Best electric pressure cookers in 2020

The best quick-pressure multicooker

zavor lux lcd 8 quart



Zavor


The Zavor Lux LCD is an advanced multicooker that comes up to pressure and temperature quickly, and the 8-quart version is a good value.

When America’s Test Kitchen named the Zavor Lux LCD as its favorite multicooker, we took notice. After all, could there be anything better than an Instant Pot? Well, as it turns out, while the Zavor Lux LCD performed just as well as an Instant Pot, there were a few areas where it excelled.

While Zavor may be an unknown name, it’s the successor (of sorts) of Fagor, a defunct manufacturer of multicookers. The Lux LCD, which is Zavor’s flagship model, does all the same things other multicookers do: pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, etc. There are preset modes for cooking rice, soup, veggies, yogurt, and more. It also has a “Flex” mode that lets you adjust the temperature if “high” and “low” aren’t precise enough. This also allows the Lux LCD to have a pseudo-sous-vide function. In terms of features and performance, it’s comparable to the Instant Pot Ultra.

We used the 8-quart version of the Lux LCD to sear meats and pressure cook. Something we noticed immediately was how quickly it got hot. In fact, the olive oil inside the pot started smoking before it even came to temperature. This is no fault of the Lux LCD, but avoid putting any fats that don’t have a high smoking point until you are ready to cook.

With pressure cooking, we thought the Lux LCD got up to pressure slightly faster than the Instant Pot Duo, the overall pick that we tested alongside. The Lux LCD also has a metal brace to keep gaskets better-sealed. In one test, the power cord came loose and we didn’t realize it. As we plugged it back in and reset the pressure cooker, we noticed that the gasket remained sealed, even though the power had been cut. We also liked the easy-to-use release valve.

With the LCD panel, you can see if the lid has been properly sealed, as well as a progress bar of when the cooker comes to pressure or temperature. However, the menus are a bit tricky to navigate. Using a scroll wheel, it reminded us of old iPods. As for navigation and information, the Instant Pot Ultra takes a win here.

One thing we like about the Instant Pot that you won’t find in the Lux LCD: There’s no place to hold the lid. Also, we miss the chime that tells you the lid is sealed.

If there’s a real advantage an Instant Pot has over the Lux LCD, it’s that the majority of recipes we found online are written with Instant Pots in mind. It’s nice that you can adjust the temperature precisely, but most recipes will either say “low” or “high,” which you can do with the Lux LCD. The point is, if you’re used to the basic functions of an Instant Pot, the Lux LCD might seem overly complicated. Once you master it, the Lux LCD works as well as an Instant Pot.

At the end of the day, the food we made in the Lux LCD tasted great. In fact, one dish, a Keto-friendly, no-bean chili, was the best we’ve tasted. Even the “failed” version — when the unit became unplugged — tasted great. With that said, we made the same chili in the Instant Pot Duo and it also came out great.

In general, the 8-quart Lux LCD is less expensive than the 8-quart Instant Pot Ultra; in the 6-quart category, it may be the opposite, depending on if there’s a sale. You can get 8-quart Zavor and Instant Pot models that are less expensive, but you lose many of the advanced features. However, for the price, the 8-quart Lux LCD represents a good value thanks to the large capacity, advanced functions, and great performance. — Les Shu, guides editor

Pros: Comes up to pressure and heats up fast, good seal, adjustable temperature, performs as well as an Instant Pot

Cons: Menu system takes time to learn, no place to hold lid


$179.95 from Amazon


$179.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond

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