The Top Canners Recommended by Stocking My Pantry
Canners come in many sizes, features, and price ranges. Canners also vary by function. For instance, some canners are only suitable for water bath canning, while others are for pressure canning. Some canners do both.
Use the Table of Contents to learn more about each of the canner types and which ones I recommend.
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Water Bath Canners
Water bath canning is one of the best places to start if you’re new to canning. While there are definitely important guidelines to follow, it’s the least technical of all types of canning. When it comes right down to it, you can just any large pot with a lid for water bath canning. Having said that, since you also need to have a rack at the bottom of the pot, it’s worthwhile to go ahead and buy a proper water bath canner.
Here are my top recommendations for water bath canners.
This 12-quart water bath canner (Amazon) is ideal for small batch canning. Due to the size, this canner is only suitable for processing pints and half pints. You can use it to process up to 7 pints and 7 half pints. This may be sufficient for you if you have a small family, or if you primarily want to can items such as jelly, jam, salsas, and other foods that you’ll eat in smaller quantities. It includes a lid and a rack.
Check out the current price of the Granite Ware 12-quart canner on Amazon.
This is great canner for those who want to do small batch water bath canning or those who have very limited storage space.
This 21-quart water bath canner (Amazon) is a big step up from the 12-quart canner. With it, you can process up to 7 quarts, 9 pints, and 12 half pints. If you want or need to water bath quarts, then this is definitely the best option for you. As a bonus, this canner also comes with some essential canning tools such as canning funnel, jar lifter, debubbler, and so on. Even if you already have a set of canning tools, it never hurts to have a few extras! Of course, it also comes with a rack and lid.
Check out the current price of the Granite Ware 21.5 Quart canner on Amazon.
Steam canning is often preferred over water bath canning because it requires less water. With steam canning, you process the same types of food for the same amount of time as you do with water bath canning. However, since steam canning requires less water, the overall time it takes to get the job done is less, since it doesn’t take as long to heat up the water.
There’s really only one steam canner that I personally recommend at this time, and that is the Kitchen Crop 7-quart steam canner (Amazon). It has a built in temperature gauge, which removes guesswork, and thus is safer to use than some other steam canners on the market.
Check out the current price of the Kitchen Crop 7-quart steam canner on Amazon.
Pressure canners are absolutely essential for canning low acid foods such as most vegetables, meat, and beans. Some people claim that you can water bath can everything if you process it long enough. While I won’t get into the debate as to whether or not it’s safe to do so, when you consider that attempting to do it requires several hours of time, it’s not at all practical to water bath can low acid food.
It’s also important to understand that there are big differences between pressure cookers and pressure canners. Pressure canners have a very important feature missing from pressure cookers – a way to maintain the proper amount of pressure. Maintaining the right amount of pressure for a long enough period of time is the only way to ensure that botulism won’t be a problem. If you’re going to pressure can food, be sure to invest in an actual pressure canner, rather than a pressure cooker.
There are many different brands of stove-top pressure canners. Here are the ones I personally recommend.
Presto canners are one of the most popular brands of pressure canners on the market. Other than occasionally needing to replace the rubber gaskets, the canners themselves last for years, if not decades. The Presto 16-quart pressure canner (Amazon) is one of the best options for those who can in smaller batches. With it you can can up to 7 quarts, 10 pints, or 12 half pints.
Check out the current price of the Presto 16-Quart Pressure Canner on Amazon.
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner
The Presto 23-quart pressure canner (Amazon) is essentially a larger mode of the canner listed above. As you can tell from the name, it’s about twice the size of the 16-quart model. The biggest difference with this canner is that there is room to stack jars, so you can can more at one time. To do so, you’ll need to buy an extra rack to place in between the two layers of jars. Expect to be able to pressure can 7 quarts or up to a maximum of 22 pints at a time. (The actual number pints varies based on whether or not you’re canning regular mouth vs. wide mouth. Also, canning jars made by different manufacturers may be slightly wider. But the bottom line is you can can a lot with this canner!
Check out the current price of the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner on Amazon.
All American Canners
All American canners are top of the line when it comes to stovetop canners. They are built like tanks, and even better, don’t have any rubber gaskets. If you want a canner that you know will last longer than you do, that isn’t dependent on whether or not you can buy replacement gaskets, an All American canner is the way to go. Also, as the name implies, All American canners are made in the USA.
