Best 3-Cup Rice Cooker

Rice cookers have become an indispensable part of many households’ kitchen arsenals because of its compact size, portability to use anywhere, versatility to cook all sorts of meals and the ease of use with programmable cooking methods and pre-set timer.

Many people live alone or in small families due to many reasons such as grown-up children had left the house to start their own lives; college kids living on campus or in rental properties with other roommates; people in transition from married to independent lives. No matter what the reason is, adding a small-sized rice cooker can definitely help with eating healthful meals at affordable costs.

How I Researched for the Best 3-Cup Rice Cooker?

I thought it might be beneficial if I shared my findings of the best 3-cup rice cookers.

Like all things in life, sometimes too many choices pose challenges too as it gets overwhelming to decide which one is the best.

Here was how I narrowed down the options.

  1. I got on Amazon and chose 5 bestsellers out of the most popular 3-cup rice cookers.
  2. Then I selected those with 3.5 star or better ratings.
  3. I also made sure there were at least 30 online reviews for each product.
  4. I created an elaborated excel spreadsheet with all features and product attributes in one column and specific findings in each row.
  5. I assigned a rating for each feature of the product.
  6. I defined a scoring system to rate each product characteristic from 1 to 5 (5 being the best).
  7. I calculated the final score by multiplying the percentage of weighting by the score.
  8. I sorted all products by ranking order (1 being the best this time).

As you can see, it was quite complicated and methodical. The good news is that the ranking was based in large part on facts and science. The only subjectivity came in when assigning the weighting.

Shocking Result

I was surprised to see the most expensive rice cooker took the gold and the same pattern was true with the runner-up and the third-place. You can almost see there was an inverse relationship between the price and the ranking. What it means is that the more expensive it is, the higher the ranking. It really defies logic, doesn’t it?



How Did Zojirushi NP-GBC05 Reign Supreme?

NP-GBC05 combines bleeding-edge heating technologies, versatile menu options with modern design element into one rice cooker.

Capacity for Singles and Small Families

Being a 3-cup rice cooker, it has the capacity to yield 6 cups of cooked rice as the ratio between dry to cooked rice is 1 to 2. This is a perfect size for singles or small families. Some folks even take it with them when they travel over an extended period of time. It definitely beats eating out all the time when you are on the road. In addition, you can whip up some one pot meals in this cooker instead of buying so many utensils for temporary use only.

Cutting-Edge Heating Elements

One of the distinct features of this rice cooker is the application of multiple advanced heating technologies. Induction heating takes the lead in using the inner cooking pot as a heat conductor. This is in contrast with the traditional design where the heating element is located in the bottom of the rice cooker. The induction heating ensures much more even heating from all surrounding sides besides the bottom. The rice gets cooked faster and more evenly yielding tastier flavors and texture.

As if that wasn’t enough. The rice cooker is also equipped with a micro-computerized chip in which fuzzy logic is programmed. In layman’s terms, this means the rice cooker is intelligent enough like a human being to decide the temperature and cooking time based on the types of foods and the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. This takes all the guesswork and mess out of cooking rice. I am sure some of us have experienced cooking rice in a saucepan. Half of it got overcooked as crunchy and the other half was undercooked. Wastefulness is one thing and not being able to pull all the dinner together in time is another.

The inner cooking pot is non-stick and also has spherical system to ensure even heat distribution. The non-stick makes it so easy to clean the pot after each use.

The NP-GBC05 rice cooker has an automatic “keep warm” function upon cooking and the rice will be kept warm for up to 12 hours. The timer allows you to pre-set a time to cook before you leave the house in the morning. That way you’d come home with your meal ready to be enjoyed instead of scrambling to prepare it.

7 Menu Options to Satisfy Your Every Need

The cooker is designed with 7 menu options from white, brown, GABA brown rice, sushi, mixed, porridge and quick cooking. No matter what you are in the mood for, the rice cooker will be your humble servant.

Zojirushi has never failed to amaze consumers with its attention to details in the design. The rice cooker has a detachable cord for your neat storage, a carrying handle for easy transport and detachable inner lid for effortless cleaning.


The rice cooker comes with a one-year standard warranty. You can easily locate one of many Zojirushi Service Centers in the U.S. should you have any questions or a need for repairs or replacement.

Perfect Ratings and Price

The ratings were almost perfect with 4.8 out 5 by scores of online customers.

The one obvious weakness of this rice cooker is the high price tag. Clearly for those who could afford to buy, they didn’t mind paying for the price. In fact, many claimed it was worth every penny.

I hate to repeat the cliché: “You get what you pay for” but it’s so true most of the time. Think this way, buying a top-of-the-line rice cooker can be a smart investment as you will enjoy using it for many years to come.


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