This article would discuss two primary types of pressure cookers : Electric and Stovetop. We’ll try and figure out what’s the best deal over the two and what to choose for personal needs. The idea to buy one could be intended for different purposes such as travel and economic, quality and speed. Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Stovetop Pressure Cookers
A Stovetop Pressure cooker uses the flame of the stove to ignite the evaporation process. The steam pressure then does the rest of the job. The Stovetop Pressure cookers are cheaper than electric cookers and that needs some reasoning. It’s largely because Stovetop Pressure cookers most often lack customisation. These are the conventional pressure cookers with a simple mechanism. This continues to be the most used pressure cooker though people are switching to the electric models fast, and we’ll know why.
Electric Pressure Cookers
An electric Pressure cooker as the name suggests is one that uses electricity to generate the steam pressure. The mechanism is pretty obvious. The electric power heats up the pot and the liquid inside begins to evaporate. The evaporated steam then begins to build up pressure which softens and moisturizes the food inside. Electric Pressure cookers come with different sensors such as thermometer and barometer to sense the pressure build-up and cooking conditions. You can change the conditions to speed-up/slow the cooking process.
Some features of electric pressure cookers:
Some of the electric pressure cookers come with a timer that you can set or schedule your cooking at. You can simply put all the content into the pot, and schedule a time. This is useful when you’re working and want to have cooked food whenever you get home. You don’t wanna start cooking from scratch and stay hungry. So, you can simply schedule a time, say half an hours before you reach home and the cooker will start cooking on its own without further instructions. This feature isn’t available on all models however and only there for those that are high-end.
The thermometer on the panel is typically useful for controlling the temperature. Some foods are specifically instructed to be cooked at specific temperatures. With an electric pressure cooker, you have the luxury of moderating the temperature to the required figure. This is something that you’d miss out with a stovetop cooker. Also, the thermometer can also guide you about when to disconnect the power.
A barometer is a device used to measure the pressure. You can use this to moderate pressure inside the pot, just like the thermometer used to moderate temperature. The pressure can be increased or decreased to speed up or slow the cooking time.
These are a set of built-in lights to show if the food is being cooked or is cooked already. The lights are normally coloured in yellow/green and red. One of them means that the cooking is in progress. The other means the completion of cooking. This gives you an idea of the progress of your cooking so that you can switch off the power when it’s cooked.
The stovetop pressure cookers require heat regulation. You need to know when to get your flame simmer. But with an electric pressure cooker, all this comes automated. The cooker automatically speeds up heating and slows it down over time. This is the least you should worry about. This is the reason a cook would want to have few experiences before being able to actually tell when to increase the flame and when to decrease, whereas even a rookie can start with an electric cooker right away.
Now this is a key takeaway feature of the device. Some of the stovetop pressure cookers come with auto disconnect feature. To explain, as soon as your food is properly cooked, the cooker will turn off the power intake. This is useful for those who’re forgetful and don’t wanna bother about having to babysit your cooker everytime. This feature is a true power-saver. This isn’t a guaranteed feature for all the models.
Differences in their build quality and material
Electric pressure cookers are mostly made up of heat-resistant plastic. The use of thermal-resistant plastic makes it easy to handle since plastic is a poor conductor of heat. You don’t have the chance of accidental burns while handling the cooker.
The stovetop cookers however are mostly made up of stainless steel. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and iron is a good conductor of heat. So these cookers have to be handled properly. When it’s hot, you can only touch the rubber cover on its handle.
Let’s now get into the different comparisons of these two cookers and see what fares the best in different categories :
Ease of cooking
It totally depends upon your take of the headline. If ease of cooking to you means handling the process, then it’s gotta be Stovetop pressure cookers, and it’s due to the fact that you don’t require any rocket sciences to operate one. But with electric pressure cookers, you have to have the knowledge of some basics of what pressure cooks what food, and what time would it take. Also, you gotta be careful about customising your pressures when cooking.
But, if you’re okay with all that then electric pressure cookers are easy to work with, because you can know the exact time it’d take for your cooker to complete the cooking, and meanwhile you could adjust the time.
Quality of cooked food
Now this is totally a matter of expertise and cannot have a conclusive answer. For newbie learners, electric cookers would be a better option since you get to know the exact time your food would get ready to eat. This makes the chances of discolouring the food by overheating it less. Since most of the electric cookers are automated, the heating stops on its own. But the Stovetop pressure cookers require you to have a watch every now and then and make sure your food isn’t overcooked.
But, it’s also quite interesting to see how the chefs in cooking reality shows most often use a stovetop- maybe it has to do something with the taste or maybe it hasn’t. Who knows though ?
The speed of a pressure cooker can be understood from its mechanism directly. The cooker which can build up steam pressure faster can boil the eatables quicker. So, the electric pressure cookers can speed up the cooking by changing the pressure conditions inside. Also, you can see the estimated cooking time on the panel.
