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If you’re trying to choose a new rice cooker and are looking for advice from someone who actually owns the products being discussed, let me be your guide into the world of premium Japanese rice cookers. The ones I know most about are made by Zojirushi. It’s fair to say that these appliances aren’t cheap. So if you’re on a budget, these models may not be the right choice. One of the best ways to save money is just to cook rice in a saucepan on the stove.
I currently own four Zojirushi rice cookers and one Sanyo. All feature Micom and Induction Heating (IH) technology. Two of them also have pressure cooking as well. As I spend time in both Scotland and Japan, it’s not as if I have five rice cookers all in the same kitchen! In Japan, I’ve only got three. LOL! Just to be clear though, it’s not a case of owning rice cookers for the sake of it. I do actually use them all, each in slightly different ways. This page gives an outline of each machine. You can click the links below for more detailed rice cooker reviews.
Unboxing a Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Below are details of the rice cookers I currently own. They were all bought with my own money and all opinions regarding the various models are my own.
3 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker
In Japan, I’ve got a 3 cup Zojirushi NP-GD05. This is almost identical to the Zojirushi NP-GBC05 sold in the U.S. This is my go to rice cooker that I use most often, and the one that I’ve been using the longest. I bought this one in 2009 to replace an aging fixed lid model that I made a mess of when I tried cooking some rolled oats (not a good idea – steel cut oats are fine though). Removable lid rice cookers, like all the models on this page, are great. Even if you have a liquid explosion, it’s not too painful to clean up.
5.5 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker (Japan only model)
My 5.5 cup NP-VC10, which has all the functionality of the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 in the U.S, and then some, cost me less than $140. That’s more or less half price! It looks different, particularly the layout of its buttons. It’s also got some cool settings including Eco mode, as well as cake and bread baking settings, on top of all the functionality of the NP-HBC10. This is a new rice cooker, released in 2011. I bought this one for when I want to cook up bigger batches of food than than my regular machine allows, like if I want to make a batch of soup. This is the rice cooker I’m unboxing in the video above.
5.5 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating + Pressure Rice Cooker
My third rice cooker in Japan is my 5.5 cup Zojirushi NP-NV10. This badboy is the equivalent of the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 sold in the States. Find out exactly what it costs here. At that price, there’s no way I would have bought it. However, mine came in at just under $210. That’s less than 1/3 of the price!!! I know a bargain when I see one. Micom, IH and pressure cooking for that price is a steal. This machine only gets used for making rice. No herbs, no spices, no stock, no nothing. 100% rice. So when I go to vegan potluck parties, I’m in charge of the brown rice!
I’ll write a full review of this machine once I’ve been using it for a bit longer.
5.5 Cup Sanyo Induction Heating + Pressure Rice Cooker
The first pressure cooking rice cooker I bought was an international 5.5 cup Sanyo ECJ-JG10W to use back home in Scotland. It was round about the same price as the international version of the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 and I wanted to find out what all the pressure fuss was about. It’s a decent rice cooker and because of the pressure functionality, it works faster than the standard IH models. I’m just not sure that it actually makes better tasting rice though. That said, I suppose the speed is a bonus. If I was to choose between a Sanyo rice cooker and a Zojirushi, I’d pick the Zojirushi every time. In my opinion they’re better. Although I suppose it’s like choosing between a Lexus and a Mercedes Benz…they’re both top quality automobiles, it just comes down to personal preference.
5.5 Cup Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Induction Heating Rice Cooker
Last of all is my most recent purchase, my 5.5 cup Zojirushi NP-HLH10. This is the exact same rice cooker as the NP-HBC10 in the U.S, except mine works in Europe. I picked this one up because I actually prefer the non-pressure models when I’m making recipes rather than just plain rice. Makes it much easier if I want to give things a stir or just see what’s going on while the rice is cooking.
My full Zojirushi NP-HBC10 review.
If you’re looking for the best rice cooker, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a Zojirushi. While I think pressure cooking is pretty neat, I find the non-pressure cooking IH models more useful. Mainly because I like to have the freedom to open and close the lid of my rice cooker as and when I choose. There’s the added bonus of being cheaper too! If I lived in the U.S, my top pick would be the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 or the NP-HBC18 if I had a big family. These rice cookers are under $300 on Amazon.