For those of you just getting into the wonderful trend of preserving food, a pressure canner is a must-have. There are dozens of these products on the market, but some work better for beginners than others.
So, we took the time to pour through countless products, examining how they work and what consumers have praised and criticized to find the best pressure canner that novice folks can feel comfortable using.
Take a look at our top five choices to find the right pressure canner for your food preservation needs.
Top Pressure Canners for Beginners Reviews
1. Presto 01781 Pressure Canner and CookerView at Amazon
This Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker is a versatile product that allows you to use it as a boiling-water canner as well as a high-capacity pressure cooker. For an accurate pressure range, you can consult the pressure dial gauge. There’s also a pop-out pressure indicator.
It features a reliable locking lid that seals the steam inside. When it comes to safety, the overpressure plug releases steam if it notices a fast build-up. Pressure will only build when the canner is properly closed thanks to the air vent and cover lock system.
Many consumers feel this is the best pressure canner for canning thanks to its large capacity and versatile design. The aluminum design is also praised as it keeps the unit lightweight and easy to move around. Beginners, enjoy the free recipe book with over 50 recipes as it serves as good guidance.
There are concerns, however, that the bottom may warp after frequent use. Also, some felt that the pressure gauge felt a bit too sensitive.
- 23qt liquid capacity
- Heavy-gauge aluminum construction with stay-cool handles
- Included rack
- Pressure dial gauge and pop-out pressure indicator
- Locking lid and air vent and cover lock
- User-friendly, straightforward design
- 2-in-1 functionality
- Large capacity
- The material could be higher in quality
2. All American 915 Canner Pressure CookerView at Amazon
The All American 915 Canner Pressure Cooker is a good starter unit as it can hold roughly 7 wide-mouth standard quart jars or 10 wide-mouth standard pint jars. It features a user-friendly cover with positive action clamping that allows for an easy on-and-off design. This setup allows it to be the best gasket-free pressure canner.
There are quality safety features as well such as the stay-cool handle and the double automatic venting design, one being the overpressure plug and the other being the safety control valve.
Consumers seem to appreciate the simplicity of using this pressure canner more than anything else. The setup process and recipe book contain clear-cut instructions that are easy to follow. They also claim the unit feels solid and long-lasting, and they enjoyed the lack of gaskets.
Although it’s durable, buyers did mention that it can be heavy and awkward when moving or cleaning.
- 15.5qt liquid capacity
- Pressure regulator weight settings: 5, 10, and 15 psi
- 2 automatic venting features
- Gasket-free easy opening design
- Geared steam gauge
- Weighted gauge for easy managing
- Durable construction
- Can be too heavy for some users
3. T-fal Pressure Cooker, Pressure CannerView at Amazon
The T-fal Pressure Cooker, Pressure Canner is an affordable aluminum canner. It features three different pressure options, and the built-in pressure monitoring in the handles makes it relatively easy to manage.
This has a spacious capacity for canning numerous jars at a time. In fact, it may even fit around 20 or so half-pint jars if you stack them. It comes with two cooking racks so you can better keep everything separate, and if you opt to use it as a pressure cooker, they stop the food from sticking to the bottom.
Many people say they enjoy how easy it is to monitor your canning process, more so as the pressure gauge is well-made and simple to read. It heats up to your desired setting fast as well. Additionally, there’s a good deal of space, and you even have the ability to stack jars depending on their size.
According to some pressure canner reviews, however, is that this unit is rather tough to clean due to its size and textured interior. They also feel the instructions could be a touch more detailed.
- 22qt liquid capacity with two cooking racks
- 3PSI settings: 5, 10, and 15
- Pressure gauge dial
- 5-point lid-locking system
- Heavy-gauge aluminum construction
- Fast heat-up process
- Room to stack jars
- Lid locks well
- Can take some time to clean
4. Zavor EZLock Stovetop Pressure CookerView at Amazon
The Zavor EZLock Stovetop Pressure Cooker is a quality stainless steel pressure canner that allows you to can on a number of different domestic stoves from electric to induction. It opens and closes easily with the turn-to-lock knob, and the universal locking system ensures a secure lid fit.
This unit features two pressure settings, and for better monitoring, it has a red pressure indicator that moves according to when the pressure is reached and when it drops back down. To help out new users, this comes with a guide and recipe book.
When it comes to using this unit as a pressure canner, many buyers enjoyed that they didn’t have to struggle with the lid as it simply clamps and locks into place. They also liked the quality steel construction which indicates it may last some time.
There were complaints about how even though there is a pressure indicator light, the unit may not do well at making certain proper pressure is maintained for canning.
- 12.7qt liquid capacity
- 2 pressure settings: 10 and 15PSI
- Automatic universal self-lock system
- Stainless steel construction
- One-hand opening with a turn-to-lock knob
- Easy to seal the lid
- Stainless steel, durable construction
- Enough space for simple canning jobs
- Some difficulties monitoring the pressure
5. Mirro Pressure Cooker/CannerView at Amazon
The Mirro Pressure Cooker/Canner is an affordable aluminum canner for pressure canning that beginners can enjoy. There are four safety features in place to prevent any overpressure incidents too, which can make it ideal for those just learning the ropes.
