Best pressure cookers - on test

Read our review of the top pressure cookers on the market, plus we have cookery advice and recipe ideas for this speedy, economical piece of kit.

Best for… the keen pressure cooker

BergHOFF Eclipse Pressure Cooker Set

BergHOFF Eclipse pressure cooker set

Best bits: Versatility, stackability, easy to close
Price: £159.99
Features: 3l and 6 litre pots, veg basket with trivet, extra glass lid, pots (not lid) dishwasher safe, suitable for all hob types.

Comments: With two different sized pots, this set is ideal if you want to cook more than one thing in the pressure cooker or don’t feel like washing a big pot for smaller quantities. We liked that we could knock up a stew in the big pot, then while reducing that, pressure cook vegetables in the smaller one. The instructions, opening and closing mechanism, and steam release were very easy. The steam regulated well but there was only one setting. We’d like to have had more information on cooking times and some recipes.

Buy from Argos

Best …all rounder
*STAR BUY*

Prestige Hard Anodized Non-Stick 6l Smartplus Pressure CookerPrestige hard anodized non-stick 6l Smartplus pressure cooker

Best bits: Non-stick surface, lightweight, thorough instructions
Price: £79.99
Features: Lifetime guarantee, veg basket with separators and trivet, non-stick surface, two steam settings, suitable for all hob types.

Comments: The durable non-stick surface on this pan added extra versatility and we were able to make a surprisingly good risotto. It proved very easy to clean too. Prestige get tops marks for thorough explanations, giving the cook a broad understanding of how different foods work so you don’t need to stick slavishly to a recipe. We liked the simplicity and sleekness of the design and its comparatively lightweight feel. It's also available in stainless steel.

Buy from Prestige

Best…budget buy

IKEA VärdesättaIKEA Värdesätta

Best bits: Price, simplicity
Price: 4l £30 or 6l £39
Features: 4l or 6l pot, two steam settings, suitable for all hob types.

Comments: This no-frills pressure cooker is great value. The instructions are very straightforward as is the functionality, although the lid could be easier to close and we’d like to have seen some recipes. The long handle takes up quite a lot of room in the cupboard and is of limited use as the cooker is too heavy to use the handle alone, however there is a grip on the other side for two-hand carrying. There’s no trivet or basket either which we think are essentials for vegetables and joints of meat. However at this price, you could buy these separately and still save money. A good, reliable pressure cooker.

Buy from IKEA

Best for…beginners

Tefal Clipso Plus 6l Pressure CookerTefal Clipso Plus 6l pressure cooker

Best bits: Foldable handles, recipe book, easy to close
Price: £140
Features: 6l pot, large veg basket with trivet, two steam settings, pot (not lid) dishwasher safe, suitable for all hob types.

Comments: This is a solid piece of kit that feels like it would stand the test of time. The foldaway handles made a big difference to storage, making it easier to accommodate in an average kitchen. Great heat distribution meant that the steam regulated well so there's no need to tend it too closely. This product has been designed with practical cooking in mind, even down to a larger veg basket with a handle on it.

Buy from John Lewis

Best for…space-saving

Lakeland Microwave Pressure CookerLakeland Microwave Pressure Cooker

Best bits: Price, easy to use, easy to store
Price: £37.99
Features: 2.2 litre, steamer tray, pot (not lid) dishwasher safe, good selection of recipes.

Comments: This diminutive microwave pressure cooker can still make enough food for 3-4 people. It’s so easy to use, from the instructions right through to completed dish. There are no options to brown and reduce to thicken, but for no-fuss cooks, the simplicity was unsurpassed. Small and light, it’s an easy one to tuck in the cupboard.

Buy from Lakeland

Buyer’s advice

Why buy? 

A pressure cooker’s fundamental purpose is to speed up the cooking time of slow cook dishes. From stews, curries and legumes to steamed puddings and cheesecake, there isn’t much you can’t put in a pressure cooker. This cooking method requires less water compared to other conventional cooking methods, which means that more vitamins and minerals are retained. Additionally, lack of exposure to air prevents oxidation of the nutrients in the food.  And, to top it off, you’ll save time and money on your energy bills.

Asian pressure cooker ribs

What should I buy? 

If you purchase a large pressure cooker, look for one with two side handles. The pots get heavy when they contain food, so it's easier to lift and handle a pressure cooker with two handles. If folding handles are available, you'll require less storage space. Many recipes call for the use of accessories such as a steamer basket or cooking rack, so you'd get the best value for your money if you buy a pressure cooker that already comes with one or two of these accessories.

What we looked for... 

1. Size and storage: Is the pressure cooker easy to store? Are there any features that would make it more compact?

2. Design: We assessed the aesthetic credentials of each model. 

3. Cooking: We tried a variety of recipes to really put them through their paces, including meats that take a long time to tenderise, pulses and recipes with a lot of liquid to see if it escaped on pressure release.

4. Ease of use: We looked at how easy the model was to open and close and whether the functions and accompanying literature were useful and straightforward.

How to use your pressure cooker

10 tips for using a pressure cooker
Pressure cookers and how to use them

Pressure cooker recipes

Lemony prawn and pea pressure cooker risotto
Asian short ribs with herb salad

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This review was last updated in February 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

Comments, questions and tips

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Narjas's picture
Narjas
9th Jan, 2017
What do you think of the Pressure King one that Argos stock. Seems to be very popular, but looks a considerably cheaper than your best pick, so wondering what it lacks. http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5532700
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