Best Rice Cooker – Reviews & Top Picks 2017

one of the best rice cookers in actionSo what’s with a rice cooker? Well, nearly half of the seven billion people in the world consider rice as their staple food. That makes half of the population need and want a rice cooker. Rice cookers are beneficial kitchen appliances designed and engineered to produce perfectly cooked rice at least twice a day. However, they aren’t just for cooking rice. Most rice cookers nowadays can steam vegetables, make soups and oatmeals, and even cook easy main dishes.

Your kitchen wouldn’t be perfect without it and your rice wouldn’t be worthy to be deemed perfect rice unless it’s from a rice cooker. There are many types of rice cookers on the market; their prices are confusing and their features are enormous. So to make it easier for you, we’ll help you find the best rice cooker that will suit your needs. We’ve done this by testing, monitoring and measuring 56 rice cookers. Then we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best rice cookers and thereafter ranked them from #1 to #5. Below the rice cooker reviews, you’ll find our buying guide, which should help you make the final buying decision.

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSCAPACITYUSER RATINGPRICEOUR REVIEW
Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT
Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer
11.8 x 9.1 x 7.5 inches
6 cups


4.6/5

$$$$
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Our Review
Zojirushi NS-TSC10
zojirushi-ns-tsc10-5-1-2-cup-uncooked-micom-rice-cooker-and-warmer
10.1 x 8.5 x 14 inches

10 cups

4.5/5


$$$$$
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Our Review
Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W
Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer and Slow Cooker, White
13.9 x 10.6 x 8.4 inches
5.5 cups
4.5/5

$$
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Our Review
Tiger JNP-S10U-HU
Tiger JNP-S10U-HU 5.5-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Warmer
9.8 x 10.8 x 10.3 inches


5.5 cups


4.4/5


$$$$
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Our Review
Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB
Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cups uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer, SS Exterior (ARC-150SB)
10.8 x 11.2 x 10.8 inches
20 cups

4.4/5

$
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Our Review

The Best Rice Cooker Size

Before moving on to the top five rice cookers we recommend, you must first identify the size of the rice cooker that will best fulfill your kitchen needs.

The size of a rice cooker is measured by cups and range from 3 to 10 cups. A good rule of a thumb is not to buy a larger unit than what you need because the cooker is designed to operate properly with a certain amount of rice and water. You also shouldn’t overfill your cooker since this will cause it to boil over which can get quite messy, giving you more time to clean than eat.

Bear in mind that if a rice cooker is advertised as being a 7-cup cooker, it doesn’t usually mean that the cooked rice will measure 7 cups. A 7-cup rice cooker means the cooker size accommodates seven cups of raw rice, which will produce a larger cooked capacity of rice. The expansion of the uncooked rice doesn’t always double in size. It actually depends on the type of rice you’re using. For safety purposes, check the specifications of the product before buying. Other products may specify “10-cups” alongside the name of their cooker models with the inclusion of whether the “10-cups” mean uncooked of cooked. You have to ensure what the label means to avoid regretting in the end.

Now, let’s discuss the size.

3-cup rice cookers are ideal for singles or couples.

5-cup rice cookers are recommended for families with more than two members. This size is also the most popular choice.

10-cup rice cookers are perfect if you have a large family and if you’re a lover of leftovers.


Our Rice Cooker Reviews

#1 Zojirushi NS-TSC10

Zojirushi NS-TSC10This easy-to-use, cETLus listed rice cooker priced less than $150 is not just for cooking perfect rice. It can also be used as a steamer. It even has a cake menu setting for baking cake! The NS-TSC10 Micom features use Fuzzy Logic Technology that identifies the type of rice you’re using and adjusts the time and heat settings automatically.

It has eight menu settings: white/sushi, brown, mixed, porridge, sweet, cake, steam, and quick cooking. It also features a delay timer, an automatic keep warm setting, and an extended keep warm setting. You can even reheat your rice with this cooker—one feature that only high-end rice cookers have. The NS-TSC10Micom also highlights its easy-to-read LCD control panel. Plus, the melody and beep signal signifies you that the cooking is done. What’s a better alarm than that?

