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Instant Pots come in various tiers and price ranges. Today’s review is a little lopsided because we’re comparing the most basic pressure cooker against one of the most advanced. Our Instant Pot Ultra vs Lux review will pit these two against each other. It’s a classic battle of price vs functionality with Lux being the most basic and Ultra being the top dog.
In fact, when we reviewed every Instant Pot we specifically said that Lux was the only one we didn’t recommend. That’s because Duo is much better and is roughly the same price (check out more with our Duo vs Duo Nova review).
Our Instant Pot Lux vs Ultra review will cover appliances, smart programs, accessories, and more. By the end of this you’ll see exactly which one is right for your kitchen.
Instant Pot Lux vs Ultra: Appliances
Every single Instapot comes with multiple appliances. It’s not just their pressure cookers. Even their Instant Omni air fryer oven comes with lots of appliances squeezed into one. It makes them incredibly useful in the kitchen.
Even the most basic model, the Lux, comes with 6 appliances. The Ultra 10-in-1 obviously comes with more, but let’s compare them to see what the real difference is. We want you to know exactly what you’re getting when you choose your pressure cooker.
|Appliances||Instant Pot Ultra||Instant Pot Lux|
The Lux 6-in-1 covers all the basics, but it’s missing a few appliances. In this case, the Ultra has everything Lux offers and also gives you a yogurt maker, cake maker, egg maker, and sterilizer. That makes Ultra much more rounded and more capable of cooking common ingredients, baking cakes, and sterilizing jars and bottles.
Surprisingly enough, as you’ll see in the next section, Lux includes smart programs for some of these functions. Don’t worry, we’ll cover that soon.
What’s important here is that Ultra gives you four more appliances for a nominal price increase. While Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots, we have to say that Ultra is far better and worth the money.
Instant Pot Ultra vs Lux: Smart Programs
What do smart programs do? Lots of people know how Instant Pot shoves nearly a dozen appliances into one, but fewer people know about the smart programs. These programs are incredibly handy and make the multicooker way more functional.
Every Instant Pot is built with a microprocessor. You can access its power by using any of the smart programs. Not only are these programs set for the best time and temperature for the listed food (like soup, eggs, meat, and more), but the computer will make subtle adjustments to your meal.
This is done for optimal flavor and texture. Maybe the heat is too high and there isn’t enough moisture, so it will reduce the heat a bit. Or maybe the food isn’t cooking quickly enough, so the time and temp might be increased. Small, automatic changes like this make a world of difference with your meals.
As you might expect, you always want to get the most smart programs possible. Plus, having flexible programs is even better.
Which smart cooker wins here? Let’s compare them.
|Smart Program||Instant Pot Ultra||Instant Pot Lux|
We’re surprised by some of the Lux smart programs here. Despite not having an egg or cake maker, it has smart programs for both. Yet, it lacks the basic bean/chili program that is found in nearly every other model.
While there are more Ultra smart programs, there’s one other advantage it has in the Lux vs Ultra battle. The Ultra smart program (named after the pressure cooker itself) is one of the most advanced programs available.
This is entirely customizable. You can set any time limit between 0 minutes and 99 hours. It works with any appliance except the pressure cooker. It also works with low to high heat and everything in between.
Honestly, the only thing that can rival this is the Duo Evo Plus with its 48 customizable presets. If you’re curious about that, then check out Duo Evo Plus vs Ultra.
Lux covers all the basics and had more programs than we expected, which is great. If you’re looking for an entry-level pressure cooker, then it works well in that regard.
However, we have to give the win to Ultra. There are more programs and it’s a far more flexible appliance.
Instant Pot Lux vs Ultra: Sizes
Just like with any other appliance, you have to consider the size and capacity. Getting a pressure cooker that’s too small forces you to cook in batches and no one gets enough food. Getting one that’s too big means that it’s hard to store and you spent more than you needed to.
What sizes do Lux and Ultra come in? More importantly, which Instant Pot size is right for you? Don’t worry because we’re about to answer both questions for you.
