When buying new appliances, I always find myself trying to decide between the basic model that “gets the job done”, or the high-tech version with all the bells and whistles, which undoubtedly carries a higher price tag.
You may find yourself debating this same issue if you are in the market for a new pressure cooker. This article will help you make that decision as it relates to two Instant Pot products, the IP-DUO and the more high-tech IP-Smart.
To begin with, both products are quite similar; so first, I’ll cover the basics in what both these pressure cookers have in common. Next, we’ll look at what features set them apart. Lastly, I’ll discuss which of the products are a better value for your money.
What do these products have in common?
Like I mentioned earlier these two products have a lot in common. Both IP-Smart and IP-DUO are multi-cookers. They function as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer and can be used for sautéing.
Both pressure cookers have a stainless steel inner cooking pot and come with a steam rack. The IP-DUO also comes with a rice scooper and measuring cup, and the IP-Smart comes with two silicone mini-mitts for handling hot objects.
They both have the option to cook at both high and low pressure, have a 24-hour delay timer, and a microprocessor that controls the 14 included preset cooking options. Like all other Instant Pot products, they also have ten built-in safeguards to protect against pressure related malfunctions.
For anyone looking for a new pressure cooker, these two products provide everything you need, and more. The functions they provide could realistically replace several other small appliances you already own, or save you from having to purchase additional kitchen appliances.
What are the differences between the IP-DUO and the IP-Smart?
If these two appliances are so similar, they can’t be that different in price, right? Wrong. The IP-Smart which comes in a 6-quart capacity, is nearly double the price of the IP-DUO60 which is the same 6-quart capacity.
The IP-Smart is priced higher because of two differences from the IP-DUO. The first, which probably contributes less to the price difference, is that the slow cook, sauté, and keep warm settings offer three different temperature options each, while the IP-DUO does not.
The main reason for the difference in price is the Bluetooth connectivity of the IP-Smart. This feature allows you to program your pressure cooker from your mobile device. The accompanying app allows you to download recipes, write your own recipes, share recipes with friends, and monitor your Instant Pot as it cooks.
While using your phone or tablet to program your pressure cooker may not seem like much of an improvement over simply punching in the time and pressure directly on the device, there are instances when this option would come in handy.
Some recipes may be more involved. You may need to stop and start cooking, or change the time and pressure at different stages in the cooking process. While you could just get up and head to the kitchen to make these changes, the accompanying Instant Pot app for the IP-Smart allows you to write “scripts” that give these instructions to your IP-Smart so it can make the necessary adjustments on its own.
Reason to choose the IP-DUO over the IP-Smart.
- Both IP-DUO and IP-Smart have the same 7 cooking functions.
- IP-DUO is much less expensive.
- IP-DUO has very high customer ratings, slightly higher than IP-Smart.
- Both IP-DUO and IP-Smart have the same safety features.
- Straight forward cooking with built-in presets as well as manual controls.
- IP-DUO comes in three different sizes if you need a larger or smaller pressure cooker;
- IP-DUO50 – 5 Quart
- IP-DUO60 – 6 Quart
- IP-DUO80 – 8 Quart
The bottom line is the IP-DUO can pretty much do anything the IP-Smart can, when it comes to cooking. More complicated recipes, that require pressure changes during the cooking process will be a bit more involved with the IP-DUO. The IP-DUO is an excellent choice among all pressure cookers, not just the Instant Pot brand.
Reasons to choose the IP-Smart over the IP-DUO.
- The IP-Smart has more temperature options for sautéing, keep warm and slow cook.
- The programming option allows for more complicated recipes with less effort.
- The App allows you to create and save your recipes and the recipes of friends.
The bottom line is the IP-Smart is nearly the same as the IP-DUO, with the promise of ease of use for more complicated cooking, through the Instant Pot app. It also makes preparing new recipes easier with the option of downloading, sharing and creating new recipes.
Which one should you choose?
One of the biggest customer complaints about the IP-Smart stem from issues with the Bluetooth connectivity. Either connections are weak and drop off, or their devices won’t connect at all. So, consumers who purchase the IP-Smart may end up paying nearly double the price of the IP-DUO for a feature that may not even work.
Another thing that makes the smart aspect of the IP-Smart less useful is that because the connection is through Bluetooth, your mobile device must be near the pressure cooker for the app to work. While monitoring the status of your dinner would be extremely convenient if you’re at work or running errands, the value of this options seems to diminish if you’re just one room over.
The Instant Pot app is available for both Android and iOS, but the IP-Smart may have issues connecting based on which version of the operating system you are using on your phone. If you do decide that the Bluetooth connectivity is a must-have, you should verify with Instant Pot customer service that the version of your operating system is compatible with the IP-Smart.
For the extremely reasonable price and the same great features, the IP-DUO would be a better choice. Most anything you want to cook with the IP-Smart you can do with the IP-DUO, it just may require slightly more effort for more complicated recipes.