Being one of the most utilized cookware in a kitchen, a pressure cooker is something you may not want to stinge on. Some of the best pressure cookers in India, for example, cost about Rs. 2-2.5K, while a cheaper variety may cost about Rs. 1.5K. The superior quality cooker will last for at least 6-7 years without needing any repair or maintenance. But an inferior quality cooker might not even last for 3-4 years without giving trouble. So, should we really try saving five hundred rupees by sacrificing peace of mind and durability? It is common sense. Isn’t it?
Not to mention, the health hazards. If you check out stainless steel utensils at a shop, you will find different varieties at a varied price range. I have used cookware on both ends of the pricing spectrum and what I have found is that the cheaper varieties start rusting (yes, even though it is “stainless steel”) quickly or its chrome coating peels off, while the expensive ones last for years without causing any problem. It is anyone’s guess that cooking with poor-quality cookware is detrimental to your health in the long run. Also, certain brands sell cheap pressure cookers without adhering to BIS standards.
With this article, we help you understand what are the most important aspects to look at when buying a pressure cooker. We have also tried out 7 of the top-selling pressure cookers to help you understand which one suits your needs the best.
If you want a quick glance at our recommendations, here it is-
Overall, our top recommendation is Hawkins, followed by Prestige. We really love Hawkins for its excellent durability and performance. The aftersales service is also fairly good. Prestige too is a fairly good option to consider. But, its gasket and handles lack the durability that Hawkins has. Moreover, if you think about it, Prestige spends a lot more on advertisements compared to Hawkins. Even then, they are close in terms of market share because Hawkins is sold to a great extent on word-of-mouth publicity. Most users are quite satisfied with Hawkins and return back to it. Prestige’s aftersales service network, though extensive, sometimes receives flak for being unprofessional.
We would have recommended Stahl too if they had a wider after-sales service network. If you purely compare the product quality, Stahl is as good as Hawkins and Prestige in terms of cooking performance, ease of use and built quality. But you have to buy the parts from the manufacturer and get them repaired from a local shop when a need arises.
Which Are The Best Pressure Cookers In India?
|Model||Available Capacities*||Net capacity of the 3 Litre |
|Thickness of Body||Ease of Use||Spillage Control||Built Quality & |
|Prestige Svachh Pressure Cooker||1.5 to 10 litres||2.5 L||1.2 mm||8.5/10||9/10||8.5/10|
|Hawkins Stainless Steel Contura Pressure Cooker||1.5 to 10 litres||3 L||1.2 mm||8.5/10||9/10||9/10|
|Stahl Xpress Triply Pressure Cooker||1 to 5 litres||2.75L||2.5 mm||9/10||8/10||9/10|
|Prestige Clip-On Pressure Cooker||2, 3 and 5 litre||3 L||1.2 mm||9/10||9/10||8.5/10|
|Butterfly Curve Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker||3 and 3.5 litres||2.4 L||1.2 mm||9/10||8/10||8/10|
|Pigeon Inox Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker||2, 3 and 5 litres||2.5 L||0.8mm||8/10||8/10||8/10|
|Vinod Platinum Triply Pressure Cooker||2 to 5 litres||–||1.2 mm||8/10||9/10||8/10|
Table of Contents
- Our Recommendations
- Which Are The Best Pressure Cookers In India?
- How We Tested?
- Best Pressure Cookers In India
- Prestige Svachh Pressure Cooker
- Hawkins Stainless Steel Contura Pressure Cooker
- Stahl Triply Xpress Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- Prestige Clip-on Pressure Cooker
- Butterfly Curve Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- Pigeon Inox Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- Vinod Triply Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- How To Choose A Pressure Cooker?
How We Tested?
We have tried 7 of the top-selling brands of pressure cookers in India for this article. We bought most of them in 3-litre capacity, with the exception of Vinod pressure cooker which we had already bought earlier in 5-litre capacity.
First and foremost, we recorded the physical parameters like size, weight, net capacity, thickness etc. Then, to check whether there were any drastic difference in its cooking performance, we heated 1 litre of water at a set temperature and checked how long it took for the cooker to release the first pressure whistle. While Prestige and Stahl took just around 7.5 minutes, Butterfly took a minute more.
