Thinking of buying a pressure canner?

We’ve had a series of questions about pressure canning lately and thought we’d share a few experiences on choosing a pressure canner.  These are based on our experience and using ours for preserving for about 2 years.

  • DO not buy an old one for a “deal.”  The safety has improved drastically – even in the last 10 years.  Save your pennies and invest in something new (we spent around $100 Canadian for ours).  The ‘extra’ money compared to used will pay off through reassurance of your personal safety and repairs to your ceiling.
  • DO not listen to the horror stories of a canner exploding 50 years ago to decide not to buy one.  Ours has 3 different release valves where pressure will release from if it gets too high (preventing a blow out where the weighted or dial gauge ‘exploded’ off the lid).
  • DO read the manual.
  • DO know how much it will cost you (and how) to replace the seals.  This is the likely point of fail and if they’re unavailable you will have obtained a pot (just no pressure)
  • DO buy one for canning.  It will save you money buying separate racks and components for it.
  • DO buy as large as you can – but keep in mind that the larger the surface area of the bottom of the pot, the longer it will take to heat.
  • DO practice before doing your first canning.
  • Know that you can stack 2 levels high – if you are always using small jars you may not want a very large canner.  If you’re doing pickles in 1-liter (2-pint) jars, you may want something tall.  You are generally sealing with steam so don’t be afraid of size.  We also use our pressure canner to sterilize jars as it’s our largest pot.
  • DO research the differences between weighted and gauged canners.  Many feel that the gauge is more accurate but I like that I can hear the weighted gauge to know it’s as hot as I want it to be.
  • DO clean it well.  A clogged canner is a dangerous canner (the pressure will continue to build).
  • Read some recipes to know what you are getting in to (its often less work than hot water bathing).  Check the National Center for Home Food Preservation here or see our recent experience with asparagus (it explains the fundamentals of how pressure canning works).
  • Start small – it’s not difficult but it’s not the same as jam
  • Watch out for head space – you will generally need a lot more (the temperature is much hotter) and it’s easy to forget to check (pickled asparagus can often handle 1/4-1/2 an inch of head space while pressure-canned asparagus in the same 1-pint jar would need a full inch or more.
  • DO ask questions and we’d be pleased to try to help – also share your experiences if you can provide further insight!

Smiles; happy Monday!


  1. Great post! I’m going to take it to the next level this summer with pressure canning, and I’m so psyched that someone has my back! I was going to come here to prepare anyway, and these words of wisdom just cemented that. Thank you!

  2. really enjoying your blog. and yes, I am thinking about a pressure canner, and planning to purchase this week…what a perfectly timed post, thank you so much!

  3. DO use it to can huge batches of stock. Your freezer will thank you. ^_^

    • Melissa, it`s a great point. Our freezer is the size of a shoebox so it`s simply not an option for stock – it`s great to have the option to preserve large batches of stock just like you said.

  4. Thank you. I have begun toying with the idea of a pressure canner. Can you give a link to the model you chose and others you considered?

    • hi Terri,

      there;s no markings on it – I bought the biggest I could at Canadian Tire, was just over $100. Next time I`m there I will see if they have same one and comment back here… In the meantime if you see one online, I`d be pleased to take a peak and offer my opinion for what it`s worth.

      I didn`t consider others – I bought on size alone and there were few options. :) J

  5. Where in Canada can you buy a pressure canner online? Any suggestions

    • Hmmm…

      Kate, I`m not sure. Canadian Tire online, Williams Sonoma or other major department stores perhaps… I don`t buy a lot online – anyone else reading this have any tips (i`ll also ask on twitter and report back here if we hear something

    • Kate,

      Did indeed ask twitter and got an answer – I`ve never heard of these guys before but a good starting point.. The source is a restaurant (Nick and Nats uptown 21 in Waterloo) which looks simply amazing and up the alley of many who visit here. You can check them out here

      Their comments and possible source for you:

      @WellPreserved There is a company called wellscan out of BC. They may have it, I have bought from them online before, good people I think

    • Kate – another answer from Melamie (she`s a fellow can jammer in Toronto) – she suggests trying Golda`s kitchen for online pressure cooker sales to Canada. :)

      • Thanks for all the help. Goulda’s Kitchen looks like it might be the place. I am going to try Canadian Tire to see if I can save on shipping. I am in NB and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere local to buy them. Hopefully Canadian Tire will get some in for the season

  6. blackberry says:

    You an order a Presto from any Home Hardware, they’re also a good source for jars, lids etc.

  7. How do you stack safely. Every time I stack more than 1/2 pints I loose a jar or more!!! boo :(

  8. Is there a way to make the box with all the social media stuff go away? I am reading on a small screen and it is covering up the beginning of each sentence.

    • Hi Kate,

      Totally appreciate the comment – and thank you!

      We’ve installed a different tool based on your feedback that should resolve it; it only displays at certain widths and will hide on smaller resolutions. I think that should fix it – let us know your experience!


  9. Much better, thankyou!

  10. Can you use a pressure canner for jam? It would be faster than a boiling water canner I’m thinking.

  11. I’ve bookmarked your website – it’s fantastic!!! :)

    Our Canadian Tire does not have pressure canners – it doesn’t show up online on the website either.

    Could I use a pressure cooker for canning? I was considering moving the rack from my waterbath canner into the pressure cooker for that purpose? What other modifications would be needed?

    Thanks in advance!

  12. Is there a reason why you don’t have Pinterest as an option to share?
    That’s where I keep all my info I don’t want to lose!

    • Hi Judy!

      Great question – you’ll see you can pin it now!

      WHen I posted this yesterday, the photo’s didn’t post. We try to include at least one photo in every post (and usually do; the TEDx madness has slowed us a bit). I’ve updated the post and you’ll see the pictures now allow you to pin them when you place your mouse over them. :)

      Let us know if it’s not working! :)


  13. Charlotte Hackney says:

    Great site! Thanks for all the helpful info! My nephew is a “chef” and wants to get into canning, but doesn’t have a pressure canner. Thought I might buy them one for Christmas, but don’t know the BEST kind to get. They are into quantity, so wondered what type you would suggest? Thanks.

  14. Hi,

    I know that this is an old post, but I hope someone might have an answer. I have a pressure canner (with gauge) and I’d like to get the gauge tested, but most of what I can find is US sources. Do you have any suggestions on where to get a pressure canner gauge tested in Ontario?

    Thanks! Google led me to your site, and it looks like a great resource.

    • Hi Lija,

      thanks for your kind words!

      I know that several have been looking to answer this question; unfortunately I don’t have an answer! Perhaps reach out to the manufacturer?

      I wish I had a better resource (we use a weighted canner so don’t have a gauge to test); will share one if I hear of one and would love to know if you find one so I could help others in future.


  15. Can you please recommend the best pressure canner for use on glass top stoves?

  16. Apparently you can get your gauge checked at a radiator repair shop in Canada. I read that on another website about pressure canners.

  17. Can anyone explain the benefits of using a pressure canner versus cooking the food and adding it to the jar and putting the lids on?


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