This article will help you figure out which Instant Pot is best for your needs with easy comparison charts.
I'll even show you the accessories every Instant Pot owner needs in their kitchen!
There are many types of Instant Pots and pressure cookers, so I'll be sure to cover all the pros, cons, and uses for most Instant Pots to help you make your choice easier.
Why are Instant Pots so popular?
The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker with 9-in-1 appliances. The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, a slow-cooker, saute pan, rice cooker, yoghurt maker, steamer, food warmer, sous vide, and sterliser.
The Instant Pot will cook and entire casserole in 20 minutes. It keeps the meat moist and tender but can also cook soups, rice, desserts, cakes, and even Instant Pot cheesecakes.
The Instant Pot is my favourite kitchen appliance by far. I used to love my slow cooker, but now the pressure cooker has taken over as my favourite small kitchen appliance.
Which size of Instant Pot is best?
Photo credit: Instant Pot
The Instant Pot comes in the sizes: mini, 6 quarts, and 8 quarts.
Your first and biggest consideration when choosing your appliance is going to be the size.
The different functions are nice, but you want to make sure you can cook enough food for your whole family, and you don't want to be forced to make more food than you need.
Mini 3 Quart Pot
The mini is perfect if you need to cook for 1-2 people.
The mini is only 3 quarts, so you likely won't be able to cook for a family with kids. It is, however, the perfect size for a college kid or couple who doesn't have a lot of counter space or even a kitchen.
6 Quart Pot
The 6 quart Instant Pot is perfect for feeding 3-6 people. This is the size I use and have been able to make a wide variety of meals for my whole family. It is a decent size am will likely fit on your counter or in a cabinet.
This size is perfect for feeding a small to medium-sized family. However, if you have a family of six that includes 4 hungry adolescents or teenagers, 6 quarts might be too small for you.
8 Quart Pot
Do not underestimate the size of this Instant Pot. It is massive and bulky.
This Instant Pot is perfect for feeding a large crowd or family. You will definitely be able to cook for an entire horde of hungry teenagers with this. I have even been able to fit a medium-sized whole turkey in an 8 quart before.
The 8 quart has a lot of pros, but it has some major drawbacks as well.
It will take up a lot of counter space, it may not fit in a cabinet, and since most recipe you find is designed for the 6 quarts Instant Pot you will likely need to double most recipes to ensure this Instant Pot has enough liquid to come to pressure without compromising the recipe.
So basically unless you are regularly feeding 8 people, I probably wouldn't recommend you get an 8 quart Instant Pot.
Instant Pot size charts
The Instant Pot model you pick will depend on your budget and how tech-savvy you are.
When looking for a model ask yourself are you wanting something as easy as pushing a button on a microwave, or do you want to connect it to Wi-Fi and control it from your phone?
How you answer this question will put you in one of the two categories listed below. However, if you want to view a side-by-side spec comparison of all the models you can find this chart here.
Photo credit: Instant Pot
Why are there so many functions in an Instant Pot?
Is the Instant Pot as easy as a microwave? Yes. Most of the models fall into this category. You simply plug the pressure cooker in and press a few buttons to make it work. This category includes Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Viva, and Ultra.
The main difference between these models in the preprogrammed functions.
Over the years, functions like yoghurt, egg, cake, poultry, beans/chili have been added.
These functions are nice but are not necessary to make most meals. I often cook most meals using the manual/pressure cook function or the steam function. Rarely do I use the other ones.
The only function that can not be duplicated on the manual/pressure cook setting is the yoghurt function.
This button will allow you to run your Instant Pot for long periods of time on a very low temperature and is not found on the LUX models.
Without this function, yoghurt is very difficult to make in a pressure cooker. So if you want to make your own yoghurt but want just a basic model I'd suggest the Duo models or above.
Does it connect to wifi?
This category consists of the Smart Wi-Fi and Max models.
This two high-tech models are only available in the 6-quart size and have unlimited cooking programs. The Smart Wi-Fi model will connect to your phone and can be run through the Instant Pot app where ever you are.
In the app, you can access hundreds of recipes, press a button in the app and it will program your Instant Pot to cook that specific recipe at the time you want it to start, release the pressure for you, and keep the food warm.
You can also program your own recipes into the app.
This is a really nice model if you are frequently running around in an out of the house since you do not need to be home to manually release the pressure. It is also great if you need a family member to get dinner started before you get home.
The Max model is not quite as fancy as the Smart Wi-Fi Instant Pot but it does trade out the buttons in other models for a touch screen. Max has two functions that are unique to these models.
With the Max, you can use the canning function to can anything of any acidic levels. It also features a Sous Vide function that can be used to cook steak at other foods. You will be trading in the steam function in place of the canning and sous vide.
How to chose an Instant Pot
Overall choosing between the models doesn't have to be too overwhelming. When choosing to keep in mind the type of foods you want to cook in it, your lifestyle, household size, and budget.
There are distinct differences between the multi-function pressure cooker models and sizes when it comes to these questions. These are important questions to ask yourself even if you are looking to buy a different brand of an electric pressure cooker.
Which is the most common Instant Pot?
The most common pressure cooker model you will see in recipes is the 6 Quart Duo, so when in doubt you can't do wrong with this Instant Pot.
What Instant Pot accessories do you need?
If you have been here on Ditch The Carbs for a while, you will have seen all the recipes I make using my pressure cooker. I also use all of these amazing accessories.
You need them to make my low-carb pressure cooker cheesecakes, boiled eggs, and even low-carb chocolate muffins.
Want to know the best $5 I ever spent?
It's my little vent for the steam. Yes .. this little baby will vent your steam to go horizontal, not vertical. Why is this useful? Because if your pressure cooker, like mine, sits on my kitchen countertop while I am cooking the vegetables on the stovetop, I can vent the steam release valve across into my kitchen extractor hood!
Easy keto Instant Pot recipes
- Instant Pot chocolate mousse
- Cauliflower soup in the Instant Po
- Instant Pot burrito bowls
- Low-carb meatballs in the Instant Pot
- Poached salmon in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot muffins