Stovetop pressure cookers have come a long way in recent decades. While they all work based on the same principles, convenient features set the top-reviewed Fagor Duo 8-Quart (*Est. $110) apart from the rest of the pack. The Fagor Duo is roomier than the standard 6-quart size and has two pressure settings, a steamer basket, a quick-release valve and ergonomic handle. This unit is also equipped with all the safety features found in more expensive models: a secure lid that locks in place and a pop-up indicator that alerts you when the optimal cooking pressure is reached.
The Duo gets its share of praise from experts after comparison testing on cooking performance, too. The stainless-steel base caramelizes food well and it comes with a steamer basket. While it receives top marks from both Choice magazine and Cook's Illustrated, some owners report that it's not as durable as pricier models. However, it is covered by a 10-year warranty, and looks a bit sleeker than some other pressure cookers.
For shoppers not ready to shell out quite as much cash, the Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker (*Est. $60) is a great starter model. It does lack a couple of useful features including a quick-release pressure valve, and it only has one pressure setting. The absence of the valve and multiple pressure settings makes cooking times a little less precise, but many owners find the unit perfectly sufficient for their needs.
On the other end of the price spectrum is the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic 5.25-Quart Pressure Cooker (*Est. $220) . Experts struggle to find anything wrong with this cooker, as it's made from very high-quality materials; is easy to use; and has a quick-release pressure valve, a steamer rack and a sleek, modern design. One inconvenience some reviewers do point out is that the quick-release valve has to be pressed continuously for a few minutes. Some reviewers consider the Duromatic too pricey to be named one of their top models. It also lacks many user reviews -- likely due to its price.