Rice is one of the popular dishes out there. You can take a different rice dish each day for several weeks without getting bored. However, if you want to try various recipes with success, you need to get a good rice cooker. There are multiple models in the market using different technologies to get different results. This article looks at some of the most popular brands; Zojirushi, Tiger, and Cuckoo, to help you make the right choice for your next appliance.
Zojirushi is a Japanese manufacturer of quality food equipment over the last eight decades. It emphasizes quality, comfort, and ease of use using innovative technologies. To this end, it has created several innovative rice cookers to take care of different customer needs. The brand is known for its capsule-based cooker bodies, mostly made of stainless steel with a few features featuring see-through lids. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular types.
(i) Conventional Zojirushi Cookers
A conventional rice cooker just cooks your rice and keeps its warm once the rice is done. It has a heating element that does a better job than cooking the rice in your pot. Despite the standard functionality, these appliances incorporate several indicators and cooking methods. However, there are no features to cook different rice types on these devices as all rice is cooked the same way.
One of the most popular standard cookers is the Zojirushi NHS-10 Rice cooker. It has 6-cup, 12-cup, and 18-cup capacity options and includes both a steamer and a warmer. The model also has a stainless steel steaming tray and an inner non-stick pan that is easy to clean. Besides, it has a see-through glass lid and handles that do not get warm when cooking. The package also comes with a spatula, measuring cup, and a removable cord for the ease of storage. Its’ keep warm’ function activates soon after the cooking is done.
A ten-cup model can cook rice for about five to six people. Zojirushi provides tender, light, fluffy, and delicious grains. You may also use its steamer to steam your veggies or one-pot cooking. Be sure to set the timer for ease of cooking.
(ii) Microcomputer Rice Cookers
Microcomputer rice cookers are advanced cookers as they use programs to adjust the cooking time and temperature according to the amount and type of rice, among other factors. This also gives you more options regarding cooking heat and time, depending on the rice style that you want to cook. They are also suitable for cooking rice porridge and brown rice without overcooking.
One of the best Microm cookers is the Zojirushi NS-LACO5XT. This 3-cup rice cooker has a warming function and comes in either stainless steel or black. It has cooking functions that include Quick-cooking, Brown, Sushi, White/Mixed. Its inner pan ensures even heating and has measuring lines for ease of controlling the ingredients. In addition, the cooker has an easy-to-read LCD screen, detachable inner lid, extended keep warm setting, reheating cycle, and a delay timer should you want to start cooking at a later time.
The cooker makes a sound at the start and after finishing the cooking. Therefore, you do not need to keep checking if the food is ready. It is also easy to clean thanks to its non-stick cooking pan.
(iii) Induction Cooking Pressure Cooker
An induction pressure cooker incorporates two technologies, pressure-cooking, and induction. Induction cooking heats the entire pot instead of the bottom like your standard pots. This way, your rice is cooked at the right temperature, whether the top or bottom. On the other hand, the use of pressure allows moisture to penetrate better into each grain. This, in turn, helps shorten the cooking time (but only in some cases) and leads to softer, better-cooked rice.
Zojirushi has several models that use both technologies, with some adding the microchip so that you have a smart, induction pressure cooker. One of the most popular intelligent induction cookers is the Zojirushi NP-HBC10. This has a 5 ½ cup rice capacity with smart features, as discussed in the section above and induction technology. This model does not have a pressure cooking functionality.
However, the Zojirushi NP- NVC10 has a 5.5-cup capacity, smart technology, and multi menu functions, all built into one. Its pressure-cooking functionality works well for parboiled or brown rice. Besides, its ‘keep warm’ feature can keep your rice warm for over 12 hours.
2. Tiger Rice Cookers
Tiger rice cookers are similar to Zojirushi in terms of the design and quality of their rice cookers with a few differences. Both of them started in Osaka, Japan, and have grown big over the years. One of the significant differences between the two brands is the price. Tiger offers premium quality cookers more affordably than the Zojirushi models of comparable quality. Most of their cookers are made in the USA but use Japanese technology.
(i) Conventional Tiger Cookers
The conventional electric cookers are a perfect cooker for people who do not cook rice regularly or need a hassle-free solution to cooking quality rice. This category of cookers only have the cook function and keep warm functionality. There are no timers or recipe settings for users. Tiger has several such cookers in the market with choices of either floral or stainless steel outer bodies.
All of them feature an easy to open lid with a large handle at the top. Unlike the Zojirushi and Cuckoo, the rice cookers are more cylindrical with higher depth. One of the most popular ones is the Tiger JNP-S55U. It has a polished stainless steel body with a charcoal lid and bottom with two indicators and buttons on the side.
The 3-cup capacity cooker has a non-stick inner pot, a retractable power cord, and simple switches that are easy to use. Its general ease of use allows it to cook other dishes such as one-pot gourmet or soups with ease. However, due to its capacity, it can only be used by small to medium families.
