Best Japanese Rice Cooker For Sushi, Brown Rice And More – 2018 Buyer’s Guide

10 of the Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Rice has always been the staple food (grain) for the Japanese, having turned rice cooking into an exquisite art form, starting from sushi to delicious teppanyaki dishes and anything in between.  No wonder then that the Japanese excel in making the world’s most versatile rice cookers. If you’re someone who takes rice along with other food items at least 3-4 times in a week, then you’ll find a Japanese rice cooker extremely handy for everyday or regular use.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker For Brown Rice And SushiSo let’s take a look at the most notable rice cookers that you’ll find on the market and their respective reviews. Our Top 10 list is carefully selected for the best possible products worth their salt and that stay within a reasonable budget. Here are the five most notable models, but the rest are no slouches either: 

  1. Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker
  2. Hamilton Beach 37518 4 Cups Cooker
  3. BLACK+DECKER 16-Cup Cooker
  4. Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup Induction Multi Cooker
  5. Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction 1L Pot

Let’s see these machines compared in the table below. Our rating is only for orientation – you can check all individual reviews and get a better idea what’s THE BEST choice FOR YOU. We really hope this helps you choose the best cooker for your budget and if you have any suggestions, input or issues with the reviews, please do let us know in the comments below! 

The Best Rated Rice Cookers Of 2018 Compared

**Below, you'll find my more detailed reviews about the door speakers, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

The Best Japanese Rice Cookers Of 2018

Lets take a look at the top rated rice cookers for brown rice, the best rated Zojrushi models and much more individual reviews below. Let's start and help you choose the best on for your budget, requirements and all the features you can think of!  

1. Best Overall - Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker

Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom

Cook brown rice, white rice, risotto, and slow cook a range of recipes with the Tiger Corporation’s JBV-A10U-W cooker.  This is one multifunctional device that lets you can prepare two dishes at the same time as the appliance exploits the signature ‘tacook’ synchronised function.

 All you need to do is load the ingredients in the right proportion in the non-stick bowl, push a knob, and sit back. The JBV-A 10U’s automated cooking logic technique will effectively regulate the temperatures for rustling up a sumptuous dish.

The cooking plate’s innovative design means textures and flavors as well as the nutrients in the different rice dishes stays intact. Brown rice won't stick and asian rice will be nice and fluffy. 

The kit comes with a pretty generous amount of settings and tools so you can cook any type of rice you can think of and do it quickly too. Unfortunately, there is no "umami" setting to make the rice sweeter and full of flavor, but that's is mostly a gimmick feature than anything else so you're not missing out or anything without the umami thingy. 

Pros

Cons

  • The cooking plate is made from BPA-free material
  • The spare steaming cap supplied with the cooker is removable
  • Single-push operation
  • check
    4 distinct menu settings-Synchronized cooking, brown rice, plain rice and slow cooking
  • check
    Non-stick cooking bowl which is easy to clean as well
  • check
    Comes with non-stick scooping spatula, recipe booklet, cooking plate, and measuring cup
  • check
    5.5 cup size
  • Not suitable for a family of four or a family with more members
  • Some customers have complained that the non-stick coating peels off
  • It make take a longer time than usual to cook brown rice
  • Water may spill out often

2. Best Rated Zojirushi - The NS-TSC10 5 1/2 Cup 

The Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5 1/2 Cups of uncooked rice cooker and warmer makes the most of Micom Fuzzy Logic Technology for cooking rice that is perfectly fluffy and simply delicious. A steaming basket comes in handy for preparing stews and steamed vegetables which you can take with boiled rice.

You can also use this Zojirushi model to bake a variety of cakes, thanks to the option in the menu setting. Also, thanks to the NS-TSC10 5’s versatility, you’ll get 10 cups of perfectly cooked brown rice, plain rice, and mixed rice as well as prepare porridge, soups, jambalaya, and many other meals.

