The Best Pressure Cooker

Or how to inject a bit of no-peeking surprise into mealtimes.

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October 16, 2019
Best pressure cookers

Pressure Cookers

If cooking’s more of a chore than a pleasure, and you don’t have a culinary-minded rat to help you, meet the next best thing: a pressure cooker. Slashing cooking time while packing plenty of flavour, a pressure cooker delivers both convenience and taste. The best pressure cooker is safe and easy to use and clean. It offers plenty of functionality, transforming it into a multi-use kitchen appliance. This is a guide to Australia’s top pressure cookers, pulled from hours of research into real Aussie consumer insights and independent testing.

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Our top picks

Philips Viva Collection All-In-One
Best Overall

Philips Viva Collection All-In-One

See price on Amazon
Not just a pressure cooker, the Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 crams a lot in. This includes 7 preset pressure cooker menus, plus slow cook modes, steam, bake and yogurt options. One-touch functionality takes the guesswork out; this is combined with excellent consumer reviews and an affordable price tag.
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Sunbeam Aviva
Also Great

Sunbeam Aviva

See price on Amazon
The Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker is a multi-cooker that delivers a lot for its price. It’s a pressure, slow and rice cooker that also offers brown, sauté and simmer options. Plus, it has keep warm and delayed start functionality. Its large control panel makes it easy to use.
Shop Now

Pressure Cookers

If cooking’s more of a chore than a pleasure, and you don’t have a culinary-minded rat to help you, meet the next best thing: a pressure cooker. Slashing cooking time while packing plenty of flavour, a pressure cooker delivers both convenience and taste. The best pressure cooker is safe and easy to use and clean. It offers plenty of functionality, transforming it into a multi-use kitchen appliance. This is a guide to Australia’s top pressure cookers, pulled from hours of research into real Aussie consumer insights and independent testing.

Pressure Cookers
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How we picked

Normally we’d start with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. However, they no longer test pressure cookers, preferring to focus on multi-cookers instead. Our guide covers both pressure cookers and multi-cookers to suit those looking solely for pressure cookers and those looking for a bit more functionality. You’ll find 3 pressure cookers in this guide, and 5 multi-cookers. 

So, we hopped over the ditch to see if CHOICE’s Kiwi alternative, Consumer, tested pressure cookers – and they did. This gave us some pressure cookers that had been independently tested. 

Our next step was to visit ProductReview.com.au – Australia’s first consumer opinion website. We wanted to see which pressure cookers perform best in real kitchens, not test ones. We ideally wanted a minimum of 3 out of 5 stars from over 50 reviews. 

From here, we applied some criteria to our pressure cookers. They had to be safe and easy to use, ideally with 1-touch functionality, and easy to clean. They had to suit a range of budgets and come with a decent warranty. They also needed to be a mix of consumer loving and expert backing. 

Our research highlighted 2 types of pressure cooker: electric and stovetop. We decided to focus on electric, with 1 option for stovetop. We believe electric pressure cookers are safer and more efficient – see below for more info on this. 

With all this in mind, we found the top pressure cookers in Australia.

How pressure cookers work

At its most basic, a pressure cooker is a pot with a lockable lid. This means heat and pressure builds up in the pot, creating higher temperatures than you’d get from an oven. An airtight seal keeps steam locked inside. As steam builds, the pressure rises, which raises the boiling point of the water inside. This high temperature means food cooks quicker. 

Any food you can add liquid to (think stews, curries, risotto) or any that can be cooked by steaming (think rice, fish and veggies), can be cooked, tenderised, stewed or steamed in a pressure cooker. This also means it can handle more affordable cuts of meat like stewing steak. 

Pressure cookers have a reputation for being healthy because they only use a small amount of water to produce steam. This means food retains vitamins and minerals which would otherwise dissolve in water. The research that backs up pressure cookers’ healthy reputation, beyond what we’ve stated above, is old and limited. 