We also cooked 250 gm of rice for 3 whistles on a high flame. We checked the temperature after an hour to understand how well the cooker was able to retain heat. Higher the heat retention capacity of the cookware, the higher the fuel saved. We also checked how much water was spilled through the valve to assess the spillage control of each pressure cooker. We also repeated the same using dal, which usually has a higher spillage.
Further, we used each pressure cooker for 1 week in a regular kitchen to understand how easy was it to use and clean on a day-to-day setting. Then, we gave the cookers to our friends and family so that we can update the article in future about its long-term performance.
You may also like our article on Best Air Fryers In India
Best Pressure Cookers In India
|Excellent built quality.|
|Spills from the vent get contained in the lid mostly|
|Pressure indicator is helpful as you needn’t pull the weight to check if the pressure is completely released.|
|The lid is too tight initially and needs to be pushed down to lock it properly.|
|Aftersales service in some areas lack professionalism|
Prestige Svachh Pressure cookers come in various designs, materials and sizes. The one we tried is the Prestige Svachh 3 litre Deluxe Alpha Pressure cooker made of stainless steel.
First of all, though the product description states a 3-litre capacity, it actually has just 2.75 litre net capacity. Just like most other options, it comes with a sandwich bottom ( or disc bottom). The only exception is Stahl Xpress pressure cooker, which comes with a triply construction.
The body of the pressure cooker made of 304-grade stainless steel measures 1.2mm in thickness. We found the cooker and the handle to be fairly sturdy. The lid is a bit tight initially and it doesn’t smoothly glide and close. A few users however say that this becomes easier with time, once the gasket gets a bit loose. A feature you specifically find only in Prestige is the pressure indicator which rises up when pressure is built up and falls when it is de-pressurized. You find it in their normal as well as clip-on pressure cookers.
Talking about the cooking performance, it is pretty much the standard you can expect. With all pressure cookers, we measure the time it takes for the first whistle when boiling 1-litre water and it was a standard 7.5 minutes. Even for cooking rice, dal and other food items, it took a standard time which was pretty much similar to other pressure cookers.
Now, for the biggest question- How svachh is the Svacch Pressure Cooker? Well, it doesn’t spill out a lot and make a mess, provided you don’t overfill the pressure cooker.
Ideally, you should fill the cooker only to 2/3rd its height and 1/2 if you are cooking rice or food that expands. Just like any other pressure cooker, it froths a bit when cooking dal and some of that escapes through the tube vent to the lid. As the lid is hot, this froth evaporates in no time and doesn’t make a mess.
But if you have overfilled the cooker, a considerable quantity of starchy water spills out. The main difference in Svachh models is the slight indent on the lid, which Prestige calls a deep lid. If a lot of water spills out, that slight indent wouldn’t be enough to contain that mess. But if you have added just the right quantity of water, then there wouldn’t be any mess that all. We find that compared to options like Stahl, Butterfly and Pigeon, it doesn’t really make a huge mess.
The product is fairly easy to clean. But, as the interiors and exteriors have a mirror finish, they are prone to scratches. The pressure cooker is dishwasher friendly too.
Talking about the aftersales service availability, spares can be found in almost all kitchen shops and they do have the necessary expertise for repairing too. Prestige too has a fairly good aftersales network. They offer a 10-year warranty on the product too. But, Prestige recommends changing the gasket and the valve every year and that is not covered in the warranty.
The Prestige Svachh pressure cooker is available in stainless steel, aluminium and hard anodized aluminium. It is also available in different designs like pan-shaped, tall and the Nakshatra series which comes with an inner lid like Hawkins.
|Highly durable and excellent built quality|
|Being an inner-lid pressure cooker, it has a higher net capacity.|
|Available in sizes up to 22 litres.|
|Some people find it difficult to lock the inner lid correctly.|
Having used Hawkins pressure cooker for over a decade, it has simply won our hearts. And the best part is that over these years, we never had to change any of the spares. Of course, this may be an exception. But generally, Hawkins products do have a higher level of durability and credibility, unlike other brands.
