Our Pick

Instant Pot Duo

Instant Pot Duo60

High-tech

Instant Pot Ultra

Instant Pot Ultra

The Instant Pot Duo is a seven-in-one multi-use pressure cooker, so it can also make yogurt, cook rice, stew, steam, and more. It's the most popular version of the Instant Pot because it's reasonably priced, comes in three size options, and you'll often find it on sale somewhere.

$79 at Amazon

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes seven functions
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Easy-to-use buttons
  • Features stainless steel pot

Cons

  • Manual pressure valve release
  • Can't sterilize or control temperature

The Instant Pot Ultra does everything the Duo does, except with these added functions: Sterilize, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, and Ultra. The display looks a lot nicer and the auto-closing pressure valve means one less step between you and delicious meals. However, the knob is a tad sensitive and hard to use compared with regular buttons.

$150 at Amazon

Pros

  • Features 10 functions
  • Larger and fancier display
  • Auto-closing pressure valve and safer pressure release button
  • The "Ultra" program allows users to manually control the temperature for precise cooking, similar to Sous Vide
  • Comes in three sizes

Cons

  • Uses a knob instead of buttons, and it's less intuitive
  • More expensive

For most people, when it comes down to the Instant Pot Duo vs Ultra, the Duo is enough to get the job done. After all, there's a reason why it's the most popular Instant Pot model. However, the Ultra does have some very nice functions that make cooking even more convenient. It's just slightly more in price, but could be worth the extra money.

The Instant Pot is a great buy all year long, but it is also a very popular sale item on Black Friday. Check out this year's Instant Pot Black Friday deals going on now!

It boils down to features and price

Pouring rice into Instant Pot DUO60Source: iMore

Most people will debate between the Instant Pot Duo vs Ultra. Honestly, the Duo is the most popular model, and for good reason: it gets the job done and the price is reasonable, so it'll be good for most people. However, if you're the type of person who wants the fancy high-tech stuff and cost does not matter, then the Ultra is nice to have for the extra features.

Instant Pot Duo Instant Pot Ultra
Built-in Functions 7 10
Price $79 $150
Sizes 3, 6, or 8 Qt 3, 6, or 8 Qt
Custom programming No Yes
Cooking Progress Indicator No Yes
Pressure Cook Yes Yes
Rice Cooker Yes Yes
Steam Yes Yes
Meat/Stew Yes Yes
Soup/Broth Yes Yes
Bean/Chili Yes Yes
Poultry Yes Yes
Multigrain Yes Yes
Yogurt Yes Yes
Sauté Yes Yes
Slow Cook Yes Yes
Sterilizer No Yes
Egg No Yes
Cake No Yes
Ultra No Yes

While the Duo is missing several functions, after using my Duo for over a year, I've come to realize that I really just need the Pressure/Manual and Sauté functions, with the occasional Steam for vegetables. Plus, the buttons are easier to use, since the Ultra knob is a tad finicky and sensitive, so you may waste some time just getting the knob on the right setting.

After using my Duo for over a year, I've come to realize that I don't need any of the Ultra's extra functions.

However, the Ultra is definitely nice with the auto-closing pressure valve. This means that you just lock the lid and the Ultra takes care of the sealing. With the Duo, you'll need to manually check to make sure that the pressure valve is in the "Sealing" position, otherwise, the pressure won't be able to build up. If you go with just the Duo, checking the valve is just something you need to make sure you do and it's only a small, extra step.

For those who like to see a visual representation on the display of how their food is coming along, the Ultra's progress indicator is a nice touch. You'll see what stage of the cooking process the food is in and even see the temperature rising.

The Ultra setting allows you to maintain water at a specific temperature, which you need for Sous Vide cooking. However, if you already have your own Sous Vide Circulator Stick, then you don't need the Ultra's pseudo-sous vide controls.

When it comes down to Instant Pot Duo vs Ultra, both are great products, but if you are solely wanting to pressure cook (and that's the most the majority of customers will probably want to do), then the Duo is enough to get the job done for a fair price. However, if you want more high-tech bells and whistles, and the cost isn't an issue, then go for the Ultra.

Our Pick

Instant Pot Duo60

Instant Pot Duo

The most popular Instant Pot model

The Instant Pot Duo has seven built-in programs, but you'll end up using Sauté and Pressure/Manual the most, leaving the rest alone for the most part. It comes in three sizes for all of your cooking needs.

High-tech

Instant Pot Ultra

Instant Pot Ultra

The pressure cooker with a lot of fancy bells and whistles

The Ultra does everything the Duo does, and a lot more, including Sterilizing and Sous Vide. It also auto-closes the pressure valve. However, the knob is a bit finicky and a lot of the extra features are unnecessary if you just want to pressure cook.

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