Instant Pot Models Comparison & Mini-reviews

As the former presenter in Instant Pot’s product videos,  I’m often asked by readers which Instant Pot they should get.  While most manufacturers retire an older model and only sell the newer one, Instant Pot still markets earlier models while introducing new ones.  Plus, whenever they make a new batch they sneak in some enhancements. This gives you lots of options, but it can be confusing. There is a dizzying collection of Instant Pot model names, numbers, and versions so the first thing you should know is what all those letters and numbers mean. Then, I’ll explain the differences between the models.

Decoding Instant Pot Model Names & Numbers

You probably already figured out that “IP” stands for Instant Pot so let’s get to the good stuff.

IP-LUX60 V3 The first three letters (LUX) indicate the functions, the numbers (60) indicate the size and if there are any additional letters after that, (ENW or V3) this indicates a partnership or version number.

The next three letters in the name indicate the functions of the pressure cooker, which I will detail below. At the time of this writing, Instant Pot has five models for sale, the LUX, DUO, SMART, ULTRA and GEM. Their very first model (CSG) has been discontinued.

The numbers indicate the size of the pressure cooker.  So the number “50” stands for a 5L pressure cooker, while the number 60 is for 6L and 80 is for 8L – not all models come in all sizes.  My rule of thumb is generally 1L per person.  So a 6L can cook for six people or less, and an 8L for 8 people or less. Don’t miss my detailed guide on how much you can fill the pressure cooker to see if the amount of food you feed your household matches to the size pressure cooker you need to buy.

See Also: Pressure Cooker FAQ: filling the pressure cooker – if it fits, pressure cook it!

Sometimes,  Instant Pot might tack on additional letters to the end of the model numbers to signify exclusive marketing relationships with retailers or version numbers. In 2018 Instant Pot decided not to just re-name existing models and two “unique” retail-specific models- NOVA for Costco and VIVA for QVC.

Main Instant Pot Models

I’m listing them in the order Instant Pot introduced them because each new model was an improvement over the preceding model (until GEM was introduced). In other words,  the next Instant Pot has the same functionality as the previous ones with a few snazzy additions.

The pressure multi cookers all pressure cook, slow cook and saute’.  They all also have a “manual” program, this is important because it means you can tap in your own pressure cooking time and pressure, (if available). All of the Instant Pots with pressure function come with a stainless-steel cooking surface and, most importantly, the same safety features.

LUX

Instant Pot LUXThis is Instant Pot’s second model.  It’s now their “Economy” offering. It’s a basic 6-in-1 multi cooker that can: pressure cook, slow cook, steam, make rice, saute’ and keep warm.

I wrote a detailed review of this pressure cooker and even used the LUX to test recipe and ingredient timing for electric pressure cookers for my cookbook.

The LUX does not have a “low” pressure setting, it does not make yogurt, it does not work with the Programmable Instant Pot SMART app.

DUO

InstantPot-IP-DUO

This is Instant Pot’s third and most successful model so far.  This is a 7-in-1 multi cooker and it can do everything the LUX can do plus make yogurt. Instant Pot listened to feedback from consumers and added a few nice touches such as two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.

The DUO does not work with the Programmable Instant Pot SMART app.

SMART + app

Instant Pot SMART

I call this cooker is a million-in-1 multi cooker,  it can do everything the LUX and DUO can plus, a more informative screen with larger numbers, and a programmable app that connects to the cooker via Bluetooth.  The Smart app lets you dictate specific temperatures and duration of your recipes in unlimited sequences.

I wrote a review of this pressure cooker and you’ll see that with the app you can control exactly what temperature it reaches, how long it’s held, and whether to turn off the pressure cooker or move on to the next temperature setting using “recipe scripts”.

The app adds another layer of complexity to the whole multi-cooker idea (especially if you’re new to this type of appliance) but at the same time, it enables unparalleled control over the cooking process – unleashing your cooking creativity.

It is currently the only pressure cooker on the market that can pressure cook at any temperature sequentially.  This means that a script can be written to pressure cook for x minutes, slow cook for x minutes, turn off for x minutes, and then keep warm for x minutes – or really, any combination at an unlimited number of steps.

UPDATE: Since updating to a new phone (Android 7.0), I cannot get the SMART App to work, and despite my inside contacts with Instant Pot I have not gotten an answer on how or when this can be fixed. Because of this, and because Instant Pot is communicating through customer service that they will release a new model from the SMART track. I currently do not recommend purchasing an Instant Pot SMART.

