Cooking is a hobby to some and a responsibility for some others. But at the same time, it is a burden for many. Nevertheless, we are a living creature and we need food to survive. So, we have to prepare food whether we like it or not.
In our busy world, everyone is pre-occupied with lots of work and responsibilities. We have no option but to spend a huge portion of our active hours of the day in office. After coming home, we often are too exhausted to cook.
Rice cooker is a quick solution to our cooking problem. It helps us to prepare food within a short time. No wonder, the appliance is so popular nowadays!
From students to job-holders, everybody is lining up in the store to purchase the best rice cooker that is available in the market. Thus, it brings us to today’s discussion.
What are the best rice cooker companies? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What to check before I buy the best unit?
The queries written above are pretty much the same as they are asked frequently by a lot of consumers every day. I will answer all these questions in the reviews of top Japanese rice cookers.
Why Japanese Rice Cooker?
Despite having so many varieties, why are we reviewing only the Japanese rice cooker brands?
This is the first question that may come to most people’s mind. The answer is pretty darn simple and straightforward. Japanese rice cookers are the most popular around the world. But, why are they famous? There are plenty of reasons for their popularity.
In eastern parts of the world, rice is a staple food of many people. Easterners love to make different types of rice dishes. Many of those dishes are their traditional foods. Besides having a variety of dishes, they also have various kinds of rice grains.
Here is why the Japanese cookers are superior!
The Japanese rice cooker will allow you to cook with much more precision than the conventional units. If you already have a rice cooker made in Japan, just cook some rice with it and compare the results with a conventional product. You will know the difference.
The microprocessors inside the Japanese cookers are far more advanced. It controls the timer and temperature tremendously. Also, the margin of error is pretty low in the Japanese units and it will not accidentally burn your food.
What’s more, these cookers will allow you to cook sushi, porridge and other dishes too. The cookers made by Japanese brands are much more durable than others. Hence, if you need to use a rice cooker frequently, you can’t rely on ordinary cookers.
Despite being costly, everybody wants to purchase these cookers because of these reasons. They are indeed the best.
Our Best Japanese Rice Cooker Brands Review
In this article, I have included some of the best products made by the top brands in Japan. I will try to introduce each product and also outline some of the pros and cons.
1. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
It is one of the most popular Asian rice cookers. The capacity is 1.0 liter and you can put 5.5 cups of uncooked rice in this thing. So, you will be able to prepare a meal for your entire family. The appliance uses 610 watts of electricity and the voltage rating is 120 V.
In terms of design, the product is very compact. The stainless steel body is colored in brown. On top of the device, there is a standard LED panel with large buttons around it. Teflon is used in the interior of the cooker. Since the inner cooking pan has non-stickiness property, it will prevent your food from sticking in the surface.
The exterior surface is clear coated. As a result, the entire cooker can be cleaned very easily. Additionally, the inner lid is removable. So, you can wash it separately. The cooker includes an additional steam basket for steaming rice.
This Japanese cooker is loaded with plenty of innovative features. Just like other Zojirushi cookers, it has fuzzy logic technology. As a result, the system works in the background and monitors the performance. It can automatically adjust the timer and enable you to cook correctly.
Another plus point is that the product has an in-built retractable power cord. So, you can store it safely. The ‘Keep Warm’ function activates automatically and keeps your food warm for extended periods. It has a Delay timer setting as well. The product has an option to cook brown rice too.
- Fuzzy logic technology
- Dust-free surface
- Automatic & extended keep warm
- Retractable power cord
- Easy to clean
- Customizable beep tone
- Removable inner pan
- May slide a bit
2. Panasonic SR-MGS102 Electronic Rice Cooker
It is a beautiful cooker made by Panasonic. It has a gorgeous stainless steel design which will increase the glamour of your kitchen décor. Many people want to have a cooker that doesn’t occupy much space. Fortunately, this item has a compact dimension of 8.2 x 9.9 x 13.1 inches and weighs only 6.5 pounds.
It cooks 10 cups of rice in a batch. Also, the power cord is retractable. So, you can carry it in your backpack and use it on the go. The digital LCD display comes with a clock and a timer. It is a large unit and will help you read the status of cooking conveniently.
Coupled with the microprocessor enabled fuzzy logic technology and 24-hour delay timer feature, the cooker will automatically adjust the power and cooking time to yield the best result. Resultantly, it will not over boil or burn your food. What’s more, you can control the cooking start time with the preset timer.
When the cooking is complete, it will automatically shift to the ‘Keep Warm’ mode. Your food will stay warm for around 12 hours which is an excellent feature for people who are always in a tight schedule. The device also has eight pre-programmed cooking settings to save time and to cook more precisely.