Cleaning up is also easy with this one because of the detachable and washable inner lid and built-in retractable cord. It even comes with a BPA free steaming basket, a measuring cup, a nonstick rice spatula, and a spatula holder. It also has a 12-month limited warranty.

What you won’t like, however, is it takes much time to cook rice. Cooking white rice will take about an hour and cooking brown rice will take 1 ½ hour. Also, it’s only for short and medium rice varieties. At the end of the day, though, it’s still the best Japanese rice cooker and the best rice cooker for the money.


#2 Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT

Zojirushi NS-LAC05XTThis rice cooker is the definition of “small but terrible”. With its small size, you can actually cook white rice/sushi, mixed rice, brown rice, sweet rice, porridge, and quick rice. It’s even the best rice cooker for brown rice. And because it’s compact, it can be easily transferred from one place to another and it won’t take up much space on your counter.

Zojirushi has done it again with this rice cooker. And by that, I mean it has a micro computerized Fuzzy Logic Technology which offers a lot of benefits and one of those is automatically adjusting the temperature for the type of rice you’re cooking. This rice cooker also features a colored LCD control panel that’s so easy to read, an automatic keep warm setting for your rice, and a built-in retractable cord that can be easily kept after using the rice cooker.

The Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom is also made of stainless steel, allowing heat to be evenly distributed. It’s also durable and easy to clean. No wonder it’s the best small rice cooker.

In spite of all that, this rice cooker is recommended for small families only since it can make up to 6 cups of cooked rice only. The English instructions are also poorly translated from Japanese.


#3 Tiger JNP-S10U-HU

Tiger JNP-S10U-HUThe Tiger JNP-S10U-HU is one well-built, foolproof rice cooker with a beautiful design. Its urban satin color makes it attractive to your guests and serves as a classy kitchen décor.

It features a nonstick inner pan that makes cleaning easy. Add that up to the removable and washable steam vent and you get a simple, very easy to clean rice cooker. A retractable cord also allows you to save some kitchen space especially if you’re done cooking and you don’t want a messy counter. This rice cooker also highlights a keep-warm function that can keep your rice warm and not dry for up to 12 hours.

Because of its simplicity, using this is won’t be a pain in the butt. Its instructions are so easy, reading it once or twice would be enough. You’ll also love how it maintains the same quality of rice after years of use. With its high-quality construction and well-insulated design, you’ll enjoy evenly cooked rice. This is also guaranteed to have no boil-over issues.

On the other hand, one of its drawbacks includes its price. For a single switch rice cooker, it’s actually pricey. Also, this rice cooker cannot be used for steaming meat or vegetables.


#4 Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB

Aroma Housewares ARC-150SBOn a tight budget? Well, this is your lucky day. Priced less than $35, here’s the Aroma ARC-150SB—the best budget buy. It comes from one of the most trusted brands in the industry and it cooks any type of rice flawlessly.

It features its stainless steel and black plastic exterior with a nonstick Teflon interior. The Aroma ARC-150SB also has programmable digital controls that include low cook, white rice, brown rice, and automatic keep-warm settings. It also takes pride of its water reservoir that channels excess condensation away to keep your rice perfectly moist. You’ll also love its delay timer that can be set up to 15 hours.

Thanks to the nonstick, removable, and dishwasher-safe inner cooking pot, cleaning up will be fast and easy. This affordable rice cooker will even impress and excite you with the number of cups it can hold—20 cups of cooked rice. Yes. You read it right. 20 cups. So, plainly, it’s recommended for large families or for those who love leftovers. Aside from this amazing feature, it also comes from one of the best brands in the industry. It’s even the best seller on Amazon under the category of rice cookers.

However, no machine is perfect. The drawbacks include the non-detachable and nonretractable power cord and the same goes with the lid. The lid, therefore, is difficult to clean since it cannot be removed from the main vessel. The Aroma ARC-150SB also requires you to soak the rice first before cooking or else it will boil ever and make a huge mess on your clean kitchen counter.


#5 Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W

Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-WIndulge in the beautifully-cooked, fragrant, flavorful rice and sumptuous dishes made by TigerJBV-A10U-W and you’ll be surprised by how this 5.7-pound rice cooker can work wonders in your kitchen.