Just like Prestige, Hawkins stainless steel Contura too has a 1.2mm thick body made of 304-grade stainless steel with a sandwich bottom. Comparatively, it is a bit more lightweight than Prestige. But this is not because of poor construction, but because inner lids generally are more lightweight than outer lids.
Talking specifically about the 3 litre Hawkins Contura pressure cooker, it measured exactly 3 litres in net capacity. Most other brands state 3 litres as gross capacity and their net capacity is around 10-20% lesser.
The cooking performance is almost at par with other options. Provided you don’t overfill the cooker more than 2/3rd of its capacity, it doesn’t spill over and cause a mess.
The stainless steel pressure cooker’s exteriors have a mirror finish, while the interiors have a matte finish. The manufacturers say it is not dishwasher friendly. This is probably because the upper handle on the lid has an anodized finish that dulls when cleaned in a dishwasher. Otherwise, we have been washing it in the dishwasher for over two years without any problem.
Just like Prestige, Hawkins Contura is also available in a variety of sizes and materials. You can opt for it in aluminium, stainless steel or anodized aluminium. They are available in tall, wide and regular shapes.
|Thicker body compared to all other options.|
|Excellent built quality.|
|Slightly better heat retention which makes cooking faster and more fuel efficient|
|Lid is easy to close and open.|
|Water spills out a lot from the vent pipe.|
|Aftersales service is limited.|
While most other pressure cookers come with a stainless steel body that measures about 1.2mm thickness, Stahl has a triply construction which measures 2.5mm thickness. Triply, for the uninitiated, means it has a layer of magnetic stainless steel on the outside and food-grade 304 stainless steel on the inside as the cooking surface with a thick layer of aluminium in between the two.
They don’t have a sandwich base. Instead, the whole body itself is fairly thick. The 3-litre pressure cooker has a 2.75-litre net capacity.
The built quality of Stahl pressure cooker is simply excellent. The gasket is made of silicone and you can slide and close the lid of the pressure cooker effortlessly. Comparatively, we have found that Prestige and Vinod’s lids are tight and don’t fit correctly in the initial days. The helper handle is also quite wide, making it easy to hold.
One of its advantages is that it consumes lesser oil for sauteing and has better heat retention compared to regular pressure cookers. A drawback however is that when cooking dal and rice, the froth spills out a lot from the tube vent causing a mess on the stovetop.
We made dal in the Stahl pressure cooker let it boil for 2 whistles and then let it cool down for an hour and a half. We found the dal was well cooked compared to what was cooked in a normal pressure cooker. Also, the temperature of the dal was about 20% higher than what was in the normal cooker, indicating better heat retention. Even oil consumption for sauteing onions was comparatively less. You can read more about the comparison here.
Stahl triply pressure cookers sell at about 10-20% premium compared to the regular options from Hawkins and Prestige. But considering the superior built quality, ease of use and cooking efficiency, you find that it does have some advantages for the money spent.
Obviously, Stahl doesn’t have a wide aftersales service network like Prestige or Hawkins. But their customer service is responsive. Stahl sells spare parts on their website which you can buy and get fixed from nearby shops. They also have dealers in many cities.
Related reading: Stahl Cookware Review
|Extremely easy to open and close.|
|Spills from the vent get contained in the lid.|
|Doubles up as a serving dish too.|
|Higher net capacity compared to regular pressure cookers.|
|The lid is difficult to clean|
|Many users complain of defective pieces being sold. However, we can’t affirm the same from our experience.|
|The knob on the lid gets too hot. So you need to hold a towel to open the lid immediately after cooking.|
Prestige was the first to come with clip-on lids that are different compared to regular options. The main advantage is that you can fix the lid in any orientation and rotate the knob to lock it. In addition to the pressure weight, there is an opening which is a cleaning window to clean the space under the lid clamp. Also, you get a normal lid with the cooker- so you can use it as an elegant serving dish or a Kadai. The lid’s handle has a groove on which you can keep the ladle.
