Multicooker – an indispensable device in the kitchen. It allows you to significantly reduce and simplify the daily routine of cooking. But only if it is chosen correctly – otherwise the device will not help the hostess too much. Therefore, it is important to know some features and nuances.
We will tell you how to choose the right multicooker, based on key parameters and features. With our advice, you will be able to choose the most useful and practical device for your home and your kitchen, without overpaying for unnecessary features and marketing moves.
1. Multicooker, pressure cooker or steam cooker
Which helper is better to choose – features of different multicookers
An ordinary multicooker is a pot with its own heating element and cooking programs. It differs only in increased convenience – due to the clearly aligned programs, you do not need to constantly stand at the stove and watch to ensure that nothing burns or runs away. Additional functions make the multicooker more convenient. But they are not suitable for everyone, although they add value to the unit. These functions are pressure cooker and steamer.
Pressure cooker allows you to reduce the cooking time by about 1,5-2 times. Due to the tightness inside the body of the multicooker, increased pressure is pressurized, and the cooking time is reduced. But because of the seal, you can not open the lid during operation to stir the food or add other ingredients. If you do not care about the speed of cooking – then you can not spend money on this function. But remember, then the meat in a conventional multicooker (especially beef and lamb) can be cooked and 2, and 3 hours, judging by customer reviews. It is at the expense of cooking speed that we recommend buying models with a pressure cooker function to save energy and time.
Steam cooker is added to many models of the middle price segment. This function allows you to cook healthy food on steam. By cooking in this way, more nutrients and elements are preserved in the food. And the dishes are moderately juicy and not greasy at all. Especially good steamer for diet cutlets without oil. However, the steam cooker is necessary for those who follow the health especially zealously – so if you are not one of these, then you can not overpay for the function.
You can buy models with different combinations of these functions – for example, a pressure cooker with a steam cooker, a steam cooker in a multicooker and so on. The cost will be appropriate.
2. Bowl size and coating
How big should the bowl be and what is the best coating for it?
A lot depends on the volume of the bowl. The larger it is, the more people you can feed in one cooking. But, accordingly, the price is higher. Handy tip: If you plan to cook more than once, then consider the volume of the multicooker based on 1.5-2 liters per person. This volume will allow you to feed each family member at least twice. And thanks to this formula you will be able to derive the optimal bowl volume for you.
Remember that many manufacturers do not indicate the useful volume of the bowl, but “to the brim”. So fill the multicooker is not allowed, so in advance, subtract at least 0.5-0.6 liters from the indicated in the price tags and promotional texts, depending on the reviews. Then you will get exactly the useful volume of the bowl. Most often it is recommended to buy a bowl of 5 liters for a standard family of 4 people. And if you are a bachelor or a married couple without children, then 2.5-4 liters will be enough to cook a delicious meal.
As for the coating of the chosen bowl. There are three types in total:
- Teflon. The cheapest and most harmful of all – it releases toxins that spoil the taste of food. It scratches quickly even with soft appliances. But it is very easy to clean, which is a plus.
- Ceramic. Neutral, does not emit harmful substances, due to which it is the most in demand. Unfortunately, it is very fragile and scratches metal devices. It is necessary to use silicone, wooden or plastic spatulas and scoops.
- It has five layers of marble overlay. It is rare, expensive, but the most durable and emits no harmful substances.
It is considered the best five-layer. But the multicooker with such a bowl is not affordable to every buyer. Therefore, we recommend buying a bowl with ceramic coating, as the safest and most practical of all.
3. Power of the multicooker
How powerful should a multicooker be for the kitchen
Power is one of the key parameters of the multicooker. It determines how productive, convenient and functional the model will be. Now on the market you can find multicookers with a range from 170 W to 2.5 kW. Naturally, both of these extremes are not the best choice.
Immediately designate one important fact. You should not take multicookers with low power. It may seem that by doing this you will save energy. But in fact the costs will only increase: the lower the power, the slower the device will cook, and the more time it will take. Therefore, the minimum power (400-500 W) should be discarded right away.
Maximum power is now limited to 2500 W. Of course, at the expense of it you can cook dishes very quickly. But the maximum will consume more energy, and not every network will be able to pull it. Therefore, it is better to stop at the optimal medium variant.
