Last year I started to learn how to "can", or preserve my own food after I started a garden, and had a large overabundance of produce. I started out canning with a water bath canner last year, but then I was limited to the items that I could make, because if you want to can vegetables or any meat products, you need to use a pressure canner because of food safety issues.
So, after researching, I decided to buy the Mirro 22 Quart Pressure Canner. I chose the large size, because the canner will hold more jars at one time, so I thought it would be a time saver. I must say, when I first opened the box, I was a little intimidated- this thing is HUGE! It is rather bulky and heavy, but then it also feels very sturdy, which is obviously a plus.
Part of the reason I chose this canner was because it was a weighted-gauge canner, instead of a pressure gauge, which needs to be checked for calibration. From what I read online, and in the manual that came with the canner, you look to see the weight "rock" back and forth to see if the pressure is correct. Well, on my first trial run, my gauge never rocked. It spun, and hissed steam, and made all kinds of noise, but no rocking. After checking with other people, it seems that Mirro has recently changed the gauge, so it doesn't really rock, but they never updated it in their manual. Instead, you want to watch for a slight "Jiggle" according to the people at Mirro.
One other word of advice- this canner is not recommended for use on a flat top stove, because it is too heavy. You can use it on an electic coil stove, but you should buy a special canning element that lifts it up a little higher and is much sturdier to handle the weight of the canner when it is filled with hot jars.
All in all, I have been very happy with my canner. It took a couple trials before I got familiar with using it, but now I feel very comfortable. I have made tomato sauce, soups, chili, stews, and a few other products. I can't wait to make more!