Black & Decker 6 Quart Pressure Cooker review: Black & Decker's pressure cooker can't cook like an Instant Pot

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The Good The Black & Decker 6 Quart Pressure Cooker uses pressure to speed up cooking times. It has many preset modes for specific foods, and functions as a skillet, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer.

The Bad You can't adjust its pressure settings or browning heat levels. It lacks presets for yogurt, porridge and eggs. It's expensive given its limitations.

The Bottom Line The Black & Decker 6 Quart pressure cooker does the job, but the Crock-Pot Express and Instant Pot Duo do more and are better deals.

5.9 Overall
  • Performance 6
  • Usability 6
  • Design 7
  • Features 5

The Instant Pot craze is as strong ever. Many companies plan to cash in on the popularity of this countertop electronic pressure cooker with products of their own. Case in point: the $100 Black & Decker 6 Quart Pressure Cooker. 

There's plenty to like about this affordable kitchen appliance. It uses high pressure to prepare tough cuts of meat and other time-intensive food quickly. It also comes with lots of preset cooking modes to tackle everything including the usual rice, stews, soups and beans. A true multicooker as well, the appliance can sear and saute like an electric skillet. It can function as a traditional slow cooker that simmers gently for hours. And the machine can steam food, too. Plus, the cooker's nonstick pot makes cleanup easy.

Still, Black & Decker's pressure cooker can't match an Instant Pot feature for feature, or even the Crock-Pot Express. You can't adjust the pressure level or its browning function. The cooker lacks preset modes for eggs, yogurt and porridge. If any of these missing features are deal breakers, avoid this model. Get the $100 Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart, which does more for the same price. Need something less expensive? Go for the capable $80 Crock-Pot Express.   

Design and features

From a distance, it's easy to mistake the Black & Decker 6 Quart Pressure Cooker for an Instant Pot model. It has the same squat cylindrical outline, right down to its curved, U-shaped lid handle. There's also a flat control panel on the front of the countertop appliance complete with a small LED screen. The display's indicators glow in the same signature red as the Instant Pot, as well.

To open and close the cooker, you swivel the lid clockwise to close or counterclockwise to open. A steam release valve on the lid controls whether the appliance is buttoned up tight or open and venting. There's a small float valve on top of the lid that raises or lowers to indicate whether the cooker is pressurized.

That's where the similarities to the Instant Pot end. Instead of a stainless-steel cooking pot, the Black & Decker has a nonstick bowl. It's close to what you find in traditional rice cookers and the Crock-Pot Express multicooker

The Black & Decker pressure cooker's control panel offers fewer preset options. It has preset cooking modes for white and brown rice, meat, beans, soups and stews. There are also buttons to steam items under pressure, along with multiple non-pressure modes. They include "browning" to saute and sear, two slow-cook programs (high and low heat) and a keep-warm function. There's also a manual mode and a delayed-start option.

The Black & Decker doesn't have as many presets as its most similar rival, the Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart, which has specific modes for cooking eggs, porridge and yogurt. That's not to say that you can't cook these things in the Black & Decker; you just have to use the manual mode. But it would have been nice to have them as presets.

Another shortcoming is that it only has one pressure level (high). The Instant Pot lets you choose between high- and low-pressure cooking, as does the Crock-Pot Express. Likewise, the Black & Decker only has one saute setting, while the Instant Pot has three saute temperature settings (low, medium, high) and the Crock-Pot has two (low and high).

The Black & Decker 6 Quart Pressure Cooker has plenty of settings, but fewer than Instant Pot appliances have.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I also appreciate how both the Instant Pot's and the Crock-Pot Express' saute mode tells you when it's reached its target temperature. All the Black & Decker cooker does is switch on a light when you activate the browning function. 

Performance and taste

The Black & Decker 6 Quart is a competent pressure cooker. To assess what it can do, I used it to tackle a few key cooking tasks. I cooked brisket, rice, plus a full pot of chili -- meat, beans and all.

High pressure helps cuts of meat like ribs and brisket cook quickly. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Brisket and pork

One of the toughest cuts of meat is beef brisket. It's also one of the most delicious and well worth the wait if done properly. In a smoker or conventional oven, that anticipation can last as long as 10 to 12 hours. A main selling point for pressure cookers is that they significantly shorten cook times. In this regard, the Black & Decker 6 Quart didn't disappoint.

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