Presto vs All American | Which Pressure Canner is Right for You? | Off Grid Permaculture
Pressure Canner All American Vs Presto

Presto vs All American | Which Pressure Canner is Right for You?

Daniel Mark Schwartz Profile Picture

Pressure canners are an indispensable tool for home food preservation, being the only safe way to can low acidity foods and meats. Being one of the more expensive items you are likely to have in your kitchen, and you family’s safety on the line, choosing between Presto and All American canners can be a difficult decision.

All American canners are more expensive, designed to last generations, and are more durable without rubber seals. Presto canners are fully functional at a much lower cost of entry, but don’t have the exceptional build quality of All American canners.

Not sure which to get. Here is the low down on the best pressure canners for the off grid, prepper, homestead and self-sufficient households.

Best First Pressure Canner — Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner

The Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner is the best all around pressure canner for the money. Those of you who are new to pressure canning or just looking for something to get started with should go for this canner without a second thought.

I’ve owned and used a Presto 23 quart canner for many years and can attest to the quality and durability. While not as thick as the All American below, the canner is very solid and heavy feeling. While the rubber seals are considered a disposable part, my Presto canner has shown to hold pressure just fine without ever needing a single replacement seal yet.

View the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner on Amazon.

A presto canner this size can hold the following in one load —

  • 7 quarts jars
  • 10 regular mouth pints jars
  • 20 pints if you use a top rack

This makes it a manageable size for typical household canning runs. Any canner that holds less than 7 quart jars is just too small in my opinion. Likewise, larger size canners run the risk of being difficult to get up to temperature on some stoves, especially if canning in colder temperatures.

The presto canner comes with a —

  • 10 PSI weight
  • Pressure gauge
  • Rubber safety pressure release

Besides pressure canning, this pot can be used for regular boiling water bath canning and as a pressure cooker for rapid preparation of large quantities of food if you happen to have a lot of company.

View the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner on Amazon.

Last Pressure Canner You Will Ever Need to Buy — All American 915

This is the most popular size of hands down the best pressure canner on the market. When it comes to top of the line, lifetime quality pressure canners, there is no competition. All American is the best, hands down.

If you are ready to invest in the last pressure canner that you will ever have to buy, then get this All American Pressure canner.

View the All American 915 Pressure Canner on Amazon.

This All American pressure canner size can hold the following in one load —

  • 7 quarts jars
  • 10 regular mouth pints jars

If you are a prepper or otherwise don’t expect to be able to get replacement seals, then this is the canner for you. Basically every other canner on the market requires rubber seals for the canner to function properly. However, All Americans are design with machined aluminum surfaces and industrial threaded toggles that allow it to run without the need for a seal.

Rubber seals are designed to be replaced periodically, and since rubber seals have a shelf life, you can’t reliably stock up or buy them in advance. For reliable long term use without replacement parts, you must have an All American pressure canner.

The All American pressure canner comes with a —

  • 5, 10, and 15 PSI weight
  • High quality pressure gauge
  • 2 safety pressure release features

View the All American 915 Pressure Canner on Amazon.

What Size Pressure Canner Should You Get?

I recommend pressure canners that are capable of holding 7 quart jars or 10 pint jars. The next size down usually only holds 4 quarts jars, making them much less useful for standard sized canning recipes and only slightly cheaper. That’s why I recommended the models of canners I did above, both are capable of holding 7 quart jars.

When choosing a pressure canner, don’t necessarily go by the size of the interior chamber, which is usually reported in quarts as well. This measure is literally how many quarts of water it would take to fill the chamber, and not the number of quart jars.

The quart size measure can be misleading. For instance, the Presto above is a 23 quart pot, but the All American is only a 15 quart. Yet, they accept the same number of quart jars. The difference is that the Presto is taller, but about the same diameter. So the Presto can fit 20 pints in two rows, while the All American can only fit 10.

Don’t necessarily opt for a bigger size canner unless you are sure you need it and are capable of using it. While larger canners can be efficient if you plan canning in large batches, they are not always faster.

Larger pressure canners require more powerful stoves to get up to temperature. I’ve had difficulty getting some larger size pressure canners to come fully up to temperature on electric stoves, ruining a few batches due to excessively long boiling times (taking much to long to get up to full pressure).

Also, the more massive pot you use, the longer each batch can take to fully heat up and cool down. Using an overly large pressure canner will actually slow you down rather than speed up canning time.

That’s why these two are the most popular size on the market, being a happy medium in most respects.

Can You Use a Pressure Canner on a Glass Top Range?

Both the Presto and All American canners are not recommended for use with glass top ranges. However, some people report they use their pressure canners on glass top ranges and don’t have a problem.

The issue seems to be the overall width of the canners is too large for glass top burners, which may only be tempered and heat resistant in the area where they are marked for a pot to be placed. Pressure canners of this size overhang most glass top burner circles, and so are liable to crack the glass or otherwise damage the cook top.

People with glass top ranges have the opting of using stand alone electric or gas fired burners. Gas burners being a good option since they will heat up the canner more quickly, although large size electric burners have worked just fine for me in the past.

Will My Pressure Canner Explode?

A high quality pressure canner like the Presto or All American will not explode when used as directed.

Both canners come with multiple safety features to help safely vent excess steam should the canner accidentally exceed normal operating pressures. And, both are extremely over built for the amount of pressure they are designed to take.

Some safety precautions to take include —

  • Getting your pressure canner tested at the local extension office (although usually they fault by being under pressure, not over)
  • Make sure the jiggler stem, pressure gauge, and emergency pressure release plug(s) are clean and free from caked on food or other debris
  • Add the specified amount of water, and observer the minimum and maximum load requirements specified by your canner.
  • Never open a hot pressure canner until it naturally cools down to 0 PSI

Long story short, read and follow the directions provided by your manufacturer. They are usually only a few pages long, filled with common sense, and will keep your safe.

I’m Still Not Sure

If you made it all the way down here, go buy yourself the Presto 23 quart canner. Everyone who cans is super glad when they get their first pressure canner. You can’t really go wrong with the Presto, and you can always upgrade to an All American later and pass on the Presto. Or, better yet, have two pressure canners and get big jobs done twice as fast!