It has a beautiful domed lid that prevents moisture from re-entering into your food. Additionally, it comes with a removable inner lid. There is a push button to release the lid quickly. Moreover, you can cook with the device by merely pressing a button. Hence, using and cleaning the cooker is really convenient.
- Stylish look
- Advance fuzzy logic feature
- 24-hour preset timer
- Eight cooking options
- Automatic keep warm mode
- Removable inner lid
- Detachable power cord
- You can’t change the alert tone
- May take some time to heat up
3. Zojirushi NS-WAC18 Micom Fuzzy-Logic (Uncooked) 10-Cup Rice Cooker
Zojirushi is one of the best Japanese rice cooker brands. The company has more than 90 years of on-field experience of making and selling kitchenware. Back in 1918, the multinational brand began its journey and soon caught global attention after launching the very first glass-lined vacuum bottle.
After that, it has redefined the product standard in the industry. The seller is currently selling some of the world’s smartest kitchen appliances that are loaded with amazing features. The NS-WAC18 is a magnificent model that has the potential to be the very best in the market.
In the outside, you will get a dent-proof design. The plastic body and the LCD unit looks very fashionable. A clock and a timer function have been included in the large LCD panel to make the appliance more user-friendly. Furthermore, the black inner cooking pan is very thick and provides even heating to the rice.
Triple heaters are provided to generate ideal temperature. Besides, the trademark neuro-fuzzy feature works behind the scene. With the help of a micro-computer chip, it monitors the temperature and timer setting. This micom cooker is capable of cooking around 20 cups (of cooked) rice at a time.
It has multi-menu cooking options that include brown rice, sushi, rinse-free and quick cooking facilities. Besides, this unit features automatic and extended keep warm settings and two delay timer options. It includes two measuring cups, a nonstick spatula and a spatula holder.
- Fuzzy logic technology
- Dent resistant plastic body
- cETLus listed
- Detachable power cord
- Interchangeable melody and beep signal
- Multiple cooking menus
- Automatic and extended keep warm
- Reasonable price
- The power cord is not retractable
- Removable inner lid
- Difficult to clean
4. Tiger JAX-T18U-K 10-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
Tiger is one of the most elegant Japanese rice cooker brands. The Jax cooker comes with all-new tacook synchro-cooking function. It is an innovative formula that lets you cook another dish with rice simultaneously. The cooker includes an extra tacook plate where the additional dish will be cooked using the steam of rice.
It will not affect the test and will save much of your valuable time. What’s more, it has ten preset cooking options and two preset cooking timers. Besides, the ‘Keep Warm’ function guarantees that your food will stay warm for 12 hours. It is the best Japanese rice cooker for the extremely busy working class people.
The micom technology refers to the microcomputer controlled system that automatically adjusts the temperature and timer for optimal cooking performance. Whether you use it to cook plain rice, brown rice or porridge; the JAX-T will hardly disappoint you.
Moreover, it allows you to steam several types of meats and vegetables by using the steam function. The cooker does slow cooking very well too. It is easy to clean the appliance as the inner lid and steam cap is removable.
The body is made of stainless steel and you can cook at most 10 cups of (uncooked) rice in this cooker. It includes a measuring cup, spatula, ladle and a cookbook
- Easy to read LCD display
- Micom technology
- Tacook synchro-cooking
- Food steamer
- Slow cooker
- 10 cooking settings
- 2 preset delay timer
- ‘Keep Warm’ function
- The power cord is not detachable or retractable
- No compartment for storing moisture
5. Panasonic Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker SR-G06FGL
The Panasonic 3-cup rice cooker SR-G06FGL has been explicitly made for the students and busy office workers. It is a small cooker that lets you cook almost 6 cups of cooked rice at a time. Operating the device is very easy as it offers one-step operation. Just push the button and the cooker will do the cooking.
It also shuts off automatically after the cooking is done. You can cook different types of rice in the cooker such as brown rice, yellow rice, short and long grain rice. This multi-cooker is also capable of cooking oatmeal, vegetables and soups. So, it is an all-around performer.
If you want your rice to be extra-fluffy, you are advised to soak the rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking. This strategy is effective, especially for short grain rice. Some Japanese cookers use the Japanese language in the instruction panel. However, the instructions have been given in multiple languages in this cooker.
What’s interesting is the inner pan which is made of aluminum. So, the heat distribution is very uniform. Hence, it will improve the overall quality of your cooking. The non-stick pan is very durable and will withstand heat for years to come. Also, you can clean it almost effortlessly.