Electric vs stovetop pressure cookers

Whether you choose electric or stovetop depends on what type of cook you are. If you’re a set and forget type cook, choose electric. You won’t need to worry about adjusting the heat or turning off the stove. Modern electric pressure cookers are optimised for safety and efficiency too. You can also do more in an electric one, like slow cook or make yogurt. 

But if you’d like more control over your cooking, choose stovetop. It needs a bit more babysitting than an electric one, but they’re said to sear and sauté better and hotter than electric ones. That’s because your stovetop is more powerful than an electric pressure cooker’s heating element. And a beautifully seared piece of meat means more flavourful food. This also means that stovetop pressure cookers, because of their increased power, cook faster than electric ones.

Another thing to consider is storing them. Electric ones are bigger, because of the housing around the cooking pot. They can be large and bulky, like slow cookers. Whereas stovetop pressure cookers can be the same size as a large saucepan. 

Are pressure cookers safe?

If you saw the news about Aldi’s faulty pressure cooker which exploded, causing second- and third-degree burns to the unfortunate people using them, you might be concerned that pressure cookers are unsafe. 

That’s why we’ve taken care in our research to ensure either that the pressure cookers we’ve reviewed have been thoroughly vetted in test kitchens or that there have been no consumer complaints about them exploding. 

Look for safety features like having more than one locking mechanism, such as a locking lid. Our top pick, the Philips, has 9 safety protection systems for peace of mind.

To use a pressure cooker safely, read, understand and follow all the instructions that come with it.

Important features to consider

Here are the features every pressure cooker should have.

Safety features

Look for more than one locking mechanism. You want a lid that securely locks, rather than one that twists on and off.

User friendliness

One-touch functionality makes using a pressure cooker easy. As does well-labelled buttons or dials or an electronic display that shows you what cooking mode is selected and how long there is left. Preset menu options take the guesswork out of cooking. 

Steam release valve

Turn this to release steam. This means you don’t have to carry it to the sink or add extra time at the end of cooking to allow it to cool down. Ensure you can safely turn this valve, without being hit in the hands or face by boiling hot steam. Also remember to not place your pressure cooker under kitchen cabinetry – the hot steam can warp the wood and makes a great bacteria breeding zone. 

Pressure indicator

This lets you know when it’s safe to open the pressure cooker. It might beep or show a rising and lowering level.

Pressure settings

You can change the time it takes to cook different food by using different pressure settings. The higher the pressure, the quicker the cooking time. This is helpful if you’ve forgotten to defrost the pork chops for dinner and need to get those suckers cooked, pronto. 

Size

Most pressure cookers we reviewed had a 5.5-6L capacity. This will serve around 4-6 people but may not fit a whole chicken or large meat joint. Only 1, our best stovetop pressure cooker pick, had a bigger capacity – 8L.

What you get if you spend more

Pay more and you’ll probably end up with a multi-cooker, with more functionality. We found a few features that are rarer, but not necessarily more expensive. We found the delay start mode on only 3 of our picks, and they weren’t the most expensive models. 

Delay start function

If your meal is due to finish when you’re out of the house, a delay start function is a handy feature. You can pop everything in, ready to go but it won’t start cooking until you tell it to. 

Sauté and sear 

To help lock in flavour, you can brown meat first using a sauté or sear function. 

Keep warm

Meal ready but you’re not? Look for a keep warm feature that’ll keep it at a delicious temperature. This is normally an automatic feature, i.e. once the cooking time is complete, it’ll automatically switch to keep warm.

Best Overall: Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker

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Philips Viva Collection All-In-One
Not just a pressure cooker, the Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 crams a lot in. This includes 7 preset pressure cooker menus, plus slow cook modes, steam, bake and yogurt options. One-touch functionality takes the guesswork out; this is combined with excellent consumer reviews and an affordable price tag.
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Bear with us as we’ve slightly cheated with the winner here. The Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 is our pick for Australia’s best pressure cooker, but it’s just not a pressure cooker. It’s an all-in-one cooker, which means it slow cooks and offers other cooking methods too.

