Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Crisp (Which is Best?)

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Instant Pot makes the best pressure cookers on the planet and Ultra stands as their best for the home chef. However, it has stiff competition against Duo Crisp. Both of these offer many functions and features, but which is best with Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Crisp?

Today we’re going to compare and contrast these in terms of appliances, smart programs, accessories, and any other differences we can find.

Read on and find out which pressure cooker is best for your kitchen.

Instant Pot UltraInstant Pot Duo Crisp

Instant Pot Duo Crisp vs Ultra: Appliances

One of the most important considerations with Instant Pot Duo Crisp vs Ultra (or any other model for that matter) is the appliances. Every Instant Pot comes with multiple appliances. It’s a hallmark of the brand. They put tons of features into each one, making these the most versatile appliances ever. Don’t believe us? We recently reviewed every Instant Pot model.

Choosing the right model usually starts by checking the appliances. Sometimes two models have very similar features, but there is a big difference when it comes to Duo Crisp vs any other pressure cooker. It has functions you won’t find with the other models.

With that said, which is best here?

Let’s compare them. The appliances for each are:


AppliancesInstant Pot UltraInstant Pot Duo Crisp
Pressure CookerYesYes
Rice CookerYesNo
Slow CookerYesYes
Yogurt MakerYesNo
Cake MakerYesNo
Egg MakerYesNo
Sous VideNoYes
Air FriesNoYes

As you can see, there are some appliances that only Ultra has (rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, cake maker, sterilizer) and some that only Duo Crisp has (air fryer, dehydrator, broiler, baker, roaster, sous vide).

If you’ve seen our other Instant Pot reviews, then you know we really dive into the differences between the appliances. That’s because some features can be replicated with manual settings while others truly are unique.

Our Instant Pot Ultra review found that this model can bake, roast, and sous vide cook with the right manual settings. Broiling isn’t perfect, but you can achieve some similar results with high heat and the saute pan. However, it can’t air fry, that’s exclusive to the Duo Crisp.

Our Instant Pot Duo Crisp review found that it can cook eggs, bake cakes, and cook rice, but it struggles with sterilizing. Can you make yogurt with the Duo Crisp? Yes, you can! The sous vide feature is actually fantastic for this.

With all that being said, the big difference between the two is sterilizing and air frying.

If you’re looking to save money, then Ultra is a little more affordable and has most of the same features (though many must be accessed with the manual features). However, Duo Crisp offers more appliances in general, and who doesn’t love air frying?

Check Price: Instant Pot Duo Crisp – >

Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Crisp: Smart Programs

Just as useful as the appliances, smart programs are what really make Instant Pot smart cookers. These programs allow the computer to better manage your meal by checking moisture, heat, time, and other factors. It will then make tiny adjustments here and there so your meal turns out perfect with little effort.

In general, the more smart programs, the better. These make it easier to cook, and who doesn’t want their food to taste amazing? While you can always manually cook a meal if you don’t find a proper setting, you’ll find that smart programs are the most convenient option around.

So, which is best here between Ultra vs Crisp Duo?

The smart programs for each are:

Smart Programs

Smart ProgramInstant Pot UltraInstant Pot Duo Crisp
Pressure CookYesYes
Keep WarmYesYes
Slow CookYesYes
Sous VideNoYes
Air FryNoYes

As you might notice, Duo Crisp is a little strange with their smart programs. Things are quite unbalanced between the two.

We should explain.

Some smart programs are tied to certain ingredients for meals (like beans/chili and cake) while others are tied to appliances (like pressure cook and air fry).

Ultra is very balanced. You get smart programs for common ingredients, lots of appliance-based programs, and the fantastic Ultra smart program. This is very customizable and can be set to your exact needs in terms of time and temperature. It can also be tied to any appliance except for pressure cooking.

Duo Crisp is skewed towards appliance smart programs. This makes sense because it has more appliances than any other model, but you may find yourself using manual settings more often.

In general, we think Ultra has the best smart programs of nearly any Instant Pot, and we also agree that it’s the best for the home chef. Duo Crisp is good, but the lack of meal-based programs is a little strange in our opinion.

It can easily cook great meals, but we think Ultra is a little more flexible.

Check Price: Instant Pot Ultra – >

Instant Pot Duo Crisp vs Ultra: Size

What size Instant Pot do you need? If you’ve never owned a pressure cooker before, then choosing the right size might seem daunting. You might even delay choosing a model because you don’t know which size is appropriate for your needs.

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you which size is right and which sizes these models come in.

Instant Pot currently comes in four total sizes. However, their biggest size, the 10 quart, is only available with the Instant Pot Duo Nova 10 qt. If you’re looking for that, then check out our review of Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova.

The other sizes are 3, 6, and 8 quart.