Let’s start with the available sizes. They are:
Instant Pot Lux Sizes
- Instant Pot Lux 3 qt
- Instant Pot Lux 6 qt
- Instant Pot Lux 8 qt
Instant Pot Ultra Sizes
- Instant Pot Ultra 3qt
- Instant Pot Ultra 6qt
- Instant Pot Ultra 8qt
It’s a tie between Ultra vs Lux Instant Pot. They both come in the exact same sizes. Not only that, but both of their 3qt sizes are a little weaker than the others. This is common for all 3qt Instant Pots. We reviewed with our Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Mini article.
Onto the next question, which Instant Pot size is best?
That all depends on how many people you’re cooking for. The small Instant Pot is good for 1-2 people, the medium Instant Pot is good for 3-5 people, and the large Instant Pot is good for 6+ people.
If that’s not big enough for you, then check out the extra large Instant Pot Duo Nova.
So just consider how many people you’re cooking for and how often you think you’ll use the pressure cooker. It’s a highly versatile appliance that can make nearly any meal you can imagine.
Instant Pot Ultra vs Lux: Accessories
Much like the size section, this section is almost a tie between the two models. There’s actually only two differences between them. It actually took us a few minutes to figure out what the differences are because the accessories are so similar.
The Instant Pot Lux accessories are a stainless steel steam rack, soup spoon, rice paddle, and measuring cup.
The Instant Pot Ultra accessories are a stainless steel steam rack with handles, soup spoon, rice paddle, measuring cup, and condensation collector.
Ultra comes with a condensation collector and the steam rack has handles. We love having the handles. You wouldn’t think they’re so important, but it makes it much easier to raise and lower food.
While Ultra is better here, it’s only by a little. Both offer good accessory packs, and in all honesty, Lux is better than Duo and other entry-level pressure cookers in this regard.
It’s nearly a tie, but Ultra wins with the condensation collector and adding handles to the steam rack.
What’s the Difference Between Instant Pot Ultra and Lux?
We’ve already talked about appliances, accessories, and smart programs, what else could we cover? There are actually a lot of other differences between these models in terms of safety and overall features. Keep in mind that Lux is a very basic model. It has a simple control panel and cooks food quickly, but Ultra gives you way more.
Also, if you’re curious about how others fare against Ultra, then check out our other articles in the series:
- Ultra vs Duo Evo Plus
- Ultra vs Duo Mini
- Ultra vs Duo Plus
- Ultra vs Max
- Ultra vs Duo
- Ultra vs Duo Crisp
- Ultra vs Smart WiFi
- Ultra vs Lux
Though both control panels are easy to use, Ultra’s has a bright, easy-to-read LED display that looks much better. You also get a cooking progress indicator. This is a bar that shows you how far along the cooking is.
Ultra comes with two modern safety features you won’t find with Lux.
The EasySeal lid is a newer Instant Pot lid that automatically seals before cooking. Pressure cookers create a lot of powerful steam. If the lid isn’t on properly, then this steam can escape. Ultra’s lid prevents this by automatically locking. While Lux’s lid is safe, we are much more comfortable with the Easy Seal lid.
Speaking of comfort, we are also more comfortable using the Easy Steam Release feature with Ultra. Pressure cookers have to depressurize when you’re finished cooking, or let out all the hot steam. Both Ultra and Lux come with steam release valves.
Lux forces you to manually open the valve, which is best done indirectly (like with tongs). Ultra’s Easy Steam Release allows you to push a button that opens the valve. Your hands will never be near the valve and steam, which is better for everyone.
Also, Ultra includes an extra sealing ring. These rings wear out over time, so having an extra is always handy.
Lux isn’t bad and it’s safe, but there’s a big difference in basic safety like with Lux and advanced, convenient safety like with Ultra. We really couldn’t recommend Ultra enough, especially when comparing it to Lux.
Lux isn’t a bad pressure cooker, it’s actually pretty good. But even Instant Pot themselves call it basic, and that just doesn’t look great when you have amazing models like Ultra, Duo Nova, Duo Evo Plus, and so many more.
If price is your priority, then Lux is better here. However, we recommend you consider Duo instead. It’s about the same price, but comes with better functions and features.
If you want the best and don’t mind spending a little bit more, then Ultra is the clear winner here. It’s much stronger, comes with more features, is more convenient, and really is one of the best. Plus, you’re getting far more for the price, so we really recommend Ultra over Lux.