Pressure Cooker Review: Magefesa Practika Plus
We tried three Magefesa models and Practika is our favorite. It has the heft of the premium cookers without the flashy design (or price) – but the savings is paid in quirks. Once the cook figures out the Practika’s naughty gasket and tricky valve this cooker gets the job done consistently, reliably and predictably.
Pressure Cooker Review: Magefesa Practika Plus 6L
Features: (5 out of 5 stars)
The Magefesa Practika Plus gets our top rating in this category because its features are not just comparable to premium pressure cookers. The extra-thick aluminum disk in the base and fill lines, which are often missing on mid-range pressure cookers, make sauteing a breeze and saves the cook from having to eye-ball and guess whether they’ve reached the maximum fill.
- Pressure Selector – Choose from four settings with a twist of a knob: High pressure 15psi (100kpa), low pressure 9psi (60kpa), pressure release and no pressure (to remove the valve).
- Easy to Clean Valve – The valve twists right out of its housing for easy rinsing and cleaning, without the need for tools or complicated operations.
- Fill Lines – Capacity marks inside the pot indicate, 1/2 full (maximum for cooking grains, beans and other foamy foods) and MAX (maximum for regular pressure cooking).
- Thick Aluminum Disk – Practika’s 3-ply base features an aluminum disk which is 4mm thick -thicker than most economy pressure cookers. For comparison, the premium WMF Perfect plus aluminum disk is 4.5mm thick)
Safety: (4.5 out of 5 stars)
The Magefesa Practika Plus has the standard set of redundant safety features, comparable to its peers. An oddly-placed lid vent gives this cooker’s score a small ding.
- Self-locking Handle – When the red pressure indicator begins to rise, it will automatically lock the pressure cooker closed preventing the cook from opening it accidentally while the contents are under pressure.
- Correct Placement Nub – A small metal projection inside the lid, that pushes the gasket slightly out of alignment to stop the cooker from building pressure if the lid is just rested on top of the cooker or the lid is not properly locked.
- Primary over-pressure release valve – Integrated in the pressure selector, it activates to release pressure if internal pressure exceeds 18 PSI it begins to release excess pressure.
- Secondary safety valve – Integrated in the red pressure signal activates if the primary should be obstructed or not working properly to release pressure.
- Gasket vent – The safety vent is a cut-out on the lid and comes into action in case any of the previous safety measures were to fail. The gasket will buckle and allow pressure (and some of the contents of the pressure cooker) out of the pressure cooker. The cook should always point this cut-out in the rim away from him while operating the pressure cooker. Unfortunately, the vent of this cooker is on the left, while the pressure release is exhausted to the right. This means that this vent must point towards the cook in order for the pressure release to point towards the cooking back splash.
Performance: (3 of 5 stars)
Overall the Magefesa Practika Plus’s performance was above average. It’s great that the cook can select pressure by twisting a knob but it’s tricky to turn and we really didn’t like how the pressure indicator behaves or how difficult it is to see. A few more kinks, such as gasket placement and multi-language lid, may cause new cooks to stumble. On the plus side, releasing pressure is a snap and we found an undocumented way to regulate the speed of the pressure release, too!
Pressure Selector & Indicator
Selecting pressure is tricky with this pressure cooker because the cook must push down on the selector slightly while simultaneously twisting it – like the safety-cap of a medicine bottle. Push and twist the knob to I for low pressure (9psi) and II for high pressure (15psi), the little cloud to release pressure and the circle with a slash going through it to remove the valve for cleaning. The selections are not easy to see – you need some very bright lights to see the raised black lettering on the black handle.
The pressure indicator is a red metallic rod in the lid/handle casing. We dinged this cooker’s score in this category twice because the indicator is difficult to see and it’s tricky to ascertain when full pressure has actually been attained. The cook needs to lean over the cooker and look inside the hole to see it when it has no pressure. When it does rise, it does so to just under the casing. So, again the cook would have to lean over and look at the lid to understand if the indicator is up or down but without any obvious reference point.
We don’t like how this pressure cooker indicates reaching full pressure for the same reason we didn’t like how the Fagor Futuro did it. That’s because the indicator rises when the cooker is reaching pressure, not when it has reached the full pressure chosen by the selector. This can confuse beginners into turning down the heat before the cooker has actually reached the selected pressure – making the cooker appear as if it cannot maintain pressure. In fact, a popular American cooking magazine wrongfully declared this cooker troublesome and unable to reach or maintain pressure in its reviews and we suspect the signal’s tricky function was the cause.
The only way to make sure that this cooker has reached the full cooking pressure is to either wait for the cooker to gently blow a stream of vapor from selector valve or by touching the indicator. Using a toothpick (not finger) the cook can touch the red metal signal rod to check if the signal is firmly in place. If the signal feels springy full pressure has not been reached, yet, and the cooker must remain on high heat to continue to building pressure until the signal is firm.
