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If we told you there was a device out there that could replace your slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, and more, you’d probably want to know about it! Luckily for you, Instant Pot has a range of products that do exactly this.
In this article, we’re going to compare two of the brand’s most popular models. The Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova match-up is sure to be an exciting battle, so make sure to stick around to find out who wins.
What is an Instant Pot?
Before we get into our comparison, it’s probably best to take a look at what Instant Pot actually is. Although the term “instant pot” is often used in place of products such as “slow cooker” or “pressure cooker”, Instant Pot is also the name of one of the most popular worktop cooker brands.
Instant Pot is a Canadian brand that was formed in 2010. From the offset, the company was focused on creating a multi-use cooking device, and the first Instant Pot product was a 6-in-1 cooker that included a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, and other useful features.
Since that first product, Instant Pot has expanded across the cooking industry, but their multi-use cookers remain their most popular products. This success is no doubt down to the ease of use, quality of cooking, and affordability that Instant Pot manages to pack into their devices.
This Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova article pits two of the brand’s latest and greatest cookers against one another. By the end, you’ll hopefully have a good idea about which cooker is going to be the best for you and your lifestyle.
The Instant Pot Duo vs Instant Pot Duo Nova
In this section, we’re going to put our two Instant Pot models head to head across a wide range of categories. For each category, we’ll let you know the strengths and weaknesses of both products and which one we think performed best during our testing.
Despite the Instant Pot Duo Nova and the Instant Pot Duo sharing many features and benefits, there is a range of differences that make them both unique. Our job is to explain these differences as best we can, so you can make an informed decision when you come to buy.
The capacity of an Instant Pot is always an important factor. This is especially true if you’re cooking for a family and need something that is going to be big enough for all the hungry mouths in your house. Conversely, there’s no point buying a more expensive, larger capacity pressure cooker if it’s just for one or two people.
Both the Instant Pot Duo and the Duo Nova are available in 3, 6, and 8 liquid quartz. Being able to choose from three different sizes is great and means you can get something that fits in your kitchen perfectly. This range of sizes isn’t typically offered by other pressure cooker brands.
However, The Instant Pot Duo Nova also comes in an extra special 10 liquid quartz size. This huge Instant Pot is absolutely ideal if you’re cooking for a large family or need to cater for a party. You’ll struggle to find another high-quality pressure cooker with such a large capacity.
Since the majority of people will be choosing between one of the three smaller sizes, we can’t really say that the Instant Pot Duo Nova is that much better in this category. If you do need the larger capacity though, then your decision between the two products becomes very easy.
It’s all well and good looking at all the cool features that these two Instant Pot models have to offer, but at the end of the day, it’s how they cook that’s the most important. Both devices are”7-in-1″ cookers, meaning they can replace 7 of the appliances in your kitchen.
The Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova feature the same 7 functions, which are as follows:
- Sauté Pan
- Pressure Cooker
- Slow cook
- Rice maker
- Food warmer
- Yogurt maker
This range of functions means that an Instant Pot could take care of all the cooking in your house if you wanted it to. This is why busy families absolutely love Instant Pots – they can set their food to slow cook in the morning and come home to a beautiful, ready-made dish in the evening.
Again, you can’t really separate the two Instant Pot models in this category. Whichever one you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be getting all the features and functionality that you could possibly need.
Aside from the 7 base cooking modes on the Instant Pots, they are each packed with a range of additional features to improve the user experience and make food even tastier. For example, the Instant Pot Duo Nova and the Duo both have 13 “Smart Touch” customizable programs for bespoke pressure cooking.
With these programs, you can perfectly cook things like ribs, beans, soup, egg-fried rice, and much more. You can fill up your 13 slots with all of your favorite meals so that they can be prepared at the touch of a button.
One cool thing that the Instant Pot Duo Nova has is an auto-sealing lid. The Instant Pot Duo has a more basic manual seal. When pressure cooking, having a strong seal is absolutely essential for proper cooking and kitchen safety. Although the manual seal on the Instant Pot Duo works fine, the automatic version gives you one less thing to worry about.
In addition, the Duo Nova comes with two sealing rings, rather than the usual one. Sealing rings are one of the most important parts of an Instant Pot, and the company recommends that you change your ring every 12-18 months. It’s nice to know that you won’t have to worry about buying a new sealing ring in the future.
In summary, it’s clear that the Duo Nova has some advantages over the Instant Pot Duo when it comes to extra features. The Duo Nova does everything that the Duo can but adds some nice quality of life improvements.
When you’re choosing between any two products, one of the most important things to think about is the price. Ultimately, your budget has the power to make your decision for you, so it’s essential to know how the Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova compare in this category.