Here are the popular All American Canner models currently available on Amazon.
- All American 1930 – 10.5qt
- All American 1930 – 15.5qt
- All American 1930 – 21.5qt
- All American 1930 – 25qt
- All American 1930 – 41.5qt (this one is HUGE and very heavy!)
Check out all of the All American canners currently available on Amazon. If you prefer to do business with a smaller company, I recommend checking out the All American canners available on Pleasant Hill Grain.
Electric canners are a fairly new invention, and some people claim they are unsafe. I won’t get into that debate here, but my personal opinion is that they are very safe. In fact, they may even be safer than traditional stovetop canners since they do a better job regulating temperature, time, and when needed, pressure. They take the guesswork out of the equation, which helps you to have consistent results every time.
Here are my top recommendations for electric canners.
Nesco/Carey Smart Canner
You can get both the Nesco and Carey smart canners on Amazon. I lumped these two together because except for the name, they are literally the same canner! The interesting thing is that sometimes one or the other is out of stock, or if they’re both in stock, they may be different prices. So, pick up whichever one you can find. If they’re both available, purchase the one that is lower priced.
The Nesco is what I use and it couldn’t be easier. You can use it for both pressure canning and water bath canning. You can also use it as a pressure cooker and steamer, though I personally use mine just for canning.
With it you can can up to four quarts or five pints. Quarts are too tall to use the water bath function, but thankfully, you can still process water bath recipes in quarts, using the low-pressure setting.
Instant Pot Max
At the current time, the Instant Pot Max is the only Instant Pot suitable for canning. If you’re a fan of Instant Pots like I am, and you want to give smart canners a try, then the Instant Pot Max is a solid option. The biggest drawback to the Instant Pot Max is that you can only can pints and half pints, with a maximum of five pints. Having said that, if you prefer small-batch canning, AND if you want all of the bells and whistles that Instant Pots are known for, then the Instant Pot Max is the way to go.
Check out the current price of the Instant Pot Max on Amazon.
The Presto 12-Quart Electric pressure canner is the largest electric pressure canner currently on the market. You can pressure can up to 5 quarts, 8 pints, or 10 half pints at a time. While you can also water bath can in the Presto, like the Nesco, you can only water bath pints or half pints. If you prefer to be able to can more at one time, and yet want the convenience of an electric canner, the Presto is your best option.
One thing to be aware of, however, is that the Presto is “just” a canner. Unlike the Nesco and Instant Pot, its not intended to be used as a multi-functional cooker.
Check out the current price of the Presto 12-Quart electric canner on Amazon.
Ball is one of the best known names in canning. As such, the Ball Electric Canner is certainly worth a look. At 21 quarts, it has a larger capacity than any of the other electric canners. The larger capacity makes it possible to water bath can up to 7 quarts or 8 pints at a time. Besides the size, the biggest difference between the Ball Electric Canner and the other canners is that it’s made for water bath canning. If you want to be able to water bath can quarts, this is really the best option for you.
That being said, it doesn’t have a pressure canning function, so when it comes to canning, only use it to water bath can. However, unlike the Presto, it can be used as a multi cooker and it works great as a large stockpot or steamer. This is the type of device I love using when I’m doing a lot of cooking and don’t have enough room on my stove.
Check out the current price of the Ball Electric Canner on Amazon.
When it comes to canners, it doesn’t get any more specialized than the Ball freshTech Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker. As the name implies, it makes jam and jelly, and that’s it! If you’re wondering why you’d want something to make just jam and jelly, the reason is that it does all of the hard work of maintaining the proper temperature AND stirring that is required when making jam and jelly. If you’ve ever stood over a hot stove stirring like crazy, and hoping you don’t scorch your jam or jelly, you’ll understand the value of this sweet (pun intended!) appliance.
If you like making jam and jelly and want to do it without breaking a sweat, this is the canner for you. The only thing to be aware of is that in addition to being very specialized, this is definitely a small-batch canner; it makes 4 half-pints of jam or jelly at a time. The thing that really differentiates it from the others on this list is that it does the actual cooking for you.
Check out the current price of the Ball freshTech Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker on Amazon.