What power to call the best? It depends on the volume of the bowl in the chosen multicooker. In the most popular version with a bowl of 4-5 liters, the ideal power will be 700-900 watts. If the volume is smaller – 600-700 watts will be enough. For bowls larger than 5-6 liters, it is recommended to take a multicooker with at least 1 kW.
4. Type and location of heating
Which heating is better – from the bottom or from all sides
Heating elements in multicookers come in two types – THEN and induction heating elements. The first are based on tubular electric heaters, they are cheap and easy to use. They heat the bowl by being embedded in the bottom and sometimes in the walls or lid. The latter emit an induction field, which affects the alloy of the bowl, due to which it heats itself.
Induction multicookers are much more expensive than the THEN. But they consume less electricity, are safer and more convenient. In addition, due to the heating of the bowl, the products in it are treated more evenly. Conventional models can be found every step of the way, so they are easier to find and buy.
And now let’s talk about the arrangement of heating elements in conventional multicookers. As a rule, there are three types of heating:
- Bottom. The heating element is embedded only in the bottom of the multicooker, because of which the bowl is heated for a long time and unevenly. The advantage is cheapness.
- Bottom and sides. Heating elements are also built into the walls of the device. The bowl heats more quickly and evenly, increasing the speed and quality of cooking.
- On all sides. Among others, the element is also inserted into the lid of the multicooker. Best suited for baking – due to the upper heating on the pie you get a delicious and ruddy crust.
The last two marketers briefly call 3D-heating. Thanks to it, the products are heated more evenly, so nothing burns on either side and does not remain soggy. Naturally, 3D-heating is noticeably more expensive than conventional bottom heating. But the multicooker with it is much more convenient, and it is also ideal for baking.
5. Material of the multicooker body
Which material to choose – metal or plastic
For the manufacture of most multicooker bodies are two materials – metal and plastic. Occasionally there are models made of stainless steel. The body, of course, is not of key importance in the main function of the device – to cook food – but it should also be chosen wisely.
In the context of multicookers, there are few differences in materials. Both allow the device to work properly. Both materials are durable enough and easy to clean, so that the device will not suffer in the harsh conditions of the kitchen. In addition, metal and plastic often act in tandem – many manufacturers make combined cases, due to which a little cheaper production.
Plastic multicookers tend to be much cheaper than metal ones. They weigh less, so they are easy to move from place to place, as customers write in reviews. Plastic is easier to clean from drips and splashes of food, it does not leave noticeable streaks. In addition, an obvious plus – the plastic case does not heat as much as a metal one. Therefore, it is better to buy plastic multicookers in a house where there are small children – they will not get burnt. But there are certain disadvantages. Plastic does not look as noble as metal. It is easily scratched, and scratches on it can no longer be polished. In addition, in the process of long-term use such a case will be soiled and burned out, which makes it even more unpresentable.
A metal case, on the other hand, looks better and retains its original appearance longer. Naturally, if it is well taken care of. Metal is much stronger than plastic and can survive a lot. But, unfortunately, such devices are somewhat heavier than plastic ones and cost more. In addition, it is not happy that the metal case heats up a lot when working – it is easy to get burned on it. So if small children will have access to the multicooker – they can get hurt.
6. Number and quality of programs
How many programs should be in the multicooker and what exactly you need
Automatic programs are exactly why so many buyers love multicookers. They allow you to simply put the products in a bowl, press a couple of buttons and go about your business. Further a miracle appliance will do everything by itself. But do you really need dozens of different programs?
As a rule, the most used modes in modern devices are “Soup”, “Porridge” (sometimes called “Buckwheat” or “Rice”), “Milk porridge”, “Pilaf”, “Roasting”, “Stew”, “Steam” and “Baking”. Most of the other functions are used less frequently. But they noticeably add to the cost of the multicooker.
In order not to overpay for extra modes, think about what you cook most often. And look for a multicooker with these modes in the first place. For example, if you do not make homemade yogurt, then why do you need this function? Also, be sure to have a manual mode in case you want to cook something that is not included in the standard programs of the appliance. As a rule, it is called “Multicooker”. With it you can set the program by yourself, selecting the time and temperature.