There are ergonomic handles that remain cool to the touch for comfortable handling. The rest of the unit is made from aluminum which may help provide you with better heat distribution, especially if you are using it as a pressure cooker too.
Consumers appreciate this as a good starter model as it’s easy to maintain with regular cleaning. The canning process is simple to get used to, and there are plenty of safety features in place for peace of mind. It may take a little while to heat, but users do appreciate the trade-off of having more space to work with.
There were some buyers saying they had issues getting it to seal properly as well as the unit being a bit too lightweight overall.
- 22qt liquid capacity
- 3 cooking pressure options: 5, 10, and 15PSI
- Reusable overpressure plug
- Aluminum construction
- Cool-touch ergonomic handles
- Easy-to-use variable pressure settings
- Good size for bulk canning
- Simple to maintain
- Difficulties getting a proper seal
Factors to Consider
To get your pressure canning experience off right, it’s important to understand what to look for when shopping around for the best beginner pressure canner. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors to keep in mind.
Size and Capacity
When choosing a pressure canner, one of the first things to address is the size. There is no real right or wrong size as it mainly depends on the size of the batch you want to make.
So, if you are seeking to make larger batches, then it might be in your best interest to find pressure canners that offer a capacity of around 20 qt or so.
Otherwise, if you’re more interested in purely learning the process and don’t mind how much you make, then you can go for any size. There are many quality pressure canners that offer less than 10 qt of space inside.
Something else to keep in mind is that the more capacity you seek, the larger the unit will be. This can cause it to start taking up room, which can change the way you can store it and how easy it is to clean.
Generally, pressure canners are made from stainless steel or aluminum material. Aluminum tends to do a good job at providing even heat throughout, and it also tends to be lighter in weight so that you can pick up the unit and move it around as you, please.
Stainless steel, although heavier, does offer a greater deal of durability. Those may be the ideal choice for long-term, frequent use.
Regardless of which type you choose, consider how high in quality the unit is made overall. Some feature designs that ward off rust and warping so they are more likely to last longer.
There is an element of risk when it comes to pressure canning, so it’s important that you as a beginner stay as safe as possible. This comes with not just having the knowledge of how to use the unit, but the unit itself featuring safety aspects.
One of the biggest points is an automatic shut-off setup that prevents the unit from ever experiencing overpressure.
Another good safety feature to look for is a stay-cool handle design. This ensures that you don’t go through any unnecessary burns when reaching for the pressure canner at any point.
A good beginner’s pressure canner should be easily used on a stovetop. This allows you to learn how to can in the comfort of your home.
Not every pressure canner can be used with every stovetop, however. Some are better used on more robust, traditional stoves, and these tend to be the ones that are heavier-designed.
Others, mainly lightweight aluminum ones, offer more freedom to be used across any domestic stovetop.
The costs are another key factor to keep in mind when shopping around for a pressure cooker. Quality ones often tip the scale, but you can find units that are just as good for novice users at lower, more affordable pricing.
Aluminum-designed pressure canners generally are less costly than stainless steel ones, but it all depends on the quality of the material and any additional features it may have.
Warranty and Replacement Parts
Of course, when it comes to making an investment like this, you want to look into any warranty the unit may or may not have. This ensures that any issue, small or large, can readily be resolved.
In turn, consider if your unit of choice offers replacement parts.
This is more helpful when there is a minimal warranty or no warranty at all as you can easily have minor problems corrected.
How long will it take for a pressure canner to depressurize?You will want to follow the manufacturer's guide when it comes to depressurizing your pressure canner as everyone might be different. In general, you want to vent it until the pressure reaches 0PSI. From there, it is best to allow the unit to stand for 10 minutes or so. After it is fully vented and has rested for the allocated time, then it may be safe to remove the lid.
What causes a jar to explode in a pressure canner?There could be a few culprits behind exploding jars, but one of the main ones is poor monitoring. You don't want the pressure to vary while you're canning. If there are fluctuations, remember to gradually return the pressure to your setting rather than quickly doing it.
Is it safe to leave jars in a pressure canner for hours or overnight?This is another area where you want to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer of your chosen pressure canner. However, it is always a good idea to take your jars out once the pressure is released and the unit has completely cooled down. Waiting around might cause the seal to ruin once you put the items in storage.
What's the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner?Pressure canners are used to ensure proper and safe canning of various fruits and vegetables, while a pressure cooker speeds up the process to prepare and cook food. There are many units that offer a 2-in-1 design, functioning as a cooker and a canner. Those types might be ideal to purchase if you know you will be using a pressure cooker as well.
Making the Decision
Out of the five products we reviewed, we feel the Presto 01781 Pressure Canner and Cooker is the best beginner’s pressure canner. It’s affordable with a straightforward design that makes it simple to learn. This has a good capacity too so once you get the hang of things, you can add in more jars to make a larger batch.
If you want to learn more about our number one pick or the other products we choose, go check out our reviews and the pressure canners themselves.