The variations among types of rice cookers is extremely broad, ranging from simple $10 plastic versions that work for white rice in the microwave to expensive and sophisticated models featuring induction and pressure cooking technology and programmable, adjustable modes for exotic grains. Here’s a breakdown:
Inexpensive plastic cooking vessels that keep steam locked in to cook rice or steam foods using only your microwave.
These are the most popular rice cookers reviewed and include basic components: a heating plate, cooking pot, external pot, and often a steam tray. They keep things simple and rely only on the heat plate and a timer to cook rice. Many feature automatic shut off, delay, and keep warm functions as well. They’re available as small as 3 cups and up to 60-cup commercial sizes for restaurants or caterers.
A more advanced and expensive version of rice cooker that features a computerized micro chip; these automatically adjust cooking time and temperature using thermal sensors for perfectly cooked rice of all kinds. They can often help with other cooking tasks as well.
Micom With Induction Heating
Another step up in function and price, an induction-heating element creates a magnetic field that constantly transmits heat within the entire inner pot for more even cooking with micom technology. With most models at $250 or more, we considered these a splurge purchase.
Micom With Pressurized Induction Heating
Taking the induction and micom technology one step further, these models raise the cooking temperature with pressurized heating and can change the texture and structure of the grains and starch in the rice. They’re often priced between $300 and $400 but can sometimes be found on eBay or Craigslist for less.