Browse rice cookers by size or price
The best rice cooker for me may not be the most suitable for yourself. There are a range of factors we must consider when looking for a new rice cooking machine. Below are the points that I consider to be important. If you feel I have missed anything out, please let me know!
Choosing a rice cooker
For me, there are two important points to consider when looking for a new rice cooker, three if I am being fussy!
- Does it make decent rice?
- How much does it cost?
- (Is it a Zojirushi?)
What to look for in a rice cooker
The main factor in deciding whether to go for a premium Zojirushi Japanese rice cooker or a cheaper brand, for example Aroma, is how much you anticipate using your rice cooking machine. The more often you plan on using it, the more worthwhile a Zojirushi rice cooker becomes. They always make great tasting rice and in my opinion they are the most attractive rice cookers to look at. Sanyo are another company that have quite a few different models on sale across North America. Choosing a Sanyo rice cooker can be a wise decision. Since they do not have quite the reputation of Zojirushi, they are having to try even harder to prove themselves. Some of their cookers have some really nice options. These include things like a steamer tray as well as steam setting for making great tasting vegetables. In addition some of their machines even have a bread cooking capacity.
Japanese rice cookers
In Japan there are so many different makes and models to choose from at the shops. Now a days rice cookers that have only been available to the Japanese are making their way overseas to the U.S, Canada, the U.K. and Europe. So people all over the world are now able to enjoy the benefits of Japanese rice cookers. Some of the Japanese manufacturers of these appliances include, Sanyo, Toshiba, Tiger, Panasonic, Hitachi and of course Zojirushi. Aroma and Black & Decker are two domestic firms that make these machines. Below I shall discuss some of the rice cookers that are available in the U.S. and Canada that I feel are worthy of consideration.
Rice cooker technology
The best rice cookers are all Micom devices. Micom stands for Micro Computerized. This means that there is computer chip that controls the cooking process. It determines the length of cooking time and controls the actual temperature within the cooker as the rice is cooking. Buying a Micom rice cooker pretty much guarantees that you will be able to make great tasting rice every time you use it.
The basic Micom machines cost about $100. On top of this you can get features like Fuzzy Logic, Induction Heating and Variable Pressure Control. For me, the Induction Heating system was well worth the extra money I paid. There is a noticable difference in the quality of the finished product when compared to regular Micom rice cookers.
For most of us, the amount we have to pay for a new rice cooker will factor into our decision as to which to get. I want the best that I can afford. If you want a cheap rice cooker then it may be an idea to buy a Black & Decker RC3303 3 cup machine. This is a low cost appliance that can also be used as a steamer for vegetables. On the other hand, if best to you means best rice rather than best price then you will have to get a more expensive machine.
Best tasting rice
In most cases, the more you spend on your rice cooker, the better the rice is going to taste. This assumes you buy from a store like Amazon that offers reasonable prices. If you buy a Zojirushi Micom rice cooker you will find that the rice comes out tasting great. But if you were to buy a Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Induction Heating rice cooker the rice will taste just a little bit greater. It is a question of degrees. Are you willing to spend more for rice that is slightly more delicious? If I am going to be spending $100 on a new kitchen appliance I might spend a little more knowing that I will be using it regularly for years.
There are three different sizes of rice cookers that are sold for home use. They are 3 cup, 5 1/2 cup and 10 cup machines. So you have to make a decision about which size is right for you. These cookers can produce up to 5 servings, 10 servings and 18 servings respectively. You might be tempted to get a larger cooker than you really need, just in case. However this is possibly not the best option. Rice cookers make their best rice when they are filled to at least 1/3 of their capacity. So if you are living alone, getting a 10 cup machine may well be too big.