The Pressure Cooker Buying Guide - expert advice to choosing the right pressure cooker!

The Pressure Cooker Buying Guide - expert advice to choosing the right pressure cooker!

Buying a pressure cooker is an investment in both money and time that will quickly be repaid in health and savings. Pressure cookers have changed quite a bit in the last few years so there are much more options to consider. Here’s our guide to help you choose the right pressure cooker for your needs.

Why get a pressure cooker?

Pressure Cooker Benefits Infographic

These are the things that make pressure cookers special. Pressure cooking is..

FAST – cuts cooking time to 1/3 (or more). A roast that would ordinarily take 2-3 hours is ready in 20-40 minutes, soaked chickpeas only need 13 minutes, and more!  See more examples in our Speed-up Slow Cooking with Pressure infographic.
 HEALTHY- retains 50% more nutrients.  Research studies have shown that pressure cooking retains more vitamins and minerals than steaming without pressure and even microwaving!  Get the details on pressure cooker nutrition.
 GREEN – uses 70% less gas, electricity and water.  Pressure cookers are more efficient at using the energy – their efficiency is comparable to the energy savings of switching to energy-saving light bulbs.  So if you’ve changed the lightbulbs in your house to save energy, it’s time to change the cookware!
 EASY – just add water and monitor.  Pressure cooking is just like regular cooking except it always needs a little bit of water takes less time, once you learn the workings of your pressure cooker it just needs minimum monitoring when it’s coming up to pressure (no supervision needed at all for electrics).
 CLEAN – no more splatters and spurts. Cooking in a sealed vessel means no need to clean spills from the stovetop or oven.  Plus, most pressure cooker bases are dishwasher safe. Done!
 SAFE – multiple safety mechanisms. Today’s pressure cookers have fool-proof safety features with back-ups (just in case).

Stove top or electric pressure cooker?

Stovetop vs. Electric

Here’s the big secret: they all pressure cook. Whether they’re old, new electric, stovetop they can all pressure cook food but they differ on the recipes they can do and how long they need to get the job done – but no matter what, it will be faster than conventional cooking.

Although electric pressure cookers are more convenient, they are less powerful and durable, while stovetop cookers are sturdy and faster. We wrote an article carefully comparing electric and stove top pressure cookers. Here our recommendations:

  • Electric pressure cookers are best for..
    •  those who are nervous about fiddling with heat settings – the electric cooker will do it automatically, just set it and forget it;
    • many electrics can replace other appliances like a slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker 
    • busy parents who need to schedule dinner to be ready when they walk in the door will appreciate the cooking delay timer available in some models which start dinner before anyone is home
    • college students with limited kitchens – the electric pressure cooker is a complete cooking tool it browns/saute’s, pressure cooks and keep the food warm – some do even more;
    • elderly or otherwise abled persons-no need to remember if the gas is on, plus the cooker can be placed at any height;
    • expert cooks who already moved all of their cooking to pressure and often have more than one cooker running – an electric is a great addition to the ensemble.
  • Stovetop Pressure Cookers are best for..
    • those who want speed and power since they reach higher heat and pressure than electrics;
    • those who value durability over convenience – electrics can last years but stove top cookers last decades, generations;
    • cooks who want to try advanced pressure cooking techniques -many require the higher pressure and lesser evaporation of modern stove top cookers;
    • cooks who like to tinker and supervise the cooking since the pressure releases faster than electrics.

All the recipes on this website and cookbook contain cooking instructions for both stove top and electric pressure cookers. So regardless of your choice of a pressure cooker, we’ll teach you hot to cook in it!

More: The difference between stove top and electric pressure cookers.

See Also: 5 Electric Pressure Cooker Buying Tips + 3 Top Recommendations

Can I use an inherited or vintage pressure cooker?

Pressure Cooker Manual Library

It’s a romantic notion to bring a beloved vintage cooker back into service but we don’t recommend it. Pressure cookers made more than 20 years ago do not have the fool-proof safety features of modern pressure cookers like locking lids to ensure you don’t accidentally open it while the contents are at pressure or backup safety valves.

If you’re not quite certain how old the pressure cooker is, take a look at the manual which should contain a list of the safety features.

