Pressure Cooker Review: Fissler Vitavit® Edition
This review has not been rated because the 6L base and handle mechanisms were inadvertently damaged during normal use. Should another sample become available, photos of the base will be added, the review will be completed, and a hip score will be assigned.
Fissler’s new line of Vitavit® pressure cooker models (which include Edition, Premium and Comfort) includes lots of features to make pressure cooking easier, but added complexity also means added delicacy, and a key design feature solves a problem that most cooks do not have. The forceful pressure release, that shoots vapor in three directions, is a big safety concern.
Pressure Cooker Review: Fissler Vitavit
Features: (4.5 out of 5 stars)
The most striking feature that makes the Fissler Vitavit® series different from its predecessors is the conical base. By solving a problem only a factory, store or owner of multiple-cookers would face (compact stacking of cookers) they created a new one. The narrower interior base, about 10 square inches (65 square cm) less than cookers of the same capacity, reduces the surface area that is in direct contact with the heat source and requires the use of smaller accessories. Translation: a roast that will fit in a cookers of the same capacity will cook diagonally in the equivalent Vitavit®.
However, the tapering base has one advantage. The conical shape facilitates evaporation. When making a sauce, post-pressure cooking, the liquid can be reduced faster in the Vitavit® than in straight sided cookers.
- Conical Base – The opening is wider than the bottom – making storage of multiple pressure cookers of the same model easy – but reducing cooking surface.
- Integrated Removable Timer – Digital timer, with visual light indicators beeps when the cooker has reached pressure and automatically starts counting the cooking time when the pot has reached pressure.
- Removable Handle –The whole handle mechanism can be removed from the lid so that it can be washed in the dishwasher – but require re-tightening before each use.
- Lid Placement Guide- Facilitating correct lid position for easy placement.
- Multi-function Pressure Selector and Signal – The pressure regulator, and its housing, are all plastic and silicone. Selection options include High Pressure (2), Low Pressure (1), No Pressure and Pressure Release.
- Capacity Marks and Measurement Lines – Lines indicate the Minimum, 1/3, 1/2 and Maximum Capacity. Measurement lines in 1 liter increments are also included.
Within the Vitavit® family the Edition (photographed in this review), has two short handles and includes the timer. The Premium (photographed in the safety section), has one long handle and the integrated timer can be used but purchased separately – most parts between the Edition and Premium are interchangeable since it is the same cooker base and lid with different handles and accessories. For Comfort , the integrated timer is not available, the pressure selector does not include “No Pressure” and “Pressure Release” functions and there are only capacity marks – no measurement lines.
Safety: (3 out of 5 stars)
The Vitavit® lost two points in this category – due to the (mis)direction and force of the vapor during normal pressure release.
Normal pressure release is performed by two mechanisms that can either be used individually or together. By pressing the same button that locks the lid and/or by turning the pressure indicator. Unfortunately, the direction in which vapor is released is inconvenient and dangerous. If the cooker is positioned so that the pressure selection dial is on the right, the hot steam is released directly towards the cook.
If, instead, the cooker is positioned the opposite way the vapor from the dial is sprayed on the wall or behind the cook top to a distance of 6 1/2 feet (2 meters). Meanwhile, vapor released by pushing the button from the handle trigger splits into two and shoots vapor almost 5 feet (1.5 meters) in two directions.
With vapor shooting in three different horizontal directions, it is nearly impossible to release pressure with this pressure cooker without spraying something or someone with hot vapor. Even the more primitive first-generation pressure cookers, release pressure vertically – towards the exhaust fan.
When we brought this safety concern to the attention of Fissler, the representative told us that their cooker should be used with the handle facing towards the cook (illustrated in the photo on the left). We don’t recommend solving one safety hazard by creating another. To be fair, the instruction manual notes that the dial should be turned slowly.
Pressure cookers have to be foolproof regardless of what the cook should do.
On the other hand, the Vitavit® pressure cooker features multiple redundant safety mechanisms, comparable to its peers, which include:
- Primary over-pressure release valve – Integrated in the pressure signal, activates to release pressure if the internal pressure exceeds the per-selected “High”, “Low” or “No” pressure setting.
- Secondary safety valve – A small white ball located in the handle – will kick-in should the primary pressure release valve become obstructed.
- Self-locking handle – When the lid is twisted shut, a button will “click” closed and change the display window from “red” to “green” to let the cook know that the lid has locked shut. When the cooker reaches pressure, this handle will prevent the cook from accidentally opening the cooker.
- Buckling gasket – The gasket has special notches with facilitate buckling to release pressure under the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Placement Nub – A little nub within the lid’s rim retracts when the pressure cooker is closed correctly. Should the lid be placed on the cooker incorrectly, this nub will prevent the pressure cooker from reaching pressure.
Performance and Durability: (? of 5 stars)
A surprising find with this model, and all cookware produced by Fissler, is how little things stick to the stainless steel interior. We call this almost-non-stick, but Food and Wine magazine gave their stainless steel pan (which was not coated with a non-stick coating) 2nd place of their Best New Non-stick Pans article!
