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Which Instant Pot should you buy? All of the models compared

Erika Rawes

The name “Instant Pot” has become synonymous with multi-functional pressure cookers. You can find a number of Instant Pot recipes online for dinners, desserts, appetizers, and virtually anything else your heart desires.

Are you thinking of buying your first Instant Pot? Perhaps you’re in the market for a second, third, or even a forth Instant Pot? Whether you have experience using Instant Pots or not, it can be tough to choose one when there are so many options available. Instant Pot offers multiple different types of multi-functional pressure cookers. Which one is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of each Instant Pot, what it does, how much it cost, and any notable pros and cons.

Instant Pot Lux

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

The Lux is the baseline Instant Pot model, and it’s a good starter pressure cooker. It has six primary functions: Pressure cooker, sow cooker, rice cooker, sauté machine, steamer, and warmer. There are 12 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, cake, egg, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, pressure cook, steam, keep warm and slow cook.

On the plus side, you can cook just about anything in the Lux. On the downside, you have to get creative with some recipes because the pot is a bit more limited than the higher-tier models. It doesn’t have a yogurt function, nor does the Lux have separate high and low-pressure settings. The included steaming rack is also very basic, and it doesn’t have handles.

The Lux is affordable though. The mini (3-quart) version has a retail price of $65, and you can buy the 6-quart and 8-quart versions for $80 and $110, respectively. In the 6-quart size, you can even choose between unique colors and floral patterns, although those are priced higher. The Lux comes in a 5-quart version as well. You can typically find the Lux on sale, especially in the 6-quart size.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Duo

Jenny McGrath/Digital Trends

The Instant Pot Duo is the most popular Instant Pot model, and it’s one of our favorites. It can do a lot without having too many frills, so it’s a good pressure cooker for those who want to try their hand at pressure cooking or those who have experience pressure cooking. The major difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the more basic Instant Pot Lux is that the Duo is a 7-in-1 cooker, instead of a 6-in-1 cooker like the Lux. The Duo is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steam, sauté machine, yogurt maker and warmer; and it has 14 cooking programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, sauté/searing, steam, rice, porridge, multigrain, slow cook, keep-warm, yogurt, pasteurize, pressure cook.

The Duo does have both a high- and low-pressure setting, while the Lux only has one pressure setting. The Instant Pot Duo also has slight improvements in design over the Lux, like a place to store the lid on the side of the pot, a steaming rack with handles (on the 6-quart and higher sizes), and an improved lid design (the lid is easier to open and the steam release valve is a bit easier to secure in place).

These extra features and design enhancements are reflected in the price though. The 3-quart Duo retails for $80, the 6-quart retails for $100, and the 8-quart retails for $140. Like the Lux, you can often find the Duo on sale for significantly less than the retail price.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Duo Nova

which instant pot should you buy duo nova

This is the 2019 edition of the Instant Pot multicooker. Like the Duo, it combines seven appliances into one device. It’s a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker. One big improvement Instant Pot made in the Duo Nova’s design is in the lid. Instant Pot updated the lid and gave it a smart steam release valve. This means the steam release valve automatically closes when you close the lid, so you don’t have to worry about whether you remembered to seal the valve or whether or not you positioned it correctly.

The Duo Nova comes in three sizes: 3-quarts ($80), 6-quarts ($100), and 8-quarts ($120).

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Duo Plus

amazon instant pot deals duo plus 60

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is a step up from the regular Duo, and those who make recipes like yogurts and desserts will probably appreciate the Plus. It adds in a few extra programs and features over the Duo.

It’s a 9-in-1 device — with settings that include pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake/egg maker, sauté/searing machine, steamer, warmer and sterilizer. It also has 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, keep warm, and pressure cook.

The Duo Plus has a large blue LCD display with status icons to indicate the cooker’s status, while the Duo has a more basic display. Outside of the display design, the additional cooking programs, and of course, the price, the Duo and Duo Plus are very similar.

The 3-quart Duo Plus sells for around $100; the 6-quart retails for $130; and the 8-quart retails for $160. This model doesn’t go on sale as often as some of the other IP models.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Viva

Initially made as a QVC-exclusive product, the Instant Pot Viva comes in the 6-quart and 8-quart sizes. There’s no mini version available. In the 6-quart size, however, you can choose between different color options like eggplant, cobalt, or cinnamon.

The Viva is a 9-in-1 device — pressure cooker, slow cooker, sauté pan, rice/porridge cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, warmer, cake maker, and sterilizer. It has 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, warm, and pressure cook.

The Instant Pot Viva is similar to the Duo Plus, except it doesn’t have the blue display screen and status icons. The 6-quart model typically sells for around $130.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Nova Plus

A product made out of a collaboration between Instant Pot and Costco, the Nova Plus is only available in the 6-quart size. As of 2019, this model is not as readily available as most of the other IP models.

It’s a 9-in-1 cooker with 15 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, poultry, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, ferment, warm, and pressure cook. It has a blue LCD display with status icons, and it lets you adjust the settings while cooking is in progress.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Ultra

instant pot post christmas sales ultra 3 qt 10 in 1 multi use programmable pressure cooker

The Instant Pot Ultra is a higher-tier pressure cooker with 10 functions and 16 built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, egg, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, sterilize, yogurt, warm, pressure cook, and ultra.

The Ultra has a large LCD display with progress indicators, a steam release button for easier manual pressure releasing, and it has a dial that toggles between the different programs. For more advanced recipes, you can customize parameters like altitude, temperature, and time so you can be more exact with your cooking. You can also use this machine as a sous vide cooker.

The Ultra comes in a 3-quart size (usually sells for $120), a 6-quart size ($150), and an 8-quart version ($180).

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Max

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The Instant Pot Max can pretty much do it all, and it’s ideals for chefs or those who do a lot of pressure cooking. The Max can achieve the full temperature cooking spectrum, whether you’re fermenting ingredients, cooking steak sous vide, simmering a sauce, boiling pasta, pressure cooking chicken, or searing your finished product.

The Max controls the amount of air in the pot, releasing as much air as possible for faster and better cooking. You can even use the Max as a pressure canner. The Max has additional safety mechanisms (13 instead of 10 like many of the other Instant Pot models), and the lid on the Max is dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning easier.

The Max comes in 6-quarts, and it retails for $200.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon

Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi

amazon instant pot deals smart wifi 6 quart electric pressure cooker silver

The IP Smart Wi-Fi replaced the previous Smart Bluetooth version. You can control it with your phone via the Instant Pot app. The app also has pre-programmed recipes and alerts to make cooking even easier. The cooker has an LCD display and status icons too, so you can easily check on your meal. As of right now, you can’t connect the Instant Pot Smart to Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control though.

The Smart Wi-Fi has 13 different built-in programs: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, cake, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, keep warm, and pressure cook. The 6-quart version (the only size available) is sleek and stylish, and it retails for $120.

Buy one now from:

$49 from Amazon