DUO PLUS

Instant Pot DUO PlusThis is where Instant Pot breaks from their tradition of adding to their latest model.  The Instant Pot DUO Plus is actually a refresh of their previous most popular best-selling model, the DUO. It includes everything the DUO has plus a new “sterilize” function in addition to “egg” and “cake” programs (pre-set times and pressures).  They call this a 9-in-1 multi cooker – we’ll let Instant Pot figure out the math.  The display is completely modernized so the cook can easily tell if the cooker is heating, pressure cooking, keeping warm and if the beeping sounds are on or off. It also remembers the last cooking time and/or pressure setting (this could be good or bad – as this website receives numerous support requests on the how to make yogurt in the DUO v2 on a cooker that by default only remembers how to boil milk).  At this time I can’t advise on the utility of the “sterilize” setting as there are no official guidelines on how to sterilize or can using an electric pressure cooker (times, pressures, and methods).  However, Instant Pot has made it clear that this setting is not to be used for pressure canning low-acid foods such as meat. Here’s our preview of the Instant Pot DUO Plus.

ULTRA

Instant Pot ULTRAThis model brings a completely new interface to Instant Pot using the spin dial and allows a detailed level of customization not only for each program but also with the new “Ultra” program which is like a “custom mode” but on steroids. Not only can you choose the cooking time (from 1 minute to 6 hours), pressure level (high or low), set the delay timer and whether “keep warm” engages at the end of the program but you can also choose any temperature, one degree at a time, from 104-208°F. Although you can set the temperature in 1°F increments, this model has a thermostat that maintains the temperature plus or minus 5° – Instant Pot does not recommend this model for sous vide. Also, the “Steam” program also has the option to steam without pressure – a godsend for al dente veggie enthusiasts.This is the 10-in-1 multi cooker and it still includes the pre-programmed times and pressure introduced in the DUO PLUS (cake and egg) plus the unclear “Sterilize” setting (see critique in DUO Plus description, above).  It also has every cooking program and function found on the insanely popular DUO (Pressure Cook, Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Slow Cook, Saute’, Warm, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, and Yogurt) plus the ability to customize and memorize settings for each- or not. Beginners can just choose a program and press the “Start” button without any further tinkering. Advanced cooks can spin and punch their way through additional options.   Don’t miss my detailed review of the Instant Pot ULTRA.

GEM

Instant Pot GEMThe GEM is a very confusing and surprising addition to the Instant Pot family. They broke with the tradition of gilding the cooking technology lilly to, instead, add their processor-run interface to a more primitive appliance.  The most obvious change is that GEM does not have any pressure cooking functions.  While it is a multi cooker, it’s closer in every way to a slow cooker than a pressure or rice cooker.  In fact, the GEM is a fancy slow cooker in that it can saute’ and brown right in the pot, and allows the cook to customize the cooking programs (via time and temperature adjustments).  This no-pressure multi cooker allows the cook to: Saute’, Slow Cook (two temps), Rice Cook, Bake, Steam, Roast and Stew.  It does not make yogurt, it does not pressure cook, and the inner liner is non-stick coating.

We haven’t tried it, but at the time of this writing, this appliance only had two reviews on Amazon – one noted that there was nothing “instant” about slow cooking. This appliance is an awkward fit in both the name and premise for “Instant Pot” in my opinion.  Instant Pot has recalled this model due to a manufacturing issue.

MAX

Instant Pot MAXThis model is slated to launch in the fall of 2018. It follows in the footsteps of ULTRA, with all the features there minus the custom program buttons (chili, soup, cake, egg, etc.) but with an automated pressure release on the lid and the ability to reach and maintain 15psi during the pressure program (until now the “high bar” has been 11.6psi). This higher pressure means the addition of a pressure canning feature – which is still not approved by NCHFP.  For more details, read our peek at the introduction of this model.  

VIVA – QVC Exclusive

Instant Pot VIVAThis model is a DUO V3 with an additional function.  It includes all the buttons and features of the original  DUO but with the addition of “cake” and “egg” programs (seen starting in version 3 of the DUO) with the “sterilize” setting of the DUO PLUS  9-in-1 cooker even though it technically only has eight functions: Saute’; Keep-Warm; Steam; Rice cook; Slow Cook; Yogurt maker; “Sterilizer” and Pressure Cooker.  You can find more information about this cooker on the QVC website.

