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Best Canning Kit for Prepper Long-Term Food Storage

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When it comes to preservation at home, canning supplies are an essential tool for water bath canning, steam canning, and pressure canning. It can get overwhelming when you are looking for a place to start or are finding a kit with quality canning gear included.

There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to canning kits: tools included, canning method, capacity, etc. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best canning kits, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a beginner option, and a pressure canner option. If you want to start preserving food at home, one of our suggestions will get you rolling.

The Best Canning Kit

Granite Ware Canner Kit

Comprehensive, Inexpensive, and Dependable

All of the quality tools you need for water bath canning at an affordable price.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

There are a lot of options in this price range and construction type, but this one from Go Time Gear edges them out. It is slightly more lightweight and comes at a lower price. It still has plenty of thermal retention and better-than-expected durability.

Here is how it measures up:

  • Steel & porcelain enamel 21.5-quart bath canner
  • 5-piece toolset: Bubble remover, jar lifter, lid lifter, jar wrench, & jar funnel
  • Fits 8 pint jars or 6 quart jars
  • 16.5″ D x 9.75″ H
  • 4.1 pounds

With unsurpassed value, it’s easy to see why the Granite Ware Canner Kit is the best.

Beginner Canning Kit

Norpro Canning Essentials

Inexpensive, Effective, and Versatile

This inexpensive starter kit will get you canning quickly if you have a lidded pot and some jars.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Norpro hits the basics with this essentials kit that’ll get you canning in no time. If you already have a pot for bathing or pressure canning, this tool kit, a few jars, and some food to fill them are all you need to start.

Even though these tools are inexpensive, they’ll last you through your whole canning adventure- many people continue to use these tools along with high-end pressure canners. So, they’re great for starting out and you won’t need to upgrade them later.

The six tools included in the kit are:

  • Handle-coated long tongs
  • Handle-coated jar lifter
  • Coated jar wrench
  • Jar funnel
  • Magnetic lid lifter
  • Bubble popper/measurer

If you are looking for a toolset to get started with canning, you can’t go wrong with the Norpro Canning Essentials.

Best Pressure Canner

All American Pressure Canner

Precise, Durable, and Quality Made

The brand to beat in pressure canning sits right on the edge of commercial quality and in-home affordability.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

All American is the best brand in the pressure canning business, so it’s no wonder their starter model made our list. They cost a bit more than bath canners or pressure canners made outside the US, but these pots coming out of the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry have unmatched quality.

For starters, these are the only pressure canners built with such quality precision they don’t need any gasket- it’s a metal-to-metal seal. This means no gasket upkeep or failure points. It’ll seal great forever. Also, this thing is a beast. Aluminum is known for being lightweight- but they’ve reinforced every angle of this pot where it matters most. Even still, it is lightweight enough to work on any stove top- even flat tops.

If you want something that will be passed down several generations, this is the canner you want.

Here are the details:

  • Aluminum 10.5-quart pressure canner
  • Metal-to-metal gasketless seal
  • Fits 7 pint jars or 4 quart jars
  • 13″ D x 12″ H
  • 14.8 pounds

If you are looking for the best of the best, get an All American Pressure Canner.

Everything We Recommend

The Canning Supplies We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several types and brands of canning kits and supplies that we compared: All American, VEVOR, Norco, Granite Ware, Nesco, Presto, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the what to look for section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of canning supplies but quickly ruled out commercial canners and industrial equipment based on price. If you are looking to process a ton of jars those may work best for you, but we kept it to home canning for the sake of our review.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have a canning kit that you swear by, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested equipment annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best canning kit has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Tools Included
  3. Canning Method
  4. Capacity
  5. Quality

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a canning kit that will work perfectly with your skillset to get your pantry stocked. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the canners that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a canning kit shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. There are some really nice options out there but that might not be what you need if you are just getting started. Follow your budget and get what makes the most sense for you.

You never want to spend too much money on one tool for the kitchen. It’s better to diversify your food storage equipment to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Tools Included

Some of the kits we saw had several extra tools that most canners never use. They are probably padding the numbers so their kit seems like a better deal by including 15 tools instead of just the 5 you really need.

