Our Top Pick for 2018: Kuhn Rikon Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker
Read our full review.
Pressure cookers have been a beloved kitchen appliance since the 17th century. Of course, the appliance has changed a lot over the course of several hundreds of years, but the basis of the pressure cooker has remained the same. It is a device that is designed to cook food at a faster rate of time by sealing the food in a container that allows you to cook food more quickly without losing vital nutrients in the cooking process. Pressure cookers from today have some features that we would have never imagined years ago, and it is hard to decide which ones are important to have. This guide gives you a look at some of the common features of a pressure cooker as well as a few options for you to consider. Sit back, relax and consider the pressure cookers that we have researched for you.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
|Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Stainless-Steel Stockpot Pressure Cooker - 8.4-Qt||479 Reviews||$195.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Calphalon Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, 6-quart||44 Reviews||$185.90||Buy on Amazon|
|Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker||3,831 Reviews||from $43.54||Buy on Amazon|
#1. Kuhn Rikon Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker
Our gold pick, which is the Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, is a kitchen appliance that stands out from the rest of the pressure cookers. The company has been bringing innovative cookware to the world since 1899, and this pressure cooker is truly a beautiful appliance. It has a stylish design that features an almost completely round pot. It has a coned top, and angular handles to break up the cylindrical monotony. This eight quart pressure cooker has a 12 inch circumference and it stands about 11 inches high. It is designed to be used on a stove top, so the pot is only about nine pounds. This pressure cooker is also available in other sizes too, such as five quarts, six quarts, or seven quarts.
Our gold pick is a very versatile pressure cooker, so it can be used on electric, gas, ceramic, and induction cooking surfaces. It is made from an 18/10 stainless steel mixture that is fitted with an aluminum sandwiched base, where the aluminum induction layer is placed between two stainless steel ones. The all metal construction makes this a durable pressure cooker that will last for years.
This unit uses a spring valve to release the pressure inside the pot, which can be seen at the top of the lid. The pressure is designed to automatically release when it reaches 17.4 psi, which will keep the pressure in the pot at a steady 15 psi. There is also a secondary pressure release valve that can be used on the lid in the event that the first one fails or malfunctions. This pressure cooker also has a self locking silicone gasket that is designed to expand when steam and pressure begins to build. In addition, there are also two safety vents that can release the pressure inside the pot if all of the other safety features happen to fail. With all of these safeties in place, there should be no reason to have a mishap in the kitchen.
The inside of the pressure cooker is designed with fill lines that inform you when the pressure cooker is filled half of the way as well as three fourths of the way full. This is a great tool to utilize when you are making a specific recipe that you want to stick to. This unit is designed to cook food much faster than regular cooking methods, but it also uses about 70 percent less energy than cooking with a traditional method, which means that a month of pressure cooking could save you a lot on your energy bill.
This pressure cooker is extremely easy to clean, partially due to the self cleaning pressure release valve feature. Even though the valve does clean itself, be sure to check for any blockages before cooking in the pot. If you fail to check the valves the steam may be unable to escape the pressure cooker. The rest of the unit is designed to be washed by hand, which may be an inconvenience for some. This pressure cooker does include a ten year warranty as well as a cookbook to get you started with ideas to create in the pressure cooker.
When it comes to reviews, 91 percent of all of the reviews posted on Amazon were positive four or five star reviews. Many of the consumers love how easy this unit is to clean and that the design of this pressure cooker is unique from the other styles that they have encountered in the past. Here is an example of a five star testimonial from a happy consumer: “I love my Duromatic pressure cooker and constantly use their recipe for risotto. In seven minutes flat we produce a dish as good as any cooked fresh in Italy. Something that usually takes hours to do right is reduced to minutes. This is the safest and most quiet pressure cooker we have ever tried.”
#2. Fagor Duo 8-Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker
Our silver pick is manufactured by Fagor, which is a company that has been making quality appliances since 1956. The Fagor pressure cooker is an eight quart stovetop device, but it is also available in four, six, or ten quarts if those sizes better fit your needs. The pot is about 17 inches long, 11 inches wide, and ten inches high and it only weighs ten pounds, so it will be easy to maneuver around the kitchen.
The unit is made from an 18/10 mixture of stainless steel, which is a durable combination that will last for years. The base of the cooker is a tri-plate sandwiched aluminum construction, which means that there is a layer of aluminum between the layers of stainless steel that will provide a great heat inductor for the cooker.
