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Best Cheap Rice Cookers - Rice Cooker Reviews
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Best Cheap Rice Cookers - Rice Cooker Reviews
Panasonic SR-G06FG
3.3 Cup Rice
Among on/off models, this
inexpensive rice cooker is
praised for its compact size,
consistently well-cooked rice, and longevity; users
say it's easy to clean and store, and the right size
for one or two people.
Filed in: Cooking, Diet, Family, Food, Groceries, Kitchen, Rice Cookers
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What to Expect »
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Panasonic SR-G06FG 3.3 Cup
Rice Cooker/Steamer
Zojirushi NHS-10 6
Cup Rice Cooker
Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55S 5.5 Cup
Aroma 6-Cup ARC-856
Rice Cooker
starting at $25
starting at $90
starting at $50
starting at $50
see prices from 21.55 - 89.99 »
Cheap Rice Cookers Buying Guide
The increasing popularity of rice cookers means more choices for thrifty consumers. For the best
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rice cooker at the most affordable price, look to brands like Aroma, Panasonic, Sanyo, and
Zojirushi, which dominate the lower end of the market.
These budget models are consistently rated
among the highest in rice cookers reviews by
users and often outscore more expensive
Sanyo Micom
ECJ-D55S 5.5 Cup
The rice cooker market ranges across a wide
price spectrum, from a low of $15 to a high that
Consistent results and ease of
clean up make this fuzzy-logic
model stand out, as does its
versatility in handling a variety
of rice-cooking and other one-pot
chores; features include a "done" chime,
multi-menu settings, and reheat function.
surpasses $450. This might seem odd for a
small appliance that cooks a simple starch, but
in fact the market is divided into two distinct
categories: manual rice cookers (sometimes
called on/off or one-off cookers) and fuzzy-logic
rice cookers (sometimes called computerized or
programmable rice cookers). The manual rice
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cookers sit at the cheaper end of the price
range, feature only basic settings, and perform
one simple task. The fuzzy-logic rice cookers cost more but come with pre-programmed settings,
flexible timer options, digital read outs, and sleeker design; not incidentally, they cook a lot more
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foodstuffs besides rice.
Within these two rice cooker camps good bargains can be found. There are cheap rice cookers that
perform just as well or better than the up-market versions and also offer some of the popular
features. Read on to learn which rice cooker is best for you.
Zojirushi NHS-10 6
Cup Rice Cooker
This low-priced on/off rice cooker
has earned a reputation for solid
performance over time and can
steam vegetables while the rice
cooks; users are advised to
follow the instructions about water levels and
washing the rice.
Back to top »
What to Look for: Cheap Rice Cookers Features
Cheap Rice Cookers Type. As noted above, there are manual and fuzzy-logic rice cookers.
Cheap manual rice cookers come with the most basic of settings, including "cook" and "off", and
usually, some variation of "keep-warm". Some of the low-cost manual rice cookers, such as the
Panasonic SR-G06FG (starting at $25, Amazon), Zojirushi NHS-10 (starting at $50, Amazon), Oster
4722 Rice Cooker (starting at $18, Amazon), and Black & Decker RC436 (starting at $24, Amazon
), feature a few extras, such as auto-warm switches and steamer trays, but budget manual rice
cookers aren't about bells and whistles. Rather, they are meant to perform one job only: make
good rice on demand consistently with minimal or no supervision. Because manual rice cookers
aren't designed to be multi-taskers like fuzzy-logic cookers, they are the most budget-friendly
If you want a small kitchen appliance that can manage diverse cooking chores, from producing
stews and making cakes to handling an assortment of rice varieties without your fussing over the
pot, then fuzzy-logic cookers are the way to go. Because of their relative versatility, these cookers
usually cost more than manual rice cookers. The good news is that even less-expensive fuzzy-logic
rice cookers have sought-after features, so you won't have to pay a lot to get a lot. Top marks for
1/3/2011 10:43 AM
Best Cheap Rice Cookers - Rice Cooker Reviews
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see prices from 46.99 - 52.99 »
fuzzy-logic cookers go to the Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55S (starting at $90, Amazon) and the Zojirushi
NS-VGC05 (starting at $119, Amazon, and beyond the Cheapism price range), which feature
settings menus designed to cook particular items; depending on the model, that could be white
rice, mixed rice, sprouted brown rice, sushi rice, and rinse-free rice, along with porridge, soup,
stew, and cake.
