This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
With pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, warmer and sauté functionality, the trendy Instant Pot multicooker has become a mainstay for home cooks and holiday hosts looking for a quick way to get dinner done. Instant Pot deals and discounts come in fast and furious around this time of year, so we’re keeping track of the absolute best sales on Instant Pot, quality knock-off brands and other multicookers.Read more: Get a meal kit subscription to start your new year off rightWondering how to spot a multicooker deal? Instant Pots come in more variations than laptops, it seems, and pricing is often all over the map. The good news is that the holiday season is the best time to buy, whether you’re getting a real Instant Pot or one of the many (still capable) knockoff brands. The main rule: $50 to $70 is the sweet spot for a 6-quart Instant Pot deal — unless it has a rad Star Wars paint job, of course. Most Instant Pots come in 3-, 6- and 8-quart sizes, with the 6-quart models being the most popular for families. For a single person or even a couple, you could easily get away with a three-quart.
I mean, I don’t know what the competition is, but this has to be the most obvious kitchen appliance and classic movie collaboration in history. The Instant Pot Duo already looks like R2-D2, even without the hilarious paint job. Practicality meets whimsy in a pitch-perfect gift for the Star Wars fan on your list. Oh, and it’s $20 off right now plus free shipping at (John) Williams Sonoma.
The Viva appears to be an offshoot of the popular Duo model with the addition of sous vide and cake-making (!) options, according to Instantpotology. This Instant Pot does just about everything you’d want or need a multicooker to do and under $50 is about as low as you’ll see it go. It features 15 cook settings: soup, meat/stew, chili, cake, egg, slow cook, pressure cook, saute, rice, multigrain, steam, sterilize, porridge, warm and yogurt. Again, 6 quarts is the most popular size: It’s large enough to cook for groups but not so huge that you’ll find it difficult to store. It also has OverHeat Protection, a safety lock to ensure safe pressure cooking.
This Insignia multicooker does all the key things an Instant Pot does, but you’ll pay a third of the price. It also scores high marks in a whopping 3,000-plus verified purchase reviews, so don’t stress if you’re not as familiar with the brand name. We’ve done the digging and this discounted multicooker checks out. The larger 8-quart version of this same model is also on sale, also down to $40 right now. This larger size would be great if you’ve got a lot of hungry mouths to feed and need a serious shortcut.
This model is the update on Instant Pots’ all-time best-seller, the Instant Pot Duo. It may not have all the bells, whistles and cooking presets that the brand has added to premium models, but it will absolutely do everything you expect your Instant Pot to do. This multicooker has seven main functions: It’s a slow cooker, pressure cooker, sauté pan, warmer, rice cooker, steamer and yogurt maker. Perhaps most importantly, it has the necessary safety functions to ensure there are no unexpected kitchen fireworks or appearances on the evening news. The 6-quart is the most popular size, ideal for families and those cooking for groups. If you’re looking for the larger 8-quart size, Target has the 8-quart Duo Nova also down to $60 right now.
Read more: Best Instant Pot accessories for 2020
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