For people who love rice so much but are very much conflicted with their busy schedule, rice cooker is a must! Nothing beats a good rice for a tiring day. Read through this Rice Cooker Buying Guide, let us help you out in choosing the best rice cooker for you.
There are, however, a lot of considerations in buying a rice cooker specially for a first-time buyer such as its type, features, size or capacity, quality and durability, and cost. Some may not know it, but some rice cookers aren’t only used to cook rice but also hot cereal, desserts, steam vegetables even soups and stews. Rice cookers do not have the same features as there are various types of it. You can actually choose one which depends on your preferences.
- What is a rice cooker?
- Types of Rice Cooker
- Rice cooker buying guide: Factors to Consider When Choosing
- Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What is a rice cooker?
A rice cooker or rice steamer is a kitchen appliance which is designed to steam rice. It is used to automate and simplify the process of cooking rice which by tradition was done manually. Before, rice is cooked by measuring the amount of rice and water in a pot and heating it in a stove, consistently monitoring the process otherwise you’ll have a burnt rice, which you wouldn’t really want to happen, of course!
Now that rice cookers are available, it provided a simple alternative. The preparation of cooking rice is still the same, but your involvement ends there since you can now leave the process of cooking to the rice cooker!
The rice cooker was first introduced in Japan by Toshiba in 1955 until it gained its popularity all over the world. It has a heat source, a cooking non-stick bowl, and a thermostat. With series of innovations, some rice cookers were built with sensors and other components which have multipurpose functions in that it can also be used in cooking other food.
Types of Rice Cooker
While there are various types of rice cooker considering the innovations and developments introduced since its first launching in 1955, the following are the simplified types of Rice Cooker:
1. Traditional/Standard Rice Cookers
This is normally the rice cookers you would see at most homes. People typically buy it for cooking rice, so they tend to just get one without considering any other types with additional features. If you want its expanded form, you will definitely choose the other types.
Similar to the usual rice cooker, it has heat-source, a cookingbowl, and a thermostat which also comes with different sizes/capacity and a detachable cord. It is easy to operate since it has only two settings which are ON, for boiling or cooking, and WARM, which indicates that cooking is done. How does it work?The thermal sensor can determine when all the water in the rice cooker has been absorbed such that when it happens, it automatically stops the cooking cycle. Pretty simple right?
The standard rice cooker is not the best type of rice cooker as it has only limited function, but it is the most inexpensive option. So, if you are only up to a rice cooker solely for your rice to be cooked fast, this can do the job!
2. Smart Rice Cookers
These are basically standard rice cooker but has added features. Like phones, those upgraded ones that can do few more things are now called smart phones. This is analogous to the rice cooker with additional functions which we only termed as Smart Rice Cooker.
Smart Rice Cookerscan sook variety of rice. Aside from the ON and WARM buttons of the standard rice cooker, it will have options to cook other types or rice such as brown rice and it may have steam features and digital countdown timer built into it.
Although these has a few more options than the standard rice cooker and the quality of the rice it can make may have an improvement, it is still in fact inexpensive. A good choice if you wish to cook different kinds of rice with a more upgraded look.
3. Multifunction Rice Cookers
Multifunction/multipurpose cookers are actually the expanded type of smart rice cookers. They cannot only cook other kinds of rice but also sushi rice and porridge. These are possible due to its advanced control technology.
Some of the multifunction or multipurpose rice cookers uses digital display that has timers, delay settings, and other cool features on warming and reheating. With its incredible features, it is understandable that it can cost a little.
People who would choose to buy multifunction rice cookers are those who want to explore several kinds of rice and the way it is cooked without any much involvement than its preparation. While this comes with an average price tag compared to the two types of rice cookers, numerous have been buying due to its convenient features.
4. Induction Heating Rice Cookers
These are state of the art rice cookers due to its advance options. It does not only have multiple rice cooking options but can perform other cooking tasks. Unlike the other types of rice cookers, this is powered by electric current and magnetic field. The electric current passes through coils around the inner cooking pan, producing that magnetic field which then produces an electric current to quickly heat up the cooking pan.The heat is all around and not just coming from the bottom like the regular rice cookers, this equal distribution results in evenly cooked food and better tasting rice.Moreover, induction rice cookers, in case of human error, can automatically make adjustments as to time and temperature when cooking.
These are definitely the best rice cookers, but some good things come with a high price. As Induction Heating Rice Cookers have advanced options and a better heating mechanism, it is expensive, and it consumes more electricity. Although it has these drawbacks, many still opt to buy this rice cooker. Well, if you wish to do more with your rice cooker other than cooking your favorite rice, you may try this and enjoy its wonders!
Now you have a quick idea of the different rice cookers and what they can offer. It can do you good if you know the types of rice cookers as it will help you decide what to go for. You always have to make sure that you buy the rice cooker which satisfies your needs.
Rice cooker buying guide: Factors to Consider When Choosing
In buying items you have to be a smart buyer to get the most out of what you are purchasing. A well-thought buy will put a few of your worries away, like will this be good? Will this do its job? Is this worth it? As what we intend, we are going to help you out in your decision to be able to get not only the best but the most suitable rice cooker for you.
