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Which brand of rice cooker is the best

To the uninitiated, cooking rice seems like a fairly straightforward task, requiring only a pot, water and heat. It’s true that those are all the tools you need to cook rice effectively, but a specialized rice cooker takes much of the labor and guesswork out of the equation.

A couple brands of electric rice cookers stand out among the rest. Zojirushi makes some of the most advanced models around, while Aroma makes some of the simplest and most affordable. Depending on your needs, one of these two leading brands almost certainly has the right rice cooker for you.

Zojirushi rice cooker

Zojirushi rice cookers are almost universally known as the best rice cookers on the planet. This is so true, in fact, that a great deal of premium, authentic Japanese restaurants use Zojirushi rice cookers on a daily basis.

Probably the biggest selling point of these high-end appliances is the advanced computer system they use to perfect the process, known as a fuzzy logic processor. The fuzzy logic processor inside Zojirushi rice cookers actively senses the texture, temperature and moisture of the rice while it’s working and dynamically adjusts the cooking process to deliver perfect grains, exactly to your liking, every time. That consistency and precision are what give Zojirushi its impressive reputation.

Zojirushi rice cooker pros

While there are a lot of controls on most Zojirushi rice cookers, they’re still highly convenient, with straightforward and easy-to-read labels on each of the dedicated buttons. They offer a wide variety of programs depending on the model and the best ones let you set the specific type of rice, such as white, jasmine, brown and GABA brown rice varieties. The models with advanced fuzzy logic processors even let you specify if you want the current batch to be softer or firmer than normal.

Some of their most versatile rice cookers also offer additional cooking modes that don’t necessarily have anything to do with rice. For example, some specialized Zojirushi models let you make porridge or risotto or even bake a cake, all by doing little more than pouring the ingredients in and pressing a couple buttons.

Zojirushi rice cooker cons

There are only two real drawbacks to Zojirushi rice cookers. While they’re not terribly complex, the controls can take a little while to master, and overall, Zojirushi rice cookers are not cheap. Luckily, they are also built to last for years as long as you take halfway decent care of them.

What are the best Zojirushi rice cookers to buy?

Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC18

Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC18

This one uses Zojirushi’s most advanced fuzzy logic processor, and as such, can accommodate more types of rice and more specific instructions like soft or firm grains. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not their most expensive offering, and you can trust that it will last for years.

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Sur la Table

Zojirushi Micom NL-BAC05SB 

Zojirushi Micom NL-BAC05SB 

If you don’t need to cook for large groups, this three-cup model is the perfect compact appliance for your small kitchen. It offers cooking modes for various types of rice as well as steel cut oatmeal, quinoa and even cakes, and it’s one of the most affordable smart rice cookers from this renowned brand.

Sold by Amazon and Sur la Table

Zojirushi NP-NWC

Zojirushi NP-NWC

One of their most high-end models, this one introduces induction heating and pressure cooking to make it probably the fastest rice cooker on the planet. It supports more cooking modes than pretty much any other rice cooker on the market, but it’s also remarkably expensive.

Sold by Amazon (10-cup), Kohl’s (5.5-cup) and Kohl’s (10-cup)

Aroma rice cooker

Aroma takes a very different approach to rice cookers than Zojirushi does. Instead of advanced features and high prices, Aroma’s offerings sport simple and reliable functionality as well as low costs. As such, you won’t find them in many sushi restaurants (if any), but they are considerably more popular among home cooks on a budget.

Aroma rice cooker pros

It’s easy to see the pros of Aroma rice cookers: they’re durable, straightforward, affordable and effective. The more advanced models offer helpful modes like steaming for all kinds of vegetables and a high-speed flash mode for when you need well-cooked rice in a hurry.

Aroma rice cooker cons

If you want precise control over the type and texture of your rice without having to do extra measurements and calculations, Aroma rice cookers aren’t the best choice because they lack the advanced logic processor found in high-Zojirushi models.

What are the best Aroma rice cookers to buy?

Aroma Digital Cooker

Aroma Digital Cooker

This is a perfectly capable multi-cooker that’s capable of not only perfect rice, but also slow-cooking a huge variety of meals just like a crock pot. Given the low price, it’s hard to find anything more cost-effective, especially if you mostly eat short grain rice.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Aroma Steamer

Aroma Steamer

If you don’t have much room in your kitchen and want to streamline your cooking process, consider this two-in-one food steamer and rice cooker. With only a single switch to set it to the on, off and warming functions, it’s as easy to use as anything else out there.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get a Zojirushi or Aroma rice cooker?

If you don’t make rice often or if you generally stick to parboiled rice and don’t make a lot of specialty rice dishes, an Aroma rice cooker offers the basic functionality and remarkably low price you’ll love.

However, if you want perfect rice every time and love to make curries, sushi and other dishes that depend on precision-cooked rice and other grains, Zojirushi makes the best options around. You will have to make a decent investment to get the best Zojirushi has to offer, but you’ll be glad you did after using one of their premium rice cookers for a few years.


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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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