Range top or electric pressure cooker–What is the difference?

– Posted in: Pressure Cooking
pressure cooker

This is a picture of one of the first pressure cookers.  I think you will agree, many improvements have been made since then.  If you have never cooked with a pressure cooker before, the first thing you need to realize is that there are two different types of pressure cookers.  A range top pressure cooker (sometimes known as a stove top pressure cooker)  sits on a burner on your range or cook top and derives it source of heat from the heat generated by the range.  An electric pressure cooker can sit on top of the counter and the heat source is supplied by an electrical outlet. Your cooking style or level of comfort will dictate whether you will want an electrical or a stove top pressure cooker.

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of each.  From there you need to decide which will fit into your lifestyle and produce the meals you are most accustomed to.

Stove Top Pressure Cookers

stove top pressure cooker vs


  • The PSI on a stove top is usually 15.  This is higher than the psi on the average electric pressure cooker.  This means the food cooks faster because it is cooking at a higher pressure. Most recipes, unless otherwise stated, are considered to be at a psi 15 level when it says to cook on high pressure.
  • If you are canning, those canner pressure cookers are extra-large and are used on a stove top.
  • The release of the pressure can be faster because you can use the quick release method.
  • The stove top pressure cooker is usually less expensive.
  • Believe it or not, there are camping pressure cookers.  These are used on an open pit or a camping stove top.
  • One of the biggest advantages are that there are no electrical part that can blow out.  The stove top pressure cookers have a longer life span than the electrical pressure cookers.  Although, keep in mind, that the newer electrical ones are more sturdier than the earlier ones.
  • The range top are much easier to store.  They usually fit inside a kitchen cabinet as a large pan would.
  • Stove top pressure cookers usually come with 3 settings—high, medium, and low.


  • Some cooks think the range top is harder to use than the electrical because you need to be constantly monitoring the pressure.  If the pressure gets too high, the heat needs to be reduced.
  • You can’t put the stove top pressure cooker outside (on a back porch or balcony)  to cook is you want to keep the smell out of your house.
  • The range top pressure cooker uses a small amount more utilities (gas or electricity)  because it needs more heat to maintain the pressure than the electrical cooker uses electricity.

Electric Pressure Cookers

electric pressure cooker vs


  • Probably the top advantage of the electric pressure cooker is that once it is set, you don’t need to constantly monitor it.  There is an electric component that makes all the adjustments for you.  This makes some people think it is much easier to use.
  • Some may consider it an advantage in that some of the electric pressure cookers seem to have more backup safety features.  Some of features are needed because it is electrical and someone isn’t constantly watching it.
  • Another advantage is that if you are a first time pressure cooker user you may find an electrical one that is programmed to be much easier to use.
  • Another advantage you might not think of pertains to apartment dwellers.  Some like to put the pressure cooker on their balcony so the smell of whatever you are cooking doesn’t fill the apartment or condo.
  • The electric pressure cooker can have from one  several different settings.  Each electric pressure cooker can be so different from another one, so it is important to read how many different settings there are.
  • Some electric pressure cookers can be programmed to cook certain foods, such as beans or rice, with just the push of a button.


  • The psi on the electric pressure cooker is usually around 11.  This means that you need too add extra time onto most recipes because they are written for a psi of 15.
  • More time may need to be added onto the end of the cooking process  because you can’t use the quick release method.  This is when you can place the stove top pressure cooker under the faucet to bring the pressure down quickly so the lid can be removed.
  • All the electrical bells and whistles increases the expense of production so the cost is passed onto the consumer, making most electrical pressure cookers more expensive.
  • Electrical pressure cookers will usually not last as long as a stove top because the electrical components are more likely to quit working.   The length of time your electric pressure cooker will last  sometimes depends on how much you use it  and the actual product you purchase.
  • As you research electric pressure cookers, make sure you notice what the warranty covers and how long it is protected.  You will find that this information varies among the different manufacturers.
  • If you want to take your electrical pressure cooker camping, it can only be used where there is an electrical outlet.
  • You need to consider where you will operate the electric pressure cooker and where the steam will escape.  Some cooks think they save cooking space on top of the stove top, but others think they need to be place on the stove top under the exhaust fan and not under the kitchen counters.   

Extra Note:

I have tried to give you all the advantages and disadvantages of both.  Some are worth considering and others are just worth being aware of. The bottom line is that they both save energy, time and nutrients. In researching which cooks favored most I came to the conclusion that it is close to an even split in preference.  And those that have both say they use both of the them equally.      As you can tell they both have their plus and minuses, but choose the one you are most comfortable with and you will find cooking with pressure is FUN!

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