The makers used transparent, tempered glass as the lid. Having a see-through lid is a delight because you will be able to monitor the cooking in real time. A plastic knob is given for holding the lid safely. The package also includes a rice scoop and a rice measuring cup. It comes with a comparatively lower price tag as well.
- Easy to clean
- Value for money
- One-key operation
- Multilingual operating instructions
- Aluminum Inner pan
- Glass lid
- Lacks an LCD
- Doesn’t include pre-installed cooking options
- No preset delay timer
6. Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB Digital Rice Cooker
The ARC-150SB is a multi-functional rice cooker which will allow you to cook 20 cups of cooked rice. Not only that, the digital cooker features an innovative steam tray. As a result, you will be able to cook rice in the inner pan and an extra dish in the steam tray simultaneously.
The best part is that you can cook nutrient-rich foods in the upper chamber and rice in the cooking pan. It will not affect the smell, taste or richness of your foods. Besides rice, the multi-cooker can also cook steamy vegetables, fluffy cakes and even jambalaya.
We often forget about our food after turning on the cooker. The Aroma cooker solves this issue by incorporating the automatic ‘Keep Warm’ function. This function automatically turns on after finishing the cooking process. It will keep your food fresh and warm.
This user-friendly kitchenware comes with 12 cooking settings. It is one of those magical rice cookers that has both the ‘Quick Rice’ function and the slow cooker facility. While the quick rice function saves your time, the slow cooker will enhance the taste of your foods. Plus, the appliance has a 15-hour of Delay Timer.
The manufacturer used stainless steel in the outer body which is durable. Your food will not stick to the inner pan as the pan is non-sticky. Not only that, the cooker has an exclusive Sauté-Then-Simmer STS function. Resultantly, you will be able to cook Spanish rice, chili, risotto and packaged meals like a pro.
- Stainless steel body
- Wide control panel
- STS function with 12 preset cooking options
- 15-hour delay timer
- Non-sticky pan & a steam tray
- Quick rice
- Slow cooker
- The lid is not removable but can be hinged up
- The power cord is very short
7. Zojirushi NS-VGC05 Micom Electric Rice Cooker and Warmer
You might be wondering why the Zojirushi cookers are so expensive. Well! There are multiple reasons for this. The makers have provided state of the art technology along with robust quality in these cookers. Take, for example, the amazing NS-VGC05. It is a beautiful device that is loaded with some exciting features.
The unit has a large LCD control panel that is easy to use. It has some mind-blowing menu settings including the rinse-free and quick cooking facilities. Additionally, the all-new cake menu allows you to bake cakes as well. Besides white rice and cake, it can also cook sushi, porridge and excellent brown rice.
Amusingly, the micro computerized fuzzy logic technology will save your time and efforts by adjusting the cooking temperature and timer automatically. Thus it takes the guesswork away and monitors the performance of your cooking in real time. It’s like as if the cooker has a brain of itself. Pretty cool! Isn’t it?
What’s more, the cute micom unit has a feature that keeps your cooked food warm automatically. On the inside, you will get a thick, spherical cooking pan. The dynamic shape will provide uniform heat and make your rice fluffier. The appliance is easy to store and clean as the cord and inner lid are detachable.
You will have 2 measuring cups and a spatula in the package. A multilingual user manual and recipes are also included. The major drawback is that the unit can cook only 6 cups of cooked rice. So, it is only suitable for small families. Overall, it is a cute and compact tool that comes with a healthy price tag.
- Micom fuzzy logic technology
- Cake menu
- Auto keep warm
- Detachable power cord
- Removable inner lid
- No condensation cup
- The power cord is not retractable
8. Tiger JBA-T18U-WU Micom Rice Cooker
Behold! We are presenting to you a rice cooker that has been made exclusively in Japan. Rest assured, the quality is top-notch since the item was built especially for highly competitive Japanese domestic market. This cooker can contain at least 10 cups of uncooked rice.
Noticeably, the cooking pan is 1.4 mm thick and shaped like a sphere. Hence it will produce even heat and cook up to your satisfaction. The inner lid and steam cap can be removed easily. Therefore, they are easy to wash. However, you can’t remove the power cord.
It is a 3-in-1 multi-cooker that has nine computerized menu options. A colorful LCD panel has added the glamour of this tool. Among the fixed menus, you will get specific cooking settings for porridge, mixed rice, multi-grain rice, brown rice, etc. Besides cooking rice, the unit also functions as a rice steamer and a slow cooker.
