Best overall

Instant Pot Ultra (6qt)

Designed for meal crafting in family units of 4-6 people, the 6qt Instant Pot Ultra is the perfect middle ground of features and capacity for people who want a multipurpose gadget in the kitchen. This version of the Instant Pot has updated sensors to better regulate heat and power, as well as a new dial-based UI for easily tweaking preset functions to serve your needs. While all Instant Pot designs focus on ease of use, the Ultra series really stands out as being especially functional for pros and beginners alike.

Bottom line: If you're cooking for a family and you want a single appliance combining lots of features, you want an Ultra.

One more thing: There's an 8qt version if your family is a little bigger than most, or if you frequently cook for groups.

Why the Instant Pot Ultra is the best

Instant Pot users love their purchases because it's a simple, effective way to cook a lot of things that are otherwise fairly complicated to get right. The options on the front panel of an Instant Pot work like presets on a microwave, only instead of popcorn you can get perfectly prepared rice or hard-boiled eggs much faster than you'd be able to on the stove. These set-and-forget settings for a wide variety of options make it very easy to do a ton in a single appliance, and if that's something you think you might enjoy the Ultra version of the Instant Pot will make you even happier.

While every Instant Pot has friendly buttons on the front for lots of recipes, Instant Pot Ultra turned the interface into a simple dial with lots of extra options. You can quickly set a delay on whatever you want to cook, flip through multiple cooking options with ease, and not need to worry about any one button becoming damaged over time. This front panel also has a nice blue light to it, making it easier to see the remaining time from across the room no matter what the lighting is. The whole front panel is generally more user friendly.

This updated version of the Instant Pot also has new sensors for keeping an eye on the internal temperature, which is important for both longer cook sessions and keeping everything you made warm before you serve it. These sensors do a much better job keeping rice from being stuck to the bottom of the inner tray, for example, and can keep anything you make the perfect temperature for hours.

While all Instant Pot versions offer a fast, convenient way to explore lots of new types of cooking, the Ultra is the best all-around version of this experience.

Best for Singles

Instant Pot Duo Mini (3qt)

Not everyone needs an Instant Pot that can serve ten people right out of the bucket. Sometimes all you really need is the ability to make a meal for two people, or something for you to experiment when learning to cook for just yourself. Not only is there an Instant Pot for you folks, but it's considerably cheaper than a lot of the other Instant Pot versions you can buy today.

The 3qt Instant Pot Duo Mini was built to offer everything the rest of the Duo pressure cookers offer, including simple buttons for eggs and rice and more, just in a much smaller package. The smaller size means you need to be careful when purchasing official Instant Pot accessories so they actually fit in your version, but it is otherwise the perfect way to get started learning how to cook new things.

Bottom line: At half the price of most other Instant Pot models, this is an easy decision to make when you live alone.

Best for Techies

Instant Pot Smart

Most Instant Pot models already feel pretty smart in the way they help you cook things in the most set-and-forget way possible, but if you're building the Ultimate Smart Home you probably want an Instant Pot that syncs up with your phone just like all of your other appliances. The Instant Pot Smart does exactly this, offering an app for looking at time remaining on a cook and a glance at the internal temperature. You can set up delays in cooking for a distance or shut the Instant Pot down from another room if you feel it necessary.

Instant Pot Smart is Bluetooth only, so you won't be connecting to it when you aren't in the house, but you should be able to wander around even outside and still stay up to date on what is happening in the kitchen.

Bottom line: If you want to stay connected without staying in the kitchen, get an Instant Pot Smart.

Conclusion

If you're not super confident about your skills in the kitchen, Instant Pot will make you feel like a sorcerer. If you're already pretty comfortable with your culinary skills, Instant Pot is a great multi-tool when you have limited space or if you don't like watching a traditional pressure cooker. Either way, the key to success here is picking the one for you. If you have a couple of people to cook for every day, get an Instant Pot Ultra and it will last for years. If you're cooking for one and eventually two, the Instant Pot Duo Mini is a fantastic place to start. For those who need to be connected to their phone so they can leave the kitchen, the Instant Pot Smart will get you where you want to go.

Best overall

Instant Pot Ultra (6qt)

Designed for meal crafting in family units of 4-6 people, the 6qt Instant Pot Ultra is the perfect middle ground of features and capacity for people who want a multipurpose gadget in the kitchen. This version of the Instant Pot has updated sensors to better regulate heat and power, as well as a new dial-based UI for easily tweaking preset functions to serve your needs. While all Instant Pot designs focus on ease of use, the Ultra series really stands out as being especially functional for pros and beginners alike.

Bottom line: If you're cooking for a family and you want a single appliance combining lots of features, you want an Ultra.

One more thing: There's an 8qt version if your family is a little bigger than most, or if you frequently cook for groups.