NOVA PLUS – Costco Exclusive

This model is a hybrid of the DUO and DUO PLUS.  It includes all the buttons and features of the DUO but with the new display of the DUO PLUS.  The display clearly indicates if the cooker is reaching or containing pressure, plus there is the ability to turn off all the beeping sounds (just like the DUO PLUS). The NOVA does not include the ridiculous “sterilize”, “cake” and “egg” settings of the PLUS (see DUO PLUS  description above) yet for some reason, it is still being marketed as a 9-in-1 cooker even though it technically only has seven functions: Saute’; Keep-Warm; Steam; Rice cook; Slow Cook; Yogurt maker; and Pressure Cooker.  Instant Pot uses a proprietary fuzzy logic to come up with how many functions their cookers are marketed to have. At the time of this writing – there isn’t any listing for the NOVA the Costco website at this time.

Choosing a model

If you never eat yogurt, then the LUX might be for you.

If you want to experiment with making yogurt, and cooking at low pressure then the DUO and DUO Plus are going to be your best bet. Low pressure is useful for pressure cooking delicate foods such as eggs, seafood, and pasta. Don’t worry, you don’t need a special “egg” button to pressure cook eggs as long as you have a model that also lets you choose low pressure, you can just follow our instructions. The same goes for pressure cooking cakes.

If you want to do everything including the full set-it-and-forget-it experience, and you’re a little techie, then you’ll really enjoy the SMART – specifically, you can write a script with the app to choose the time, temperature/pressure of cooking plus additional cooking time, temperature/pressure combinations! If you still want to do everything, and don’t mind setting just one cooking time and temperature/pressure setting at a time (which, honestly, this is OK for most cooking situations) but don’t want to be bothered with using an app. then Instant Pot’s ULTRA will be a good fit for you.

If you want to upgrade your Slow Cooker, and the idea of pressure cooking does not entice you, GEM is worth a peek.

If all these options are starting to look the same, and you are overwhelmed by the similar offerings, the models I recommend the most to readers are the  DUO and DUO Plus – they are the “active” Instant Pots in my own kitchen.

Instant Pot Model Feature Comparison

The models in this table have been arranged by functionality - now that Instant Pot has introduced a new model for every retailer relationship, those feature listings have been moved next to the closest original Instant Pot model. In other words, these are not arranged by introduction date, but by feature -set. With the least amount of features on the left, and the most amount of features on the right.
 GEM
8-in-1
LUX
6-in-1
DUO
7-in-1
NOVA
9-in-1?
VIVA
9-in-1
DUO Plus
9-in-1
SMART
mil-in-1
ULTRA
10-in-1
MAX
Reaches and maintains "maximum pressure" (15psi)carotina
Automatically releases pressurecarotina
Self-closing Pressure Valvecarotinacarotina
Cooks at any temperaturecarotinacarotinacarotina
Makes Yogurtcarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Cooks at "Low" pressurecarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Pressure Cooks at "High" pressurecarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Saute' / Reducecarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Slow Cookscarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Steamscarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Makes Ricecarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Keeps Warmcarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Stainless Steel inner Potcarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Lid Rest in Handlecarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotinacarotina
Cooks at different temperatures sequentially via scriptcarotina
"Sterilizes"carotinacarotinacarotina
Write, share or download recipe scriptscarotina
Available Sizes6 qt3,5,6 or 8 qt3,6 or 8 qt6 qt6 qt3,6 or 8 qt6 qt3,6 or 8 qt6 qt

I’ve personally used the LUX, DUO, SMART, DUO Plus and ULTRA and many of our readers have more than one Instant Pot so if you have any questions please post them below or in the Instant Pot forum!

Choosing a Size

Comparison between Instant Pot 3qt Mini and the 6 and 8 qt models.
Comparison between Instant Pot 3qt Mini and the 6 and 8 qt models.

Most Instant Pot models come in three sizes (3, 6 and 8 qt).  The 3qt size is also known as the “mini”.  For most households, my recommendation is to purchase a 6qt size – this size allows for cooking recipes for 1-6 people along with having the vertical space to try special stacking techniques where you can cook more than one recipe at once. For larger families, I recommend the 8qt size but I do not recommend the 3qt as the first pressure cooker purchase as it reaches a lower pressure than the other models which will require a novice to pressure cooking to do recipe adjustments- among other things.  For more specific information on exactly how much food will fit in each sized pressure cooker, please read the Pressure Cooker Capacity FAQ.

 

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

 

Note: This article was originally published 4/7/2016 and updated 7/20/2018 – we feel the need to emphasize this since our detailed content, recipes, and techniques are copied by other websites without credit.