We had mentioned that the normal Prestige pressure cooker has just a 2.75-litre net capacity though the product description mentioned 3 litres. But the clip-on model has precisely 3-litre of net capacity itself. Just like the regular pressure cookers from Prestige, it too has a pressure indicator that rises when pressure is built in.
A lot of reviews mention that steam leaks from the sides, the pressure indicator and the valve. We have used it on an almost daily basis for over 3 months and were unable to find such an issue. But considering that this is a problem reported by many users, you may have to be wary about receiving a defective piece. So, use it extensively in the initial days and ensure that you have got a perfect piece.
We have noticed that steam tends to leak a little bit from the gasket and the pressure indicator initially. But once the cooker is pressurized and the indicator rises, the leak stops. So, we think it is important that you keep the cooker on a high flame till it is pressurized.
A drawback with the design is that the knob that you need to turn to unlock the cooker gets fairly hot. So, if you plan to open the cooker as soon as the pressure is released or manually release and open the lid, you have to be careful not to scald yourself. Also, it is difficult to clean the lid as the liquid that overflows tend to get stuck inside the clamp.
The clip-on model is available in both stainless steel and anodized aluminium in a handi, pan-shaped and straight design.
Related reading: Prestige Clip on and Svachh Pressure Cooker Review
|Fairly good built quality|
|Lid is easy to open and close.|
|Net capacity is lower than pressure cookers from Prestige and Hawkins.|
|Spills a lot through the vent pipe.|
Butterfly offers comparatively inexpensive home appliances. Compared to Prestige and Hawkins, it comes with a little bit of compromise in terms of quality.
The pressure cooker has a gross volume of 3 litres, but a net capacity of just 2.4 litres. The body is made of stainless steel with 1.2mm thickness. But, you find puncture marks inside from fixing the handles. Also, the disc bottom is comparatively a bit thinner than Hawkins and Prestige. This probably is the reason why it takes 8.5 minutes to boil 1 litre of water, while all other options took just 7.45 minutes.
But the positive is that just like Stahl, it is quite easy to fix and remove the lid.
Talking about the cooking performance, we were able to cook dal, channa, rice and other food items with ease. It took almost the same time as other options on the list. However, the cooker spills a lot of liquid through the vent, especially when cooking dal and rice.
Overall, other than the low capacity and the black puncture marks on the body, you can’t find much of any problem with it. So, it is definitely a great choice for those who are looking for a budget-friendly option.
|Decent built quality and cooking performance|
|Comparatively thinner body.|
|Has a tendency to spill liquid from the tube vent.|
Similar to Butterfly, Pigeon is also a brand that caters to the budget-friendly market. Compared to other options we have tried so far, Pigeon Inox stainless steel cooker is a bit thinner at 0.8mm, while most others measure 1.2mm in thickness. As a result, it is also lightweight. The disadvantage of being thin is a tendency to scorch and dent and lower heat retention.
The pressure cooker is comparatively lightweight as it has a thinner body. Also, its net capacity is 2.5 litres though the product description mentions a 3-litre capacity. The handles and the gasket seem to be of fairly good built quality.
Talking about the cooking performance, it is almost at par with other options. The cooker has a tendency to spill liquid through the vent tube when making rice or if you fill more than 2/3rd of the capacity,
Overall, just like Butterfly, Pigeon Inox too is a fairly good budget-friendly pressure cooker worth considering.
|Fairly good cooking performance|
|Silicone gasket is durable.|
|Does not spill too much liquid from the vent pipe.|
|Spares are difficult to find.|
|Handles lack durability|
Vinod is yet another brand that sells triply pressure cookers. But while Stahl’s triply cookers measure 2.5mm in thickness, Vinod has just 1.2mm in thickness, which is similar to Hawkins and Prestige.
The pressure cooker body has fairly good built quality. Just like other options, it comes with a sandwich bottom. Unlike Prestige and Hawkins, Vinod has a silicone gasket. But, its handles are not quite durable. Within a few months of use, the upper handle cracked. From the user reviews, we understand that it is a common problem faced by many others too.
