cheap rice cooker buying guide

Best Cheap Rice Cooker: We Review for Value and Affordability

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You no longer have to choose between high quality and economically friendly when buying a cheap rice cooker. Manufacturers these days are now able to straddle the line between high quality and budget friendly making compromise a thing of the past. With so many options to explore, we had a tough time making our top 5 recommendations, but alas here are our top picks for budget friendly rice makers:

**Click any of the links above to read customer reviews on Amazon or continue reading for our full comprehensive guide.

Why Invest in a Cheap Rice Cooker?

Rice makers are the perfect kitchen gadgets for people with limited time and/or cooking abilities. This is because they allow you to add rice and water to your device and then set it aside knowing that you will come back to restaurant quality rice every time.

You don’t have to worry about burning or scorching your rice if you use a rice cooker and people often liken them to personal chefs who do all of the work for you. This allows you to get on with other things, which is always a good thing in this busy world we live in. Another great thing about rice cookers is that you also don’t have to worry about adjusting the temperature yourself while keeping a hawk-eye on the stove while your rice cooks.

Far from being one trick ponies, cheap rice cookers can also cook other grains besides rice and can make cereals like oats and buckwheat groats. You can use them to cook all varieties of rice so if you’re a big rice eater and want to experiment with different kinds of rice you can alternate between brown rice, wild rice, Arborio and sushi rice.

budget friendly cheap rice cooker

Rice can be enjoyed sweet or salty, hot or cold and is one of the most versatile foods on the planet

Rice cookers can also double up as veggie steamers so even if you’re not big on rice (and other grains), you can use your rice cooker to steam veggies, tofu and dumplings.

While it may seem like you're going to cough up a lot of dough to get all of these features, the units we've featured here can do many if not all of these things without breaking the bank.

What is the difference between these budget rice cookers?

There are a few fundamental differences between each of the models featured on this list. The most basic difference is that each rice cooker varies in how much rice it cooks with some cooking large quantities and others only cooking a few cups of rice at a time.

Some models allow you to cook rice and steam veggies simultaneously so that you can get two jobs done at the same time. Other models will simply get one job done at a time (i.e. they either cook rice/grains or steam veggies).

If you’re looking for a rice cooker that can do all your cooking chores for you (minus the chopping!), then you may wish to consider a machine that can cook rice and steam veggies at the same time. If you are looking for something simpler then you can’t go wrong with a basic rice cooker that will prepare restaurant quality rice every time you use it.

Some of the gadgets on this list come with various functions like timer settings while others do not so it’s up to you to go for what you think will fit your needs.

All About the Different Models

This device yields up to eight cups of cooked rice and is one of the best budget-friendly options on the market. Its easy-to-use functions include programmable digital controls with steam, white rice, brown rice options and a delay timer that works up to 15 hours. There is also an automatic keep-warm option, which enables you to be flexible when planning meals.

When cooking is done, the inner cooking pot and all accessories can be removed for easy cleanup. This device comes with a custom built measuring cup, a serving spatula and steam tray that is ideal for steaming veggies and tofu and making sticky rice for sushi.

The multiple functions and buttons on this device make it a good choice for people who are not content with “one trick pony” rice cookers. This makes a wide variety of different grains and can also be used to make soups and stews.

The sleek, attractive design makes it easy to store while still being robust and sturdy enough to handle your daily rice cooking needs. As far as bang for your buck goes, this is an excellent rice cooker and you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of it that extends to more than just cooking rice.

PROS

  • Multiple functions
  • ​User friendly
  • Programable digital control options
  • Keep warm function
  • Comes with a steam tray
  • Great value

CONS

  • Not ideal for very large amounts

This attractive and ergonomic Panasonic model can make up to three cups of uncooked rice with a one-step automatic cooking button, which shuts off automatically when the rice is done cooking. If you don’t like your kitchen devices with umpteen whistles and bows, then you could do worse than this sleek, streamlined rice cooker.

The see through glass lid is ideal for easy viewing and the non-stick aluminum pan is great for quick, fuss-free cleanups.

This Japanese-made model cannot be used to cook brown rice although it can handle wild rice and some other grains with no problems. It can also be used to make sticky rice for sushi and other Asian dishes as well as rice pudding for desserts.

This model also comes with a custom built measuring cup and rice scoop so that you can cook perfect rice every time. The removable inner cooking pan helps prevent cooked rice from sticking to the sides and bottom and makes cleanups a breeze.

