Nuwave vs Instant Pot: Which Pressure Cooker is best?

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This article reviews the Nuwave Pressure Cooker vs. Instant Pot Duo Crisp.

Balancing busy schedules while still getting healthy meals on the table? Sometimes it feels like an impossible mission.

That’s why I love pressure cookers. I can pressure cook food in less time than conventional cooking methods while still delivering all the benefits of a home-cooked meal.

From cooking rice to vegetables to meat, a pressure cooker prepares food quickly while giving maximum flavor.

At a Glance

While both offer high-quality performance and similar functionality, I would go with the Nuwave Duet over the Instant Pot. It comes with 100 preprogrammed recipes, and it’s easier to adjust to its cook settings.

If you want an electric pressure cooker at a lower price point, consider the Instant Pot Duo. It’s great for pressure cooking, slow cooking, and rice cooking.

Keep reading to find out more about each product.

Instant Pot vs Nuwave

Things to look for when buying a pressure cooker

Size

Capacity is one of the most important considerations. After all, who wants to spend all that money on kitchen appliances that can’t hold enough to feed your family?

When we talk about size, there are two factors: dimensions and volume. The dimensions are how large the appliance is. The resulting footprint is particularly relevant if you have limited counter space.

The volume, or capacity, is how much food the cooking pot holds. This is what we’ll primarily focus on. In general, use the recommendations below for volumes:

1-2 people (whole meal)
3-4 people (one dish)
3 quarts (2.83 liters)
3-4 people (whole meal)
5+ people (one dish)
6 quarts (5.68 liters)
Groups of 5+ (whole meal)
Batch cooking (one dish)
8 quarts (7.57 liters)

One thing this does not consider is the foods you plan to prepare with your electric pressure cooker. For instance, if you want to use your pressure cooker for canning, you’ll want a larger size. (For canning, I would say the larger, the better as long as you have space for it.) If you plan to primarily cook rice or other side dishes, you may not need one quite as large.

For poultry or other meats, here is a general guideline for figuring out what capacity you need:

3 lb. whole chicken
Small roast (quartered)
3 quarts (2.83 liters)
5 lb. whole chickenSmall roast (whole) 
Large roast (quartered)
6 quarts (5.68 liters)
> 5 lbs. whole chicken
Bone-in ham
8 quarts (7.57 liters) or more

Cooking functions

There are plenty of basic pressure cookers on the market, but they require storage space. For that reason, most people prefer an electric pressure cooker that has additional cooking functions. They like having an “all-in-one” appliance.

The pressure cookers on our list also have preset programs for steaming, roasting, searing, dehydrating, baking, slow cooking, canning, and even sous vide.

The top choices include an air fryer option. A pressure cooker maximizes flavor, but it won’t give your food a crispy, brown finish. If you want to perfectly brown your meant and have perfectly crispy fries, you’ll need the air fryer combo.

All of those extra options do come at a cost, however. A multi-function cooker will run significantly more expensive than a basic pressure cooker.

Ease of Use

Multi-cookers are great because of their versatility. The downside? They also have a learning curve. Finding out the right cook time and temperature for recipes can be a challenge.

What’s more, many of the higher-end cookers have a myriad of preset programs for different foods. If you are new to the pressure cooking world, you’ll need some time to adjust.

Having a pressure cooker that has a clearly marked control panel is helpful. Another thing to look for is a cooker that includes recipes and useful links. This will reduce your learning curve and get you cooking food faster.

Easy Cleaning

I want to get my money’s worth out of kitchen appliances, which means I have to use them frequently. And if I have to spend loads of time scrubbing stuck food from the pot after each meal? I’m not going to use it.

So easy cleaning is an absolute must for me. Many electric pressure cookers come with dishwasher-safe accessories and an inner stainless steel pot. It’s great for saving time in the kitchen.