This will serve as your rice cooker buying guide. When choosing to buy a rice cooker, you should consider the following factors:
There are various types of rice cookers so it is one of the factors that you should consider since it will aide you in determining the rice cooker that will suit your need. This must come first as after deciding whether to go to the traditional or standard type or those with added features or induction heated, you will then be looking out for its quality, brand, capacity and the others. It will narrow down your choices so you could immediately make up your mind as to what you will be getting.
The features of the rice cooker differ with the type you will opt to buy. The more high-end models will definitely have the advanced features and functions. The traditional or standard rice cooker has only limited function which is On for cooking and Warm when it is done compared to those with features that will let you warm you reheat your rice, control the speed up cooking time, and cook variety of rice and side dishes.
In choosing the features of your rice cooker, you should think about what functions do you want whether for purely rice cooker or rice and dishes cooking. Do not forget, however, that an upgraded rice cooker will certainly come with an added dollars to the price.
Additionally, while all rice cookers have detachable inner pots, spatula, measuring cups, lids that are detachable and not, the difference sometimes lies on the kind of pot. For easy cleaning and maintenance of the rice cooker, it is recommended that you get one with a non-stick inner pot. You can choose one that has aluminium pot since it is commonly coated with Teflon that actually prevents the sticking of rice; hence, easy to wash. An alternative non-stick option, if you do not want aluminium is the ceramic pots.
Size or Capacity
One of the prominent aspects of a rice cooker is its size or capacity. The size of a rice cooker indicates the amount of cooked rice it can accommodate in one cooking cycle. To determine the best rice cooker for you as to its size, you have to think about how much you or your family consumes every meal.
Rice cookers come with different sizes or capacity such as 3-cup, 5-cup, 7-cup or 10-cup size models and so on. This will help you know its minimum and maximum capacity. For instance, if you are living alone, the more appropriate size for your every day cooking is a 3-cup rice, you wouldn’t be buying a 10-cup rice cooker as that would be highly impractical.
Capacity or size notations of the rice cooker is important since there are larger models that may not be able to cook small amounts of raw rice which are about 2 to 4 cups. The ultimate consideration then is your everyday serving needs.
Quality and durability
Of course, you want something that can withstand the test of time. A rice cooker with good quality can help you achieve this. Most people would go for aluminum and stainless steel rice cooker with a nonstick coating for easy cleanupand are known for their durability. Others prefer ceramic ones or those with more natural pans made from charcoal or clayfor their natural non-stick properties.
There are times however that quality would point to the brand of the rice cooker. When you choose a rice cooker, consider getting a brand name that is reliable and known to you or you have to make research first. There are many brands that emanate form different places like, US, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. Some popular brands come from Japan such as Panasonic, Tiger, and Zojirushi which often have the best design, quality, and durability.
The cost or price of the rice cooker that you will be buying will depend on the type of the rice cooker. If you only want to have a rice cooker for cooking one kind of rice, which is the white rice, buy a standard rice cooker which you can get at a minimal cost offering basic functions of cooking rice and keeping it warm.
But if you want a versatile kitchen appliance that cannot only cook different kinds of rice but can whip up some dishes, then go for a high-end rice cooker. You just have to be prepared, however, as much as it gives you convenience with its advanced features, it is tagged for a high price. Well, you can just think about its many functions, it is definitely a good investment.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1. How do I know what size rice cooker to buy?
Before you will be able to know the size of rice cooker to buy, you have to think about your intent in buying the rice cooker. If it is for cooking rice for your daily meals, you should take note of how many cups of rice you will be consuming. Once you determined this, you can check the different sizes of rice cookers, there are 3-cup, 5-cup, 10-cup and 12 to 20-cup capacity of rice cookers.
2. Is it worth buying an expensive rice cooker?
Yes, expensive rice cooker is worth buying. Mostly, the expensive or high-price rice cookers come with many different characteristics and functions. Like the Heat Inducting Rice Cookers, with its incredible and advanced settings where you can cook not only rice but other food, it is tagged at a high price.
3. Why are Japanese rice cookers so expensive?
Japanese rice cookers are so expensive because of its quality and features. These rice cookers are made of materials that are of high quality like the stainless steel rice cookers are damage resistant and has temperature tolerance.
It has security features to ensure you have a safe cooking experience. It has real advance features unlike the regular rice cooker, such that it can cook rice alongside side dishes like meat, fish, veggies. Additionally, it has new technology that makes possible the detection of the end of cooking cycle by analyzing the state if the rice. This determines whether the rice is overcooked or undercooked, and it has the capacity to adjust the cooking temperature to achieve a consistent result.
4. How long should a rice cooker last?
Like most of the appliances at home, the care and maintenance that we do often plays a great part in their lifespan. However, there are appliance such as rice cooker which are designed for an expected average life. The rice cooker can last up to 10 or 12 years depending on its quality and maintenance. The rice cookers with regular or moderate quality lasts up to 10 years while those with high-quality, lasts longer which is about 12 years or more. With proper use and maintenance, your rice cooker will really last.
Buying the best rice cooker ain’t really that simple noting the countless options available in the market. To be able to do that, you must really have to consider some factors to narrow down your choices and eventually come up with the ultimate decision. Whether you are a rice lover or someone who wants to make your cooking simple and easy, you would definitely want something that you can rely on in doing the job!
There may be a numerous types of rice cookers from different brands that will offer great features and options, your decision must root from your preferences and needs. Think about all the factors we shared and hit the market!