Why Trust Us on Canners?
Here at Rational Preparedness we have done the dirty work for you. Well in this case, we have done the hot work for you. We’ve poured many hours into research, using several different approaches, over the past few weeks. We read analyzed review statistics, read comments, reached out into the canning community/ friends and have 10 years of personal experience, using one of the Presto. The American 30 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner, the Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker, and the T-Fal 22 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker are the ones we ended up spending the most time on. There are a few others but these are the only 3 that we shook out as top canners and only two a definite buy.
Note: The picture links take you to Amazon.
- 1 Why Trust Us on Canners?
- 2 Pots that Didn’t Make the Cut
- 3 Related
What We Looked For
The capacity of a canner is more complex than just the number of quarts on the box. What’s more important are the number of jars of each size a canner can hold. Some of them are also quarts so don’t be confused. A canner might be only 1 or 2 quarts smaller than another and hold 7 less jars of a certain size than another, because it’s not tall enough to stack them.
Used as cookers, all of these canners are big enough to handle an enormous cut of meat easily and of course much faster than conventional cooking methods. I like buying meat in bulk as it is often much cheaper than the smaller more precise cuts. With pressure cooking, there is may be no need for additional home butchering as this enormous pressure cooker pot can handle big cuts! It would also be great for making massive batches of Soups, chili and bone broth. Here I talked about making a massive batch of bean & ham soup, that I then froze.
This is where we analyzed reviews to make sure the canners work as advertised. Two of the canners shined here and one had some issues but worked for most.
The canners don’t all work the same, so we will talk about that. Some are heavier or lighter, some have or don’t have gaskets, some have different ways of changing weights, some have different lid locking mechanisms.
If price were no object, this would probably be a 1 canner review. There is a significant price difference between canners, making more than 1 worth taking a look.
Let’s see how these canners panned out.
All American 30-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner
The All American 30-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner is a heavy duty, thick walled, high capacity canner that is made to last a lifetime. The cover fits on with a secure metal to metal steam tight seal without a gasket. No gasket means no worrying about replacing it.
This canner can fit 19 pint jars, 14 quart jars and a whopping 36 half pint jars if you add a third rack. This is the only canner in the review series that allows you to double stack quart Jars. The canner comes in other sizes. We chose the 30-quart size because it is the smallest one that allows you to do this. I think doubling the capacity of quart jars is great. If you are mostly using pint or smaller jars, you could choose a smaller canner.
Six turn screw knob latches lock the lid securely in place. The variable weight pressure regulator allows you to easily use 5,10 or 15 PSI. There is no need to buy a different weight, like you often do with the Presto. Reading the gauge is simple and clear, just remember to wait until it reaches zero to open the locked lid.
As a larger and thicker cast aluminum canner you can use a rocket stove or an outdoor camp style burner for heat, without worrying about breaking it. Other brands such as the Presto cap their recommended heat to 12,000 BTUs. The bigger outdoor burners have a 15,000-30,000 BTU capacity. When initially heating the canner, you won’t have to worry about going over your limit. Once the canner is at pressure, you will still need to get the heat down though, for the pressure to be right. The weight is a jiggler, and only needs to jiggle about four times per minute. Of course read the instruction manual that comes with it.
All of the parts of this canner are covered under a manufacturers warranty. It is made in the USA by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry that has been producing canners since 1930.
If you can handle the weight, size and price point of this canner- buy it! I cannot stress the merits of the All American 30 quart pressure cooker canner enough. For me, this is an easy yes.
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
The Presto 23-quart Pressure Canner and Cooker is a dependable canner that is an ample and yet easily handled size. I have owned this canner and used it extensively for pressure cooking only stepping into the canning world within the past year. This machine made that transition easy and stress free. It costs less than the All-American. I consider it to be the top budget canner.
Anyone should be able to use the Presto canner. It is lightweight (for a pot of this size) and has an easy twist on locking lid. The canner uses a rubberized gasket to complete the seal. This does leave a potential for the gasket to degrade over time. I suggest keeping one on hand as they are cheap and easy to obtain. In my ten years of cooking with this machine, I have yet to replace mine. The gauge is easy to read and the included 15 PSI weight is pretty handy.
Capacity: The average home cooker and canner can easily make do with a machine of this capacity. Roasts can be cooked swiftly leaving the meat tender and juicy even from a frozen state if desired. Canning capacity is 24 half pints, 18 pints, and 7 quarts. For me that is more than enough to process at one time. Notice the much lower quart capacity than the All-American 30-quart above. This is because it holds one layer of quarts.
Extra parts: I do recommend buying a variable weight regulator which allows you the full spectrum of often used pressures- 5, 10 and 15. This is a cheap fix for an otherwise great machine. The canner may or may not come with a 2nd canning rack, which makes stacking jars more stable. Amazon has the 2nd one sold separately here. I purchased one for my canner and used it the articles about canning Pork and Beef.
