With so many different Instant Pot models out there a common question that I get is: What size Instant Pot should I buy?
There are a lot of factors that can go into your decision such as the size of your family, how often you plan to cook, and the types of meals that you make.
But let's start with the basics, shall we?
The Available Choices
You can buy the Instant Pot in 4 different sizes.
Across all of the different models (we will get to that in a bit) - you will find the following sizes:
- 3 quart
- 5 quart
- 6 quart, and
- 8 quart
Not all of the model lines come in all of the sizes.
Let me create a little chart to make it easier for you to see what I mean.
3 Quart Models
5 Quart Models
6 Quart Models
8 Quart Models
This article explains the differences between the Instant Pot Models.
So back to which size of Instant Pot you will need ...
The Most Common Instant Pot Size
Is a 6 Quart Instant Pot Too Big For My Family?
It is a common question and I understand the concern.
But remember this - when cooking in an Instant Pot or any pressure cooker, for that matter, you only really fill it about 2/3 of the way full.
You need to leave space for the pressure to build up and the boiling of the liquid or whatever else you might be making.
So, 2/3 of 6 quarts is 4 quarts which is equivalent to one gallon.
If you are worried that a 6 quart Instant Pot will be too big, then remember that you can always make less food in a larger size Instant Pot - you don't have to fill it up.
Related: Read my Instant Pot Review here.
What if the 6 quart Instant Pot is too small?
What Will You Be Making In The Instant Pot?
Now think about what you might be making for your meal.
If I make soup for dinner, I usually serve it with a side of bread or some sandwiches.
Chicken? Often I will serve it with a side of rice or mashed potatoes.
Do you see where I am going with this? The main dish can either be the whole meal or just a part of your dinner.
If you have a large family and you tend to make one pot meals, then maybe upping to the 8 quart Instant Pot is right for you.
Or perhaps you like to make extra food for leftovers - again, a larger size could be better.
But here's a twist ...
Why Not Get 2 Instant Pots?
If you have the space, you may consider getting 2 Instant Pots instead of one big one.
This way you can either make two different dishes at once. Or, if you want to make a larger portion of one dish, you can split it up between both the Instant Pots.
Choices, my friend, choices.
One Big One Small
Personally, I have 3 units which is a little crazy, I know.
I have two 6 quart Instant Pots and one 3 quart Instant Pot mini.
The 3 Quart Instant Pot
Honestly, I love the 3 quart Mini much more than I expected to.
It is perfect for
- smaller families or couples
- making rice,
- making Instant Pot Yogurt with a half gallon of milk,
- smaller portions or side dishes.
It's also really cute, but that is beside the point.
My parents, who have a 2 person household, just bought the 3 quart version and are very happy with it.
The 8 Quart Instant Pot
If you have a big household or if you tend to cook large quantities of food then you could consider an 8 quart Instant Pot.
This will yield roughly 6 quarts of a finished recipe.
Regardless of the size Instant Pot you choose, remember this ....
Storage Space Matters
The Instant Pot may be considered a small kitchen appliance, but make no mistake - it takes up a good amount of cabinet space.
Even the 3 quart has some bulk to it. And the 8 quart? Well, you will need some height space there.
If you get more than one unit - just make sure you are clear where you will keep it.
What size Instant Pot Do You Have?
The best way to figure out what size Instant Pot is right for your family is to see what works for other people.
So, if you have an Instant Pot, please leave a comment below to help other people out.
Tell us the following:
- What size Instant Pot do you have?
- How many people are in your family?
- How often do you use it?
- What quantities of food do you usually make?
- Do you feel that the size you chose is right for you?
- Where do you store the Instant Pot when you are not using it?
Although everyone's situation is different making the right choice will depend on the above factors.
You may also want to check out our Instant Pot Lover's Gift Guide here.