Help! Which Instant Pot is right for me?

Figuring out which cooker works best for your family can be tricky

So you want to treat yourself to a new Instant Pot. That’s awesome! But which one?

Duo, Viva, Smart WiFi, Ultra, Max… 3 quart, 6 quart, 8 quart… with so many Instant Pot models and sizes to choose from, it can be overwhelming. We get it.

How do you find the right cooker for you?

The expansive line of Instant Pot models offers a range of functionality targeted towards the different needs and cooking styles of different people. One of them (or a few!) will be right for you. Take a moment to consider your needs, then let us help you match up what you want with the cooker you need.

Like a lot of cooks, you may even find what works best for you is having more than one!

How big is your family?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is how big an Instant Pot do you need?

  • Our most popular size is the 6 quart, which is big enough to cook meals for a family of 3-6 people.
  • The 8 quart is great for large families, parties and gatherings, or weekly meal prep.
  • For just 1 or 2 people, or cooking rice or vegetables on the side, the 3 quart mini is ideal.

Keep in mind, all our electric pressure cookers are available in the 6 quart size, while select models are available in the 3 or 8 quart sizes.

What do you want to cook?

You may want to just pressure cook, but why limit yourself? All of our Instant Pots can pressure cook, but they can also do so much more! The Instant Pot is an immensely versatile tool, able to replace an array of other appliances.  

For example, are you interested in making yogurt? All models except the Lux come with a preset Yogurt Smart Program that makes pasteurizing milk and fermenting your own yogurt easier than you ever imagined.  

All Instant Pot cookers come with standard Smart Programs offering preset Smart Programs for pressure cooking, sautéing, slow cooking, making perfect rice, steaming, and keeping food warm 

Some models offer functionality designed to expand upon the Instant Pot “set and forget” experience, such as Smart Programs designed to perfectly cook various meats and poultry, porridge and oatmeal, grains, beans, lentils and chilis, soups, stews, cakes, eggs, and, homemade yogurt. 

Some Instant Pots also come with a Sterilize Smart Program, perfect for utensils and baby bottles, and some are even capable of automatic altitude adjustment to compensate for pressure variation based on how high you live above sea level. 

The Instant Pot Max is a special case. While our other cookers operate at 12psi of pressure, the Max is the only home cooker on the market that offers a whopping 15psi of pressure. Max is the first electric pressure cooker in history that can be used as an effective tool for complete home pressure canning. Even more, it also has built-in Sous Vide functionality for juicy, tender meals, and NutriBoost™ technology for amazing texture. 

Other considerations

Looks

Aesthetics are important. Your Instant Pot is something that will live on your kitchen counter a lot of the time – most people find they use it so often, they keep it out all the time – so it should be something you like looking at, too.  

All of our products are designed with a combination of materials that are not only functional – durable, environmentally responsible, excellent heat retention on the inside, safe to touch on the outside, and easy to clean everywhere – but are also chosen for their classic good looks. Stainless steel never goes out of style. 

If you like a little more flair, we have some colorful options for you to choose from. The Lux models offer color options in: cinnamon, eggplant, and cobalt. Limited edition cookers are also available in special designs, such as the Pioneer Woman floral patterned Instant Pots. 

Display

The way your Instant Pot communicates with you is an important feature. Is it off? Is it heating up? Is it cooking? Which Smart Program is being used? How long is left until it’s done? One glance at our smart displays and you can tell exactly what’s going inside 

Different Instant Pot models come with different types of displays. Some have LED screens, others have LCD. Some are black and red, some are blue and white. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. What doesn’t change regardless of the model is that they all offer quick, easy, and comprehensive information about your cooker’s status. 

Interface

We are constantly working on making the Instant Pot experience better. A lot of this is reflected in the way you physically interact with the cooker through the interface. Buttons, touchscreens, dials… once again, it comes down to comparing what each model offers, and choosing the one that’s right for you. They’re all highly intuitive and easy to use, but your preference for one interface over another might be the deciding factor for whether you prefer the Duo or the Max, the Viva or the Ultra. 

Connectivity

One other consideration that might make you choose one specific Instant Pot model is connectivity. The smart home is the way of the future, but if you’re working on making yours a connected home today, you’ll want the Instant Pot Smart WiFi.  

Because it can connect via mobile devices through the Instant Pot App (which also offers recipes, grocery lists, and a host of other features, by the way), you can control the Smart WiFi and know what’s going on inside it no matter where you are. If you have Alexa at home, you can control your cooking through Alexa’s Instant Pot skill. 

No pressure cooking?

Maybe you want a versatile kitchen tool that is great at doing a variety of things, but pressure cooking isn’t one of them. If that’s the case we also have you covered! 

The Instant Aura Multicookers are the next generation of slow cookers, outperforming traditional slow cookers at classic tasks but also offering enhanced functionality like making yogurt, searing, roasting, baking, and even sous vide in the Aura Pro. If you’re curious, discover more about our line of Instant Aura Multicookers 

Cost

We strive to keep the Instant Pot as affordable as possible without sacrificing quality or performance, while maintaining our commitment to environmental responsibility in the materials we use. 

The cost of Instant Pots varies, depending upon the features offered. Compare what you need with what you wish to pay, and choose the one that’s right for you. 

Learn more

We understand that finding the right Instant Pot is important, so we’ve developed some resources to help. 

Go to our Choosing the Right Cooker webpage where you’ll learn more about what each model offers, and compare their features to help find the one that’s right for you.  

Have fun finding your Instant Pot. We look forward welcoming you to the Instant family! 

6 replies
  1. Helena
    Helena says:

    I have instapot duo mini.
    When I use a recipe that calls for MANUAL what setting do I use since there is no MANUAL setting on the pot?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Helena,

      If you come across a recipe that says use Manual, for your unit, use the program called Pressure Cook. It is the same program and the only difference is the name.

      Reply
  2. Andrée
    Andrée says:

    Hello
    Can I cut a recipe in half designed for a 6 quart Instant Pot, to cook it in a 3 quart Instant Pot?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Andrée,

      Yes, you can half the recipe in order to cook in your 3 Quart. To make things easier, you can download our Instant Pot recipe app which will reduce the ingredients when you reduce the serving size.

      Reply
  3. John J Jamison
    John J Jamison says:

    I bought a costco Instapot – theNova Plus 60. So what do I have? Lux,Duo,Max,Duo Plus or ultra. These 5 models are shown in the User Manual. But, no mention of Nova Plus 60.
    Also, is my model set up for automatic altitude adjustment? I am at 5,000 ft. elevation. If not, what should I be aware of.

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi John,

      The Nova Plus is another Instant Pot Pressure Cooker just like the Lux, Duo, Max, Duo Plus and Ultra. The manual inside your box is for the Nova Plus and the models on the back only show a few of our products. You can view all of our Instant Pot Pressure Cookers and Multicookers here: https://instantpot.com/choosing-the-right-cooker/

      The only models that have an altitude setting are the Max and Ultra.

      Reply

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