Instant Pot Duo Plus vs Ultra

In today’s comparison, we’re going to have a closer at the features of Instant Pot Duo vs Ultra. Both these multi-purpose electric cookers have created a lot of buzz in the market since they are similar in many aspects. Also, they’re very close in terms of features and performance as one of them is a 10-in-1 (Ultra) instant pot while the other is a 9-in-1 (Duo Plus) instant pot.

Instant pot Ultra is a premium-quality cooking appliance. It has a central dial with a user-friendly turn and press feature, providing more precision in selection and adjustment of programs. It comes with three new features; cooking indicator, altitude adjustment, and steam release reset button, and replaces 10 kitchen appliances including slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, porridge cooker, egg maker, cake maker, steamer, sauté pan, sterilizer, and warmer.

The instant pot Duo Plus, on the other hand, replaces 9 kitchen appliances to help you save more kitchen space. These appliances include: pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, egg maker, yogurt maker, saute pan, steamer, sterilizer, and warmer. Although these two multi-purpose pressure cookers have a lot of similar features, but in case you’re planning to buy one of the two models, their differences may affect your final decision.

Let’s have a look at the features and functions of these instant pot models and how they differ from one another:

Instant Pot Duo Plus vs Ultra: Design

Both Duo Plus and Ultra come with large, easy-to-read display. Some users of the original Duo had a few complaints regarding its display panel which have been addressed in the Duo Plus model. In the Duo Plus model you don’t have to press the cancel button to adjust the time. The timer now has its own independent buttons for adjustment. The Instant Pot Ultra’s display, though very similar to that of Duo Plus, comes with some additional features such as an animated heating curve which shows the cooker’s progress: pre-heating, pressure cooking, or keep warm. Due to this visual heating curve, it’s a lot easier to monitor Ultra’s cooking cycle. 

Moreover, the Instant Pot Ultra as some new design features which weren’t there in the previous instant pot models. For example, the new pressure release valve in the lid. Ultra’s lid has an auto-closing pressure valve unlike older instant pot models (including Duo Plus) that come with a weighted pressure valve which is manually turned to release the pressure. The new auto-closing valve makes cooking more safe and convenient. With Ultra, you don’t have to worry if the valve is properly closed or not.  

The weighted pressure valve of Instant Pot Duo Plus and all other older models have a handle and a shelf to sit on, whereas the Ultra’s weighted pressure valve doesn’t have any handle and shelf. Instead, the cooker has a system built into its lid. There’s a lifting tab under its pressure valve is controlled by a spring loaded button. When you push the button, the tab lifts the valve and the pressure is released. This feature makes pressure cooking safer as there are less chances of scalding your hand with steam while releasing the pressure from the cooker. 

The best thing about the auto-closing pressure valve is that it closes automatically when the lid locks. Just rotate the lid and the valve will be closed. So no more need to check the valve again and again to confirm if it’s properly closed or wonder why the cooker is not coming up to the desired pressure level. This simple design innovation has made pressure cooking very convenient and safe. However, you can only avail this amazing feature in Instant Pot Ultra, and not in Instant Pot Duo Plus. 

Lastly, both Duo Plus and Ultra are designed with food-grade materials that are highly durable and easy to clean. They are available in three sizes: 3-quart, 6-quart & 8-quart. The 3-quart is suitable for cooking meals for 1-2 people whereas 6-quart is ideal for 5-6 family members. And if you have a bigger family or frequent gatherings at your home, then 8-quart cooker is the best for you. This means that you can easily find the perfect size according to your needs in both the models.

Functions & Performance of Instant Pot Ultra vs Duo Plus

Although both the instant pot models are very close in terms of functions and performance, Instant Pot Duo Plus is a 9-in-1 multi-purpose cooker, whereas the Instant Pot Ultra is a 10-in-1 multi-purpose cooker with an additional function called “Ultra”.  A lot of people usually use 2-3 main programs of a cooker: pressure cook, sauté and sometimes Keep Warm, so they may not really need all the extra functions that come with an instant pot. But when you’re spending a heavy amount of money on a kitchen appliance, then even one additional feature/function can change your decision.  

Here in this case, the extra function which may affect your decision is “Ultra” which is only present in the Ultra model. The Ultra program provides you with complete control over the pressure and non-pressure cooking. You can easily adjust its settings according to your desired results. 

Instant Pot Duo Plus is basically an upgraded version of the classic Duo cooker. While it maintains the feel of the Instant Pot Duo in it, there are several new amazing features in it that set it aside as an exciting and unique appliance. For example, it has a sterilize option which can be used to sterilize bottles, utensils, and also to pasteurize milk. It has two addition programs: egg cooking and cake baking programs as well, which are missing in the older Duo designs. 

Each of its program has 3 adjustable settings: Less, Normal, and More. Moreover, there are 3 temperature settings for Slow Cook, Sauté, and Keep Warm. So the users can easily customize the cooking process according to their liking. Instant Pot Ultra has all the functions present in the Duo Plus along with an extra function “Ultra” as mentioned above. So basically, Instant Pot Duo Plus comes with 15 one-touch smart programs: Soup/Broth, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Steam, Warm, Yogurt, Sterilize, Slow cook and pressure cook whereas Ultra has 16 one-touch smart programs: all the programs in Duo Plus and Ultra function. 

