Choosing the best rice cooker involves considering its features and avoiding known problems. Note that a 5-cup rice cooker might actually hold just 30 ounces (850 grams) of rice because the measurements are not standard. Know what recipes you will be cooking in the 5-cup rice cooker in order to get the features you need. Avoid rice cookers with separate lids and bottoms that are not non-stick for convenience's sake.
A 5-cup rice holder often does not actually hold 5 cups (1,000 grams) of dry rice. This is because the measuring cups that usually come with the machines do not have standard measurements. Many of them consider 6 ounces (170 grams) to be a complete cup, while the standard cup is 8 ounces (226) grams. Your own experience may vary depending on the model, but you may need to purchase a larger machine if feeding a big family.
Keep your recipes in mind when choosing a 5-cup rice cooker. Some cookers do not have the ability toast or warm rice, much less bake a cake. Baking cakes is not an advertised use of rice cookers, but some people have had luck in making a quick cake or two. Think about your favorite recipes or recipes you wish to try when looking at the features of a rice cooker.
Avoid rice cookers with separate lids because they might not fit the cooker snugly enough. Without a tight seal, the rice may not be done when the cooker thinks it is. In addition, a glass lid can spew water from around the seal or its hole. Cookers with separate lids are also reportedly more difficult to clean than a one-piece rice cooker. As yet another drawback, the lid can break when dropped or misused, forcing you to buy a new 5-cup rice cooker or order a replacement from the manufacturer.
In addition to avoiding separate glass lids, you may want to avoid rice cookers that are not non-stick. Cooking rice can be messy and the last thing most people want to do is scrub burnt rice off their cookers. A non-stick surface can save you the hassle with one downside: The surface can be peeled or scratched off. With a non-stick 5-cup rice cooker, you must be careful not to scratch the interior of the pot. Even if you manage to keep the non-stick surface pristine, it might still peel with age and wear.