Zojirushi Blog

Rice Cookers Comparison: Choosing the Best Rice Cooker For You

Zojirushi Rice Cookers LineupAt Zojirushi, we’re a little obsessed with rice, and the month of September is our favorite month as we celebrate National Rice Month. We’ve been in the rice cooker business for close to half a century and test thousands of pounds of rice every year to ensure the best performing rice cookers for every household.

With a whopping 19 different models for purchase today, you may be wondering what the difference is between all of our rice cookers, and how to choose the right rice cooker for you and your family. Not to worry, because today we will be diving into certain features and specifications to help you understand each model better. Whether you’re new to rice, or a seasoned pro, we will help you choose the best rice cooker so that you can enjoy a perfect batch of rice every time!

Let’s dive in and meet the lineup.

Zojirushi Rice Cookers

The four main Zojirushi rice cooker types are as follows, from most simple to most advanced:


Zojirushi Conventional Rice Cookers

Zojirushi’s Conventional electric rice cooker is ideal for beginners who want to make perfect rice at home. It’s our recommended choice for those who want a simple, reliable, and easy-to-use cooker with just one switch. Most models (all except NHS-06) feature an automatic keep warm, and some models (NHS-10/18) come with a handy steaming basket that allows steaming of proteins and vegetables while cooking rice below. Soaking and steaming time before and after cooking rice is highly recommended for perfect results. Browse our selection of conventional rice cookers here.


Zojirushi Micom Rice Cookers

With a microcomputer chip, the “MICOM” rice cooker models are technologically advanced than the conventional models and come with menu settings for cooking different types of rice and grains. Some models can even “think” to adjust cooking times and temperatures according to the thermal sensor’s calculations. And, unlike the conventional models, soaking and steaming time before and after cooking rice is automatically programmed, so once you press start, it does everything on its own until the rice is ready to eat. This is our largest category of rice cookers, clocking in at 12 models. The main considerations when choosing which Micom rice cooker you’d like to purchase is by thinking about the capacity, preferred aesthetic, and available menu settings and features. See below for more on capacity, features, and aesthetics.

Browse our selection of MICOM rice cookers here.


Zojirushi Induction Heating and Micom Rice Cookers

The IH rice cooker utilizes induction heating technology to make rice that is overall more delicious. How? Without a heating plate that takes time to heat and then to cool down (think an electric stove), IH is a more responsive heating method, getting the cooking pan hot quickly and cooling down faster, making temperature adjustments during cooking more precise. Note that all IH models are also MICOM models, just with an additional heating technology feature.

Browse our selection of IH + MICOM rice cookers here.


Zojirushi Pressure, Induction Heating, AND Micom Rice Cookers

The PRESSURE + IH + MICOM is our most advanced line of rice cookers yet. With the power of Micom, IH, and Pressure cooking all in one, these rice cookers combine automatic pressure, high heat, artificial intelligence (yes, you heard that right!), IH technology, and a more refined selection of menu settings to get perfect results over and over.

The big differentiator here is the application of pressure (similar to pressure cooking) at various stages during cooking. The pressure will help turn beta starch into alpha starch, making rice softer, more delicious, and easier to digest.

Browse our selection of PRESSURE + IH + MICOM rice cookers here.

Further Rice Cooker Considerations

More considerations for cooking rice

After choosing the rice cooker with the capabilities you’re looking for, it’s time to consider capacity, features, and colors.


Cooking Capacity

If you are living in a smaller household, a 3-cup rice cooker may be ideal. These appliances can even cook as little as 0.5 cup of uncooked rice, which will yield 1.25 cups of cooked rice, a perfect portion for a single meal.

For medium to large households, we recommend buying a 5- to 6-cup capacity rice cooker. For larger households who expect to eat rice often or with every meal, we suggest a 10-cup capacity rice cooker.

Note that the rice cooker “cup” capacities are based on the provided rice measuring cup, which is roughly 3/4 of a US standard measuring cup, and the max amount is for cooking short or medium grain white rice. Other grains such as brown rice require more water and expand more during cooking, making the max cooking capacity smaller.

Rice cooking features


Next, let’s look at rice cooker features. Here are some of the features our customers find useful.

Delay Timer
Allows you to set the completion time in advance, so the cooker can be set up in the morning for fresh rice at dinner or set up at night for oatmeal in the morning.

Steaming capabilities

Steamer Accessory
Allows the cooker to double as a steamer. Most can steam while cooking rice below.

Extended Keep Warm
When keeping rice warm for an extended period of time, use extended keep warm to keep rice warm at a lower temperature. This helps prevent the rice from becoming dry. “Reheat” the rice when it’s time to eat!

Aesthetics are always important, and that’s why our rice cookers come in various styles and colors. All stainless steel models have a clear coating to minimize stains and fingerprints. Black designs are streamlined and sleek. White is always popular, and we continue to offer the floral patterns for those who prefer that nostalgic look.

To find out which models come in the capacities, features and colors important to you, visit this page and use the filter at the upper left corner.