We really think that this is the best Zojirushi model to buy for a variety of kitchens, styles and budgets. It is is not the cheapest one on the market, but it really gets the job done. If you are on the market for the top rated Zojirushi cooker - look no further, the NS-TSC10 should definitely be on your shopping list for this Christmas.  

Pros

Cons

  • Fuzzy logic technology
  • Also functions as a steamer cooker
  • Stainless steel exterior with coating and easy to clean as well
  • Automated reheating, ‘extended warm’, and ‘keep warm’ features
  • Inbuilt foldable power cord
  • check
    Crystal clear LCD control panel
  • check
    Dual settings for ‘delayed timer’
  • check
    Removable inner lid that is also washable
  • check
    Steaming basket included
  • check
    Settings for different cooking programs
  • check
    Cooks 5 and a half cups of cooked rice
  • Many users will feel the absence of a cookbook
  • The model is unduly expensive compared to other rice cookers

3. Best Premium Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5 1/2 Cups Neuro Fuzzy Premium

If you’re looking for a premium Zojirushi model, then the NS-ZCC10 Fuzzy Logic is an excellent choice. It is a bit more expensive than the rest, but the options bundled and the all the tools and attachments are well worth the price. 

This model from the renowned house of Zojirushi takes advantage of ‘Neuro Fuzzy Logic’ technology enabling it to automatically make cooking temperature and time tweaks for dishing out flawless cups of steamed rice each time. 

You put in 5-and-a-half cups of uncooked brow or white rice and out comes ten cups of immaculately boiled and fluffy rice. You can prepare sushi, mixed Japanese and Chinese dishes, brown rice, wild one, porridge, and sweetened rice. 

You can even cook deserts and other yummy eats in the NS-ZCC10 model. It is a great allrounder for the more sophisticated households out there. 

Pros

Cons

  • Used microcomputer ‘Neuro fuzzy logic technology’
  • A gamut of menu settings for different cooking options
  • check
    Programmable melody
  • check
    Large and clear LCD display
  • check
    Automatic extended keep warm, keep warm, and reheating functions
  • check
    Advanced heating technology coupled with spherical pan promotes even heating
  • check
    Retractable, built-in power supply cord
  • check
    Programmable delay timer with twin settings
  • check
    All necessary accessories included
  • check
    Good for cooking for a family of moderate size or family of four
  • Some users may not like the Hello Kitty alarm but it is a minor issue
  • This is a costly model when compared with other similar brands

4. Best Budget - Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD 

Aroma Housewares has a reputation for coming up with some of the most performance-oriented Japanese styled cookers and the ARC-914SBD happens to be one such product. For a very decent price too - it is really hard to find a good one under 50 dollars but the Aroma somehow made it. There is no surprise here either - it is an excellent product very well worth your consideration. 

With the help of the Aroma ARC-914SBD you can cook up to 8 cups of rice and the steaming attachment helps you to vegetables and meat while rice gets steamed in the chamber below.

The digital controls are conveniently programmable and the ‘keep warm’ feature can be used for keeping food palatable for hours after cooking is complete. Using the ‘flash rice function’ enables you to cut down on cooking time up to the extent of 50%.

Pros

Cons

  • Commendable cooking capacity: delivers up to a maximum of 8 cups of cooked rice
  • Digital controls are easily programmable
  • Vegetables/meat steaming goes on simultaneously with cooking of rice
  • Automatic ‘keep warm’ mode
  • check
    ‘Flash Rice’ functionality reduces cooking time to the extent of 50%
  • check
    Delay Timer keeps meals warm for 15 hours after cooking is done
  • check
    Advanced ‘Sensor Logic Technology’ enables the appliance to mechanically select optimum ‘cooking time’ and ‘temperature’
  • check
    Toughened stainless steel body
  • check
    Steam tray is BPA-free
  • check
    Accessories provided includes recipe booklet, soup ladle, serving spatula, measuring cup, and steam tray
  • One has to strain his or her eyes to see the water markings inside the pan
  • Some users might find the ‘beep signals’ a tad too loud

5. Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction 1 Liter

The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH easily makes the grade for a quality product thanks to its using induction heating technology for cooking rice as perfectly as your mom can do. Or any mom for that matter. 