The machine is made in China although Presto is an US based company. Presto knows what they are doing and don’t they appear to be going away any time soon. Replacement parts, if needed, are easy to obtain from the Presto website or Amazon.
I am happy with my Presto 23 quart pressure canner. For a budget conscious buyer, this canner is a great value in the entry level price range. At 23 quarts you can pressure can a large batch all at once cutting down on your time and fuel costs. If price, lighter weight and an easy on and off lid are important to you without compromising quality, the Presto 23 quart pressure canner and cooker is perfect for you!
T-fal Polished Pressure Canner and Cooker, 22-Quart, Silver
This pressure canner and cooker is lightweight and easy to use. This falls within the entry level price range for a pressure canner and cooker of this size. It comes with all the bells and whistles of a machine in this range; double rack, safety valve, pressure gauge, locking mechanism to prevent opening while pressurized and the ability to easily use this on all kinds of stoves. The easily adjusted variable pressure control knob is a feature that we had not seen on other canners. It allows for a fool proof adjustment to the PSI between 5, 10 and 15.
The capacity can handle a good sized roast which is a necessity for me. You can make a large pot of soups or chili. As for canning, we ran into some issues with the size, or more correctly the shape. We were able to fit 16 wide mouth pint jars, but only 8 regular pint jars. This may have been an anomaly for us based on the jars we used, however, it definitely put a damper on canning day.
Compared to the All American and the Presto, this pressure canner is my third choice. My hopes were high for this pressure canner. I wanted to find a machine comparable in price to the Presto that could outperform it. This just isn’t the canner that can do that. The difficulty we had trying to fit the regular sized pint jars as well as the poor reviews relating to pressurization are a real downer. If these were merely cosmetic issues, I could overlook, but these are two huge pieces of the puzzle that are in question. Presto is my top choice for the budget conscious and the All American for those willing to spend a little more to get the best.
Pots that Didn’t Make the Cut
Buffalo Stainless Steel 32-Quart Pressure Cooker
When I was searching for the best canners, I wanted to find one for you what was stainless steal. The reason for this is because aluminum, though light weight, has some properties that are not ideal for the kitchen or canning. It’s not as hard as steel and is more prone to dents. If you dent the rim of a canner, it won’t seal well. My presto book even warns you not to smack your steal spatula on the rim. Stainless steal also just looks nicer than aluminum and nearly all cookware on the market is made out of it. Also, see the section below about aluminum oxide.
I saw this Buffalo 32-Quart cooker, while browsing Amazon. It came up in my search for pressure canners. It’s large and it looks very much like a stainless steel canner. It is beautiful. It’s shiny and people like cooking in it. Ah, but alas, it is not a canner. Why would they make something that is 99% a canner that is not a canner? Even if you don’t have plans to do pressure canning now and just want a cooker, like I did 10 years ago, why would you buy a cooker that is not a canner? What if you change your mind 5 years down the road? You have to buy a new pot.
Several people asked about pressure canning in it. So this Buffalo cooker is like a honey pot pulling in people who want to can in something pretty. This is what the seller had to say in response to one of those questions:
Basically this pressure cooker is designed for cooking meat, vegetables, soup and some dishes that need long cooking time. It doesn’t come with a pressure regulator and we don’t have a plan to add it in the near future. Sorry about that.
We don’t recommend using it as a canner.
But it performs very well as a pressure cooker for personal or commercial use.
It’s a real shame because I think they could have an edge in the canning market with this thing. They built a pot capable of being a canner but didn’t put the needed controls in. The only reason, I can think of, why someone would, buy this is Some people are afraid to cook in aluminum for a concern about health risks of aluminum getting into food. This cooker would do a great job of cooking your food, without having it come into contact with aluminum.
When preparing to take some pictures of my Presto Canner, I grabbed a paper towel to whip it down. The black on the paper towel is aluminum Oxide. Aluminum oxide an rub off on your kitchen towels and some counter tops. It makes a bit of a mess in the kitchen. If you had a stainless steel pot, this would not happen. It would be heavier though.
Granite Ware 20 Qt Pressure Canner
When searching for pressure canners, this Granite Ware one came up. They are known for making water bath canners, so it makes sense they would make these too. It looks reasonable good enough. It comes with an adjustable regulator. People like it. So why did it not make the cut? The answer can be summed up in one word: Capacity.
At 20 quarts it’s nearly as large as the Presto and T-fal Canners but it’s not large enough to stack pint jars. Pints are one of the most common sizes. Not being able to stack them is a major draw back because it cuts the capacity in HALF! You aren’t saving much space in your cupboard with this thing, you are just doubling the number of times you have to run it, to can pints.
Our rankings for best pressure canner are:
If you are interested in purchasing one of the canners above, please consider using the affiliate links within this article, instead of searching, to help support these reviews! Happy harvest and happy canning!