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Review continues below
By Price Range:
Below $30 (32)
$30 - $50 (46)
Aroma 6-Cup ARC-856
Rice Cooker
Panasonic SR-G06FG
Oster 5712 10-Cup Rice
3.3-Cup Rice Cooker
Black & Decker RC3406 $50 - $110 (44)
$110 - $210 (45)
6-Cup Rice Cooker
An affordable, full-featured
fuzzy-logic rice cooker that
handles a variety of cooking
tasks; features a 15-hour timer,
convenient clean up and easy
Amazon Marketplace:
Amazon Marketplace:
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Sears: $89.99 $40.34 $21.73
Kmart: $89.99
Amazon: $34.99
Goodmans: $16.99
see prices from
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16.49 - 89.99 »
Above $210 (44)
Cheap Rice Cookers Size. Rice cookers are measured in cup size, starting at three cups and
climbing up to at least 30. Frugal consumers looking for a cheap rice cooker for home use probably
don't need one larger than 10 cups, however, and a single person or a couple probably don't need
the same size as someone who cooks for a larger family or entertains a great deal. Among manual
models, the Panasonic SR-G06FG is a 3.3-cup rice cooker and Zojirushi offers the 6-cup NHS-10.
see prices from 64.53 - 71.55 »
The Panasonic SR-DE102 is a five-cup fuzzy-logic model (starting at $90Amazon) and the Sanyo
Micom ECJ-D55S, another fuzzy-logic cooker, is about the same size. But even if you make smaller
batches of rice most of the time, you may want the option of making larger quantities; the
Zojirushi NHS-18 (starting at $60, Amazon) handles up to 10 cups and the Oster Inspire Multi-Use
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20-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $40, Amazon) manages double that. These newer and largecapacity units are designed to handle small amounts as well, so they may be worth considering
even if you only need a cup or two at a time.
A word of caution: Comparisons of rice cooker capacity, be they one-off or programmable models,
can sometimes be difficult. Manufacturer descriptions refer to the amount of cooked or uncooked
rice, or sometimes, as in the case of the Aroma 6-Cup ARC-856 Rice Cooker (starting at $50,
Amazon), both measurements are stated in the specifications. Another complicating factor is noted
in an article about rice cookers posted on the USA Rice Federation website, which explains that
many rice cookers consider a cup to be 180ml, or about three-quarters of the traditional 250ml
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American cup. The dimensions of the rice cooking chamber may not be any more helpful. According
to, whose writer owns 10 rice cookers, the cooking pan of one of her 10-cup
models is the same size as the pan on an 8-cup model.
Cheap Rice Cookers Timer/Settings. The time-saving convenience of rice cookers is a key
reason to buy one. So you may want to look for a model with two vital features: a timer and a
keep-warm setting. These features let you set up the rice cooker the night before, and hours later,
your rice is ready and waiting at optimal eating consistency and temperature. These features in
tandem are not often found on older models or on the cheapest manual rice cookers, but the
keep-warm setting, at least, is now relatively common on most on/off rice cookers that sell for less
than $30, such as the Proctor-Silex 37533 5-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $20, Amazon) and the
Rival 6-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $17, Amazon); the Panasonic SR-G06FG is one of the few
budget manual rice cookers lacking this feature, although it automatically shuts off when the rice is
done cooking. Several models by Aroma are equipped with both a timer and a keep-warm setting,
including the Aroma ARC-838TC 16-Cup Digital Cool Touch Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (starting
Inexpensive Bordeaux wine
at $34, Amazon). Most fuzzy-logic models, including the Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55S and Panasonic
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SR-DE102 Fuzzy-Logic 5-Cup, feature a clock and a timer that let you choose the start time at least
12 hours in advance. And just in case you need to be told when the rice (or whatever is in the pot)
is finished, the Sanyo ECJ-D55S complies by emitting a little chime.
