Having one of the best Instant Pots will make cooking so much easier as these handy appliances offer multiple functions in one. These machines are so popular that we’ve rounded up the cheapest Instant Pot sales so you can save but first, what should you look for before you buy?
The very best Instant Pots can do everything from steaming to baking, roasting to slow cooking, and they also double up as some of the best pressure cookers around. We’ve put these Instant Pots through rigorous testing and have ranked them below but it’s not just Instant Pots you’ll find here as we’ve included some of the top-rated slow cookers and multi-cookers from the likes of Ninja Foodi and Crock-Pot too.
How do you pick from the best Instant Pots and multi-cookers? Consider how many people you need to cook for so that you can make sure the model you select is big enough. Next, consider the functions that will be most useful for you – many multi-cookers will slow cook and pressure cook, but if you want to be able to air fry foods too, only selected models such as the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker will be able to do so.
Whatever it is that you need, we’ve put a whole range of slow cookers and multi-cookers through their paces to test how well they create soups, stews, and even yogurt – you can find them all in our round-up of the best Instant Pots below.
The best Instant Pot and multi-cookers of 2021 to buy
Instant Pot’s newest kid on the block may be pricier than previous iterations, but it really can do it all. Like other Instant Pots, the Instant Pot Evo Duo Plus 60 sets out to replace seven kitchen appliances including a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker and warmer but it’s got more cooking modes (48 in total) than ever before, making it in our eyes, the best Instant Pot you can buy right now.
Faster both when cooking and when releasing pressure, the pot itself can now be used on the hob to sear food before cooking. It’s even got handles, so you can take the pot straight to the table.
The most powerful Instant Pot to-date, it has a 1200w heating element compared to the 1000w element found in the Instant Pot Duo, which reduces the preheating time. A new plastic diffuser covers the pressure release vent, so there’s far less sputtering and a gentler emission of steam. There’s even a dial that makes it simpler to select a cooking mode, while a larger LCD screen has also been slightly tilted upwards, making it easier to read when you’re busy in the kitchen
Available in 6 quarts (5.7-liters) in the UK and Australia, although in the US a bigger 8 quart (7.5-liters) version is also on offer, we think the Instant Pot Evo Duo Plus 60 is worth the money if you want the best multi-cooker on offer today
Read our full review: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 60
The predecessor to the Instant Pot’s latest multi-cooker, the Instant Pot Duo, is just as effective when pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming, and making yoghurt, but with a more affordable price its the best Instant Pot for those on a budget.
It has 14 cooking modes, and true to its name, the Instant Pot speeds up lengthy cooking times, although not quite as quickly as its older sibling. The hotter or higher pressure you cook food at, the longer you’ll need to wait for the pressure to reduce in the pan. In our review, we found in some cases this meant an extra 20 minutes of waiting until the pressure valve popped down – but as this is a safety mechanism, we’re not going to penalize Instant Pot for it. It also has the ability to delay cooking for up to 24 hours, and the automatic keep-warm feature holds the temperature of the food until you serve it for up to 10 hours.
A compact model with searing, steaming and roasting under the lid, the pot may not be able to be used on the hob, but this Instant Pot still packs a punch bringing a much-needed update to the pressure cooker design.
Read the full review: Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Adding air frying, grilling and dehydrating to the long-list of cooking methods offered by the best Instant Pots, the Ninja Foodi Max Multi-Cooker really can do it all, although some methods are more effective than others.
Roasting a whole chicken in the Ninja Foodi Max Multi-Cooker resulted in tender meat that was still moist but had a crisp golden skin, but chips weren’t as successful as they weren’t cooked through – if fries are your thing the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer would be a better purchase. We also used the dehydration setting to make our banana chips, and while the results were tasty, the six-hour program is probably a little too long compared to popping to the shop.