The pressure regulator combines two of my favorite features in one easy-to-understand package. It has the ease of dial selection (like the Fagor Futuro) with all of the advantages of an indicator bar (like the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic). On a visit to their German production facility, the product trainer shared a special trick that can only be done with their valve: The cook can stop turning the dial anywhere between High (2) and Low (1) pressure to customize the cooking pressure to Medium, Medium-High or Medium-Low pressure.
The pressure indicator bar is integrated in the dial and slowly rises out of the housing giving the cook information with “traffic light” colors. Each band of color corresponds to what is happening inside the cooker: Pressure is building (yellow), selected pressure is reached (green), or too much heat and going into over-pressure (red). While the instruction manual says to turn down the heat as soon as yellow appears- cookers on a gas stove-top stopped building pressure at that point. We recommend waiting until the green band displays to turn down the heat. However, if the cooker is being used on an electric cook-top, then, we recommend following Fissler’s instruction manual and turn down the heat as soon as yellow appears.
The cook can use the indicator as an additional way to release pressure, by turning the dial towards the little spray-cloud picture (see safety section for precautions).
The Vitavit® has one last trick up its indicator. The little metal dot, is a sensor that communicates with the removable timer. The cook can set the cooking time on the timer, and clip it to the cooker – where the blue status light begins to blink to let the cook know it’s communicating with the cooker. Then, the light begins to blink yellow when pressure is rising. When the cooker has reached the desired pressure the timer beeps, blinks green, and starts the timer – at this point the cook can take the timer with them to keep track of the cooking time. If the timer is left on the cooker and it were to reach over-pressure the light blinks red and begins to beep insistently.
The lack of working sample prevented us from testing this cooker’s efficiency against its peers.
Earlier, we referred to delicacy and complexity. The more features one offers, and the more sophisticated they are… the more things that can go wrong. The removable handles and valves, for example, make cleaning a breeze (5 stars) but they need to be re-tightened before each use or – as happened about 30% of the time – the cooker will not reach pressure and leak vapor from them.
The sophisticated pressure valve is very delicate. It is easily damaged if “accidentally” put through the dish-washer by a helpful spouse. We suspect that there may also be a manufacturing problem since three of the five replacement valves sent from the manufacturer did not work.
Before the above-mentioned accidental pressure cooker abuse, we kept finding little black chips of plastic on the floor. While examining the cookers for this review we realized that they were falling off the Vitavit® pressure cooker handle.
Clean-up: (5 out of 5 stars)
- Valve and handle very easy to remove
- Lid and Base Dishwasher safe
- Handles and Pressure Valve hand-wash only (we recommend not submerging in hot water)
The handle and pressure indicator are very large and easy to remove without tools and, even with slippery, oily hands.
The Edition comes standard with an extra-tall trivet an steamer basket. The steamer basket is sturdy but very narrow 7.5″ (19cm) with a nested handle that decreases the usable space even more. However the trivet is about twice the height of any other trivet we’ve seen so far, specifically designed for multilevel pressure cooking.
- 18/10 Stainless Steel with 6mm-thick aluminum disk in sandwich base
- Available Sizes: 4.5, 6, 8 and 10 L
- Spring Valve with selector and indicator bar
- Universal Base – safe to use on gas, electric, ceramic and induction cook-tops
- Width: (opening) 8.6″ or 22 cm, (interal base) 7.5″ or 19.5 cm, conical; Height (internal) 7″ or 18 cm; Weight: (Base) 4.6 lbs or 2087g, (Base and Top) 7.3lbs or 3298g.
- 3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty (excluding wearing parts) and 10 Year availability guarantee for replacement parts.
- Made in Germany
- Fissler Vitavit® Edition Instruction Manual
- Manufacturer Website: Fissler Germany, Fissler USA
- Recipes on this website using Fissler Vitavit® pressure cookers
Conclusion and Score:
The Vitavit® Edition is a bitter-sweet series of promising and innovative features which are quickly vaporized. Manufacturers work years and spend a lot of money to bring a new model on the market – and this effort is clearly visible in the end result.
This cooker ‘s innovative design has won numerous design awards for its style and features. In our opinion, great effort is no excuse for dangerously long shots of vapor and design innovation should not come at the sacrifice of precious cooking surface area. The complexity of these innovative features are the Edition’s Achilles’ Heel – making them extremely delicate and susceptible to manufacturing defects that, in our experience, cannot be easily removed from the supply chain. The superior quality of the stainless steel base, which is almost non-stick, is marred by the plastic handles that are easily chipped and cracked and valves that stop working prematurely.
We look forward to seeing Fissler’s future innovations in pressure cooking and hope that they will not compromise safety or usability for the sake of design.
NOTE: This review was fact-checked by the Junior Product Manager for Pressure Cookers, Roasters and Woks at Fissler, Germany prior to publication.
This review has not been rated because the 6L base and handle mechanisms were inadvertently damaged. Should another sample become available, photos of the base will be included the review will be completed and a hip score will be assigned.
Currently not available.
Europe, Australia and Asia:
Check local home-ware retailers to see if they carry Fissler pressure cooker, the representative told us that they prefer selling their premium brand in a store instead of making it available for sale online.
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In the interest of full disclosure, we would like to note that: The pressure cooker was sent to Hip Pressure Cooking by the manufacturer at no cost. Our relationship with the manufacturer, or lack thereof, does not affect the outcome of the review.