The Instant Pot Duo has been around for many years. The Instant Pot Pro is a newer model. They are similar in many ways but there are some important differences. Find out everything you need to compare the Instant Pot Pro vs Duo so you can decide which one is right for you.
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Instant Brands has put out so many different Instant Pot models since they introduced the first one in 2010. I can think of at least a dozen!
If you’re in the market for an Instant Pot, in addition to finding out which model is right for you, you’ll also need to know what size works best for you and what the dimensions are, to see if you have enough space on your countertop or in a cabinet.
If you’ve narrowed down your choice to the Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Pro, you’re probably here because you want to know the pros and cons of each model. Which of these models is best for you? Let’s find out.
Instant Pot Pro
The Instant Pot Pro has all the features of earlier Instant Pot models and more! It’s an even better version of the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, which used to be my favorite Instant Pot model, but now the Pro is my favorite.
Refer to my comprehensive Pro User Guide for details on all its features. Here are some highlights of this model:
- The Instant Pot Pro comes in 2 sizes: 6 quart, and 8 quart sizes. There is currently no 3 quart size available.
- The Instant Pot Pro has a black exterior which is attractive and sophisticated.
- The display panel has a large backlit screen with extensive information.
- The Pro display panel has a lot more information than the Duo display panel. You can see the chosen smart program, the pressure level, temperature level, sound icon, delay start timer icon, temperature unit, timed natural release indicator, and cooking progress.
- The Instant Pot Pro has many more presets than the Duo, such as White Rice, Brown Rice, Pasta, etc.
- It has five Favorite buttons that allow you to save your most-used settings.
- It has Sous Vide functionality.
- The Pro has a timed natural release reminder that reminds you to release pressure. The reminder can be set to 5 minutes or 10 minutes.
- It has a combination of buttons and a knob to control the functions.
- The Instant Pot Pro inner pot has two silicone handles which makes it so convenient to lift the inner pot. It also has a flat bottom, rather than being raised in the middle like the Duo inner pot.
Pressure Cooker Lid
- The pressure cooker lid on the Pro auto-seals so you don’t need to manually seal the lid by turning the steam release valve, unlike earlier models of the Instant Pot Duo.
- You release steam by moving the slider switch from Seal to Vent.
- Steam is released through a plastic diffuser, which makes the steam come out more softly and with less force. So it’s not as loud or scary! The newest Duo has the same switch, but the steam release does not have the diffuser.
- The Instant Pot Pro lid has QuickCool functionality. There’s a removable cover over a stainless steel area where you place an ice-filled tray. This allows the Instant Pot to cool down faster when doing a natural pressure release (NPR or NR). You need to purchase a separate QuickCool tray to use this functionality.
Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot Duo was one of the original models introduced. It’s a workhorse that is tried and tested and is the most popular model out there.
It’s budget-friendly and capable of cooking a wide variety of foods, including meat, rice, and beans. Refer to my comprehensive Duo user guide for details. Here are some highlights of this model:
- The Instant Pot Duo has a silver exterior. The display panel has a small LCD screen that only displays the time (cooking time, delay start time, or keep warm time).
- The latest Duo LCD screen has a black and silver color scheme. Older models had red or light blue font.
- The display does not show cooking progress.
- It has many smart programs but not as many as the Pro.
- It does not have the Sous Vide program.
- It doesn’t have Favorite buttons.
- The Duo has a simple control panel with only buttons.
Pressure Cooker Lid
- The pressure cooker lid on the Duo has undergone a design change. The older version is still being sold on amazon and many retailers. The newest version is available at some retailers including on the Instant Pot website.
- In older models, you have to manually move the steam release handle on the lid to the Sealing position in order to pressure cook (see the left image above). It’s easy to forget to do this, which results in the Instant Pot not sealing. On these older models, you release steam by manually turning the steam release handle from Sealing to Venting position.
- In the latest model, the lid auto-seals and you release steam by moving a slider switch from Seal to Vent position, which is so much easier (see the right image above). However, it doesn’t have the diffuser that the Instant Pot Pro has.
- Some older models have a button, which works similarly to the slider switch.
Instant Pot Pro vs Duo Comparison
The following table compares all the important features and smart programs of the Pro and Duo. Every Instant Pot has smart programs (presets) that allow you to perform a cooking function with just the press of a button.
Note: the Duo being compared in the table below is the newest model that has a redesigned lid with a switch and auto-seal.
|6, 8 quart
|3, 6, 8 quart
|– Auto seal
|– Release pressure with switch
|– Status icons in the display panel
|– Extra sealing ring
|– Timed natural release
|– QuickCool lid
|– Flat- bottom inner pot with handles
|– Cooking progress bar
|– Extra sealing ring
|– Favorite buttons
|SMART PROGRAMS /
|– Pressure Cook
|– Soup | Soup/Broth
|– Beef | Meat/Stew
|– Beans | Bean/Chili
|– Chicken | Poultry
|– White Rice
|– Brown Rice
|– Slow Cook
|– Multigrain **
** Multigrain on the Duo has a presoak feature when “MORE” is selected.
Instant Pot Pro Advantages
- Diffused steam release
- Timed natural release
- QuickCool feature
- Flat-bottomed inner pot with handles
- Cooking progress bar in the display panel
- Sous Vide program
- Extra custom programs
- Extra sealing ring
- Auto seal and quick release with switch
- Favorite buttons
Diffused Steam Release
The steam release mechanism on the Instant Pot Pro consists of a steam release cover that goes over the steam release valve and it causes the steam to come out in a less forceful, difffused manner.