Now that you’ve met all of our Zojirushi rice cookers, which one are you most excited to add to your kitchen? Did you learn anything new about rice cooking technology? Once you purchase your Zojirushi rice cooker, be sure to check out our website for a huge selection of rice recipes and rice cooker recipes. Share your thoughts, comments, and questions with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

24 thoughts on “Rice Cookers Comparison: Choosing the Best Rice Cooker For You

  1. purchased NS-LGC05XB. Been happily using a saucepan for 45 years. First use… Followed instructions to the tee, using Mahatma Thai Jasmine long grain rice. Starch/water boiled out through steam vent creating a mess. End of cooking time, rice couldn’t be fluffed due to it being destroyed. No visible grains of rice left, just a pot of mush with watery bland taste. Not even any of the jasmine fragrance we get when using a simple saucepan. Unless you can tell me what the problem is, it’s going back to amazon and I’ll keep enjoying cooking the simple way. Very disappointed.

    • Hi there! It sounds like there was some excess starch left on the rice and there may have been a little too much water. We always recommend to rinse the rice until the water runs clearer. Not completely clean but it shouldn’t be overly cloudy. When cooking Jasmine rice, please follow our recommendations found here: https://www.zojirushi.com/grains/nslgc05.html This will ensure that you always get perfectly cooked rice each time! Hope this helps and if you have any other questions please let us know! We are happy to help.

    • Definitely give it another try. My namesake who is from Thailand told my mom (her best friend) to get “the elephant ricecooker” to cook the rice when I was 5. We did and never looked back. Almost all we eat is Jasmine rice and it’s always fluffy and perfect and smells amazing while cooking.My mom’s cooker probably lasted 20 years and I am just now looking for a new one after about 15. Mine actually still cooks the rice beautifully but the keep warm function does not hold the rice as long as it used to. Anyways definitely try it a few more times because they do make quality products.

  2. I am very tempted by the 5.5 c IH Micom rice cooker but we are a small family. What is the least amount of rice I can cook in the 5.5 c model?

    • Hi AJ, the minimum is one cup for the best cooked rice. Cooked rice will roughly double in volume so it should be enough for a small family and gives you the option of cooking more in case you are entertaining. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. I been searching in the market which rice cooker Im gonna buy please help. What’s the difference between umami, micom euro fussy, and IH. Which of them the fastest to cook? I appreciate all the information that you can give. I’m a family of four, Im an Asian so you know we eat rice everyday 3x a day.

    • Hi Vivian, we would love to help!
      1. Umami: This is a setting that comes in a few of our rice cookers. The rice cooker will adjust the pre-soak and the steaming time to maximize the flavor of the rice. It will soak the rice longer to draw out sugars from the rice that will then reattach themselves back to the rice. This gives the rice an extra dimension of flavor.
      2. Micom: This just stands for Micro Computerized. Micom rice cookers come with a computer chip that allow for them to be preprogrammed with different settings.
      3. Neuro Fuzzy: This is a more fine tuned fuzzy logic which allows you to select the texture of the rice. Fuzzy logic allows the rice cooker to “think” and make adjustments as it cooks taking into account the amount of rice, water, and the environment.
      4. IH: This is just Induction Heating which is a technology for heating and is widely used for cooking. It will use a magnetic field to generate heat faster. This type of heating will yield tastier rice.

      When looking at cooking time, technically our Conventional rice cookers will cook faster. They will start cooking as soon as the lever is pressed. However, for tastier rice, it’s always recommended to soak the rice before cooking and then once the rice cooker is done cooking, let it steam. All of these steps total to the same amount of time our Micom rice cookers take to cook. The Micom rice cookers are preprogrammed to do all these steps automatically to cook the best tasting rice.

      Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  4. Hello! I personally have the NL-GAC10. I am a bit late on viewing this post; However, I would like to express how much I appreciate the quality of my Zojirushi product. For me living in the United States, I often find that I am the most unique one in my circle of friends, and family. Most people that I know do not use rice cookers, and they most likely have never heard of Zojirushi. Anyway, after careful consideration, I finally decided which Zojirushi rice cooker I wanted, and I was so excited that I called my friend to showboat my new favorite kitchen appliance. Their reaction was pure astonishment. Because of the price that I was paying my friend believes I could have done something smarter with my money, but they failed to understand the level of quality and craftsmanship that goes into making a Zojirushi. Truth be told, I have had other, more affordable rice cookers throughout my adulthood. Nevertheless, when I was younger I was determined to reach a level of maturity where I could not only afford, but also appreciate and take care of my belongings. I appreciate the finer things, and my Zojirushi rice cooker is one of them.

  5. I have a Neuro Fuzzy Model No NS-ZCC10. The non-stick of the cooking pot, item no B201 has come off in several places. Can you send me a replacement cooking pot? Thank you

  6. I believed I bough NP-HBC18 back in 2007 and after 16 years passed by it’s still working great. I am using my rice cooker daily as an asian either rice or noodle we eat LOL. anyhow, recent i started to see the inner pot coating is peeling off, and I think once coating is coming off I should get a replacement. I’m debating whether a replacement pot or buy a new cooker? 16 years I paid for this one $500 and some changes but nowadays I know rice cooker must be even more expensive. Just wondering which model I should get. Any suggestions? Thanks and happy 4th.

