I bought an Instant Pot on Black Friday - do I regret it by Amazon Prime Day?

I panic-bought an Instant Pot air fryer in the Black Friday rush. Do I regret it months on?

An Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer filled with French fries
(Image credit: Instant)

I test products for a living, but even the pros can get caught up in the madness of Black Friday. Last November we were pulling early mornings, late nights, and long, long shifts to cover deals live as they happen. I knew I wanted an air fryer/multicooker, and I knew all of our top models, but when it came down to it, I was tired and had been looking at kitchen appliance bargains for hours. When I took a quick 5 minute break, I frankly couldn't be bothered; I just hit checkout on first five-star product I found. 

I had bought an Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, and when it arrived I wasn't convinced. It's more like a multicooker than an air fryer, so I initially thought I'd ordered the wrong model. With the recent black cloud of bankruptcy hanging over Instant Brands, it might seem like a pretty poor investment, and not the sort of thing you should buy on Amazon Prime Day

However, seven months on, this appliance has totally transformed how I cook. It's replaced my old slow cooker as well as introducing air frying to our kitchen. It offers a good range of different cooking functions and in some cases has made our usual recipes much, much tastier. 

This isn't a puff piece, and this multicooker definitely has its drawbacks. In fact, I'd actually suggest you buy a different model. However, if you're after a kitchen appliance that can do it all, you can't go wrong.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Plus 8 Quart | was $199.95, now $179.95 at Amazon

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Plus 8 Quart | was $199.95, now $179.95 at Amazon
This is the multicooker I use at home. It's great for fast frozen food as well as more technical pressure cooking. If 8 quarts sounds like overkill, you can grab a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp option at Macy's.

What I love

The Instant Pot Duo + Air Fryer is a mix of the iconic Instant Pot and some handy air fryer functions. Full disclosure: I was an air fryer skeptic. Before I got used to them, I couldn't really see the point. If you have an oven, surely you'd just bake with that?

However, I was wrong. Air fryers are much, much faster. We cook a lot of meat substitutes that need to be cooked in an oven, and the cooking time halves in an air fryer. I've started making some pretty full-on breakfasts in this air fryer function. Every weekend I can do hash browns, bacon, and sausages in twelve minutes, all in one air fryer basket, all at the touch of a button.

Instant Pot duo plus making soup on test

Instant Pot Duo Plus making soup on test

(Image credit: Helen McCue)

It also costs less to run than an oven. Unlike a traditional gas or electric oven, you're only heating a few cubic inches of air rather than a couple of cubic feet, so your bills are cheaper. It's not a life-changing saving, but a few dollars off a month is always nice to have. 

The capacity in this thing is unbelievable. We have a family recipe for veggie chili that used to fill up our old slow cooker, and it barely makes it to the halfway mark on this multicooker. There's double servings for a family of four plus at least three frozen portions. 

But don't just take my word for it. This is just what I've found using the product in my day-to-day. We've also tested this multicooker. In her full Instant Pot Duo Plus review, our home economics expert Helen found similar results. She pressure cooked an amazing dahl with none of the usual fuss of releasing steam, as this pot will do it for your automatically. 

She slow cooked a beef bourguignon and ran some errands while it was cooking, but ended up getting back home late. Rather than switching off, this multicooker automatically adjusted to 'keep warm' mode - nothing was burnt or overcooked, but had perfect results even when things overran. 

What I don't like

The single biggest drawback with this appliance is the two different lids. There's an air fryer lid and a pressure cooking lid. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't mater much, but I'm yet to find an easy way of storing these. The air fryer lid is a very large, awkward shape that doesn't fit in any of my cabinets, so if I'm slow cooking or pressure cooking it has to sit on my countertops or the dining room table. You can sit the pressure cooker lid on top of the air fryer lid to make storage a little easier, but it doesn't look great out on the countertop. My biggest regret with this purchase  is that I didn't go for the Ultimate Lid model, which has one lid and is much easier to store. 

Instant Pot With Ultimate Lid | was $229.99, now $179.95 at Amazon

Instant Pot With Ultimate Lid | was $229.99, now $179.95 at Amazon
This is the best multicooker you can buy, replacing a pressure cooker, air fryer, slow cooker and even yoghurt maker in a single appliance. 

Another drawback is that the capacity is a little misleading. An 8-quart capacity is amazing for more liquid meals like curries, chilis, and soups, but the air fryer capacity is nowhere near this big. The air fryer basket has a 7" diameter, so you can make a pretty decent portion of fries, but other air fryers can make far more. This is especially apparent compared to two-drawer air fryers. We use these all the time when we're in the test kitchen to make a quick lunch. It's not the most nutritious, but the double capacity means we can turn out chicken nuggets and fries in 15 minutes. It's a fast meal for four, and this Instant Pot simply can't do it.

It's true for all air fryers, but I'm also incredibly skeptical about the number of functions. Air fry, roast, bake, and broil are all really the same function. All of these functions just use the heating element in the lid, so there's not actually any difference - the air fryer just sets the temperature automatically. While these are certainly all different functions, it's no more multifunctional than an oven.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Air frying is so much faster, cheaper, and takes much less oil than a normal oven. It's totally changed my mind on air fryers. It's got a great slow cooker function and timer that would be worth buying in itself, let alone with the include air fryer functions.

However, I actually think you'd be better off with the Ultimate Lid model, and Helen agreed in her full review. It has all of the same performance without the hassle of storing an extra lid. However, outside of sales periods this lid will set you back an extra $100, so it might not be worth it. 

Prime Day FAQs

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day sees big discounts on Amazon, but only for members of Amazon Prime. This year, Amazon Prime Day is running from the 11th-12th July.

Is Amazon Prime Day as good as Black Friday?

It can be. Black Friday tends to see bigger discounts across a wider range of products, but some products hit their absolute lowest point on Prime Day. That's particularly true for more wintry cooking appliances like slow cookers and immersion blenders, because few people buy these in summer. 

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.