As you might expect, the Instant Pot Duo comes in cheaper than the Duo Nova across all the different pot sizes. The 10 qt Duo Nova is of course the most expensive but offers great value if you’re cooking in bulk or for a large group.
Even though the Duo Nova is more expensive, the price difference isn’t that stark. For many people, the extra features that the Duo Nova offers might well be worth the extra expense. However, this is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself by thinking about how you’ll use your Instant Pot, and which functions you really need.
The last category we’ll investigate in this Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova showdown is their designs. Both of the Instant Pot models have the classic design that the brand is known for and there aren’t that many noticeable differences.
Both Instant Pots have the same menu layout on the front, with all the buttons located in exactly the same place. The Duo Nova has a blue screen whereas the Duo’s is black, but aside from aesthetics, they are practically the same in this area.
Since the Instant Pot Duo Nova features an auto-sealing lid, the designs here are slightly different. Again, this really isn’t going to affect the user experience. Anyone who has used other Instant Pot models in the past will feel at home with either of these devices.
Instant Pot Duo Pros
Now that we’ve given a brief overview of the key similarities and differences between the Instant Pot models, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each one. If you’re still on the fence about which Instant Pot is for you, then this section will hopefully be a big help.
Easy To Use
One of the Instant Pot Duo’s biggest advantages is just how easy it is to use. For many people, cooking can be an overwhelming, time-consuming, and generally unrewarding process. An Instant Pot can help you fall in love with cooking again, by ensuring your food is quick, easy, and most importantly, delicious.
All Instant Pots are pretty easy to use, but the Duo really takes it to the next level. Despite its simple design and intuitive processes, the device is absolutely packed with cooking features. If you want to spice up your meal times without adding any extra stress, then the Instant Pot Duo is perfect for you.
Easy To Clean
Another huge benefit of the Instant Pot Duo, and Instant Pots in general, is the easy cleaning process. Since everything is contained in a single pot, there is hardly any mess created whilst cooking. In addition, the removable pot is dishwasher safe.
Tidying up after cooking can sometimes take as long as making the food itself. If you have a busy lifestyle, then this is yet another thing that you have to make time for during your day. An Instant Pot can save you a ton of time, and give you more chance to rest and relax.
Available In 3 Sizes
Even though the Instant Pot Duo doesn’t come in the larger 10 qt size like the Duo Nova, there are still 3 different sizes to choose from. This is particularly great when compared to instant pot pressure cookers from other brands, which often take a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
You can choose from a 3 qt, a 6 qt, and an 8 qt sized pot. This means you can get something that is the perfect size for you, rather than an Instant Pot that you never fill up. You’ll also save some space in your kitchen because of this.
Includes 13 Modes
The Instant Pot Duo is packed with functionality to make your cooking sessions as straightforward as possible. The device has 13 customizable modes built-in, which can be set up to make a huge variety of dishes. You can save all of your favorite dishes, and have them ready to go whenever you want.
The Cheaper Option
Although the price difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the Duo Nova isn’t huge, it’s still worth remembering that the Duo is going to be the cheaper option. This is true across all of the different pot sizes.
Of course, paying more for the Duo Nova does bring some extra features, which could be pretty useful to the right person. However, the price difference might not be worth it to you – just make sure to think about how often you’d actually use the additional features, and whether this justifies the extra expense for you.
Instant Pot Duo Cons
Despite the Instant Pot Duo’s undoubted excellence, just like any product, it does have its drawbacks. Understanding the limitations of a product is just as important as knowing its strengths, so let’s investigate those now.
Steam Release Valve Is Manual
One of the biggest upgrades on the Instant Pot Duo Nova over the Duo is the inclusion of an automatic seal and steam release valve. The Instant Pot Duo does not have these features and instead relies on more traditional, manual seals.
An automatic seal makes an Instant Pot even easier to use and is considered to be the safer option when pressure cooking. As a result, it’s fair to say that the manual seals on the Instant Pot Duo are a bit of a drawback.
That said, the Instant Pot Duo is still completely safe to use – you just have to make sure that you follow the instructions carefully, especially when releasing the chamber after pressure cooking.
Not Beginner Friendly
We just said that one of the benefits of the Duo is how easy it is to use, but now we’re saying that it’s not beginner-friendly – what gives? Well, in our opinion, most Instant Pot models have a pretty steep learning curve and it takes a while to get to grips with how they work.
Once you know what you’re doing, Instant Pots are an absolute dream, but understanding the different modes and experimenting with recipes can take some time. To make your life easier, we’d recommend starting out by using recipes shared online by other Instant Pot users.
