Shopping

Best Instant Pot 2021: the top 5 to buy this Black Friday

Pick the best Instant Pot for you and your home with our top five picks, including air fryer lids, app controls, and much more

Included in this guide:

Best Instant Pot
(Image credit: Instant Pot)

The best Instant Pot will transform the way you cook, but there are so many models to choose from that deciding which to invest in can be difficult. For a start, there is a range of available sizes, and picking the one that is the perfect size for your family is important. There is also a range of lines to choose from, including the Duo and Pro lines, which may look similar but offer a different range of functions.

For some, the best Instant Pot will be one that is easy to controls and offers simple pressure cooking, searing, and other basic modes. For others, the best Instant Pot may have a lid to transform it into one of the best air fryers, which does mean you will have an extra lid to store, but will ultimately offer more value for money. 

If you're wondering if buying the best Instant Pot is the right choice for you, our reviews have more details about everything you can do with these multi-tasking machines. When compared to the best slow cookers they are more of an up-front investment, and many fear pressure cooking, which could be a new way of making quick and easy meals to a lot of home chefs. We've tried some of the best Instant Pots (and Instant Pot alternatives) ourselves though, and while we agree that it takes a little getting used to if you are new to it, pressure cooking is definitely a skill worth having in your culinary repertoire. Not only can it significantly speed up the amount of time needed to cook meat and vegetables, but it also gives impressively tender results thanks to the locked-in moisture that prevents your food from becoming dry. 

Best Instant Pot 2021: our top picks

Instant Pot Duo Crisp

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

1. Instant Pot Duo Crisp

Best Instant Pot: smart controls and an easy-to-use display

Specifications
Dimensions: 14.76 x 13.58 x 15.28 inches
Capacity: 8-quart
Presets: 11
Cooking modes: Air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, sterilizer and food warmer
Reasons to buy
+Can be used to air fry+Simple controls, front and center+Generous capacity
Reasons to avoid
-There are models with more presets

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a top Instant Pot for those who want all the functions of the best air fryers alongside their regular multi-cooker. 

What we love

For a start, while it is not the most complex of the Instant Pots on the market, the lack of countless digital controls can actually be a big win for those who find high-tech appliances a little overwhelming. 

You will need to find space to store the second lid when not in use, but it has both an air fryer lid and a pressure cooking lid. The control display makes it easy to choose the right lid for your recipe. That means you can air fry fries or chicken wings, and switch from pressure-cooking your chicken to roasting by simply switching the lid. 

Features

It comes with an eight-quart capacity, which is ideal for large families. Included is an air fryer basket, a steaming rack, and a broil and dehydrator tray. 

Instant Pot

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

2. Instant Pot Duo Plus

Best Instant Pot for beginners: safe to use, and in a range of sizes

Specifications
Dimensions: 14.8 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches
Capacity: 3, 6, and 8 Quarts
Presets: 13
Cooking modes: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, sterilizer and food warmer
Reasons to buy
+Added safety features+Comes in a range of sizes+Display shows the cooking progress
Reasons to avoid
-Can take a while to pressurize 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is an upgrade on the classic Instant Pot Duo, with added safety features and a smarter display. When it comes down to it though, this Instant Pot has all the features you're looking for when you want to get started with a multi-cooker. 

Why we love it

The display shows a timer which makes it easy to know how far through your recipe is. That includes a bar for pre-heating or pressurizing, a cooking bar, and one for a keep-warm timer.

It also has more cooking presets than the standard Duo, including one to rival the best rice cookers, as well as one for soup, sterilizing, and even cake. Available in three sizes, it will also be possible to get one for families of any size. 

Features

If you're scared to get started with pressure cooking, you'll enjoy the added safety features with the Instant Pot Duo Plus. It has a safety-locking lid and a cover for the pressure vent that stops it from splattering when you're ready to release. 

Instant PotH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Best Instant Pot for modern features: the does-it-all option

Specifications
Dimensions: 15.35 x 12.57 x 14.78 inches
Capacity: 8 Quarts
Presets: 14
Cooking modes: Pressure Cook, Sauté, Slow Cook, Steam, Sous Vide, Warm, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Broil, Dehydrate
Reasons to buy
+Air fryer lid included+Fully adjustable timing and temperature+Stay-cool silicone handles+Dishwasher-safe pot and pressure lid
Reasons to avoid
-Only comes in one size

It's the most expensive Instant Pot in our guide, but the Instant Pot Pro Crisp does everything you could wish for. It has an air fryer lid, 14 presets, and a digital display to track your cooking process. 