Cheap Rice Cookers Lids. Nothing ruins rice like peeking under the lid, and a glass or
see-through lid means you can check on progress without committing a cardinal cooking sin. In the
past, the cheapest manual rice cookers generally had metal or some other kind of opaque lid but
now glass lids or "see-through" windows are standard even on the most budget-friendly models,
The Salton RA3A 3-Cup Rice
such as the Salton RA3A 3-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $25, Amazon), Aroma ARC-733G 3-Cup
Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Steamer (starting at $16, Amazon), Elite Gourmet 3 Cup Rice Cooker
with Steamer (starting at $12, Amazon), Rival 10-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $20, Amazon), as
well as the Panasonic SR-G06FG 3-Cup.
Review continues below
The low price on this model seems like a good deal,
but stay-cool handles and a see-through lid don't
compensate for scorched rice or challenging clean
Aroma ARC-733G 3-Cup Pot-Style
1/3/2011 10:43 AM
Best Cheap Rice Cookers - Rice Cooker Reviews
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Rice Cooker and Steamer
Which Rice Cooker is Best
We do the research so you don't have to. Rice
Cooker Reviews.
Another model with a hard-to-beat price, but
consumers report rice sticks to the cooking chamber
and some experience product break downs within a
year or so of purchase.
Zojirushi NS-TGC10
Zojirushi NS-TGC10 Rice Cooker: Sale prices &
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Products Mentioned in This
The Salton RA3A 3-Cup Rice Cooker
Aroma ARC-733G 3-Cup Pot-Style Rice Cooker and
Zojirushi NHS-10 6 Cup Rice Cooker
Aroma 6-Cup ARC-856 Rice Cooker
Panasonic SR-G06FG 3.3 Cup Rice Cooker/Steamer
Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55S 5.5 Cup
Aroma Rice Cookers - Save
Great Aroma Rice Cookers that will blow your
mind, not your budget.
You may notice that fuzzy-logic cookers are more likely to have solid lids made of plastic or, as is
the case with the Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55S 5.5 Cup, plastic with stainless steel accents. These lids
might occasionally contain a viewing window, but these more technologically advanced models are
designed to adjust themselves during the cooking process and recognize with more precision when
the rice is ready, so there is less need to keep an eye on things.
Bargain Rice Cookers Safety Features. Some rice cookers, such as the Cuisinart CRC-400
4-Cup Rice Cooker (starting at $40, Amazon), lack an on/off switch and must be unplugged to be
turned off. Aside from being an inconvenience, this design can be a hazard because the unit has no
mechanism for shutting down if it starts to overheat. There are plenty of budget rice cookers,
including the manual Panasonic SR-G06FG and the fuzzy-logic Aroma 6-Cup ARC-856 (starting at
$60, Amazon), with an on/off switch as well as automatic shut off, which also keeps food from
scorching. The Sunpentown 6 Cups Rice Cooker (starting at $39, Amazon) actually has a thermal
fuse, which automatically shuts off the cooker if it gets too hot before the end of the cooking cycle.
As an aside, the Sunpentown also features a retractable cord, as do several new models from
Cuisinart, such as the 4-Cup Rice Cooker CRC-400 (starting at $50, Amazon) and the 8-Cup
version (starting at $80, Amazon), and the Aroma ARC-856. The virtue of this safety feature is that
it keeps the rice cooker from being accidentally pulled out or tripped over; storage is also easier. A
detachable cord, found on models such as the Zojirushi NHS-10, suffices just as well.
Nonstick cooking chambers are common on rice cookers and a feature of all the budget manual and
inexpensive fuzzy logic models on our recommended list. But some consumers cite health concerns
as a reason for preferring rice cookers without a chemically-coated surface. These fears have been
somewhat allayed by research that has not shown nonstick cookware to be a major path of
transmission of PFOA, the chemical at issue, to humans. Still, the Environmental Protection Agency
is pushing American companies, including DuPont, which makes Teflon-brand nonstick cookware, to
begin eliminating PFOA from their products by 2015. If you're concerned about the health
implications of nonstick surfaces, your choices are limited; both the on/off Salton RA3A and Aroma
ARC-733G have an aluminum cooking chamber.
