There are a lot of pressure canners on the market. They all have their pros and cons. We wanted to put together a buyers guide on pressure cookers that were rated well on Amazon. We also wanted to highlight the pressure canner that came out on top in comparison to all of the other canners we looked at. The five pressure canners we reviewed are:
- The All- American 21½ Quart Pressure Canner
- The Fagor Duo 10 Quart Canner
- Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
- Power Pressure Cooker XL 8 Quart
- T-fal P31052 Pressure Canner and Cooker
And without further Ado…
The All- American 21½ Quart Pressure Canner
This is by far our favorite pressure cooker of the five we looked at. All-American makes several sizes of their pressure canner/cooker: 10.5qt, 15.5qt, 21.5qt, 25qt, 30qt, and 41.5qt. We found the 21.5 quart size to be adequate for most home canning needs. The 21.5 quart model can hold right around 19 regular mouth pint jars or 7 standard mouth quart jars.
The hand-cast aluminum construction of this pressure canner means it is durable and will hold up for ears of canning use. The satin finish is attractive and easy to clean. The bakelite handle on the top of the canner is sturdy and provides the user with a comfortable grip that will stay cool under the hottest temperatures.
The lid is equiped with a geared steam gauge for and accurate reading of the internal pressure. The All-American canner also comes with a safety control valve and an overpressure plug. This gives the canner two levels of safety by automatically controlling the pressure.
The lid is easy to attach and remove thanks to the large thumb screws that tighten the lid to the kettle. The best feature of the All-American canner is that there is no gasket. That means there is no slipping, cracking, burning or gasket failure during the canning process. Instead these canners use a metal to metal sealing system. And, as the name implies, it is made in the USA! Learn more and check the pricing on Amazon.
The Fagor Duo 10 Quart Canner
The Fagor Duo 10 Quart Canner won the Good Housekeeping “Best of the Test” award for pressure canners. And it came in second as a Best Buy on Cooks Country. It is a great little canner for the price, the problem is just that. It is only a 10 quart canner. For canning, you would probably be able to fit 4 quart size jars inside this kettle. It will get the job done, but it is going to take a long time if you have a lot of food to preserve.
The company does advertise this as a canner, but I believe it is better used as a pressure cooker. There isn’t anything wrong with that. For a pressure cooker alone, this is a great product. With features like 18/10 stainless steel (this is the good stuff) and a self locking lid, it is no wonder it has won awards. The Fagor Duo is also extremely energy efficient, it works well on all cook top surfaces including induction cook tops, and it boasts 3 separate pressure safety release mechanisms. It cooks foods 70 percent faster than conventional methods, cleans up easily and is easy enough for the beginning cook to use.
Fagor is a trusted brand that has been in business for over twenty five years. They stand behind this product with a 10 year warranty. So if you are looking for a pressure cooker or if you need to can a small amount of foods, check out the Fagor Duo 10 Quart Cooker/Canner.
Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
Another easily recognizable brand name in the kitchen, Presto has been making pressure cookers since 1917. In fact, before they changed their name to National Presto, they were the National Pressure Cooking Company. These folks know pressure cookers. This canner does what it is intended to do and it does it well. The cooker is large enough to can 7 quart jars at a time and can even double as a water bath canner. It is really a nice unit.
There are some big differences between the All-American and the Presto pressure canner. The All-American is a heavier kettle. They are both made from aluminum, but the All American is definitely more substantial. The All American has a weighted pressure control system versus the dial on the presto. This means there is less babysitting when it comes to the All-American. With the presto, you have to adjust the heat more often to maintain the appropriate pressure. the domed lid of the All-American gives it just a little more room that allows you to sneak an extra jar in if you configure it properly.
Power Pressure Cooker XL 8 Quart
I really like the idea of a stand alone electric pressure canner. The problem here is the size. 8 quart is the biggest I could find that advertised canning features. While it’s a great way to free up some prime stove top real estate or a way to supplement your stove top cooker, the size makes it impractical for all but the smallest canning projects.
