Presto pressure canners have been around for ages; I have one from my mother, and it has done a great job. I’ve since updated and purchased a 23-quart Presto, because I can stack pint jars and do more at a time. That stacking ability has been a super helpful feature.
Here I’ll share my experiences with both old and new Presto canners and why I do think they are a great option.
I used to enthusiastically recommend the All American pressure canner over the Presto pressure canner…I was completely sold on the quality and endurance. And I do still love it. But my enthusiasm has softened a bit these days.
I do still recommend the All American (read more here). But I also agree that the Presto is a perfectly good choice too. Ha! How’s that for wishy washy?! I guess that is how I feel when I compare. One day, I’ll grab my Presto first, another day I want that All American. Both canners get a lot of use in my kitchen.
What is the Best Pressure Canner for a Beginner?
If you are just beginning or are the least bit intimidated, I suggest the Presto over the All American.
I’ll say that again, because I know many people who are new to canning are intimidated by their pressure canner.
If you are new and at all intimidated…choose a Presto pressure canner.
How Big of a Pressure Canner Do I Need?
Presto pressure canners can be found at Amazon or purchased in most places where canning supplies are sold. Check your local Ace Hardware as well!
Or you can look for older canners that are being sold used. As long as you have the correct gauges and gaskets, they are all good canners.
Choosing the size of your pressure canner simply depends on how much you want to can. Are there just two of you? A standard canner that does 7 quart jars will be fine. Do you have children and a large garden? Go with a canner where you can stack jars and do a little more at a time.
A 16-quart capacity Presto pressure canner will process 10 pint jars or 7 quart jars.
A 22- or 23-quart capacity canner will process 20 pints or 7 quart jars. This one is tall and will allow you to stack your pints.
Dial Gauge or Weighted Gauge?
The Presto pressure canner out of the box is designed to be used as a dial gauge canner. It comes with a weight to close off the vent, but you check the dial for your pressure requirements. That means you will watch the dial and adjust your heat source to maintain the proper pressure. This works well, but you do have to know that the dial is reading correctly. Thus, it is recommended that you have that dial checked yearly.
The other option (and I do highly recommend it!) is to purchase a weighted gauge for your Presto. One just like this… These weights look very similar to the original but come in 3 pieces.
The main piece indicates 5 pounds. Add a ring, and you have 10 pounds. Add another ring for 15 pounds. Simple and easy. You’ll still have the dial on the canner, but use it as just an estimate. Those weights are foolproof. They have no mechanisms that need to be checked. You simply watch the gauge and adjust your heat source to keep it at a gentle rock. This indicates that you are at the correct pressure.
My preference is the weighted gauge. I can see and hear that rocking from anywhere in my kitchen. If I’m relying on the gauge, I need to regularly check to be sure it is at the correct pressure, which means staying close to the stove. Always stay near your canner when it is processing. But with the weights…I can be cleaning up, washing dishes, or sitting at my table taking a break.
You might also like to read about the All American Pressure Canner here. (My other canner recommendation.)
Scroll on down a bit to read review and comments from readers on their Presto pressure canners.
Presto Pressure Canner Manual
Make sure and read your manual for specifics about using your Presto pressure canner. If you don’t have your manual, here’s the link to the instruction manuals.
Which Pressure Canner Should You Purchase?
If you’d like to see a video review walking you step-by-step through using both the Presto and the All American canners, check out this page. Compare the two choices so you make the right one. It is an investment in yourself. Purchase with confidence.
I have read a lot of reviews of Presto pressure canners. There are an abundance of praises and very few complaints.
The one complaint I hear that is important enough to be worth mentioning is several problems with the pressure regulator.
I had an issue with my pressure regulator once as well. After the canner had been in use for years and years, the place where the gauge screws into the canner had stripped. The gauge blew off with a loud bang. The gauge went straight up into the hood of my stove and I jumped 5 feet in the air! LOL. Not really, but I did jump. I replaced my gauge and have not had a problem since.