More: Pressure Cooker Instruction Manual Library

Are pressure cookers safe?

Absolutely.  Today’s pressure cookers feature multiple redundant safety mechanisms – if one should fail there’s another one (or two) that kick-in to take their place. Both electric and stove top pressure cookers have at least these safety features:

  1. Locking Lid – will keep the pressure cooker closed if there is any pressure inside and for electric pressure cookers even if there is no electricity.
  2. Primary and Secondary pressure release – if pressure is too high inside the cooker, the main pressure valve will release the extra pressure.  Should the first valve become blocked there is a second valve that will relieve pressure.
  3. Lid lip vent  – should the primary and secondary pressure release valves fail to release extra pressure, it will exit from a small cut-out in the lid (or into the pressure cooker body – for electric pressure cookers – which will self-destruct the appliance).
  4. Auto shut-off – this is another advantage of electric pressure cookers, if something is going sideways they will know it (based on their internal temperature readings) and shut themselves off.

Some pressure cooker models, especially the premium ones, will have even more safety features.  Take a peek at the photos and descriptions in our detailed pressure cooker reviews to find out more about how these safety systems work.

More: Pressure Cooker Reviews

What size pressure cooker should I purchase? 

Pressure Cooker Sizes & Shapes

It can be tricky to choose a pressure cooker size because it does not directly reflect how much food the pressure cooker can actually hold.

Pressure cookers made by European and Asian manufacturers are actually sized in liters, not quarts.  Those pressure cookers are “rounded down” to quarts to make it easier for consumers to choose a size, but they are in fact a little bit bigger.

To further confuse things, pressure cookers should only be filled maximum 2/3 full for most foods and 1/2 full for grains and beans (since these foods expand and foam during cooking).

Here’s a table of sample ingredients – compare that to how much of each food you usually make for your family to help you in your selection.

How much can fit inside a pressure cooker

Our rule of thumb (with extra wiggle room) is to calculate 1 quart/liter per person in the household.  So a 6 qt will feed maximum 6 people, and an 8 qt will feed maximum 8, and so on –  they can all feed fewer people, too. Bigger is not better with pressure cookers -get the smallest pressure cooker for your cooking needs.

For most of our readers, who are either single or don’t have particularly large families, our top recommended sizes are 6 or 8 quart/liter pressure cooker.  That’s because a large part of pressure cooker recipes found online and cookbooks are designed for this size cooker. If you can afford it, and you’re going “stovetop”, buy a set with two sizes that share one pressure cooking lid – the smaller base (called pressure pan) is great for making very small quantities, sauces, sides and small-batch jams.

More: Does Pressure Cooker Size Matter? Of course! and Pressure Cooker Capacity FAQ

What are the main points to consider when selecting a pressure cooker?

We’ve used all kinds of pressure cookers and this advice has been fine-tuned by time. Here are a few things that your new pressure cooker should have:

  • Spring valve for Stovetop and Float valve for Electrics – Spring-valve non-venting cookers have the latest pressure-regulating technology and they won’t fill your kitchen with the sounds of steam engine pistons firing (like old-style venting cookers) or drive you nuts with the clinging and clanging of a jiggling metal weight. Modern spring-valve cookers make very little noise while cooking and need less energy, too! Electrics have a weighted “float valve” which is equally quiet and energy-efficient.  On electrics the float valve does not regulate the internal pressure, this is done by the electronic logic that turns the heating element on and off.
  • Stainless Steel – Stove top cookers should be made of stainless steel because cheaper aluminum cookers are not only soft and easily deformed but they are “reactive” – this means that they change the flavor of acidic ingredients (tomatoes, lemon, wine, etc.).
  • No non-stick Coatings – Avoid non-stick coatings, as they can scratch and be easily damaged (therefore no longer being able to do as intended) by utensils, the sharp end of a bone or a metal steamer basket exposing the aluminum underneath to be in contact with the food.
  • Two Pressure Settings – A pressure cooker should have at least two pressure settings. “High Pressure” for meats, legumes and anything dense that needs a long time to cook, and “Low Pressure” for fish, eggs, and al dente veggies and pasta. Some pressure cookers have a switch on the lid to select the pressure settings, others will do so by displaying a certain number of rings while electric pressure cookers let you choose the pressure at the touch of a button. Don’t be dazzled by new pressure cookers that have 10 or more pressure settings – no recipes have actually been written for all of those other pressure settings.
  • Established Manufacturer – All pressure cookers will have some parts that eventually wear and will need to be replaced.  For example, the sealing gaskets (the silicone ring in the lid) usually last 18-24 months – more rarely smaller parts of a safety valve will also need to be replaced.  Purchase your pressure cooker from a longstanding company with a good reputation and customer service so you’ll be able to track down and purchase these wearing parts when needed. Don’t stock up on these parts – they age even while not being used.