Here are the tools you need in a basic starter canning kit:

  1. Jar Lifter – Take the jars out of hot water so they can cool quickly using a specialized tong that grips the tops well.
  2. Jar Rack – Keep the jars from resting on the bottom of the pot- the water should be transferring the heat, not the heat source.
  3. Jar Wrench – Easily tighten and loosen jars with a bit of extra leverage.
  4. Jars – You’ll need jars in your preferred size (usually pint or quart) with new lids.
  5. Canning Pot – Whether you are pressure canning or water bath, you’ll need a pot that matches your canning method.

Bonus: a jar funnel can keep you from making messes filling your jars but isn’t completely necessary.

Canning Method

There are a few main ways to do canning at home and they require different equipment:

  • Water Bath Canning – Water bath canning is a popular and easy canning method where you briefly boil submerged jars in water. It’s also called “Hot Water Canning” or “Boiling Water Bath”. A large pot with a fitted lid and a starter canning kit are all you need for this canning method. This method works well for high-acid foods like anything pickled, and fruits like tomatoes and berries.
  • Steam Canning – Using steam to seal lids uses less water and can be quicker, but it’s even more limited in what types of foods it can be used on. Be sure your canning recipe specifies that it is to be steam canned if you use this method.
  • Pressure Canning – Pressurized pots with locking lids are used to can low-acid foods like vegetables, chicken, meats, seafood, soups, stock, and stew. A few fruits are also low-acid, like watermelon and canteloupe. Back in the day (way back before the 1920s) water bath canning was used for these, but scientists have since discovered that botulism growth is possible without pressure to push above boiling temperature.

Warning: “Dry canning” is not a good canning method and can be dangerous. Canned home-dried foods often lead to mold and bacterial growth in small moisture pockets. See the Penn State Extension for more information on the dangers.

Capacity

If you are serious about putting some canned preserves in the pantry, you’ll need the capacity to get it done from your canning equipment. Water bath canning is quicker although it limits what you can process based on acidity. Still, with either method: the larger the pot, the more you can process at once.

If you go too large it can take a while for the water to boil which adds processing time. There is a sweet spot where you get a pot that fits just right on your stove and can process many jars all at once.

Quality

The size, material, and thermal conductivity of a water bath pot or pressure pot are both important. Cheap pressure canners can be dangerous, as we’ve seen some repurposed as bombs before.

Thick-walled pressure cookers with secure lids are the best way to and reputable companies are the best way to be sure that you aren’t getting a pressure cooker that won’t go the distance with you.

How to Start Canning Food

Canning may seem easy, but there are plenty of factors to consider and it can even be dangerous if you start without knowing what you should be doing. I usually suggest getting a recipe book that will keep you ‘on the rails’ as far as what is okay or not okay to can. Steam canning and even water bath canning don’t work for all types of foods.

Gordon Flay’s Prepper’s Canning & Preserving Bible is the best resource you can get in print, and it covers all of the bases:

If you are looking to learn for free, there are always great tutorials online as well:

Who Needs a Canning Kit?

Canning kits are not a necessity but are great for preserving a lot of food at a low cost. Having the tools and knowing how to use pressure canning kits can drastically boost your food storage plans.

Having the ability to preserve many types of food with canning recipes is something that anyone can benefit from. Many people with large pressure canners end up supporting their community with them or turn canning preserves into a side hustle once they’ve filled their own pantry.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best canning kit is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical prepping experience:

Riggs, K. (2017). Principles of Pressure Canning. Food and Nutrition Extension. Utah State University. (Source)

Reasonover, F. (1975). The Pressure Canner – How it Works. Texas Agricultural Extension. Leaflet. (Source)

Ramakrishnan, T., et al. (1987). Comparison of Steam Canner Processing With Other Methods of Home Canning. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. Volume 11. Issue 1. Pages 43 – 61. (Source)

The Final Word

Food storage is always a prepping priority. A quality canner can help you with your food stockpile and preserve food- whether it’s store-bought or extras from the garden.

Here are a few other reads our subscribers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Granite Ware Canner Kit to be the best option given its value, canning methods possible, tools included, capacity, and manufacturing quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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