The Power Pressure Cooker XL falls in the same category as the Fagor Duo for me. It is a great pressure cooker but too small to be of much use in canning. The 1 touch buttons are perfect for beginners and it even comes with a cookbook to make the most of the unit. Best of all, the whole thing is dishwasher safe. How cool is that?! The 1 touch setting buttons on the front are:
- pressure cooker
- slow cooker
- soup maker
- rice cooker
T-fal P31052 Pressure Canner and Cooker
The T-Fal seems to fit the bill. It has everything we were looking for. The kettle large enough to handle a fair amount of jars at a time, it has the safety features we were looking for, and it is fairly easy to use. It also had one thing that we weren’t looking for. A gasket. The advantage of the All-American over the T-Fal is that the All-American has the metal to metal sealing system. There is no gasket. The gasket in the T-fal will eventually fail, usually when you least expect it to and when you need it not to the most. The T-Fal does a good job at packing features into their pressure canner for the price. It is a heavier aluminum than the Presto, but not quite as heavy as the All-American. If you are looking for a good middle of the road pressure canner, the T-Fal P31052 will serve you well.
Why do you Need a Pressure Canner?
Pressure canning is necessary when you are canning foods like meats, fish and vegetables that have a low acid or sugar content. If you are preserving pickles or making jelly, a simple water bath is sufficient to seal and preserve your jars. Nasty bacteria cannot grow in a very acidic or sugary environment so 212º Fahrenheit will suffice. But, if you are canning carrots, peas, green beans, corn or the trout you pulled out of the river, you need a higher temperature to kill off the bacteria that could make you sick such as the bacteria that causes botulism. Using the wrong canning method can be deadly.
A pressure canner allows you to increase the temperature of the water to about 250º Fahrenheit. It does this by forcing all of the air out of the pressure canner. you Jars are inside with nothing but super-heated water vapor under pressure. The jars are processed long enough to heat the food through and then the canner is depressurized through cooling and the jars are removed to allow for the seal to form.
Pressure Canners Scare Me
You are not alone. There are horror stories and pictures of pressure cookers and pressure canners exploding and causing serious damage to people and property. If you look a bit deeper into those stories, most of the users were either using the cooker incorrectly or neglecting the cooker completely. Modern pressure canners and cookers are equipped with multiple safety features that are designed to release steam from the unit before the lid would blow. It is important to make sure that the canner/cooker you are using is certified by UL. This seal means the equipment has been rigorously tested. You also need to take responsibility for the condition of the canner before you use it.
- Pock marks or physical damage in the metal of the kettle and lid – Any imperfections could mean the structural integrity of the unit is compromised. Using it under pressure could cause a catastrophic failure.
- Make sure all of the steam releases are clear of clogs – A proper cleaning when the unit is put away will include that steam vents are clear, but never assume before you use the canner. A blocked steam vent could cause pressure to build to an undesirable level and the implications of that could be bad.
- Read the user Manual – I know, user manuals are boring. Well, in this case, taking 10 minutes to familiarize yourself with the operation of your equipment could just save your life and your house. Take the time.
By taking the proper precautions, you can avoid a disaster in the kitchen. You don’t need to be afraid of your pressure canner, you just need to follow the safety guidelines, use your head, and don’t take shortcuts.
Are There Alternatives to Using a Pressure Canner?
Yes. If you are absolutely against a pressure canner, you can still preserve the foods you grow (or bought or were given). You could always freeze your foods. Frozen vegetables and meats do especially well when frozen. Frozen foods will last for 6 months to a year before the quality begins to deteriorate. For a complete run-through on freezing foods for preservation, check out this article on prolongtheharvest.com.
You could also dehydrate your food. Dehydration removes the water from food. removing the water takes away a key ingredient microscopic nastys need to thrive, moisture. Dehydrated foods are not going to taste as fresh as canned or frozen foods. But, for use in soups and to eat as snack in their dried form it is a great way to preserve. Coupled with a vacuum sealing system, dehydrated foods will last for years. Going with a freeze drier is an expensive option, but still a viable one. Freeze dried foods last for 25 years or longer.
These five pressure canners all have their positives and negatives. Some are better for cooking than Canning. Some are great for canning, but may be too small to fit your needs. The All-American Canner we chose was the best pressure canner that fit all of the needs of the home canner. This is strictly our opinion. It is the right size (and is available in many more), it has great features, and it is built in the USA. Take a look for yourself and compare the pressure canners that are out there on the market. I think you will agree with our pick of the All-American Pressure canner.
If you do not agree or would like to give a shout out to another make and model you think we should look at, please please please leave a comment below. We would love to hear your opinions.