On top of that, the unit is a time saver. The quick rice function is a blessing for the people who are always in hectic schedules. Moreover, the ‘Delay Timer’ and automatic ‘Keep Warm’ system will make life easier for them. A one press action button is given for ease of use.
Tiger’s microcomputer processed logic system always checks the performance and adjusts the temperature and timer settings accordingly. It will not be an exaggeration to say that this particular device is one of the coolest Japanese rice cookers made by one of the best Japanese rice cooker brands.
- Micro-computerized fuzzy logic technology
- Nine preset cooking menu
- Inner pot can be removed
- Also works as a steamer as well as a slow cooker
- The cord is neither detachable nor retractable
- It takes about a quarter hour to cook
9. Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker
Coming up next is a smart multi cooker that has the capacity of about 5 liters. You can cook for almost ten people swiftly with this appliance. The exterior is brushed with elegant brown color. Furthermore, an ultra-responsive touch panel has turned the device into a fully premium instrument.
Teflon is used in the inner pan to increase durability. It is a pollution free pan that has non-stickiness property. Thus, it can be cleaned conveniently. You can also remove the inner lid and wash it easily. Also, the rotating handle design made this tool into a handy tool that can be moved effortlessly.
It is a slow cooker and can also be used to steam rice and other dishes. The steam basket meets the FDA standard which guarantees the safety of your food. Several attempts have been made by the developer team to turn this cooker into a time saver unit. For example, you can cook rice just by touching a simple key.
Coupled with the auto keep warm and 24-hour delay timer features, this is an extremely flexible cooker. Other than that, it has 11 different menu options. You can cook rice, porridge, oatmeal, soup, stew, etc in your cooker. Surely, it will bring versatility to your eating habit.
You will get a measuring cup, two spoons, and a steamer basket too. The manufacturer also provides quality after sales support.
- LCD touch panel
- Auto keep warm
- Delay Timer
- Multiple menu settings
- Good after sales support
- Lacks the well-known fuzzy logic technology
10. Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
Ironically, the last pick in our top Japanese rice cooker reviews is another guy from the illustrious brand, Zojirushi. A single switch operating system and a transparent glass lid is the main highlight of this unit. The cooker doesn’t have an LCD panel. However, operating it is very easy as the instruction manual comes in English.
The knob above the lid and the carrying handle will stay cool even if the temperature goes to the extreme. In addition, you can easily detach the power cord. I liked the non-sticky inner pan. As your food will not stick to the bottom of the pan, it can be cleaned and washed easily. Also, the seam tray is stain proof.
Micom technology is a feature made popular by Zojirushi. This ultra-smart monitoring system will control the temperature and timing of your cooker and bring out the best performance. The unit uses only 300 watts of power and is capable of preparing 6 cups of rice every time. It can steam vegetables too.
When the temperature exceeds 212°F, the cooker’s thermostat system will automatically turn the device off. So, there is no risk of accidental burning. A small light will also turn off upon completion of cooking.
You do not have to rush towards the cooker afterward because it will automatically shift to the keep warm mode. Thereby your valuable food will remain fresh for at least five hours. It is a simple cooker built for middle-income customers. So, the pricing of the product stays within reachable limits.
- Readily transportable
- Multi-computer processed monitoring system
- Auto shut-off
- Automatic keep warm mode
- No Delay Timer
Things To Consider Before Getting One
If you are buying a rice cooker for the first time, you need to pay heed to the instructions written in this section. It will help you purchase the best unit.
- Determine The Capacity
Firstly, you need to know how big a cooker you need to purchase. The capacity may vary depending on your requirements. If you have a small family, then you do not need to cook a lot of rice. In such cases, a large cooker will be unnecessary for you.
On the other hand, a small cooker won’t suffice the needs of a large family. So, initially, you have to determine the size of the cooker.
You can check the capacity in the product description. If the capacity of the cooker is 2 cups of uncooked rice, it will be able to cook about 4 cups of cooked rice.
Generally, a 450g rice cooker will suffice for two people. If you are living with your family, then you may choose a bigger cooker.
One more thing, The Japanese cooker uses a different type of calculation system. One measuring cup in Japan is equivalent to ¾ of a US cup. Therefore, it would be wise to look for a cooker that comes with a measuring cup.
- Know Your Cooking Habit
Some people cook only a few dishes. While other people like to experiment with different types of rice grains. Cooking is their hobby, and they always want to bring versatility in their food.
A cheap rice cooker will do the job if your cooking habit is pretty much basic. But, if you like to make different dishes occasionally, you should go for an advanced digital cooker.