At first glance, this pressure cooker looks like a traditional saucepan, but then you will notice the gauges located on the handle. Firstly, the handle is a safety locking device, so make sure to line up the handles before utilizing the push switch on the handle to lock them in place. Once they are locked and pressure begins to build inside the cooker, the lid will not be able to be removed until the pressure is released. The second knob on the handle is designed to help you achieve that goal when the time is right. The three settings on this knob are a steam release, a low pressure setting of eight psi, and a higher pressure setting of 15 psi. There is also a helper handle that is located on the opposite side of the pot. In addition, these handles are designed with a stay cool technology that allows you to handle the unit while it is hot without the use of a hot pad.
You can use this pressure cooker on any stovetop cooking surface, including electric, gas, ceramic, and induction cooking tops. As a safety precaution with this appliance, there are also two release valves that work independently of each other to release the steam if the main pressure release malfunctions. There is a visual indicator on the handle to let you know that the pressure inside the pot is still high, so you will know not to attempt opening the pot.
Inside the unit there are indicator lines that can be used to know how full the pot can be filled to cook properly. You will need to have the food you are cooking as well as a certain amount of water in the cooker to produce enough steam to properly cook the food. This method of cooking is said to decrease the cooking time of traditional cooking by up to 70 percent, which is a huge time saver, especially if you spend half the time cooking each and every day.
Insofar as cleaning is concerned, this pressure cooker is designed to be simply wiped clean. If the appliance requires more cleaning, it can be placed in the dishwasher for simplicity. This device comes with a stainless steel steaming rack to give you more options as well as a recipe book that has plenty of ideas inside for you to try. In addition, the purchase of this product comes with a ten year warranty that will cover the cost of repairs or replacement should any be required.
When it comes to reviews, 81 percent of the 830 reviews that have been posted on Amazon are at least a four star quality. Many of the consumers are happy that this product has a durable construction that is designed to last. Here is an example of a five star review from Amazon: “This ten Qt Fagor Pressure Cooker has become one of my favorite pieces of cookware. I can cook bean soup from dried beans in an hour or less. I can cook tender, tasty roasts from the less-expensive cuts of meats with only 15 to 20 minutes of pressure. I really like that it is easy and safe to use. Ten quarts gives enough room for a generous amount of whatever you’re cooking.”
#3. Calphalon Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Calphalon, which is the manufacturer of our bronze pick, has been making top of the line appliances since 1963. Their durable products have become a mainstay in many kitchens, and their stainless steel pressure cooker is no exception to their quality. This pressure cooker is a six quart unit that is great for any kitchen. It has a diameter of 11.8 inches and a height of 10.8 inches, so you will be able to easily feed a family of two or three individuals with this pressure cooker. In addition, it only weighs about nine and a half pounds, so you won’t have to worry about hefting the unit around the kitchen.
This pressure cooker is designed to be a versatile piece of cookware that can be used on all types of cooking surfaces, including ceramic, gas, electric, and even induction. It is constructed from stainless steel that has a layer of aluminum sandwiched into the base. This helps heat up the cooker more quickly to give you the desired effect of cooking the food twice as quickly as traditional stove top cooking methods.
Most pressure cookers have a lid that needs to be aligned properly to lock in place; however, this model is designed to be easy to use, which means that the need to make sure the lid is placed exactly right has been removed. This unique feature allows you to place the lid on the pot in any position and as the pressure builds the lid will automatically be secured and locked into place.
The Calphalon pressure cooker uses a spring loaded pressure indicator to help you keep track of the amount of pressure that is building up inside the pot. There is a knob to adjust the cooker to a high or a low pressure setting as well as a release dial that can let some of the pressure out when it becomes too high inside the pot. This means that you can start out at a higher temperature and lower it as you are cooking. In addition, this unit comes with a 12 year warranty that stands behind the solid construction and the durability of this pressure cooker.
When it comes to reviews for this pressure cooker, 82 percent of the reviews posted on Amazon received a positive rating. Here is an example of a five star testimonial: “I love my pressure cooker. I cook a lot of Puerto Rican food and when my family calls me at the last minute telling me that they are coming over, all I have to do is put everything in my Calphalon. It’s easy to handle and to clean.”
#4. Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers can be a bit on the pricey side, and considering that our first three options are all over $100, you need an alternative option that will be better for a budget conscious individual. Our last pick, which is the Presto pressure cooker, is a six quart pot that fits that bill completely. It is a pressure cooker that has a 9.8 diameter, and it is 19 inches high. It only weighs about seven pounds, so it is extremely easy to handle. If this size is a bit large for your needs, it is also available in a four quart size. When compared to traditional cooking methods, this pressure cooker can prepare food three to ten times faster than any other method of cooking. In fact, you can make a delicious chicken cacciatore in just eight minutes.
