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Pressure Canner Buying Guide: How to choose a Pressure Canner

Pressure Canner Buying Guidepressure canner parts and use explained

This straightforward guide to choosing a pressure canner will help if you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes,  since you will need a pressure canner.  These foods  fit into the low acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or greater. The temperature which must be reached and maintained (for a specified amount of time) to kill the bacteria is 240 F. Pressure canning is the only canning method recommended safe by the U.S.D.A. for low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats, and fish. Ordinary water bath canners can only reach 212 F and cannot to kill the types of bacteria that will grow in low acid foods. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under pressure as achieved in quality pressure canners.

Whether you are canning low acid foods like green beans, corn and other vegetables for your first time or in your 50th year of canning; all the supplies you need are here, and at the best prices you'll find anywhere!  Scroll down this page for photos, descriptions, prices and ordering information. Just scroll down this page to see the selection of pressure canners.

If you are looking for a plain water bath canner, see this page. Also see Canners for glass top stoves?

Choosing a Pressure canner!

If you're new to pressure canning, see this page for a complete description of how pressure canners work, why they're better, and step-by-step directions on how to use one!

And if you lost the instruction manual  for your canner, click here for free downloads of many canner's instruction manuals!

This page lists spare and replacement parts for pressure canners

Key Consideration to selecting a pressure canner

Manufacturers

There are several manufacturers of pressure canners.  The two leading ones are Presto and All American (Wisconsin Aluminum). They are more expensive than water bath canners, but they are extremely well built - I bought mine in 1988 and it still looks and works like new!

Cost

Obviously your budget may determine which canners you can consider.  Keep in mind, a pressure canner should last several generations, and can also be used as a water bath canner, so the inital cost is spread out over many decades of use.  The prices range from about $80 to $500.  Presto pressure canners are overal much less expensive than other brands.

Capacity

 16- to 23-quart capacity (volume of the kettle) are the most common size and hold seven quart jars for canning. Larger canners can hold 14 quart jars.  Yopu can stack jars in a pressure canner, which is why they hold more jars than a water bath canner per batch.  This is also a good reason to go bigger.  Since the time per batch is much greater than a water bath canner, between venting, heating the process time and cool down, a larger canner will allow you to can twice as many jars in the same time as the samller sizes. You do not need to fill the canner each time - you can can with one jar in it, or a full load.

The smallest canner that can be used safely is one that will hold at least four quart jars. Use of pressure cookers or saucepans with smaller capacities is not recommended. Pressure cookers that are not rated as pressure canners should not be used for canning, their walls are thinner and actually could rupture, catestrophically.

Comarison of Pressure Canner Makes and Models
Brand Presto Presto All-American All-American All-American All-American All-American All-American
Model 1755 1781 910 915 921 925 930 941
Size / Capacity 16 qt 23 qt 10.5 qt 15.5 qt 21.5 qt 25 qt 30 qt 41.5 qt
Max number of pint jars it
can do in one batch
9 19 7 10 19 19 19 32
Max number of quart jars it
can do in one batch
4 7 4 7 7 7 14 19
Buying options

Type (dial gauge or pressure weight regulator)

This is probably the biggest consideration after capacity. There are two types of pressure canners:

  • Dial-Presure Gauge (Presto makes these)
  • Weighted Gauge Regulator ("All American Pressure Canner" makes these)

 The difference is in how they regulate pressure.  The weighted regulator type uses a weight that automatically lifts up and releases excess pressure above the set pressure. You can exchange different weights for different pressures. The other type, a dial pressure gauge pressure canner requires you to adjust the source of heat to maintain the desired pressure. 

The weighted gauge is a small round weight or disk that is placed on the vent port to control internal pressure. Weighted-gauge pressure canners exhaust tiny amounts of air and steam each time the gauge rocks or jiggles during processing. They control pressure precisely and need neither constant watching nor checking for accuracy during processing. The sound of the weight rocking or jiggling indicates that the canner is maintaining the recommended pressure. The only disadvantage of weighted-gauge canners is that they cannot correct precisely for higher altitudes. At altitudes above 1,000 feet, they must be operated at canner pressures of 10 pounds per square inch instead of 5, or 15 pounds per square inch instead of 10.

The dial gauge is attached to the cover and has a needle to point to the amount of pressure inside the canner. Remember to have your new dial gauge tested before you use it. Dial gauges also should be checked for accuracy before use each year. If your dial gauge reads high or low by more than 2 pounds when tested at 11 pounds of pressure, it should be replaced. If the reading is off by less than 2 pounds, follow the recommendation of the person testing your canner (see "Dial Gauge Inspection and Accuracy," page 13). Low readings cause overprocessing. If a gauge is reading lower than it should, you can make adjustments to avoid overprocessing, but they are not essential to safety. Gauges that read high cause underprocessing and may result in unsafe food. Every pound of pressure is necessary to reach the canner temperature needed for producing safe food. Accurate gauges and adjustments

 Pros and cons:

The weighted gauge canners are better in every regard and have no disadvantage other than they are generally much more expensive.

 

Recommendations:

 

Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner

See description at left. This is a reliable pressure canner sold at GREAT price for a pressure canner. I got mine in 1988, and it still works great!

 

Presto 01755 16-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner

See description at left

 

All American Pressure Canner and Cookers - In 3 Sizes

See description at left. They can be pricey, compared to Presto, but ; but these are the Rolls Royce's of the home canning world, last a lifetime and can crank out serious volumes!

 All American pressure canners come with  5, 10 and 15 pound pressure regulator weights and their own exclusive metal-to-metal seal - that means there are no gaskets to crack, burn, replace or clean - ever! And they are made in USA!
Which size to get? I would stick to the 21 qts or larger since you can do many more jars at once, it will dramatically cut down the time you spend in the kitchen!

 

All-American 41-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner

See description at left

 
 

Pressure canners for Induction Cooktops!

See description at left


 

5-Piece Canning Accessories Kit

Good quality canning tools last a lifetime, and really make canning easier.  The most value are bundled in a kit: jar funnel, lid lufter wand, bubble freer, jar tongs (really save you from burning your hands), etc. . These provide the home canner with the essential tools needed for safe and efficient home canning.

Anything you could need is here, at discount prices /a>

   

Canning Jars

Canning jars delivered to your doorstep and guaranteed! Any size you need.  Click on the links below

Canning jars: quart (32 oz) jars

Canning jars: pint (16 oz) jars

Canning jars: 8 oz jars

Quilted Canning jars: 4 oz glass jars

Books

 

Canning books

Canning & Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward

click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning and Preserving For Dummies




 

The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback

This is THE book on canning!  My grandmother used this book when I was a child.  It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc.  If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link at left for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy).

   

Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving

by United States Dept. of Agriculture

This is guide fromthe USDA is a nicely bound and published versrion of the recipes dveeloped over the past 100 years, updated and lab tested.

Food Preparation Equipment

Make the job faster and easier with these great tools!

In the UK, use this link:
 

Bean "frenchers"

It is tiring and laborious to prepare green beans for canning; there are so many of them and you do them all by hand.  But wait there's a new device that makes it easy.  Hmmm, actually, these devices have been around since our great-grandfather's day!  Here are several different types and makes, some hand fed, some cranked: choose the one that meets your need and budget!

For photos and features of the bean frenchers, click here!

 

 

For other supplies:

You can read a discussion about why foods should be processed in a canner on this page" "Why do I need a canner?"

For more information, and NO obligation to buy, just click on the links in the boxes on the left!

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]