Safety

You may be nervous about using your electric pressure cooker. Images of exploding pots and flying food might flood your mind. But you can rest at ease. Several safety features prevent that scenario.

Many electric pressure cookers come with pressure release valves to safely release steam pressure from the cooker. They also have secondary valves to release excess steam.

A locking lid avoids spills and the escape of steam pressure. The lid will only open until the pressure has reached a safe level, meaning you can safely open your pressure cooker each time.

Lastly, many pressure cookers have a pressure indicator to show when pressure is too high.  This final measure ensures safe pressure cooking; you can prepare a delicious meal without worry. 

Learning Curve

When compared to conventional cooking methods, there is a learning curve to using pressure cookers.

One thing to understand is that pressure cooking does not require the same temperatures as stovetops or ovens. The pressure forces steam into foods, so heat doesn’t escape. This process not only lowers the cooking time, but also results in flavor-packed meals.

Many models come with cooking presets that have pre-determined temperatures and cook times. If you’re a beginner? I would stick to the programmed cooking time and temperature settings. As you get more comfortable, you can experiment with temperatures and cook times.

Product Reviews: Instant Pot vs. Nuwave

Nuwave Duet 6-Quart Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

This Nuwave Pressure Cooker has a capacity of 6 quarts (5.68 liters), but the air fryer function only has a capacity of 4 quarts (3.78 liters). This unit can easily handle enough food to feed a family of 3-5.

This Nuwave oven truly is a multi-cooker. Housed in a sleek exterior, the Nuwave has a digital control panel with multiple cook settings.

The Nuwave oven is versatile. In addition to functioning as a pressure cooker and air fryer, this appliance can grill, roast, bake, dehydrate, sear, steam, slow cook, and warm.

It does not have a yogurt setting. However, you can still make yogurt using this Nuwave Duet recipe. In addition to the 100 pre-programmed recipes, the Duet comes with 80 memory slots to add your own recipes.

The Nuwave pressure cooker includes a stainless steel inner pot, a stainless steel reversible rack, a non-stick air fryer basket, and an air fryer lid holder. All removable accessories are dishwasher-safe, which makes cleanup a breeze.

The removable pressure cooker lid comes with a sure-lock system. You don’t have to worry about the lid unlocking or opening while the Nuwave is cooking.

The air fryer lid uses cyclonic air to cook food, so it can get quite hot while cooking. The lid holder means you don’t run the risk of damaging your countertop.

A delay start means you can start the cooking process on your schedule. And if your food is done before you’re ready to eat? The keep-warm feature ensures that your food will be warm and ready to serve. The staged cooking gives you maximum control over the temperature and cooking time.

Customers have had success with a variety of food, including french fries, paella, chocolate chip cookie pizza, chicken parmesan, chicken wings, chicken cordon bleu, pork roast, stew, and pork ribs. One user roasted a 5 lb. chicken in 30 minutes. Although, some people complained it takes a while to pressurize.

The only drawbacks? This cooker does have a learning curve. The good news is that the included recipe book has over 40 recipes. You’ll also get a user manual, a quick start guide, and access to the Nuwave Cooking Club app.

Also, make sure you have room to store your Nuwave pressure cooker. It is a larger unit and has two separate lids, so you’ll need some space.

NuWave Pros

  • Includes lid holder
  • Multi-function
  • Auto warm and delay start
  • Includes recipe book

NuWave Cons

  • No yogurt setting
  • Learning curve
  • Air fryer capacity is smaller, 4 quarts (3.78 liters)

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

Instant Pot is a brand synonymous with electric pressure cookers. The Duo Crisp combines the pressure cooker capabilities of the Duo with an air fryer combo. Of course, this unit also works as a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, roaster, dehydrator, and more.

For safety, the Instant Pot includes a pressure release button and a locking lid. It also has overheat protection and automatic temperature and pressure control.

