Best Small Rice Cookers Under 50

Believe or not, many people search for small rice cookers more than the mid or large-sized ones. I thought it might be helpful to do a cross-section review of the best small rice cookers under 50. The “small size” in this context is defined as 3 cups or thereabout of uncooked or cooked rice (in some instances).

How I Chose Products for the Reviews

The basis for my selection for this review is from Amazon’s bestseller list. Bestsellers are denoted as the most popular products based on the number of purchases. I added another dimension of customer rating to the list. The products I am about to review are rated 4 stars or better. (Disclaimer: If the product has more variations in color or capacity, those products may not meet the criteria of 4 stars.)

In this post, I am not going to the nauseating details about each product. In fact, I’ve written in-depth reviews for 2 out of the 5 products. I’ll make sure to include a link where applicable if you are interested in learning more.

In case you are not familiar with rice cookers, these are some of the important factors to consider:

  1. Capacity Size
  2. Heating Element
  3. Menu Options
  4. Power Consumption
  5. Customer Rating
  6. Price

I’ve written a Rice Cooker Buying Guide that addresses most of these questions in details. Please click here to read more.

Product # 1: Black and Decker RC3203 Rice Cooker

black-decker-rc-3203-3-cup-rice-cooker

black-decker-rc-3203-3-cup-rice-cooker

Capacity Size

The Black and Decker RC3203 is one of the smallest sized rice cookers on the market with 1.5 cups of dry rice to yield about 3 cups of cooked rice. It’s perfect for singles or a couple.

Heating

This is the simplest conventional rice cooker like the rest in this review. The mechanism of cooking rice is not complicated. There are three parts to a rice cooker, the external pot with the heating element on the inside bottom; an inner cooking pot that sits right into the external vessel; a tightly fitted lid to close the pot.

To cook rice, this is what you need to do:

  • Measure the dry rice using the cup provided with the rice cooker (Muy importante! The cup size is different from a standard U.S. cup size and the water line marks correlates with this smaller cup size.)
  • Add water per the instructions or the water level marks on the inside of the inner pot.
  • Plug in the power cord
  • Press the “lever” to cook

The inner cooking pot is made of non-stick material. It’s said to be dishwasher safe. I’d advise you to wash it by hand as the non-stick can get scratched via contact with other dishes in the dishwasher.

The lid is made of tempered glass that’s durable and see-through so you can peek at the rice being cooked if you are curious.

Other Features

Menu Options

There are no customized menu options at this price range. There is one “cook” switch and 2 lights for “cooking” and “keep warm”. When the rice is cooked, the cooker will be switched to “keep warm” mode automatically.

While there are no options for white, brown or wild rice, you can cook pretty much all types of rice in this cooker by following the instructions in the User Manual. Depending on the type of rice you cook, the amount of water or other liquid may vary and so does the cooking time.

Dimensions: 7.5 x 7.5 x 6.5 inches

Color: White

Accessories: A rice serving scoop and a measuring cup are included with the rice cooker.

Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5

The reasons customers liked about this rice cooker is its compact size. Some people take it on their trips to heat up soups, meals, etc. in the hotel. It’s very easy to use and to clean.

One complaint was about the rice gets crusty if you leave it on “keep warm” after it’s cooked. Personally, I unplug the rice cooker after it switches to “keep warm” and fluff the rice with a plastic or wooden spoon.

check-today's-rice-cooker-deal

Product # 2: Sanyo EC-505 Rice Cooker

sanyo-ec-503-3-cup-rice-cooker

sanyo-ec-503-3-cup-rice-cooker

Capacity Size

The Sanyo EC-505 rice cooker has a capacity of 3 cups uncooked rice which is 6 cups in cooked. It’s enough for singles, small to mid-sized families.

Heating

Similar to the Black and Decker rice cooker above, the EC-505 is a conventional or electric rice cooker with one button to push when you are ready to cook. The “keep warm” light will be turned on upon cooking.

Non-stick inner cooking pot prevents rice from sticking.The rice cooker comes with a stainless steel steaming tray for you to steam meats/seafood or vegetables.

Other Features

Menu Options

The beauty of a conventional rice cooker is the simplicity. Fewer buttons to push and less confusion and brain damage. There is one button to push for cooking and two lights for “cook” and “keep warm”.

Dimensions: 8-7/16 by 6-1/2 by 10-1/16 inches

Color: White

Accessories: A measuring cup, a rice spatula and a stainless steel steamer are included.

Customer Rating: 4.1 out 5

As one customer summarized it so well. This Sanyo rice cooker is “cheap, dependable, and cooks rice perfectly”. What else can you ask for? Most people like the portable size.

One common thread was about the rice and water ratio in the Instructions is a bit off, i.e. a little bit more water needs to be added. Then again, this is such a personal preference. Some people like it firmer and others softer. So you’ll have to experiment a little to figure out the right ratio.

check-today's-rice-cooker-deal

Product # 3 Panasonic SR-G06G Rice Cooker

I’ve written an in-depth review on this product. Click here to read the full review.

Product #4 Zojirushi NHS-06 Rice Cooker

Once again, there is a detailed review on my website. Please check it out.

Product # 5: Aroma ARC-743-1NGB Rice Cooker

The Aroma ARC-743 is one of the Aroma’s pot-style rice cookers as opposed to the cool-touch digital kinds.

aroma-arc-743-rice-cookers

aroma-arc-743-rice-cookers

Capacity

Aroma is one of those rice cooker manufacturers quoting capacity as in cooked rice. So the rice cooker has 6 cups cooked or 3 cups uncooked rice.

Heating

Very similar to the Black and Decker and the Sanyo rice cookers, this one is a conventional style again. It does come with a steamer.

I am not going to repeat the information.

Other Features

Menu Options: Once again, push the “cook” button when you are ready. Leave the rest to the rice cooker.

Dimensions: 11.1 x 10.4 x 8.1 inches

Color: The uniqueness of this Aroma rice cooker line is that it comes with three different colors, white, red and black. (ARC-743-1NG for the white, ARC-743-1NGR for the red and ARC-743-1NGB for the black.)

Accessories: A measuring cup, a rice spatula and a steamer.

Customer Rating: 4.0 out of 5

This Aroma rice cooker is in the top 50 bestsellers in the rice cooker category on Amazon.

Most people were very happy with this rice cooker. They bought it for different reasons: some liked the small size; others appreciated the affordable price; still others enjoyed the ease of using and cleaning.

Quite a few people commented about the rice spewing over while cooking. It didn’t seem to happen to everybody. The trick is to rinse the rice a few times with tap water until the water is clear. Removing the starch definitely helps with the boiling over issue. I own a different model of Aroma rice cooker. I’ve cooked rice with or without rinsing and I’ve never had a problem. I do have to clean the inner lid and steam vent after each use to wipe off the residues.

check-today's-rice-cooker-deal

Summary

As you can see, $50 is not going to get you a fancy digital rice cooker. But if you are not that picky and are willing to play around with rice and water ratio, these types of inexpensive rice cookers will serve the purpose of cooking rice and eating healthier meals. If you are interested in learning more about rice cookers with advanced heating technologies and a whole of “trims”, check out the rice cookers from $100 to $200.

If you haven’t thought about it, these rice cookers are great gifts for college students or someone who has just moved out of the parents’ house, or it would even be a decent wedding present if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

 

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