Why we love it

When we tried the Instant Pot Pro Crisp for ourselves, it was able to pressure cook a chicken in just 20 minutes. We then turned it onto air fry mode, and crisped up the skin perfectly. 

Most parts of the Instant Pot Pro Crisp can go in the dishwasher, including the pressure cooker lid. It has a removable air fryer basket that we found made takeout-worthy fries, and the handles allowed us to shake up the wedges for even cooking results. 

Features

You can put the pot in the dishwasher, and because it has silicone-coated handles, it's easy to lift out even when your meal has recently finished cooking. The pot can also go on the stove, although with the sear setting, you might not need it. 

Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars. Our Instant Pot Pro Crisp review has more details

Instant Pot

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

4. Instant Pot Duo

Best Instant Pot under $100: a classic cooker at an entry-level price

Specifications
Dimensions: 13 x 12.15 x 12.14 inches
Capacity: 3, 6, and 8 quarts
Presets: 13
Cooking modes: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer
Reasons to buy
+Costs under $100+Has 7 functions+Comes in a range of sizes
Reasons to avoid
-The bowl will spin when you stir

Instant Pot's classic Duo comes in three sizes, meaning it will be suitable for kitchens of all sizes. The smaller the size, the lower the cost, but all three Instant Pots are under $100. 

What we love

Despite its lower cost you will still get to enjoy 13 presets, from porridge to poultry. The top cooking element will allow you to crisp up the top of your bakes or the skin of your chicken, and you can choose to adjust the pressure level, keep-warm timer, and delay start.

The 1200 watts of power will pressure cook even large cuts of meat in record time, and it has ten safety features to lock the lid into place and stop the cooker from overheating. The lid can even be hinged into the side handle to keep it handy when stirring. 

Features

The inner stainless steel pot can go in the dishwasher, but because it has no handles to lock it into place, it might spin as you stir on the sauté setting.

Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars

Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro Best multi-cooker air fryerH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Ninja)

5. Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro

Best Instant Pot alternative: Ninja's answer to the Duo Crisp

Specifications
Dimensions: 16.18 x 13.98 x 13.23 inches
Capacity: 6.5 Quart
Presets: 11
Cooking modes: Pressure cook, steam, slow cook, yogurt, sous vide, air fry, bake/roast, sear/sauté, broil, dehydrate, keep warm
Reasons to buy
+11 modes in 1+Great value for so many settings+The air fryer lid is default
Reasons to avoid
-The hinged lid can be annoying 

The Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro can air fry, slow cook, pressure cook, roast, bake, and a lot more. It's one of our favorite multi-cookers, and while it's not an Instant Pot, it is the best alternative to an Instant Pot you can buy. 

Why we love it

We found that the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro was great at air frying, and the air fry basket has a large capacity when compared to the Duo. Its insert can go in the dishwasher, as can the non-stick pot, and while it has two lids the air fryer one is built onto the side. This hinges on the side of the multi-cooker and is easy to lift and close. A lot easier than the Instant Pot options, in fact. 

It's not the cheapest option, but it is comparable in price to some Instant Pots that come without air fryer attachments. The cooker is also available in a variety of sizes. 

Features

The air fryer lid needs to be upright when you're using the pressure cooking lid, which makes it harder to fit the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro under kitchen cabinets. 

Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars

What is the best Instant Pot?

Instat Pot

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Our top pick of the best Instant Pots is the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, which has an air frying lid as well as all the modes you could wish for to get started with multi-cooking. We also like the Instant Pot Duo Plus if you want an Instant Pot without an air fryer lid, and it also has heaps of safety features.

Lastly, while it's not an Instant Pot, the best Instant Pot alternative is the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 6.5 Qt Pro.

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie Fender is the Small Appliance and Cooking Editor on the Homes and Gardens Ecommerce team. She specializes in cooking appliances and also reviews outdoor grills and pizza ovens. Millie loves to bake, so she will take any excuse to review stand mixers and other baking essentials. All of Millie's reviews are conducted at home, meaning she uses these products in her own kitchen, the way they're designed to be used. 

Millie is from Bath, England, and she grew up surrounded by classic Georgian architecture and interiors. She dreams of buying her own house and filling it with antiques, but for now, she lives in a sunny London flat with a very busy kitchen.