A good quality rice cooker can help the home cook prepare perfectly textured rice with little effort. Several factors can affect the price of a rice cooker, and understanding these factors can help shoppers make an informed decision about which cooker to buy. First of all, capacity and materials usually affect the price of a rice cooker. Other significant determinants of a rice cooker’s price include whether it has steaming capabilities and whether it is programmable. Finally, the price of a rice cooker may also be affected by its safety features.
Often, the cost of a rice cooker is directly proportional to its size. In other words, a small rice cooker will usually be cheaper than a large rice cooker with comparable features. While it may be possible to save money by buying a small cooker, those who will likely need to prepare large quantities of rice at once may find it worthwhile to invest in a bigger cooker.
The materials from which a rice cooker is made can also affect its price. Budget rice cookers tend to include a cooking pan which is made from aluminum, while pricier models come with pans made from nonstick stainless steel or earthenware. One of the main benefits of stainless or earthenware pans is that they tend to be easier to clean than their aluminum counterparts. Lid material can also affect a rice cooker’s price, with transparent glass lids tending to cost more than metal ones.
Steaming capability is another factor that can affect the price of a rice cooker. Some cookers include baskets that can be filled with vegetables or other foods and then suspended inside the cooker, allowing the foods to steam as rice cooks. When deciding whether to spend additional money on a cooker with steaming capability, it can be useful to keep in mind that this feature can simplify meal preparation as well as cleanup.
Programmability also tends to affect the price of a rice cooker. As with cooker size, the number of programmable features a cooker has is often directly proportional to its price. The most basic models may feature nothing more than an on/off button. More expensive cookers can have a range of program options, such as a warming cycle or changeable settings for different varieties of rice.
Lastly, a rice cooker’s price can be influenced by its safety features. While models that do not have any safety features may be inexpensive, it is worth keeping in mind that they may pose a fire hazard. Pricier models may have an automatic shut-off feature, which can minimize the risk of fire, as well as a retractable cord, which can help to keep a cooker out of the reach of small children.