Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker
When you want a method of cooking that delivers healthy food with minimum fuss and quickly, it’s time that you consider the world of pressure cookers. Forget convenience food, TV dinners and take-out; with a pressure cooker, meals can be tasty, healthy, and best of all, made with love. So how good are stovetop pressure cookers? This article puts several of the leading models in the spotlight to look at their pros and cons in detail.
- 8-quart capacity for larger meals
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Pressure regulator maintains cooking pressure
- Multi-meal cooking at the same time
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 10.5
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Variable psi controls allow operation between 10 to 15 psi
- Durable stainless steel body
- LId won’t open when cooker is in operation for safety
- Reduces cooking time by 70 percent
- 6.3-quart capacity
- Dimensions: 18.1 x 11.5 x 10.5
- Weight: 8.88 lbs
- 6-quart capacity
- Stainless steel steamer basket and tempered glass lid
- Adjustable pressure valve
- One-touch open and close mechanism
- Heavy gauge stainless steel construction
- Dimensions: 5 x 10 x 8
- Weight: 1 lb
- 12 psi pressure cooker
- 8-quart capacity for bigger families
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Works with induction cooktops
- Variable steam release valve
- Dimensions: 14.5 x 10.4 x 11.4
- Weight: 10 lbs
- 3-quart capacity for smaller meals and families
- Suitable for all cooktops
- Comes is a larger 5-quart size
- 4.88 mm thick base for heat retention
- Unique design
- Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 8.5
- Weight: 3 lbs
- 2-quart capacity makes it ideal for couples or single people
- Comes in 8 sizes ranging up to 10 quarts
- Cooks 3 dishes simultaneously
- Large handle for added safety
- Virgin steel construction
- Dimensions: 13 x 8 x 6
- Weight: 3.8 lbs
- 6.5-quart capacity
- Premium grade stainless steel construction
- Cooks 3 times faster than a traditional oven
- 3 built-in safety features
- Large handles for added safety
- Dimensions: 18 x 16 x 10
- Weight: 9.5 lbs
This Presto model is a massive seller on Amazon and comes in four sizes ranging from the 4-quart up to the 16-quart to suit most family’s sizes and needs. This model also offers multi-level cooking and is constructed from heavy gauge stainless steel for durability and longevity. As an added benefit, it is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
- Comes in sizes from the small to the large
- Tenderizes cheaper cuts of meat
- Auto pressure regulator to maintain correct cooking pressure
- Large lockable handles for safety
- The lid is tricky to get on
T-fal is a world leader in pressure cooker manufacturing. This sleek, stainless steel pressure cooker is durable, has variable psi limits, and reduces cooking times by up to 70 percent. It comes with a steam basket that enables you to cook meat and vegetables in the cooker at the same time, which can mean real energy savings.
- Multi-level cooking
- Sleek design
- Safety lock on lid prevents opening during cooking
- Reduces cooking times by 70 percent
- Pressure release valve spits hot water
- Pressure indicator is tiny and hard to spot
This Culina comes with a unique one-touch opening system, and it also has a tempered glass lid so that you can see how the food is doing inside. It has an adjustable pressure valve, a stainless steel basket for steaming, and a multi-level cooking option. This Culina is constructed from heavy gauge stainless steel, making it durable and long-lasting.
- One-touch opening and closing mechanism for convenience
- Adjustable pressure valve
- Can be used on all stovetops
- Equipped with 6 safety features including that the lid won’t open
- while cooking
- They say it’s dishwasher safe, but it’s better to hand wash
- Glass lid releases lots of steam
This 8-quart T-fal is compatible with all cooktops, including induction, and it distributes heat evenly thanks to its encapsulated base. It’s dishwasher safe, and it cleans easily after use. This T-fal also has a one-handed opening feature, but once the pressure cooker is on, the lid won’t release. This cooker is finished in sophisticated stainless steel, and with two large side handles for safety, using it will be easy.
- 8-quart capacity for larger families
- 12 psi pressure
- Variable steam release valve
- One-handed opening and closing
- The lid doesn’t remove from the base
- Building the correct pressure takes a long time
This Hawkins model is entirely different in style from the other models featured so far. It’s only a small pressure cooker, more useful for couples and singles rather than for families, but it is also available in a 5-quart size if your circumstances demand greater capacity. The base is 4.88mm thick, so heat transference is retained for an even cook, and with a large side handle, it is easy to use.
- Looks great and a unique design
- Large safety side handle
- Extra thick base for heat retention
- Ideal for smaller appetites
- Poor build quality
- Not dishwasher safe
This Prestige has a 2-quart bowl capacity, so should be ideal for couples or singles but certainly won’t satisfy larger families. It can still cook three different elements of a meal at the same time, though, so meat, potatoes, and vegetables could be prepared and ready at once. The large handle is a safety feature and makes carrying the Prestige a lot safer, especially once the cooking process is complete. If small isn’t your thing, this model comes in 8 size variations, ranging from the smallest (this model) to a 10-quart version.