Instant Pot Duo Nova Pros
Now it’s time to have a look at the main advantages of the Instant Pot Duo Nova. Again, this product isn’t much different from the Duo electric pressure cooker, but it has some key features that help it stand out from the crowd.
Available In 4 Sizes
The most obvious advantage of the Duo Nova slow cooker is that it’s available in 4 different sizes, rather than the Duo’s 3. The Duo Nova is available in a larger 10 qt size, which wouldn’t be an option if you picked the Duo.
This 10 qt pressure cooker is absolutely ideal if you’re cooking for a large family or group. It’s really great to be able to chuck all your raw ingredients into the cooker, knowing that there’ll be plenty of food to go around when it’s done.
The larger-sized device is also great if you want to cook in bulk. Meal prep is all the rage at the moment, and there’s never been a more convenient way to get your meals ready for the week than with a 10 qt Instant Pot.
Easy To Use
Just like the Duo, the Duo Nova is incredibly easy to use once you get the hang of it. Meals can be prepared in a matter of minutes – all there is to do is chop up your ingredients and select the cooking process that you want to use.
The Duo Nova pressure cooker also has the unique advantage of having an auto-sealing lid. This makes using the Duo Nova even more straightforward, especially when pressure cooking. It also has an automatic steam valve, which is not that common amongst electric pressure cookers.
As we mentioned above, Instant Pots are a learning curve and they can be quite confusing when you first start using them. The Duo Nova is actually one of the simplest Instant Pot products to use, which is definitely a big benefit.
Comes With More Accessories
The Duo Nova also comes with extra accessories, some of which aren’t included with the standard Duo. You can expect the usual measuring cup, paddle spoon, and ladle, but Instant Pot throws in an extra sealing ring with the Duo Nova.
This might not sound like a big thing, but sealing rings are essential to the operation of an Instant Pot, and they need replacing fairly regularly. They’re not overly expensive but they’re not cheap either, so it’s definitely a benefit to have an extra one included in the package.
Instant Pot Duo Nova Cons
As great as the Duo Nova is, it also has a couple of cons that are worth pointing out. Again, none of these are dealbreakers, but it’s important to know about them if you want to make the most informed decision.
Higher Price Point
When comparing the Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova, the price is a clear difference. The Duo Nova is more expensive than the Duo across all the different pot sizes. This increase in cost is thanks to the device’s additional features.
This isn’t necessarily a big disadvantage if you know that these features are going to be worthwhile to you. Moreover, some of the extra cost is recuperated by the additional measuring cup and sealing ring that are included in the Duo Nova package.
Not Tried And Tested
Another thing that’s worth bearing in mind is the fact that the Duo Nova is a newer product than the Duo, and hasn’t yet been put under the same scrutiny. The device has a fraction of the customer reviews that the Duo has, so it’s not as clear how the pressure cooker has been performing.
That said, practically all of the reviews have been positive, and with Instant Pot’s incredible record for making quality products it’s probably safe to assume that the Duo Nova is going to perform very well.
Not Widely Available
The final drawback of the Duo Nova is that it is not widely available. As a result, it can be hard to find the Duo Nova when you’re shopping online. As the popularity of this product increases, it’s probably going to get even more difficult to get your hands on one.
If you’ve decided that the Duo Nova is definitely the product for you, then we’d recommend picking one up as soon as you can!
So, after all that, which Instant Pot model would we actually recommend? In truth, the Duo and the Duo Nova are very similar products and in a lot of situations, they will offer exactly the same functionality and ease of use.
But there are certain situations where one of the devices will be more suitable than the other. For example, if you regularly cook for a large number of people, then you might need the 10 qt sized pressure cooker, which is only available in the Duo Nova line.
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These days, there are lots of Instant Pot models available on the market. This is a great thing, but it also makes choosing which one is best for you more difficult. Most pressure cooker models are available in similar sizes, and it is the additional features that set them apart.
For example, some Instant Pots include a rice cooker, whereas others swap that out for a yogurt maker. It’s important to think about which features and cooking modes you are going to use when choosing which is best for you.
The Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova are some of the best models from the brand. If you’re struggling to choose between the two, then be sure to have a read through our Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova breakdown above.
Every Instant Pot has different cooking programs, but you can typically expect to see features such as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more. An Instant Pot has the ability to replace a number of the appliances in your kitchen.
Jack Slobodian is the Content Director at Mealprepify. He’s a Blogger and Professional Chef who has worked in many prestigious restaurants including luxurious 5-star hotels and James Beard award-winning restaurants. When he’s not cooking or writing you can find him travelling, exercising or spending time with family and friends.