These canners have lots of reviews and only a very very small percent have any complaints.
70’s Presto Pressure Canner
by Linda J.
“My Presto Pressure Canner was bought back in the late 70s from a neighbor who had only used it twice. It is a 21 qt. This ole gal can hold 18 pints stacked, 7 quarts and 4 half gallon jars.
She is even ‘Harvest’ in color–one of the favorite colors from back in the 70s. I have only had to replace the gasket on the lid twice in all these years. She has worked like a dream. I’ve never had any problems with the canner. The directions are easy to follow–it’s great to have pictures!!
My mom had one, too. When she decided to give up canning, it was passed to my daughter-in-law. This poor girl was terrified of the thing at first. She was convinced that she could use it when she saw how much she could save with canning and watching others do it.
She went from a non-canner to making her own salsa. I guess this makes the Presto Canner a family heirloom! 🙂
Thanks for many years of canning, Presto!”
Cost-benefit wise, it works, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.
“We’re active canners, we can twice a year: fresh veggies at the end of the summer, and soups and stocks in the winter. We’re still relative newbies with our 23 Quart Canner at 3 years of using it, we have pretty much worked out the kinks in the process, but we’re not without an epic failure every once in a while (i.e. an entire batch of ham and bean soup failed to seal).
The hardest thing to do is maintain the pressure with the standard 15 lb. regulator that comes stock with the canner.
There is a three-piece 5 / 10 / 15 on the market that we’re considering. Other than the occasional hiccups, we’re just as happy with our presto as we could be with any pressure canner. When I comparison shopped, I found that it suits our needs for what we need without breaking the bank.
Do I love it? No. Do I hate it? No. It is what I’m used to, and is right-sized to what we do.”
First time canner
by Christopher Doiron
“I like the Presto Pressure Canner because I find that it is simple to use and feels very safe.
A few things I noticed as a beginner is that it didn’t seem to be able to regulate pressure on a flat surface stove my mother has. We had to test another stove, a older stove with elements where it was much much easier to regulate.
My only complaint is that I wasn’t able to find different weights. The one provided is for 15 pounds but I’m worried that if my pressure changes while canning that I might spoil the meat. I would have preferred the ability to purchase a 10/11/12 pound weight to remove some of the stress on my lack of experience.
The canner is well constructed at a good price point. I’ve now owned it for two months and would recommend it, provided that other weights could be found.”
Christopher, I just thought I’d let you know that the standard weights that come with pressure canners are 5-, 10- and 15-pound weights.
What you will want to do is use the next weight up from what is required. For example, if your elevation requires 12 pounds of pressure, you’d use the 15-pound weight.
Hope that helps!
Great Customer Service
(Island Park, NY USA)
“I have an Presto 18 quart that gets a workout every year. I noticed what looked like a crack in the side, and called Presto. They were very nice about it and had me send the whole thing, top and all, in for checking.
There is no crack, just a scratch. I got it back with a new gauge, new rubber stopper, new sealing belt, and totally cleaned and checked. So this summer I put it back to work. It’s been going strong for almost 30 years and will probably continue for more than another 30.”
16 qt Presto Pressure Canner
by marlene deveraux
“I have always just water bathed hot peppers and tomatoes for year and decided this year to try my luck at using a pressure canner.
I want to say that I have looked all over the internet for the best information about canning vegetables and found that your site was the very best and great pictures and steps to follow.
I should be getting my presto 16qt pressure cooker on the 1st of Sept. Looking forward to canning green beans, potatoes, corn and carrots. I love how you have explained all the steps for canning.
I hope everything turns well for me :8)
I also am going to be canning on my ceramic top stove. I have always water bathed on it and all had gone well. I plan on next year to get a big hot plate to use outside.
looking forward to canning :8) Marlene”
37 years….happy with Presto quality and dependability
“37 years ago my Aunt gave me my first 4 quart Presto cooker for a wedding gift. I just yesterday cooked another batch of dried pinto beans in that cooker!
