Best pressure cooker 2018: The best pressure cookers from £60 to £320

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Cooking a tasty meal doesn't have to require slaving over a hot stove. Nope, not anymore. Thanks to advances in home appliance tech, pressure cookers have improved vastly since the rattling, spurting models you might have grown up with. The latest models can easily revolutionise your mealtimes. Not only will they help you save money on ingredients and energy, they are super-speedy, too. It’s time to get reacquainted.

The latest designs include smart safety features, useful accessories and greater cooking versatility, giving them the ability to make everything from casseroles, curries and risottos to melt-in-the-mouth ribs, tender cheap cuts of meat, a whole chicken, quick dried pulses and even jam – all in super-quick sessions. And if you needed any more reasons to cook under pressure, try this – it’s healthier. As pressure cookers use less water compared to conventional methods and there’s less oxidation, your food retains more vitamins and minerals. However, not all models are built the same and the right one for you will depend largely on how much kitchen space you have and the dishes you’re most likely to cook. Check out our Best Of reviews below to find out more.

How to buy the best pressure cooker for you

What is pressure cooking?

While in a conventional pan, food is cooked by boiling, a pressure cooker uses a different method. Its tight-fitting lid allows steam to build up under pressure, pushing heat into the food. This reduces the cooking time, which in turn preserves more of the food’s nutrition and requires less energy to achieve results. For the best results, this means that you’ll need to leave enough space for the steam to build into pressure, so only fill the pan halfway, and include enough liquid. As well as hob-top pressure cookers (where you’ll need to adjust the heat to achieve the correct pressure), there are electric versions that can reach the right pressure by themselves.

How much should I spend?

Pressure cookers differ in price yet they all work on the same principle. How much you spend will depend on whether you’re choosing a hob-top model or electric and how much you’re planning to use it. The price of hob-top designs is similar to that of saucepans – spending more will usually mean the pan’s made from good quality materials (ie stainless steel instead of less durable aluminium) and will have a thicker base. The price of electrical models often reflects how many features they have and if they’re able to double as a steamer, slow cooker or rice cooker.

READ NEXT: The best slow cookers to buy from £30

Is a multicooker the same as a pressure cooker?

If you’re opting for an electric pressure cooker, there’s a good chance that it’ll also be a multicooker, namely a model that offers other methods of cooking. These can include searing or frying, which is handy for browning meat before adding other ingredients for a pressure-cooked stew, or slow cooking, which provides a low-heat alternative for casseroles, curries, chilli con carne or meat. If your cooker can maintain a much lower heat, it may even feature settings for making yoghurt. While all these extra features can be useful, and help your appliance to earn its place on the worktop, consider first how many of them you’re likely to use on a regular basis. If you’re mainly interested in pressure-cooking, look for a model that prioritises that function over the others or a pan that will last decades with proper care.

What features should I look for?

If you’re buying a hob-top pressure cooker, look for the features that’ll make using it easier. These include an easy locking system, a pressure indicator, so you can see when it’s reached pressure, a non-stick coating, and a two-valve mechanism for releasing the pressure (either naturally or by using cold water). Dishwasher-safe parts, suitability for all hob types, a timer and accessories for steaming will also come in handy. Most of the former features will apply to electric pressure cookers, too. In addition, look for a high wattage, different heat settings or programmes, the option of a quick pressure release and an auto temperature control to prevent food burning.

What capacity do I need?

Most range from three to six litres, with the larger models being suitable for batch cooking and meals for up to six people. Smaller, three-litre cookers are better for catering for one to two people. As they tend to be heavy, bulky pieces of equipment, often with accessories, make sure you have room to store larger models before you buy.

Is it any healthier?

Indeed. Research studies have shown that pressure cooking retains more vitamins and minerals in your meals than steaming and even microwaving. 

Are they easy to clean?

All pressure cookers are sealed vessels, which means no need to clean spills from the stovetop or oven.  Most pressure cooker bases are dishwasher safe, too, meaning easy cleaning. 

The best pressure cookers to buy from £60

1. Sage Fast Slow Pro: The best all-round pressure cooker 

Price when reviewed: £159

The beauty of the Sage Fast Slow Pro is that it works just as well any type of user. Whether you're a beginner to the world of pressure or slow cooking, it's easy to use but offers a good range of advanced settings for more experienced cooks, too, meaning it's suitable for young foodies or families. 

