Our pick

Instant Pot Ultra

Accessible cooking

Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi

The Instant Pot Ultra is one of the higher end options, and it's fantastic. It includes cake, egg, and sterilize programs so you can cook those things easier, and sterilize is handy for baby bottles and other items that need a deep clean. The Ultra setting lets users accurately control the temperature inside the pot, so it can be used for Sous Vide. The auto-seal means one less thing to worry about and the Quick Release button makes it easier to release pressure from the pot.

$149 at Amazon

Pros

  • Features 10 settings
  • Built-in altitude adjustment for a precise cooking time
  • Cooking progress indicator
  • Quick release button makes it easier to release pressure
  • Allows for precise temperature control so you can do pseudo-Sous Vide cooking

Cons

  • All-digital display with a sensitive knob that's not as intuitive as buttons
  • Might have too many settings

The Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi is similar to the popular Duo model, except that it includes a few extra functions like Cake, and it connects to your phone via Wi-Fi. While it supports the ability to use programmable scripts for cooking certain recipes, it does require a bit of technical know-how to do so, which involves extra work.

$147 at Amazon

Pros

  • Comes with 13 built-in programs
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD display
  • Over 750 programmable scripts
  • Wi-Fi enabled so you can control it with your phone

Cons

  • Using the programmable scripts requires a bit of technical know-how

While we like the fairly limited ability to control our pressure cooker with our phone, the Ultra just offers many more useful features that are ready to go straight out of the box without any additional setup.

Let's break it down

While the Instant Pot Smart sounds great with the ability to control your pressure cooker with your smartphone and being able to write scripts for recipes, it takes time to set up and learn. The Instant Pot Ultra, on the other hand, works straight out of the box and has a ton of useful features.

Instant Pot Ultra Instant Pot Smart
Number of programs 10 13
Wireless capability None Wi-Fi
Display Backlit LCD Backlit LCD
Control Turning knob Buttons
Sizes 3, 6, and 8 Qt 6 Qt only
Programmable recipe scripts No Yes
Precise temperature control Yes (through Ultra setting) Yes (through scripts)
Sterilizer Yes No
Cake Yes Yes
Egg Yes No
Altitude adjustment Yes No
Cooking progress indicator Yes No
Auto-sealing pressure valve Yes No
Quick Release button Yes No (you manually turn the knob between Sealing and Venting)

With the Instant Pot Ultra, users have access to the handy Sterilize program, which can be used to sterilize items like baby bottles, so no bacteria goes into your baby's mouth. The Ultra feature also allows you to control the temperature of the water to a degree, so you can try Sous Vide cooking without having a separate Sous Vide circulator. Ultra's auto-sealing valve also means one less thing to worry about, and the button to release pressure is safer than having to turn the knob manually, since your hand won't be close to extremely hot steam.

For those who live in higher altitudes, the Ultra makes cooking much easier too. Since altitude affects cooking times and how things cook, the Ultra's altitude adjustment makes it easier than ever to adjust recipes accordingly to your altitude, taking out all guesswork. And the Cooking Progress Indicator on the Ultra lets you see how your meal is faring along inside the pot.

However, we do appreciate the Smart for being able to connect with your smartphone through Wi-Fi. This means you can place your ingredients into the pot and wait a bit (though maybe not with raw meat, just other ingredients), and get the pot started while you are in another room of the house. It's also easier for those who may have issues standing for too long, as you can control the Instant Pot while sitting down somewhere comfortable. Though the recipe scripts are a little complicated, if you can figure out the programming for them, the automation that it provides means less work for you to do in the kitchen.

Our pick

Instant Pot Ultra

The all-in-one

The Ultra is one of Instant Pot's best pressure cooker models. It has all of the programs that you would possibly need, including Sterilize. The auto-sealing pressure valve means one less thing to worry about, and the Ultra setting lets you try out Sous Vide cooking without a separate circulation stick. The altitude adjustment is nice for those who live in higher altitudes, and cooking progress shows you how your food is coming along.

Cook with your phone

Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi

Control away from the kitchen

The Smart model features Wi-Fi connectivity so you can connect it with your phone and control it from afar, as long as your within range of your Wi-Fi. It also lets users create custom programmable scripts for recipes, but it requires some technical knowledge to set it up and use.

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