There are many pressure cooker models and designs from equally varied brands in the market.
Picking one from these choices can be a real tough task and requires a good understanding of what are the features and the expectations you have from the cooker.
While there are many other factors that you may look at in a cooker, the first and foremost thing to consider is its material.
Most cookers are either made from aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum cookers are lighter but have many problems like non-uniform heating, leaking of aluminum into the food and they are not dish washer safe too. So the best alternative for safe pressure cooking is the stainless steel pressure cooker. These cookers are at the higher end of the price band, but are worth every extra cent you spend on them.
It has been found that at 15 psi pressure cooking is at its optimum best. There are many cheap cookers that offer lower pressure like 10 or 12 psi.
These will still work for you, but they are not optimum. The 15 psi pressure cookers tend to strike a good balance between quick cooking as well as minimal utilisation of electricity or gas. So you can get best results with minimum use of power.
Also with quick cooking, the nutrients in the food are better preserved in 15 psi cooker. Hence look for models that support this pressure levels.
You may get the best pressure cooker in terms of the design and pressure, but you must also check if it is easy to use.
While no cooker is designed to be tough to operate, some models are naturally more suited to your style than others. So try out some cooker models to see which ones seems to lend itself to you easily.
One thing you do not want to face is struggling to open a hot pressure cooker, so it is not just ease of use, but there is a safety factor involved too.
Despite the best designs, there can always be some spillage inside the cooker. Due to the pressure the food particles could settle on the bottom, on the sides or even on the top and in the lid.
You must be able to clean the cooker body and the lid easily. If you cannot clean it properly, you could end up with leftover food on the cooker which is unhealthy.
This is a more modern development in the pressure cooker domain. If one has a cooker, there are different kinds of foods that can be cooked in it. Grains, rice and pulses require high pressure, but vegetables like spinach require low pressure.
The dual pressure cookers allow you to adjust the cooking pressure depending on the food being cooked. While this is not mandatory, it is a good to have feature. If you get an option, this is something you must consider getting.
The safety features in the pressure cooker must be certified and well tested. While most cookers are quite safe, the pressure inside the unit can be very high and without enough safety, there is a lot of danger associated with using that unit. The whistle mechanism and the steam value are important safety features.
These are some of the important factors one must consider while buying the stainless steel cooker. While the documentation may claim all these features, a very good check is to lift the cooker and knock it at different places.
A heavy cooker is generally tough enough to handle the pressure. Besides, if you sense that the overall body of the cooker is thick, then you know that it is a good unit. Similarly, the lid of the cooker was also solid, because the lid can be the weak link in the entire setup.
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