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 you.
How to select the right model for your needs
Should you buy an Aluminum or a Stainless Steel
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 cooking environment.
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 popular sizes.
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
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 selection...
- 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 eventually need.
Which Pressure Cooker features are right for
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 cooker.
- 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
- 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
For more information on pressure cooking, go to the
How to Use a Pressure Cooker
section and discover how simple it really is.
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