If you like your kitchen devices small, simple and easy to use then this model ticks all the right boxes and can even be used to steam veggies.

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Small and easy to store
  • Japanese made
  • Great value
  • Sleek, attractive design

CONS

  • Doesn't come with a lot of different functions
  • Can't cook brown rice

As far as cheap rice cookers go, this model is sleek, modern and efficient. It prepares up to six cups of cooked rice and comes with a 1 liter steaming tray so you can make sticky rice. It is also ideal for steaming veggies and tofu.

The non-stick cooking pot is removable and dishwasher safe.

It also comes with a glass lid so that you can watch your rice and veggies as they cook. The indicator light tells you when your food is ready and the auto shut off feature means that you don’t have to worry about overcooking your rice.

The automatic keep warm feature keeps rice warm once it is done cooking, making it ideal for households with different schedules. The integrated one touch option makes it easy to use even for techno-phobes.

It comes with a custom built measuring cup and spoon and can be used to cook soups, stews and other grains including brown rice, oats and quinoa.

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Automatic keep warm function
  • Small and easy to store
  • Ideal for households with different schedules
  • Cooking pot is dishwasher safe
  • Sleek, attractive design

CONS

  • Can only cook small amounts of rice at a time

This device has everything one might need in a budget rice cooker. It comes with a locking lid and steamer basket and automatically switches to a keep warm cycle once the rice is done cooking. It also comes with a custom built measuring cup and serving spoon.

The cooking bowl is made from non-stick material and is dishwasher safe making for easy, hassle-free cleanups. Once rice is done cooking it switches to a keep warm cycle so that you don’t have to worry about overcooking your food.

The steamer tray is ideal for steaming veggies or tofu and can be used to make just-right, restaurant quality sushi rice. Besides different varieties of rice, this machine can be used to make other types of grains and is great for oats, buckwheat groats and quinoa.

This device cooks up to 12 cups of rice making it a good option for large households or for people who consume a lot of grains and/or steamed veggies. Its lack of whistles and bows makes it an ideal choice for people who want a simple, user- friendly device.

Its small size also make for easy storage and is ideal for smaller kitchens - even though it is meant to be a large unit that cook lots of rice - it only takes up as much room as it has to!

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • User friendly
  • Small and easy to store
  • Cooking pot is dishwasher safe
  • Automatic keep warm function

CONS

  • Might be too large for smaller households.

The unusual square design of this rice cooker certainly makes a good option if you are looking for a device that is easy on the eye. The sleek, brushed stainless steel build can steam and cook rice and veggies like a professional chef so there’s no need to worry about burning your food.

This is not a heavy-duty rice cooker although it is well suited to people who do not need to cook large quantities of rice in one go. Although this is a small machine, it is robust and reliable and can cook up to 7 cups of rice at once. It can cook all varieties of rice (such as Arborio rice for risottos or basmati rice as an accompaniment for curries). Besides different kinds of rice it also makes oatmeal and ancient grains like amaranth, teff or quinoa.

This is a great device for those of you who are looking for a chic, simple design that doesn’t feature lots of fancy buttons and functions. It also steams veggies and other food so that you can effortlessly create easy, fat-free meals.

It comes with a stainless steel steaming basket, glass lid and custom built paddle and measuring cup. It automatically switches to warm when cooking is done so that you don’t have to worry about your food burning or getting cold.

Other unique features include a steam vent to prevent splattering and one LED light illuminates during the cooking phase and another that automatically switches to warm when cooking. This allows you to know when your food is done.

This gadget is covered by a three-year warranty which makes for a nice bonus.

PROS

  • Three year warranty
  • Comes with a steaming basket
  • Unique, square design
  • LED light feature
  • Automatic keep warm function

CONS

  • Doesn't cook large quantities of rice

Conclusion on Cheap Rice Cookers

Inexpensive rice cookers are a great time-saving device and ideal for novice chefs, busy bodies and multitaskers alike who don’t want to spend a fortune for a high-tech device. Whether you are on a tight budget or looking for something sturdy and reliable then cheap (but efficient!) these cheap rice cookers are the way to go.

All these rice cookers offered great bang for your buck but the machine that came in slightly ahead of the pack has got to be the Aroma Rice Cooker for its amazing value, reliability and ease of use.

About the Author Michelle B

Hey! I’m Michelle and I write product reviews for ThriveCuisine.com. I’m always preparing healthy / plant based foods and I’ve developed a knack for helping people get the best bang for their buck.

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