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465 Comments

  1. In the “Max” section, I don’t understand: “I follow in the footsteps of ULTRA”. Do you mean “It follows in the footsteps of ULTRA”?

  2. The Smart app works fine on iPhones and iPads; sorry about your Android problems.

    1. Well, that’s great news that the app worked for someone, somewhere!

      As a former software developer, the underpinnings of the app are a disaster. Instant Pot originally had two apps on two tracks (Apple & Android) where they developed everything for Apple, and then some poor sod had to recreate something similar on Android. Someone at Instant Pot wasn’t keeping track of the Android updates, etc. and that is what caused most of the problems. The last straw for me is when they changed the standards the first time – I had to update all the scripts I had on this website. Then the second time they didn’t bother to tell me they had updated anything so my scripts simply stopped working.

      I don’t ever want to revisit an “essential app” for programming a cooking appliance until I hear that it is on a single development track for both platforms (for example local web-browser based interface). No one is reinventing the wheel, everyone makes apps for both platforms, they just need to partner with a talented development team not have the IT guy tinkering in the corner be in charge of it!

      Ciao,

      L

      P.S. I was a big believer and pusher of the SMART – this website was the first to host recipe scripts outside the Instant Pot website- but they just really dropped the ball by messing up the app for at least half if not more of their customers.

      1. Where are those scripts now? I’d like to try TESTING them on the App :)

        1. Single Insight?

          Ciao,

          L

      2. Do you know if it works with Droid 8.0 now? Or if Instant Pot has fixed the issue since this post?

        1. No updates from Instant Pot on the SMART app or compatibility as of today. I’m sorry, I still do not recommend this cooker. I have Android 7.0 (Nougat) and the damn thing doesn’t work. : (

          Ciao,

          L

      3. That’s really too bad about the SMART! I would have likely gotten that one if it worked with Android. Companies take note: Don’t alienate a big chunk of your customers!

      4. Great response! Thanks for posting this!

    2. It doesn’t work AT ALL on my iPhone X. It’s a great idea but a failure. Called several times but they have no solution.

  3. Laura ….. I’m anxiously awaiting your in-depth review of the MAX ……. will it be soon?

    I do trust your unbiased opinion.

    1. Hi Barbara, thanks for your confidence. Instant Pot hasn’t sent me a MAX, yet. : /

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Hi Laura, I just impulsively bought an IP nova at Costco 6 qt for 109.00. I thought maybe that was a really good price but it truly was an impulse buy. I do like to make big stock pot full of spaghetti with meat sauce just the red sauce part and freeze them so that in the future I have all this delicious home-cooked spaghetti sauce just waiting for me in the freezer. So the whole point of that is I have to make a good amount. Will this work for that? And is this a good buy? A quick peek at Amazon had models at 79 and. 89. Maybe I should return this impulse buy? I appreciate help from anyone and everyone. Thx Janie.

        1. 9/28/18 Costco has Instant Pot Nova on special $25 off for a total of $84.99. Impulse bought one today.

    2. I too am interested in Laura’s review of the MAX as I know it will be done well. Look also for reviews from Barbara Schieving and Jill Nussinow, as I know they too will be reviewing the Max and you can trust what they have to say. I’m sure there will be others but I know those two for sure. Be cautious of what I call pseudo-reviews – those by people who haven’t really TESTED the MAX and may know little about pressure cooking, but simply describe what it supposedly can do. So far there are a number of descriptions of the MAX one can find online. The only real review I’ve found so far is this one:
      Instant Pot Max Review – CNET
      https://www.cnet.com/au/products/instant-pot-max/review/
      This reviewer doesn’t think the MAX is worth the money and recommends you stick with one of the previous models.

      1. I too read the CNET review ….. it was interesting from a technical point of view but now I need to hear from a more hands on tester who has expertise in the subject of pressure cooking as a whole.

        1. Me three. Really wanted the Max for the Sous Vide feature. Now reconsidering.

          1. Sue ….. I have the Ultra and Sous Vide very successfully in it regularly.

            1. Really? Will take another look at the Ultra then since the price point is much better. Thank you!

  4. Which screen is easier to read, Duo Plus or Ultra? Does the self closing steam valve work well? I’ve been know to miss that when in hurry. I’m looking for 3 qt to add to collection. Thank you.

