Rice Cooker Reviews: What Is The Best Rice Cooker?

Rice is a staple of many Asian cultures and, as a someone with an ethnic Chinese background, this was certainly true in our household. Rice is an excellent food because it contains no fat, preservatives, additives, salt or cholesterol. It is also a good source of carbohydrates.

One of the reasons why people do not eat more rice in western culture is because of the method of preparing it. Although cooking rice is not at all difficult, an electric rice cooker is needed - a vital piece of equipment that not many people will have unless they cook rice regularly.

The rice steamers we used in our household were mostly bought from Hong Kong and without a doubt they were the most advanced (due to the mature market in China) and also the cheapest rice cookers available. I didn't realise this until I moved out of my parents house and had to buy one for myself. I looked online and also in supermarkets but was disappointed with the range they had. I remember buying a few of them and then having to return them because they didn't boil rice very well. If you want authentic rice, you will probably have the same problem and due to this I've decided to review some rice cookers so that you will not make the same costly mistakes that I made.

Rice Cooker Reviews - My Top 3

So what is the best rice cooker? In general, a good rice cooker should have a good capacity and also be easy to use. It should also have decent ventilation to avoid condensation which makes the rice mushy. After looking through hundreds of rice cookers, here are my top 3:

1. Zojirushi NS-LAC05 Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer, Stainless Steel

Rice steamers come in many shapes and sizes but if you want a high end model then one name stands out above the rest and that is Zojirushi rice cookers.

I remember a time where traditional rice cookers had nothing more than a stainless steel interior and a cook and keep warm button. Zojirushi has revolutionized this and the NS-LAC05 is a feature packed electric rice cooker with menu selections where you tell it how to cook rice and what you are cooking (i.e. brown, white, congee, sushi). Along with this it also has the traditional rice keep warm and cook functions, albeit now in digital form and shown on an LCD screen. Quite surprisingly it also includes a haul of useful accessories such as a measuring rice cup, rice spatula, spatula holder .

Although retailing at the higher end of the price spectrum at around $130, I think this Zojirushi rice cooker is the total package. It has a stainless steel exterior with large buttons which makes it look like something sci-fi movie and the features it has go above and beyond anything you could imagine. It's true that the price may be high compared to other machines, but if you intend on cooking rice regularly the investment is worth it for the extra quality.

2. Aroma ARC-838TC 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker & Food Steamer

Aroma is a well known brand in Asia and have large market share in places such as Hong Kong and China. Their products are always top quality and this one is no different. The Aroma ARC-838TC is a large rice steamer capable of 8 cups of uncooked rice. 8 cups is actually quite a lot (1 cup can easily serve one person) so 8 cups is suitable for large families and group dining.

It has all the features of a traditional rice cooker such as a sealed top, non stick receptacle and one touch keep warm and cook settings. Although it looks like a traditional rice steamer, it also a modern twist to it with it's digital screen and electronic timer functions.

This Aroma rice cooker retails at just $35 and, overall, I think it offers great value for money and will give you perfect rice every time you use it. It comes with simple to follow instructions on how to use it including guidance on water levels. The only thing that it doesn't come with is a rice paddle (for scooping the rice out) , which you will have to purchase separately.

3. Panasonic SRG06FG 3.3-Cup Automatic Rice Cooker

For small families or individuals the Panasonic SRG06FG may be the perfect choice. It has a 3.3 cup capacity which means is capable of serving a maximum of around 4 people. This rice cooker is extremely easy to use thanks to it simple design. It features one cook button, a non stick interior, keep warm function and removable glass lid.

A problem for many rice cooker owners is remnant rice that can stick to the bottom and other places, making it hard to clean. Fortunately, this problem does not exisit with this rice cooker as the non stick interior and removable glass lid of make it easy to clean.

Overall, this Panasonic rice cooker may lack fancy features but if you want something simple to use for smaller groups, then this would be a good choice. It's quite cheap, retailing at just $25, yet Panasonic are a well known Japanese brand known for high quality goods.


Electric rice cookers come in many shapes and sizes. I have tried to pick out three rice cookers that will be suitable for all types of people and situations, along with bearing in mind price. If you are having trouble picking out a machine that will serve you well, a good starting point would be any one of three mentioned above (they are all very good).

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