Can I “pressure can” or “pressure fry” in a pressure cooker?

Only dedicated stovetop Pressure Cooker/Canners can be used for both.
Stovetop “Pressure Cooker/Canner”

Yes and no. Although pressure cooking, pressure frying, and pressure canning all use pressure to complete their tasks they cannot be done in a single vessel.   A vessel used for pressure canning must meet specific size and pressure standards to adhere to USDA safety protocols.  While for pressure frying, also known as broasting,  the vessel needs to be a particular thickness and the gasket and safety valves made with materials to withstand the super-heated oil (which reaches higher temperatures than water under pressure).

There are various workarounds and hacks to use a dedicated pressure canner for cooking – but we do not recommend doing so – as canners were not designed for such a task.  They are large, bulky, and unwieldy for everyday use and are made of aluminum (which should not be in contact with food).

Despite some marketing claims, you cannot pressure can in an electric pressure cooker.  However, there are some very large stove top pressure cookers (usually 10L and above) that do meet the USDA size and pressure guidelines and these are called “Pressure Cooker/Canners“.

More: Pressure Canning Guide & FAQ: put ’em up!

What is hip pressure cooking’s favorite pressure cooker?

Pressure Cooker Tests & Reviews

All modern pressure cookers all function very similarly – the main difference between each are the bells and whistles, quality of materials and efficiency. We like one because it’s simple, but the other one because it makes a sound when it goes into over-pressure, and the other one because it’s wide one because we don’t have to supervise it, and another one because it releases pressure by itself.

We just can’t  choose a favorite,  so that’s why we began reviewing pressure cookers. Read the reviews and see which special feature you absolutely must have for your pressure cooking needs.

More: Pressure Cooker Reviews

Wait! I have more questions, where can I ask them?

We’re here to help you discover the joys and time-saving abilities of pressure cookery.  The delicious fun really begins when you get the pressure cooker and we’ll help you every step of the way (we’ll teach you how to pressure cook, too).

So please, leave any additional questions in the comments section below or in our lively forums. Welcome!

Great, I’m ready to buy.  Where can I see all of the options?

We created a shopping page with additional guidance for different kinds of pressure cookers.  If you plan to buy a pressure cooker online please do so through our shopping page so that your purchase (at no additional cost to you) can support this website – thank you.

Pressure Cooker Buying Guide - Pazzaglia with a small selection of pressure cookers she receives from manufacturers.
Laura Pazzaglia, the founder of Hip Pressure Cooking with a small selection of her pressure cookers and her cookbook Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh & Flavorful.

The Pressure Cooker Buying Guide - expert advice to choosing the right pressure cooker!


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  1. Who polished all those cookers to make them look so good for the photo :}

    1. As you know stainless steel look great all by itself! BTW, that’s only half of all the pressure cookers I have received in the last few years!! The rest are either boxed-up or, older models I don’t use anymore, are passed on to my mother-in-law and neighbors.



  2. Do you use different pressure cookers with different maximum pressure settings? Is there any “real world” difference between using a pressure cooker at 12 psi compared to using one a 15 psi?

