Instant Pot has been a huge hit in America and will be a massive seller among November's Black Friday deals… and it’s easy to see why. This funky-looking box of tricks is actually a multi-faceted machine that does the job of at least six or seven other appliances in your kitchen. That's the reason each model comes with a '6-in-1', '7-in-1' or even 'Unlimited' tag, which gives you an indication of its capabilities. And that’s before you’ve even started exploring the true potential of the appliance. While it offers lots of convenience, and minimum hassle when it comes to cooking food, the versatility and quality of results from the Instant Pot is what appeal most.
Our new top pot reviewed: Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer really is the best of both worlds
Better still, there’s a model to suit any kind of requirement, so if you’re cooking solo there’s a lean, mean Instant Pot machine for you. Conversely, if you have to prepare gargantuan dinners for large family gatherings then there’s an Instant Pot model with your name on it too. Or, if you’re someone in the middle of those options who just wants a stress-free way to quickly prepare quality food then Instant Pot makes a model for you too. There are actually over 20 variations on the theme in the Instant Pot model range.
Oh, and fear not if you baulk at the thought of owning a pressure cooker, picturing it exploding or blasting you with red hot steam. The Instant Pot has been cleverly engineered, it’s safe, intuitive and easy to use, so there are no worries on the operational front. Besides, it does way more than just cook under pressure.
Instant Pot deals: what will the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year sales bring
A lot of what you're about to read most easily applies to our American readers, where the entire range of about 507 Instant Pots can be easily bought online at Amazon, Walmart and elsewhere. In the UK the range is a little limited so far, including the Instant Pot IP 80 Duo 8-in-1 8L, the Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 and the Instant Pot Duo Mini 7-in-1 with more to come, we're promised.
Real enthusiasts in the UK can actually buy the Instant Pot range on Amazon.com and import it, although with customs fees this may not prove the most affordable method. For now here's the easily available choice: Instant Pot Duo in either 5.7 litre or 6.7-litre sizes. It'll almost certainly get a Black Friday discount.
Shop Instant Pot deals in the USA in the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year sales (and beyond)
• Best Buy Instant Pot type product deals (Best Buy doesn't stock Instant Pot but it does sell various rival products)
Instant Pot models: the (very) long read
There are a lot of different Instant Pot models, but for simplicity’s sake we’d say that you want to keep an eye out for the Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Lux. The Duo is billed as a 7-in-1 cooker, which means it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, can steam, sauté, make yoghurt and warm food too. The Lux, on the other hand, is billed as a 6-in-1 appliance, so it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker plus it can sauté and steam as well as keep food warm.
Different models come with different programs too, as you’ll see from the guides below. On face value they look quite similar, but there are subtle differences. One simple way to spot the Duo and Lux variants is that the former has a more rounded front display.
Other points to note are the way the Duo comes with handles on its steaming rack, so this is probably the easier to handle of the range. You’ll see this highlighted in our specification guides below. We also like the way the lid on the Duo offers a little more flexibility in that you can dip in and out while it’s cooking in order to sample your recipe and add anything it needs. The design is a little more practical too we think.
And, as you’ll see from the specifications below, some models have less cooking programs than others. That said, it's possible to use pretty much any Instant Pot to cook just about any dish, though more basic models offer less flexibility in how you do it.
One size fits all?
Instant Pot Duo MiniImage 1 of 15
Instant Duo Plus MiniImage 2 of 15
Instant Pot Duo 60Image 3 of 15
Instant Pot Duo Plus 60Image 4 of 15
Instant Pot Duo Plus 80Image 5 of 15
Instant Pot Lux MiniImage 6 of 15
Instant Pot Ultra MiniImage 7 of 15
Instant Pot Lux 60Image 8 of 15
Instant Pot Lux 80Image 9 of 15
Instant Pot Nova PlusImage 10 of 15
Instant Pot Viva 60Image 11 of 15
Instant Pot Ultra 60Image 12 of 15
Instant Pot Smart WiFiImage 13 of 15
Instant Pot MaxImage 14 of 15
Instant Pot Ultra 80Image 15 of 15
You can pick an Instant Pot to suit your requirements, and sizing is generally given away in the title of the model. In other words, there's the Instant Pot 6 Quart and the Instant Pot 8 Quart. The 6 quart offering, which is just under 5.7 litres or thereabouts, has been a huge hit on Amazon in America. The big selling point is the way it does the job of numerous other kitchen appliances and the Instant Pot certainly streamlines the preparation of meals.
