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Compare the best rice cookers

Streamline your meal prep.

Cooking rice the old-fashioned way can be time-consuming and requires constant attention. Rice cookers automate the process so you get soft, fluffy rice every time.

Top rice cookers

NameAvg. price
(USD)
Capacity (cups)ColorPurchase
Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD
$408SilverShop Now
Zojirushi Pressure Rice Cooker
$4955BrownShop Now
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker
$4014SilverShop Now
Aroma Housewares Pot Style Rice Cooker
$186SilverShop Now
Data obtained May 2020. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a rice cooker?

A rice cooker is an appliance designed to automatically cook rice. It usually features a heating element, a bowl and a thermostat. To use a rice cooker, all you have to do is pour a specific ratio of water and uncooked rice into the bowl, turn it on and let the rice cooker do the rest.

These appliances then heat the rice and water to the boiling point. Once the rice is cooked, the cooker switches to “keep warm” mode to ensure that your rice is ready to serve whenever you’re ready to eat.

Why should I consider a rice cooker?

Why bother buying a rice cooker when you can do the same job using nothing more than a humble saucepan? Rice cookers offer a few key advantages:

  • Save time. The traditional method of cooking rice in a pot or pan requires you to constantly watch the pot to stop it boiling over and ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to your cookware. With a rice cooker, all you have to do is flick a switch.
  • Consistent results. For a simple food, rice can be surprisingly hard to cook. But if you use a good-quality rice cooker and follow the instructions, you can get perfect rice every time.
  • Free up stove space. If you regularly cook large meals for family and friends, using a rice cooker instead of a pot allows you to free up a burner on your stovetop to cook other dishes.
  • More than just rice. Choose a more advanced model and you can use it to cook much more than just plain white rice. Some rice cookers have special settings for cooking brown rice, risotto, other types of grain, steamed vegetables, soups and even bread or cakes.

What types are available?

There are a couple of different ways to distinguish between the different types of rice cookers available, and the first is to consider whether the product has a sealed or unsealed lid.

  • Unsealed lid. Models with an unsealed lid are typically cheaper and extremely straightforward to use. They’re easy to clean and easy to monitor, but they can tend to rattle and even spit water onto your countertop.
  • Sealed lid. Sealed-lid rice cookers remove the risk of any rattling or water spatter, but they’re usually more expensive and can be a hassle to clean.

Recent years have also seen the emergence of induction rice cookers, which create heat using a magnetic field. They’re theoretically designed to cook rice more evenly than conventional rice cookers, but their high price tag means they’re a little excessive for most buyers.

How to compare rice cookers

If you’re buying a rice cooker, compare several models and consider their capacity, cooking modes, cooking time and cost to find one that’s right for your needs. Take the following into account:

  • Capacity. Check the maximum capacity, and the minimum if one is listed, to find out which cookers are suitable for the number of people in your family. The most common capacities for rice cookers are five and 10 cups, but some models offer a figure somewhere in between. As a general guide, you’ll need about a cup of uncooked rice per person.
  • Cooking time. Most rice cookers take from 30 minutes to an hour to cook a batch of rice, but some take a little longer. Others offer the flexibility to pre-set the cooker up to 24 hours in advance — you set the time you’d like your rice to be ready and the rice cooker will delay its start time accordingly..
  • Ease of use. Check what features each model has to increase its ease of use. For example, some rice cookers offer carry handles, LCD screens and a removable cord for easy storage or serving.
  • Price. Budget rice cookers start out around the $20 mark, while a unit with multiple programmable settings will usually cost $100 or more. Top-of-the-line models can cost upwards of $300. Consider your budget and the features you need before deciding how much you’re willing to pay.

Where to buy a rice cooker online

Most department stores and large online marketplaces have a variety of rice cooker options on their websites, available in practically every price range. Just a few of the top sites to compare rice cookers online include:

Bottom line

If you frequently cook rice and want to speed up the process a little, getting a rice cooker could be worth your while. Compare your options first and find the best model for your cooking style, kitchen size and budget.

Looking to buy rice online so you can get to cooking without hitting the store? Check out our guide on where to shop for rice online, plus which stores offer free shipping.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best rice cookers, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models currently available. We also factored in size, price and overall features.

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