  5. Oh my, why did they have to make the screens so blue?? If you look at it before bed, its going to wake you right up! The original red was so much better

    1. I guess that “blue” is “new”. Hadn’t thought about the LED lights in the panel – but, thankfully, I rarely pressure cook before going to bed. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  6. Do you have any info on the Nova Plus Instant Pot? It appears to be a new model for sale @ Costco.

    https://youtu.be/fo7soJl-dwE

    1. Jimmiejoejohnson – I have updated this guide and comparison table to include information on the Instant Pot NOVA.

      I hope this helps.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thanks

    2. Since it’s billed as a 9 in 1, I thought it was like the Duo Plus, but when I looked at the manual for the Nova Plus, the control panel looks quite like the Duo rather than the Duo Plus. However, the Duo is billed as a 7 in 1 not a 9 in 1 so not sure which other IP the Nova Plus is most like. Can find more info here:
      https://instantpot.com/portfolio-item/nova-plus-6-qt/

      I would note that someone who would know says that when a product is sold by Costco, Costco wants it to be different in some way from products available elsewhere. I don’t know if this applies to pressure cookers. I think it will take more careful analysis to determine how the Nova Plus differs from IP models available elsewhere.

  7. Yes I was looking for information on Nova Plus Insta Pot for sale at Costco also, trying the decide what one to get…

    1. Monica, I have updated the guide and chart to include the NOVA Plus. Since I recommend both the DUO and the DUO Plus and the NOVA Plus is a hybrid between the two – I guess I recommend that one as well. So you can’t go wrong between those three models. : )

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Laura, the Nova Plus LOOKS almost identical to the Duo, but the Duo is a 7 in 1 pc while the Duo Plus is billed as a 9 in 1 pc. Do you know how the Nova Plus differs from the Duo and Duo Plus?

        You note that the Nova Plus is a hybrid between the two models. Do you know what the Nova Plus has that the Duo doesn’t and what the Nova Plus doesn’t have that the Duo Plus does have?

        At times I wonder if Instant Pot isn’t shooting itself in the foot. They’re getting so many models that potential customers won’t know which model to purchase. Even when they compare models and note the differences they’ll be asking themselves, “Is this a difference that matters?” and “Is this (fill in the blank) feature one I will use?” Thanks goodness for sites like yours which explain the differences between the models.

        1. Razzy, read my capsule review of the NOVA added to the article (above). The 9-in-1 is just some kind of marketing voodoo. It’s just a DUO with the DUO Plus screen. There are no hidden features.

          Ciao,

          L

          1. Marketing voodoo – too bad as I think this kind of thing just makes things more confusing for potential purchasers. In my opinion, the differences between IP models should be made crystal clear by IP so it’s easier for potential purchasers to make the best decision for themselves. When someone buys one IP model and then right away thinks, “Oh, I made a mistake, a different IP model would have been a better choice for me”, that negatively affects perceptions about the whole company and creates unhappy users.

            Thanks for all you do to help people buy the best model for themselves.

            1. Well, Instant Pothas over 7 models in production some with multiple versions – and there are even differences between sizes. Their marketing is making their own job more difficult. How hard is it to keep producing the top models and retire the rest?!? Especially since the new features are additive – nothing is ever really “lost”.

              Instant Pot’s “throw everything at the wall” marketing technique is practically a part-time job for me. Over half the questions I answer in a single day are related to Instant Pot model differences. : /

              Ciao,

              L

      2. Is the Nova and Viva like a step up from the duo plus?

    2. Monica,
      If you can share some additional information about how you envision using a pressure cooker and the number of folks you’ll be cooking for, Laura and the rest of us can share our opinions on the best choice for you.

      1. I was leaning towards the 6 qt but am now thinking the 8 would be better for some batch cooking & when family comes to visit. When I saw the Nova @ Costco for the price I started to get excited but then realized they didn’t have 8 qt & was disappointed. I want the high/low settings for pressure cooking, have been actually thinking about the ultra but just not sure I want to spend that much at this point… don’t want the smart one that can’t keep up with app updates, I like technology but would not be happy if I got that to only have it not work in a matter of months. Usually I cook for 2 & freeze extra for later use. Presently I am cooking for 3 for a season.

        1. I have had the Duo since 2014. It’s a 6 qt and I cook for 4. I always have leftovers of anything I cook. A friend bought an 8 qt because she has 4 children but even she found it enormous (she bought a 3 wt to use for things like oatmeal because it was just too large for smaller portions of anything). I would find that size very uncomfortable for everyday use. I know there are occasions where it would be useful, but since the majority of cooking, is for 2 or 3, if I were you, I would definitely not choose an 8 qt (and this is coming from a “bigger is always better” person).

          1. Thanks for the input! It helps. maybe I’ll go for the Costco Nova Plus after all, the price sure is right!

        2. Monica, based on what you wrote, I think a 6 quart would meet your needs. You’ll get the high/low settings with any model you buy except the Lux. Batch cooking? You’ll get a lot of food in the 6 quart – more than enough for 2 or 3 with leftovers. I don’t know how often family comes to visit but because cooking is quicker with a pressure cooker, you can make a second batch of something if need be. Remember also that it takes longer for an 8 quart pressure cooker to come to pressure. I have a feeling that if you bought the 8 quart, you’d frequently be thinking, “I wish I’d have gotten a 6 quart.” I also don’t know what your space is like, but the 8 quart is huge.

          1. Although it’s true that with stovetop pressure cookers the larger ones take longer to reach pressure – that’s not necessarily the case with electrics. For some brands, like Instant Pot and Fagor for example, the larger-sized electric pressure cookers come with a more powerful heating element which compensates for size. So, for the same amount of food, the time to pressure is nearly the same between 6 and 8 quarts. The differences are more evident when the 8qt is fuller with more ingredients and – of course – since a more heat is being applied there is a higher probability that borderline-thicker recipes might scorch on the way to reaching pressure.

            Ciao,

            L

            1. Does the more powerful heating element saute (brown) foods better &/or faster?
              Does the liner become a scorched mess to clean?

              1. The liner is stainless steel so heating the pot before adding oil to saute & deglazing with broth/water/wine will take care of most issues. It also has a burn sensor that shuts it down when it senses a burn. Stainless steel is easy to get residue off of by heating it up again. It will get water spots but if those bother you; vinegar takes them off. We gave up on the non-stick coating and switched to stainless steel pots many years ago after spending hundreds of dollars on a new set of pans only to have them scratch, flake, burn & stick in less than 2 months. The formula for non-stick coating changed and it has been a problem in many devices including laser printers ever since.

              2. A higher wattage will pre-heat the cooker faster, but the saute’ function will still work within the programmed temperature parameters (so it will reach the same max temp as a cooker with a lower-wattage element).

                Ciao,

                L

            2. I have both the 6-qt and 8-qt DUO IPs, and the 8-qt takes noticeably longer to come to pressure, and to depressurize. I use the 8-qt when I want to add extras to a stew, cook 2 racks of ribs, or cook an oversized chicken (more common in USA than regular sized chicken). Most of the time, I use the 6-qt.

              1. KrazeeBoutSteam, How much longer does your 8qt take to come to pressure compared your 6qt? There should not be a significant difference when pressure cooking the same amount of food.

                Ciao,

                L

  8. One of the most organized, helpful reviews I have ever seen on any product. Thanks so much for giving me sufficient information to make the best decision for me!

  9. I was looking for information about the versions. You stated “Sometimes, Instant Pot might tack on additional letters to the end of the model numbers to signify exclusive marketing relationships with retailers or version numbers.” Are there significant differences in the versions? Does the warranty change based on any relationship with retailers? For example, Walmart has a sale on the LUX60V3 right now. Is it going to operate and be warranted the same as the LUX60 I could purchase through Amazon?

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Some versions are just indicated with letters – as Walmart had the “ENW” version but it was just a DUO. As of last week, when the NOVA was launched they actually created a new model that is slightly different from the previous models just for that retailer.

      An earlier version of this guide indicated DUO Versions 1, 2, 3 and noted the differences between the three. Since Instant Pot has not continued with this (good riddance because it was really confusing) I have removed that portion from this guide. You can still read the details about the versions on this page (each version has added functionality)…
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/instant-pot-pressure-cooker-manual-ip-duo/

      The warranty should remain the same. I have not seen any differences there, so far.

      Ciao,

      L

      P.S. The LUX60-V3 just means that its the latest LUX produced that includes the “egg” and “cake” buttons (which are not useful, BTW). As long as Amazon does not have any old stock they should also be offering the latest version of the LUX as well – just check the product image on Amazon to see if the LUX there includes those buttons as well. No matter what version, the LUX only operates at high pressure (and the egg program on it operates at high pressure).

      1. P.P.S. I just checked the Amazon LUX listing… it’s a V3, too. It’s the same cooker as being sold by Walmart.
        https://amzn.to/2LiARB3

  10. can I cook more than one item at a time in the ULTRA instant pot, such as rice and vegies and a meat?

    1. Yes, you can cook multiple recipes at the same time in any cooker that is 6L or greater by stacking, such as in these curry and burrito bowl recipes…
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooked-chickpea-curry-with-brown-rice-one-pot-meal/
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-chicken-burrito-bowl/

      Ciao,

      L

  11. This really was so helpful! I have a question though- I am one person some, who wants to make bone broth, stews, meals, etc. My boyfriend is over a few nights a week, sometimes another family member or 2. I also like leftovers to freeze. I bought a 7 in one Duo from Macy’s as it was a very good price, but when I received it, it was a mini. I don’t think it will be enough room for my bone broth, Osso Bucco, etc. Am I right? I am ready to return it and get the 6qt. Thank you!

    1. Lisa,

      I don’t recommend a MINI as the first cooker. I know it’s being promoted everywhere as “perfect for singles” but I do not recommend it as such. I recommend everyone, even singles, start with at least a 6qt. Your mini can make a maximum of 6 cups of bone broth -and that’s assuming the bones and veggies don’t take up any too much space (or that the bones would even fit in the cooker).

      You are right.

      Ciao,

      L

  12. Grazie per tutte le interessanti informazioni, mi chiedo, comprando il Nova plus , la garanzia è valida in Italia visto che è venduto da Costco ?

    1. Concetta dovrai compare un transformatore di voltaggio se compri la tua pentola a pressione in America e la adoperi in Italia. Questo costa circa €100 (tipo questo https://amzn.to/2LSsHj2) . Conviene comprare un modello diverso dall’Inghilterra che li basta solo prendere un convertitore per la spina.

      Ciao,

      L

  13. I recently bought the Viva from QVC, have not used it yet and am still on the fence. I will be using it more as a slow cooker and just wonder if one of the other Models will suit my needs for less $$? I did get this for a special price of $99. I currently have an electric pressure cooker and a slow cooker and really like the idea of them being combined into one appliance. Also, I have not been able to find much feedback on the Viva since it is so new. Do you know of any recent feedback on it? Thank you.

    1. I just bought the Viva from qvc also. I’m looking for feedback as well. I’m curious how it compares to the nova and duo plus. Is it like a duo plus plus? Lol

  14. Laura,
    Your website was the answer to my prayers! What a wonderful in-depth review and comparison of all the Instant Pots. Rarely have I found such a precise and useful review of any product—thank you so much!

  15. Amazon has a unit made by Yedi that is currently listed for half price making it comparable to the ones by Instant Pot. It has 5 star rating. Do you know anything about how it compares to those from Instant Pot?

    https://amzn.to/2LsPsFb

    9-in-1 Multi-Use Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker, with Recipes, Deluxe Accessory Kit and 6 Quart Stainless Steel Inner Pot by Yedi Houseware

    1. June,
      From reading Yedi’s answers on the sale page, it looks like this cooker operates at 70kpa – all Instant Pot except for the Mini’s operate at 80kpa. So, if you were to get this cooker, be sure to follow the cooking times I have posted for the IP Mini on the time chart.

      It’s true, this cooker LOOKS a lot like Instant Pot and it could very well be made in the same factory (there are three major Chinese factories that are responsible for ALL the electric pressure cooker brands sold in the U.S.). But just because this LOOKS the same it does not mean it IS the same. Sure, it has some of the same buttons – but there is no way to know how they programmed those buttons (pre-set time and temperatures), or if they’re using the same programming for the cooker to build and maintain pressure, or if any of the inner-components are of a lower quality.

      So, unfortunately, I cannot tell you any more about this cooker based on this seller’s listing. Perhaps someone who has already purchased and used this cooker can jump in and share their experience with you.

      Ciao,

      L

    2. June,
      I wouldn’t touch this pressure cooker with a ten-foot pole. But it has a 5 star rating you say. At the moment there are 173 reviews. All but 7 are 4 or 5-star reviews. I find that very suspect. I certainly can’t prove it, but I suspect many of the 4 and 5-star (and especially the 5-star) reviews are not legitimate reviews. Amazon is having problems with fake reviews being posted for all kinds of products. Many may be paid for or not reviews from actual users. Check here for info on spotting fake reviews:
      https://www.cnet.com/how-to/spot-fake-amazon-reviews-with-fakespot/. Search Google for other info on spotting fake reviews.

      Could the Yedi be a decent product? Perhaps, but I find that questionable. It has 173 supposed “reviews.” The Instant Pot Duo has 27,931 reviews with a 4.5 average. I don’t know how many pressure cookers Instant Pot has sold, but I’d guess it was over a million. If it was a faulty product, we’d all know it by now. IP customer support, in my experience, is excellent. The Instant Pot Community on Facebook has 1,513,640 members. Does that tell you something? There are dozens of pressure cooking cookbooks focusing on the Instant Pot. What do you know about Yedi customer support? Is there any? What about replacement parts? Is there a Yedi Facebook group? I can’t fathom why anyone would even consider a Yedi pc over an Instant Pot or other pcs from quality companies you know about like Cuisinart and Breville.

  16. Have you had a chance to try out the new Instant Pot Aura Pro? It’s available for pre-order on the Sur La Table website (ship date is 9/3) but I know sometimes bloggers can get their hands on new items earlier. It’s similar to the Gem multicooker but also has Yogurt & Sous Vide functions. I was wondering how accurate the temps are on it for the Sous Vide function. Or just how accurate the temps are on it for any of the functions as I found the temps way off on the Gem (especially for baking) and returned it. https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-4488037/Instant+Pot+Aura+Pro

    1. Sue, this looks like an Instant Pot GEM with a stainless steel liner. Basically, it’s a fancy slow cooker but with temperature control. There are no pressure settings on this cooker.

      Ciao,

      L

  17. Thank you so much for writing this information, the comparison chart helps a lot.
    We are a family of two. I like to cook and eat on the same meal for several days. We can also start freezing meals as well.
    Target has a great sale on the 8 quart duo for $90 , sale ends September 8th. I was leaning towardes the 8 quart, because you can cook less if you want in the 8 quart, but you can’t cook more in a 6 quart.
    I had two concerns 1. price 2. Recipes are geared for 6 quart.
    Price is no longer an issue with this sale.
    Question when following a recipe for a 6 quart do you just do the math and add extra food and liquid?

  18. Wonderful site for comparisons and so well put together.
    I am still wondering which is the best 6qt to purchase, at first I thought the Viva but not sure now. Any suggestions as I am confused. I cook for myself and any family who visits. I do like to get the best choice as well as value. Thank you for any input you may give. Margie.

  19. Thank you so much for writing this and the chart at the bottom was extremely helpful.

  20. I have a mini which is great for Spanish rice for the 2 of us with some leftovers. I recently bought a 6 qt Ultra because it has the altitude adjustment feature, and since we live at 4800 ft, it saves me figuring out how much time to add to my recipes. I set my altitude and from then on, it figures out the correct time. Also, makes the best New York cheesecake. Too good, actually. I also love the new steam vent release.

  21. Which instant pots have altitude adjustments? Is this necessary? I live at 5200 ft and on weekends at 6500 ft.

  22. Please explain the difference between the Costco Nova Smart 6 Quart Pot
    and the QVC Viva Smart Pot???

  23. I am new to pressure cooking and have just bought an Instant Pot Duo. Several recipes I have looked at say click on Manual – I have no Manual button on my machine, so what does that mean exactly.

    Also other recipes sometimes seem to use less liquid than recommended in the Instruction booklet. Does one really have to use a minimum of 500 ml as I do not want to have a vast quantity of not so tasty sauce or whatever?

    Finally, how does one roast a chicken for example with so much liquid? Thank you so much in anticipation.

    1. Jennifer, they have updated all DUO’s to replace the “Manual” button with “Pressure Cook”.

      Watch the pressure cooking school video series on this website to see how to play around with the liquid quantities. Short answer: some of the liquid in the food can be used as the liquid for the cooker to reach pressure.
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooking-school/

      Check-out my roast chicken recipe. It’s more like “steamed” rather than boiled:
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/whole-pressure-cooker-chicken/

      Ciao and welcome!!

      L

  24. Great Info!
    Newbie here.

    FYI to Others , Costco has the nova for $89.99

    My question
    To re cap..what model/s have the Soux Vide feature?
    Does it work well?
    Especially for Steaks:)

    Thanks

  25. I find myself paralyzed by an overabundance of choice and the promise of more choice soon.

    As a deeply committed tech nerd, the SMART is very appealing to me, but problems with the app give me pause. And then the hints that there is a new SMART coming…someday. Any new news on when that might happen? Or clues on whether they’re fixing the problems with the Android app at the same time?

    “Fall 2018” is…now-ish. Any more news on when the MAX is due?

    Or should I just give up hope on all that and get an ULTRA?

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