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The Instant Pot has grown in popularity since the day it was unveiled. They have introduced several new models and styles since then, not to mention they come in several sizes each.

Here is my research about the difference between Instant Pot models, so you can easily choose which is best for your kitchen.

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!

A lot of you have noticed that I LOVE my Instant Pot and I use it regularly to make recipes to share with you here at My Crazy Good Life. It’s important to know the difference between the models so you can get one that will work for you and your family.

Hopefully this can help those of you who have written in and asked me which model is right for you. If you are very new to the world of electric pressure cookers, world check out this introductory post about what the heck we’re talking about.

Instant Pot Models

There are four main models: LUX, DUO, ULTRA, and SMART. There is also the DUO PLUS, which is an amped up version of the DUO models and the GEM which is a slow cooker.

Each model was released one after the next with new design elements and features. None of the features have been retired or removed so you don’t have to worry when upgrading that you will lose any features or elements that you really love in your current model.

Which features are included on all models?

While some of the models have different and unique features depending on their model type, all pots share these features and functions:

  • high pressure cooking
  • sauté
  • slow cooker function
  • steaming
  • rice cooker
  • stainless steel inner cooking pot

We’ll talk about the difference between models shortly but these common features are important. These are the features you are going to use frequently, and in some cases you will use these daily.

All of the models: LUX, DUO, ULTRA, and SMART, include these features. Personally, I use the sauté feature and the pressure cooking most often. These features allow the Instant Pot to replace your rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and even the stovetop and frying pans.

With a little practice you can even use your new pressure cooker to bake. Keep in mind that this is technically steaming–but you can make baked goods this way. Here are some of my favorite healthy dessert recipes:

All models include a manual program so you can adjust features and create cooking times and pressures that work for you and your unique recipes.

What’s the difference between each model?

Each model includes the features listed above, but then there are a few features that are included in one model but not in others.

Before we get to the specifics for each model, let’s take about sizing. There are three main sizes (not all models come in all sizes)–3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. The best model for you will depend on the size of the meals you typically cook.

There are definitely some cooking differences that happen depending on the size of your pot–I’ve written here about Instant Pot cooking differences.

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!

LUX Model

The Lux Model is the base model. It doesn’t sterilize or cook at low pressure, and it lacks the lid rest on the handle and the self closing pressure valve of some of the other models.

If you don’t plan on making yogurt or other recipes that need a sterilize and low pressure feature, you can absolutely benefit from the LUX model. It can sauté, cook on high pressure, and function as a rice cooker. It has a warming function and of course comes with the standard stainless steel pot.

The LUX model is great for beginning with pressure cooking and it has all of the great safety features that are included in all of the Instant Pot models and sizes. The LUX model is considered the 6-in-1 cooker.

The LUX model comes in these sizes: 3 Quart Mini, 5 Quart, 6 Quart, & 8 Quart

LUX Model Colors: The LUX model is the only one that comes in different colors. At this time, the 6 quart version comes in a red model and a blue model as well as the traditional black.

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!

DUO Model (this is the model I have!)

The DUO is a step up from the LUX model but not quite as feature packed as the SMART model. If you are looking make yogurt in your Instant Pot, the DUO will suit you well.

The DUO model is the 7-in-1 cooker and compared to the LUX model it steps up in two important areas; it can cook yogurt and it has a low pressure cooking setting.

The DUO also has the lid rest in the handle which is included in every model after the LUX. The DUO model is kind of the middle of the road, it’s got plenty of features, it’s great for most users.

At the end of the day, the DUO is still taking over most of the duties you expect from other appliance in the kitchen.

DUO Sizes: 3 Quart Mini, 5 quart, 6 Quart, & 8 Quart

DUO Mini

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!

The DUO Mini is a 3 quart cooker that is marketed as a companion pot. It’s a great size for making side dishes and it would even be great for a small family or a couple.

It has nearly all of the same features and functions as the DUO models. It’s a 7 in 1 multi cooker and despite the “mini” in the title it’s very powerful and useful in the kitchen!

In the pictures above, you can compare the DUO interface and the DUO Mini interface. They’re very similar and I think if you have ANY of the Instant Pots this one would make a great addition to your lineup.

You can make side dishes in the mini while cooking your main dish in a larger pot, or, again, if you are cooking for one or two people, this would be a great way to have a pot that is appropriately sized for your needs!

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!


Finally, we have the SMART model. The main difference between Instant Pot models when it comes to the SMART model is the technology connection. The SMART model steps up even further from the DUO model to include some connectivity features for your smartphone. For those of you who want to use your pressure cooker with your smart phone (and the corresponding app) this is the model for you.

