One of the biggest questions around forums is what is the difference between instant pot sizes? or what Instant Pot size should I buy?” And its something that you need to get an answer before to buy any pressure cooker.

The number of Instant pot models gets wider by the year, so with so many options understanding what is the best size can be confusing, having in mind that you are trying to already know what are the best features and functions that fit you the best (Check our comparison Page)

So let’s start by saying that the Instant Pot models are available in 4 different sizes – 3 quarts, 5 quarts, 6 quarts, and 8 quarts. But have in mind that not all sizes are available for all models.

The most popular size is the 6 quarts version cause it fits most types of families but check out the table below and keep reading to find out the benefits of each size and compare which model is the right for your kitchen and family.


Instant Pot Sizes – Comparison Table

LUX3 – 6 – 8 (quarts)4.7/56 in 1Check it
DUO3 – 6 – 8 (quarts)4.8/57 in 1Check it
DUO Plus3 – 6 – 8 (quarts)4.9/59 in 1Check it
SMART6 (quarts)4.8/5UNLIMITEDCheck it
ULTRA3 – 6 – 8 (quarts)4.9/510 in 1Check it
MAX6 (quarts)5/5UNLIMITEDCheck it

What Size Instant Pot Should I Buy?

Let’s talk about Instant Pot sizes!

As we said at the beginning the Instant Pot models come in 4 different sizes: 3, 5, 6, and 8-quart. Although you need to have in mind that not every model comes in all sizes.

Below we review each size so you can understand which is the one that fits your needs, as well the capacity depending on your meals.

3 Quarts Models

The first capacity is the smaller one with the capacity to handle meals for up to 2 persons, this size is ideal for people that cook for themselves and they usually invite a friend over or for couples.

The Models available in 2021 for the 3-quarts capacity are the LUX, DUO, DUO Plus, and Ultra Series

All the 3 quarts version come with almost the same features that come along with the larger versions, although they have the ability to use less space than the other models making it ideal for small spaces, an RV, o for travels.

These models can be also a great second pot to have, for example in cases that you want to travel with it, so you don’t have to carry your bigger cooker around.

As well in cases like you are already cooking the main recipe on the big pot and you need to cook rice, soups or eggs you have this handy cooker to help you with!.

If you are wondering what happened with the 5 quarts models, is true that there’s a 5-quart DUO model named Duo 50 but at the date has been discontinued. However, the company has made a 5-quart LUX model that’s been available for select retailers like Walmart during Black Friday sales.

6 Quarts Models

This is the most popular model since it fits most types of families and is not as big as the 8 Quarts versions. For families of up to 6 people, this size can handle almost any types of recipes, you can easily fit a whole chicken inside the 6 quarts models making it an ideal choice for most kitchens

As we said already the 6-quart is the only size that comes in every model.  So the LUX, DUO, DUO Plus, Smart Bluetooth, Viva, Nova Plus, Ultra, and Max all came in the 6 quarts size.

This size is so popular because fits most recipes when you are cooking for 4 people, it can handle up to 6 but is perfect when it comes to mid-size families, as well if you are single or just a couple but like to do a lot of meal prep or batch cooking, you can’t go wrong with the 6 quarts version

You can make bigger batches of food in the 6 quarts, and if you have the space for the larger pot, theres no better than this model.

8 Quarts Models

Now we are talking about the biggest model up to now, its slightly bigger than the 6 quarts version and can handle up to 8 people without any problems.

The 8-quart is available for the LUX, DUO, DUO Plus, and Ultra models.

It’s bigger when it comes to carrying the cooker around as well in terms of space, it will use more space without a doubt, is a big size appliance, but it can get so much food on it that is unbelievable

This size is perfect for large families or for people that cook a lot. As well if you are one of those folks that like to get all the food for the week made in just one big batch this is the cooker for you.

In case you want to cook for more than 4 people any types of food this size is the one to go, if well the 6 quarts version can handle up to 6 people there are lots of types of food that are not fit for the 6 quarts model, on the contrary wit the 8 quarts version there’s no recipe that you can not make for your large family or group of friends.

So the 8 quarts models will use more space in your kitchen and it will take a bit longer to come to pressure compared with the smaller sizes. Although you will have the ability to cook more food on it.

Check the Video Below to get to know more about each size and model

What Instant Pot model series is right for me? 

Instant Pot LUX 6 in 1 (3 – 6 – 8 Quarts)

This model is the best choice for those looking the most budget-friendly Instant Pot. Features 6 appliances in 1 giving you a multifunctional machine with the ability to work as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, steamer, rice maker, saute and keep warm function as well.

When it comes to size you can get it on 3, 6 and 8 quarts as well! so you have a good range to choose from.

