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|
|Display||Backlit LCD||Backlit LCD|
|Sizes||3, 6, and 8 Qt||6 Qt only|
|Programmable recipe scripts||No||Yes|
|Precise temperature control||Yes (through Ultra setting)||Yes (through scripts)|
|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.
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
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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