Rice is a hugely popular food all over the world. When it comes to this food, people usually have a love/hate relationship with it. As popular as rice is, it can be a tad difficult to prepare. Except you are a great chef, it might be hard to prepare fluffy, nice rice on the go. Enter the rice cooker. This appliance has been designed to help even the worse cooks prepare excellent rice. When used correctly, they will always ensure that your rice turns out perfectly. Additionally, these appliances allow you to prepare your rice and take care of other matters at hand. With this in view, it is no wonder why rice cookers are highly sought after.
There are several rice cookers on the market, and it can be rather difficult choosing the right one. Making the right choice requires understanding several factors. To assist you in selecting the best rice cooker under $50/$100, we have considered these factors and have compiled a list of the best rice cookers under $50 and $100.
Furthermore, we have provided a buyer’s guide that helps you to understand the factors considered before compiling this list.
Read on to find out more!
- Features to consider in Good Rice Cookers
- Best Cheap Rice Cookers 2020 (Under $50)
- Best Cheap Rice Cookers 2020 (Under $100)
- Guide to Buying the Best Rice Cooker (Under $50/$100)
Features to consider in Good Rice Cookers
Choosing a rice cooker is dependent on several vital factors.
In this section, we will consider some of these factors and why they are so crucial.
As with several kitchen appliances on the market, rice cookers come in a wide variety of sizes. Therefore, before choosing one, you must carefully consider how much rice you will be preparing for yourself or for your family. For most people, ¼ cup of rice is usually filling, and for households, an average of three to six cups of rice is enough.
You should note that with a bigger cooking capacity comes a higher price tag.
Other features to consider
Since this is a mini buyer’s guide, we will not expand on all the features right now. The list of factors or features to consider when choosing your rice cooker is rather lengthy. However, some of the crucial factors you must consider include being dishwasher friendly and having a non-stick cooking surface.
Versatility is another important consideration, and functions like Keep Warm, Slow Cook, and Simmer are also important considerations.
Now, let us consider the ten best rice cookers under $50/$100.
Best Cheap Rice Cookers 2020 (Under $50)
The Aroma rice cooker comes in a stainless steel body. The interior, as well as the exterior, are made from stainless steel. One benefit of this is that the inner cooking pot is non-stick and easier to clean after use.
If you have a large family or are thinking of preparing food for a large number of people, then you will enjoy using this rice cooker. It has the capacity to cook up to 20 cups of rice at a time. Thus you can serve up to 15 people at once and still have enough rice to feed an additional five.
Ease of Use
As it is a digital rice cooker, it comes with several controls. Some of these controls include steam cooking, slow cooking, brown rice cooking, auto keep warm, and more. Furthermore, all these features are easy to find and use. You don’t need any special skill or knowledge to operate the rice cooker.
We especially love the auto Keep Warm feature. After cooking the rice, and you aren’t serving all the rice at a go, you can press the “Automatic Keep Warm” button to keep the remaining rice fresh and warm for later consumption.
The Aroma Rice Cooker is versatile and can be used to steam vegetables, meat, and other foods aside from rice.
Earlier, we said one reason why we love the Aroma rice cooker is the several accessories it comes with. Some of the accessories include a rice measuring cup, serving spatula, and a steam tray, among others.
One of the best things about the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker is the design. It is made in a trim, compact shape. Hence, it doesn’t take up plenty of space on your kitchen counter. If you have a small kitchen or space, you’ll certainly enjoy using this cooker. The design is simple and rather straightforward. While it won’t elevate the aesthetic value of your kitchen space, you can rest assured that it will not be an eyesore.
The white exterior is easily stained, though, hence you will need to wipe down after every use.
It weighs around 3 pounds; hence, it is relatively lightweight and easy to carry around. Renters and college students might find this compact form handy.
The construction is quite sturdy. Furthermore, the interior of the pot is coated in non-stick coating. Therefore, food will not stick to it, and it is rather easy to clean. You do not need to scrape any rice from the bottom of the pot.
The Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker is super-easy to use. We bet you will find it very hard to find a rice cooker easier to use than this model. To use it, measure out your rice, prepare in the normal way, and pour it into the cooker. Add water, close the lid and flip to switch to ‘cook.’ All you have to do from that point is to wait.
Unlike the top pick on this list, it does not come with an LCD screen. When your rice is ready, the indicator shifts from “Cook” to “Warm.”
If, for some odd reason, you find it hard to use ( which we strongly doubt), you can always refer to the simple and straightforward manual.
It isn’t as versatile as the top option, but it still provides excellent performance. It can be used to prepare other stuff like beans, millet, mac and cheese, and more. Additionally, the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker can be used in steaming chicken, fish, and vegetables.