    1. David,

      I use all of the pressure cookers pictured and they range from 11.6 psi (electric) to 15 psi (Fagor, Kuhn Rikon) – I use them both to cook for my family and to develop, cook and photograph recipes from the website. Since my goal is always “dinner” I would say that it constitutes as real-world use. The lower pressure cookers need slightly more time for cooking more dense foods since they don’t reach as high as a pressure/temp as the stovetop cookers. Here are the details on the timing between the two types of cookers:

      I learned to pressure cook with, and used for many years, an old Italian 9psi cooker. When I made the same recipes with the same timing in the newer pressure cooker I realized HOW the difference in pressure actually affects the food, and which kinds of foods. Practice makes perfect – but hopefully my experience will help everyone else get great results the first time. ; )





  3. HI Laura,
    Thanks so much for the wonderful site and accurate, clear, helpful advice. I have a question about upgrading my current pressure cooker set-up.

    The day I was born, there was a Presto 6quart aluminum jiggle top pressure cooker in my Cuban mother’s kitchen (and in all of my aunts’ kitchens). There still is. I bought the identical model when I moved out on my own. I still have that too. It works just fine, two decades later, but it IS aluminum, and slow to pressure up, and to top it off I now live at 7000 feet altitude, so I need to add time for cooking too.

    Shortly after moving that high, I purchased an Indian steam-engine-top style 4L pressure cooker, and it has been my mainstay ever since (despite vehement protestation from my cat, who must be ejected from the house to avoid feline heart failure when it blows). Mostly, I cook for just me and my husband, and it is great for healthy supply of lentils or soup or the like for us, or if we have guests. Since purchasing it, the trusty ol’ 6L gal has been pretty much putting out only larger quanity Cuban-style bean stews, plain beans, and stock for freezing.

    But it is time to move on. I mostly used these for other than the legume dishes that benefit so much from pressure cooking. We are vegetarian, so one whole sphere is a non-issue. I have a wonderful fuzzy logic rice cooker which I use for rice, grains,and even small scale soups and other dishes. It is likely to be my standby for set-and-forget type dishes, but I would like to use the pressure cooker more for rice and grains that take a lot of time, and try some of your beautiful recipes and new techniques like stacking. I do make jam and sauces regularly, though up until now, only for the fridge or freezer in smallish quantities for near-term use rather than anything like full-scale canning.

    Enough of the background. Here’s my question. Initially, I thought to replace the 6 quart Presto with approximately the same size cooker (though I will probably just move her out to the garage so my mom and aunt have something familiar to use when they visit). But your recommendation to invest slightly more in a set seems very reasonable to me, particularly as I was already relying on two sizes. Plus I can get rid of the noisy 4L, too. You also helped me decide on WMF (more of a BMW than Mercedes kinda gal). I do like the Fagor Futuro and Chef models too, but I can’t help but notice when staying with family in Spain that folks I meet there are more likely to own WMF than any other brand.

    For WMF, I notice you include the 6.5/3L set and the 8.5/4.5L set on your shopping page, but not this 6.5/4.5 L set which looks rather nifty to me, and a great deal too, throwing in the glass lid and extra sealing ring for about the same prize as the other two sets without them.

    Is there some reason this combination is not particularly advisable? I had first thought to just go with it, as the size combination seemed to work well for me with the two older models, but now I wonder whether they are not too similar? Perhaps I would do better to size up to 8.5/4.5L? Normally I totally agree with you that the smallest model for your uses, the better, I am concerned that the 6.5/3L set may be too small in the case of the pressure pan, as I have gotten quite used to the 4L-ish size and find it the most useful for me. I looked at your capacity charts, and and the 3L numbers look to be within, but on the very edge of my range. Would the 4.5L take much longer to reach pressure than the 3L with the same amount of food–say, 1 cup lentils with 4 cups liquid? For that matter, would the 6.5L take much longer? Maybe the 6.5/3L is a better division of labor than two fairly similar size pots?

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but hopefully it will let you know where I am. I welcome any input from you on which of these three sets (or perhaps a different configuration) might work well in my circumstances.

    Big thanks for your time and generous sharing of your knowledge!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Havana, it’s wonderful to hear that your whole family has a history and is actively pressure cooking – oh the stories their pressure cookers could tell!

      Actually, there is no actual meaning to my NOT linking to a particular WMF set. I either missed it or it was added after I created links on the purchase page/review.

      I think the final decision for you will be based on the size of the smaller cooker in the set. In cooking with your current 4L have you found that you always fill it less than 1/3? Then, get the set with the 3. If you’ve found that it’s just right, then get the set with the 4.5 L cooker.