But, here’s a catch. An electric pressure cooker though customisable isn’t the sole winner. It’s because the flame of gas heats up the liquid faster than any household electric power could. So, Stovetop pressure cookers are the go-to pressure cookers whenever speed solely is the matter of concern.
Durability / Life Time Value and Maintenance
The Stovetop pressure cookers outrightly win this thread, and know why. The electric pressure cooker comes with different electronic components stuffed inside. The power is used to heat these heating elements which discharge the heat to the food inside. But, the mechanism inside a Stovetop pressure cooker is fairly easy, that is, there’s no stringent mechanism. You are simply supplying the heat to boil the water inside using the conducting walls of the container. That makes the Stovetop pressure cookers more durable in the long-run.
Furthermore, the components inside an electric cooker are subject to breakdowns in the long run. Also, many of these components are irreplaceable and incompatible to going with every pot. That requires you to buy a new set when it’s broken.
Electric Pressure Cookers can cost twice to thrice of their Stovetop counterparts. They come with a digital Panel coupled with different intelligent sensors and measuring tools. You can adjust the pressure and temperature. All these advancements add up to their cost of purchase.
Also, the extra electricity bills can be another factor of economical no-no. Although you’d still require gas for your stovetop pressure cooker, we can totally conclude that stovetop cookers are more economical than those that are electric.
The electric cookers can be carried anywhere with you. This is useful for travels and commuting. A gas however isn’t mobile and that makes stovetop cookers less useful. All you need with an electric pressure cooker is an electric socket to charge up the pot and that’s it. So if you’re someone who needs a cooker simply for travelling, you have to go with the electric cookers.
Buying one: Are you a student or a homemaker ?
Being a student has to do with living somewhere with shared acquaintances. You mightn’t have a source of gas at where you’re put in to study. This is when you need an electric pressure cooker, because you’re certainly going to find an electric socket everywhere. No hassle of worrying about gas and a stove, simply put all the ingredients inside and power the pot and wait for the food to get cooked. That also applies for a traveller. You cannot have gas everywhere and that leaves you no better choice than an electric cooker.
If you’re someone who’s in need of a cooker for your house, then you’ve to go through all that’s mentioned above and down-under to figure out the best for you, since both the options lay open for you.
Choosing a size
Choosing the correct fit to your needs of a pressure cooker is absolutely important. You wouldn’t wanna get yourself a smaller storage cooker that’d make you cook the same content twice, which is inefficient and time-consuming. You also wouldn’t wanna get yourself a ridiculously big pressure cooker when you’re a small family, for extra money. What exactly is the correct size then?
Well, for a family of 4-5 people, the correct size would be 6 Quarts. This is the standard size that you see in most of the kitchens. But, if you’re a student who’s in need of a cooker for just yourself, or your inmate included, then a size of 4 Quarts should suffice. Anything larger than a family of 5 would need more than 7 Quarts of capacity. This is when your cooking needs are basic : rice, beans and meat.
Recommendations for cooking
If you’re looking to learn using a pressure cooker, the article will try explaining it from scratch. Your pressure cooker has a certain mechanism that we’ve already discussed. The steam pressure gathers up and pressurizes the food to absorb moisture and seasoning and swell, which we consider cooked. You have to be careful with the amount of raw food you pour in the pot because correspondingly similar amounts of water has to be added to steam the food. I’ve written water because most of the food requires cooking with water. Different food requires a different approach and for this article I’m gonna be talking about the most cooked food using a pressure cooker, rice.
For rice to be properly cooked, you need to soak it in water for sometime and leave. The rice when sufficiently soaked absorbs water and swells. Now pour the rice in the cooker and add some water. Make sure you check the capacity of your cooker for the rice to be properly cooked.
For a stovetop pressure cooker, watch out for the whistle and the gas escaping the vent to realise the rice is cooked. For an electric cooker, you are notified digitally through panels. You have to be careful when using a Stovetop pressure cooker to not overheat the rice because it may get burnt and discoloured.
Conclusion and future trends
All the fore-mentioned points can be wholesomely considered as a reference guide in knowing what to buy. There are different individual reasons on which type to select depending upon your needs. With travelling it’s a no-brainer to use electric cookers while for speedy cooking, you gotta give it to stovetop cookers. However with all the recent improvisations being made to all the gadgets that are there, and people looking to choose some that’d make their lives easy, the electric cookers come out on the top.
One of the key features that make an electric cooker stand-out against the rival is delayed start. We’ve talked about this earlier in detail and this has to be one big reason to choose one. You can simply choose to schedule your cooking upto 12 hours from the time you choose.
With everything being more digital and automated, the electric pressure cooker is bound to be more useful in near future. It’s sales are already beginning to replace the stovetop cookers, though a complete toppling is far from present. This is all that pretty much sums up this comparison, here and everywhere else.