It’s worth noting that Magefesa’s newer pressure cooker Model, Rapid III, has fixed this issue by using two pressure indicators. However, we chose not to review the Rapid III because of some minor design flaws that only affect is usability – of which we informed the manufacturer.
Tricky Gasket Placement
All of the Magefesa pressure cooker models we’ve seen so far tend to have gaskets that do not automagically go in the correct position. Before starting to cook with the Magefesa Practika, the cook needs to ensure that the gasket is under the gasket guides in the lip of the lid and passing in front the correct placement nub (as shown). Trying to close the lid of any Magafesa pressure cooker with a gasket that is out of alignment can be both frustrating to the cook and damaging to the gasket!
The only big surprise, both for us and the manufacturer, was that we measured the cooker cooking at an average of 118°C and not the expected 120°C (about 15psi) as stated in their cooker’s specifications. Also, Magefesa Practika Plus’ evaporation rate was just a tad bit higher than comparable pressure cookers 4.5% (compared to 3.5% evaporation rate from Fagor Futuro) but required much less heat to maintain pressure knob position 1.8 compared to 2.75.
Pressure Release & Speed
Releasing pressure on the Magefesa Practika Plus is easy. Just twist the selector knob to the release position and go do something else. It was designed assuming the cook would turn the handle of the cooker to the right in order for the steam to spray towards the backsplash of the cooktop (unlike other models where the manufacturer assumes the cooker will be used with the handle pointing towards the cook).
While testing and using this pressure cooker we found an undocumented way to regulate the speed of the pressure release- useful when releasing pressure for foamy foods or trying to accelerate a natural release. While most selector-type cookers, like this one, include a selection to release pressure usually the only way to release it is full throddle. This is where the aforementioned tricky medicine bottle safety-cap style operation of the selector becomes an advantage. Once on the selector is moved to the “pressure release” position, the selector can be pushed down all the way stop the pressure release completely or slowly lifted to the cook’s preference for a slow, medium or full speed pressure pressure release.
Lost in translation
We don’t ding for this but it’s worth noting that the lid is unnecessarily written in two languages. The arrows on either side of the red button should indicate “Open” and “Close.” Instead the Magefesa Practika shows the letter “C” for closed and “A” to open (Cerrado and Abierto in Spanish). Then, around the pressure signal and on the handle is written “Gebrauchsanweisung Beachten” which just means “Read Instructions before use” but this time in German. It struck us as odd because most manufacturers use symbols that can be interpreted internationally such as a picture of an instruction book and icons of either little locks or pots to indicate which way the cooker handle or lock needs to move to open or close.
Clean-up: (3 out of 5 stars)
We were disappointed to discover this pressure cooker requires hand- washing only for all parts. Because of the lack of convenience, we gave the cooker two dings in this area.
- Valve removes easily with a twist
- Lid & Base hand-wash only
Depending on the retailer, some Magefesa Practika pressure cookers come with a trivet and steamer basket. We did not receive a set so we cannot comment on their quality or practicality.
- 18/10 Stainless Steel with 4mm aluminum disk in sandwich base
- Available Sizes: 3 to 7 liters (European manufacturers sometimes round these European liter sizes to quarts so if you purchase a 6 “quart” pressure cooker it’s the European 6L which is really 6.34 quarts)
- Spring Valve with pressure selector: High pressure 15psi, low pressure 9psi
- Maximum Cooking Temperature measured at high pressure: 117°C (243°F)
- Universal Base – safe to use on gas, electric, ceramic and induction cook tops
- Width: (opening) 8.5″ or 21.5cm, cylindrical/conical; Height (internal) 6.5″ or 16.5cm; Weight: (Base) 4.2lbs or 1.926k , (Base and Top) 6.2lbs or 2.820k
- 10 Year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty (excluding wearing parts)
- Made in Spain
- Magefesa Practika Plus Instruction Manual
- Manufacturer Website: Magefesa USA, Magefesa Spain
- Recipes on this website using: Magefesa Practika Plus
Conclusion and Score:
This cooker has the heft and safety of a premium cooker without the fancy features, or fancy price tag – bu the savings comes at a price. The pressure selector can be tricky to turn and it takes a bit of study to understand, or see, when this cooker has reached pressure but it has a thick aluminum disk in the base which gives it heft and along with fill lines – which makes using it practical.
With a little extra attention to the correct placement of the gasket and understanding of how this cooker signals it has reached pressure, this cooker never failed to reach or maintain pressure for us – and not just during our tests, we used this cooker at least weekly for several months before and after testing as well.
This pressure cooker does require a little bit of attention, and the familiarizing process is a bit longer compared to its peers but once once all its little intricacies are understood it will become a dependable member of your kitchen arsenal.
NOTE: This review was fact-checked by the Regional Sales Manager of Magefesa USA and Magefesa headquarters in Spain prior to publication.
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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.