Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove-top Pressure Cooker

By May 24, 2012
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Our customers ask whether electric pressure cooker is slower than stove-top pressure cooker.  Someone claimed that stove-top cooker can be 2~3 times faster in reaching working pressure.  This may be possible with a gas-stove.  However the majority of North American families use electric stoves. We decide to run a test on this typical scenario.

Test equipments:

  • Instant Pot IP LUX60 heating stage 174x180 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    Instant Pot IP LUX60 at the heating stage

    Instant Pot IP-LUX60: 1000W, 6L inner pot. Plugged-into an electronic power meter (Kill-A-Watt P4400).

  • T Fal Safe 2 on Maytag electric range 180x135 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    T-Fal Safe 2 on Maytag electric range

    T-Fal Safe 2 Model 3271 stove-top pressure cooker, 6L capacity, which likely has a pressure rating of 11psi.

  • Maytag SuperCapacity Plus electric range with glass ceramic cooktop, coil element power rating: 2100W
  • Thermoworks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen, accuracy +/-0.4°C (0.2°F).

Test conditions:

  • Fill both Instant Pot and T-Fal with 3 liter tap water at 13.6°C
  • Set to cook at full pressure for 10 minutes. The “Manual” mode of Instant Pot was used.

After running multiple tests, the following is the results:

  • Instant Pot IP-LUX60 took 23:30 ~ 24:15 (minutes:seconds) to reach working pressure 11.6psi.  Hold pressure for 10 minutes. Total power consumption 0.35~0.36 KWH.
  • T-Fal on Maytag electric range took 24:05~24:50 to reach pressure (steam release started leaking steam and rotating).  Afterwards, power was turned down to 30% to maintain the pressure. Total power consumption based on the power rating: 0.945~0.974 KWH.

In conclusion,

  • The stove-top T-Fal + Maytag electric range take about 20~30 seconds longer to reach working pressure than Instant Pot IP-LUX60.
  • Instant Pot IP-LUX60 uses around 63% less electricity than the T-Fal in this specific test.

There are two possible explanations regarding the electricity consumption:

  1. The glass ceramic cooktop reduces heating efficiency. The whole stove was warm and the T-Fal radiated heat along the way. That’s where the energy had gone.
  2. curved 3 ply bottom of InstantPot cooking pot 180x68 Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove top Pressure Cooker

    Curved 3-ply bottom of Instant Pot stainless steel cooking pot

    Instant Pot has two layers of air insulation, which minimize energy leakage. The bottom of its inner pot is curved inwards which fits tightly on the heating element curved outwards. Thermal conduction is excellent.

When we first designed Instant Pot, the intention is to make it fast in terms of convenience.  A press-a-button set-and-forget smart cooker is our objective.   Now heating efficiency makes Instant Pot faster than stove-tops on an electric range.

Comments

13 Responses to “Which is Faster: Electric vs Stove-top Pressure Cooker”

  1. Teresa Graham says:

    I LOVE the instant pot and use it more than I use my Elite, although most times I use both. The reason I use the Elite is for the capacity. It is 8 quarts and I find I can use it for larger quantities when I am having guests.
    Has Instant Pot ever considered a larger capacity pot?

    [Reply]

    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Hi Teresa,

    Yes, we have considered larger capacity. This is postponed due to lack of market demand. 6L/6.28Qt is the sweet spot at the moment. We’ll product larger capacity cooker in the future.

    [Reply]

  2. Donna says:

    “… the majority of North American families use electric stoves…” Maybe in Canada, but in the U.S., which last I knew was part of North America, we prefer gas stoves, which heat up much faster and cost less. And where natural gas is not available, propane.

    [Reply]

    Razzy Reply:

    Americans may prefer gas, but I suspect a greater percentage of Americans use electric ranges rather than gas as electricity is likely to be available in a greater percentage of homes than would gas. Also though the majority of of Americans likely do use electric ranges most of these ranges do not have glass ceramic cooktops.

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    I don’t know what you are basing your assumptions on, but I have lived in the U.S. all of my 55-year life, and I have never had an electric range, and I do not know anyone who does. Most people here will not buy a home that does not have gas (especially for clothes dryers since electricity for this would be outrageously expensive).

    I currently live on a street that is not serviced by the gas company, so we have propane tanks for gas stove and clothes dryer.

