Pressure cookers are available in different sizes, shapes, and materials. If you want to purchase a new appliance for your kitchen arsenal, you should know the different types, their functionalities, and the features.
If you are unsure of the information related to pressure cookers, do not worry. Here is a pressure cooker buying guide that has everything you need to know about a cooker.
Make sure you read to the end to equip yourself with all the necessary information to make an informed purchase decision.
Different Types of Pressure Cookers
Let us try to study the different types of pressure cookers and their characteristic features below:
1. First Generation – Traditional, or “Old Style”
The first-generation pressure cookers are the typical old-style or traditional type of cookers. These models have the basic features only and rely on the weight-modified valve for pressure cooking. This valve jiggles around while cooking and regulates the pressure inside the cooker. Usually, it is very loud.
The only limitation to the old-fashioned cooker is that they have a single pressure level. Hence, it becomes hard to control the pressure. And as a result, the cooker seems to be very noisy, sounding almost like a whistle. Not only that, these types of pressure cookers lack proper safety measures and features.
2. Second Generation Pressure Cookers
The second-generation pressure cookers are an updated version of the traditional type of cookers. These are not as loud as their previous versions and are still available today in many homes. Unlike the first-generation models, these cookers have a spring valve and also a couple of pressure settings to choose from.
Moreover, the second-generation pressure cookers come with improved safety measures than the older ones, like the auto steam release feature. These appliances have a special feature called the pressure selector dial that allows you to determine and regulate the pressure without changing the valve. It also eliminates the noise, making it less noisy when compared to the traditional type.
Contrary to the older version, the updated traditional pressure cookers vent the steam only when you open the lid. This type of pressure cookers is specially designed for use directly over a heat source like the stovetop. The other advantage is that it allows the food to cook very quickly. You can use this cooker for multi-functional purposes.
The drawback of these pressure cookers is that they are not easy to use, and hence many people are reluctant to use them. The significant upside of a stovetop model is the quick release of steam by using cold water.
3. Third Generation – Electric Pressure Cookers
The third-generation pressure cookers are the updated versions that come with advanced features than their previous models. And most importantly, these appliances use electricity as the energy source, unlike the first two generations that rely on stovetop-powered cooking. Hence the name, the third generation.
The electric pressure cookers are the popular ones today for offering top-notch technology. Like the second-generation models, they also use a spring valve to regulate the pressure. In addition to these, they have a set of other advanced features like the microchips pre-programmed for different settings. You can choose from these settings to cook meals easily.
If you want a completely hands-off experience when cooking, use these pressure cookers.
The automated features available in the electric pressure cookers enable effortless and hassle-free cooking. Apart from being easy to use, they eliminate the need for supervision of the appliance. All you have to do is adjust the settings accordingly for cooking.
The other appreciable features found in these pressure cookers are the timer settings, dual pressure settings, warm features, auto-pressure release, etc.
Like second-generation pressure cookers, these appliances are also multi-functional. In fact, it offers more functionalities like slow cooking, pressure cooking, sautéing, steaming, and many more. It would be befitting to say that the electric pressure cookers are convenient and easy to use. Many manufacturing brands offer appliances that come with a large variety of accessories, which can replace other devices in your kitchen.
Types Of Pressure Cooker In Terms Of Functionality & Features
Not all pressure cookers are the same. While some offer single functionality, others provide multiple functions with various options to choose from. You can categorize the pressure cookers based on the functionalities and features. Here they are:
1. Single Purpose Pressure Cookers
As the name says, single-purpose pressure cookers are the ones that come with a single pressure setting. These can be either a stovetop model or an electric pressure cooker. Most traditional or first-generation pressure cookers are single-purpose appliances.
Although it is a single-purpose pressure cooker, the appliance allows you to cook different types of meals without any hassle. Not only that, it even gives you satisfying results. However, because of the limitations, the taste may not be as perfect as you wanted.
2. Multi-Purpose Pressure Cookers
The multi-purpose pressure cookers come with multiple features and functionalities that make cooking an interesting task. They come equipped with pressure settings and the temperature controls that allow you to cook different foods on your appliance. The most advanced electric pressure cookers or the newest models in the third-generation version contain these multi-purpose features.
You can use the multi-purpose pressure cooker as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, warmer, and much more. Being economical, investing in such appliance is the best bet. It not only replaces several appliances in your kitchen but also saves money that you may have to spend on each dedicated appliance.
These pressure cookers have a high upfront cost than their counterparts. Nevertheless, they are easy to use, convenient to cook, reliable, versatile, and above all, worth the investment.
Types of Pressure Cookers Based on Material
You can also categorize pressure cookers based on the material they are made of. Here are their different types:
Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
When we say stainless steel pressure cookers, it means that these appliances contain stainless steel material. These are highly durable and often considered the best option.
We all know that steel is a poor conductor of heat. Hence, manufacturers bond these appliances with copper or aluminium for better heat conduction.
Stainless steel cookware is one of the safest appliances to use apart from cast iron. This is primarily because the metal does not leech any chemicals into food when cooking in these utensils.
Aluminium Pressure Cooker
Aluminium pressure cookers come with aluminium body, one of the common types of metal used for many cookware. Since aluminium is a great conductor of heat, these appliances heat up really quickly and allow faster cooking of the food.
However, aluminium is reactive to acidic ingredients. It is not ideal for Indian cooking, as it includes a lot of acidic ingredients. This may not be at par with the safety standards concerning health.
Hard-Anodized Pressure Cooker
Hard anodization is an advanced technology in cookware. It uses an electrochemical method to make aluminium cookware stronger and harder than stainless-steel cookware. This process infuses the aluminium metal with a non-stick coating, making it highly durable.
However, the non-stick surface of the hard anodized cookware is subject to wear off upon continuous usage. In such a case, you will have to replace the appliance with a new one.
Owing to their non-stick coating, this type of cookware is generally safe to use and does not react with the food.
How Does A Pressure Cooker Work?
A pressure cooker is as simple of a cooking appliance as any other utensil in your home. The only thing that differs it from other cooking appliances is its two-piece design. This includes a base cooker and a lid that seals it completely from the top.
The pressure cooker relies on the pressure to cook food at a faster rate. This is possible because of the significant amounts of pressure generated inside the pressure cooker. Due to high pressure, the heat remains trapped inside the cooker and allows a much faster yet reliable cooking method.
Before, pressure cookers were only powered by gas stoves. But mow, you can find a suitable pressure cooker that can utilize different sources of energy such as solar energy or electric energy for even more efficient cooking. Today, we will look at all different types of pressure cookers and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
Pressure cookers are undoubtedly the best option for cooking. However, it all depends on your cooking goals and your personal interests when it comes to choosing the right one.
I hope this article gave you ample information on the different types of pressure cookers available. I am sure you are now fully equipped to make a wise decision.
Do you have any questions? Do you need more information on pressure cookers? If yes, do write to us in the comments section below. If you have more points to add to this article, do mention that as well. We would be happy to hear from you.