Types of Pressure Canners

There are two types of pressure canners, and they operate with a dial gauge or by weights. Always purchase parts for your pressure canner (don’t mix brand parts) to ensure your canner operates correctly. The main brands are Presto, All American and Mirro.
These are the most common pressure canners available (Presto model pictured) as they are cheap, available in several sizes and are easy to source replacement parts as required. Usually these operate at 11 pounds pressure (depending on your altitude) and as they are on heat and processing, the dial in the middle of the lid will show the pressure level. You will need to manually adjust your heat source to allow the canner to process at 11 pounds and not be under or over this level. The dial gauge needs to be tested annually (we recommend April 1 for testing any kitchen appliances). You will also need to regularly check the gauge during processing to ensure it stays at the correct pressure level.
A dial gauge canner can be converted to a weighted gauge simply by purchasing a special set of weights (Presto weights pictured). These weights are 5lb, 10lb and 15lb, so instead of using the dial gauge to read the pressure level, you will listen for the rocking motion of the weight (i.e. 10lbs, depending on your altitude) to determine the pressure level has been reached. The great thing with weighted pressure canners is that they regulate the pressure themselves; there is no need to check the dial gauge.
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