A Quick Guide to Different Pressure Canner Models

A Quick Guide to Different Pressure Canner Models


There are several different types of pressure canners on the market (not to be confused with a Pressure Cooker!), and each one has its own mechanism to regulate pressure and let you know your canner is running correctly.  There is not a specific advantage to one type over the other, it is more of a preference on size, cost and availability.  All American canners are the top of the line and built to last forever, and metal on metal seal means no gaskets to worry about- but they carry a high price tag. Presto and Mirror pressure canners are durable, affordable pressure canners and a great starting point, but have gaskets and plugs (and some gauges) that must be checked regularly and replaced every few years. 

Pressure canners have several safety mechanisms built-in now, so with careful use, they are easy and safe to use! Read below to learn more about the features of each type of pressure canner on the market today.  Hopefully it will help provide some clarity on models if you are deciding which one to get. 




Weighted Pressure Canner

 Weighted Presto Pressure Canner

Weighted pressure canners utilize a rocking weight to alert that the canner has come up to, and remains at the correct pressure.  There are usually 2 rings that make up the weight.  When both rings are on, the canner will rock at 15 lbs psi, when one ring is removed the weight will rock at 10 lbs psi, and when both weights are removed it will rock at 5 lbs psi. 

illustration of weighted gauge for presto pressure canner

It takes practice, but you'll get to know the sound of it gently rocking at your desired pressure.  Many people like these models because you rely solely on sound and can go about other things while keeping an ear to the stove.  Weighted pressure canners have a gasket on the lid that helps seal the canner, and a pressure release plug, both made of rubber and should be checked regularly and replaced every few years (or sooner if damaged). 



Dial Gauge Pressure Canner


Dial gauge pressure canners operate with a dial on the top, and a weighted rocker that is for air release only.  Unlike the rocker style of canner, the 15 lb weight rocks only to allow small amounts of air to release but is not a signal to determine your timing for processing. The gauge goes from 0-20 lbs psi, with marks at each pound of pressure to determine a more narrow measurement.

dial gauge for pressure cannerpressure regulator for dial gauge pressure canner
Dial gauge canners are helpful for those that like to see the actual numbers and pressure the canner is operating at.  This type of canner has a rubber gasket and pressure plug that needs to be checked regularly and replaced every few years.  The dial gauge needs to be checked yearly as well, by taking it to extension office or someone who can test pressure gauges.  These models come in a wide range of different sizes, allowing you to 


All American Canner


all american pressure canner

The All-American pressure canner is the top of the line canner, built to last forever, with minimal replacement parts needed.  It also demands the highest price, but if you can a lot, it is worth the investment.  What is unique about this model is the metal on metal sealing.  There are not gaskets to worry about- the lid has 4 knobs that lock the lid into place and create a seal.  All-American canners have a weighted gauge method to use, but also has a gauge which is just used for visual purposes and not to determine your time.  The weighted gauge will rock gently when it reaches pressure.  Unlike the Presto 3 part weight, the All-American weight is one round with 3 different holes around, each one labeled for a specific weight.

weight for all american pressure canner
If you are looking for the least amount of maintenance in a canner, and like to "go big", then this is the brand for you.  It comes in many different sizes, so can be selected for smaller batches if you only like to make a few pints or quarts at a time, or large size canners that allow for two layers and  quarts at 20+ a time. 

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