Having said that, models are often described as Instant Pot Duo 60 (meaning 6 quart) and 80 (meaning 8 quart) and then there's Instant Pot's 'Mini' models which have a 3-quart capacity but are not referred to as either Instant Pot Duo 3 or 30.
What about the Instant Pot Lux range? Surely LUX denotes 'Luxe' or 'Luxury' and so these are more expensive models. No: they are the budget models. Okay.
To summarise: there are a plethora of Instant Pot models and their naming is not consistent or even sensible in some cases.
Never mind though. All Instant Pots can be used to tackle multiple cooking tasks alongside core functionality of being an awesome pressure cooker. It's possible to whip up rice, steam anything you fancy, slow cook food thereby keeping much of its flavour and then using the warmer function to keep dishes on standby ready for serving. Hell, it even makes yoghurt.
They are wonderfully simple to use, with numerous Smart Programs that allow you to quickly select popular food cooking options. Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chilli and so on, as well as a Manual control means you’re able to tailor the Instant Pot to produce your favourite recipes with little in the way of manual labour. Or 'labor' as the Americans say.
Instant Pot Duo
Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1
The Instant Pot Duo comes in three different sizes, including the Instant Pot Duo 60, the Instant Pot Duo 80 and the Instant Pot Duo Mini. The Duo 60 is perhaps the most 'classic' Instant Pot, and the one Amazon sells most of.
It’s a 6 quart offering, which is just under 5.7 litres or thereabouts, and is one of the most popular you can buy. As we've already pointed out, this beauty can be used to tackle any kind of cooking task alongside being a pretty awesome pressure cooker. In that respect it cooks quickly but retains flavour. And, while it's possible to whip up rice, or steam anything you fancy, you can also slow cook food or use the warmer function to keep dishes on standby ready for serving. We're big fans of the yoghurt making functionality too.
Instant Pot Duo 80 7-in-1
The bigger brother of the Instant Pot Duo 60 and, as you’d expect, comes with more capacity as in 8 quart, or about 7.5 litres. So you get a beefier stainless steel body but the same easy to use functionality. Central to operating the Instant Pot is the main control panel on the front of the appliance. This is wonderfully simple to use, with 14 Smart Programs that allow you to quickly select popular food cooking options. Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili and so on, as well as Manual control means you’re able to tailor the Instant Pot to produce your favourite recipes with little in the way of manual labour. That suits us fine.
Instant Pot Duo Mini 7-in-1
A great one to go for if you're really tight on space, not that the regular Instant Pot is huge or anything. It’s got a 3 quart/2.8 litre capacity so is perfect for making smaller portions. Alternatively, you can use it alongside a regular sized Instant Pot in order to make side dishes and other items to compliment a main meal being cooked in the full-size model. You get 700 watts of power to play with, but the other benefit is that the Instant Pot Duo Mini doesn’t emit any steam, so it’s really useful if you’ve got a tiny cooking area or even want to use it on the move. And, as with all Instant Pots, the Duo Mini cooks food under pressure, has a trio of slow cook options and can be used to sauté, cook rice, steam vegetables and even make yoghurt. We like the keep warm function too for keeping food ready-to-go even if the person expected to eat it hasn't arrived home yet.
Instant Pot Smart
Instant Pot Smart only comes in a 6-quart size, packs the same feature set as the Duo, but has the added bonus of being Alexa and app controlled thanks to the addition of Wi-fi.
Simply download the Instant Pot app to your mobile device or use your voice to control the appliance via Alexa. You get access to over 1,000 pre-programmed recipes and can keep tabs on what your Instant Pot is up to as it cooks your meals.
Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1
The Instant Pot Lux edition is more affordable and comes in 3/2.8, 6/5.7 and 8 quart/7.5 litre models. Something of a ‘Lite’ edition, or base model, despite its name, Lux nonetheless makes a killer entry-level option. It's great if you’re curious about the cooking prowess of these machines and don't want to spend too much initially. If you decide to trade-up to a high specification model the Lux edition will still be handy for supplementary cooking chores.
Again, the Lux can do just about everything in the one pot, and that means less dishes. That’s a 5-star moment right there as far as we’re concerned.
The Instant Pot Lux 80 6-in-1 is, as you'll probably have figured out by now, an economy model even though the Lux bit of the name might not make that obvious. While it's not the top of the Instant Pot pile the Lux 80 6-in-1 is a perfectly serviceable option if you don't need the full suite of features and functions found on other models in this oh so confusing range. You don't get all of the options with this one, for example, but it does loads of other stuff as you can see from the specification.
