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Instant Pot Duo vs. Duo Nova: Which One Should You Choose?

By Luna Regina | Updated
Our recommendations are made independently through research and testing following our review procedure. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

An Instant Pot is basically a multi-functional electric pressure cooker. It can do everything that a conventional pressure cooker does but with better results, from cooking rice to roasting a whole chicken.  

Instant Pot Duo vs. Duo Nova

In addition to that, it also has settings that allow it to widen the realm of possibilities. Your Instant Pot can serve not only as a pressure cooker but also as a warmer, steamer, rice cooker, slow cooker, sous vide, and much more. Though its price is slightly higher than a comparable pressure cooker, the value it brings is exceptional, and in our opinion, totally worth it.

Every year, Instant Pot comes out with a new model. To date there are seven versions. With the Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Ultra, and Smart Bluetooth being the most common models. 

With revolutionary smart multi-cookers featuring new functions and uses constantly in development, it can be hard to tell Instant Pot products apart — especially the Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova. That’s where this article comes in. 

By explaining how the Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova compare in terms of size, capacity, price, and functionality, we hope to provide everything you need to know in order to choose the right cooker for your household. 

So, let’s get started.

Instant Pot Duo vs. Duo Nova: What’s the Difference? 

Similar in versatility but safer to use, the Instant Pot Duo Nova comes with more advanced features to provide its users with a superior cooking experience. 

The slight improvements in design and functionality also make this version better suited to everyday needs. Meanwhile, the Instant Pot Duo still offers myriad benefits and uses in its own right while being among the least expensive electric pressure cookers on the market. 

Here is all the information you need to better understand these models’ functions and other details.  

Size and Capacity 

Both Instant Pot Duo and Duo Nova are available in three convenient sizes (3-, 6-, 8-quart). But the newer version boasts one extra option (10-quart) to help you accommodate a wider variety of cooking styles.

Instant Pot Duo vs. Duo Nova Size

The size of your cooker often determines how quickly it can reach full pressure and the amount of heat produced in a given time. Larger pots typically take longer to build and release pressure since they have more space to fill. 

Be aware that different Instant Pot sizes cook differently, but most online instructions are designed for 6-quart models. As a result, you’ll have to learn how to properly scale the recipes if you choose a different size. 

Choosing the right Instant Pot size depends on the demands of your household and the size of your intended meals. If you have a small family (2-4 members) and do not want to make a lot of food, the 3-quart Instant Pot is typically a great choice. Portable, compact, and lightweight, this model is great for those with space constraints as well. 

The medium-sized 6-quart Instant Pot can feed six people at a time. It’s also the most widely-used size, so many Instant Pot recipes are written with this one in mind.

Anyone with a big family (larger than 6 members) will find the 8-quart Instant Pot is a perfect option for everyday needs. That being said, due to its large and bulky size, this tool isn’t ideal for small kitchens. Carrying it around can be trickier too.  

Developed specifically for feed-a-crowd recipes, Instant Pot’s largest electric pressure cooker weighs in at 10 quarts. If you usually host large dinner parties or group gatherings of hungry folks, this is your lifesaver.

Price and Features

The Duo Nova is only slightly more expensive than the Duo. So we don’t think this will factor into many people's decisions. Of course, with higher price comes more advanced features. 

While both devices have personalized programming, manual programs, and the same suite of safety functions, the Instant Pot Duo Nova actually offers several notable improvements over its predecessor. 

One of those includes a smart steam release valve in the updated lid, which will automatically seal when the lid is closed. That way, you don’t need to turn the Steam Release Handle to the sealing position to pressurize. We’ve forgotten that step on the Duo more times than we’d like to admit. 

Instant Pot Duo Nova Lid

The new lid’s Steam Release Button also makes it easier to release pressure. Instead of moving the Steam Release Handle from the sealing to the venting position, simply press the Steam Release Button to manually release steam and push it all the way down to lock it in place for a quick release. This will help keep your hands clear of the superheated steam that escapes when you release the pot’s internal pressure. 

Offering a higher level of convenience, the Nova’s intuitive status indicator also keeps you informed at every step of the cooking process. This is a capability you won’t find in the old Duo. 

Functionality 

Both the Duo and Duo Nova work by using highly pressurized steam to cook the food faster than conventional methods. Less water is needed overall, so more of the food’s aroma, flavor, and nutrients are retained. 

Combining the function of seven appliances in one, they both perform well an extensive variety of cooking tasks, all at the touch of a button. And the smart programs in the Duo and Duo Nova are both able to take care of all the cooking-time and temperature calculations. They are set-and-forget appliances that allow you to start cooking instantly and eliminate your need to consult the instructions.

Overall, there’s no significant difference between these two models in terms of functions and cooking presets. The newer version does not cook faster or more efficiently than its older counterparts. So, try not to feel pressured into buying the Nova. 

After all, the best pressure cooker for you is the one that’s most conducive to your lifestyle and budget.  

Design 

The overall design of the Duo and Duo Nova is almost the same with the exception of the front panel displays and pressure releases. 

Featuring a backlit display that provides a luminous look and high visual impact, the Duo Nova makes it easier for users to see what’s on the screen, especially in a dark kitchen. 

On the whole, though, the classic LCD of the old Duo is still elegant enough to intuitively indicate the cooking process in its own right. 

Related post: Instant Pot Viva vs Duo: Which Is Better?

A Comparison Chart 

Here’s a table that shows the basic distinctions between these two multi-cookers:

 DuoDuo Nova
Cooks up to 70% faster
0ne-touch cooking programs
Easy steam release
Extra sealing ring
Auto seal lid
Cooking pro8gress indicator
Advanced safety features
Quart size3, 6, 83, 6, 8,10

Instant Pot Duo vs. Duo Nova: Which One is Better?

While neither the Duo nor Duo Nova have all the latest and greatest features seen on more expensive Instant Pots, both devices still offer all the quality and convenience you’d expect from a reliable pressure cooker.

However, being an upgraded version of the Duo, the new Duo Nova has some improvements, allowing it to provide users with better cooking experiences

With the improved tight-fitting lid, steam auto-seal feature, and new digital display featuring indicator icons, Duo Nova has become the most beloved Instant Pot and an excellent option for those who are new to pressure cooking. Though it is functionally similar to all other Instant Pots, it is obviously the better cooker for creative chefs than its previous generations. 

At around 10% cheaper, the basic Duo, meanwhile, is not a very fancy pressure cooker (at least as far as Instant Pots go). However, it’s still a great addition to the company’s most popular line.

Combining many of the most popular features from Instant Pot, it offers a range of functions to meet your different needs and cooking styles. If you’re looking for nothing more than basic functions, go for this multi-cooker.

Luna Regina

A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.

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