest Slow CookersBest Rice Cookers and Best Air Fryers.

Our Top Picks

See All Top Picks See All
Top Pick
Top Pick
Instant Pot Duo Plus
Best Overall Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo Plus

Manufacturer :
  Double Insight FOB CNBIJ

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Easy-release steam switch
  • Dishwasher-safe pot and lid

Cons

  • Seal absorbs odors
  • No option to save cooking presets

Product Snapshot

Whether you’re a pressure cooker pro or new to this cooking method, the Instant Pot Duo Plus is a great option. It takes the top spot in the brand’s lineup of multi-cookers with a combination of cooking programs and safety features that make it a popular pick. It’s available in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart models. Most families of three to four people will find the 6-quart model to be a good size for meals. The 8-quart model is better for large families, and the 3-quart option is sized right for sides.

This model does the work of nine cooking appliances and includes 15 preset cooking programs. In addition to high-pressure cooking, it functions as a slow cooker, sous vide, and sterilizer. Plus, it can make grains like rice, oatmeal, and porridge or even bake a cake. The addition of an easy-release steam button makes it less nerve-wracking to allow pent-up pressure to escape.

Specs

Appliance Functions
Nine:
Warm
Sauté
Steam
Yogurt
Sterilizer
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Rice/Grain
Pressure Cook
Number of Cooking Programs
15
Size
3-Quart
6-Quart
(or) 8-Quart
Accessories Included
Steamer Rack
Extra Sealing Ring

Where to Buy

Splurge
Splurge
Instant Pot Pro
Best Advanced Instant Pot

Instant Pot Pro

Manufacturer :
  Instant Pot

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Quieter steam release
  • Equipped with the most cooking programs
  • Larger handles make it easier to handle inner pot

Cons

  • Cord is not detachable
  • Air fryer lid is an upgrade

Product Snapshot

For the most well-equipped Instant Pot model, the Pro is the way to go. It features 10 appliance functions and has 28 cooking programs—the most of any Instant Pot model. Plus, you can save up to five of your favorite settings for easy one-touch selection, which isn’t possible with other models.

In addition to featuring advanced cooking functions, the Instant Pot Pro has 10 safety features. It includes a steam release switch that opens or closes the lid vent. And if you’re ever been concerned about the noise of a hissing pressure cooker and the spatter from steam being released, the Pro has a diffusing cover over the steam valve that results in quieter operation and less spray on your counters or cabinets. The Instant Pot Pro is available in 6-quart or 8-quart and, like other models, features a stainless steel cooking pot. What’s different about the Pro is it’s large, silicone handles. This makes it easier to handle the cooking pot and also locks the pot into place. 

Specs

Appliance Functions
Ten:
Bake
Warm
Steam
Sauté
Yogurt
Sterilizer
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Rice/Grain
Pressure Cook
Number of Cooking Programs
28
Size
6-Quart
8-Quart
Accessories Included
Steam Rack
Extra Sealing Ring

Where to Buy

Best Instant Pot for Slow Cooking

Instant Pot Aura Pro

Manufacturer :
  Double Insight FOB CNBIJ

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Dishwasher-safe cooking pot
  • Sauté function allows you to sear meat before cooking

Cons

  • Changing cooking temperatures during slow cooking requires restarting the program

Product Snapshot

While the Instant Pot is best known as a modern pressure cooker, the brand also offers a slow cooker. There is no pressure cooking setting, but this sleek and full-featured multi-cooker has 11 functions, including sauté, sous vide, steam, bake, yogurt, rice, and slow cooking, among others. You can use any of the preset cooking modes or manually adjust the heat and timer to match your recipes. 

This Instant Pot is the best choice if you’re looking for a multi-cooker but don’t plan to utilize pressure cooking functions. If slow and low is your preferred cooking method, then the Instant Pot Aura Pro is your best bet. It’s available in both 6-quart and 8-quart sizes and has an inner pot made from food-grade stainless steel with an aluminum exterior.

Specs

Appliance Functions
Eleven:
Rice
Bake
Stew
Roast
Steam
Yogurt
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Multigrain
Sear/Sauté
Keep Warm
Number of Cooking Programs
11
Size
6-Quart
(or) 8-Quart
Accessories Included
Recipe Booklet
Measuring Cup
Steam-Roast-Sous Vide Rack

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Instant Pot Duo
Best Budget Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo

Manufacturer :
  Instant Pot
InstantPot

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Most affordable Instant Pot
  • Features easy-release steam switch

Cons

  • No anti-spin cooking pot
  • 3-quart model only comes with 11 cooking programs

Product Snapshot

The Instant Pot Duo is the original multi-cooker that ignited the modern obsession with pressure cooking. It also happens to be the most affordable option in the lineup. While it lacks more advanced appliance functions (such as sous vide) and has slightly fewer preset cooking programs to choose from when compared to other Instant Pots, it’s a great entry model for anyone new to using a multi-cooker. 

The Instant Pot Duo is available in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart sizes. Like most other models, it features a stainless steel inner pot that’s dishwasher-safe, along with the lid. Keep in mind that this model doesn’t have an anti-spin cooking pot, which can make it trickier to mix or stir ingredients once they’ve been added to the cooker.

