The Best Instant Pot Alternatives of 2019

The Instant Pot multicooker is one of the most popular kitchen appliances in the U.S. It's like a crock pot and a pressure cooker combined into a single, programmable appliance.

Multicookers aren't magic. Anyone who wants to eat healthy without doing any work in the kitchen is bound to be disappointed (no matter what appliance he or she buys). That said, Instant Pot publishes thousands of health-and diet-conscious recipes, many of which have a “prep time” of five minutes of less.

There are more than 25 kinds of Instant Pots, but the 6-quart models that sell for less than $100 are the most popular. This is the right size and price for most people.

The Instant Pot is one of those rare cases where the "name brand" appliance costs about the same as its competitors (and imitators).  If you want an Instant Pot, buy an Instant Pot. 

But, if you're on the hunt for a cheap multicooker, here are the best-reviewed Instant Pots and alternatives that have sold for less than $100 in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $100 | Great Deal: $66

Ninja's multicooker is easy to use and clean, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say the unit is bulkier than its cooking capacity would suggest; others caution that the Ninja cooker’s handles get hot (and must be touched with care).

Good Price: $79 | Great Deal: $49

The Instant Pot has an almost cult-like following. You'll find thousands of reviews that say things like "this is the best thing I ever bought" or "this is my most used appliance." The most common criticisms and complaints among Amazon customers are that the instruction manual and recipe book are disappointing.

Good Price: $72 | Great Deal: $63

The Cosorsi multicooker gets more praise for its pressure cooker functions than as a slow cooker. Several Amazon customers complained that the instruction manual and recipe booklet were useless, but many customers were thrilled to find free accessories like a vented glass lid and a spare silicone ring.

Good Price: $63 | Great Deal: $35

Tayama's 6-quart multicooker allows the cook temperature and pressure to be controlled, but this freedom can result in mistakes, especially because there is no cookbook included. Anyone hoping to make perfect meals out of the gate should consider other options. 

Good Price: $100 | Great Deal: $84

The Instant Pot Ultra makes great meals, but it has a steep learning curve, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers upgraded to this model from an Instant Pot "Duo." Many of them say that the Ultra's LCD screen makes it easier to time a meal (from pre-heating to completion), but the controls are more confusing than first-generation Instant Pots.


John DeFeo