The SMART model includes features that are unique to a system that can be controlled with an app. It can cook at any temperature, it can read a script (recipe) and cook at different temperatures for different intervals, and you can download recipes that control the cooking process via bluetooth. Essentially the SMART model is the DUO model with the addition of the app connectivity.

The SMART model also functions as a sous vide cooker since you can keep track of the internal temperature of the appliance through the app.

The SMART model has all of the same features of the DUO model. This is definitely the model for you if you enjoy working technology into every aspect of your life. Other than that, you really won’t notice much of a difference aside from the varied cooking times and temperature.

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!


This is where we start to see a subtle difference between Instant Pot models. The DUO PLUS model is basically an improvement on the DUO model. It sold so well that the company decided to upgrade it and re-release it with the new and slightly redesigned features.

The control panel got a facelift for the DUO PLUS model–it’s easier to tell what the cooker is doing now. This is considered to be the 9-in-1 cooker. It adds a sterilize function as well as settings for cooking eggs and cakes.

DUO PLUS Sizes: 3 Quart Mini, 6 Quart, & 8 Quart

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Model

DUO CRISP + Air Fryer

The Instant Pot Duo is a popular model so it makes sense that the upgraded this popular model to include a Crisp function…hence the name. The Duo Crisp + Air Fryer is an 11 in 1 cooker.

This model is 8 quarts, and comes with all the amazing safety features that we know and love from Instant Pot. It comes with two lids, the pressure cooker and the air fryer lid. This model cooks, sautés, steams, slow cooks, sous vides, warms, roasts, bakes, broils and dehydrates. 

This model includes an Easy Seal Pressure Cooking lids which automatically sets to sealing when locked into place, no worrying about remembering to check the nozzle!

There are Smart Programs that you’d except and with two different lids you can use the pressure cooker lid to pressure cook, sauté, steam, slow cook, sous vide and warm. The Air Fryer lid is for you to air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate! It’s a little more expensive but it’s like buying any of the Duo models and then also purchasing the air fryer lid!

Instant pot duo nova model

Instant Pot Duo Nova Models

The Instant Pot Duo got an upgrade! The Duo Nova includes all of the newest technology that you’d expect for a slightly redesigned model. It’s still a 7 in 1 pressure cooking machine!

Some of the improvements include a new display, an easy seal lid that automatically sets itself to sealing when locked into place, 14 smart programs to make setting the pot even easier, customizable settings that you can program for the pot to remember, and more.

In all other ways the pot functions like the other Duo models. The Duo Nova comes in 3 quart mini size, 6 and 8 quart standard sizes, and the 10 quart jumbo size!

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!


The ULTRA model is the latest release. In terms of the difference between  models, the ULTRA has all of the most popular features from all of the previous models. You get the ability to cook at any temperature, sterilize, and the brand new self closing pressure valve!

You can’t use the Ultra model with the app, but apart from that you get all of the best features of the Instant Pot line in one perfect little cooker. This is their 10-in-1 cooker and it features all of the cooking modes you know and love about this appliance. It has presets for doing eggs, cakes, pressure cooking, meat, beans, rice, yogurt, soup, and more.

The ULTRA also has a very different look. It has a dial for choosing temperatures and settings, it’s very modern and beautiful.

ULTRA Sizes: 3 Quart Mini, 6 Quart, & 8 Quart

The Instant Pot has become popular and now there are multiple models. Check out the difference between Instant Pot Models to make the right choice for you!

Instant Pot GEM Multi-Cooker

I was a little iffy on including this one. MANY people get confused about the GEM. They see it for sale in stores and it’s a lot cheaper than the other models and they get excited and then realize that it’s not what they wanted after all. The GEM Is not a pressure cooker. The GEM is a multi cooker which is more closely related to the Crockpot.

This is an 8-in-1 cooker. It can slow cook, sear/sauté, cook rice, steam, stew, roast, bake, and warm. It can not pressure cook. I’m going to say that at least one more time so that no one gets confused :)

Apart from the fact that it’s not a pressure cooker, the GEM multi-cooker is quite advanced. It has a microprocessor, an industry leading heating element, and all the looks and styling of a modern machine. It’s a great addition to your kitchen if you are looking to replace your Crockpots, I’d think it’s also a great option if you do a lot of camping.