Some models come in multiple sizes while others only come in one. The sizes you can choose from are:

Instant Pot Ultra Sizes

  • Instant Pot Ultra 3qt
  • Instant Pot Ultra 6qt
  • Instant Pot Ultra 8qt

Instant Pot Duo Crisp Sizes

  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp 6 qt
  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp 8 qt

As you can see, there is a small difference here. The Instant Pot Ultra capacity comes in nearly every size Instant Pot offers while the Instant Pot Duo Crisp capacity is 6 or 8 quart.

Now, you might be wondering which size is right for you. The 3 quart is good for 1-2 people, 6 quart is good for 3-5 people, and 8 quart is good for 6+ people.

While Ultra obviously wins this section, we will say that it’s good that Duo Crisp comes in the most popular sizes. Most people prefer 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pots. While we’d like more sizes, these popular sizes that will make most people happy.

If you’re looking to meal prep, air fry lots of food, or cook for a big family, then the 6 or 8 quart size is perfect. If not, then Ultra has the sizes you need.

Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Crisp: Accessories

Most of our other Instant Pot comparisons show that one of the models only has one or two accessories. While they aren’t great with accessories in general, both Ultra and Duo Crisp actually come with good accessory packages that you might like.

The Instant Pot Ultra accessories are a steam rack with handles, condensation collector, measuring cup, rice paddle, and soup spoon. That’s not bad and it makes the multicooker more versatile than ever.

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp accessories include a multi-level air fryer basket, broiling and dehydrating tray, and protective pad for your countertop. This makes the air fryer, dehydrator, and broiler even better.

Duo Crisp accessories really play to its strengths by improving the air frying lid. Ultra is a little more rounded and useful with many different functions like the soup smart program, rice cooker, and steamer.

It’s hard to pick a true winner. We think the Duo Crisp ones are better because you likely don’t have a compatible air fryer basket, but there’s a good chance that you already have a measuring cup and soup spoon.

What’s the Difference Between Instant Pot Ultra and Duo Crisp?

There are a lot of differences between Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Ultra, far more than most other models we reviewed.

If you’re curious to see how others fared, check out the other reviews in this series:

The first and biggest difference is that Duo Crisp can air fry. It’s the only Instant Pot pressure cooker that can, but we have several things to say about that. You can buy the Instant Pot air fryer lid by itself if you already have Duo or another compatible model. This turns your regular multicooker into an air fryer.

There are also some great Instant air fryers, like the Instant Omni. We actually reviewed the best air fryers if you want to see more.

Another difference is the sous vide cooking, which is useful. However, Ultra can replicate this feature with manual settings.

Ultra fires back with an extra sealing ring, a yogurt maker, a handy cooking progress indicator that shows you how far along the meal is, and Easy Steam Release. This means you only have to push a button to release steam instead of touching the valve itself.

They also have many similarities. They both have an easy to read LED display (though we think Ultra’s is better and brighter), the EasySeal lid that’s safe and convenient, many similar appliances, and similar sizes.

It really comes down to whether you’re looking for air frying or general cooking.

Both share many basic features, but Duo Crisp is obviously better at crispy foods (along with broiling and dehydrating) while Ultra is better at all-around cooking with its smart programs.

Instant Pot UltraInstant Pot Duo Crisp

Final Thoughts

Choosing between Instant Pots can be hard, especially when they’re so different like the two here. If you love making all sorts of meals and need a highly versatile and flexible pressure cooker, then we believe Ultra is the better choice.

However, if you love air frying, broiling, and dehydrating, then Duo Crisp is the right way to go. It does almost everything Ultra does, but it gives you that crispy air fryer taste that no other Instant Pot can do.

Is the Instant Pot Ultra Worth It?

This is a premium model that comes with 10 appliances, lots of smart programs, good accessories, and lots of power. So yes, we think it’s worth it. This is called the best pressure cooker for home chefs and we couldn’t agree more. It covers all the bases and then some.

Is the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Worth It?

Do you like air frying and pressure cooking? This model finally combines them so that you don’t have to choose. You can prepare crispy food with a fraction of the fat, slow cook tender meals, sous vide veggies and meat, and so much more. This is a versatile cooking system you’re sure to love.

Can you Air Fry with Instant Pot?

Yes, but you need the right equipment. You can either buy the Duo Crisp, or you can buy the Instant Pot air frying lid and attach it to the Duo or other compatible units. This allows you to turn many different models into an air fryer.

Should I Buy an Air Fryer or Instant Pot?

If the only thing you want is crispy food, then an air fryer might be better. However, if you want something that can cook nearly any meal you can think of, then an Instant Pot is much better. You gain access to numerous appliances and many functions that air fryers can’t replicate.