My Mom always had a garden and froze and canned lots of produce so pressure canning wasn’t anything new to me when I married. Right now I have 2 pressure canners and 2 pressure cookers that are all different sizes and 3 of the 4 are Presto brand.
I have found them to be unbelievably reliable! I have a large garden and often end up with both of the canners processing at the same time.
I prefer the canners that do not have a gauge dial. I find the weighted non gauge ones much less worrysome than trying to get to the extension office to get the gauge calibrated every year as recommended.
I’m very happy with Presto quality and dependability!”
OM Gosh! It’s still here!
“Gone three years ,plus .I come home to my empty house I left. And what is there to greet ,me ? But my old No.21 qt. cooker/ canner. Sitting right in the middle of the empty shed.
Most all else was gone, people helped themselves to a lot of my stuff just proves how messed up they’re value systems are now adays .But I’m glad!! all to my benefit I’d say LOL!”
I love my old Presto
“I’ve had an old style Presto since the 70’s. Before that I had my grandmother’s old monster-thing I was too afraid to use by myself. If I was going to die, I wanted a witness!
I love my old ‘jiggler’ pressure canner. I can do other things and listen to what’s going on. I don’t have to pull up a chair and stare at it for an hour and a half.
I bought an All American, because everyone was. I’ve never unboxed it. If our civilization goes by the wayside, and gaskets aren’t made, and the 2 I have stored give out, THEN I’ll sit at the stove and watch a pressure canner maintain pressure.
I’ve canned everything in my Presto. All sorts of vegetables and fruit, beef, venison, pork, and fish. I’ve had few jar failures (I think just about every one was my fault), and I haven’t killed us, or the chickens,when I threw out the left-overs.”
One is not enough
by Rick G
“My wife and I have two Presto 16 qt canners that bought right after we were married(24 yrs ago).
We do a lot of canning and running two at a time sure speeds things up. We use a double gas burner out on our porch. We once tried another brand of canner(the heavy type), but they take sooo long to heat up and cool down. The Prestos are quick and plenty durable.
Our local hardware store carries parts but we’ve only replaced the seal gasket, rubber safety plug, and gauge grommet.
The canners still look great and if we ever had to buy again, we would absolutely buy the same ones again.”
- 16-Quart Presto Pressure Canner – holds up to 10 pint jars or 7 quart jars.
- 23-Quart Presto Pressure Canner – holds 20 pint jars or 7 quart jars.
I agree, two presto canners.
“I agree with the two canner option it is much faster. We use the burner on our bar-b-q grill. Brian brings it into the garage. The heat is outdoors and it is close to the kitchen.”
“I only have one (It’s a Presto) and you are right, I need two. I had never thought to can outside on burners. What a great idea! All that heat NOT in the house. Thank you for that. Going burner hunting this weekend!”
In Love with my Presto Pressure Canner!
(Galloway, WI, USA)
“I have a 22 quart Presto Pressure Canner/Cooker with a weighted gauge and LOVE it. I’ve owned it 2 years and so far I’ve had absolutely no problems. It works like a dream and if I could marry it, I would.”
New to Canning but Lovin it, Love my Presto Pressure Canner
“I love my presto canner.
The first year I started canning I borrowed a 22 Quart Presto canner from a friend. It was easy to use and the directions in the book were great. That book answered all my questions with recipes to go with it!
The second year I bought my own 16 Quart presto canner. Which I love. It is lightweight and works wonderfully on my glasstop range. But It doesn’t do very many pints at a time.
So this year I borrowed my friend 22 Quart and used my 16 Quart at the same time. It was an awesome canning event at my house!! My help and I kept both canners going and canned nearly 50 Quarts of green beans in 1 day! (I allow the canners to cool on their own, I DO NOT use the water cooling method on them)
I love the smaller canner the best, since it is lighter weight it is easier to lift off the range when full. But the 22 Quart and 23 Quart are more versatile since they double as a water bath canner and will process more pints at a time.
