So, what are the factors you should consider when buying a pressure cooker? Here is the check list.
1. The operating pressure of the pressure cooker or PSI. Psi is a unit of pressure and it denotes the pounds per square inch. For me this is the first thing I would look in a pressure cooker. The amount of pressure is essential in a pressure cooker because the speed of cooking depends upon it. The higher the pressure the quicker the cooking (the cooking temperature rises with the increase of pressure). Choose a pressure cooker that operates at 15 psi. Usually 15 psi denotes the high pressure setting and you are most likely to use this setting for most of your cooking. If your pressure cooker has less than 15 psi (12, 10 or 8 psi) you will need more time for your cooking (and speed is the main advantage of pressure cooking if you ask me) and therefore you will spend more energy and money. Furthermore, the more you cook your food the less will be the nutritional value of the food you are preparing. Usually the cheaper pressure cookers have a lower operating pressure. So, beware to check this important factor before buying your pressure cooker or you’ll end up with a pressure cooker that won’t cook fast enough.
2. Does the pressure cooker have a dual pressure setting? Dual pressure means that the pressure cooker has both a high and a low pressure setting. The high pressure setting (ideal if 15 psi) is used more often while the low pressure setting (usually 8 psi) is used for cooking delicate foods like fish, spinach, some fruits etc.
3. The material of the pressure cooker. As far as the material goes the ideal combination is stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless steel is durable (it doesn’t dent, scratch or rust) and is non reactive with foods. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat and it’s lightweight. In this combination stainless steel is in the outer layers while aluminum is in the center (to avoid contact with food and aluminum leakages). An all aluminum pot is great for pressure canning but for pressure cooking, rather go with a stainless steel – aluminum combination.
4. Is the pressure cooker easy to use and read? First of all the pressure cooker should have a easy closing lid. Avoid the pressure cookers that have complicated locking systems. Your pressure cooker should have an easy to read pressure indicator so you will know exactly when the need pressure is reached. Pressure releasing should be simple as well, usually you just have to turn or touch the valve (or pressure selector) to do it. Look at the handle of the cooker as well. Choose a cooker with a longer handle because it will not be directly over the heat source and therefore cooler.
As far as safety and cleaning goes, most pressure cookers on the market have high safety standards. Still, choose a pressure cooker that is UL listed. Pressure cookers that are stainless steel or have and outer layer in this material are dishwasher safe.
Read here the review for the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic pressure cooker.