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.
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It boils down to features and price
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|
|Sizes||3, 6, or 8 Qt||3, 6, or 8 Qt|
|Cooking Progress Indicator||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.
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.
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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