Pressure cookers represent one household appliance where the essential obstacle to choosing the best product is an overdose of built-up knowledge, much of it no longer relevant to the current generation of multi-purpose cookers. Indeed, many of the poorest products today offer better performance as compared to the best ones in your grandmother’s generation. Hence, the standards, as well as the features to look for, have to be changed to keep up with the times. To make your work easier, we’ve brought together the most relevant features that a great cooker should have in 2015. Secure Cover Locking System Products like the Instant Pot 1000-Watts 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker come with a secure cover locking system that verifies when the lid is firmly secured and there are no openings through which steam can escape. Without this feature, the steam would escape or worse, there would be spillage of liquid content. In products with LED indicators, the secure locking system is also a cue for the indicator to start displaying the cooking time, etc. Combined together, these ensure that the product will work only when all chances of mishap or poor cooking have been eliminated. Cooking Pot capacity While most products come with a capacity of 4 or 6 quarts, there are some, like the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Family Style Pressure Cooker Stockpot 8 Quart, that offer 8 quart capacity. These sizes, in simple words, mean the capacity of the cooking pot to hold liquid. Since substantial amount of space is required to hold the steam, only half of this capacity can ever be mobilized. However, recipes are constructed keeping this limitation in mind, so if the recipe says you need 6 quart capacity, it means you need a 6 quart cooker (and not 6 quarts of actually usable space). In general you should choose:
- 4 quarts if you live alone or are a couple who typically cook no more than one meal per day in the pressure cooker. Full meals of a limited quantity can be cooked provided complex procedures are not involved.
- 6 quarts, if you have one or more children, and need to use the cooker regularly to cook one or more meals. 6 quarts are the minimum size to be used for cooking complex dishes.
- 8 quarts, if you have a large family, or prefer to use the cooker for purposes like creating stock and small scale canning.
Great capacities are used almost exclusively for high pressure canning, and would be useless unless you wish to cook for a large gathering on a regular basis. Build Materials Pressure cookers typically come with either aluminium or stainless steel construction. You should choose – Aluminium if you have a very constrained budget, and do not use the pressure cooker for anything more than the occasional meal for yourself or your small family. Aluminium tends to be cheap and a good conductor of heat, but brittle, prone to denting and pitting and difficult to use with foods with high acidic content. Stainless steel, if you want a truly durable product capable of working for years. Stainless steel is more sturdy, does not interact with acids to a great extent and can therefore handle all types of recipes as well. If budget is not a constraint, this pressure cooker buying guide would unequivocally suggest using stainless steel. Base Aluminium made cookers do not need a special base since the metal is a great conductor. However, stainless steel is a weaker conductor, and needs a special bimetallic or trimetallic base to conduct heat efficiently into the interior. Generally, presence of an aluminium plate is ideal for such purposes. Pressure Regulator Presence or absence of a pressure regulator is no longer a factor in the modern pressure cooker buying guide, since all products come with good regulators. However, the maximum pressure supported by the regulator should be no more than 15 psi (pascal per inch), and should be able to support Quick Pressure Release mechanisms, as many recipes require this option. Other Points The pressure cooker should have decent handles, preferably a single long primary handle and a supporting handle on the other side. Further, dual LED indicators, such as the one in Emeril by T-fal CY4000 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart, are useful for greater visibility of the readings. Conclusion Any electrical appliance that comes with an attractive price tag is sure to have some compromises built into it. However, the points mentioned in this pressure cooker buying guide should not be among the compromises, as this will render the product weak and incapable of long and efficient service. Making due space for individual preferences and needs (such as those relating to size), these features can allow you to obtain a product capable of providing your family with nutritious meals for years without posing any health or security risks.