 This superior heating technology lets the Zojirushi make the exact temperature adjustments for preparing perfectly boiled or steamed brown rice each time. The multiple cooking programs allows you to make mixed, jasmine white, white (hard, soft, and regular) and sushi rice, GABA brown, brown, and sweet rice. 

You can either cook some deserts, porridge, oatmeal and more thanks to it versatility and rich programming options. 

Layering on base, sides, and lid promotes uniform heating for thorough cooking and you can also take advantage of the ‘keep warm’ and ‘extended keep warm’ functions.

Pros

Cons

  • Dual settings for ‘delay timer’
  • Exterior is of toughened stainless steel
  • Clear coating on the exterior protect the core material as well as expedites smooth and easy cleaning
  • Sophisticated IH technology helps in preparation of delicious meals
  • Multifunctional rice cooker: Has settings for a range of cooking programs
  • Three-tiered layering supports even heating and hence cooking
  • check
    Rice is perfect for serving long after cooking, courtesy ‘warm’ and ‘extended warm’ functions
  • check
    Inner lid can be detached and washed
  • check
    Cooks 5-and-a-half cups of raw rice
  • Extremely expensive in comparison to other rice cookers
  • Water markings are somewhat small in size and may not be legible to many

6. BLACK+DECKER RC516 16 Cup Steamer

The BLACK+DECKER RC516 8 cups device and Food Steamer  comes in incredibly handy for preparing perfect, fluffy rice for a large family. However, there more than a few shortcomings in the product and, honestly, we can't really recommend the Black And Decker cooker to any sensible housekeeper. 

 The RC 516 from Black & Decker can deliver up to 16 cups of cooked rice from 8 cups of raw rice, for serving piping hot on the dinner table within minutes. However, it doesn't always work as it should and it is easily the worst rice cooker we have on this review list by a mile. 

A steaming container stews fish, chicken, and veggies while rice is getting cooked in the inner pan. Both the lid made of tempered glass and the nonstick bowl are dishwasher safe which makes cleaning the appliance effortlessly easy.

The programs and a few and far in between and the results are never guaranteed. Brown rice, for example, is often overcooked and mushy, while jasmin rice is often undercooks and way too hard to actually consumer. 

In a few words - stay way from the RC516 - it is really not a good product!

Pros

Cons

  • Single-press knob for operation: Convenient to use
  • Not measuring the rice and water portions (or proportions) might cause spilling
  • The absence of an (on/off) switch means you always to need to unplug the socket after use
  • There is no receptacle for safekeeping the (power supply) cord

7. Tiger JKT-B18U-C 10 Cup with Oatmeal Function

The Tiger Corporation JKT-B18U-C rice cooker is a fantastic edition to the family kitchen. It featuers stainless steel pot that is super easy to clean, ten cups on cooked rice capacity and plenty of programming features and options to make it a worthwhile contended in this Top 10 Japanese cookers. 

 As it exploits ‘induction heating’ system for uniformly heating up the ingredients, each and every dish it prepares tastes great. At the same time, the perfect cooking means all the nutrients are retained in the foods.

The 1.5mm thick stainless steel inner bowl boils and steams 5.5 cups of uncooked rice to deliver 10 cups of fluffy rice. You can preset the timer in two modes to make the cooker prepare meals according to your convenience.

Overall, it is a worth product from Tiger corporation - the same one that made the "best overall" list here first. It is a bit of a lesser model than the JBV-A10U-W, but nevertheless it is a good product worth your consideration. 

Pros

Cons

  • Uses IH technology: uniform heating of contents
  • Nonstick inner bowl can be removed for easy cleaning
  • Handles on both ends of inner pan for comfortable lowering and lifting
  • Prepares 5.5 cups of raw rice
  • Cooking timer that can be preset in two modes
  • check
    Stainless steel inner pan with three layers of coating
  • Many users will feel the need for a power cord that is retractable
  • Exorbitantly priced

8. Best Budget Japanese - Zojirushi NHS-06 3 Cup Device

In case you’re looking for a good Japanese brown rice cooker that does not come with all the bells and whistles, but does the basic job of brown rice cooking’ with perfection, then the Zojirushi NHS-06 is ideal for you.

