The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot, or IP for short, is a brand name. There are many other brands out there but this is the one I have and love. There are different sizes and models out there. The smallest one is 3 quart and the largest at the moment is 8 quart. If you're a solo driver the smallest one is probably the one you want to go with. I have a 6 quart on the truck.
Then there are different models too like the IP Lux, Duo, Smart, Duo Plus and Ultra. Then there are also different options like 6-in-1, 7-in-1 and 10-in-1 as if it wasn't confusing enough!
I have the Duo 7-in-1. I also had the Lux but actually didn't like the sealing mechanism. It's slightly different than on the Duo but more finicky so if it wasn't set exactly right it wouldn't seal properly. With the Duo I never had that problem. The Lux is the economy model so to speak so it's the cheapest one you can get. Is that bad? No not at all. Just depends what you want to do with it.
My main reason for going for the Duo is mainly the sealing button issue I had with the Lux.
The Lux doesn't have a preset yogurt button, doesn't have a low pressure button. Is that bad? Not in my opinion.
The Smart and Ultra one have a bunch of extra bells and whistles I'm not familiar with so I won't go into those but for me personally, being on the road, I don't need all the extra stuff.
For instance making yogurt sounds great but it's an entire process I simply don't have the time for while driving! Nor do most of us have the storage either for all the fancy stuff 😉
At first I was a bit apprehensive as I had heard horror stories about stovetop pressure cookers. If you follow the instructions on how to use these electronic pressure cookers you don't have to worry at all. They are in an entirely different league from those old stovetop ticking time bombs! The most important rules are to not overfill your Pot and be VERY careful when you use quick pressure release (the seal switch once the cooking process is done.). If you e.g. made soup and use quick pressure release and have too much liquid in the pot, it may come spewing out the sealing vent and you can get burned. So be careful! They do recommend using natural pressure release when cooking soup by the way. Meaning just let the pot sit for about 20-25 minutes and the pin in the lid will drop on its own indicating you can open the lid and the pressure has naturally released from the pot. This is the recommended way too when cooking e.g. meats. If you do quick pressure release it usually dries out the meat.
I was also skeptical that I could make beef stew in 50 minutes (plus approx. 30 minutes for the food to heat up, the pot to build up pressure before it starts counting down from. 50 minutes to being done). Or that it would even taste remotely as good as having cooked in a slow cooker all day long. But I'm a fan now! The meat is so tender and tastes the same as if it had cooked all day long! It really packs the flavor in there.
You can also brown meat and veggies in the pot itself before switching to pressure cooking or steaming. There is also a slow cook option but why use it if you have the quick way available?
I love this thing so much I got rid of my slow cooker! After all, we need the storage space!
If you have any questions feel free to ask them and I'll try to answer them. Oh we do have a 2000w pure sinewave inverter in our truck. It didn't seem to like our previous larger regular Cobra inverter!
It runs at 1250w at its highest, the 6 quart that is. The 3 quart is 1000w I believe.