I am actually going to buy another canner of my own for next summer. I am amazed at how much you can process at home without all the additives, canning is a much healthier option than store bought can goods.”
Presto Pressure Canner Reviews
“I like it! hehehe… you wanted more than that. Well, it’s pretty simple, it’s easy to use. My friend’s mother gave her an older Mirro canner. While it works well, it just has a weighted rocker on it. Personally, I like seeing the number guage and knowing for sure what the pressure is.”
My National Presto No. 7 is one of my oldest friends.
“After I was first married, my grandma brought her canner to my house and helped me can vegetables from the garden.
Years later, I was blessed with the acquisition of her old canner and that is a very special memory.
My mom and I have since canned lots of food together…. vegetables, venison, and chicken/turkey.
She uses a newer model of Presto No. 7 which is harvest gold in color. Mine is dingy and old looking but it is certainly a trusted friend. I love the ritual and I always pull my chair up right in front of the stove to keep an eye on the pressure gauge during processing.
My husband helps me with the canning now and our oldest son has even borrowed it to can his own salsa. Ooops! The pressure regulator just popped up so I better get my chair over there…….. :)”
Presto Pressure canner
“My grandma bought a Presto Pressure canner (22 quart) in 1975, and we still use it today. Absolutely no problems with it. she’s had to replace the gasket, but that’s just aging.”
Presto Pressure Canner
by Kathy Anderson
(Keswick Ridge, NB, Canada)
“I bought the 22qt presto pressure canner several years ago to properly can venison. I now use it for so much more.
I do can some vegetables but use it more for homemade chicken broth from our own chickens, then chicken soup, and also dark broth(made from deer meat).
I love having all the goodies on hand for the winter, people laugh and say I could survive for weeks if not months on my stock.
The presto canner has never given me a problem and I have never been concerned with it’s safety. Once in a while the large seal is not quite in place, noticed when the pressure doesn’t build up, quickly corrected by taking off the cover then back on.
We need to continue the trend that we all got away from, use our local farmers, eat local, and stop eating out of boxes.”
It works Great.
“I don’t have both the Presto and the All American so this is not a perfect comparison. The thing that finally sold me on the Presto rather than the All American (other than price, as I am willing to pay for quality) is the heat up and cool down times. I have read that it takes quite a time for the All American to heat and cool.
This makes sense because it is made with such thick metal. If you are trying to can more than one batch in a day and only have one canner, a canner that heats and cools quicker might make a difference. It might also use less energy.
Like I said before though, I don’t have both and cannot attest to the fact that one is faster than the other, but that is why I chose the Presto. =)”
Love My Presto 22 Qt. Canner
“We’ve had our Presto 22-qt. canner since our first garden together, 21 years ago. It has the weighted gauge, and only thing we’ve needed for it is the occasional replacement gasket.
We’ve canned everything from our garden and hunts: deer, pork, mushrooms, tomato, green beans, soups….I don’t know how we’d manage without it, as we can easily can around 700 qt. jars in a season.”
Presto Pressure Cookers in general
(San Jose, Ca.)
“I have been in housewares (selling parts and providing service for 37 years! and even selling Pressure cookers). I have sold Presto parts for years and years.
When I started to can, I went to the flea market and got a 16 qt. older style heavy aluminum pressure canner. No sweat! I bought all new parts. I also pressure tested it to be sure it held air. I looked it over carefully of course. It had barely been used.
The newer units have a ‘rocking’ style pressure regulator. The old ones have the center part that raises 5-10-15 pounds.
The thing is, explosions of cookers usually only happen when there is a worn out part, or someone using it on too high heat.
The steam vent (in the center of cooker or on the side where the regulator goes on) can become blocked with minerals, or food particles. Check to be sure that hole is clear all the time.