It features its ever-unique synchro-cooking mechanism that lets you simultaneously cook simple main dishes on its innovative, BPA-free Tacook plate while cooking rice on the lower level of the inner pot. Its Tacook plate is brilliantly built. There are no holes on its bottom to ensure that the juices from the food cooking on the upper level won’t grip down to the rice. The flavors won’t mix as well. Truly, the Tiger JBV-A10U-W takes cooking to the next level!

Aside from that, it also features a removable inner cooking pot that can be submerged and a built-in carry handle to make transport easier. This sophisticated-looking rice cooker even works as a slow cooker. More importantly, it cooks plain rice and brown rice perfectly. You’ll also find this one trouble-free to use thanks to its one-push operation. And if you don’t feel like eating yet, it will keep your food warm until you’re ready to.

For all that, it still has some cons. First, it needs constant monitoring. Second, the keep-warm function may result in a layer of crunchy rice in the bottom of the inner pot if it’s left to sit for longer than 60 minutes. Lastly, its lid is not detachable, which makes it difficult to clean.


Rice Cooker Buying Guide

By now, you probably have one or two choices in mind. So let’s move on to the factors you need to consider when choosing the best rice cooker for your needs as well as the tips when buying.

1. Price, Brand, and Warranty

  • Rice cookers range from $15 to $620
  • The price of every rice cooker depends on its size and the features it offers.
  • Usually, more features result in it being more expensive.
  • Ask yourself this question: “How much am I willing to spend?”
  • With an unlimited budget, the price wouldn’t matter. All you have to do is choose the right size you need and the features you want.
  • If you have a limited budget, this is where it gets confusing. But remember, there is always one cooker in each price range that will stand out than the others.
  • A rice cooker generally offers a one-year limited warranty, but the more years, the better.

2. Size of the Rice Cooker

  • Never get a rice cooker that’s too large for you.
  • If you love leftovers, then just add one or two cups to what you need.
  • A rice cooker that can hold up to 3 cups of rice is great for singles and couples.
  • A 5-cup rice cooker is recommended for small-medium sized families.
  • A 10-cup rice cooker is ideal for large families and for those who love leftovers.

3. Type of Rice Cooker

  • Simple On/Off Style rice cookers cook your rice and turn off your rice cooker once done. This type is the cheapest and the most basic one. They don’t come with nonstick pots or steamers and usually, has no indicator light to signify that the cooking cycle has ended. They are usually more or less $30.
  • Priced between $35-$70, the second type of rice cooker cooks rice then keeps it warm so the rice doesn’t become cold. These should be unplugged in order to turn them off. They are flexible rice cookers that sometimes include nonstick pans, steamer baskets, and more.
  • Electronic Controls Rice Cookers are more expensive. They keep the rice warm up to 12 hours after the cooking cycle has ended, which is an awesome feature for families who eat a lot of rice every day. They generally cost $100 or more.
  • Rice cookers that have the Fuzzy Logic styles offer more options than the previously mentioned ones. With this type, you can have settings like soup, brown rice, rice texture choices, and sushi. You can cook all types of rice with this one. Their prices start at $150 depending on the number of features.
  • Induction Heating rice cookers are more sophisticated than the Fuzzy Logic. They are easy to use, whether you’re a beginner at cooking rice or a pro. This is the best style for cooking brown rice and other varieties of rice. They cost about $200 or more but they are worth every penny.

4. Type of Heating Technology

  • Rice cookers use different types of heating technology.
  • Conventional rice cookers are the most basic ones. They just require you to add the rice and water and push start. They’re perfect for cooking white rice. They can also cook sushi and brown rice with a few adjustments.
  • Micro computerized rice cookers or simply Micom rice cookers use a computer chip that automatically adjusts cooking times and temperatures with a thermal sensor calculation. Any type of rice can be cooked flawlessly with this type.
  • Induction Heating Micom Rice cookers heat up the whole inner pan. With one of these, you get perfect and consistent rice every single time thanks to the fine temperature adjustments it makes. These cookers are also micro computerized and are more expensive than conventional ones.
  • Pressurized Induction Heating Micom Rice cookers combine all the best heating technologies a rice cooker can have. The cooking temperatures are raised through a pressurized heating system. Through this system, the starch structures in the grains of rice are modified and therefore they are cooked faster, softer, and fluffier. They are also digested easier. It’s the perfect type of rice cooker for rice lovers.