It is not exactly the easiest to operate. Just like Prestige, we found it fairly difficult to close the lid initially. Even after using it for almost a year, it is not as easy to use as a new Stahl or Butterfly pressure cooker.
The cooking performance is adequate. But, you have to be careful to fix the lid correctly, else there may be accidents.
The pressure cooker gives some leeway for the maximum capacity that it can hold. Even if you fill in a little more than 2/3rd of the capacity, it doesn’t spill out a lot, provided it is on a low flame. It takes a while to release the steam completely. But, food gets thoroughly cooked. So, it is not the easiest to use. But, it does the job fairly well.
The main drawback is the lack of availability of spares. Many of the spares are out of stock on Vinod Cookware’s website. Their customer service too isn’t that responsive to e-mail inquiries. When we talked with a kitchen appliance dealer in Bangalore, he was of the opinion that Vinod has a better presence in North India and not so much in the South.
How To Choose A Pressure Cooker?
The following are some of the key aspects to look at when buying a pressure cooker.
Pressure cookers are available mainly in three materials- stainless steel, aluminium and anodized aluminium. Let us look at each in detail.
Aluminium pressure cookers are the least inexpensive among the three. They are lightweight and fairly durable. But, it is not dishwasher-friendly. When washed in a dishwasher, it discolours and develops a black coating.
Many people have concerns about aluminium leaching into food and entering our system. According to research, orally ingested aluminium is excreted by the kidney. Though aluminium has a tendency to accumulate in tissues resulting in health issues, it is a cause of concern only for those who have compromised kidney functions. But if you are paranoid about it, opt for stainless steel, which is safer.
Stainless Steel pressure cookers are comparatively more expensive than aluminium. They are sturdy and heavier than aluminium too. Also, they are dishwasher-friendly. You will notice that most stainless steel pressure cookers have a disc bottom that is attached to the body. This layer helps conduct heat evenly. However, a disadvantage is that the food at the edges around the disc bottom may scorch when frying. Triply stainless steel cooker on the other hand has three layers of metal throughout the body. The layer that comes in contact with food is usually 304-grade stainless steel and the outside layer is magnetic stainless steel which makes it induction friendly. Inside, there is a thick layer of aluminium which helps conduct heat evenly.
Hard-Anodized Aluminium Pressure Cooker has an anodized aluminium body. Electric current is passed through the aluminium dipped in a chemical solution to create a durable, corrosion-resistant surface. They are comparatively more expensive than stainless steel and harder too. They heat evenly and are also easy to clean as the anodized layer has slightly better stick resistance. But, they are not dishwasher friendly. Also, over a period of time, the anodized layer may peel off exposing the aluminium underneath. At this point, you may have to discard the cooker and buy a new one.
Pressure cookers are available in a wide range of capacities varying from 1 to 22 litres. What to choose depends entirely on your cooking habits and the number of family members. Depending on the usage pattern, you may need to have 2 or 3 cookers in your kitchen. The below table gives a rough indication of what a family would need. But ensure that you buy at least one cooker in a larger size to cater to guests.
|1-2 litres||1-3 people|
|3-4 litres||4-5 people|
|5-6 litres||6-8 people|
|7-8 litres||9-11 people|
|8-9 litres||12-14 people|
Inner or Outer Lid
Pressure cookers come with either an inner or outer lid. Hawkins exclusively sells pressure cookers with inner lids. The lid needs to be inserted inside the body and then locked. The main advantage of this type of cooker is that the gasket lasts much longer. These cookers are ideal for making curries. In smaller sizes, they are not quite suitable for cooking with an idli tray or separators. For a given size, inner lid cookers have higher net capacity compared to outer lid cookers. But many people find it difficult to get the hang of inserting the lid correctly in the cooker body, resulting in steam leakage and burnt food.
Prestige predominantly sells Outer Lid Pressure cookers. However, of late, their Nakshatra range of pressure cookers imitates Hawkins style. Outer lid cookers are ideal when you want to keep separators or idli stands inside. Also, while making rice, you can remove the gasket and tilt the cooker to the side for draining the starch- something that you can’t do with inner lid cookers.