Models in the Instant Pot Lux range make a lot of sense if you're keen to start using the device but don't need all of the bells and whistles that comes with the more sophisticated (and costly) options at the upper end of the range. It might not let you make yoghurt, but not all of us like yoghurt right? Besides, it'll let you work your magic with everything from eggs through to soup and broth.
Instant Pot Duo Plus
The Instant Pot Duo Plus as its name suggests, is like the Instant Pot Duo only more so. What it does is very similar to the standard model but the quality of finish is higher, and hence so is the price.
Duo Plus comes in the same 3/2.8 litre, 6/5.7 litre and 8 quart/7.5 litre variants. It’s a real monster of a machine that, as you can see from the sizeable control panel options, delivers all kinds of program modes to let you cook, well, anything really. This is a beauty if you’ve got a large family with diverse dietary preferences, as after a quick clean can be back up and running again with another dish in no time.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus 60 9-in-1, just like all of the other products in this increasingly popular range comes with added value in the shape of some decent accessories that make it good to go right out of the box. The main pot comes in food grade stainless steel while the likes of the soup spoon and rice paddle allow you to get cooking as soon as you've got it out of the box. This 9-in-1 edition has a sizeable selection of 15 built-in smart programs, while there's a yoghurt-making mode too.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus 80 9-in-1 is one of the heftier models in this ever-growing cooker range. As a result you'll need to be prepared for its extra weight and larger size. What you get from that as a definite bonus is lots of extra capacity and the ability to handle just about anything when it comes to mealtimes. Lookout for the beefy 15 smart built-in programs, which allow you to easily work wonders with everything from chilli and stew through to cake making. It'll even sterilize and steam things, while the 1200 watts of power is more than enough for most.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini 9-in-1 is another model that makes a great starting point if you're new to this rapidly expanding range of products. What you get with this Instant Pot is a bit less power, well, 700 watts to be precise, while there are less smart built-in programs, with 13 to keep you happy until you start craving more. There's still enough functionality with this model to do lots of great things however, and we've yet to tire of the pressure cooker aspect that tenderises tough-as-old-boots beef joints with aplomb.
Instant Pot Ultra
The Instant Pot Ultra again comes in 3/2.8, 6/5.7 and 8 quart/7.5 litre editions and is at the top end of the Instant Pot price spectrum. That's why it has a more streamlined and stylish appearance. It still does basically the same things though. Being a top spec model you can enjoy no less than 16 smart built-in programs, meaning that this one can handle just about everything, plus there's 1000 watts of power to make sure it gets the job done without fuss or bother.
One thing we've noticed with all the Instant Pot is the way it preserves colour, flavour and texture and that's definitely the case with this model. Vegetables, for example, look as good if not better when they emerge as they did when they went in to the Instant Pot. No sorry-looking, flaccid broccoli here, thank you!
The Instant Pot Ultra 80 10-in-1 is another higher-end model that allows you to do even more thanks to its greater capacity. You still get loads of option, thanks to the 16 smart built-in programs as well as 1200 watts of power. However, while it's possible to let the machine do most of the hard work, there is also the provision for choosing settings of your own. This is great if you like to work a little freeform and tweak or fine-tune recipes to add your own touch to mealtimes. Features like the saute or slow cook modes are hard to fault too.
The Instant Pot Ultra Mini 10-in-1is a dinkier unit that is actually very practical if you want to enjoy all the benefits of this mealtime powerhouse, but you live in a rabbit hutch-type space. Kidding aside, it's actually got a whole bundle of the usual features, despite its lower power rating of 700 watts. So you can still pressure cook, slow cook and even make yoghurt too, while the slimmed down spec also provides a cool collection of utensils like a steam rack, soup spoon and rice paddle.
Instant Pot Viva
The Viva unit was originally a sort of QVC special but it sports many similarities to the just as good Duo Plus. So if you're in any doubt then it's probably best to head down the route of the latter option as the features and functionality are essentially the same. However, if you do manage to track one down then you'll find it's got a rock-solid specification that includes plenty to get excited about. Those universal features that are common to all Instant Pots are fantastic, such as the automatic keep warm option that keeps food ticking over nicely if you're waiting for ages for people to turn up for dinner.
The Instant Pot Viva 80 9-in-1 comes with more muscle than you'll probably need, thanks to 1200 watts of power and the full works of features and functions. There are 15 smart built-in programs and we love the way it can tenderise even the toughest of meats over time. One of the other features common to the Instant Pot is the delay start up time, which can actually be up to 24 hours. This is a hugely useful option if you've got your ingredients ready to go and they're in the pot, but you don't want to start cooking it until later on down the line.