Chefman 9-in-1 Programmable Review
Pros: Good cooking performance, easy to clean
Cons: Meat slightly less tender
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Chefman 9-in-1 Programmable is a good overall pressure cooker, but it wasn't quite good enough in our testing to unseat the Instant Pot as our top recommendation. If you find the Chefman on sale it is certainly a worthwhile purchase, but if you're paying full price we would suggest getting the Instant Pot instead.
The Chefman was quite impressive in our testing, ending up amongst the top scorers on our overall scoreboard.
The Chefman just missed out on a top score in our user friendliness testing, earning an 8 out of 10.
For the most part, we found the Chefman about as intuitive and easy to use as the Instant Pot and Breville models we tested. It notably has a lid storage solution similar to that of the Instant Pot where you can store the lid on either side of the pot, allowing for hands-free, unencumbered serving and stirring whether you're right or left handed. This may seem like a small detail, but not having to hold a lid that is dripping in condensation in one hand while you ladle food with the other is quite nice. The Chefman also has a fairly intuitive control panel with a different button for each cooking mode, and plus/minus buttons for adjusting temperature and time.
So if the Chefman shares so much in common with the top scorers in this metric, why didn't it earn a top score? This is mostly because it tends to display odd codes on the digital display as settings are being entered. For example, when selecting the pressure cooking setting the screen reads "PC93", and when selecting delayed start it displays "dr05". While these seemingly cryptic messages don't really get in the way of selecting the settings you want, it may lead you to pause in confusion for a second the first few times around (we were certainly scratching our heads). So while this is a minor complaint, it was enough to bump the Chefman out of the top slot.
If you're a vegetarian, you'll probably love the Chefman's cooking abilities. If you're a meat eater, you'll probably still really enjoy food made in the Chefman, but there are other models that can cook meat a bit better.
Pressure cooking requires creating a controlled cooking environment, which pretty much every pressure cooker is able to do. Thus they all produce a very similar quality of food, with meat being one of the very few things that differentiate models. We found that the Chefman can cook very moist, tender meat, but that both the Instant Pot and the Breville Fast Slow Pro do just a slightly better job. This is most apparent in things like ribs, where the Instant Pot and Breville produce meat that readily falls off the bone, while the Chefman's ribs are a little less succulent. We still enjoyed all the meat we made with the Chefman, it just wasn't the best we tasted.
Ease of Cleaning
The Chefman was one of the top scorers in our ease of cleaning tests, with all of its annoyances being ones that are shared amongst all pressure cookers.
We found it quite easy to remove the gasket from the Chefman's lid, and to clean both it and the lid. It is also easy to dry the entirety of the lid with a rag if you want to put the cooker away in a cupboard right after you're finished cleaning it. Many of the other models we tested, like the Tayama and the Cuisinart, have nooks in the lid that are hard to get dry, and thus require sitting in a drying rack for a few hours before being put away. The nonstick pot also sheds food quite effectively, making hand cleaning the pot quick and painless. We do have a slight preference for stainless pots simply because they can be thrown in a dishwasher without worry, but if you don't mind doing the dishes by hand then nonstick is a great option.
The Chefman has a lot, but not the most cooking presets. It does have a saute function, which we think is the most important cooking function you can look for in a pressure cooker (besides the titular pressure cooking).
A Full List of The Chefman 9-in-1 Programmable's Cooking Functions
High Pressure, Low Pressure, Rice, Chili/Beans, Soup/Stew, Beef/Poultry, Slow Cook, Steam, Saute
The Chefman is a convenient and well-performing pressure cooker, and the $100 list price feels fair all things considered. However, the Instant Pot DUO60 also sells for $100, and performs slightly better overall. So while the Chefman certainly isn't a poor value, it isn't the best way to spend your money either.
The Chefman 9-in-1 Programmable is a good pressure cooker, but it still can't quite match neither the performance or value of the Instant Pot DUO60.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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