/ / Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra: 5 differences compared side by side

Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra: 5 differences compared side by side

Are you shopping for an electric pressure cooker to add to your kitchen? Each year Instant Pot releases a new model or two. Here’s a comparison of the differences between the Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra side-by-side.

Instant Pot designs each of its electric pressure cookers to be dependable, convenient, and safe. In 2019 the company released two models and expanded the Viva availability. Each Instant Pot model has some variations that might make you want to choose one over another.

And if you’re trying to decide two models when you find a great deal, it may be difficult to choose. Let’s take a look at the Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra side by side.

The 5 differences between the Instant Pot Ultra vs Viva include:

  • The Ultra is available in a 3 quart mini
  • The control panels are different between the two models
  • Altitude adjustment is available on the Ultra
  • The Ultra has an Ultra program. The Viva has Sous Vide
  • The Viva will typically cost less

Dig deeper into the comparison between the two models to look at the appliances combined, smart programs included, and other relevant stats.

Close up of a 6 Quart Ultra to compares the differences between the Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra

And one more note: this post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission if you buy through my link. You won’t pay any more if you use this link.

What is the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker?

An Instant Pot® is a smart multi-use electric pressure cooker designed to be dependable, convenient, and safe. One of the most important things to look for in a pressure cooker is safety. Each Instant Pot has at least 10 safety mechanisms built-in.

It’s an energy-efficient kitchen appliance as you’ll cook your meals using less energy and up to 70% faster. The other benefit is you won’t heat up you kitchen in the summer either.

The Viva and Ultra are just two of the various models the company sells. The Viva was released to additional stores in 2019 and the Ultra is their best for home chefs model originally release in 2017.

Specifically, you may be considering the Instant Pot Ultra vs Viva and trying to figure out which one is better. Or maybe how they’re different if you already own another Instant Pot.

What is the difference between the Ultra vs Viva?

The Instant Pot Ultra model the company calls best for home chefs. And the Instant Pot Viva includes a lot of their core pressure cooker features and programs. Here’s a look at the key differences between the two models.

The Ultra is available in a 3 quart mini

One of the larger, or technically smaller, differences between the two models is the Ultra is available in a 3 quart mini. If you’re looking for a small Instant Pot to cook for 1 or 2 people, or make side dishes, a mini could be a good fit for your kitchen needs.


3 Quart

The mini Ultra is one of a few models available in the 3 quart size. The Viva is available in the larger 6 and 8 quart sizes only.

The control panels are different between the two models

The Viva has a traditional LCD control panel with push buttons to choose your cooking settings. You’ll see a similar control panel on the Lux and Duo models.

The Ultra was the first Instant Pot with a turn-dial control panel with LCD display. On this model you select your smart programs and customizations through the turn dial. The only buttons are for starting and canceling the cooking processes.

Don’t forget to press the start button to actually begin the cooking process on an Ultra. The Viva automatically starts cooking after a few seconds of pushing the program buttons.

Altitude adjustment is available on the Ultra

One of the system settings on the Ultra includes an altitude adjustment. It’s an interesting addition to the Instant Pot, especially if you have to account for altitude in your regular cooking. It may not apply to everyone, but for the people that need to keep feet above sea level in mind take a closer look at the Ultra.

The Ultra has an Ultra program. The Viva has Sous Vide

As with all of the Instant Pot models, each version has a different combination of included smart programs. The two programs of note for these models are the Ultra and Sous Vide.

The Ultra program, exclusive to the Ultra model, allows you to fully control cover pressure and non-pressure cooking settings. With the program, you can set high or low pressure, and for non-pressure cooking, you can set the cooking temperature. It also has a longer cooking time range available compared to the other smart programs.

The Viva has the Sous Vide program which involves cooking food in a food-safe, air-tight bag underwater. The food cooks in its own juices over a longer period of time.

The included accessories are different

The Ultra and Viva each come with a different combination of accessories. The Ultra was introduced in 2017 and since then the company has shifted some of the access they include with each Instant Pot sold. In addition to the user manual you receive with your Instant Pot, there are a few other things in the box.

In the box with the Ultra you’ll receive one silicone sealing ring, steam rack/trivet, a rice paddle, soup spoon, and measuring cup.

With the Viva you’ll receive a 2 silicone sealing rings and trivet/steam rack.

One of the nice things about the Viva is it comes with 2 sealing rings. The silicone rings typically pick up the flavors of what you cook. And getting the smell out of the ring can be challenging. Having multiple rings is a good idea so you don’t end up with an onion-flavored cheesecake.