Both Duo Plus and Ultra are equipped with a 3rd generation microprocessor that monitors and adjusts settings like temperature and pressure. The two models also have a 24-hour delay timer which allow you to begin the cooking process at your desired time. This is a very useful function, especially for people who have to manage the kitchen along with their job. With a 24-hour delay timer, you just have to select the program and set the timer, and then you can leave for your work. By the time you’ll reach back, your dinner is going to be ready. Also, these instant pots have ten embedded safety mechanisms that make them very safe to use.

Pros of Instant Pot Duo Plus 

  • It is a 9-in-1 multi-purpose cooker.
  • It has 15 built-in smart programs.
  • Has a large display panel.
  • It is available in 3 sizes: 3-quart, 6-quart & 8-quart.
  • It’s equipped with 10 safety mechanisms.
  • It is built using high-quality materials.
  • Cooks food faster and reduces cooking time up to 70%.
  • It preserves the taste and texture.
  • Its settings allow for more customization.
  • The instant Pot and its accessories are very easy to clean.
  • Comes with a Keep Warm feature and 24-hour delay timer.
  • Has sterilize option which can be used to sterilize utensils, jars, bottles, and also to pasteurize milk. 

Cons of Instant Pot Duo Plus

  • It is slightly more expensive than the classic Duo pot.
  • It doesn’t allow for Sous Vide cooking.
  • Its user manual is a bit difficult to understand and follow.
  • Its outer rim has some crannies and nooks that are a bit difficult to clean.

Pros of Instant Pot Ultra

  • It is a 10-in-1 multi-purpose cooker.
  • It has 16 built-in smart programs.
  • Has a large & easy-to-use display panel.
  • It is available in 3 sizes: 3-quart, 6-quart & 8-quart.
  • It is equipped with 10 safety mechanisms.
  • The pot is built using high-quality materials.
  • It has an “Ultra” program that allows for complete customization.
  • Comes with a Keep Warm feature and 24-hour delay timer.
  • It has sterilize option which can be used to sterilize utensils, jars, bottles, and also to pasteurize milk.
  • The pot has a quick release button an extra measure of safety.
  • All the accessories of Instant Pot Ultra are dishwasher safe.
  • It has two new features which are missing in previous instant pot models: altitude adjustment setting & cooking progress indicator.  

Cons of Instant Pot Ultra

  • Its price tag is slightly high.
  • Its control system comes with a central dial.
  • It may take you some time to completely understand its features and functions.

Should You Buy Instant Pot Duo Plus or Ultra?

It is true that both the instant pot will take your cooking experience to the next level. The instant pot Duo Plus combines pressure cooking with 14 more programs that help you in cooking different dishes, from yogurt to rice. Similarly,  Instant Pot Ultra comes with 16 smart programs that make cooking a breeze for you. As for the differences between Duo Plus and Ultra, you can see that there are not many but may still affect your buying decision.

For example, Ultra’s display panel feels and looks way more modern. Similarly, Ultra can cook in Sous Vide mode while the Duo Plus cannot. The Ultra comes with altitude adjustment setting that alters the pressure levels according to your altitude, thus making pressure cooking at high altitudes safer and more effective. The Instant Pot Duo Plus, on the other hand, is considerably cheaper in cost than the Instant Pot Ultra, making it a great option for typical home cooks.

Still confused? Here are a few tips that may help you in deciding which model you want to buy:

Buy Instant Pot Duo Plus if:

  • You’ve already used or are familiar with the classic Duo model and want an Instant Pot with similar features.
  • You want a control panel with buttons.
  • You’re on a limited budget or you don’t want to spend a huge amount on a cooking appliance.
  • You missed the cake option in your previous classic Duo pot.
  • You don’t need complete customization in you cooking. 


Buy Instant Pot Ultra If:

  • You don’t get bothered by a dial control system.
  • You want to cook in the Sous Vide mode.
  • You’re aiming to use the ‘Ultra’ program.
  • You want your instant pot to have a cooking progress indicator.
  • You need an instant pot with altitude adjustment setting.


Both the instant pot models have their merit, so you should consider your specific requirements before following the trend. Instant Pot Duo Plus as well as Instant Pot Ultra appear to be worth buying, so at the end it’s all about your personal preferences. 

2 thoughts on “Instant Pot Duo Plus vs Ultra”

  1. the instant pot ultra isn’t called “Ultra” for nothing. to be honest, i don’t see a comparison between instant pot duo plus and ultra. the ultra model is more sophisticated and has more options.

  2. I have both IP Duo Plus and Ultra (Got Ultra as a gift from a friend last month and I have to say that Ultra is the clear winner here. Duo Plus may be slightly cheaper than ultra, but the latter has a few additional advantages that cannot be overlooked.


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