The Instant Pot series is the closest thing we have to high-tech kitchen robots right now. These products use modern technologies to reduce cooking time and effort without compromising the taste and texture of the food.
The DUO and the ULTRA models are some of the most popular in the series, but many people say it’s not easy to decide between the two. And I understand why you would have difficulties choosing. They both have amazing features, but there are real differences when it comes to technology and ease of use.
So, to showcase the similarities and differences, I did an Instant Pot DUO vs Ultra review with pros and cons for both. If you’re interested in any of these two models, this comparison will provide some useful information and tips.
DUO vs Ultra Comparison Table
Instant Pot DUO Review
Designed for people who enjoy good food but don’t have the patience or the skills to prepare it themselves, the Instant Pot DUO is a fantastic product!
First, it can replace up to 7 different appliances in your kitchen, so if you ever felt there’s too much clutter on your countertop, now’s your chance to clean up. The Instant Pot DUO is a pressure cooker, sauté and sear pot, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and a warmer.
This means you can now get rid of your microwave, that special pot you were saving only for rice, and many other appliances that only saw the daylight a few times a year. Furthermore, the DUO 60 pot doesn’t have you slaving over the stove all day long because it does all the cooking on its own.
All you need to do is prepare and add the ingredients. The pot will take care of the rest, according to the settings you specified. So, it’s more like a futuristic kitchen robot than a pot.
In fact, if you consider the front control panel that features an LED screen and a series of buttons, it’s easy to see this is a high-tech product for the kitchen and not a regular pot. I also like that it has an inner pot made from stainless steel and a 3 ply bottom for even cooking. The inside is lined with a non-stick coating, so there’s no need for elbow grease when you clean it.
Other items such as the steam rack (delivered with the pot) and the stainless steel lid are dishwasher safe. So, besides making cooking easy, it also makes cleaning easy. Honestly, with a pot like this one, cooking becomes a wonderful experience!
The Instant Pot DUO comes in three sizes (3qt, 6qt, and 8qt), but the 6qt is the most popular (it can cook for 6 people).
The pot monitors temperature (it has 12 settings of temperature), pressure, and time and can adjust each of these elements to deliver perfect results. This means that the meat will be tender, the rice will be just right, and the stew will melt in your mouth!
And, because the food is cooked without your intervention, the dishes will be ready up to 70% faster than if you were making it the traditional way. Not to mention, all the flavors, nutrients, and goodness of your ingredients will remain in the pot!
- Seven appliances in one compact pot
- Cooks food 70% faster
- Easy to clean & dishwasher safe
- Pre-programmed cooking options
- Safety features
- Durable, food-grade materials
- Modern design
- Three different sizes (3qt, 6qt, and 8qt)
- There is a small learning curve
- It doesn’t have a cake baking program
- Brackets on the steam collector are a bit fragile
Instant Pot Ultra Review
The Ultra Pot comes from the same producer as the DUO, but it packs more features, and the control panel is slightly different.
Obviously, the main difference between the two stands in the number of appliances it can replace. Ultra is a 10-in-1 product, which means it goes well in a modern kitchen, with a lot of devices. As such, you’ll get a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice/porridge cooker, a yogurt maker, a cake maker, an egg cooker, a sauté/searing device, a steamer, a warmer, and a sterilizer.
The front panel is another difference that’s easy to notice at first sight, as it features a programmable dial and no buttons. The dial has two functions:
- rotation left/right to edit settings
- press to select a specific setting
As such, you can use the 16 pre-set smart programs, or you can make your own, the possibilities are limitless!
Furthermore, the Ultra pot comes with some interesting new features that improve cooking and bring new possibilities in your kitchen. There is a cooking indicator that gives you an idea of the state of the food, you can adjust the altitude in the pot, and there’s even a steam release reset button.
While the Ultra may look like a regular Instant Pot from the outside, I need to highlight that this is a high-tech device. It incorporates a 3rd generation microprocessor that monitors the pressure, temperature, and time (just like the DUO60 does) and adjust the intensity of the heat and the duration as needed.
It’s also designed to be safe (there are 11 safety features) and all the components that are in contact with the food are made from food-grade 304 stainless steel. Also, the surface of the inner pot is easy to clean as food doesn’t stick to it.
The outer layer is made from brushed stainless steel resistant to fingerprint transfer, and all the elements that come with the pot are dishwasher safe. Finally, the power cord is 35-inches and can be removed.
Finally, the pot comes with a wide range of cool materials such as an Alexa cooking guide (for beginners), 1000+ recipes, and more.
- It replaces ten appliances
- You can set the altitude
- Steam release button
- Front panel without buttons
- 16 pre-set smart programs
- High-quality and durable materials
- Removable power cord
- Can be used as a sterilizer
- It has a cake baking module
- Easy to clean
- Comes in three sizes (3qt, 6qt, 8qt)
- It can take a while to do all the settings for one dish
- There is a learning curve (higher than with the DUO60)
- A bit on the pricy side
Which One Should I Buy?
As you can see, both pots have amazing features, so it can be difficult to choose only one even after having read the reviews. So, here are some guidelines to help you out:
Choose the DUO if...
- You only need a pressure and a slow cooker
- You like the front panel to have buttons
- You’re on a budget and don’t want to invest in extra features
- You want the model that everyone’s buying
Choose the Ultra if...
- You need the cake baking module
- There’s a baby in your life, and you need the sterilizing function
- You like having the most high-tech devices
- The budget is generous enough
- You like the dial-type control on the front panel
While it can be difficult to choose between the two products, they have similar features, so you’re not losing too much if you go with the DUO version. Sure, there’s no cake baking or other fancy modules, but you still get a wide array of options!
On the other side, if you know you need the sterilizing function, and you enjoy those extra features, the Ultra is a fantastic choice. It may be pricier, but it’s also well-designed and well-equipped, and your investment will be return tenfold (if not more) in delicious meals that took little to no effort.
My advice is to compare the features with your specific needs in the kitchen (now and in the future), and then make a decision.