- Buy From a Reputed Brand
If you want to buy the best product, you can’t compromise the brand value. There are many reputed makers of the rice cooker. You should buy your product from a renowned brand in order to ensure top quality.
- Determine the Budget
The price may vary from $20 to $200. If your cooker is from a well-known brand, it will certainly be pricier. Therefore, it is essential to fix the budget before going to the market.
- Mobility Is Important
Check if the power cord is retractable or not. It will help you to store your device anywhere. Alternatively, a detachable cord will also do the job. The weight of the product is another important criterion.
- Durability Is Must
The design of the product should be rugged enough to last longer. It is recommended to check the materials before purchasing. Also, the handle of the cooker should be heatproof.
- Check Where The Cooker Is Made
You may want to buy the best Japanese rice cooker. But, hold on a second. Not all Japanese cookers are produced in Japan. Depending on the country where it is made, the quality of the product may fluctuate.
As you may already know, the original Japanese cookers are very expensive. Because of high demand, the Japanese brands came out with a way to lower the price.
The manufacturers have set up factories in other countries to produce cheap cookers of inferior quality. They do not maintain a top-notch quality standard for the international market. Rather, they concentrate on lowering the production cost.
However, the scenario of the Japanese domestic market is different. So, the rice cooker made in Japan is well engineered and of superior quality.
So, how to get the best cooker?
You should buy the cookers that are made in Japan. Do not be deceived by the name of the Japanese brand; check where the product has been produced.
- Features You Want To See In Your Cooker
Modern-day rice cookers come with an array of features. Therefore, you should make up your mind about the attributes you want to see in your tool.
We will try to shortly describe some of the essential features of a smart rice cooker. It will help you in decision making.
- The distinctive cooking feature allows you to cook different types of rice in different ways
- A non-steamy cooker will contain the steam and smell inside
- Eco feature will save your money by consuming less electricity
- A keep warm switch will keep your food fresh and warm for hours
- The baking feature will let you bake bread in a cooker
- Auto timer option will automatically prevent accidental burning; it will turn the device off when your cooking is done
- The sync feature lets you synchronize your smart device with the cooker
Though the innovative features will make your life easier, it will increase the price as well.
How To Use It?
Using a rice cooker is pretty simple. First you need to combine rice and water in the cooking bowl. Mix them in appropriate proportion.
What is the appropriate amount?
It depends on the amount of cooked rice you want. Carefully read the user manual to know how much rice and water you need to mix for your desired amount. Often, the measurement is written on the side of the inner bowl.
If you do not find any instruction, slightly submerge the rice in the water below the first digit of your index finger.
Close the lid and turn on the device by pressing the ‘cook rice’ button. It is called the ‘suihan’ button in Japanese. Some Japanese cooker doesn’t come with English instruction. If the instruction on buttons is written in Japanese, press the one in which ‘suihan’ (炊飯) is written.
A faint beep tone will indicate that the cooking has been completed. You are free to serve your food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the top brands of a rice cooker?
- Zojirushi is considered the best brands in rice cooker industry. Panasonic, Tiger and Aroma Housewares also make top quality products.
Q: What are the prices of a standard cooker?
- In general, you can get a well-built standard rice cooker in $15. But if you want a cooker with more features in it, you have to add some few bucks. On the other hand, a top quality Japanese cooker with fuzzy logic technology and other exciting technology may cost over $100.
Q: What to do if the display of the cooker shows 0:00?
- A hard reset may solve the problem. If not, you need to go to a repair store to fix this issue.
Q: How much water to pour into the cooker?
- As I mentioned earlier, the rice should be soaked in water. So, the water level must be half inches above the rice. The exact amount depends on the size of the cooker and the amount of rice you will be cooking. Most cookers have a vivid instruction manual for putting water.
Q: What should be the temperature of the water?
- It should neither be too hot nor too cold. The temperature should match the room temperature.
Q: How long should I wait before cooking the second batch of rice?
- Your cooker needs to cool off before you use it again. After cooking the first batch, remove the inner lid and the cooking pan. If they are non-removable, open them up and let them cool off for about half an hour. Make sure that the room has plenty of airflows too.
We have become so busy in our work that we do not find enough time to prepare our meals. Resultantly, we end up eating in the restaurants frequently. It bars us from maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Moreover, eating excessive junk food will increase our cholesterol level, blood pressure and may lead to kidney failure too.
Thereby, a rice cooker is a relief. It is like a gentle breeze of fresh air for us. My suggestion would be to take your time to research and buy the best Japanese rice cooker that will help you to live a healthy life.
Eat healthily. Stay healthy.