Specs

Appliance Functions
Seven:
Steamer
Sauté Pan
Slow Cook
Rice Cooker
Food Warmer
Yogurt Maker
Pressure Cook
Number of Cooking Programs
13
Size
3-Quart
6-Quart
8-Quart
Accessories Included
Steam Rack

Where to Buy

Best Instant Pot for Air Frying

Instant Pot Duo Crisp

Manufacturer :
  Double Insight FOB CNBIJ

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Features easy-release steam switch
  • Offers cooking functions not available on other models

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Lacks some standard Instant Pot functions

Product Snapshot

If crispy, crunchy textures are what you crave, then the Instant Pot Duo Crisp will meet your needs and is a great replacement for a standalone air fryer. This Instant Pot model is capable of the usual speedy, high-pressure cooking the brand has become known for but adds a unique air fryer lid and basket to make french fries, wings, onion rings, and more. When compared to deep frying, the Duo Crisp uses 95 percent less oil. 

This model does the work of 11 cooking appliances and has 15 preset cooking programs but does omit some of the most common Instant Pot one-touch settings. There is no yogurt or rice cooker button, for example. It’s still possible to cook rice and make yogurt, but you’ll need to use other cooking functions and manually set the time and temperature settings. The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is only available in an 8-quart model, which gives you more room to fry your favorites. However, it takes up more storage space, especially when you factor in the separate air fryer lid and accessories.

Specs

Appliance Functions
Eleven:
Bake
Broil
Sauté
Roast
Air Fry
Sous Vide
Steamer
Slow Cook
Dehydrate
Food Warmer
Pressure Cook
Number of Cooking Programs
15
Size
8-Quart
Accessories Included
Air Fryer Lid
Steam Basket
Broil or Dehydrate Tray
Air Fryer Basket and Base

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Overall Instant Pot
Best Advanced Instant Pot
Best Instant Pot for Slow Cooking
Best Budget Instant Pot
Best Instant Pot for Air Frying
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Easy-release steam switch
  • Dishwasher-safe pot and lid
  • Quieter steam release
  • Equipped with the most cooking programs
  • Larger handles make it easier to handle inner pot
  • Dishwasher-safe cooking pot
  • Sauté function allows you to sear meat before cooking
  • Most affordable Instant Pot
  • Features easy-release steam switch
  • Features easy-release steam switch
  • Offers cooking functions not available on other models
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • Seal absorbs odors
  • No option to save cooking presets
  • Cord is not detachable
  • Air fryer lid is an upgrade
  • Changing cooking temperatures during slow cooking requires restarting the program
  • No anti-spin cooking pot
  • 3-quart model only comes with 11 cooking programs
  • Only available in one size
  • Lacks some standard Instant Pot functions
Appliance Functions
Appliance Functions
Appliance Functions
Appliance Functions
Appliance Functions
Appliance Functions
Nine:
Warm
Sauté
Steam
Yogurt
Sterilizer
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Rice/Grain
Pressure Cook
Ten:
Bake
Warm
Steam
Sauté
Yogurt
Sterilizer
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Rice/Grain
Pressure Cook
Eleven:
Rice
Bake
Stew
Roast
Steam
Yogurt
Sous Vide
Slow Cook
Multigrain
Sear/Sauté
Keep Warm
Seven:
Steamer
Sauté Pan
Slow Cook
Rice Cooker
Food Warmer
Yogurt Maker
Pressure Cook
Eleven:
Bake
Broil
Sauté
Roast
Air Fry
Sous Vide
Steamer
Slow Cook
Dehydrate
Food Warmer
Pressure Cook
Number of Cooking Programs
Number of Cooking Programs
Number of Cooking Programs
Number of Cooking Programs
Number of Cooking Programs
Number of Cooking Programs
15
28
11
13
15
Size
Size
Size
Size
Size
Size
3-Quart
6-Quart
(or) 8-Quart
6-Quart
8-Quart
6-Quart
(or) 8-Quart
3-Quart
6-Quart
8-Quart
8-Quart
Accessories Included
Accessories Included
Accessories Included
Accessories Included
Accessories Included
Accessories Included
Steamer Rack
Extra Sealing Ring
Steam Rack
Extra Sealing Ring
Recipe Booklet
Measuring Cup
Steam-Roast-Sous Vide Rack
Steam Rack
Air Fryer Lid
Steam Basket
Broil or Dehydrate Tray
Air Fryer Basket and Base

FAQ

What is the difference between an Instant Pot and a Crockpot?

Both are brand names of cooking appliances. Instant Pot is best known for its multi-cookers with high-pressure cooking settings, while Crockpot manufactures slow cookers.

Are pressure cookers safe?

Electric pressure cookers, such as the Instant Pot, include a variety of safety mechanisms to reduce the risk of cooking accidents. This has made pressure cookers less likely to explode or cause burns. However, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, such as resisting the urge to fill the pot past half-full or two-thirds full, depending on what you’re cooking. Also, be aware to never cover the steam valve or place your hand over it while the Instant Pot is in use. 

How big of an Instant Pot should I buy?

Choose which size Instant Pot to buy based on your cooking needs and storage space. Generally, the 6-quart model is the right size for families of three or four and provides enough space for a whole chicken. The 8-quart model is a good choice for larger families or for cooking large batches of food. The 3-quart size isn’t available for all models of Instant Pots but is a good size when cooking for one or for making side dishes.