My customers always used the gaskets way beyond what they were meant to do.The shrinkage will cause it to leak and get the gasket hot. Change the gaskets! clean out the grooves where the gasket sits! this causes a bad fit.
Also the regulator and air vent get worn out. The center of the rocking regulator (looks like a many sided star washer) can corrode and fall out. Therefore you cannot build pressure at all. The little rubber air vent (on the outside or under the handle) can leak and fall out-they shrink.
I am thinking about a newer model soon. They are lighter.
I like people to be safe. Please read directions! People usually do not.
I hope this helped some people. I have always like my 2 pressure cookers and my old canner.”
Only Presto Pressure Canners have the fail-safe pop-up visual lid lock
by canning mom
“I have always owned Presto canners. I have a cast-aluminum Model 7B which is a 16 quart model, and I have used it for 38 years straight. It does a fine job.
HOWEVER, I also own a 22-quart, a 23-quart, and a 16-quart of the more modern variety. The 22-quart is actually on ‘extended loan’ to my daughter right now.
My experience with these newer canners has been very good. What I really appreciate is the safety factor of having the lid lock system. There is NO possibility of accidentally taking off the lid when pressure is still in the vessel!!!!
I find that ALL the canners cool down fairly quickly, of course it might take a few minutes more if you have 20 pints stacked, than it might if you were just doing five or six!!!!
Pressure canners heat up a bit faster if you are doing hot pack because all the food is hotter to begin with.
With the 22 and 23 quart models it is possible to water bath quarts, and with the 16 quart model it is possible to water bath pints.
I don’t know if the 7B would water bath pints because I just pressure can everything.
It is possible to water bath in just about any vessel that has 4-6 inches of space above the jars. One inch to 2 inches of boiling water above the jars and about 4 inches of space for a rolling boil (without the water jumping out of the pot and all over your feet!!!!)
I loved the cast aluminum cookers, but have been pleasantly surprised with the newer models.
Presto is the ONLY pressure canner that is designed for use on smooth-top stoves.
Presto has the ‘raised bottom’ that fits the burner and the sides of the canner are about 1/2 inch off the stovetop. This means that heat doesn’t transfer out to the rest of the glass or ceramic stovetop. Even with a cycle-on-cycle-off type burner, once the pressure is up there is no trouble keeping it at the required temperature.
I have helped someone learn to can chicken in a Presto 16-quart canner and on a smooth top stove. We saw the burner glowing red, then fading down, etc., but the dial gauge read the right temperature, and the ‘jiggler’ (weighted gauge) was rocking gently on the 10 pound ‘weight.’
Lastly, it is very easy indeed to get that lid on and off. I don’t have arthritis, but if I did my Prestos would still be easy to can with.
Gaskets have been improved. The new ones are very easy to use and DON’T need oiling with anything. I think cooking oil and so forth may actually deteriorate the gaskets.
I often just wet down the inside of the gasket to be sure it will slide easily as I put on the lid.”
“Anyone who generates a pressure seal with an All American would have to physically loosen all six screw handles, then would have to rotate the heavy lid about 10deg to have the lid come off. Could any of us do that accidentally? Of course not.
The Chinese made Prestos, on the other hand, only have the lightweight lid that required a small counterclockwise turn, as did the old Mirros from before the 70’s.
So, though the Chinese Prestos have the visual lid lock, the Mirro canners since the early 80’s have had a lid lock also, one that locks the handle from being turned.”
Loved my No.5 National Canner
by Pat Hall
“I would still love to have my No.5 National Pressure cooker like I had in the 50’s. Used this for many years for cooking and canning. It held 5 qt. or 7 pt. Was just right for us!”
National 5 canner
“You can buy them off ebay! Check for lowest price plus shipping, as there are several available, and prices vary widely according to seller. Also, make sure it is complete – you can get a replacement gasket online (no problem) but the pressure regulator is hard to find.”
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Page last updated: 11/13/2020.