Instant Pot Vortex Multi cooker Oven

Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10 Quart Air Fryer Oven

This is a 7 in 1 air fryer oven that sits on the counter top. The Instant Pot Vortex boasts one stop crispy technology that allows you to bake, air fry, roast, toast, broil, rotisserie, and dehydrate foods all without the oil and mess of traditional frying methods.

You can do multiple meals at once in the large 10 quart air fryer oven. The system is designed to circulate super hot air around the food you place in the oven to give it the look, feel, and taste of trying without actually submerging the foods in hot oil.

There’s almost no preheating time involved with the Instant Pot Vortex so you don’t have to add time to your plans for meal prep and cooking. Designed to be easily cleaned, there’s much less mess than with other cooking methods and the Vortex doesn’t heat up the house like cooking with the oven or stove would!

Instant pot Air Fryer

Instant Pot Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer

There is also a 6 quart air fryer with the same name, Vortex, but it’s more of a traditional air fryer than the Oven version. It has 4 preset modes so you can air fry all of your favorites for healthy, quick, delicious meals!

When comparing the difference between Instant Pot models you should consider what you need it to do! This air fryer can do a lot but for the price you might be better off with the duo crisp or the air fryer lid!

air fryer lid for Instant Pot

Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid

If you are looking to turn your Instant Pot into an air fryer or comparable to the Ninja Foodi, these lids are compatible with most 6t quart models. With the air fryer lid you can turn your Instant Pot into a 6 in 1 air fryer that can roast, air fry, bake, broil, reheat, and dehydrate.

The lid is detachable and easy to use. It’s simple to clean and store as well. The Even-Crisp technology makes sure that you get the crunchy, golden, perfect finish that you’d expect from an air fryer!

According to the Instant Pot website the Air Fryer lid comes with a multi-level air fryer basket, a dehydrating and broiling tray, and a protective pad to sit it on when it’s hot! When you are storing the lid this protective pad also acts as a storage cover.

It’s easier to list the posts that are not compatible with this list so I’ll do that below:

  • Smart WiFi 60
  • Duo Evo Plus 6
  • Duo Evo Plus 60
  • Duo SV 60
  • Duo SV Max 60

The air fryer lid is also not compatible with ceramic inner pots. It works with the stainless steel inner pots ONLY.

What size should I buy?

Now that you know which model you should buy, you need to choose a size! My friend Carrie over at has written a post to help you choose between a 3qt, 6qt, or 8qt.

Now What? Which recipes should I make in my new Instant Pot?

Well, now that you’ve got your model all picked out you need to shop for some recipe ingredients! Here is a list of my favorite recipes for beginners.

Free Printable Comparison Chart:

I’ve put together a little printable for those of you who are deciding which model to buy. It will show you the difference between Instant Pot models. A few of you have asked for it so here it is!

Click here to open and download the printable! 



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  1. Thank you for such a detailed description of different types of pots. I believe Ultra Model is the best of all above listed. It’s probably not very cheap, but it\s better to spend more to get a better result.

    1. Thanks so much for responding. Do you recommend the 6 or 8 quart? I’d like to have both but I thought maybe get an ultra and a duo plus but I don’t know which should be the 6 qt & which should be the 8 qt. It’s so confusing. Thanks! Deborah.

      1. Hey Deborah! I’d totally recommend the 8!

  2. Jennine Quiring says:

    Thank you for all the help. I was getting confused. My daughter is a “tech” type person who loves apps. I am definitly a non tech. I am 81 years old and do not even text on my flip phone. Is the Instapot with the app features really that good for the extra money

    1. Thanks so much for your help. It does get confusing. Glad there are people out there like you to help. Deborah.

  3. Swathi Sareddu says:

    Great description, very helpful, I’m going with 9 in 1 series, thank you so much

  4. I wish you made an excel chart. It would be great for a quick comparison.

  5. ElaineJessup says:

    Thank you for the information on these cookers. I’m going to buy the instapot duo 8qt. Can you bake with this one even though it doesn’t have the setting? I cannot find the Duo plus in any of our stores.

    1. Hi there! All of the Instant Pots are able to pressure cook baked goods such as brownies and cheesecakes :)

      1. Nancy M Padulsky says:

        But only one of your descriptions mentions cakes, etc. Confused.

      2. Because that is the one with a cake button. All of them can cook cakes, that one just has the preset for it.

  6. Thank you the comparisons. I am curious if you can make risotto in an Instant Pot. I’ve been thinking of purchasing one.

