In early to mid 2017 Instant Pot will be releasing a brand new electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot Ultra.
This pressure cooker is aimed at expanding the culinary possibilities of pressure cooking, while maintaining the simplicity and ease of use of previous Instant Pot pressure cookers.
In this article, we’ll be comparing this new pressure cooker to Instant Pot’s most high end pressure cooker currently on the market, the IP-Smart.
UPDATE – The Instant Pot Ultra is now for sale as of mid-April 2017. For the time being it is only available on the Sur La Table website.
Click here to see pricing for the Ultra on Sur La Table.
Overview of the Instant Pot Ultra
The Instant Pot Ultra is a six quart pressure cooker, same as the IP-Smart. The inner bowl is removable, stainless steel, and dishwasher safe.
The presets available with this cooker are: pressure cook, soup and broth, meat and stew, beans and chili, steam, slow cook, sauté, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize, yogurt, and ultra. Ultra will be all manual settings.
It comes with a 24 hour delay timer, and an automatic keep warm feature.
You can see our full review of the Instant Pot Ultra here.
Instant Pot was aiming at adding options while making operation easier, when they designed this pressure cooker.
They wanted to make this pressure cooker fully customizable, which they did with the ultra/manual mode. The user can choose the pressure level; high, low and no pressure. The temperature is selectable as well, with low, medium and high.
Settings are selected using a large turn dial, that you turn and press to navigate through the menu.
Instant Pot upgraded the interface as well. It has a large easy to read digital screen, which displays where in the cooking process you are.
Instant Pot attempted to add another safety feature to the Ultra by adding pressure release button, instead of a valve you have to spin to open.
The Instant Pot Ultra offers a new sterilize feature that can be used to sterilize a wide range of things, from utensils to baby bottles and more.
Another issue Instant Pot tackled with this pressure cooker is that of pressure cooking at high elevation. The Instant Pot Ultra has an automatic elevation adjustment that works for up to 9,900 feet. This feature adjusts cooking times based on elevation to ensure food is cooked properly.
The IP-Smart is Instant Pot’s most high tech pressure cooker currently on the market. Although it has some of its own special features, it shares the main characteristics of all Instant Pot models.
It acts as a multi cooker with the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, porridge maker, steamer, yogurt maker, food warmer and can be used to sauté.
The IP-Smart has a 24 hour delay timer, and automatic keep warm function with the option to select one of three different temperatures at which to hold your food.
It also comes with 14 preset cooking options, which are controlled by a microprocessor monitoring dual pressure sensors within the pot.
Instant Pot is famous for well built, safe products, and the IP-Smart is no exception. It carries the same 10 built-in safety mechanisms of all Instant Pot electric pressure cookers.
You can see our full review of the IP-Smart here.
What’s unique about the IP-Smart?
The feature that sets the IP-Smart apart from other pressure cookers is its Bluetooth connectivity. The pressure cooker is compatible with both Android and Apple devices.
You can pair your mobile device with the pressure cooker and use the companion app to program recipes. Users can download recipes, or write their own, and share them with friends.
This is convenient because it takes some of the work out of cooking complex recipes.
With a manually programmed pressure cooker, you may need to attend to your meal more than once, if the recipe calls for a temperature or pressure change after a certain amount of time spent cooking.
With the IP-Smart app, you can program your pot to cook for a given time and pressure, and a different time or pressure after the first is completed.
Along with the stored instructions for the pressure cooker, the app holds other directions, ingredient lists, and pictures for recipes.
Pros and Cons of the Instant Pot Ultra
- Can be used at elevations up to 9,900 feet.
- Extensively manually programmable.
- Cooking progress display so you know how far along your meal is.
- Digital display screen, larger than previous models.
- Added safety feature of a push-button steam release.
- Doesn’t have the ability to program wirelessly like the IP-Smart.
Pros and Cons of the IP-Smart
- Programming possibilities are endless with the companion app.
- 10 built-in safety features of all Instant Pot pressure cookers.
- Bluetooth connectivity is not always reliable.
Which pressure cooker is right for you?
So should you go out and buy the Instant Pot IP-Smart, or pick up the Instant Pot Ultra instead?
There are few factors to help you make this decision. One simple thing to consider is at what elevation are you living.
If you are living at an elevation 3,000 feet or higher you have to adjust cooking time when pressure cooking. If you are at this elevation or higher, the Instant Pot Ultra will make the necessary adjustments, rather than you having to consult a chart or do the math to adjust your recipes yourself.
The next thing to consider is how easily you would like to program your pressure cooker. Both of these pressure cookers have the option to manually program recipes.
The Instant Pot Ultra emphasizes being able to choose nearly every programmable detail of a recipe, allowing you to cook with precision.
The IP-Smart attempts to make programming new and more complicated recipes easier with the wireless app.
The bottom line is if you are living at an elevation 3,000 feet or higher, the Instant Pot Ultra will be a great choice for eliminating the need for adjusting cook times.
Click here to see pricing for the Ultra on Sur La Table.
If you want to cook with precision and be able to manually program your pressure cooker as close as possible to a given recipe, the Instant Pot Ultra will again be the choice for you.
If you find the idea of being able to easily program recipes from the palm of your hand to be appealing, the IP-Smart is the way to go. Just be prepared to deal with spotty Bluetooth connection, which is the most prevalent customer complaint about this product.