      You’re really going to enjoy moving to a spring valve cooker. It will take some initial adjustment as there is even LESS evaporation than your current pressure cookers and you’ll have to turn the flame waaay down but you’ll enjoy the quiet operation!



      1. Thanks so much for the quick response, Laura. You definitely refocused my attention on the essentials.

        My current 4L works quite well for me capacity-wise, handling the bulk of my cooking needs well within the sweet spot range. I use my 6 quart Presto pretty for bigger jobs, but on large batch bean days, the 3-quart limit has come to feel a bit confining. Moving up to just shy of 3.5 quarts with a 6.5L as the bigger size in the set doesn’t seem much of a difference. So I’m thinking I’ll go for the WMF 8.5/4.5L combination. Turns out my 6qt is stainless steel after all–the one lodged in my memory banks must still be the childhood aluminum one! So I can use that one too if need be.

        And you are so right–I am very much looking forward to getting acquainted with the modern models, especially their quiet efficiency. Though I have to admit that the jiggle top’s chugga chugga sounds mighty comforting to my ears! ; )

        All best,

  4. So first of all, I’d like to say that I really like your site. I’ve learned a lot from it. That said, I’m not sure I entirely agree with everything you say about pressure cooker sizing. A bit of background- I have two pressure cookers, a 6 quart Instapot electric (which I don’t actually use that much) and a 10 quart Fagor Duo, that I use a _lot_.

    When you’re talking about how long it takes for a cooker to come to pressure it’s not fair to compare a 10 quart cooker filled to the halfway line with a 4 quart cooker filled to the halfway line. Of course it will take longer for the former to come to pressure. You have to transfer a lot more energy to the stuff in there before it gets hot enough to create pressure. But you are doing something in the former case that you simply could not do in the latter. You will have to heat a larger volume of air in the former case, and that will take a bit more time, but in my experience it is transferring energy to the liquid that takes almost all of the time.

    I’m also not sure you need to use _that_ much more liquid in a larger cooker (a bit more, of course, as you need a bit more vapor.)

    I usually use my cooker to make pretty large batches of food, but the other night I wanted to braise just a couple of chicken thighs. After browning them I added a small amount of liquid (maybe a half-inch deep in a 10-inch diameter pot,) set my (sigh) electric burner to high, and walked off to do something else. I’m used to walking away from the cooker while it is coming up to pressure, because I usually have a lot of liquid in it. In this case though- my ears alerted me that something was off, and I had to run back and move the cooker off the burner, because it was definitely over-pressure, after just a couple of minutes. Would a smaller cooker have been at pressure even faster? A bit, I imagine. Would the difference have been appreciable? I doubt it.

    On the other hand there are nice things I can do with a 10-quart cooker. First and foremost is stock. When I make stock I make a lot of it. In fact, I made stock yesterday, and the amount I made could not have been made in even an 8 quart cooker, let alone a 6 quart model.

    Another nice thing is the ability to make dishes that not only use ingredients you are not supposed to use above the halfway line, but also other ingredients. The halfway line rule for legumes doesn’t bother me, even in smaller cookers, if I am just cooking legumes. I’m not running a restaurant, so I’m unlikely to make enough beans that they, with their cooking water, exceed three quarts. But what if I want to make a dish that requires beans, tomatoes, veggies, and lots of chicken pieces, all in the cooker at once? A 6-quart cooker is going to be cramped. An 8 quart cooker will suffice. But a 10 quart cooker- ah, I can stretch my (chicken) legs in its luxury cabin.

    It’s also worth noting that larger cookers have larger diameters, and that means more area for browning things. More browning area is a good thing, IMHO, as pressure cookers tend to have too little.

    All that said, I guess I think an 8 quart cooker is the best size for lots of people. 6 just seems… very limiting, even if you are cooking for one. And if, like me, you want to be able to make vats of stock, I don’t think the downsides of a 10 quart pressure cooker are all that significant if you are large and strong enough to carry it around easily.

    1. Tagore, I have an 8 quart, 16 quart and 23 quart. For me, 10 would just be a nuisance size. 8 is my small; otherwise I’d say go big or go home :} Try a 16 quart, LOADS of browning room!

