Instant Pot has over a dozen models, each with a slightly different set of features, and it can be difficult to distinguish between them. Among the company’s current lineup, the Instant Pot Rio 6-quart is our favorite. It offers great performance at a reasonable price, and its tried-and-true design makes it easier to use than other multi-cookers or gimmicky smart cookers.
You may have seen the news in early June 2023 that Instant Brands, the company behind the Instant Pot, filed for bankruptcy. But the company does not plan to liquidate and has secured funding to keep it running, so for now we don’t expect to see any changes in the multi-cooker’s availability.
The Rio is a versatile time-saver in the kitchen. It’s one of Instant Pot’s more basic and affordable models, and it does everything you need it to do with ease.
The Instant Pot Rio 6-quart is simple to use and performs all the core functions, including pressure cooking, sautéing, and steaming, as effectively as (or better than) competitive models. Like all Instant Pots, it comes with a stainless steel inner pot, which is more durable than the nonstick inserts in cookers we’ve tested from many other brands.
The Rio is the latest evolution of the Instant Pot Duo, which has been our top pick since 2016. It includes the same features as the most recent Duo model, such as an auto-sealing lid and an easy steam-release switch, but with the addition of a progress indicator, anti-spin rubber grips to hold the pot in place, and a sleek black exterior.
Although you miss out on some of Instant Pot’s most advanced features, like a steam diffuser or a stove- and oven-safe inner pot, the Rio is typically the most affordable model that has all the settings that most home cooks need.
This model offers more cooking control than our top pick does, and it has upgraded features such as a huge LCD screen and an inner cooking pot with stay-cool handles for lifting the insert out.
The Instant Pot Pro 6-quart comes with a number of small but impressive upgrades that make it more enjoyable to use. Its inner pot is stovetop- and oven-safe (up to 450 °F) and has handles, a convenience that allows you to lift the pot out easily.
The Pro has a bright LCD screen that’s intuitive to use, and it includes a few extra functions that the Rio lacks, such as five customizable and savable cooking presets and a quieter steam release (though you’ll still hear and see the steam—it has to go somewhere).
The Pro also offers more fine-tuned cooking control for sautéing, with five temperature levels in contrast to three on the Rio. Another perk of the Pro is that it comes with an extra sealing ring for the lid. This model is also one of the few machines that are compatible with the QuickCool Tray (sold separately on Instant Pot’s site and on Amazon), which can cut down the depressurization time when you’re using a natural (but not quick) release.