    [Reply]

    Razzy Reply:

    I was basing my comments on an assumption and I’ve also lived in the US all my life and I’m even older than you are :-) . The only time I’ve had access to a gas range was during my growing up years as that’s what my mother had. However I have found some data to support my contention: http://www.energyguide.com/library/EnergyLibraryTopic.asp?bid=tva&prd=10&TID=25755&SubjectID=10167
    “Electricity is still the most common energy source for cooking, accounting for 61% of all ranges in the US.”

    “Electric resistance coil cooktops have long been the standard in the U.S. Gaining in popularity are solid disk, radiant, halogen, and induction elements. These smoothtop cooking surfaces have been popular in Europe for years, but it is only recently that sales have reached 20% share of the electric market.” And my guess is these will continue to become more and more popular in the U.S. and that that 61% figure will go up. There are times in my life I’d have preferred to have a gas range, but it just wasn’t feasible. However now that I’ve become aware of induction cooking, that’s what I’d choose given a choice.

    I have no idea where you live, but I doubt that many people where I live have gas clothes dryers. Personally I know of none. I’m not saying there aren’t some, I just don’t know of any. Consumer Reports in an article last updated in July of 2012 wrote that “Consumer Reports now tests only electric dryers, which account for about 80% of the models sold”.

    Virgil Reply:

    Well, in the part of South Dakota I live in we use propane for winter heating and electricity for stoves and other major appliances due to the fact that natural gas lines cost more to route to where I live than it is to hook into an REA supported transmission line and propane not very cost effective for dryers and stoves. Larger cities have natural gas lines due to population base to offset the cost of pipeline routing and servicing. Out in the more rural areas where I live there is more cost v return before the natural gas companies make their break even point. And with the cost of propane, it is cheaper to just use it for one major appliance than for two or three.

    Kathy Reply:

    No one in my family or half my friends has ever used anything but electric range. I would have no clue how to work or cook on a gas stove. I have lived all my 56 years between PA and GA USA.

  3. Eli says:

    It is basically cooking in a thermos. I love these electric pressure cookers, I have two electric ones now (a five-and-a-half quart, and a two quart), and rarely use my two stove top pressure cookers anymore.

    [Reply]

  4. Anne says:

    Here’s an energy consideration no one has mentioned: we don’t cook indoors when our air conditioner is running and it is very hot outside. I’m able to plug the InstantPot in on my back porch and cook anything I want without adding heat or smells to the house.

    [Reply]

    Grace Reply:

    Yippee! Let me tell you, when you are going through menopause and experience sudden hot flashes you WILL APPRECIATE anything and everything you do to make your home cooler.

    [Reply]

  5. I appreciate the apples to apples comparison – especially the care that was taken to use a stove top pressure cooker that reaches a similar pressure. It looks like the digital pressure cooker is comparable to a stovetop. I wouldn’t say 20-30 seconds can declare a winner.

    However, the energy savings is the real take-away, here. If you multiply the power consumed by the electric range by 2.5 you get an approximation of how much energy it would take to cook a whole meal without pressure growing the energy savings even further!

    Jill, it would be interesting to compare the energy consumption with gas, but I don’t think it’s easily do-able. At least for me (with GPL and a meter on the tank that has ticks for every 100 liters) it’s not possible.

    Ciao,

    L

    [Reply]

    Razzy Reply:

    Yes this is an apples to apples comparison in that the psi of the Instant Pot and the T-Fal Safe 2 model were similar or at least presumed to be. However most modern stovetop pressure cookers have a high pressure setting of 15 psi, not 11 psi. I also found reviews of the T-Fal Safe 2 PC (no longer even made, by the way) from 2000 which means this comparison was done with Instant Pot’s latest PC and a 12-year old stovetop PC. Hardly a fair comparison I wouldn’t think. Of course we could expect any PC made this year to be superior to one made 12 years ago using older technology. The Instant Pot may indeed come to pressure more quickly than today’s modern high quality stainless steel PCs with spring valve technology made by companies such as Kuhn-Rikon, Fissler, and Fagor but we won’t know until such a comparison is made. Even if the Instant Pot comes to pressure more slowly than one of the current products from the companies mentioned, it doesn’t mean it’s not a fine product. However if we’re going to make comparisons they need to be fair ones.

    [Reply]

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