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UPDATE: All Instant Pot SMART currently on sale, with a production date of 06/2015 or later, have had this issue fixed.

Instant Pot SMART electric Pressure cooker

Yesterday Instant Pot, a subsidiary of Canadian Double Insight Inc., announced a recall of all SMART Electric Pressure and Multi-cookers sold before today (May 23, 2015). This is a voluntary and precautionary recall that was enacted in less than 48 hours after the discovery of a problem which only affects a small percentage of units. The recall does not affect Instant Pot’s previous Models (CSG, LUX & DUO).

Instant Pot Thermal Prob
The thermal probe is the raised silver circle in the middle of the pressure cooker outer-base.

Bob Wang, of Instant Pot, said “We found a problem with IP-Smart’s thermal probe. After extensive usage, an insulating layer could be broken and leak electricity.”

This means that electricity may be transmitted to other metal parts of the pressure cooker. Such as the inner-pot or the pressure cooker’s outer body eventually harming anyone coming into contact with those parts.

Voluntary Recall

This recall was Initiated by Instant Pot voluntarily and involves not only the cost to replace but also the expense returning three shipping containers of product to the factory to fix the problem. Instant Pot triggered this recall out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of their customers.  They will provide replacements to customers free of charge. This undertaking is the sign of manufacturer who cares about its customers and wants to keep them.

Dear Customer

Upon the discovery of this defect, Instant Pot immediately sent an e-mail to all customers who purchased an Instant Pot SMART through their online store. Customers who purchased their Instant Pot SMART through Amazon were notified separately by the retailer.

The e-mail sent to Instant Pot customers is as follows…

Dear Instant Pot Smart Owner,

Last night, we found out about a manufacturing issue with Instant Pot Smart. After extensive use, this issue may lead to electrical leakage from the thermal probe (the shiny, elevated component in the middle of the heating element). As a result, this may cause an electrical shock. This problem is estimated to occur in only about 3~4 in a thousand units, and only in the Smart model manufactured before March 30th, 2015. No other Instant Pot models are affected.

To avoid any risk, please stop using your Instant Pot Smart. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you. Your Instant Pot Smart will be replaced at no cost to you. On the bright side, this will upgrade the firmware in your cooker too.

We will contact you again via email about the replacement process.

If you purchased the Instant Pot Smart for others, please forward this email to them.

Best regards,

The Instant Pot Team

Quick Response

Instant Pot was alerted to the issue via their customer support and a customer comment on Hip Pressure Cooking’s facebook page.  The close collaboration between Hip Pressure Cooking and Instant Pot brought a precautionary recall for this issue within 48-hours of its discovery.

Facebook Comment

Laura Pazzaglia, founder of the Hip Pressure Cooking website, said  “We maintain close relationships with pressure cooker manufacturers to ensure our readers have the latest information. We’re not just a marketing mouthpiece,  it’s a two-way relationship.  They ask for and we send them our own and relevant consumer feedback to evolve and improve their products.  Most of this usually happens behind the scenes.”

Pazzaglia concluded, “I use these products to cook for my family daily so it’s important that they function safely.”

Bumpy Start

Instant Pot SMART
All Instant Pot SMARTs currently on the market are affected. The pressure cooker says “Smart” in red on the top-right side of the control panel (after the Instant Pot logo). Click image to enlarge.

Instant Pot SMART announced their up-coming pressure cooker at CES, Las Vegas last year.  It’s their fourth pressure cooker model, and the first electric pressure and multi-cooker to include Bluetooth® technology to communicate with an App.

All available units of the first production were sold out in weeks after it’s debut.  But the model received some negative reviews because of the cost and the promised app for iPad/phone and Android devices was not ready for the latter because its release date continued to slip (the latest promise is late June 2015).

The SMARTs flew off the shelves anyway because the SMART (without the app) offers the same functions as the DUO- their previous model which was the  No. 1 best-selling small appliance on Amazon online store during the 2014 holiday season. These functions include: Saute’, Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Steam Cook, Make Yogurt and the ability to keep the food warm.  In addition, the SMART comes with an app that allows the cook to program the time and temperature the cooker runs to do anything from sous vide to kefir fermentation, or start something by pressure cooking it and finish it by slow cooking.

Good News

The next production of Instant Pot SMART includes one additional functionality in the unit’s firmware.  Previously, owners of the 1st production SMART had the option to upgrade the firmware themselves  by removing and replacing the front panel o the unit.  However, this recall means that owners of the 1st production Instant Pot SMART will have the unit completely replaced.  Instant Pot does not plan any additional firmware updates.  The corresponding App updates will happen automatically.