The digital control panel and dial make it easy to select the cooking mode you want, while adjusting the time and temperature. The 8-quart (7.5-liters) pot means you can cook enough to feed up to six people in one go and there’s a good choice of accessories including a cook and crisp basket for chips and a two-tier reversible rack to cook mains and sides simultaneously, which is good for layering vegetables with meats, poultry or fish.
The priciest Instant Pot alternative we’ve reviewed to date, it’s bulky and isn’t the kind of appliance that will blend into the background in a kitchen but for those with plenty of mouths to feed, it could be a worthy investment.
Read our full review: Ninja Foodi Max Multi-Cooker
A household name almost interchangeable with the slow cooker, Crock-Pot’s multi-cooker design has come a long way since the 1970s.
Their Digital Slow and Multi Cooker offers all the benefits of a slow cooker, plus super high temperatures for roasting and baking. We loved the handles and capacity, which are ideal for pot-lucks and large families.
However, its lack of pressure cooking capabilities, is definitely where it falls down compared to best Instant Pots. The fact it has a non-stick pot can means you have to keep a close eye on what’s being cooked – not great when the main draw of a multi-cooker is being able to set it up, walk away and forget about it.
Read our full review: Crock-Pot CSC024 5.6L Digital Slow and Multi Cooker
With a smaller capacity and fewer cooking functions than the Ninja Foodi Max, the Ninja Foodi Multi-cooker is not quite as expensive but still pricier than most of its competitors. It’s certainly not any less capable than the best Instant Pots on the market, however.
It offered up the same air-fried chicken with crispy skin and succulent meat but again left us disappointed with rock-hard chips. That said we were impressed with the dishes cooked when using the slow cooking and pressure cooking settings. There’s also a 30-minute Keep Warm function that kicks in to stop your meal from spoiling.
It comes with a 6.3-quart (6-liters) pot so you’ll easily be able to feed a small family or batch cook using the multi-cooker, and there’s also a choice of accessories including a 3.2L removable frying basket, grilling rack, and extra lid for when pressure cooking
However, it’s one of the most cumbersome multi-cookers on the market. Its bulky lid opens to the side on a hinge meaning it can’t be fully opened while tucked underneath a kitchen cupboard so if space is at a premium it may not be the multi-cooker for you.
Read our full review: Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker
While it might feel like the world of Instant Pots and multi-cookers only caters for families the size of the Waltons, Lakeland’s Mini Multicooker makes slow cooking for one a viable option.
This machine strips it back to the bare essentials in a small, compact, and convenient model, that still covers rice, yoghurt, porridge and bread proving.
However, don’t get too ambitious with those portion sizes – overdo it, and you’ll be left with a messy overflow to clean up once your brew starts bubbling. It’s also the least versatile machine on this list, at least in terms of pre-set cooking options to work with.
Read our full Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker 1.8L review
How do Instant Pots work?
Instant Pots use a combination of steam and high pressures to cook foods quickly. A pot inside the machine creates steam, and the lid has a secure seal which means that no heat can escape. A thermostat within the machine detects and regulates the temperature of the steam so that your food doesn’t overcook. Find out more in our full feature answering is an Instant Pot a pressure cooker?
Instant Pots don’t just use pressure to cook food, some models also air fry your food by circulating hot air around the cooking pot to give you crispy results. These appliances have been designed to carry out the functions of several appliances but all in one unit.
Instant Pots vs Ninja Foodi
Instant Pot and Ninja Foodi are two of the biggest names in the multi-cooker world and are regularly compared to see which is best. Both brands create a wide number of appliances including everything from air fryers to blenders.
As you might expect, the larger and more feature-heavy appliances from Instant Pot and Ninja Foodi are more expensive, but generally speaking, Ninja models are normally more expensive in general.
It’s also worth comparing how easy these machines are to clean. Ninja Foodi machines feature a cooking pot with a non-stick coating so you shouldn’t need to scrub for hours to get rid of any food. Instant Pots have stainless steel pots but both of the brands’ pots can be placed in a dishwasher.
We’ve compared these brands in detail, to find out which came out on top, read our Ninja Foodi vs Instant Pot feature.