However, it’s so highly rated by Aussies (more on that later) and packs so many features that we think it’s a deserving winner.

With a 6L capacity, the Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 is family-sized, capable of feeding around 4-6 people. As well as 7 preset pressure cooker menus, you can steam, bake and even make yoghurt in it. It also offers slow cook modes with high and low temperatures for up to 12 hours, plus sauté / sear features. This allows you to pre-brown your meat, giving it a richer flavour. 

It has a keep warm function for up to 12 hours, so you can prep well ahead of serving time. The cooking pot is anti-scratch for easy care and the inner lid is detachable for easy cleaning. It also boasts 9 safety protection systems to calm any worries about pressure cooking. 

It comes with a measuring cup, recipe booklet, scoop, steaming tray and 2-year guarantee. This is all for RRP $239. Phew.

If that’s not enough to tempt you it has 5 stars from over 50 reviews on ProductReview.com.au – the first 5-star rating we’ve seen. Aussies rave about how easy it is to use and its versatility in whipping up quick, easy meals. 

Why buy the Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker

Functionality: you can do a lot with this cooker. Not just pressure cook, but slow cook, bake, make yogurt, steam rice, veggies or meat, sauté or sear your meat… making this one helpful kitchen friend.

Easy to use – with its 1-touch button functionality and preset cooking modes, simply throw your ingredients in, turn it on and let it do all the hard work.

Keep warm function – you can prepare dinner in the morning and then keep it deliciously warm for your evening meal. 

6L capacity – making it family sized.

Easy care – thanks to its anti-scratch pot and easily removable lid for hand washing. 

Inclusions – the included measuring cup, recipe booklet, scoop and steaming tray means you’ve got everything you need to start using it straightaway.

Safety protection systems – if you’ve got concerns around the safety of pressure cooking, the 9 safety protection systems should help ease them. 

Warranty – it comes with a 2-year worldwide warranty and all the parts that need replacing, like the silicone seal and gaskets, are readily available on the Philips website.

Loved by Aussies – with its 5-star ProductReview.com.au rating – the only one we’ve seen so far!

Price – RRP $239 makes this an affordable pressure / all-in-one cooker.

The not-so-good bits

None that we can find, although it hasn’t been tested by CHOICE or its Kiwi counterpart, Consumer. 

In summary 

Not strictly just a pressure cooker, the Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 crams a lot in. This includes 7 preset pressure cooker menus, plus slow cook modes, steam, bake and yogurt options. One-touch functionality takes the guesswork out of cooking and it’ll even keep your meal warm for up to 12 hours. Easy to care for and clean, it’s got excellent consumer reviews and an affordable price tag.

Also Great: Sunbeam Aviva Pressure Cooker

See price on Amazon
Philips Viva Collection All-In-One
The Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker is a multi-cooker that delivers a lot for its price. It’s a pressure, slow and rice cooker that also offers brown, sauté and simmer options. Plus, it has keep warm and delayed start functionality. Its large control panel makes it easy to use.
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This is another pressure cooker that delivers more – like our winner, it’s also a multi-cooker. Unlike our winner, its RRP is under $200 ($189 in fact). The Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker cooks fast or slow thanks to its 7 functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer plus brown, sauté and simmer. Meaning it offers great functionality, although not as varied as our winner – you can’t make yogurt or bake in it. 

Like the Philips, it has a 6L capacity, making it good for families. You can choose to pressure or slow cook on high or low settings and the large panel clearly shows the menu, cooking time remaining, heat setting and more. There’s an auto keep warm feature (which means it switches to this automatically when the cooking time is over), plus a delay start mode. 

The rice cooker is a huge 12-cup capacity. The pan is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and it comes with a rice measuring cup, rice spoon, serving spoon and steam rack. It has a 12-month warranty.

CHOICE has put it through its paces, as has Consumer New Zealand. It has plenty of reviews on ProductReview.com.au, racking up 3 stars. There seem to be some concerns about an error message, although this is covered under the 12-month warranty. 

