The Instant Pot series is extremely attractive for cooks everywhere because it takes away from the complexity of cooking by reducing the effort and the time spent in the kitchen. Furthermore, each of their products can deliver delicious and perfectly cooked meals, regardless of your skills in interpreting recipe instructions.
But, there’s still a tricky part: which of their products to choose?
To give you an idea, today we’ll compare their basic model (which is insanely popular) with one of their most advanced models. As such, today we’ll run the Instant Pot DUO vs Max comparison, with the respective reviews.
DUO vs Max Comparison Table
Instant Pot DUO Review
Available in three sizes (3qt, 6qt, and 8qt) the DUO is a multi-use programmable pressure cooker that can replace up to seven appliances in your kitchen. As such, it is also a slow cooker, a warmer, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, steamer, and pot for sautéing.
Besides having so many uses, it’s also safe to use (there are 10 safety mechanisms in place) and helps reduce cooking time with up to 70% compared to traditional pots. Not to mention that, due to the way it is designed, the flavor and nutrients that usually get lost via steam will stay in the food, thus resulting in a more nutritious and delicious meal.
The DUO60 pot has a 3 ply bottom and food-grade stainless steel inner pot with a non-stick surface. The bottom helps distribute heat evenly (so the food will cook just right), and the inner pot is easy to clean and safe to use.
But the feature I love most about this pot is the front panel. This is where technology revolutionizes the way we cook and understand cooking! The front panel is designed with buttons and a display that shows the status of the current meal being prepared and various settings. The buttons are easy to press and understand, and they give users access to the 14 pre-set dishes, 12 temperature settings, and more.
So, to make a soup (just an example), you only need to add the ingredients in the pot, press the soup button, and wait for it to be ready. Compared to the standard way of doing soup, this is faster, less messy, and more delicious.
Finally, the IP-DUO also has a 24h timer delay and an Automatic Keep-Warm function. Both are designed to make your life as a cook easier.
- The IP-DUO is available in three sizes, but the 6qt is the most popular one. It is ideal for small to medium-sized families and is not too big for most kitchens.
- This is a 7-in-1 product, reducing the need for other appliances that occupy space and gather dust.
- The integrated technology is designed to control factors such as temperature, pressure, heat intensity, and time to create the best cooking conditions.
- Prepares food up to 70% faster than with traditional pots and devices.
- The inner pot is made with a no-stick surface, so it’s easy to clean and maintain. Also, the bottom is designed to help spread heat evenly, and the steel lid kips nutrients and flavor in the food.
- All accessories (steam rack with handles, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup) are dishwasher safe.
- The pot comes with 10 built-in safety mechanisms, to avoid any type of cooking accidents.
- A clever use of technology in the kitchen
- 14 pre-programmed dishes, easily accessible via the front panel
- Safe to use and easy to clean
- Comes in three sizes so that everyone can use it
- Speeds up the cooking process with 70%
- Good value for the money
- No module for baking cake
- It takes a bit to get used to using it
- The removable power cable could’ve been longer
Instant Pot Max Review
The MAX is one of the newest Instant Pot models and comes with a series of cool and exciting features.
First, it is the few electric pressure cookers that can work with a 15psi pressure. Usually, to get this kind of pressure, you would have to use a stove-top pressure cooker, which is not for everyone. Luckily, the MAX lets you use high pressure with a single touch (the controls are touchscreen).
The high pressure is ideal for home canning (anything you want) and helps cook food faster without taking away anything from the taste. Furthermore, the pot is designed with NutriBoost technology, which adds flavor, enriches the texture, and keeps the nutrients in the food.
To make sure cooking is well monitored and safe, the MAX has five sensors: 1x pressure sensor, 2x thermal sensors (under the cooking pot and inside the lid), and 2x position sensors (for the lid and float valve).
I love the touchscreen control panel because it is large, extremely easy to use and understand. It also lets you know what’s going on with your food (cooking status, temperature, time, and more) in real-time! Not to mention that to release steam, you only have to touch “Venting” on the control panel, and the pot does the rest.
But let’s talk about the fact that the MAX (just like the DUO) is a multi-cooker. First, unlike the DUO, MAX only comes in the 6qt version. Now, besides the pressure cooking and canning functions, the pot also has a slow cooking function which can be compared with the traditional slow cooking process (except the time it takes to achieve those results).
Furthermore, it lets you cook across the entire temperature spectrum from fermentation to warming, to sous vide, and beyond. This is truly a multifunctional pot that can replace a lot of appliances as it can be used as a sauté dish, yogurt maker, rice cooker, warmer, steamer, and much more.
I love the Sous Vide program, which lets you create gourmet-style meals that will make friends and family think you’ve hired a professional chef! This is possible due to accurate temperature control settings implemented with the new control interface.
Since the MAX is more technologically-gifted than the DUO, there are 13 safety features to keep users safe and happy. There’s also an automated venting and lid lock, and an improved exterior body that looks elegant in any kitchen.
- The MAX can work at 15psi, which is ideal for home pressure canning but also helps cook food faster without losing anything from the taste and nutrients.
- There are 5 sensors that monitor the activity of the pot. As such, there is one pressure sensor, two that monitor temperature, and two that make sure the lid and steam valve are in the right position.
- The front control panel is a large touchscreen that displays real-time information about the status of your food. It also lets you change settings and access various functions.
- NutriBoost technology to enhance the taste, texture, and nutrients of each meal.
- Altitude is among the settings that can be adjusted, which takes away the guesswork from cooking.
- 13 safety features, automated venting and lid lock, and accurate temperature control.
- Food grade 304 stainless steel for the interior pot and brushed stainless steel for the exterior one.
- Handle 15psi pressure for home canning
- It has a wide array of functionalities
- 5 sensors that monitor the pot’s activity
- Sous Vide and Improved slow cooking
- Automated steam valve and lid lock
- Large frontal control panel with touchscreen
- NutriBoost technology
- Only comes in 6qt size
- The Sous Vide is a bit tricky to master
- Control panel seems a bit cluttered (but it’s easy to use)
- It takes a while to build pressure
Which One Should I Buy?
Well, now that you’ve read both products’ reviews, it’s time to decide which works best for your needs. If you’re still looking for clues, here are some tips to get you started:
Choose the DUO if…
- You don’t need other functionalities besides the basic ones
- You like a control panel with buttons
- The budget is limited
- You like the option of choosing between three sizes
- You prefer a product that’s wildly popular
Choose the MAX if…
- You like cooking in Sous Vide
- Home canning is your thing
- You want a multifunctional pot that’s versatile
- You like the automatic functions
- The touch screen is appealing
- You can afford the extra features
There’s no denying that the DUO and the MAX are different when it comes to technology and functionalities. As such, each is addressing a certain type of customer. The DUO is designed for the regular cook, who likes getting their hands dirty and only needs the basic features of a multifunctional cooker.
On the other hand, the MAX is for the technologically-advanced customer, who enjoys a touchscreen and automated lid and steam valve. It’s also for those of you who enjoy trying new dishes and cooking gourmet-style.
So, before you let the budget decide for you (which is still an important factor), stop for a bit and consider your needs. Do you really need the fancy pot, or you could be just as happy with the basic one?