This unit is completely comprised of a stainless steel material, save for the layer of aluminum that is sandwiched into the base, which means that it is a durable piece of cookware that you will have for years to come. It is a versatile appliance that is designed to be used on induction, ceramic, electric, and gas cooking surfaces. The pressure cooker is designed to look similar to a typical sauce pan, but it has a pressure locking lid that cannot be opened when the pressure inside the pot is above a certain level. On the top of the lid, you will notice a jiggle top pressure indicator. In addition, this unit has a traditional handle as well as a helper handle, which is designed to give you an extra place to handle the pot when it is hot.
Insofar as cleaning is concerned, this pressure cooker can basically be washed by hand after use, but if the pot needs more attention to get clean, then you can simply place it in the dishwasher. It comes with a 12 year warranty to cover any malfunctions that the unit may encounter as well as a recipe book that includes 65 meals for you to try. When it comes to reviews, there are almost 3,000 on Amazon, and 87 percent of them are positive four or five star reviews. Here is an example of one five star review expressing how quickly this pressure cooker prepares meals: “I couldn’t believe it even cooks some traditional Asian meal in less than 35 minutes (ten min heating + 15 minutes cooking + 10 minutes cooling), which normally takes me 2-3 hours and tastes so fantastic.”
How many people are you going to be feeding when you cook in your pressure cooker? Remember that steam is what builds pressure, so you will need a pressure cooker that is capable of holding enough water to create the pressure the recipe calls for. Some of the more common sizes are four quart pressure cookers, six quart pressure cookers, and eight quart pressure cookers. A good middle ground is a six quart pressure cooker, but if it is just you, a smaller option may be more ideal. On the other hand, if you have a large family, a larger pressure cooker may be needed.
There are also larger options available for really large families. They can be used for family or community gatherings, but these larger sizes are often used to pressure can fruits, vegetables, and meat. If you need a larger pressure cooker, they can be purchased in 16 quarts, 18 quarts, and even up to 23 quarts.
Every pressure cooker has a method of maintaining the pressure that is in the pot and regulating how the pressure is released. Most recipes call for 15 psi, which is the standard amount of pressure that most cookers can utilize. It your cooker does not operate at 15 psi, then you will not be saving as much time as you could be. It is best to have a removable pressure valve if possible, that way you can clean it and make sure the area is not clogged in any way. There are three types of pressure valves that you should consider, which are:
• Weighted Valve – This type of pressure valve is often called a jiggle top, which comes from the pressure gauge rocking back and forth when the pressure gathers in the pot. A slow rock will keep the pressure level at 15 psi, and if it becomes higher, the steam will gently be released to maintain 15 psi.
• Modified Weighted Valve – This type of pressure valve is similar to a weighted valve, but it does not rock to release the steam. Instead, it allows the steam to escape in short bursts that will keep the pressure level at 15 psi. With this style, you may need to cook at a slightly lower temperature, which will help ensure that the pressure is maintained.
• Spring Valve – This method of monitoring the pressure in the pot uses a small pop up valve. You cannot hear these valves like the other two options, so you will have to watch the indicator to know what the pressure inside the pot is. Typically, pressure cookers with pop up valves tend to be the more expensive option.
Handles and Safety Locks
Starting with the handles of a pressure cooker, you will want to have handles that are secure and comfortable to hold. A large pot should have a handle on each side to ensure that it does not become too heavy to carry and maneuver with one hand. You also want a device that locks the lid to the pot itself, which is secured at the handle in most situations. This safety feature prevents pressure from building up when the lid is not properly latched, which can be a disaster in the making. If the main pressure release malfunctions for some unknown reason, there is typically another on the device to release some of the pressure so that you can open the lid.
Aluminum, Stainless Steel, or Non-Stick
Aluminum pressure cookers are great heat conductors, but they do not tend to be as durable as other options. They can be a great short term solution if you need a low cost pressure cooker. Stainless steel is a more durable option that will provide you with years of use, but it will not conduct heat well. The best pressure cooker will have a durable stainless steel body and an aluminum heating element on the bottom. Non-stick pressure cookers are never a great option, especially since this cooking method involves high cooking temperatures. These temperatures could cause the coating to chip off into the food that you are eating, which can be detrimental to your health.
Cost and Warranty
These cookers can range in price from about $50 to a few hundred. The price will, of course, depend on the features that are present on the device and the size of the unit you select. Figure out what features are must haves for you and see if you can find a model in your price range with those features. You will also want to purchase a pressure cooker from a company that backs its products. It is not uncommon for a high quality pressure cooker to come with at least a ten year warranty.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
As you can see, a pressure cooker can be an appliance that becomes an essential part of your kitchen. It provides a fast and convenient way of cooking that does not take a lot of effort on your part. Most recipes are simple to complete, if your model has the right features. Consider the top picks that we have provided for you and see if they fit your needs. While debating which option is best for your kitchen, you may find a device that will feed your family for years to come.