It’s that time of year when your garden is verdant and filled with so many kinds of fruits and vegetables that there’s no way your family can eat them all. Since everyone is more conscious about wasting food these days, maybe you’ve become a canner. Whether you use the garden’s sweets for making jams and jellies, or you’re canning tree fruits, or making pickles and salsa, every preserving project comes with some special instructions to make sure your canned goods are safe to eat throughout the year.
I remember my first canning efforts, as well as those for many years to come, relying on a traditional water bath canner. When first getting started, there were so many things to think about, from buying canning jars, jar lifters, lids and rings to thinking about things like sugar and pectin and how to recreate the great jams and jellies my grandmother made. Soon I’d graduated to canning peaches, pears and nectarines along with plums, tomatoes and applesauce.
For years, I wanted to expand my canning repertoire. I started buying books about pressure canning. I wanted to learn to can the trout I catch each summer fishing from my kayak. I wanted to be able to preserve things that require pressurization to kill dangerous bacteria. That could mean putting up something as simple as my garden fresh green beans or something as exotic as beef bourguignon (because I do love to channel my inner Julia Child.)
Whatever your canning challenge, the beauty about pressure canners is that they allow you to use both the traditional water bath canning method as well as the pressure canning method, so you’ve got all your bases covered. There are an interesting variety of stove top pressure canners on the market, some with the traditional rocker knobs that makes noise when the pressure is right, or wrong. Several of those most highly rated have more high-tech pressure gauges. Both styles allow you to can at a variety of pressures, from five to 15psi, depending on what you’re preserving. I found it interesting that a few are literally so heavy, they aren’t recommended for use on glass or ceramic cook tops.
Since I, and many of you, likely have a glass cook top, another alternative is to look at electric pressure canners. Their beauty lays in the fact that they’re total kitchen multi-taskers. You can use them one day to rapid roast a chicken, and the next day to can up quite a few pints of jam. Because they are insulated, they tend to heat up your house a bit less, but they take a while to cool down before you can put them away, and in the meantime they take up a lot of space on your counter.
No matter which pressure canner you choose, you’ll be making an investment in your family’s homegrown, healthy meals and let’s be honest, knowing where your food comes from offers some pretty sweet peace of mind. Here are the Top 8 Best Pressure Canners to check out before your next harvest.
Best Pressure Canners – Traditional Stove Top Canners
1. Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner & Cooker
1. Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner & Cooker
Pressure canning is the only method recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is safe for canning for low-acid foods like green beans, fish, meats and more. This flexible canner doubles as a boiling water canner for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and salsa in pint and half pint jars. It’s also awesome as a large capacity pressure cooker. Constructed of warp-resistant, heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating, this canner works on regular and smooth-top ranges. The easy to read, deluxe pressure dial gauge registers the complete range of processing pressures. This precise measurement is especially important at higher altitudes. The air vent/cover lock allows pressure to build up only when the cover is closed properly and prevents the cover from being opened until the pressure is safely reduced. Liquid capacity: 23 quarts (21.8 liters).
- #1 Amazon best seller
- Good quality at a great price
- Works on traditional or glass cooktops
- Works as promised
- Need to get the pressure gauge tested by an outside source
- Rubber gasket periodically needs replacement
- Can be too tall if you have an over the range microwave
- Not large enough for quart jars using the boiling water method
2. All American 21.5-Quart Pressure Cooker & Canner
This 21.5 quart pressure cooker and canner is a wicked wonder in the kitchen. It holds 19 pint jars or seven quart jars at once. Made of durable, hand-cast aluminum with attractive satin finish. it’s exclusive “metal-to-metal” sealing system makes for a steam-tight seal with no gaskets that need replacing. The geared steam gauge has an automatic over-pressure release to reduce your fears over pressure canning with settings of settings of five, ten and fifteen psi. While this is an awesome pressure canner, and it’s high heat means you can preserve less acidic produce safely, it is versatile enough for many other large kitchen cooking tasks.
- Likely to last more than one generation
- Weighted pressure gauge makes operation almost foolproof
- No gasket required, alleviating replacement issues
- Comes with easy to understand instructions
- Very heavy to lift when filled with water
- Weight makes it not suitable for glass or ceramic cooktops
- Takes longer to heat up and cool down
- Fairly expensive
3. Mirro Polished Aluminum 22-Quart Pressure Cooker & Canner
This shiny beauty of a pressure canner is constructed from rustproof heavy-gauge aluminum. It holds 16 pint jars or 5 quart jars at a time so you can put up a lot of fruit, fish or veggies in a day. It maintains steady pressure with three cooking-pressure options – five, 10 and 15psi. The reusable over-pressure plug, sure-locking lid system, and side gasket pressure release make this pressure canner and cooked a safe and easy option to use. The simple weighted toggle system is preferred by some home canners for its simple sound that lets you know when your canner is up to and at optimum pressure.