- Great size for smaller appetites
- Comes in 8 sizes
- Cooks 3 dishes at a time
- Virgin Steel construction
- It may be a little too small for some
- Handles break easily
This NuWave pressure cooker has a 6.5-quart bowl capacity and is made from premium grade steel. It cooks 3 times faster than traditional methods, so is good for energy consumption. It also has 3 essential safety features, including a large side handle so you won’t get burned or splashed with hot water when serving. It’s suitable for all cooktops, including induction.
- Made from premium grade stainless steel for durability
- Cooks 3 times faster
- Large side handle for safety
- Just add a little oil for perfect results
- The lid leaks
- Complicated to use
- Build quality issues
This Magefesa pressure cooker offers a large 8-quart capacity, ideal for bigger families. It’s dishwasher safe and easy to clean, and because it comes with 5 additional safety features, it gives you peace of mind that it’s safe to use. It has a large handle, so gripping the pot when it’s hot will be easy, and it comes with a 10-year warranty, which is an indication of how confident the manufacturer is about their product.
- Spanish design
- 10-year warranty
- Large safety handle plus 5 separate safety features
- Dishwasher safe
- Fails to get up to pressure
- Steam leaks from the sides of the lid indicating a poor seal
How to Choose the Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers are a safe way to cook, but when you think of all that pressure building inside a sealed metal pot, our advice is to look at the safety features on the model you want to buy.
Next, select a pressure cooker that is big enough for the job. If you have a large family, think about getting an 8-quart pressure cooker. Just because you opt for the larger size doesn’t mean you can’t cook less in it, but it does mean you can scale up when the need arises. Let’s consider some other essential aspects that should weigh into your decision process:
Stovetop pressure cookers are variations on a theme. They all essentially do the same thing: pressure and steam within the cooker trap moisture and juices so the food you eat will be flavorsome, moist, and healthy. Couple that with the speed at which these things cook, and you have a convenient way to prepare meals. Some have inner baskets that allow multi-level cooking, and some – but not all – have induction friendly bases for use on induction cooktops.
Pressure cookers don’t generate any power as such, but they do operate on a setting of somewhere between 10 and 22 psi. Check with each model to see the pressure that applies.
Again, styling is a variation on a theme. Some stovetop pressure cookers have two handles that are shorter and located on either side of the pot, while others opt for a long safety handle to keep your hands well away from the heat. Most cookers are cylindrical, with a domed lid of either stainless steel or glass. By far the most stylish on this review is the Hawkins Contura model, with an anodized black exterior and a long handle.
Some of the best technology is centered around the safety aspect, with automatically adjustable safety valves, pressure valve indicators, and one-touch open and close mechanisms. Another innovation is the encapsulated base (heat inducing materials are embedded in an outer casing of metal, like steel or aluminum) so that the pressure cooker works with induction cooktops.
Malfunctions in these stovetop pressure cookers are rare because of the materials used in their manufacturing, therefore most companies offer longer warranties than you’d expect. Presto, for instance, provides a 12-year warranty on their model, while Culina state that they offer a “100 percent satisfaction guarantee.” Culina doesn’t state exactly what that means, or what they’ll do for you if you’re not satisfied, but we’ll take them on face value that it means complete peace of mind. The Spanish designed Magefesa also offers a great 10-year warranty.
Names like T-fal and Prestige are household names that you can trust. Sure, everyone has one nightmare story to tell, but by and large, look at the customer satisfaction ratings to see what others are saying.
How often do the seals need replacing?
Usually, every two to three years, depending on the usage. If you use it a lot, then the seals will fail sooner.
Will an 8-quart pressure cooker feed a family of four?
It should cater for a family of four easily. Anything smaller and it depends on their appetites.
What does “psi” mean?
The acronym “psi” refers to pounds per square inch, and it is a standard method of measuring pressure. The higher the number, the greater the pressure that is accomplished inside your pressure cooker.
Buying a stovetop pressure cooker could be a smart move. It’ll save you time, money, and energy in the long run, and it will also deliver healthy food for your family. It seems that cooking with one of these models takes some getting used to, but with trial and error and careful reading of the manuals it could be a rewarding experience. Whatever you decide to do, buying a pressure cooker is good value for money and excellent for reduced energy consumption.
Our winner from this list is the Presto 01370 Pressure Cooker. The numbers sold on Amazon prove the success of this model, but we especially liked the fact it came with a 12-year warranty as it tells us of the maker’s confidence in their product’s quality.