Do you find yourself torn between these two models? I understand where you’re coming from! They both feature amazing options and almost makes sense to want to buy them as a set.
However, if your budget only allows you to buy one Instant Pot, you should be able to choose the product that best suits your needs. In today’s Instant Pot DUO Plus vs Max comparison, you can read my full review for each pot and understand the main differences.
Also, make sure to check out the final section where I draw my conclusions. You can even scroll down right away if you don't have time.
Table of Contents
Max vs Smart Comparison Table
Instant Pot DUO Plus Review
The Duo Plus is considered the next big step for the IP-DUO series. Available in three sizes (3qt, 6qt, and 8qt) and capable of replacing nine different appliances, the pot is truly a step up.
Besides the six traditional pre-programmed functions of the DUO 60, the Instant Pot DUO Plus comes with three new owes: Cake, Egg, and Sterilize. As the names suggest, you can now bake delicious cakes, prepare eggs, and use the sterilize function to pasteurize milk or keep germs at bay with only one device.
It’s also designed with a large front panel with buttons and an LCD screen that displays valuable information such as cooking settings, pressure levels, and Keep Warm ON/OFF using ingenious icons. Furthermore, each program can be preset to ‘Less’, ‘Normal’ or ‘More’, and there are three temperature settings for the sauté, slow cooking, and Keep Warm functions.
The DUO Plus is designed with 15 preset dishes, has 10 safety mechanisms, and comes equipped with the latest 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor. The microprocessor keeps track for your settings and makes sure all the conditions are met so that your food will be cooked to the highest standards of quality.
Finally, the 24h delay start function (which is quite common in the Instant Pot series) lets you prepare the ingredients in the pot and postpone the start for the most convenient time.
- It can replace up to 9 different appliances in your kitchen
- It is designed with 15 preset dishes available at one touch of a button
- The pot is engineered to cook foods 70% faster than if you used traditional methods
- It doesn’t require constant supervision, so you can enjoy some time with friends and family while the pot is working
- The stainless steel lid, walls, and other components are fingerprint resistant and have a non-stick surface, so traces of grease and oil are easy to remove
- Comes with dishwasher safe accessories such as steam rack with handles, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup
- 10 safety mechanisms and UI certified
- It works at 120V to 60Hz
- A step up from the IP-DUO model
- Replaces 9 appliances in the kitchen
- 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor
- Easy to use and clean. For more info check out How to clean an Instant Pot.
- Cooks food 70% faster than traditional means
- 15 preset dishes
- Large control panel with buttons
- 10 safety mechanisms
- Instructions could be more detailed
- The outer rim is a bit difficult to clean
- It has a bit of a learning curve
Instant Pot Max Review
The Max was created for the tech-oriented audience of the Instant Pot series and comes with a series of interesting features that can’t be found at the DUO Plus.
First, there’s the touchscreen control panel that only has one dial button and touch-sensitive buttons. Second, it lets you dance through the entire temperature spectrum: fermentation, sous vide, warming, simmering, slow cooking, boiling, pressure cooking, and sauté and searing.
Furthermore, this is the only electric pressure cooker that can work at 15psi – a pressure level that can only be reached using a stove-top design. This feature lets users do home pressure canning, which is quite a unique feature in the entire series.
Another such feature is the Sous Video program which allows you to prepare restaurant-quality meals without spending a lot of money on an expensive and pretentious establishment. Also, due to the multitude of settings and preset dishes, there is no limit to what you can cook with this beauty!
To make things even more interesting, the Max features NutriBoost technology which creates a boiling motion that breaks down the food while using the pressure cooker. This way, the nutrients and flavor are immersed in every morsel, and the texture is absolutely divine. Food will literally melt in your mouth!
Since the Max is designed with an automated steam release valve and lid lock, you get 13 safety mechanisms instead of just 10 (as the DUO Plus has). Also, temperature control is more accurate as users can adjust it in increments of one degree (Celsius or Fahrenheit).
But there also are some similarities between the two pots such as the stainless steel inner pot, brushed steel outer layer, and the dishwasher safe accessories.
- The pot can sustain 15psi for home canning recipes and faster pressure cooking
- It comes equipped with five sensors for increased safety: there is a pressure sensor, two thermal sensors (under the cooking pot and inside the lid), and two position sensors (one for the lid and one for the float valve)
- Large touchscreen control panel
- More settings that can be adjusted to fit your preferences (time, pressure level, delay start, temperature, and Warm)
- NutriBoost technology for more flavor and more nutrients stay to in the food
- 13 safety features and UI certification
- Food grade 304 stainless steel for the inner pot, so the food doesn’t stick to the walls
- Dishwasher safe accessories
- Touchscreen front panel
- Automated venting and lid lock
- 13 safety mechanisms
- 5 extra sensors
- Settings can be customized more thoroughly
- The front panel displays more information
- Home canning and sous vide
- NutriBoost technology
- Can sustain 15psi
- Only comes in 6qt size
- The dial button takes a while to adjust to
- The front panel can seem a bit crowded at first
- It takes a bit of time for the pressure to build-up
Which One Should I Buy?
I think we can all agree that the two pots are different in features, but they do use the same high-end materials and technologies that made the entire series popular. So, here are my tips if you’re thinking about purchasing the Duo Plus or the Max:
Choose the DUO Plus if…
- You want the better version of the DUO-60
- You like the three sizes option
- The sterilize program is something you need
- You must have a pot with a Cake Baking option
- You don’t care that much about thoroughly adjusting settings
Choose the Max if…
- You are interested in starting at-home canning
- You need a pot that gives you full control over settings
- You like working with touchscreen surfaces
- The automated steam release valve and lid lock are important
- Gourmet meals are something you want to try
In conclusion, if you want a pot that will let you control every aspect of the cooking process, then the Max is the best choice for you. It also has the home canning feature, which is extremely impressive for an electric multicooker.
However, if all you want is a better DUO pot, then the DUO Plus is perfect. Not to mention that this option will have a lower impact on your budget!