- Super reasonably priced
- Weighted toggle preferred over pressure gauge by some home canners
- Not as heavy to lift as some
- Large enough to accommodate good sized batches
- Vague instruction manual
- Difficult to find replacement gaskets
- Reports of poor customer service from Mirro/Wearever
- Some reported difficulty getting canner up to pressure
4. Granite Ware 20-Quart Pressure Canner/Cooker/Steamer
The Granite Ware 20-quart Pressure Canner/Cooker/Steamer is a professional-quality tool, made of hard anodized aluminum, with stay-cool handles and a locking stainless steel lid. An accompanying rack fits down into the pot to keep your precious canning jars up off the bottom, and comes with folding handles for easy raising and lowering. The rack holds up to seven quart jars, eight pint jars or 24 half-pint jars. The steamer insert is great for tamales, seafood, pulled pork, pot roast, ribs, and more. The pressure canner achieves the high temperature required for safely processing foods like meats, poultry, and low-acid vegetables. The unit features a pop-up pressure indicator, locking the lid in place. It cannot be opened while the canner is pressurized, even if there is just one psi of pressure. As an added safety feature, the vent pipe is located in the center of the lid and if it fails or clogs, there is an additional black capped safety valve set to go off and a second all metal safety valve will exhaust residual pressure while sounding a whistling alarm. The sturdy lid locks in place during canning or cooking with the lid gasket sealing ring forming a pressure tight seal between the body of the canner and the cover during use. The Granite Ware pressure canner, steamer, and cooker uses the UL-recommended adjustable 3-piece pressure regulator system and is calibrated for five, 10 and 15psi, which is ideal for canning at different altitudes.
Price: $59.99 (47 percent off MSRP)
- Surprisingly affordable
- Easy to use once you get the hang of it
- Good capacity
- Weighty but not too heavy
- Insufficient instruction manual
- Some reports of difficulty getting canner to seal properly
- Not suitable for glass stove tops
- Interior rack can seem too flimsy
5. Fagor Duo 10-Quart Pressure Cooker & Canner
This Fagor Professional Duo 10-quart pressure cooker and canner saves you up to 70 percent of cooking time over other traditional cooking methods. It features a triple-safety system that prevents opening before all the pressure is released. This cooker and canner has two separate pressure settings (eight and 15psi) with an automatic pressure release. It also features a simple to use dial format to regulate and release pressure. Made of stainless steel with an encapsulated bottom, it offers even heat distribution which is crucial to both pressure cooking and canning. This nifty little unit is perfect for a couple who wants to do a smaller volume of canning at a time. It can hold up to four quart jars.
- Heavy duty stainless steel construction
- Easy to monitor pressure gauge
- Perfect for small batch canning
- Triple safety system
- Too small for some
- Ten year warranty only covers the metal pan
- Reports of handle breakage
- Frequent customer service complaints
Best Pressure Canners – Electric Countertop Canners
6. Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System
6. Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System
Take the guesswork out of canning with this innovative automatic canner. Featuring SmartPRESERVE technology, the auto canner precisely controls the exact time and temperature required to safely preserve most canning recipes without any additional input from the user. Ball’s most popular canning recipes come pre-programmed for perfect results every time. All you have to do is simply place your filled jars into the auto canner, press the corresponding recipe number and wait. The auto canner signals when the jars are perfectly preserved and shelf stable. This nifty counter top unit uses up to 85 percent less water than traditional water-bath canning and preserves recipes up to 30 percent faster. This canner holds three quart jars, four pint jars, or six half-pint jars at a time, making it a simple choice for singles and couples. The machine’s temperature, altitude and time sensors ensure perfect preservation every time. Seven built-in safety features encourage correct operation and help prevent mistakes. This pressure canner also preheats jars for faster canning.
- Super simple to use
- Great for small batch canners
- Easy, push button programs for most canning needs
- Set it and forget it
- Super spendy
- Does not work for meat or low acid fruits and veggies
- Not enough flexibility in using recipes outside those that have been pre-programmed
- Options too limited for most
7. Chard 9.5-Quart Smart Pressure Canner & Cooker
The Chard Pressure Canner and Cooker has a removable 9.5 quart non-stick cooking chamber that serves large meals and cleans up easily. With more than 20 built in safety features, this canner and cooker offers separate programs for various cooking types at the push of a button. Pressure cook, slow cook, bake, brown meat, steam and cook rice or risotto. It also has separate water bath and steam functions for canning. Can four quarts, six pints, eight jelly jars or ten half-pint jars in a single batch. Perfect for gardeners and farmers’ market fanatics who want to preserve the freshest produce, this little pressure canner is just right for small batch canning any time of the year.
- Great for canning both high and low acid foods
- Good for small batch canners
- Insulated unit keeps your kitchen cooler
- Simple and fast to use
- Directions are somewhat vague
- Has to cool overnight
- Takes up a lot of counter space
- A bit expensive compared to some
8. Power 8-Quart Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Canner
When you want delicious meals cooked fast, you need a kitchen tool that’s quick under pressure. The large, eight-quart Power Pressure Cooker XL can replace six different kitchen tools with one machine. It can stand in for your canner, slow cooker, soup maker, steamer, rice cooker and other traditional cookware. Preserve berries and vegetables from the garden with this unit’s canning capabilities. Or slow-cook your family’s favorite chili when you’re in no rush to eat. Stack the two cooking racks to prepare multiple dishes at once – steam your fish and vegetables together for even faster service. The digital controls and preset buttons make it easy to operate. An added bonus, the removable inner pot is safe for the dishwasher, making cleanup quick and easy too.
Price: $119.99 (7 percent off MSRP)
- Extremely versatile kitchen tool
- Simple to use pre-set functions
- Comes with a canning cookbook
- Especially effective for pressure cooking
- More suited for cooking than canning
- Waffle surface on pan bottom difficult to get clean
- Small capacity for a canner
- Reported customer service issues