While it is a little on the big side in terms of size - making it a bit more tricky for storage than others in our list - the extensive range of different dishes it can cook vastly makes up for this. 

The Fast Slow Pro is able to produce great cooked food while saving you time and money at the same time. 

Key specs – Size (WDH): 43.6 x 36 x 35.8 cm; Power: 1,100W; Accessories: Steam basket; Capacity: 6 litres

2. Tefal Cook4Me Connect Electric Multicooker: The best Bluetooth pressure cooker

Price when reviewed: £320

Yes, it’s pricey and yes, it pressure cooks just like any other, but this is the one to buy if you’re a pressure-cooking novice, often cater for a crowd or simply want to take the stress out of mealtimes. Combined with a dedicated app, it’ll guide you through every stage of a recipe, setting time, temperature and level for pressure cooking so there’s no need for supervision. You can even cook a single ingredient by selecting it on the LED screen. It’ll also steam, brown, simmer, slow cook and reheat, plus its ceramic bowl and basket are conveniently dishwasher safe.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 35.4 x 37.6 x 35.4cm; Power: 1,200W; Accessories: Steam basket; Capacity: 6 litres

3. Lakeland 3-litre Pressure Cooker: The best compact stove top pressure cooker

Price when reviewed: £80 – Buy now from Lakeland

There’s a lot to love about this compact pressure cooker. First is that it’s easy to lock the lid on – there’s no twisting or struggling, just a single button to press with another to unlock. There are two levels of pressure to choose from and a pop-up indicator that lets you know when it’s reached either. It comes with a trivet for steaming or keeping meat away from the base of the pan and a glass lid so you can also use it as a standard pan. It’s suitable for all hob types but sadly not dishwasher-safe, so you may find yourself scrubbing its gleaming stainless-steel interior.

Key specs – Size: 33 x 21.5 x 17cm; Power: N/A; Accessories: Glass lid, trivet; Capacity: 3 litres

4. Tower Sure Touch 6 Litre Pressure Cooker: The best budget stove top pressure cooker

Price when reviewed: £60

It’s not just the sleek black good looks that give this pressure cooker appeal but its multiple useful features. As well as being suitable for all hob types, it has chunky handles either side for easy carrying, a quick mechanical locking system, two pressure settings and a stainless-steel steamer basket. However, best of all is the built-in 30-minute timer, which enables you to monitor cooking duration while juggling other tasks. It might not be dishwasher-safe but despite that, it’s a smart kitchen staple that handles everyday tasks well, and can even be used for making desserts.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 37 x 23.9 x 24.8cm; Power: N/A; Accessories: Steamer basket, worktop protector; Capacity: 6 litres

5. Bosch AutoCook Multicooker: The best all-rounder pressure cooker

Price when reviewed: £349.99 – Buy now from Bosch

The price tag might put your bank balance under pressure, but this all-singing, all-dancing multicooker offers so much functionality that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. As well as working as a pressure cooker and slow cooker, it’ll steam, fry, bake, make yoghurt and even cook vacuum-packed food sous-vide. Newbie cooks will love its 50 preset programmes, induction technology for even heat distribution, inspirational recipe book and app, while more adventurous chefs can store personalised recipes to make favourites again and again. A 12-hour delay start and 20-hour keep warm also make it super-flexible for coming home to tasty hot dinners. An added bonus is that its cauldron-shaped pot is easy to scoop out from and dishwasher-safe, so cleaning up after is effortless.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 32 x 40 x 30cm; Power: 1,200W; Accessories: Two-layer steamer basket, deep frying basket, spatula, spoon, recipe book; Capacity: 5 litres 

6. Pressure King Pro 12-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker: The best pressure cooker under £100

Price when reviewed: £69.99

Proving that pressure cookers can do so much more than stews and curries, the Pressure King Pro uses its speedy cooking power to whip up everything from pasta dishes and fish to creamy risotto and tender meat. Ideal for busy families, it’ll even cook a whole chicken in just 25 minutes, while a handy 24-hour delay timer, automatic keep warm function and fast reheat button work around the most hectic lifestyle. It’ll also function as a slow cooker while the steam plate serves to gently cook veggies without boiling away the nutrients. On the downside, there are a few awkward nooks and crannies to clean and it’s quite bulky to store.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 34 x 33 x 36cm; Power: 900W; Accessories: Recipe book, steam tray, measuring cup, cooking spoon.; Capacity: 5 litres

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