How to pick the best Japanese rice cooker
Many factors can influence your decision when it comes to choosing a rice cooker. If you want to pick an appliance that perfectly meets your expectations, check out the factors to consider below. We will discuss size and weight, versatility, capacity, and other features that are important. After learning more about these appliances, it will be easy to pick a suitable model. If you are ready, let our quest for the best Japanese rice cooker begin!
The first thing you want to consider is the brand. Here, we singled out three companies that stand out as industry leaders:
Zojirushi the company was founded in 1918, and rice cookers are among their flagship products, as well as electric kettles and water boilers. Zojirushis main office is in Osaka, and they employ more than 1,000 people. Their logo includes an elephant because the name of the company means elephant mark.
Panasonic out of all three manufacturers, Panasonic is most famous worldwide. The company started by producing lightbulb sockets in 1918. Today, they are one of the biggest producers of electronics in Japan.
Tiger - the youngest company on our list, even though it was established in 1923. Tiger sells its products worldwide, and its portfolio also includes hot water dispensers, electric kettles, and water boilers.
When it comes to features of your rice cooker, start by checking out the devices capacity. The manufacturer will describe it in cups. The capacity might vary from three to ten cups, and the bigger the capacity, the more rice it can cook. Many models, such as the Zojirushi NS-ZCC18, come with a few available options.
Pay attention to the manufacturers capacity description as it might relate to cooked and uncooked rice. It is important to note that rice almost doubles in size when cooking. If the manufacturer specifies that the capacity is 5.5-cup of uncooked rice, it means that you will get approximately 11 cups of the cooked product.
Additionally, most companies include measuring cups and insist on using them when measuring the quantity of the products you want to cook with the appliance.
The number of pre-set programs is directly related to the versatility of your rice cooker. Some rice cookers, such as the Tiger JNP-S10U-HU, rely on simplicity and have only one button.
Other units, however, feature multiple programs that frequently go beyond cooking rice. The most versatile appliances out there have separate settings for mixed, brown, and other types of rice, and you can also use them for slow meals like soups.
The Panasonic SR-CN108 has the biggest number of programs that go beyond cooking rice. Those include preparing quinoa, multi-grain, porridge, etc.
Apart from cooking settings, you can also expect additional features from your rice cooker. The majority of units come with a keep-warm mode that ensures your rice stays warm for hours. In some cases, you might also encounter a timer that can delay the cooking for up to 12 or 24 hours.
As with any device, you need to consider the dimensions of your rice cooker. You might have found the cheapest unit, but it wont do you much good if it cant fit in your kitchen. The good news is that these appliances are usually compact-sized. That means they can fit almost anywhere.
If you plan to use the rice cooker only occasionally, you might consider storing it away after every use. In that case, your device should also be as light as possible. Additionally, look for units with retractable or detachable cords as they enable simple storage.
The first thing to ensure is that your rice cooker made in Japan comes with a warranty. That is a confirmation that the manufacturer trusts the product they designed. After that, you can take a look at the warranty duration.
Reputable brands are ready to offer a guarantee that their devices will work flawlessly for a long time. When it comes to rice cookers, most warranties cover any issues within 12 months from buying the device. The longevity of your appliance will depend on how frequently you use it, and how well you maintain it.
What else should I look at?
Apart from the features we mentioned above, these are some other factors worth considering when choosing a rice cooker:
Materials you want to check the materials used to create your rice cooker. Stainless steel, ceramic, and copper are among the desirable and durable materials.
Non-stick coating the inner pan should feature a coating that prevents the rice and other ingredients from sticking to the surface.
Cleaning the cleaning process should be relatively simple. The detachable lid and other components might help to clean the device effortlessly. It is vital to maintain the appliance regularly to optimize its performance and longevity.
Accessories most manufacturers will include measuring cups, as well as scoops and spatulas to use while cooking rice.
Cookbooks some appliances come with cookbooks that contain recipes on how to prepare delicious rice and other meals.
How much should a rice cooker made in Japan cost? When it comes to prices, we can split these devices into two categories.
The first one contains premium cookers, such as the Panasonic SR-HZ106. The appliance offers an induction heating for quick and even cooking, and durable components that last for a long time. The cost of this product can go over $350.
On the other hand, you can also choose an average rice cooker that still offers multiple functions and meets all your cooking needs. These items are capable of delivering consistent results and offering additional features like adjustable timer and keep-warm. The Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 fits into this category, and units like that one cost between $150 and $200.
If you aim to keep the price budget-friendly, how about trying the Tiger JBX-B10U? This appliance offers plenty of bang for the buck. You can acquire that or similar devices for between $100 and $130.