Pros: large capacity, safety features, reasonable price
Cons: instructions, hard to find customer service number
I am a very nice person. I go out of my way to be nice to people and make them feel special. I try to do the right thing whenever I can, and I put my "all" into it.
I am about to let you in on a little secret. There are a few things that will push me to the edge. One of them is to have a product with ignorant instructions. Another is absence of customer service. Another is spending our very hard earned money on something THAT CAN NOT BE RETURNED IF DEFECTIVE!!!!
The T-FAL company is supposed to be reasonably good. Their products, from France (so I am told) are supposed to be a very good quality for a decent price (not cheap, however).
Well, I can see now where they have cut corners.
WHY A PRESSURE COOKER
We have many kitchen appliances and gadgets. We do a lot of preserving and food preparation. We eat naturally and do most everything from the ground up - including grinding our own flour.
Why would we want a pressure cooker?
The one thing that we love to eat, but often do not have the time to wait for, is BEANS.
So for years, we have longed for an excellent pressure cooker in stainless steel that would cook beans.
Finally, at a liquidation sale (ever notice that those have HIGHER prices than when the store had sales?), I saw a stainless steel pressure cooker for 35% off.
We managed to scrape together the money to purchase it. I had looked on EPINIONS as I always do before making any kind of significant purchase, and decided that it was worth the price.
WHAT IS THIS UNIT LIKE
The Pressure cooker is polished stainless steel on the outside, but brushed finish on the inside. It is 18/10 gauge stainless. There is a slight dome in the center of the bottom. I assume it is to hold up the disk.
There is a disk included for cooking things such as artichokes or other things that should not touch the bottom of the pan where the water is. The disk is supposed to be steel, but it is a low grade. The disk has lines and holes cut out of it. Sort of if you cut a round wheel of swiss cheese in pie shaped slices.
TOP AND RUBBER RING
The Top is polished stainless inside and out. There is a rubber ring that fits inside the lid. They say it has to be replaced yearly with a TFAL replacement ring. It smells like rubber, but has a vinyl feel to it. I am guessing it is a hybrid. That could mean trouble as they usually do not wear as well. I will keep an eye on this.
The handles slide and lock together. The sliding is smooth and locking is secure. The handles seem to be on the bottom and top securely. The handle on the lid is screwed on with phillips head screws and the bottom is riveted on.
If one was to go, I would guess it would be the bottom. I would not suggest being rough with it. It should be stored in a place where it will not be slammed or jarred a lot.
In the handle is a safety valve. It is a little button that will pop up when the steam has built up. It is a beautiful magenta color. It does not show unless the cover is secured on the pan.
Should it be necessary to have steam escape from too much pressure, it will pop up and let out steam. You can press on it with a pencil to remove the lid once the steam has equalized.
The steam valve on the lid has a nice cover that locks into two positions. One for cooking and one for partial steam escape.
There is another spring valve that will release steam in the handle if it gets too high. The instructions were not overly clear on how this works, but with the other safety features, one is bound to kick in.....(grin)
There is an additional handle on the bottom of the pan so that you can hold it for draining the pan or pouring. It is stay cool black plastic, also riveted to the pan.
The pan comes also with instruction book and recipe book.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS COOKER
Well, it is a nice pan. Unfortunately, if I was not a mechanically inclined person that dissects things and builds things, I probably would have been stuck with a malfuncitoning pan.
When we first attempted to boil water in it which is suggested to break in the cooker, I followed the instructions exactly.
When the pressure began to build, steam went everywhere. I tried over and over and so did my husband. The unit was leaking.
This was completely frustrating.
NO CUSTOMER SERVICE
I called the store to see if I could exchange it for another. But as stupid as liquidation sales are, they would not allow it.
They told me to call the company. I looked all over the box and book for a number and there was none!!!
I was so mad by this time that I hung up the phone very angry with the girl and her condescending attitude. It is very hard to get me to do that.
HOW COULD I CALL A COMPANY THAT DID NOT HAVE A PHONE NUMBER????
There was plenty of information in different languages, but no REAL IMPORTANT information.
I was furious.
INNOVATION DOES IT AGAIN
So, here I was with a stupid cooker that did not work, $50+ missing from our money that we really could use for necessities such as anything but a stupid cooker that did not work.
I tore the stupid cooker apart from limb to limb.
My husband suggested I try oiling the gasket. When I saw it was part vinyl, I hesitated. That would only make things worse.
I was holding it up to the light when I made a startling discovery.....
WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO, YOU IGNORANT PEOPLE?
There was a HOLE in the gasket. Although the box was sealed and new when we got it, the stupid gasket was not put on the lid right.
The hole was supposed to line up with a raised tiny knob near the handle on the underside of the lid!!!
I was furious. There was NO mention of this ANYWHERE in the instructions or the cookbook.
When the two where lined up, the cooker worked perfectly.
The beans were done in 20 minutes and although cleanup was not a breeze, it was just fine.
Turkey in this cooker was a bit tough, however. I would opt for my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker for any poultry or the few meats we seldom eat.
(Here is the link for my review on THAT little beauty of an appliance:
This cooker is fine for what we need. I am very frustrated with TFAL and their complete lack of important details in the instructions.
There are a couple of other strange things too. In one part of the instructions, they recommend not doing rice, but a page later they give instructions on how to cook rice!
The instructions are not adequate but still helpful to an extent. The cookbook is a tiny start to learning how to use this cooker, but I would invest in a cookbook for pressure cooking (or another cookbook with a section in it) if you want to use this a lot.
For what we paid for it, we are happy with it. If you understand how to use it and are able to improvise a bit, then you will do fine with this cooker.
The safety features make it a lot easier to use (you do not have to be paranoid about it blowing up like it used to be years ago), and it is stainless steel.
TFAL could do much better with the instructions and I did get an "800" number from calling 1-800-555-1212 for information, so they are reachable.
Why they did not take the time to make excellent instructions and including a clearly marked customer service number, I do not understand.
Still, it is a very nice pressure cooker, and worth the investment if you take care to keep it clean and not bang it around a lot.