If you don't own a pressure cooker or if you are
considering upgrading to a newer model, you'll be
faced with a variety of choices when you go
shopping. To help with your decision making, we've
prepared this buyer's guide to show you what to look
for and to help you find the model just right for
How to select the right model for your needs
Should you buy an Aluminum or a Stainless
Steel Pressure Cooker?
Aluminum cookers are lighter in weight and
significantly less expensive than stainless steel
models. Aluminum is also a good conductor of heat
which will provide excellent cooking performance.
Unlike most aluminum cookware, however, you won't
find pressure cookers with nonstick coatings because
those finishes don't stand up well in a pressure
Stainless steel pressure cookers are heavier and
more expensive than aluminum models.
Economy is the main reason to choose an aluminum
What size Pressure Cooker is right for you?
Most pressure cookers are sold by the size of
their total liquid capacity even though their actual
usable capacity is one half to two thirds of their
liquid capacity, depending upon the food being
cooked. Pressure cookers with 4-litre, 5-litre
6.5-litre and 8-litre liquid capacities are the most
4-LITRE: A good size for singles or
couples; or for making one course for a family, such
as potatoes or vegetables. Whole meal recipes for
one or two persons can usually be accommodated in a
4-litre pressure cooker.
5-LITRE: The most popular size for many
families with two or more persons.
6.5-LITRE: Popular for families with five
to seven persons
8-LITRE: Popular for larger families.
What is the best brand of pressure cooker
for your needs?
Over the course of time, many different companies
have manufactured pressure cookers. Because the
pressure cooker you purchase today should be
expected to provide many years of service, it is
important to select a brand that will allow you to
get the most from your investment. Therefore, these
guidelines should be considered when making your
- Choose a brand from a company that has been
in business for a number of years and has a
stable financial track record. To keep your
pressure cooker operating properly and safely
for many years, you will have to periodically
replace a few inexpensive parts (like tires and
fan belts on your car) and you need to be
confident that the brand you purchase today will
be from a company that will be in business for
years to come in order to assure a supply of the
proper parts. Parts are not interchangeable from
one brand to another,so don't select a "brand X"
model simply because it is less expensive.
- Buy a brand handled by a reputable retailer.
This could be a local branch of a national
chain, a department store, catalog showroom or
your local hardware dealer. For maximum
convenience, you may want to select a retailer
that also stocks the replacement parts you will
Which Pressure Cooker features are right
NOTE: If you have not done so already, it is
probably best to review the
How to select the right model for you needs
section to determine the type and size of pressure
cooker you want before studying these specific
features. If you are not familiar with pressure
cooking, you many also want to check out the
A Guide For Today's Cook
section which provides a detailed explanation of how
a pressure cooker works.
- PRESSURE REGULATOR:Every pressure
cooker must have a means of controlling the
cooking pressure and, over the years, many types
of pressure regulators have been designed to
perform this function. Normally the pressure
regulator is placed on top of a vent pipe which
is a small opening in the cover designed to
allow excess steam to escape during cooking.
Always select a pressure cooker that has a
removable pressure regulator. This is important
because you will want to examine the vent pipe
before each use to be sure it is not clogged and
clean it if necessary. Some regulators jiggle
and allow steam to escape almost constantly.
Others do not jiggle but intermittently release
excess steam in short bursts. Either type works
well. Select a regulator that has a maximum
operating pressure of 15 pounds (p.s.i.)
pressure. If the operating pressure is lower
than 15 pounds, you will not realize as much
time savings when cooking in your pressure
- COVER INTERLOCK: Choose only a
pressure cooker that has a cover locking system.
This important device prevents the cover from
being removed when there is pressure inside the
cooker. Some pressure cookers, including all
current Virat models, have an additional feature
that prevents pressure from building inside the
cooker if the cover is not properly closed.
- HANDLES: Pick up any pressure cooker
you are considering and handle it as you would
expect to at home. Make sure the handles feel
comfortable and secure. Better models of
pressure cookers have ergonomically designed
handles for comfort and ease of handing. A
5-litre or larger pressure cooker should have
handles on both sides of the body to aid in
lifting the unit. Many times one side will have
a smaller "assist" or "helper" handle for this
- INSTRUCTION/RECIPE BOOK: Examine the
instruction book that is provided with the
pressure cooker. It should have both clear,
detailed operating instructions and a good
selection of basic pressure cooking recipes.
For more information on pressure cooking, go to
How to Use a Pressure Cooker
section and discover how simple it really is.
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