Instant Pot gave us an optimistic estimate of replacements units starting to ship late June – but cannot give an exact date until the new units have been produced, shipped and received at a local port.

What to Do

If you own an Instant Pot SMART stop using it. If you have not received an e-mail from Instant Pot, please contact their customer service to be added to the mailing list to receive further information on the free Instant Pot SMART replacement process.

Post any questions, below, in the comment area or in the Hip Pressure Cooking Instant Pot forum.

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7 Comments

  1. Well, I got the email notification this morning, and went into immediate depression, lol. As a 75 yr. “home alone” male, I have no energy (*mental or physical) for packing, shipping, dealing with strangers, etc.

    After several minutes, it occurred to me that there might be a silver lining to this problem. I thought, how about Instant Pot allowing the “flawed” models to be used as a trade in on the newest model at at a price differential that is irresistible?

    I also thought, I better check and make sure I have one of the “Smart” models (even though I know my model is smart). I was shocked to see that I do not have the word “Smart” on the upper right of the face plate. I have the DUO60 7-in-1, which is (if I read notice correctly) is not subject to the recall.

    I wish Instant Smart” all the best in their handling of this problem. I will continue to enjoy my product (DUO60 7-in-1) 3 or 4 times a week. Actually, due to my tendency to let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink, I had to purchase the Extra Pot/ Extra Lid/Extra Gasket Option.

    Thank You (for a great product),

    Robin

    1. Robin, I like having an extra pot, gasket, and a glass lid, too. In addition to a DUO, I have a Smart, too, so while the Smart recall inconveniences me somewhat, I still have the DUO cooking away.

      I’m hoping I’ll be able to keeo the liner pan if i have to send the recalled Smart back as part of the recall terms. It’s really handy to have the extra liner pots for rapid changes if I want to cook an entire multi-recipe dinner in an Instant Pot or if a dirty liner pot is inside a dishwasher that is sill running. I use the liner pots to soak beans & rice, too, which often ties them up.

  2. Don’t buy a instant pot. They don’t take care of you after the sale. I bought one and have needed a new pressure relief valve for months. It is NEVER in stock to purchase. They are only interested in using the available inventory to manufacture new instant pots, not fill any orders of previous customers who own an unusable instant pot.

    Make sure you shop other brands!

    Very unhappy with instant pot

    Steve Nave

    1. I agree, make sure you check other brands, but not all brands have the same level of quality control. My IPs replaced (2) Cooks Essentials p.c.s whose nonstick inner pot had scratched. The IP had updated features, and both my 6-qt. and my 8-qt IPs have performed better than I expected. If your pressure valve “gave” within the warranty period, I am sure they would have replaced it. I, for one, clean my pressure valve after each use, and follow the advice regarding max level. The consumer has to accept some responsibility for using the equipment responsibly.

    2. I melted my Instant Pot lid on a burner that got accidently turned on. I emailed them and within a couple weeks I had a new lid. But….I ordered the wrong lid. I sent it back and they sent me another one before they even got the new lid. I’m sorry you haven’t had any luck and I am glad they helped me right away because I use my pot ALL the time and those two weeks were long.

  3. I have used my InstantPot Duo daily for a year without any problems at all. The way you use your IP affects how clean your pressure valve stays. I seldom use quick release as I don’t want the steam and smell in my tiny apartment. Avoiding overfilling when cooking high carb items and using natural release will keep your pressure valve much cleaner than if you overfill when cooking noodles, potatoes, beans, etc. or if you often quick release when cooking those items.

  4. I’m glad to see the manufacturers work with this website and the feedback helps make their future pressure cookers better and address problems like these.

    I believe electrics are nowhere near up to par with stovetops. Hopefully the feedback from this site will improve future electrics. As regular readers will know, my view is that electrics could be better if the manufacturers did two things: 1) Improve the design so electrics can COOK at 15 psi (HIGH pressure) instead of the current 11 – 12 psi.
    2) Greatly improve the quality to make electrics as durable as stovetops, this includes making electrics outside of China or at least the higher priced models, as they already do with stovetops e.g. higher-end Fagor stovetops are made in Spain and their budget stovetops are made in China.

    My opinion is China-made products are never durable. 30 years ago and before, items made in the West lasted much longer and many of the older products still work today. Yes minor repairs are needed over the product’s life, but with repairs the older products of 40+ years are still in use today. Example:
    https://www.aol.co.uk/money/2014/01/10/the-kitchen-appliance-still-working-after-60-years/

    Stovetops can easily last 30+ years, as long as spares like gaskets, handles etc are available somewhere in the world to purchase online. Much cheaper and better for the environment than replacing electrics with several new ones, compared to only buying the ONE stovetop PC.

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