(ii) Microm Tiger Cookers
Microm Tiger cookers use microprocessor technology to allow you to make precise settings depending on the type of rice and recipe preferences. They can also adjust the cooking time and temperature depending on various factors inside and outside the cooker. They pretty work the same as those of Cuckoo and Zojirushi brands. Besides, they have an oblate shape, unlike the conventional models, except for the JAJ-A Series cooker that takes a cuboid shape. This cooker is also pink, while all the others are either white or tones of grey.
All the microm cookers have a synchronized cook function that allows you to cook two dishes simultaneously. This function is called ‘tacook.’ They also come with 4-in-1 functionality that will enable you to change from conventional rice cooking to slow cooking, steaming, or tacook in just a click of a button. The automatic keep-warm function activates immediately after the food is done and can keep your dishes warm for up to 12 hours. Finally, all of them have an easy-to lead LCD except for JBV-A multi-functional cooker with a rather small screen.
(iii) Tiger Induction Rice Cookers
An induction cooker is more efficient than a conventional cooker in that it heats the entire cooking pan to ensure even cooking. Tiger has scored a first in this category by incorporating ceramic induction inner pots. Most other brands use Teflon-coated aluminium pans instead. Ceramic pots ensure better heat distribution and are perfectly safe. On the other hand, Teflon coated pots are thought to release some compounds with time, which may not be the safest option. There are two induction rice cookers under the Tiger brand, the JKT-S series IH and the JKT-B series IH. Both of the models are also microcomputer-controlled cookers.
Both models are oblate in shape with a yellow backlight on their LCD screens. The control buttons are placed on the side and raised for the ease of pressing. The outer body is made of stainless steel with black accents at the edges. Besides, there are two preset cooking times to enable the tacook feature. You may also use 11 cooking menus that include porridge, baking, slow cooking, and mixed rice settings. Otherwise, you may customize your cook settings if none of this fits your required cook method.
Cuckoo is a Korean company that makes all types of kitchen appliances, including rice cookers, juicers, and electric kettles, among others. The company has been producing quality electronics since 1978, with the rice cookers being among the most popular appliances. The brand produces smart cookers, either the programmable ones or induction-supported pressure cookers. Here is a quick look at some salient features and popular models under the brand.
Stainless Steel Detachable Cover
Most Cuckoo models have two covers: detachable covers, and the inlet of your top cover. Both of these covers are made of stainless steel. It can withstand the pressure, steam, and high temperature that comes with rice cooking. Just open the lid and remove the cover on the inside.
The pot design is similar across all models. It is a cylindrical shape that is tapered towards the bottom, making it look like an egg when viewed from the front. The only model that looks significantly different from the others is the Cuckoo CR-0351F rice cooker with a round shape and is substantially smaller than the rest of the models. Generally, the brand produces polished stainless steel bodies n different colors with black and grey accents in different parts.
Cuckoo uses a touchscreen display for most of the models with features shown on the screen’s sides. This gives it a clean, luxurious look, unlike the Zojirushi and Tiger brands. Besides, the new display can be seen from afar, thanks to the high contrast, which is not available in most of the other brands discussed above. There are up to 13 cooking programs that include mixed rice, white rice, rice porridge, and Sushi rice. However, this may differ from one brand to another. The Cuckoo CRP-P0609S and JHSR0609F also feature voice commands to enable you to understand instructions better.
Water Drainage and Ease of Cleaning
To keep your dishes fresh and ensure that there are no bad odors from your previous cooking, this brand has created a unique water collection system for most of its models. Water from your food collects in a detachable container that you can then drain with ease. Besides, most models feature an automatic steam-cleaning feature that uses steam to dislodge any food particles and thoroughly clean your cooker within a few minutes. The inner cooking pan is made of a non-stick coating for the ease of cleaning.
Pressure and Induction Cooking
The Pressure and induction cooking is only available in the CRP-JHT1010F. The model has a twin pressure technology, which allows you to change between high-pressure cooking mode and non-pressure cooking.
It also has a voice guide function in English, Chinese, and Korean. Other features include the induction heating technology that allows heat to circulate the cooking pot for even cooking. Besides, it has a diamond-coated inner pot that concentrates heat within the pot for a better cooking experience.
If you want to cook the food faster, you may use the turbo cooking function that gets your dishes ready in significantly shorter periods. On the other hand, the white display allows you to see what is going on in the pot, even if you are at a distance.
The three brands below provide a wide range of rice cooking features that you can use to get that awesome rice dinner. However, there are significant differences among them and individual models of each brand. The Zojirushi and Tiger brand offers more design and function options than Cuckoo. Yet, Cuckoo has some of the most modern designs in the market. Depending on your budget and preferences, you may go for a standard rice cooker or pick either the micro or the induction cooker. Tiger does not have pressure cookers, while the other brands combine micro and induction models.