By the way, everything changes if you have small children. In that case, it is worth buying a multicooker with the functions “Milk porridge”, “Sterilization”, “Baby food” and, if you want to make proper treats for babies, “Yogurt”. This will provide your child with healthy and tasty treats.
We advise that you focus on your kitchen “activity” first. If you like yogurt – take a multicooker with the program “Yogurt. Often boil jam – buy a model with the appropriate function. And if you know how to configure everything yourself, and you do not need automatic programs – then a model with a minimum of options, but with the “Multi-cook” program will be enough.
7. Design features
What elements to pay attention to when choosing a multicooker
Properly assembled body of the multicooker can significantly facilitate its operation. It is important that the model was made with the maximum comfort of the user in mind. Because even little things can seriously irritate in the process of cooking.
First of all, it is necessary that the lid can be completely removed from the device. This will facilitate its cleaning from food debris. If the lid is not removable – it will be very difficult to clean it completely. By the way, it will be good if the lid opens not with a button (which tend to break often), but by the lock type. That is, by turning the lid.
It is desirable that the model had rubberized feet. Otherwise, it will slide around the table during cooking, especially at the stage of filling or mixing the ingredients. In addition, it can be accidentally yanked or swept off the table.
Pay attention to the length of the cable. If it is short, and there is no outlet nearby, it is better to pay attention to another model. Otherwise you will have to buy an extension cord. However, if you plan to put the multicooker near the outlet, then this parameter can be neglected.
It is very good if the multicooker has a moisture collector. It allows the condensation from the lid to drain into a special tank. And then the drops of water accumulated on it will not fall back into the bowl (which is especially unpleasant when you do baking or some “hard” dish).
It would be ideal if the bowl of the multicooker had handles. They make it much easier to lift the bowl, especially if the dish is still hot and just cooked.
8. Additional options
What options are better to choose when buying a multicooker
A set of additional options can further simplify daily cooking. As a rule, it varies depending on the price of the model. Most of the useful features will make your multicooker even more convenient.
- If your multicooker has the “Keep warm” function, then immediately after cooking, the device will keep a certain temperature so that the contents of the bowl will not cool down. This is very convenient, as it will allow you to always have warm food. But not every dish is suitable for a long heating. Therefore, it is desirable that this option can be disabled in advance.
- The function “Deferred start” is ideal for those who are too lazy to cook something in the morning. With its help, you can set the multicooker so that it will turn on itself at a preset time and cook the contents of the bowl in the pre-selected program. So you will be able to wake up and already have a hot, fresh dish for breakfast.
- For a house with small children, you definitely need a multicooker with protection against turning on when it is “empty”. Otherwise, there is a chance that inquisitive kids will accidentally turn it on without food, and then the device can burn.
- Some “advanced” multicookers allow you to control them with a smartphone. This feature is convenient because you can turn on the model remotely. For example, if you put food in the device before going to work, but did not have time to cook, you can remotely activate the multicooker – and then by your arrival you will get a delicious dinner.
- There are also many different “side” functions. For example, the Sous-Vide technology allows you to cook food, pre-packed in vacuum bags, in the most gentle way. Due to this, they get juicy and healthy. Voice guide will be extremely useful for people who are visually impaired. And so on.
9. Multicooker accessories
What must be included in the delivery set of the multicooker
The equipment does not affect the operation of the multicooker itself. But it can make it easier to handle at first. In addition, it is just nice if the manufacturer has taken care of the buyer and put additional tools in the set.
The set should necessarily include a spatula and a small scoop made of plastic, as well as at least a small measuring cup. As a rule, in the complete recipe book (if there is one), all the proportions of ingredients are calculated for it – so it will be easier to get used to the model.
Some companies add various oven mitts, silicone spatulas, extra bowls, and so on. This is not necessary, but very convenient. By the way, the kit can also include a recipe book. It is useful in that all the proportions and cooking time are designed for a particular model of multicooker, what do not please recipes from the Internet. The latter often have to be additionally adjusted to the device, as the dishes turn out undercooked or burnt.
Ideally, the bowl should have handles. Perhaps even removable. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers provide them. So you can buy them separately – removable handles are sold for most popular models of multicookers. All additional spoons and spatulas can be inserted into a special attachment on the body – this makes them more convenient to store and have a place to attach them during cooking.