Yes, you red it correctly - it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the high-end Zojirushi models like automatic regimes, high capacity and whatnot, but what it does and it does t well, is cook rice to perfection. 

It takes only three cups of uncooked rice so it is not the biggest model out there, but it comes from a renowned brand and it is probably the cheapest Zojirushi cooker you can find on the market. 

This is a hardwearing kitchen appliance that comes with only one switch which you need to push mildly after lowering the cooking pan containing the rice grains and water, into the receptacle. A fully transparent tempered glass lid lets you keep an eye on the food being cooked while a heat-resistant knob allows you to lift the cover comfortably. 

Don't let the low price and the lack of functions fool you - the NHS-06 is easily the best budget Zojirushi product on the market by a mile. 

Pros

Cons

  • The nonstick interior cooking vessel is made of stainless steel
  • Glass cover is transparent: Clearly see what’s cooking
  • check
    Knob fixed atop the lid remains cool to touch
  • check
    Attachments on both sides for holding and carrying the cooker
  • check
    Single switch operation
  • check
    Low power rating: 300watts
  • check
    Comes with instruction manual, serving spatula, and measuring cup
  • check
    Cooks up to 3 cups of uncooked rice
  • Steaming tray is only available with NHS-10 and NHS-18 models
  • Does not have a ‘keep warm’ feature
  • Not suitable even for a family of three: cooks only three cups of rice
  • Not ideal for preparing a wide variety of meals

9. Best For Large Households - Panasonic SR-AFG186

The Panasonic SR-AFG186 is probably the biggest Japanese cooker on the market today. It has a massive ten cups of uncooked rice capacity that can surely feed a small village and more. It is almost a commercial design that can surely find its place in a busy house hold with more than a few people to feed on a daily basis. 

The Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup Induction Heating System Rice Cooker is definitely a good product to buy. This is one extraordinarily versatile device that offers way beyond its monetary worth as it exploits an avant-garde 2-tier induction heating system, delivering you almost 20 cups of fluffy rice out of 10 uncooked rice cups.

You also get to make the most of the 13 automated cooking programs for delighting your family and guests with a delectable range of rice dishes, pot foods, steamed foods, cakes, and soups.

Yes, the Panasonic cooker can serve as a slow cooker in the spare time - you can prepare meat, stew, soups and many more delicious meals. 

Overall, it is a solid performer from a reputable brand. It is a great deal if you can take advantage of its size and use more than the occasional monthly cookout. 

Pros

Cons

  • Stainless, 4-tiered charcoal-coated inner pan promotes easy cleaning
  • Electrostatic control panel made of tempered glass facilitates fingertip control as well as thorough cleaning
  • 2-layer induction heating technology stimulates uniform heating: perfectly cooked meals
  • 13 preprogrammed cooking techniques: cook variety of meals
  • check
    In built umami-augmenting taste locker regulates cooking temperature: retains flavor and nutrition of meals
  • check
    12-hour ‘keep warm’ feature
  • check
    24-hour timer
  • check
    Steaming basket, measuring cup, rice and cereal scoops
  • Many users may not be able to spare the time required for slow-cooking some meals, like pancakes and jasmine rice
  • Very costly in comparison to other models with almost identical features

10. Fastest For Sushi - Hamilton Beach 37518 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker

top rated Hamilton Beach

Last, but not least, is the Hamilton Beach 37518. It is probably one of the fastest electric cookers on the market. It has enough power, juice and go to cook up to four cups of uncooked rice in no time. 

It is one of the best Japanese rice cooker for sushi as well. It creates a beautifully delicious sushi rice that is hands down the best of the bunch. 

All you need to do for rustling up a mouthwatering paella or risotto dish in the Hamilton Beach 37518 is simply press a few knobs after putting in the prescribed amount of ingredients.

