Pressure cookers run the price gamut from $50 to $200 or more. Today's cookers are generally all safe, but other features, including size and material, set them apart. Here are some basic guidelines for finding the model that's right for you:

  • It's better to shop at a store where you can feel the handles and make sure the model you buy is comfortable for you to lift.

  • Most recipes call for a cooker that is at least 6 quarts in size. Buy one that size or bigger.

  • Experts recommend selecting a pressure cooker made by one of the major kitchen brands.

  • Look for a pressure cooker with two pressure levels (high and low) for more controlled cooking.

  • Buy a heavy stainless steel model with a thick, heavy bottom, which will help prevent scorching and hot spots. Stainless steel is a bit more expensive that the aluminum alternatives, but it holds up better over time.

  • Consider an electric model. These plug into an outlet and don't take up a burner on your stovetop. They also take the guesswork out of adjusting the heat to maintain pressure. These do it at the touch of a button.