      1. Randal: I wouldn’t mind having an even larger cooker, but the larger cookers I’ve seen are either very expensive, or not very good pots (i.e. aluminum.) I do think 8 quarts is a good size (6 quarts is just too small, IMHO.)

        I have considered getting a really large cooker, but mostly for canning.

    2. Today many manufacturers like Fagor, Kuhn Rikon and Fissler make low and wide pressure cookers – so there is no reason to get a bulky pressure cooker just for the diameter. My advice is meant to be general and will not work for everyone but will work for large part of cooks looking to get into pressure cooking – those with special cooking needs will need more specific recommendations to match those needs.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!



  5. I just purchased my electric farberware pressure cooker and there
    was no cookbook enclosed. How can I get a simple cookbook
    which tells me how water to use etc. ? Joyce

    1. Welcome Joyce, just go to the Pressure Cooker Manual Library (under the tips & info menu) and click on Farberware. You’ll find a copy of your instruction manual there:



  6. If you own a 8 quart PC, what is the next best size down, 6 or 4, if you want a smaller pot for just some quick, not a lot of stuff, smaller veggie side dishes? It takes so long to bring up to pressure the 8 quart that I balk at using it for these.

  7. Hi,

    Your site seems quite interesing and informative.
    Does the weight and thickness of the pressure cooker matter? meaning same capacity but heavier pressure cooker means more durable?



    1. It would depend very much on what is causing the weight. If for example, one PC has an elaborate and heavy!) locking mechanism, while another has a simple lightweight locking mechanism in an otherwise more or less identical PC, then I would choose the latter.

      OTOH if the extra weight was in a thicker heat spreading base, then I would choose that, all other things being equal.

      Also shape will affect weight even if both PCs are made to the same specifications. The closer a PC is to a sphere, the less it will weigh for a given volume. This is basic geometry – a sphere has the lowest ratio of surface area to volume. Now I know there are no spherical PCs out there (I think!) but a PC that is about the same height as it’s diameter will weigh less than one out of the same factory that is wide and shallow. Or tall and skinny for that matter..

      In summary I think the weight or thickness of a PC is a very poor indicator of its quality. Other factors are much more important. And the weight can mean it will get used less as it is heavy and awkward.

      Also remember there are a number of consumable parts on any pressure cooker. Most notably the gasket which should be replaced every few years. A pressure cooker built like a tank will still be useless in a few years if the company making it goes out of business. Or doesn’t stock spare parts. There is a new comment here every few weeks along the lines of “Where can I get XXX gasket” Because the company is gone, or has changed models, or simply doesn’t bother with spare parts. PCs heavily promoted on television seem to be the worst offenders here.

      1. Thanx alot……your detailed answer was quite helpful :)

    2. Although as Greg states you have to take the shape and materials into account – all things being equal – a thicker metal will take longer to heat than a thinner one. It does not necessarily mean that it will be more durable as that depends on the metal blends being used.



  8. Wow Laura,

    That’s an impressive collection of pressure cookers you have there. I just discovered electric pressure cookers. I grew up with the regular stove top pressure cooker at home. It made cooking beans, meat and cow hoofs much easier. This was back in Lagos where I grew up.


    1. Dems: Hmm, cow hoofs. They aren’t traditionally used in North American cooking, but… I grew up in cow country and in retrospect I suppose we just threw the hooves away, which was kind of a waste. I imagine they must be very rich in gelatin and minerals. I’d be interested to hear a bit more about how you cook with them, especially in pressure cookers.

      1. I don’t have any personal experience with cow foot, maybe some readers can jump in here and share their personal stories. In the meanwhile I found this video with a delicious recipe and instructions for pressure cooking cow hooves. If you’re using an electric, I would up the recommended 20 minute pressure cooking time to 30 and open with natural release to keep most of the good stuff in the cooker.



        1. Ah, thanks for that Laura. Interesting- the narrator is great too, btw. I’ll admit that I’m (for no good reason) a bit squeamish about the idea. But- well, like I said, for no good reason. If I’m willing to eat ossobuco (and I am very much willing to do so) I should be delighted to eat this. And the accompanying flavors in this are very much up my alley. I may have to track down some hooves.