As far as accessories? The Instant Pot includes a steam rack, stainless inner pot, broiling tray, and air fryer basket. The air fryer basket has a non-stick coating, so it’s easy to clean. Some customers complained, however, that the coating flakes easily. I recommend avoiding metal utensils and handwashing.

When it comes to performance, the Duo Crisp is solid. The Instant Pot speeds up cooking time by using its advanced cooking technology to cook food faster. Customers loved how their food turned out using the Instant Pot.

The Duo Crisp is versatile, too. Many customers like baking with their Instant Pot. As with the other Instant Pot models, the Duo Crisp is often used as a rice cooker and slow cooker. Some people were disappointed this version did not include a yogurt maker, however.

Instant Pot Pros

  • Larger capacity
  • Includes broiling/dehydrating rack
  • Multi-function

Instant Pot Cons

  • No yogurt setting
  • Reports of fryer basket peeling/flaking

Nuwave Pressure Cooker vs. Instant Pot: A Feature Comparison

Performance

Both the Instant Pot and the Nuwave pressure cooker consistently perform well with a variety of foods. If you want delicious meals in less time, both of these options are great. Customers raved about their results with both products.

Winner: Draw

Accessories

Both the Instant Pot and the Nuwave pressure cooker include a separate air fryer lid. The reason for this is the heating element. In the case of air frying, the fan circulates heat around the cooking pot. Pressure cooking, on the other hand, uses heat generated from the base of the unit.

As far as other accessories? Both include a steam rack, air fryer basket, and stainless cooking pot. The Nuwave includes a lid holder, and the Instant Pot does have a tray for broiling/dehydrating.

But there were several reports of the Instant Pot air fryer basket peeling its non-stick coating. For this reason, it’s a draw.

Winner Draw

Ease of Use

There are learning curves to both cookers. The Nuwave pressure cooker has an advantage over the Instant Pot, though. Many users complained that their Instant Pot did not include thorough instructions or tips.

The Nuwave, however, includes a recipe book with 40 recipes. The unit itself has slots for you to program in recipes, and it also comes with 100 preset recipes. Furthermore, the Nuwave website has all sorts of helpful tips, recipes, and other helpful information.

The Instant Pot does have a lot of info on its website, but it’s harder to find. That’s why I give Nuwave the edge in this category. 

Winner: Nuwave

Value for Money

The Instant Pot and the Nuwave pressure cooker are similar in cost. The Instant Pot is more expensive, yet the difference in price corresponds with the difference in capacity. If these options are above your price point, there are others out there. But you might have to sacrifice on features or functions.

Winner: Draw

Are there budget-friendly alternatives?

If you want an alternative that can pressure cook without pressuring your wallet? Both Nuwave and Instant Pot have basic multi-cooker options.

Nuwave Nutri-Pot

The Nuwave Nutri-Pot is a pared down version compared with the Duet. It does not have an air-fryer combo, but it does hold more volume at 8 quarts (7.57 liters). The Nutri-Pot does have a non-stick coated pot.  It also has a separate canning preset, which is nice.

Nuwave Nutri-Pot Pros

  • Larger capacity (8 quarts)
  • Cheaper than the Duet
  • Has a canning function

Nuwave Nutri-Pot Cons

  • No air fryer option
  • Does not include steam rack

Instant Pot Duo

Also having a capacity of 8 quarts (7.57 liters), this Instant Pot does not come with an air fryer option. It features a yogurt maker and a smaller price tag, though.

Instant Duo Pros

  • Yogurt making option
  • Cheaper than the Duo Crisp
  • Consistent performance

Instant Duo Cons

  • No air fryer option

Which one prevails: Nuwave Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot?

Which one is the best pressure cooker? I’m giving a slight edge to the Nuwave Duet. It has all the top features, loads of preset recipes, and runs less expensive than the Instant Pot.

On the other hand, if you want many of the same features at a lower price? Go with the Instant Pot Duo. While there is no air fryer function, the Duo is one of the most time-tested and proven cookers on the market.