Once you have your first garden harvest under your belt, you will probably start considering how you will store and preserve the homegrown food that you have worked so hard to produce. Inevitably, you will start thinking about pressure canning your food.
With so many brands of canners on the market, it can be hard to know where to start or what to even look for. In this article, I will outline the features to consider when picking your pressure canner, and review 5 different pressure canners.
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Two of the most popular brands of pressure canners out there are Presto and All American, and it doesn’t hurt to go with a well-known name. But there are other brands out there that make quality pressure canners, we will review the top 5.
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Our Top Pick: All American 921 Pressure Canner, 21.5 Qt.
This pressure canner is made of hand-cast aluminum with two automatic venting features. It has an easy to read geared steam gauge and pressure regulator weight settings of 5, 10, and 15 psi. Edges are constructed of double thickness for added protection.
Every canner in the All American line features a “Metal-to-Metal” sealing system with clamping locks on the lid.
The All American canner comes in 5 other sizes; 10 ½ qt, 15 ½ qt., 25 qt., 30 qt., and 41 qt., and even have kit options available.
This canner has a liquid capacity of 21 ½ quarts, it fits 19 pint or 7-quart jars. This model weighs 20 pounds by itself, which means you may want to set the canner on the stove before filling it with water.
- ✅ Sturdy and long-lasting
- ✅ Metal to metal sealing, no gaskets to replace
- ✅ Automatic safety functions
- ❌ Not recommended for glass top / flat top ranges because of weight
- ❌ A little more expensive than other brands
The Presto 01781 is constructed of warp-resistant aluminum and can be used on regular and smooth-top ranges. It includes a canning rack and recipe book. This canner comes with a 12-year limited warranty as well.
Presto comes in a 16 qt. size as well, and they also offer a digital canner.
It features an easy to read pressure dial gauge and has an air vent/cover lock that prevents the cover from opening until the pressure is reduced to a safe level. There are some reviews that the gauge is unreliable, and regardless you will want to send it in to have it tested occasionally.
It has a liquid capacity of 23 quarts, and can hold 26 half-pints, 20 pints, and 7 quarts.
- ✅ Large size is better for big canning jobs
- ✅ Good safety features
- ✅ Inexpensive
- ✅ Suitable for glass top/flat ranges
- ❌ There are some reports of the gauge being unreliable
This canner is constructed of heavy gauge aluminum; it comes with a canning rack and recipe book, and a 10-year limited warranty on the canner, and a 1-year warranty on replacement parts.
It features a weight pressure gauge and comes with three weights; 5, 10, and 15. It has a turn and seal gasket lid.
It has a liquid capacity of 22 quarts of water and can hold 5-quart sized jars or 16-pint sized jars. It also comes in a smaller 16-quart size.
It is made of lightweight aluminum, which makes it easier to lift and more affordable; however, there is some danger of the walls warping due to the thinner construction.
- ✅ Budget-friendly
- ✅ Lightweight
- ✅ 10-year warranty
- ❌ Aluminum may not be as sturdy as other brands and may warp
- ❌ Not for use on glass stovetops
This pressure canner is constructed from heavy-gauge anodized aluminum, and comes in a unique black color. It also comes in two sizes; 12 and 20 quarts. It features a weighted pressure valve that can be set to 5, 10, or 15 psi. It comes with a jar rack and a steamer trivet.
It has two locking handles and two safety valves; one spring-loaded and one whistling alarm. It can hold 8-pint jars or 7-quart jars.
This canner comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
- ✅ Budget-friendly
- ✅ Solid construction
- ❌ Not for use on induction stovetops
This canner is constructed from polished aluminum with a pressure dial gauge and 3 psi settings. It has an impressive 5 point security system with a pressure monitoring device built into the handle, which means it can only pressurize if the lid is securely locked and it cannot be opened while it is pressurized.
- ✅ Budget-Friendly
- ✅ Heavy-duty construction
- ❌ Not for use on induction stoves
This is a small canner, but if you don’t think you will be preserving a lot of food, or if you just really aren’t sure you will enjoy canning, it is a good place to start. It comes as a kit so it includes a jar rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrench, magnetic lid lifter, funnel and instructional DVD.
This has a pressure gauge with 8 or 15 psi settings, and ergonomic handles. It fits up to 3 quart jars. It is also light enough to be used on glass top ranges.
- ✅ Works on glass stovetops
- ✅ Budget-friendly
- ❌ Very small capacity
This pressure canner is made of heavy gauge aluminum, and has a deluxe pressure dial gauge, a spring safety device that ensures that the canner can only be pressurized when the lid is secure, and a locking lid that prevent the canner from being opened while it is pressurized.