The price difference is due to the lack of the Yogurt function. You may not need to make your own yogurt, although you can also sprout grains and proof bread dough using this function.

Another downside from this model is that there no Low pressure with it, so you can only use high pressure. And last but not least there no lid holders either.

So if you don’t need any of these extra features then the LUX Series it can be the one that fits you the best.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Or read Our Full Review>

Instant Pot DUO 7 in 1 (3 – 6 – 8 Quarts)

This is the most popular model from the Instant Pot family, was the Best Seller for pressure cookers since 2015 when it was released. Features all the same functions as the LUX model but includes the details that are not included in the 6 in 1 model

So just like the lux can Pressure cook, slow cook, work as a steamer, rice maker, saute your veggies and keep warm your meals once they are ready. But it also adds the Yogurt function that makes it even more multifunctional than before.

It also was on top of the lid holders and Low-Pressure option so they were on top of all the details that were lacking in the previous model.

When it comes to sizes just like the LUX the 7 in 1 is available on 3, 6 and 8 quarts as well.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Or read Our Full Review>

Instant Pot DUO Plus 9 in 1 (3 – 6 – 8 Quarts)

This model appears to the market as the upgraded version of the Best Seller DUO, so if you think that they could go any better than the 7 n 1 model you were wrong!

This model includes all the same features that the DUO series but it comes with important additions that can make the DUO Plus 9 in 1 the best companion on any kitchen period!

So just like the 7 in 1 version this one can function as a Pressure Cooker, Saute, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Warmer, Yogurt Maker, but it also adds 2 extra functions the Egg/Cake function that can not only make perfect eggs but also can cook cakes!. But that’s not all this model can also Sterilize your utensils or baby bottles as well!

This series is also available in 3, 6 and 8 quarts.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Or read Our Full Review>

Instant Pot SMART Unlimited (6 Quarts)

Just when you thought that these cookers couldn’t improve anymore, the IP family appears with the SMART edition that can perform all the features and functions just like the DUO 7 in 1 series but it can function as well via internet and Bluetooth giving you the ability to use your cooker even where you are not at home.

You can program your cooker from your phone using the Smart App that gives you control of the cooker from anywhere.

You can also write, download and upload different recipes. You are able to write a program where the food might pressure cook on high for one hour, then slow cook for 3 hours, and then pressure cook again on low for another 30 minutes.

So this cooker is great for those folks that like to get that level of control and they like the Smart houses.

When it comes to size you can only get the 6 quarts version for now.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Instant Pot ULTRA 10 in 1 (3 – 6 – 8 Quarts)

The Ultra is the latest and greatest model from the Instant Pot Family, featuring 10 appliances in 1!

It comes in 3 sizes s you can choose from 3, 6 and 8 quarts as well.

Just like the 9 in 1 model it can be used as a Pressure Cooker, Saute, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Warmer, Yogurt Maker, and it also includes the Egg/Cake modes and the Sterilize function.

But that’s not all! this series includes the revolutionary ULTRA function that improves all the functions giving you the ability to pre-program the cooker with different cooking times and different temperatures, and also you can choose between two types of pressure.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Or read Our Full Review>

Instant Pot MAX Unlimited (6 Quarts)

The MAX is the latest IP model and comes with all the features that come along with the ULTRA, but it adds the ability to do true Sous Vide and Pressure Canning.

Some of the most important features that come along with the MAX are the ability to cook at 15 PSI, 13 new safety measures and the cool sous-vide function that will allow you to cook gourmet meals for your loved ones 

Like all the multifunctional Instant pot this one can Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Pressure Canner, Sous Vide, Sauté/Searing pan, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Yogurt Maker, and Food Warmer. By using these programs and the newest 3rd generation system you are going to be able to cook just about anything in the Max.

One of the biggest improvements to this model is the design of the Pot with a modern and cool LCD touchscreen that will make really easy to understand and use the cooker.

In case you want to know more about it you can check Price and Reviews on Amazon>

Can the size affect the cooking time?

When it comes to the 3 and 6-quart sizes, its always good to add at least one cup of water or any thin liquid such as soda, wine, etc., but nothing thick like BBQ sauce.

For the 8-quart, having in mind that is the largest of the models you should add at least two cups of thin liquid.

Have in mind that adding a thin liquid is important since that is how the steam is going to appear to create pressure.

Its true that there are some ingredients that will release their own thin liquid as you cook them, so you may not need as much liquid. A good example of this is chicken or certain vegetables, like cabbage or onion.


The best size is going to depend on your needs both in the kitchen as well the number of people that you normally are going to be cooking for.

Don’t forget to check the right model as well. You can check Our Instant Pot comparison or reviews for each model in case you need to understand more about each series.

But if you have a medium size family and you don’t need to cook big batches the 6 quarts size is normally the one to go.

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