The disadvantage is that the gaskets endure high wear and tear. As a result, you may have to change it frequently. Also, they are not as safe as inner lid pressure cookers. Cases of pressure cookers bursting are extremely rare these days. But if in case such an incident occurs, the outer lid may burst open, unlike the inner lids.
Related reading: Best Nonstick Cookware In India
The shape of The Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers nowadays come in a wide variety of sizes. The three main types are- pan-shaped, straight-edged tall and handi shaped. Let us look at each in detail.
Pan Shaped Pressure cookers are wide and short. These types of cookers are best suited when you need to saute or fry something and then pressure cook it. They can also be used for regular uses like making rice, curries etc.
Straight Edged Tall Pressure Cookers have a shorter base but are tall. These types of cookers are best suited when you need to keep idli stands or food separators to cook different foods simultaneously. They too can be used for other regular uses.
Handi-shaped Pressure cookers, as the name suggests have a handi shape which manufacturers claim distributes heat evenly. But there is no proof for it. Other than the aesthetical appeal, it doesn’t have any noticeable advantages. The disadvantages are that often you cannot use separators or idli stands inside. Also, the design makes it a bit more difficult to clean. They also have a comparatively higher price than regular-shaped pressure cookers.
It is absolutely important that the pressure cooker you buy has a BIS mark on it. Pressure cookers, as you know cook food quickly by increasing the pressure inside. If in case it bursts, it could end up a disaster. All reputed brands have fail-safes that prevent such accidents. But cheap, fly-by-night operators don’t. PaytmMall, Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal were fined for selling brands like Pristine, Quba, Saransh Enterprises, Solimo and Surya Accent which don’t have ISI marks. That is why it is always recommended to buy pressure cookers from known and reputed cookware brands.
Pressure cookers endure a lot of abuse in their lifetime. From changing the valve and gasket to handles, they may need maintenance every 2-3 years. So, it is important that you have access to spares and service centres in your neighbourhood. This is one area where Hawkins and Prestige show clear strength. In almost every nook and corner you can find dealers or shops that sell these brands and have the spares and necessary expertise to repair them. Newer brands often lack this.
Keeping all these aspects in mind, here are the best pressure cookers we have shortlisted for you.
Hawkins and Prestige are the best pressure cookers in India. They have fairly good built quality, are easy to use and handle, and have a wide aftersales service network. So, spares and repairs are within access.
Stahl Xpress is one of the best triply stainless steel pressure cookers in India. It has excellent built quality with a thickness of 2.5mm. The lids are easy to close and it is overall easy to handle. The aftersales service team is fairly prompt through email queries too.
Stainless steel is the best material for pressure cookers because they are durable, safe and dishwasher friendly. They are a bit expensive, however. If price is a major point of consideration, you can opt for aluminium. But do not put them in a dishwasher or use them to cook acidic food.
First and foremost, the brand should be ISI certified with a BIS mark on the cooker. Other aspects to look at are the size, material, shape and whether it has inner or outer lid?
Inner lid cookers have more net capacity compared to outer lid ones. Also, the lid won’t burst open like outer lid pressure cookers. But the drawback is that you cannot remove the gasket and turn the pressure cooker to drain starch from the cooked rice.
Pressure cookers that adhere to BIS safety standards are the safest pressure cookers in India. Prestige however deserves a special mention for incorporating a pressure indicator in addition to the standard safety features.
Comparing the built quality and safety features, Prestige is far better than Pigeon. Moreover, Prestige has a wider network of aftersales service centres. So, you can get spares easily and repairs are within access.
All pressure cookers sold in India have a pressure limit of 1 bar. Once the pressure exceeds the level, it releases through the tube vent. Hence, all pressure cookers are more or less the same when it comes to the speed of cooking.
Out of the available options, Hawkins and Prestige are our top picks. We recommend Hawkins for making curries and Prestige for rice as you can easily drain starch from outer lid cookers. Our next best recommendation is the Stahl Xpress Triply pressure cooker. With excellent built quality and ease of use, it is worth considering. But the drawbacks are higher spillage from the vent and lack of extensive after-sales centres like Hawkins and Prestige.