Back to top »
What to Expect: Budget Rice Cookers Performance
Cheap Rice Cookers Results. Any decent rice cooker -- regardless of price -- should produce
good white rice. But owning a budget rice cooker needn't mean limiting your palate to just the
standard white variety. Users posting budget rice cookers reviews on Epinions, for example, have
filled the one-off Panasonic SR-G06FG with flavored rice (the kind that comes in a box with
flavor/spice packets) and are well pleased with the results. Amazon users write in their rice cooker
reviews about using the low-cost Panasonic rice cooker for white, brown, and wild rice, as well as
quinoa, and suggest adding a dab of oil or butter to prevent boiling over and an extra 1/4 cup of
water for brown rice. The nonstick surface of the on/off Zojirushi NHS-10 6-Cup model ensures no
waste, comments one consumer on, and another posting a rice cooker review on the
site recommends adding a bit more water than the instructions call for to ensure the best results.
Likewise, Zojirushi users posting on Amazon note that this cheap rice cooker neatly handles
specialty rice, and several offer suggestions about water/rice ratios for the best outcome. Just
remember to fluff the rice if you don't consume it right away, warn many users, otherwise the rice
may brown and stick on the bottom.
Fuzzy-logic rice cookers, such as the Sanyo Micom ECJ-D55 5.5-Cup model, have robust setting
menus for many types of rice, as well as a slow-cook mode that can be used for porridge, soups,
and stews. Although users of the Sanyo ECJ-D55 note on that rice takes
twice as long to cook as in on/off models, they don't seem to mind; one raves about the 'fabulous'
results, another says the family now eats more rice-based meals, and a third wakes up to perfectly
cooked steel-cut oats. A sibling of the Panasonic SR-G06FG, the ECJ-S35 (starting at $95, Amazon
), is so versatile that it even bakes a small loaf of bread, writes a user on Epinions. Likewise,
owners of the Aroma ARC-856 post on Amazon about enjoying a ready-made breakfast of steel-cut
oats and using the rice cooker regularly for cakes and corn bread, different grains, and steaming
vegetables. Brown rice may need two hours to cook, writes a consumer on, but
several owners of the Aroma ARC-856 say the taste and consistency are as good as you get from
more expensive models.
Cheap Rice Cookers Clean Up. The cooking chamber of most budget one-off and fuzzy-logic
rice cookers has a non-stick surface. Some of the very cheapest models, such as the Aroma
ARC-733G 3-Cup Rice Cooker and the Salton RA3A 3-Cup Rice Cooker, however, have aluminum
1/3/2011 10:43 AM
Best Cheap Rice Cookers - Rice Cooker Reviews
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inner chambers that make for tougher clean up and increase the chances of burned or overly sticky
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Article Sources
Good Housekeeping
who have nonstick rice cookers almost uniformly say clean up is a breeze.
Cheap Rice Cookers Lifespan. Both Zojirushi and Panasonic models are frequently praised by
users for their long lifespan, as in this budget rice cooker review of the Zojirushi NHS-10 on
Amazon. The Salton RA3A 3-Cup Rice Cooker, on the other hand, was panned by users posting rice
cooker reviews on Amazon and Epinions for breakdowns after only a few uses.
Back to top »
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Frugal Advice
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Consumer Queen
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5 Dollar Dinners
affordable nonstick model if you're not anxious about the health issue discussed above. Consumers
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rice, say users on Amazon and Epinions; users also complain that hot starchy water boils over and
out of the Salton RA3A and note that the Aroma's cooking chamber is not dishwasher safe. With
non-stick surfaces so widely available, and featured in the four models we recommend, go for an
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Amazon: F-P Space Saver Review sites
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Amazon: Cosco Flat Fold
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