The most important feature to me, besides safety, is the quick release capability. My cookers all have that option. I do not believe, from reading about the newer model Presto cookers, that they have the quick release capability. The 100 Anniversary model is the only Presto I’ve ever seen that has the quick release option so if that’s important to you, and it is to me, you might want to do a little more research.
I also much prefer the stainless steel over the aluminum pots. The Kuhn Rikon pots are stainless steel with an aluminum core in the base, which supposedly helps it heat more quickly. Presto does make a stainless and an aluminum pot. The aluminum costs less but I don’t like the feel of it.
It’s also important to have a handle on each side. Most have a large handle on one side and a smaller handle on the opposite side. Some do not have the smaller handle but if, for any reason, the pot needs to be moved while still under pressure, it’s real nice to have both handles to help steady the pot while moving it.
Why do I have three (four actually) pressure cookers? I don’t need three. I’m not even counting the fourth one because it’s a very, very old aluminum pot and doesn’t have the quick release pressure capability and it has the old fashioned jiggler top, which I don’t like as much as the newer pressure regulators. I haven’t tossed it (of course!) but I haven’t used it in forever and wouldn’t use it without changing out the gasket.
My 6 quart Presto cooker is no longer available. It was a 100 Anniversary model that I purchased in 2005. It looks a bit different from the current models. I bought this one because, at the time, we had two residences and my old cooker (the one I no longer use) was at one house and I was always needing it at the other house so I went to some local store and bought a second one, not even realizing it was an anniversary model and without knowing what a great pot it was. I’m so glad to have that one.
The pot on the right is the Presto 6 quart. The pot on the left is the 3.5 liter Kuhn Rikon. You can see the difference in size. The 5 liter Kuhn Rikon looks just like the pot on the left but is a little larger and a little smaller than the Presto on the right.
I kept hearing how great the Kuhn Rikon cookers were and because the 6 quart Presto is a real big pot just for doing enough dried beans for a meal or two, I next bought the 3.5 liter Kuhn Rikon. I use the pressure cooker at least twice a week for dried beans and the 3.5 liter is perfect! I can also cook a small whole chicken and a small roast in the 3.5 liter. I loved it so much that I also got the 5 liter Kuhn Rikon. There’s hardly a meal around here that doesn’t involve using one of those cookers.
If you’re one of those who’s afraid of the pressure cooker, there’s nothing I can tell you except I’ve been using pressure cookers and canners for 30 years and have never come close to having an accident. The newer pots have overpressure plugs that will blow before the pot explodes. I’ve never had one blow. The pots are safe but I’m not going to try to talk anyone into getting something they’re afraid to use.
Which pot is right for you? If price is a deciding factor, go with a lower priced pot. In the end, they all do the same thing. If you can afford the Kuhn Rikon, and you can only get one, go with the 5 or 7 liter. I’ve never used, nor have I even seen the 7 liter and it’s way bigger than I would ever want but if you cook for many people, you might like it. The Presto 6 quart is bigger than I need most of the time. I’m not one who believes you always get a better product if you pay more but in this case, I love the Kuhn Rikon pots so much more than any others I’ve ever had.
The Kuhn Rikon with the Duromatic top has everything hooked into the top (no pieces to lose). There are no separate “jigglers” or pressure regulators/indicators.
When cooking, the little gizmo in the top (with the red lines) is horizontal with the black strips on the lid. The center section rises with the pressure. (It’s in the risen position in the photo because I have it raised. There’s no pressure in the pot now.) The bottom red line indicates low pressure and the top red line indicates high pressure. To quick release, simply lift up on that center section and turn it (as shown). The pressure will escape quickly without waiting for the pressure to release slowly, which can take a while. I mostly always let the pressure release by itself (unless I suddenly remember I forgot to put something in the pot!).
For the Presto, can you see the little “thing” with the blue dot on top? That’s the pressure indicator and you twist it around for quick release. It does come completely off and would be real easy for me to lose.
I can hardly imagine day to day cooking without a pressure cooker!