A pressure cooker is a valuable tool to have in your kitchen. It can help you make healthy, delicious meals in a fraction of the time it would take with other cooking methods. The problem is that there are many pressure cookers available and with so many options it can be difficult to choose the right one. We put together this brief pressure cooker buyers guide to help our readers know what to look for when they are shopping for a pressure cooker.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
Pressure cookers can range in price from as little as $30 to $300 or more depending on their size, what they’re made of, and any special bells and whistles they might have.
Materials Pressure Cookers Are Made from
Pressure cookers will either be made from aluminum or stainless steel. An aluminum pressure cooker will generally cost less and it will be lighter in weight. Aluminum also conducts heat very efficiently so the pressure cooker will heat up quickly and distribute heat uniformly. Something to keep in mind however is that aluminum will stain and pit over time and with heavy use. The pressure cooker will still work properly but it won’t be as aesthetically pleasing when this happens. Some people are also concerned with a possible link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.
A stainless steel pressure cooker will be heavier and more expensive than an aluminum unit but stainless steel is very durable and you will be able to use a stainless steel pressure cooker for many years without it showing its age. Stainless steel does not conduct heat as well as aluminum but many pressure cookers will have an aluminum core in the base to help distribute heat quickly and evenly. If you want the highest quality pressure cooker, you might want to consider getting a stainless steel model with an aluminum core in the base.
Consider the Size of the Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers are available in many different sizes. A cooker with a 3 quart capacity is quite small but it may be perfect for someone that is only cooking for two people or for someone that has a very small kitchen without a lot of storage space. On the other end of the spectrum are large capacity pressure cookers that may have a 20 quart capacity or more. These would be used by people that are doing a large amount of canning to preserve fruits and vegetables grown in their gardens. For most people, a pressure cooker with an 8 to 10 quart capacity will be perfect.
Be Aware of the Pressure Capabilities of the Cooker
Many pressure cookers are capable of achieving pressures up to 15 psi. There are some pressure cookers on the market that will top out at 10 psi but a lot of recipes call for higher pressures. In most cases it is a good idea to select a pressure cooker that is capable of achieving higher pressures.
The things listed above are some of the most important items to consider when shopping for a pressure cooker. It’s also a good idea to take some time to shop around to compare prices and research customer reviews. Researching customer reviews is one of the most important steps in choosing the right pressure cooker. You may have found a cooker that has everything you’re looking for but if it is likely to fall apart after a few months, you would probably want to go with another option. The only way to find out if that is likely to happen is to research customer reviews and see what previous customers have to say.