There are very few people in the world that don’t include eating rice in their diets at least a few times a week. For some cultures, it’s a several times a day staple. That is why having rice cookers in a home is becoming ever more popular. If you are one of those people who enjoys eating rice and has been thinking about getting a rice cooker for yourself then that is a great idea. Here are some purchasing tips that will help you find the best rice cooker for your needs.
Before You Set Your Rice Cooker Purchasing Budget
- How often you eat rice
You certainly are not going to want to spend hundreds of dollars on a top of the line rice maker if you only cook rice two times a month. So consider how often you will use your rice cooker. The more you will use your rice cooker the more you should be willing to spend on one.
- The size of your family
A budget friendly rice cooker designed for college dorm rooms is probably not going to work very well when it comes to preparing rice for your family of six. So before you start to shop make sure you have a rough idea of how many cups of rice you will need for a meal.
- Simple rice cooking or options
Rice making with an electric rice cooker can be simple or more complicated but don’t worry because you can choose which way you want to do it. With basic rice cookers, all you have to do is add the rice, water and then press a button. On models with advanced controls you more options you can use for the rice cooking task.
Set Your Shopping Budget
You have to be aware that there are literally hundreds of rice cookers available in the marketplace. You will probably be slightly overwhelmed at all of the choices that are available when you first start to look. In order to avoid getting a rice cooker, you are not satisfied with then you should first figure out what the acceptable budget is for your rice cooker purchase. It will save you from wasting a lot of time looking at models that you will never purchase. After that then you can start to compare the features of the different model rice cookers that fall into your budget range.
Key Features of Rice Cookers
Here is a list of key features on rice cookers that should help influence your buying decision:
- Cooking Style
There are basically two ways that an electric rice cooker makes rice. They are as follows:
- Thermal Convection
Over 90% of the electric rice cookers, you will find in the marketplace work using this method to cook rice. The cooking pan in these models does not heat up itself. The heated air outside the cooking pan passes through it by means of thermal convection so the rice can cook. A thermal sensing device inside the unit knows exactly when the rice is done cooking and automatically switches the rice cooker into warming mode.
- Heat Induction
With heat induction systems the cooking pan does heat up significantly. An electromagnetic current is generated by the rice cooker and when it passes through the metal cooking pan heat starts to build up. Cooking rice this way is done at a much higher heat and makes for an even more consistent rice cooking process.
Heat induction machines are more expensive to operate and much more expensive to buy than their thermal convection based cousins but it is said that they make ‘flawless’ rice each and every time.
- Cooking options
For those of you who want more control and options in the rice cooking process, you will need to purchase a rice cooker with more cooking options. These will usually be able to do more than just cook white rice. Brown rice, sushi rice, porridge and other types of rice need different cooking settings than those for white rice in order to be cooked properly. Many also have digital timers with self-timing options too.
- Power Cords
With rice cookers, it is preferable that their power cords are either detachable or retractable. Why is that? It’s because it will make your rice cooker much easier to store and it will also enable it to double as a convenient rice serving bowl. Many people overlook these simple facts when shopping for rice cookers and regret it later on.
- Outward design
We are not talking the looks here so much as we are the other creative features that are located on the external part of your rice cooker. These include such things as stay cool handles and see through glass tops. Any little thing that will enhance your rice cooking experience is a good thing. Don’t totally discount looks either; most rice cookers are stored on a countertop so you certainly don’t want them to be an eyesore.
Many rice cookers are very versatile in nature. For instance, several models will also be able to double as a vegetable steamer. So take a look at the extras that each rice cooker offers. It may be the deciding factor between two models you are looking at that are very similar.
The longer warranty you have on a product the more piece of mind it will give you that you are making a sound purchasing decision. It’s also a very good indicator of how much confidence a manufacturer has in the rice cooking product they are selling.
Other Helpful Sources for Advice on Buying Rice Cookers
If you are still having trouble deciding what model rice cooker is right for you after comparing the key features on the above list don’t get discouraged. There are several places online where you can find informative rice cooker reviews. These can make all the difference in the world when you are trying to find the best rice cooker for your needs in the budget range you are shopping.
Enjoy Your Rice Cooker
You will most likely find that once you have purchased and started using your new rice cooker that you will start making rice more often. They really are the ultimate form of convenience and simplicity when it comes to making rice. Besides that, rice is very friendly on your food budget and is pretty nutritious too. Rice is even more enjoyable when it tastes great and is very effortless to prepare. So don’t put off your rice cooker purchase too long if you can help avoid it.