  9. Morrocans also cook cow or lamb hooves in a dish called koor’reen. It’s sweet, sticky and yummy and cooks well in a pressure cooker. This is an excellent recipe only i never use whet, only chick beans.

    1. Ah, that does look good, thanks! My exposure to Moroccan food has been limited, but I have very much enjoyed what I have had.

    2. Also, south asians make a version called Paya, which is spicey savory.

  10. Does anyone have any opinions about the Allclad PC-8 stove top pressure cooker?

    1. Phil, I haven’t personally seen it but I do like that it has a 10″ base and non-scalloped edge – it certainly gives it that “braiser” look and feel and it wouldn’t be out of place being used without the pressure cooking lid. However, it operates at 8psi (55kpa) – that about half of most stovetop pressure cookers (15psi) and even lower than most electric pressure cookers (10psi). None of the recommended pressure cooking times on this website will work with this pressure cooker (without some calculations).

      One thing you should know about All-Clad is that it is no longer a company of metal crafters in Pennsylvania. It is a brand name that was sold to SEB (a French conglomerate). In fact, this pressure cooker is manufactured in France, not the USA.

      The valve looks to be the same to what T-Fal (another SEB brand) has been using for years. Look at the T-Fal here and then look at the marketing photos for the all-clad here (they didn’t even bother to use new photos – the finger is clearly covering the words “acti/nutricook”).

      Unfortunately, all stove top pressure cookers that include a digital timer/control on the lid, have had some problems with durability. That is the hottest part of the pressure cooker and, unless properly isolated, electronics, batteries, and plastic don’t do well in super-heated environments. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but historically that is what I’ve noticed personally and has been reported by readers in various discussions on this website.

      The marketing materials state that the All-Clad features a “patented timer” and it doesn’t say how or why. Just having a patent does not mean the timer is more durable or well-made than pressure cooker timers that have been produced in the past. In fact, All-Clad doesn’t hold any patents on pressure cooker timers ( so they’re very likely using the same SEB technology they used on the T-Fal Nutricook/Acticook.

      Hopefully, the information I shared will help with your decision. But, if a reader has had personal experience with this pressure cooker to share with Phil, please do. I’m interested to hear about how it works for you, too!



  11. Hi Laura,

    I think I have decided on a Fagor Lux Pressure Multcooker. I have only to decide on the 6 or 8 Qt …98% of the time I am just cooking for the two of us. I had a BBB appliance sales assoc advise me that a 6 qt sh do fine.

    But I just read that you should only fill the pot to 2/3’s full. And I definitely intend to cook a 4-6 lb chicken, adding stock and veggies, once in a while.

    I’d rather go small b/c this is an appliance that I will be pulling out and putting back under a kitchen cabinet.

    Also, I don’t see anywhere on Fagor’s site that I can buy any steamer insert baskets or 3 tier inserts for multiple recipes cooked together, etc

  12. I mostly cook for two and most often use a 2.5qt pressure cooker, so the 6 should be more than big enough.

    A large chook may be problematic if whole, but you can always joint it before cooking. It will take up a lot less space that way. (Keep the back and wings for stock)

    Also you can go a little over the 2/3 mark IF it is a single solid object going over AND most of the liquid content is well under. The requirement is there for two reasons:
    1. you need air space for the pressure to build in. If you go over in one spot , make sure you are under in another.
    2. you need to prevent food from entering and clogging the valve. A single solid thing like a chook is unlikely to fly up and block the valve. Be wary of loose seasonings though.

  13. What do you think of the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker at Costco carries.

    1. Diane, if you can give me a link or a model number I can take a look at it.



  14. thanks greg, very helpful.

    also, does anyone know whether that Fagor Lx Pressure Multi-cooker has an optional steamer basket accessory?

  15. I have to cook 5kg toot dal and 6 kg vegetable at a time,so l purchase how much little of cooker? 20 lit or 30 lit plz guide 9008194250 cooker for school mid day meal purpose.

    1. This site is geared to the use of pressure cookers in private homes. What you are describing is more of a commercial use in quantity. As such no one here is qualified to make specific recommendations.