Why the Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker is worth considering

Functionality – as well as a pressure cooker, it’s a slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer which also offers brown, sauté and simmer options.

Capacity – at 6L, it’s a good family size cooker.

Large panel – makes it easy to see what cooking mode you’re using and how long is left.

Keep warm function – this automatically kicks in once cooking is complete and keeps your meal warm.

Delay start mode – if you’ve done all the prep but the cooking time will be finished when you’re not home, you can use the helpful delay start mode. This is only 1 of 3 pressure cookers we reviewed that offers this functionality. 

Inclusions – the rice measuring cup, rice spoon, serving spoon and steam rack mean you can get started straightaway. There’s no recipe book included though. 

Independently tested – by both CHOICE and Consumer New Zealand.

Price – with a RRP of $189, you’re getting a lot for your money.

Rated by consumers – with a 3-star rating, Aussies reckon it’s a solid performer.

Dishwasher-safe pan – for easy clean-up.

The not-so-good bits

12-month warranty – it’s always nice to see a longer warranty period on small electric appliances.

Non-scratch surface – there have been some consumer complaints about the pan’s non-scratch surface not being that non-scratch.

Hard to clean – there are some nooks and crannies for food to build up in. You’ll need to pay extra attention to these bits. 

In summary 

The Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker is a multi-cooker that delivers a lot for its RRP of $189. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer that also offers brown, sauté and simmer options. Plus, it has keep warm and delayed start functionality. With a 6L capacity, and huge 12-cup rice cooker capacity, it’s family-sized. Its large control panel and minimal buttons make it easy to use. When you’re done, you can throw the pan into the dishwasher although there are some concerns around the quality of the non-scratch surface. Tested by both CHOICE and Consumer, it’s a solid performer for Aussie consumers.

The Competition

These are the pressure cookers that didn’t quite reach the lofty heights of our 2 top picks. 

Cuisinart CPC-610A Pressure Cooker Plus

Named a pressure cooker, the Cuisinart CPC-610A Pressure Cooker Plus also offers more. Its 8 programmable settings include low and high pressure, low and high slow cook, browning, sauté, and steaming. It also has an automatic keep warm function. 

It has a 6L capacity, easy to use button controls and a basic LED countdown display. The cooking pot is non-stick for easy cleaning and it comes with a steamer basket and trivet. It offers slightly less than our runner-up but has a higher RRP of $239. 

It has good, but very limited, consumer reviews with Aussies praising how easy it is to use. It’s also been tested by both CHOICE and Consumer. 

Choose this if – you want an easy to use pressure cooker that offers some additional functionality, including slow cooking and sautéing. 

Kambrook Pressure Express KPR620

The Kambrook Pressure Express KPR620 is one of the only pressure cookers we reviewed with pressure cooking as its main function. Rather than buttons, it’s operated by a dial with clear labels, to help you choose the right setting. Its preset functions include fish and veggies, white and brown rice, diced meats and curries, soups and stews and roasts. It also has a sauté function. 

It has a 6L capacity and the pan is dishwasher safe. It comes with a 2-year warranty, which is impressive for a pressure cooker with a RRP of $119.95. 

It has good, but limited, consumer reviews, with a current 4.6 star rating. Aussies rave about how easy it is to use and clean. It hasn’t yet been tested by CHOICE or Consumer.

Choose this if – you want a dedicated pressure cooker that’s very simple to use. 

Tefal Cook4Me+ CY8518

If you really want to take the trouble out of cooking, you’ll love the Tefal Cook4Me+ CY8518. It comes with 150+ built-in recipes (covering starters, mains and desserts) and prides itself on its 1-touch functionality. Its digital display guides you through the cooking steps, helping you whip up meals for up to 6 people in its 6L capacity bowl. 

It can pressure cook, steam, brown, simmer and reheat. It also has a delayed start feature – only 1 of 3 pressure cookers we reviewed that offers this. The bowl is non-stick with cool touch handles, making it easy to serve at the table. Plus, the bowl and inner lid are dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. It comes with a steam basket and a 2-year warranty, plus a 10-year warranty for the pot and metal base. 