  7. Hi there, I’m looking to buy a rice cooker over here in Europe but the only models I can find are NS-LLH05-XA or NS-YMH10 for example – none of these show up in your list of models. Could you maybe help classify them or tell me the equivalents?

    • Hi Kevin, the models you are interested in are not Zojirushi America products. It is a foreign Zojirushi product not available in the US and Canada, and for this reason we don’t have it listed in our website. We don’t recommend using Zojirushi America products outside of the US and Canada or vice versa. We are not provided official information on products outside of our region so we are unable to give you information on the models or which of our models is comparable. Please reach out to Zojirushi World Wide to find information on products available in your region: https://www.zojirushi-world.com/

  8. I have two things I want to ask.
    First, I purchased NP-NWC10XB pressure IH the other day thinking it’s gonna be fluffy tasty rice. However it didn’t. I opened the lid after finished cooking and the rice was hard and yellow-ish. I tried 5 times changing water amount or cook setting (umami, softer, quick) but it turned out all the same. The area I live has hard water. So I tried purified tap water and then tried bottled soft water to see there was any difference too. It became the same.
    Can you tell me why it gets like that??

    Second, because of that reason, I am guessing the pressure is too much heat? And I think I should try non-pressured one. I’m looking at these three NW-QAC10, NP-HCC10XH, NP-GBC05XT. What are the differences??

    • Hi Mah, usually yellow-ish rice can be caused by hard water, older rice, and if the rice is not rinsed thoroughly. In such cases we recommend to test first by using bottled water (non mineral one), use a new bag of rice, and rinse the rice well until the water runs clearer. Doing this should yield fluffy rice as expected from a Zojirushi rice cooker.

      Older rice tends to cook harder and can yellow as well. The pressure helps with cooking the rice a little softer than just using IH so it would not be that that is cause the issue. Again, I would highly recommend getting a new bag of rice, new crop if possible and it should turn out a lot better. If you have any questions or need some troubleshooting help, our Customer Service team is ready to help!: https://www.zojirushi.com/app/customer_service/entry

    • Hi HS, choosing a rice cooker can be a little overwhelming considering all the models we have available. First you will want to decide which kind of technology you would like your new rice cooker to have. Maybe you want to upgrade to one of our IH or Pressure + IH models with your new rice cooker. Then, you want to choose the size you would like and which settings you really want your rice cooker to have. Some of our customers would like their rice cooker to have a STEAM setting or they would like it to have the BAKE setting. Choosing your preferred settings will narrow down your choices. If all this seems like it’s still confusing, you can always reach out to our Customer Service Team and they can help you narrow it down: https://www.zojirushi.com/app/customer_service/entry

  9. Hi there, I would like to know about the nonstick pot lining. I usually avoid nonstick (and use ceramic) due to health issues.

  10. Hello,
    I was ready to order the new NW-QAC10 then realized it doesn’t have a setting for sweet rice, which was the reason I wanted to upgrade to a better rice cooker. What’s Zojirushi’s reason for excluding that?
    My friends & family all have The NS-ZCC10 over the years but this model is over 20 years old.
    That leaves the NL-GAC10 which has a Sweet/Sushi combo setting. Are they even the dame thing? I’ve also read a few negative reviews about the non-stick coating flaking off.
    I spent the last 8 hours trying to decide on a Japanese-made rice cooker and I’m just about ready to give up. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hello Hien, the NW-QAC10/18 does include a sweet/sushi rice setting. Some of our other rice cooker may not have a sweet rice cooking setting but have other settings that are more attractive for different users. The NW-QAC10/18 is made in Japan and looks to have the cooking setting you would like to have. Here are a few recommendations to help increase the longevity of the nonstick coating on your cooking pan. Always remember to hand wash the pan with a soft sponge and mild dishwashing liquid, then dry it before replacing it in the rice cooker. This will help prevent accidental damage caused by falling utensils or anything that may scratch the pan’s surface. Avoid leaving the pan in the sink, as something may fall inside it and cause scratches. Also, wash the pan as soon as you’re done using it. This will help prevent rice from drying on the surface and causing scratches as it hardens. I hope these tips are helpful!

  11. I have a NS-WAC18 rice cooker. I don’t understand why the WHITE RICE scale in the pot has measurements up to 10 but there is a note that says (MAX6CUPS). I usually cook Jasmine, Basmati or a mix of Jasmine and Basmati. How much can I cook at a time? What does MIXED RICE mean?

    • Hi Linda, under the white rice measuring scale the maximum for mixed rice is in parenthesis as it only applies to this. Mixed rice is when you add ingredients like veggies or a little pieces of proteins into the rice. When adding other ingredients to the rice then the maximums are reduced a bit compared to regular plain white rice. If you are cooking long grain rice, basmati or jasmine then different water to rice ratios are needed and different setting may be recommended. Please visit our guide for your rice cooker here: https://www.zojirushi.com/grains/

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