      That said, I would suggest you measure to prepare your ingredients as you normally would and measure the volume they occupy. The easiest way to do that would be to put them all into a large stockpot, or even a bucket. Note how high the come up the sides. Then empty it and fill the pot with water to the same level. Measure the water volume. Now double that measurement. This will give you the size of the pressure cooker you are looking for. Get the next size up.

      I am assuming that “toot dal” is some kind of lentil so you should only fill the PC half way.

  16. Pressure CookIng is way better than slow cooking, its fast and you don’t have to decide hours in advance what you are cooking. I am looking for an 8 qt., Stainless Steel, Pressure cooker that has lower sides and wider bottom, this is so I can brown my chicken easier before cooking without piling the pieces on top of each other. I have a Presto 8 qt but it is tall and narrow.

    I can’t find anything close to this product except for a smaller 4 qt. fryer, pressure cooker. Is it made and if not why?

    1. Jane, there used to be oval pressure cookers but the American distributor went out of business when they sold a bunch of units that didn’t work via QVC. You can still find some around (avoid the “talking” ones at all costs) – I’ve been bugging the manufacturers I work with for years to do a quality one because the larger cooking surface is such a HUGE advantage in not just the browning but also heat-up time and, ultimately, reduction.

      Who knows… maybe one of them finally listened. ; )



  17. Hi Laura,
    Your site is very informative.

    Please help me with the cooking time of various beans(soaked overnight) as i have a stove top pressure cooker. And i am confused as to how much time the different beans are to be cooked after the pressure is built.

    1. This covers most of the beans you might encounter. There is one column for soaked and another for unsoaked.:

      The general process is to put the beans in, cover with water and put the lid on. then bring to HIGH pressure. Once pressure is reached, lower the flame (or equivalent!) until you just maintain high pressure. On my stove with my pressure cooker, that is almost off. Cook for the stated time, then turn off. Let them sit there until the pressure has dissipated.

      1. Thank you Greg!
        That was immensely helpful.


  18. I was hesitant about choosing this link while doing research before investing in a pressure cooker (I’m choosing a stovetop model to ensure we can use even if we should lose electricity), mostly because the date was less current. I am delighted that I clicked!

    Thank you for all of your valuable work and information, as well as for continuing to update your commentary and reply to inquiries. I am grateful to know I’m not in this venture alone, particularly as my family cautions against using a pressure cooker.

    I’ll be utilizing a pressure cooker almost daily, as my Ayurvedic vegan lifestyle means cooking daily only what I will consume for that day, and cooking for myself alone.

    Are there particular models that can withstand this type of use? I’m thinking that with a pressure cooker and my cast iron skillets I can rid my space of many cookware items, which will be ideal as I downsize my life.

    Thank you for any insight you can provide!

    1. So glad this was helpful, and thanks for the feedback on the date. I will update it so that others seeing this information won’t be so hesitant to click on the link.

      All pressure cookers can (and should) withstand daily use. Even multiple times a day. It will just be a matter of choosing the bells and whistles that you would like. Definitely stick with a 6L size because even though you’ll just be cooking for yourself, you can actually cook two parts of the meal at once (rice and curry for example) by stacking them. Here’s an example of this kind of recipe.

      Have fun and… thank you!



  19. Hello! Splendid article Laura. I have a quick question regarding the electric pressure cooker. Suppose, I am using an 8l Pressure cooker of 800 watts. How much it will cost according to the US electricity bill? Have any idea?

  20. I got confused on the size of silicone to use for a 6 qt ip. Did you say 8″ & is it safe to use
    aluminum? Thanks so much.

  21. Perhaps you could help me? I am retired, single man. I am soon to be hitting the road on a permanent basis, shuffling between Alaska in the summer and Baja California in the winter. I will be getting a very small travel trailer where space is very limited. I will have very little room for pots and pans. I plan on having one skillet, one pasta pot, one old fashioned style I am looking for a stainless steel, 2 – 3 quart pressure cooker for cooking meals for myself. Non-electric, for use on top of a propane burner stove. It needs to be ultra rugged, with full safety features. If you have a suggestion, I am ready to buy one.
    thank you

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