    1. Kathy asks
      I am curious if you can make risotto in an Instant Pot. I’ve been thinking of purchasing one.

      Yes. I am currently shopping for a 3 qt instant pot to take in our RV, but I make risotto regularly (like last night!) with a regular pressure cooker. Comes out great! So it should be great in an instant pot!

  7. I want a 6qt & 8 qt. What do you think about a duo plus 8 qt & an ultra 6 qt to learn in? Do you think the Duo plus would be easier to learn in? I already bought the Duo plus 8 qt but I thought a smaller one would be easier to learn in. Or what about 2 6 qt? I like leftovers and soups & beans. Thanks. Deb.

    1. I think if you get two, you should get a 6 qt and 8 qt! That way you can use each for its size when necessary.

  8. Edward Blocker says:

    I cook for 1 most of the time. I considered the 3 quart. I also don’t have a lot of freezer space. Is the 3 qt best for me or do you still recommend the 6 qt?

    1. I’d definitely recommend the 3 quart, Edward!

  9. Terry Kay says:

    Thank you so much for compiling all of this. Luckily, I realized that my pressure cooker was taking forever to reach pressure when I last used it, I stopped it once I realized and all liquid had evaporated from the soup that I was making. Your comments about not having to watch an Instant Pot were so important as I have many recipes, especially ones handed down through the generations, that do need pressure to cook and don’t want to risk another pressure cooker malfunction.

    1. You’re so welcome, Terry! I’m glad that it was helpful for you!

  10. You’ve taken the mystery out of all of the options. I don’t own one yet and I’m interested in the Ultra because you can control the temperature.
    1. Do you always need to set the temp or are there automatic features? For example, can you use the “rice” button instead of setting the temp?

    2. On the Ultra, you mention a “self closing pressure valve”. Why would that be important?

    3. I usually cook for 1-2 but occasionally like to make larger batches of soup or chili (8-10 cups) can I do that with the 3 quart?

    Thanks so much for providing the rundown of all the options, very helpful & appreciated. l have a cemetery full of appliances, & hate to add to the collection.

    1. Hey there!
      1. Yes, you can use the buttons for a one touch start.
      2. Because a lot of people forget to close the valve :)
      3. I think you’d be better off with a 6 quart, for sure.

      And you’re so welcome! I love that I was able to get rid of a few appliances in my cemetery ;)

  11. I am thinking of buying one of these, thanks for your comments and comparisons. I saw a demo of these and they had boiled eggs that would easily peel. But on the chart not all of them have cook eggs. So will they all boil eggs? Does cook eggs mean something else? We have chickens so I have lots of fresh eggs available. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. They all boil eggs! Some just have a fancy button :)

  12. Thanks for the excellent info. I’m planning on getting the ultra.

    1. Thank you for the excellent info.
      It wiped away all my confusion regarding instant pot. Will be getting duo model

  13. Sheri Van says:

    I live off the grid on solar and need to know which model pulls the least electricity

    1. Sara Anderson says:

      Hi Shari, I’m sorry but I don’t know which one uses the least amount of electricity.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Look at the consumption in their website, it less Watts, the less consumption!

  14. Roberta Raffety says:

    Hi, thank you for the info on the different models. it varies on how many I cook for. Sometimes 2, sometimes 3 or 4, sometimes I entertain for a group of 6-8. Regardless when I cook, we love leftovers. With that in mind which size do you recommend? Thank you.

    1. Sara Anderson says:

      Hi Roberta,
      If you’re going to be using the Instant Pot for a group of 6-8 people, I’d suggest getting the 8 qt. It’s got a larger footprint than the 6 qt but you can cook a lot more food in it! If you’re just cooking for 2-4 people the 6 qt should work great :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    The search on the internet asked a question UOU DIDNT ANSWER. Is there a difference between INSTA POT and INSTANT pot. You rambled on about instant but never answered the question.

    1. Good morning!! I am not responsible for the search results that Google shows you. This article is written to help people choose their model of Instant Pot.

      I’m happy to answer your kind question though–no, there is no difference. Many people think that the Instant Pot is called an Instapot. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  16. Thanks for sharing good information

  17. Ina Kay Zimmerman says:

    I have a Duo Mini, and started trying to use a yoghurt recipe. However, first I have no BOIL function. So that may mean I put the milk on the stove, get it to a boil, then cool to 115 degrees according to the instructions. But then it tells me to use the push the YOGHURT button (which I have) but then says to use the ADJUST button for something. OK, I have no adjust button…….so I conclude this yoghurt recipe cannot be used. But how can I make yoghurt? I have the starter and the milk. Are there instructions for making yoghurt with a Duo Mini? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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