The Best Instant Pot (and Cheap 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 and 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 (e.g. an air fryer). An Instant Pot is probably worth it for home cooks who are pressed for time, novices who are stressed out by cooking multi-step meals, or anyone who is sick of cleaning pots and pans.

There are more than 10 kinds of Instant Pots, but the 6-quart 7-in-1 is the most popular. This model retails for less than $100, has a non-toxic stainless steel cook surface and is designed to make pressure cooking less dangerous. It's 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 imitators.  If you want an Instant Pot, buy an Instant Pot. If you're on the hunt for a bargain, here are the best-reviewed multicookers and Instant Pot alternatives that have sold for less than $100:

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. 


John DeFeo