This can be used on wide range of stovetops including ceramic.
- ✅ Budget-friendly
- ✅ Works on ceramic stovetops
- ❌ Customer reviews say that the instruction manual is unclear
Fagor Innova Premium Automatic 10 Quart
This pressure canner and cooker is made of 18/10 stainless steel, and works with all cooking surfaces. It comes with a triple safety valve system ensuring that the lid cannot be removed until all pressure has been released. It has two pressure settings; 8 and 15 psi.
It comes with a pressure cooker lid and a tempered glass lid, so it can be used as a regular pot as well.
When being used as a canner, it can hold around 4 pint jars.
- ✅ Can be used on all stovetops including induction
- ✅ Multi-functional
- ❌ Smaller capacity
- ❌ More Expensive because of its multiple uses
This is another multii-purpose Canner and cooker, it is very small, so again, it would work for those who don’t have a lot of food to process or store.
It has a digital display with a timer, and comes with a canning rack, steam rack and non stick aluminum inner pot. It can hold 4 quart, 5 pint or 16 jelly jars. It has a digital display, preset programs and a safety lock lid. It is equipped with 10 built in safety features including temperature control, float valve protection, and a pressure limiting valve.
- ✅ Multiple safety features
- ✅ Multi-functional
- ❌ Smaller capacity
Pick The Best Canner For You
Which canner is best for you and your family comes down to your preference, and what fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs best.
If you have plans on filling your pantry with canned goods, a larger capacity canner is probably your best fit. If you aren’t even sure if you will enjoy canning, I would start with a smaller, budget-friendly option so you can dip your toe in.
If you have an induction, glass, or ceramic stovetop, your options are going to be more limited. As long as the canner you pick is safe and of sturdy construction, it should last you a long time, and provide you with the means to preserve as much food as you desire.
Why Do I Need a Pressure Canner?
There are two types of canning: pressure canning and water bath canning. Water bath canning does not require any special equipment, and works well for preserving food with high acidity like jams and jellies, and pickles.
A pressure canner is used for low-acidic foods like vegetable soup stock, animal products, and any vegetable that is not pickled.
The reason you need a pressure canner for low acidity foods is that botulism spores can only be killed off with extremely high temperatures or with an environment of extreme pH (present in foods with high acidity).
Features To Look For
Not all pressure canners are the same, you will need to know a few details about what type of canner you want when you start shopping. The main things to consider are size, budget, type of canner you want, and what type of stove you have.
How much food do you need to preserve, do you have a small garden with just a few extra vegetables to preserve or a huge garden with a harvest that will feed you for months.
The minimum size that you can purchase that still falls into the USDA’s definition of canner is one that holds a minimum of 4 quarts (liter) jars.
Pressure canners can range up to 19-quart capacity. The size listed on the pressure canner is how many quarts of water the canner will hold, but it should still tell you how many jars can be processed at a time.
I usually recommend starting with the largest you will think you need because processing multiple rounds of jars can become time-consuming, but if you start small and budget-friendly and find that you need more space you can always add a second canner to the mix.
There are two types of pressure canners: weighted gauge and dial gauge.
A weighted gauge pressure canner releases any pressure that is above the desired pressure. A dial gauge pressure canner shows the pressure on the gauge and you use the stove burner dial to raise or lower the pressure as desired.
Dial gauges need to be checked regularly for accuracy and be recalibrated if they are off. This is a safety issue; if foods are canned at too low pressure you run the risk of botulism settling into your food.
Weighted Gauges do not need to be tested for accuracy because they cannot go out of calibration. Dial gauges have smaller psi increments so you have a little more flexibility when making adjustments for altitude.
The weighted gauges only move in increments of 5, so depending on your altitude, you may end up processing your food at a higher level than is needed. This usually applies to people at altitudes above sea level.
This is really up to your budget, and how much you want to invest. Keep in mind that your pressure canner will last a long time, and will be put to a lot of use over the years. You want one that will meet your present and hopefully future needs, and that you can trust and easily use.
If you have an induction range you will need to avoid aluminum pressure canners as it doesn’t have the magnetic properties to work properly on that type of stove.
Some manufacturers warn against the use of their products if you have a glass or ceramic stovetop because of the potential of damage to your stove and the pot. Your best bet is to consider one of the lighter options for your glass range.
A. Pittman is a homesteader, prepper, and freelance writer who lives on 19 acres in the Midwest of the United States. Her homestead started out as more of a fiber farm, but they are now focusing on food production, herbal medicine, and self-sufficiency. She hopes to be off-grid within the next 3 years, and has learned a lot of skills by hands on experience.