Shopping for Pressure Cookers: Any Recommendations?

After your stories last week about cooking quick meals in the pressure cooker, we're thinking of buying our own! What features do you find handy on your pressure cooker? Here's what we've been thinking about...

We were very relieved to discover that pressure cookers have come a long way since the frightening cookers our parents had, which sometimes had the tendency to burst and spout steam up to the ceiling. These days, pressure is controlled by spring-valves - much safer than the old jiggle-tops!

After looking around, we think we'd prefer a cooker made of stainless steel (instead of aluminum or other metals) for durability and better heat distribution. A few sites recommended heat-proof handles, but it seems to us that most cookers have this anyway. A timer would be handy, but isn't essential - after all, we have plenty of timers in our kitchen!

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The Fagor Duo 8-Quart Pressure Cooker was recommended by Cook's Illustrated and several other sites we visited. It's big enough to handle larger recipes and reviewers say it's very easy to use.

Fagor Duo 8-Quart Pressure Cooker, $89.95 on Amazon.

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The Kuhn Rikon line of pressure cookers also comes recommended by several sites, although Cook's Illustrated had some serious reservations about its user-friendliness. At nearly double the price of any other model, we'd want a little more assurance from regular users of this brand before buying.

Kuhn Rikon 7-Liter Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, $186.84 on Amazon.

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The Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker was often mentioned as a best value. While smaller, it's half the price of the Fagor. And smaller isn't necessarily bad - we could still cook up some beans or a small pot roast.

Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, $43.99 from Amazon.

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We're also tempted by the Presto 23-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. The huge capacity would come in very handy for canning, though we feel like it might end up being too big for much else. The pot itself would be great for making fresh stock, though!

Presto 23-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, $89.94 on Amazon.

Any other suggestions or recommendations from folks who own pressure cookers?

Related: Dutch Oven Round-Up

(All images via Amazon.com)