A rice cooker might be considered unnecessary for people who only eat rice once in a while, but for those of you enjoy rice multiple times per week then it is an absolutely essential appliance. They are super convenient letting you make perfect rice every time while having not having to pay attention to it while cooking. They also make cleanup very easy as well.
The two main features to look for besides cooking quality, is size and the type of cooker. Most models come in between 3 and 10 cups of uncooked rice. Remember that rice expands to twice the size when cooked so a unit that is listed as 5 cups uncooked will become 10 cups of rice when cooked. Most people eat between 1/2 to 1 cup of uncooked rice per meal. So in order to figure out the size you need, just multiple that amount times however many people you have to feed. Rice cookers also come in either simple on/off models or fuzzy logic units. A fuzzy logic rice cooker cooks fluffy, soft rice even when the measurements of rice and water are not perfect. They may also have different settings for different types of rice or texture.
Prices and features range greatly on various models. Generally speaking, the more often you prepare rice or want better tasting brown rice then you should spend more money on a good quality cooker in the $75 and up range. If you will only be fixing white rice less than once per week, then we recommend one in the $40 and under price range.
Below you will find our list of the best rice cookers reviewed.
If you demand the best quality rice and do not need to feed a large family then we highly recommend the NP-GBC05. If you need to feed more than 4 people or are concerned about price then there are better options for you.
About the only downside is that it is slower than most, although there is a ‘quick rice’ mode which will cook faster at the loss of texture. Overall it is super easy to use and clean up which is why we strongly recommend the NS-ZCC10 for all buyers, although for those of you who do not cook as often you may want a cheaper type.
We recommend this model for those of you who want nearly perfect white or brown rice and do not need any other advanced features.
If you mostly prepare white rice, want a cheap rice cooker, or need a model capable of feeding lots of people then the Hamilton Beach 37536 will work great for you. However, if you cook rice more than once a week we would recommend stepping up to a more expensive model.
For those of you on a tight budget then we highly recommend this Aroma model. For those of you who cook rice quite often you probably should consider a more expensive version.