As an educator, I spend a great deal of time answering valuable questions to help canners across the world. More often than not, the same question will surface which means to me, great minds think alike. When it comes to pressure canning, I get tons of questions – and I love it! Because the more you ask, the more you learn.

I am often asked,

which type of pressure canner should I buy?

The answer is a bit more complex than it is straight forward being that it is a personal preference to which type of canner you prefer, as well as, such a decision may be based on your personal, or household, budget. There is no wrong answer when purchasing a UL Certified pressure canner and there are many reasons to chose one pressure canner over another. The decision may also be based on how much you intend on canning – doubling or tripling recipes may also play a factor as it may be your goal to maximize your yield each time, or simply perform smaller batch canning quantities.


For instance, many of us prefer a visual indicator when canning. We want to “see” a dial tell us what psi the canner has reached so we know the canner is fulfilling the recipe’s requirements to safely preserve the food in jars. Others, however, prefer the audible styled canner which uses a weighted gauge to make an audible “tick” noise to indicate whether it has reached the proper pressure to process foods. Many who chose the weighted gauge canner like its simplicity and believe it requires less monitoring over the dial gauge version.

National Presto Industries manufactures both styles of canners and does an excellent job comparing the two different types. While each canner operates to achieve pressure (temperature) high enough to kill harmful food borne pathogens so we may store our canned foods long-term, there are differences between how the two models operate. Each manufacture has a slight operational difference so it is worth while to explore the models created by manufacturers such as Mirro, All American, Presto, Nesco and others too.

If you prefer the dial gauge pressure canner, you receive one 15 pound weighted gauge to cover your vent pipe. From there, all psi is measured using the dial, not the weight, so you will not see it ‘jiggling’ like the weight gauge models, nor will you hear it make the ‘ticking’ sound.

This is crucial to note because many of my followers get nervous or concerned if they do not see their Presto pressure canner’s weighted gauge rocking back-and-forth during processing. Simply put, it is not meant to rock or tick or jiggle, it is merely created to stop the vessel from venting so it will gain pressure. All pounds of pressure are then monitored via the numerical dial gauge.

Like the Presto brand, the All American brand offers a variety of pressure canner sizes to accommodate the yield (some models are tall enough so you may double stack jars which doubles your yield). The difference between these two brands, however, is All American uses both the visual and the audible indicators – so you have a traditional 3 option weighted gauge and the dial gauge atop its lid. This model is truly the best of both worlds if you cannot decide between one model over another. Lastly, the Mirro brand of canners are simply weighted gauge canners, giving you the standard audible option no matter the size pressure canner.

No matter the manufacture, the weighted gauges are all of the same technology giving you the ability to construct a weight that offers 5 pounds of pressure, 10 pounds or pressure or 15 pounds of pressure. This is accomplished by one of three ways: creating individual weights to rest atop the vent pipe, a link system of weights which gain pounds by adding to a main system, or by using one simple weight with holes designed to produce the required pounds of pressure once places atop the vent pipe.


The other factor to consider when deciding which type of pressure canner to buy is PRICE. And in the last 2 years than ever before, availability. Depending on the model, size and manufacturer, be prepared to spend at least $130 for a stove-top 23-quart pressure canner. The newer digital models approved to preserve low acid foods, like Presto’s new 12-quart 02144 Digital Pressure Canner, is upwards of $250.00. Whereas the All American models are always a bit on the higher priced side at upwards of $350, or more, for a 23-quart model.

While a new pressure canner is optimal, do not hesitate checking your local estate sales or buying a used model online. Pressure canners are built to last and are often passed down from generation to generation. I would never pass up an opportunity to get a good deal, especially in today’s times. If you do score a used pressure canner, be sure to contact the manufacturer so you may obtain the user manual for the particular model and so you may purchase replacement parts to keep your canner operating in excellent condition.

So you may gain a thorough understanding of how to safely pressure can foods for long-term storage, and dive deeper into how to choose the perfect pressure canner for all your canning endeavors, be sure to pick up a copy of my book, The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning, so you may learn everything you need to know to can meats, vegetables, meals in a jar and more!

Please be sure to follow me on all social media platforms and tune into my podcast, Canning with The Diva!, on all major podcast players.

Happy Canning!
Diane, The Canning Diva