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A mini rice cooker is made to cook a small batch of rice, typically enough for one or two servings. Choosing the best unit depends on your specific needs and whether you're traveling or simply cooking for one. There are several types of rice cookers, including portable versions, and some come with accessories or additional cooking features. The best one for you will meet all of your needs and fit your budget.
Before you begin shopping, write down some of the factors which are most important to you. Many individuals take a mini rice cooker to work to make lunch during their break or pack it in their luggage while traveling. Others simply want a small rice cooker because they don't need to make more than a couple of servings of rice at a time. You may also want certain accessories included with your mini rice cooker, like a dual power plug that works with 110 volt and 220 volt outlets or a battery operated option. Whatever your needs, make a note of them.
In addition, think about the features you need in the cooking mechanism of the unit. Some mini rice cookers have multiple settings, some are digital and can be set to customized times, and some can function as water boilers or vegetable warmers. A non-stick coating on the inside of the rice cooker makes the unit much easier to clean. Another useful feature is a fully locking, air tight lid, which speeds up cooking time by reducing moisture loss.
There is a fairly wide price range for rice cookers. Although price doesn't always correlate to quality, typically the cheapest units have fewer features than more expensive models. A mini rice cooker isn't necessarily cheaper than a full-sized rice cooker. There are many models that cost about the same as the intermediately priced full-sized rice cooker. You will probably have to decide what is more important, purchasing the least expensive rice cooker available, or finding a unit that meets all of your needs, even if it is a little more expensive.
The easiest method of comparing products for features and accessories is to search online. Most companies provide item descriptions that include color, weight, size, a list of cooking features, and an image of the unit. Another excellent resource are companies which list reviews of an item from actual consumers. Often, these reviews will highlight keys features or shortcomings in an item that can help you make your final decision.
After comparing products online, try to find a local store that carries the mini cooker of your choice. It is best to look at an item in person before buying. If you cannot find the mini rice cooker in a local store, however, purchase it online. Make sure that the company has a good return policy that allows returns and exchanges and doesn't charge any additional fees for restocking. Many companies also offer free shipping on returns.