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker isn’t very feature-rich and is rather limited functionally. However, the ease of use is quite excellent for people that desire an uncomplicated appliance.
The Oyster 6-Cup comes with a simple, yet modern design. The exterior cooking shell of the pot comes in red or black, which is elegant enough, although you might find other models looking sleeker than it.
Most rice cookers in its category come with a plastic inner pot. Therefore, we were really surprised to find that the Oyster 6-Cup comes with a metal inner pot. It has a glass lid with a steaming vent.
The Oyster 6-Cup can hold up to 3 cups of uncooked rice to deliver 6 cups of fully prepared rice.
Performance & Ease of Use
One of the reasons why we love this rice cooker is the ease of operation. The controls found on the rice cooker are straightforward and easy to use. With a click, you can start the rice cooker, and unplugging it will safely shut it down. There are several small graphics that indicate the mode of the cooker.
This model features several accessories. Some of these accessories are a steaming tray, ladle for steaming meats, and a measuring cup.
For folks that would rather save kitchen space and just need to cook in small batches, this model is excellent. It is dishwasher safe and comes with a non-stick inner pot. Thus it is very easy to clean.
The Hamilton Beach 37543 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker is a lovely model that comes with a lovely stainless steel finish. It is very well designed with the buttons and other controls well-placed and easy to use. The stainless steel appearance not only looks great, but it is also very durable.
The Hamilton Beach 37543 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker comes with a maximum capacity of 20 cups of rice. This makes it great for cooking in large batches for several people.
Performance and Ease of Use
The Hamilton Beach 37543 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker comes with several buttons. The good thing about these buttons is that they are easy to reach and use. It is very easy to set up the whole rice cooker.
If you are too tired or busy to constantly watch the rice, you might find the delay timer on this model very handy.
Furthermore, you do not need to be a food scientist to understand how to use the Hamilton Beach 37543 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker.
The internal pot of the rice cooker comes with a non-stick coating and can be used for several types of rice and different cooking methods.
One feature we especially love is the two in one function of the steam basket. We observed that the basket can be used as a rice rinser. This basket can also be used to steam anything from zucchini to fish.
With the delay feature, you can program your cooking up to 11 hours in advance. It also comes with a Keep Warm features that allows you to keep the food warm until you are ready to eat it.
Overall, it is a handy and great rice cooker.
The Zojirushi NHS-10 Rice Cooker comes with the ability to cook up to six cups of rice at a go. If you have a family of three to four people, you will find this capacity sufficient.
We observed that this rice cooker comes with two main parts. The external part of the cooker features the heating element. This element is built in the bottom of the cooker. There is also a sensor at the bottom. The second part of the rice cooker is the inner cooking pot. We observed that this part has a non-stick coating. To use the pot, water and rice are placed in the inner pot before the appliance is plugged in.
The heating plate at the bottom heats up the inner pot to cook your rice. The water then generates enough steam to be absorbed by the rice. When the rice is ready, the sensor will stop the heat generation. It is interesting that at this point, the rice cooker will automatically switch to the Keep Warm mode.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
We love the Zojirushi NHS-10 Rice Cooker due to the ease of use and overall convenience. It is pretty straightforward to use. Although it does not come with an LCD screen or timer, the two buttons are often sufficient.
As the inner pot comes with a non-stick coating, you can wash it quickly and with great ease.
This rice cooker isn’t designed to cook a very wide variety of foods. Nevertheless, it can hold its own with different foods. You can cook your white and brown rice, steam your vegetables, fish, and meats.
Best Cheap Rice Cookers 2020 (Under $100)
This small rice cooker comes in an egg-shape design and is just 8 inches tall. While it doesn’t come with the sleek, stainless steel appearance of some other rice cookers, it comes with excellent cooking performance.
The domed lid design and moisture cap mean that the cooker doesn’t boil over during use.
The 5-cup capacity of the Panasonic SR-DE103 is excellent for small families. This capacity is measured in uncooked rice. Hence, you should expect 10 cups of cooked rice from the Panasonic SR-DE103.
The heating technology on the Panasonic SR-DE103 is one of the best you will ever find on a rice cooker, especially at this price. This feature is the Fuzzy Logic. What this feature does is that it automatically adjusts the cooking temperature and cooking duration based on the food and quantity to be cooked. For example, if you are cooking brown rice, the Fuzzy Logic feature will set the time and temperature. For other foods, it uses a different set of variables. Either way, the aim is to provide you with the best cooking experience.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
Using the Panasonic SR-DE103 is really easy to use. The control panel comes with several buttons that are rather easy to master. Since the Panasonic SR-DE103 offers a wide variety of choices, you need to get the right button. Thankfully, they are clearly labeled and easy to use.