The Viva will typically cost less

Depending on your budget, the Viva will typically cost less than the Ultra at the same quart size. Keep an eye out for flash sales and deals. You never know when you’ll be able to save money on purchase, even with the newer feature-rich models.

The Instant Pot Ultra and Viva compared side-by-side

To go deeper on each model, here are the appliances combined included smart programs, and available sizes compared side-by-side. Aside from looking at a summary of the differences, looking at each element in detail can be helpful to your decision making process.

The appliances combined in each model

Each Instant Pot combines multiple kitchen appliances into one, saving space on your counters and in your cabinets. And of course, you save money by having one appliance to cover multiple cooking methods.

Let’s take a look at the appliances combined in the Instant Pot Viva vs Ultra:

VivaUltra
Number of Appliances Combined9-in-110-in-1
Pressure CookerYesYes
Slow CookerYesYes
Rice CookerYesYes
SteamerYes
Sauté/SearingYesYes
Yogurt MakerYesYes
Sous VideYes
WarmerYesYes
Cake MakerYesYes
Stock PotYes
SterilizerYes

The Ultra combines a few more appliances into one Instant Pot compared to the Viva. With the Ultra you’ll also have a sterilizer and a steamer. With the Viva you’ll have sous vide cooking.

Smart Programs included in the Viva and Ultra

Instant Pot created smart programs to help the home chef be able to cook with the press of a button. The smart programs were created based on extensive testing, control heat intensity, temperature, pressure, and duration.

When shopping for an Instant Pot, you should note that not all quart sizes will have all of the functions included in a series. The mini 3 quart has a smaller front panel and typically has a program or two fewer than its larger 6- and 8-quart siblings.

There are 16 smart programs included in the Viva and 17 with the Ultra series.

VivaUltra
Number of Smart Programs1617
Soup/BrothYesYes
Meat/StewYesYes
Bean/ChiliYesYes
CakeYesYes*
EggYesYes
SautéYesYes
RiceYesYes
MultigrainYesYes*
PorridgeYesYes
YogurtYesYes
Pressure Cook YesYes
SteamYes
SterilizeYesYes
Keep WarmYesYes
Slow CookYesYes
Pasteurize**YesYes
Sous VideYes
UltraYes

* The Cake and Multigrain smart programs are not included on the 3 quart models.

** Pasteurize is a program that’s included in the Yogurt Smart Program

Which sizes are the Ultra and Viva available in?

The Ultra is available in 3 sizes: 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. The Viva is available in 6 quarts and 8 quart options.

The core Instant Pot models are generally available in the three main sizes: 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. There is one model available in a 10 quart size.

VivaUltra
3 QuartsYes
6 QuartsYesYes
8 QuartsYesYes

If you’re looking for the larger 10 quart model you’ll need to check out the other Instant Pot models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have additional questions about the Viva and Ultra? Check out these frequently asked questions for more information.

What comes with the Instant Pot Viva?

The Instant Pot Viva comes with 2 silicone sealing rings and a trivet/steam rack. The extra sealing ring is a great addition because you can use one ring for cooking savory dishes and one for sweets. The silicone ring can become infused with the flavors and smells of what you cook, especially garlic and onion. No one wants a garlic-flavored cheesecake so having an extra ring or two is helpful.

How many quarts is the Instant Pot Viva?

The Instant Pot Viva is available in 6 and 8 quart sizes. It is not currently available as a 3 quart mini or 10 quart size. You may need to check different stores depending on the 6 or 8 quart Viva you’re specifically looking for.

Does Instant Pot Viva have Bluetooth?

No, the Instant Pot Viva does not have Bluetooth. There was a previous Instant Pot model called the Smart Bluetooth that had the feature available but has since been discontinued.

What are your thoughts on the Instant Pot Ultra vs Viva?

Whenever you buy a new Instant Pot you need to decide which features and size make the most sense for your needs, along with your budget. When there are promotions running on multiple models it can be difficult to decide between two Instant Pots. Or if you have an older model, sometimes a good deal could mean it’s worth considering an upgrade.

The Viva has a lot of the great core pressure cooking features the company offers. The Ultra is the company’s best model for home chefs. It was the first model to have an auto-seal lid and turn dial front panel.

If you spend any time in the Facebook groups, you’ll notice most people find room in their kitchen for another Instant Pot. An extra pressure cooker helps you prepare multiple dishes at the same. Having multiple sizes allows you cook a side dish in addition to your main meal. Or you can also batch cook for the week in a larger Instant Pot if you like to do meal prep.

What about you? What are you looking for in an Instant Pot Ultra vs Viva? Are you trying to decide which one to buy?

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