A steaming basket placed above the inner cooking bowl stew meats or veggies simultaneously with rice cooking. Of course, you can prepare an assortment of dishes from grains other than rice as well as cereals. You can also use the steaming basket for rinsing the grains before placing them in the bowl so as to prevent clomping.

It is superb for brown rice as well. The dedicated programming prepares it just right - not too hard but not soft and mushy either. As I said earlier - just perfect. 

The Hamilton Beach is an overall best buy when it comes to sushi and speed. It is not the biggest and the baddest out there, but it surely gets the job and quickly too. 

Pros

Cons

  • Delivers up to 8 cups cooked rice
  • Steam meats and veggies while rice is cooking via the steaming basket
  • Steaming basket also good for rinsing rice grains to check clumping
  • Inner bowl and the rice cooker is dishwasher safe
  • ‘Keep warm’ function
  • ‘Countdown’ timer
  • There might be spillage even after rubber gasket is set properly
  • The plastic hinged cover is prone to breaking
  • The directions given in the recipe booklet are not clear and misleading

advantages and benefits of using a Japanese rice cooker

It is now a long-established fact that the best Japanese rice cooker is designed and produced in the land where the appliance first evolved-Japan. Japanese rice cookers that have become synonymous with the modern-day versions were first developed by Mitsubishi Corporation. Since then, rice cookers have come a long, long way.

If you wish to speed up your conventional rice cooking or steaming process without compromising on the quality front, then a Japanese rice cooker would be indispensable. Using the best Japanese rice cooker offers you the following unique advantages:

  • Every cooking cycle offers you cups of boiled, fluffy rice to place on the dining table
  • Rice cookers come with a built-in ‘keep warm’ feature which keeps the cooked rice tepid and fresh for consumption long after the cooking is complete.
  • You can choose a range of automated cooking programs and feel relieved that the appliance will prepare the dish perfectly without your having to keep a watch.
  • certificate
    The rice cooker offers you spare time in the kitchen which you can devote to preparing extra dishes or meals or carry out other household tasks.
  • certificate
    The best Japanese rice cooker is incredibly versatile in that this kitchen appliance comes in handy for steaming vegetables and meats as well as preparing kedgeree, paella, jambalaya, soups, and stews etc.

heating and Fuzzy Logic

The very first rice cooker manufactured by Mitsubishi Corporation comprised of a cooking pot made out of aluminum. Built into the aluminum pot was a coil that supplied electricity to the container for heating it up.

The earliest version was a no-frills gadget that did not take advantage of any advanced technology for doing the simple job of boiling rice.

Japanese rice cookers evolved greatly during the 80s with the introduction of products that were compatible with induction stovetops. Although the early rice cooker models did boiled or steamed rice perfectly, the flavor which was delivered from cooking on a stove that used wood as fuel was missing.

Rice cookers powered by induction heating (which used AC current) heated up the contents uniformly which resulted in the rice tasting better and very much similar to the aroma that the Japanese derived from cooking on the ‘kamado’.

Rice cookers suitable for using on induction cook tops also enabled the cooking of rice grains that were of inferior variety and still achieve better results compared to cooking in traditional rice cookers.

The next wave of technological revolution pertaining to rice cookers took place in the 1990s that witnessed the emergence of appliances that exploited microcomputer technology.

This technology which became widely known as ‘Fuzzy Logic’ essentially involved the embedding of an AI (artificial intelligence) chip in the gadget that enabled modifying the temperatures and cooking times by regulating the electric current supply. 

The extent and frequency of modifications triggered by the chips depended upon the volume or quantity of rice you loaded on the cooker. Knobs on the best Japanese rice cooker using ‘fuzzy logic’ indicated a range of cooking programs and you just had to press a specific button to activate the program.

 Nowadays, you’ll come across devices that use two distinct variations of the Fuzzy Logic technique - Neuro and Micom. While Micom technology facilitates to correctly guess the exact measure or amount of rice (or other grains) to be taken for a perfect preparation, Neuro goes the extra step by helping the appliance to memorize the input data for future cooking cycles.    

