Fagor Duo 8-Quart Pressure Cooker
Fagor Duo 8-Quart Pressure Cooker

Best stovetop pressure cooker

The solidly built Fagor Duo 8-Quart earns high marks for its cooking performance. Owners appreciate its useful design features including an easy-to-attach lid and steamer basket, in addition to a yellow indicator light (eliminating timing guesswork), and a wide stainless-steel base (ideal for browning ingredients).
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Cuisinart CPC-600 Pressure Cooker
Cuisinart CPC-600 Pressure Cooker

Best electric pressure cooker

If you have the countertop space for an electric pressure cooker, reviewers have plenty of positive comments about the Cuisinart CPC-600. It has useful features not available on stovetop models, such as a programmable cooking timer and functions for browning, sautéing, simmering or warming.
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All American Pressure Canner 921 21-Quart
All American Pressure Canner 921 21-Quart

Best pressure canner

The high quality and large capacity of the All American Pressure Canner 921 21-Quart make it the best bet for avid canners. Most importantly, the seal is reliable and safe. However, this is not a good model for preparing meals or casual canners as it's very large, heavy and pricey.
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Pressure Cookers Runners Up:

Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker *Est. $60

2 picks including: Amazon.com, MyShinyKitchen.com…

Instant Pot IP-LUX60 *Est. $160

2 picks including: Amazon.com, HipPressureCooking.com…

Kuhn Rikon Duromatic 5.25-Quart Pressure Cooker *Est. $220

2 picks including: Cooking.com, HipPressureCooking.com…

Pressure cookers and canners can save you time

For the home cook, it can seem impossible to serve up delicious, slow-cooked meals on a weeknight . . . until you discover pressure-cooking. A traditional pressure cooker looks a lot like a standard pot, but can cut cook time by hours, making it possible to prep an entire stew or roast in under an hour.

Pressure cookers work by creating an airtight seal within the pot. Under such high pressure, the boiling point of water increases, meaning the cooker and its contents maintain a higher temperature, and food cooks faster. The high pressure can pose some safety concerns -- and some may remember the threatening cookers of decades past -- but modern pressure cookers offer safety features that automatically release pressure before it poses any danger.

The high-pressure environment of a pressure cooker is actually ideal for canning, as well, and though canners are typically larger, the terms "pressure cooker" and "pressure canner" are often used interchangeably. For our purposes, we considered pressure canners as units that are larger than the standard 4-, 6- or 8-quart sizes and accommodate a significant number of canning jars. Pressure canners are often too large to be practical for cooking most recipes.

Electric pressure cookers are also an option and look similar to slow cookers. Many critics say electric pressure cookers are underpowered, don't reach and maintain pressure well and can be inconvenient to use. However, plenty of home cooks praise them for their "set it and forget it" functionality. Despite the inconveniences, several professionals test and review electric pressure cookers, so we've included a separate entry for them. Cookers and canners can range in price from about $50 to $250 depending on materials, size, quality and features.

ConsumerSearch selects the best pressure cookers based on detailed tests from professionals and reviews from at-home cooks. We found the best comparative reviews came from Good Housekeeping and Cook's Illustrated; while Australia's Choice magazine also did a thorough test, its findings are somewhat outdated. Several bloggers offer their top picks for pressure cookers, including MyShinyKitchen.com and HipPressureCooking.com. User reviews are also especially helpful for understanding cookers' longevity and usability. We found user reviews at Amazon.com, Macys.com, Overstock.com and Cooking.com.

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