✅ I really like this feature! It’s nice to have the steam come out diffused.
Timed Natural Release
There are many ways to release pressure. If you choose to do a timed natural release, the Instant Pot Pro allows you can set the timer to remind you release pressure manually 5 minutes or 10 minutes after pressure cooking is complete.
✅ It’s a useful feature, but you could easily just set a timer on your phone to remind you to release the pressure.
In order to release pressure naturally, the Instant Pot has to cool down. The QuickCool feature of the Instant Pot Pro lid allows the natural release to be sped up by placing ice in the QuickCool tray and placing the tray on the metal part of the lid.
✅ It’s a handy feature that allows you to naturally release pressure in a fraction of the time. However, I don’t think it’s essential. As a matter of fact, I don’t use it that often because I usually just let the pressure release on its own and go about my day.
At the bottom of the display of the Instant Pot Pro there is a cooking progress bar that shows you whether the Instant Pot is in Preheating, Cooking, or Keep Warm mode and how far along it is in each of those stages.
✅ The progress bar is useful. But if you don’t have it, you can tell how far into the Cooking or Keep Warm mode you’re in, based on the time displayed. It’s harder to tell how far into the Preheating stage you’re in without the progress bar.
Sous vide allows you to cook foods at low temperatures over long periods of time. The result is perfectly cooked and tender food. The Pro has this feature.
✅ Sous vide is great for cooking steaks and other meats. While the function is a useful cooking technique, it’s not used by most Instant Pot users.
Extra Custom Programs
The Instant Pot Pro has many sub-programs within each smart program. For example, the Rice smart program, in turn, has White Rice and Brown Rice.
✅ The smart programs and sub programs are all just presets i.e. easy one-touch settings that don’t require any extra buttons to be pressed. Anything that you can do with them can be done with the Pressure Cook smart program.
Extra Sealing Ring
It’s nice to have an extra sealing ring to use when you’re cooking desserts. It’s also nice to have a spare one on hand in case your sealing ring gets damaged.
✅ Extra sealing rings are available for purchase for less than ten dollars.
Auto Seal and Quick Release with Switch
The Pro has a convenient feature called auto seal that seals the Instant Pot without having to manually turn a handle to the sealing position. Closing the lid automatically puts a slider switch into the Seal position. Release pressure by moving the slider switch from Seal to Vent.
The older Duo model doesn’t have auto seal or the slider switch. However, the Duo has undergone a design change where the redesigned lid auto-seals and has a slider switch that allows you to release pressure easily.
✅ I really like the auto-seal and switch for releasing pressure. If you’re comparing the Pro with a newer Duo model, this is a moot issue. The older Duo model is still widely sold and the new version may not be available at many retailers.
The Instant Pot Pro allows you to save your most-used settings using the Favorite buttons. There are five favorite buttons that you can program.
✅ It’s a nice feature, but I don’t think it’s essential.
Instant Pot Duo Advantages
- Availability of spare parts
- 3 quart size
Availability of Spare Parts
The Instant Pot Duo has been out for a long time and there are plenty of extra parts easily available. The Pro has a specially designed lid and inner pot and they’re not as easily available. You cannot use lids meant for other models on the Pro.
✅ There is a Facebook group where you might be able to find Instant Pot spare parts.
The Duo is a more economical option and it has all the important functions you would need. The extras that come with the Instant Pot Pro are just that: extras. If you get the Duo, it’ll pressure cook foods just as well as the Pro does.
✅ If cost is an important consideration and you can’t get the Instant Pot Pro for a sale price, the Duo is a perfectly good choice.
3 Quart Size
The Instant Pot Duo comes in three sizes and if you’re looking for a smaller Instant Pot for a dorm room, RV, or other small space, the 3 quart is a great choice. The Instant Pot Pro does not come in the 3 quart size (as of now).
✅ I find that the 6 quart is the perfect size for most people’s needs. But the 3 quart is great as a second Instant Pot or for making sides.
Bottom Line: Which Model is Better?
Get the Pro If…
- You want the diffused steam release feature
- You’d like to know the stage of cooking
- You want the ability to speed up the natural release process with the QuickCool feature (QuickCool tray sold separately)
- You like bells and whistles and upgrades
- You want a more attractive and sophisticated design
- Price is not the most important factor, or the Pro is on sale
- You plan to use the Instant Pot extensively
- You would like the Sous Vide capability
Get the Duo If…
- You don’t want to pay a premium price for the Pro
- You want a 3 quart Instant Pot
- You want a basic multicooker that has the most important functions
- You don’t need Sous Vide
- You plan to use the Instant Pot occasionally