The Instant Pot DUO — the model that sells like hotcakes on Amazon Prime Day every year — has 28,075 five-star reviews. I haven't left my own rating, but if I did, I probably would also give it five stars. I use my machine to make hard-boiled eggs once a week and, lots of other times, to cook ribs, chicken broth, and more in a fraction of the stovetop cooking time.
With sales in the millions, and thousands of customer reviews on Amazon, it's clear many find immense value in this product. (This device has gone from cult-favorite cooking gadget to an expected tool in a well-equipped home kitchen.) But not everyone feels so positively about the machine. Some folks might consider it no better than their regular stovetop pressure cooker, or even their slow cooker. And some folks (1,486 people, to be exact) have found the small appliance worthy of only a one-star review.
Even after dozens and dozens of beautifully cooked hard-boiled eggs, I still wondered what those people had to say and what I could learn from their not-so-favorable reviews. So I looked!
I sifted through these reviews and found that, for the most part, people who felt compelled to leave a one-star review were equally incensed about the way they were treated by the company's customer service process as they were by the product's physical issue.
Turns out, a lot of these reviewers complained that their appliances broke or didn't work as advertised. And then, many said it was nearly impossible to get a helpful customer service representative.
I can't speak to that experience myself, and nor could many of the people I spoke to about dealing with the company's customer service. But before you can get to the customer service department, you need to have a reason to think they will help you. This brings us to the biggest lesson I took away from the one-star reviews: The manufacturer's warranty on the product is something you should read.
A Closer Look at the Instant Pot's Warranty
When you buy a new item — say, a small kitchen tool or some other comparable piece of tech around the $80 mark — do you check the warranty? I never think to, but all the one-star reviews have inspired me to start. What happens if things go wrong? Most of the time we're so excited about the new thing we bought, the idea of it not working out is the last thing we're considering. So in the rare case that you do find yourself with a faulty product, you check the receipt and check the warranty because if you paid money for something, you expect it to work — or to be compensated for that inconvenience or loss. When that feels compromised in any way, you're going to get noisy about it.
Here's what the online version of the Instant Pot warranty has to say: "Instant Pot Company (the "IPC") warrants this appliance to be free from defects in workmanship and material, under normal residential use, for a period of one (1) year from the date of purchase. This warranty extends only to the original purchaser and use in USA and Canada."
One year feels pretty generous to me — especially if you're not buying an extended repair plan. That's easy to say as an Instant Pot user who is well past the one-year mark with a machine that's still going strong. Even if I had this info when I first bought the Instant Pot, it would have made no difference. The allure of the multicooker was strong. But I'm newly tuned into looking up what the warranty is on my purchases from here on out. And even more in tune to how some can find the process of redeeming a warranty to be manipulative.
So here's the unexpected lesson from that question of what the one-star reviews had to say: Check the warranties on items before you buy them. Understand how they are handled by the company. It's worth the extra few minutes to be informed about it. Can't say that was something I would have done before.
For the many of you who already have this in practice, a few questions: Have you used warranties on your kitchen gadgets to successfully get a product repaired or replaced? What companies or brands have you found to be really good about that sort of thing? Who could do better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.