Cleaning and maintenance is straightforward. The inner pot of the Panasonic SR-DE103 is non-stick and removable. Thus, you can wash it even better.
The Panasonic SR-DE103 comes with several accessories, including a steam tray, a rice measuring cup, and a serving spatula.
The design of the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 makes it rather clear that this cooker is designed for heavy-duty cooking. It comes in a squat, cylindrical shape and is covered by a black and silver lid. It comes with a handle recessed into the front of its lid.
The interior of the pot is easy to remove. The pot insert comes with non-stick coatings. Outside of the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 is stainless steel. It is sturdy and great-looking. Hence, if you are looking for a cooker that will elevate the décor of your kitchen while retaining high functionality, look no further than the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3.
The Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 is hands-down the most versatile cooker on this list. It serves to replace up to six appliances in your kitchen. It can serve as a pressure cooker, a steamer, a warmer, a slow cooker, rice cooker, and a sauté pot. Therefore, if you are looking for something to cook your rice as well as other functions, then you will love the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3.
If you do not have plenty of space in your kitchen, this 6-in-1 appliance might just be the solution.
The Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 comes with several features that make it an excellent choice. One of such feature is the delay timer that allows you to set the time you want to cook the food.
Furthermore, the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 is a safe cooker that is UL and ULC certified. Therefore, it comes with all the necessary features to allow it work in a safe and effective manner.
There is a Keep Warm feature that keeps the food warm for up to 12 hours.
Ease of Use
The Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 V3 comes with a clear display panel that is very easy to read and use. From the panel, you can choose the program you want for the cooker and set the instructions without any hassles. You can choose different settings for a wide variety of foods.
Size and Construction
At first glance, it is rather clear that this cooker requires more space than your regular cooker. It comes at a height of 13″ and a diameter of about 39″. Therefore, if you have a small space, this appliance might take up a large chunk of countertop space.
However, if you are cooking for a relatively large number of folks, you might appreciate the extra size of the COSORI CP016-PC Steel Pot Pressure Cooker.
As for the construction, the COSORI is clearly well-made. It looks great, and as far as our testing goes, we didn’t notice any smudges or fingerprints on the body. It comes with several buttons on its control panel, which might take some practice to grasp fully. On the plus side, most of the buttons are clearly labeled and easy to understand. Once you figure out the basic controls, the entire experience of using the cooker is very straightforward.
This multi-cooker performs rather well during our testing. It cooks rice well, although it was a hassle to clean out the pot after use. We also tested it with other foods, for example, meats and vegetables. These were cooked well, although we noticed some dryness.
Overall, it offers decent cooking performance.
The COSORI CP016-PC Steel Pot Pressure Cooker comes with some interesting and useful features like the Keep Warm function.
It also comes with several accessories. These include a ladle, measuring cup, recipe book, glass lid, spoon, and steamer rack.
The Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic ARC-616SB is a stainless rice cooker that comes with a minimalist, egg-shaped design.
It features a control panel that has a digital display and clearly labeled buttons. It isn’t very lightweight; however, the handle makes it easy to carry with you wherever you go.
The Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic ARC-616SB comes with several features, one of which is the Keep Warm function. Because of this feature, even when the rice is done, the device doesn’t turn itself off. Rather, it automatically switches to the Keep Warm mode. It is recommended that you do not leave the food in it for over 12 hours.
The Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic ARC-616SB can cook as much as 12 cups of rice and as little as a cup of uncooked rice. As long as an adequate amount of water has been added, you can cook as little as you like.
During our testing, we observed that the rice cooker takes around 50 minutes to cook the rice. For brown rice, it takes a bit longer (80 minutes).
When reviewing the Panasonic rice cooker, we discovered the Fuzzy Logic feature adjusts the settings depending on the type of food and quantity to be prepared. Well, the Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic ARC-616SB comes with the Sensor Logic feature that offers similar functions. The cooker uses this feature to change heating time, depending on several factors. This results in better prepared rice.
It comes with some accessories, including a steamer basket, plastic measuring spoon, and serving spoon.
The Oster 20-Cup Digital Rice Cooker comes with a cool-touch lid. Both the lid and the body of the cooker come in a shiny black appearance.
The front panel feature the control panel that allows you to program the cooking method of the rice. With its large size, it can hold a large capacity of food. As earlier pointed out, this cooker is huge. Unlike other models that come with easy-to-grasp handles, the handles of the Oster 20-Cup Digital Rice Cooker are difficult to grasp.
It comes with several settings like the ‘steam only’ setting, the delay timer, and a Keep Warm setting.