It’s a ProductReview.com.au 2019 award winner with Aussies awarding it just over 4 stars. Of course, all this convenience comes at a price: at RRP $349, it’s only topped by the Breville Fast Slow Pro (RRP $370, see below) in terms of price. 

Choose this if – you’re all about the convenience and would rather let the pressure cooker do all the work – and you’re happy to pay extra for this.

Homemaker Pressure Cooker

At the opposite end of the price spectrum is the Homemaker Pressure Cooker, which is just $59. A still decent 5.5L capacity (the smallest one we reviewed), it has 10 preset menu options including fast and slow cooking, rice, porridge, meat / stew, chicken, fish, soup and beans / chilli. It also offers a steam function, a 24-hour delay timer (only the third one we found) and keep warm function. 

Operated by 1-touch buttons, it’s a basic pressure cooker that has good, although limited, consumer reviews. Most Aussies claim it’s just as good as more expensive pressure cookers. It hasn’t been tested by either CHOICE or Consumer.  Although we can’t find details of it anywhere, we assume for this price is has a 12-month warranty which is standard for much higher priced pressure cookers. 

Choose this if – a low price is important to you and you want a basic, no frills pressure cooker. 

Breville Fast Slow Pro BPR700

The Breville Fast Slow Pro BPR700 is a highly loved Aussie kitchen classic. We’ve already featured it in our guide to the best slow cookers – head over there to find out more. 

Tefal Secure Neo 5

Pressure cooker pros swear that stovetop pressure cookers give better results, thanks to your ability to adjust the cooking temperature. We’ve chosen what we reckon is Australia’s best stovetop pressure cooker. Meet the Tefal Secure Neo 5

It’s got a huge 8L capacity and there are no preset menus or buttons here. Simply put in your ingredients, switch the dial to veggies, meat or fish and close the safety value. It has a 5-point security system and includes a steamer basket and an impressive 10-year warranty. The pot and steamer basket are both dishwasher safe.

It has a RRP of $249.95 and excellent, although limited, consumer reviews. 

Choose this if – you want a quality stovetop pressure cooker that’s easy to use and clean.

The Bottom Line

Pressure cookers cut down on cooking time and tenderise tough meat. With their 1-pot cooking mode, they also reduce your clean-up time, making them a convenient kitchen tool.

We reckon the 6L Philips Viva Collection All-In-One Cooker HD2237/72 is Australia’s best pressure cooker. It crams a lot in for an affordable price. This includes 7 preset pressure cooker menus, plus slow cook modes, steam, bake and yogurt options. Its 1-touch functionality makes cooking easy, and it’s also easy to care for and clean. 

For less than $200, consider the 6L Sunbeam PE6100 Aviva Pressure Cooker. Another multi-cooker, it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer that also offers brown, sauté and simmer options. Plus, it has keep warm and delayed start functionality. Its large control panel and minimal buttons make it easy to use while its dishwasher-safe bowl makes it easy to clean.

Sarah Idle
Words by Sarah Idle

Sources

1. "Slow cookers and multi cookers"– Consumer

2. "Pressure Cookers" – ProductReview.com.au

3. “Aldi's recalled pressure cooker burns six people, thousands yet to be returned” – Choice, 20.12.17

4. “Effect of home processing on ascorbic acid and beta-carotene content of spinach (Spinacia oleracia) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves” – Yadav S.K. and Sehgal S. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1995 Feb;47(2):125-31

5. “The Influence of Processing and Preservation on the Retention of Health‐Promoting Compounds in Broccoli” – F. Galgano,  F. Favati,  M. Caruso,  A. Pietrafesa  and S. Natella, Journal of Food Science, 12.03.07

6. “Effect of domestic processing and cooking methods on phytic acid and polyphenol contents of pea cultivars (Pisum sativum)” – Bishnoi, S., Khetarpaul, N. and Yadav, R.K. Plant Food Hum Nutr (1994) 45: 381