5. Material

  • Stainless steel rice cookers are the best ones on the market.
  • They have non-reactive qualities.
  • They distribute heat evenly and preserves heat.
  • They do not rust.
  • They are durable and easy to clean.
  • More importantly, they do not react with food acids and they offer a nonstick surface.

6. Features

  • The most important features are: automatic keep warm, white rice setting, brown rice setting, and the right size for your needs.
  • You should identify the features you need.
  • If you’re going to cook more than just rice, consider one that can steam and slow cook.
  • If you want cooked rice as fast as possible, it’s important to check the cooking time of the product you have in mind.
  • If you need to prepare rice in the morning and leave some for dinner when you get home, check the keep-warm feature and the performance of this feature by reading reviews about the product.
  • If you hate a counter full of clutter, you’d probably need a rice cooker that has a retractable cord.
  • If you want the clean-up to be easy, check if the inner pot can be submerged or dishwasher safe.
  • Researching about the features of the product will help you get the best rice cooker for your needs.
  • Common rice cooker features include: Reheat, Nonstick Inner Pan, Detachable Rice Cooker Lid, Retractable cord, Quick Cook, Texture Setting, Steam Function, Steamer Trays or Baskets, Hot Cereal Setting, Delay Timer, Slow Cook Setting, and Stay-Cool Lid and Exterior.

The Rice Cooker Battle: Fuzzy Logic or Induction Heating?

Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers

Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers think on their own and make the necessary adjustments on their own. This is possible thanks to their micro computerized (micom) chip.

Pros:

  • It can identify the type of rice you’re using and make the necessary adjustments so the rice can be cooked perfectly.
  • It determines the proper cooking time and temperature using the thermal sensor calculation.

Cons:

  • It takes longer to cook food/rice.
  • It doesn’t make precise adjustments as quick as the electric rice cooker.

Induction Heating

Induction Heating uses radio frequency electricity through an electrically conductive material. Therefore, it doesn’t need any contact. Induction Heating Rice Cookers or Electric Rice Cookers have an induction heating zone underneath its inner pot which serves as a heat conductor. An alternating electric current then flows in the external vessel where the inner pot is placed to produce resistive heating. In turn, the surrounding heat cooks the rice or the food in the inner pot. Inner pots should have a high ferrous metal content at the base for this type of rice cooker.

Pros:

  • It uses the entire inner pot as a heating element instead of just heating from the plate on the bottom of the external vessel where the pot is housed.
  • It cooks rice faster.
  • It cooks rice and food evenly because of the material used in the inner pot.
  • It responses more to the changes in temperature, thus making instantaneous and accurate adjustment.
  • Rice tastes better and is fluffier.

Cons:

  • It’s heavier.
  • It consumes more electricity (almost double).
  • It is more expensive.

At the end of it all, it depends on your budget and personal preference. The winner of this ongoing battle depends on you.


Conclusion

Rice cookers are offered with different heating technologies, in different styles, and in different sizes. The number of choices is indeed overwhelming.With proper knowledge and guidance, however, choosing becomes way, way easier.

Don’t forget to identify what type of rice you’re going to cook with your rice cooker. If you are incorporating brown rice in your diet, then your cooker should have a brown rice setting. A good rice cooker, however, should be able to cook more than one type of rice. Your budget is also a huge factor in choosing. Only select your choices from the price range you can afford. Otherwise, you’d find yourself depressed about why you can’t afford that expensive rice cooker. Do yourself a favor and only get the size you need. Choose the necessary features and check if the features of the product go along with the price.

Having a rice cooker will allow you to cook rice, even other dishes, perfectly. There’s no other way of making rice than with a rice cooker. Rice cookers are now at a very high quality. With this guide, I hope I have made it easier for you to choose the best one for you out of the price ranges and products available today.