Guide to Buying the Best Rice Cooker (Under $50/$100)
In the section above, we have considered ten of the best rice cookers under $50/$100. This list has narrowed down the choices you have and make it easier for you to select the right rice cooker. Now, we realize that you might not fancy any of the cookers on our list. We also know that you might want to go out and make your own choice. Before you head out, though, it is essential that you understand the factors to consider when choosing a rice cooker.
To help you, we have created this buyer’s guide. First, let us consider the different types of rice cookers on the market.
Types of Rice Cookers
The rice cooker comes in different types. However, there are four main types of rice cookers. These are:
- Standard rice cookers
- Multi-function rice cookers
- Improved rice cooker
- Induction heat rice cooker
Let’s consider each of these types.
Standard Rice Cooker
As the name implies, this is the typical rice cooker on the market. It is quite common and is easily the best-selling type of rice cooker.
It is simple to operate as it doesn’t come with plenty of functions. Simply add the rice, water, and turn the appliance ON. Once the rice is ready, the standard rice cooker will switch from ON to the ‘Keeping Warm’ mode.
Improved Rice Cookers
These rice cookers are a minor upgrade from the standard rice cooker. It allows you to do some additional stuff like cooking different types of rice, comes with a steam feature, digital timer, and some others.
Multi-function rice cookers
The multi-function rice cooker allows you to cook your rice using a wide variety of settings. Furthermore, it uses advanced technology that improves the speed, heat, and other functions of the rice cooker. These cookers usually come with settings like the reheat function and extended warming.
Induction Rice Cookers
The induction rice cooker is the latest and most powerful type of rice cooker on the market. It comes with really advanced technology. As a result, your rice achieves a high level of cooking consistency all around. It also cooks the rice quicker than other types of cookers and comes with several digital and control settings.
By knowing the different types of rice cookers on the market, it would be easier for you to choose the right one for you.
Now, here are some of the essential factors that should affect your choice of rice cooker.
Factors to consider
The speed at which the rice cooker prepares the rice depends on different factors. These include the manufacturer, the heating mechanism, and the model of the rice cooker.
If you are one who loves quick meals, or you don’t have the time or patience waiting for the rice to be ready, then you ought to consider buying a model that cooks food quickly.
However, if you want to take your time with cooking, you can always choose a rice cooker that comes with a delay timer.
In most cases, rice cookers are compact and do not take up plenty of space in the kitchen( although there are some huge models). If you have a small kitchen, though, you might want to consider choosing a rice cooker that comes with multi-functionality.
These cookers can serve as steamers and slow cookers. By using them for several other functions, you will cut costs and have more space in your kitchen.
Ease of Use
Regardless of the type of rice cooker you buy, you should always lookout for the ease of use. The simple rice cookers offer one-touch operation, while the more advanced models will come with displays and digital controls. Nevertheless, whether a simple cooker or a complicated one, the rice cooker should not be a hassle to operate.
Affordable, basic models usually come with a single button and are the easiest to use.
Advanced rice cookers are doing complicated stuff, so it is only normal that they are more difficult to operate than the regular models.
Ease of Cleaning
For most rice cookers, they are already easier to clean than your regular pots. If you worry about cleaning and the time and effort expended in such a process, you should look for a rice cooker whose inner pot has a non-stick coating. That way, you will not have to worry about scraping the bottom of the pot whenever you cook.
Some folks are content with a simple rice cooker that does all the basic stuff and comes at a very affordable price point. If you do not cook rice often, only cook white rice, and you just care about the ease of cooking, then you can opt for cheap models ($12-$20 kind of cheap).
However, if you cook rice often and cook a wide variety of rice, then you might want to opt for models that are slightly more expensive. These models might come at a higher cost, but they provide better cooking performance and last longer than your cheaper models.
As pointed out earlier, cheap models will not last as long as the more expensive models. If you are going for the cheap option, chances are high that you will have to replace the cooker in less than a year after buying it.
The expensive brands have a reputation for creating cookers that will last for a long time. If you don’t have plenty of money to spend on rice cookers, you can look at the ten cookers we reviewed. These fall into the mid-range and offer a nice balance of performance and durability.
One of the best ways to know how durable your rice cooker is, is by considering reviews from other people who have used the product.
Many modern rice cookers come with additional features that make cooking even more enjoyable and that produce better quality of cooked rice. Some of these additional features include a steaming basket for steaming meat, fish, and vegetables.
There is also the Fuzzy Logic function that adjusts the cooking temperature and speed based on the type of rice you are cooking or the quantity of food in the pot.
Cooking rice can be an arduous process that involves constant monitoring. However, by using a rice cooker, this process is simplified and easier. Use the review and the buyer’s guide in this article to select the best rice cooker under $50/$100.