Choosing a pressure cooker out of the wide range available in the marketplace has never been so easy, especially for beginners. If you’re on the market for a new pressure cooker, this article will provide a detail guide to help you choose the right pressure cooker for your own need.
If you are already a owner of a pressure cooker, already know how to choose the right pressure cooker, you should take a look at our top 4 pressure cookers or our top reviews to save your shopping time.
If you are new to pressure cooking, let’s get started!
Why you need a pressure cooker?
Nowadays, pressure cooker is getting more and more popular, so I think we do not have to talk too much about it, its definition, benefits, advantages, etc. But if you want to have more “reasons” to own a pressure cooker, read this article 6 Reasons Why You Should Go For A Pressure Cooker
What is the difference between Aluminum and Stainless steel pressure cookers?
Aluminum pressure cookers: these pressure cookers are lightweight, low cost. Aluminum is great at conductor of heat. Drawback for this type of pressure cookers is the intrinsic weakness of Aluminum, due to this reason these pressure cooker can’t work at extreme high pressure like Stainless steel cookers.
Stainless steel pressure cookers: This type of pressure cooker is slightly heavier, and more expensive than aluminum pressure cookers. With extremely durable nature of stainless steel, you can use these pressure cookers for a long time. However, by itself, heat conduction of heat stainless steel is not as good as Aluminum.
What size pressure cooker is right for your need?
Most pressure cookers are sold by the size of their total liquid capacity, but you have to notice that the real usable capacity is only one half or two thirds of its size, depending upon the food being cooked. Most popular sizes for pressure cooker are 4-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart liquid capacites.
4-quart: this size is good size for singles or couples, or for making one course for a family.
6-quart: the most popular pressure cooker size. This size is goof for many families with two or more persons.
8-quart: this size is the best choice for larger families.
NOTE: There are larger size for pressure cooker/canners (16- , 18- ,… and 23-quart models, for example) are also available and are mostly used for pressure canning vegetables, meats, and low-acid foods in pint and quart jars. For pressure cooking, these big sizes are really good if you have to cook for a large group.
Features to consider while buying pressure cooker
– Pressure Regulator: the best pressure cooker must have a means of indicating and controlling the cooking pressure inside the pot. There are basically three types of pressure regulators. They are all slightly different from each other, but will provide the same results with your recipe. They are weighted valve pressure regulator, modified weighted valve pressure regulator, and spring valve pressure regulator. Regardless of which one you choose, you should always set the maximum operating pressure at 15 psi (pounds per square inch, this is the standard for pressure cooking. Virtually all recipes are written for this pressure standard.
+ Weighted Valve: The weighted valve pressure regulator stand on top of the vent pipe, it is a small opening in the cover of the pressure cooker designed to allow excess steam to escape during cooking. You should always choose a pressure cooker that has a removable pressure regulator, because you will want to examine the vent pipe before each use to make sure that it is clear, and clean it if necessary. Weighted valve pressure cookers regulate the pressure inside the pot. When you hear and see the pressure regulator begin to rock, it is the cooking time begins. This type of regulator will automatically release steam inside the pressure cooker to maintain 15 psi. Maintaining a slow and gentle rock is important because it keeps the steam release to a minimum. To maintain a slow and gentle rock you only need to adjust your heat setting.
+ Modified Weighted Valve: The pressure regulator is attached to the cooker. It does not rock, but it can releases steam in short bursts letting steam escape when needed in other to maintain 15 psi. Cooking time begins when the first steam escape from the regulator. It is sometimes difficult, so you must watch carefully to make sure when steam begins to escape. Similar to the Weighted Valve, you will need to adjust your heat setting to to maintain a slow release of steam.
+ Spring Valve: The spring valve pressure regulator provides a short pop-up valve that indicates the level of pressure inside the pot. This pressure regulator usually offers two cooking pressures: 10 psi and 15 psi. This type of regulator is not audible, so you have to watch your pressure cooker carefully to see when is has reached the appropriate pressure and adjust the temperature to maintain the level of pressure needed.
– Cover Interlock: the best pressure cooker should have a cover locking system, choose only a pressure cooker that has a cover locking system. This is an important device which is designed to prevent the cover from being removed when there is pressure inside the cooker. This is the important safety feature that all good pressure cooker should go with.
– Cooking Rack: you should select a pressure cooker that comes with a cooking rack or basket. This will allow your pressure cooker to cook foods above the cooking liquid. By this way, several foods can be cooked at once. When pressure cooking several foods at the same time, the rack or basket will enable you to keep foods separated so flavors will not intermingle.
– Pressure Release: There are basically two method using in recipes, they are “cool cooker at once” pressure release method or the “natural pressure drop” method depending on the food being cooked.
With the “cool cooker at once” method, we have to place the cooker under cold running water or in a pan of cold water to quickly and easily release the pressure in the pot. Today almost pressure cookers provide a Quick Pressure Release Knob. With this, the cooker is moved off the heat source and the QPRK is activated release a considerable spray of hot steam.
With “natural pressure release”, you simply remove your best pressure cooker from the heat source and let the pressure drop naturally, or of its own accord.
– Handles: When buying a pressure cooker, if you can, pick up any pressure cooker you are considering and handle it as you would at home. Make sure the handles feel comfortable and secure. The best pressure cookers will have ergonomically designed handles for comfort and ease of handling. Pressure cooker with 6-quart or larger capacity should have handles on both sides of the body to aid in lifting the unit.
– Base: If you purchase a stainless steel pressure cooker, be sure to look for a model with a bimetal or trimetal base, typically an aluminum-clad bottom. This feature virtually eliminates scorching and provides excellent heat conduction and easy cleaning.
– Instruction/Recipe Book: Unlike other instruction manuals, you will reference from pressure cooker manual very often. So, it’s better to have a comprehensive instruction and recipe book included with your pressure cooker. It should have clear, detailed operating instructions and give you a good selection of basic pressure cooking recipes.
– Warranty: Warranty is important which ensure our pressure cooker is safe. Normally best pressure cooker companies offer at least a 1-year warranty for electric pressure cooker and at least 10-year warranty for stainless steel stovetop pressure cooker.
Finally, I would like to thank for your reading this guide. I hope that you find this article useful in choosing a pressure cooker for you and your family. Now, if you want to buy a pressure cooker, you will need more information about best/top rated pressure cookers, take a look at our top pressure cookers to save your time finding out the best one.