How To Choose Your Rice Cooker

Though zeroing in your best Japanese rice cooker should not be a cumbersome process given that operating the gadget is normally convenient, the sheer variety of brands available could make your task quite overwhelming.

However, the entire process of selection becomes easier and convenient to a great extent if you know exactly what you are looking for in a standard Japanese rice cooker.

Make a list of 5-6 most popular brands of rice cookers and crosscheck each against the following key attributes:-

Size And inner pan capacity

Will you use the Japanese rice cooker for steaming rice and vegetables for the entire family or exclusively for yourself? Determining how much cups of rice you’ll boil on a regular basis will help you in choosing the product size.

 A single cup of Japanese cooker holds six ounces of uncooked rice grains whereas the standard measure for in the US is eight ounce.


Materials quality 

Cooking bowls where you load the rice with water are either made of stainless steel or aluminum. Nutritionists and dieticians recommended cooking in stainless steel pans owing to the material being chemically inert which means the foods never get contaminated.

 More often the bowl base is usually coated with a non-sticky material to protect the core but cheaper brands use a low quality coat.

Programmable controls

It is a given that expensive models are equipped with state-of-the art features which amongst other things include:

  • check
    Large digital display
  • check
    Delayed timer
  • check
    Keep warm function
  • check
    Settings for a range of cooking programs

On the other hand, run-off-the-mill models feature the basic functions and controls, allowing you to cook a few simple dishes.

Heating method And Speed

Japanese rice cookers have traditionally used electric heating coils for steaming rice and cooking other foods.

However, such models have become obsolete now and almost all advanced Japanese rice cookers now bank on induction heating technology which promotes even heating and minimizes risks of electric shocks.

Temperature And Insulation

has an exterior shell with an insulated layer that keeps the surface stays cool. Also, silicon or Bakelite handles are fixed on either side for convenience in holding the appliance.

Power And Wattage

Large cookers that can cook up to 10 cups of uncooked rice have a power rating ranging from 600 watts to 900 watts whereas the smaller ones usually have a 300 watts rating.

Brand

You can bet that you’ll never go wrong with the following Japanese brands - Zojirushi, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi (Panasonic). 

Hamilon Beach is no slouch either, but we were really disappointed by the Black and Decker, for example. So it is always best to do your research, read the reviews and make your own choice. 

Final Words

Some of the most reputed brands of rice cookers are reviewed in this this including Zojirushi, Tiger, Aroma, and Black + Decker. But don't let the big brand names fool you - there are some real bad eggs amongst them and if you've red the post you'll know what I'm talking about. Yes, it is you, Black+Decker, it is you, unfortunately. 

Though all the models of the aforementioned brands met the criterions for a truly great product, the Zojirushi models, NHS-06, NP-HCC10XH, and NS-TSC10, and the Tiger models JBV-A10U-W, JKT-B18U-C stood out from the rest owing to their superior heating technology, multiple cooking programs, and durable construction.

If price is not an issue then you can also opt for Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup that comes with some resourceful features like 13 preset cooking programs and dual-layer induction heating system. It has a massive capacity as well so it can prep up some rice for the whole family in a heartbeat. It is a magnificent product that almost makes it feel professional and high end. It comes with a price tag though, but as we all know you more often than not get exactly what you pay for. 

We really hope that we helped you make the best choice and if you have any questions or concerns, please hit us up in the comments bellow and I'll make sure to respond as soon as I can. 

If this article helped you a lot, then why not like and share it! Please consider posting your comments below as well. Don’t hesitate to post any of your suggestions or additional information related to this article.

Jeanette Schmidt

Hi all, I am Jeanette Schmidt. At the age of 29, my learning never stops. A native of Texas, I was raised to go big or go home. Although food is currently my life, I’m still looking forward to the day when I can cook for my own family. At present, I am engaged to my long-time boyfriend, Paul, who’s very supportive of what I do. Read more about me here.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: