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Testing dial pressure canner gauges

Pressure canner dial gauge

Today's pressure canner may have a dial gauge or weighted gauge for indicating and regulating the pressure.

Weighted gauges will either keep rocking gently or make a frequent jiggling noise to indicate if the correct pressure is being maintained. Read the manufacturer's instructions to know how a particular weighted gauge should rock or jiggle. A dial gauge has movable parts and must be checked for accuracy. Weighted gauges are one solid piece and do not require testing.

Check dial gauges yearly

Check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing. Pressure adjustments can be made if the gauge reads up to 2 pounds high or low. Replace gauges that differ by more than 2 pounds.

Where to have your dial gauge checked

  • Presto - will test gauges at no charge however they only tests certain brands (see below).
  • All American - has been selling their pressure canners with both a dial and weighted gauge for each unit. Weighted gauges do not need to be tested. For testing of All American dial pressure gauges, contact Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, 920-682-8627
  • Other models of pressure canner gauges - please check with the manufacturer.
  • You can also check with your local county Extension office to see if the testing is done locally. 

If you send your pressure gauge to Presto

Presto will only test gauges from these brands

  • National.
  • Magic Seal.
  • Maid of Honor.
  • Kook-Kwick.
  • Presto.

Steps to send in your pressure gauge

  1. Carefully remove dial gauge from canner and package in foam, bubble wrap or newspaper to avoid shipping damage.
  2. Ship gauge only. If you cannot remove the gauge from the canner lid, send canner lid with the gauge attached.
  3. Gauges are checked within three working days of receipt and shipped for return.
  4. Send to:
    National Presto Industries Inc.
    ATTN Gauge Testing
    3925 North Hastings Way
    Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54703-3703

Replacement parts

Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gasket, safety plugs) for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.

Deb Botzek-Linn, former Extension educator; Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator; and Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2021

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