If you grew up with a rice cooker, you’ll agree that cooking rice on a traditional top is considered backward now. Not only it’s a waste of valuable stovetop real estate but also trickier to get perfectly cooked rice the traditional way. They will get soggy if you boil them for a few extra seconds.
Buying a rice cooker is a game-changer that makes you perfectly cooked fluffy rice every time without much effort. All you have to do is pop in the rice, the required amount of water, and press a few buttons.
Although, rice cookers are deemed as a necessity and a must-have gadget in your kitchen but the extravagant price tag attached with them. Secondly, a rice cooker is not the first thing people want to spend money on, especially when you are living alone or with a partner. It’s mostly considered a luxury that only big families need and can afford to pay for.
Best Budget/Cheap Rice Cooker Reviews and Buying Guide
With the ever-expanding market of rice cookers, more and more manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and introducing their finest offerings considering all types of consumers. So if you are looking for a rice cooker, there are many options in the market with a lower price tag, perfect for those who do not want to spend a lot.
A little research and you can find a budget rice cooker that cooks well and offer all the features you need to prepare other dishes of your inclinations. When we talk about the best cheap rice cookers, we mean cheap in terms of budget not quality since the market offers all sorts of options that may look fancy but at the end, they fail to live up to the expectations of the end-user. We have carefully checked the web to analyze the best brands offering rice cookers with amazing features and impressive performance suitable for a tight budget.
Our top Pick:
Aroma Housewares ARC-954SBD Rice Cooker is a great rice cooker that features a 4 cup (Uncooked) rice capacity. Equipped with multiple features, you can perform various tasks including steam, slow cook, sauté then simmer and cook white rice, brown rice, quinoa, and a quick rice feature comes in handy when you have to get the job done quickly. It’s kept warm and a delay timer is another useful feature that let you cook in comfort and convenience.
With the overwhelming choices available, it’s like finding a needle in the haystack. To share your burden, we have narrowed down the research and created a list of 10 best budget rice cookers to choose from. Now this will make things easier for you!
Let’s check the products one by one!
1. Aroma Housewares ARC-954SBD Rice Cooker
For its beautiful design, ease of use, and the fluffy rice it produces, the Aroma Housewares ARC-954SBD rice cooker is by far the best budget rice cooker available on Amazon. Not only white rice, but you can also use it to make perfectly cooked brown rice as well as other grains. Beyond that, it has a food steamer and slow cook feature and can prepare 8 cups of restaurant-quality rice.
With the steamer function, you can steam vegetables, meats while the rice cooks below, perfect for one pot meals. With 8 preset programs you can cook a variety of meals with ease. Other than white rice you can cook brown rice, quinoa, and in case you are in a rush its quick rice functionality comes in pretty handy. Besides cooking rice, you can steam, slow cook, sauté then simmer, prepare oatmeal, soup, and much more. The intuitive controls are easy to read, understand and operate without any special guidance.
Once the meal is ready, its keep warm feature will come into action and keeps the meal warm at serving temperature for several hours so you don’t have to worry about re-heating your rice again and again. For flexible meal planning, there is a 15 hours delay timer. Toss in the ingredients set it, and forget it.
The inner pot has a non-stick coating that prevents rice from burning and sticking, hence cleaning is a breeze. Upon purchase, you get a steam tray, rice measuring cup, and a serving spatula. You get everything in the package you need, so you are all set. For more check out Best Aroma Rice Cooker Reviews here!
2. BLACK+DECKER RC506 Rice Cooker (6-Cup Cooked)
Black+Decker has the ability to make the process of preparing daily meals as comfortable as possible. RC506 6 cup (Cooked) rice cooker lets you prepare great quality of rice without a fuss. The model comes with very basic and simple controls.
The rice cooker RC506 is just the perfect size neither too big nor too small. It comes with a food steaming tray which comes in handy for cooking one-pot meal. You simply toss your vegetables, meat, fish or anything in and cook them simultaneously while the rice cooks below. The cooking cycle takes hardly 25-30 minutes and you get an entire meal for you and your loved ones.
It turns off automatically once the cooking cycle is complete. A keep warm feature kicks in and keeps the rice warm at serving temperature – ready to eat when you want! The clear glass lid lets you have a look while food is cooked.
Apart from convenient cooking, it makes cleaning a breeze too. The inner bowl is non stick coated and completely removable for easy cleaning. No more scrubbing the pot to get rid of food residue because non stick coating prevents food from burning or sticking.
Overall, Black Decker RC506 6 cup (cooked) rice cooker is not the heaviest contender but it does the job well. Since it’s an entry level rice cooker so you should not expect advanced features of Zojirushi rice cooker. The simple design looks good on any kitchen counter and the price is extremely affordable. For more check out Black & Decker Rice Cooker Reviews!
3. Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer
Available in 5 vibrant colors, this Dash mini rice cooker and steamer can cook not just rice but oatmeal, stew, soup, quinoa, and pasta. It is a well-designed, compact and portable rice cooker with 2 cup (uncooked) capacity and comes with a keep warm feature. The easy-to-use interface makes it easy to setup for a novice.
The small and compact size of the Dash Mini Rice Cooker makes it convenient to carry around. The small size fits well on a small kitchen counter where you have space at the premium. Also, it makes the storage easy. You can enjoy home-cooked meals outside the comfort of your home. Plus, being lightweight and compact sets you free from worries if you have to move or remodel your home.
The functions of Dash mini rice cookers are similar to those of Black+Decker RC506 except Black Decker has 6 cup capacity. With one on/off switch and two indicator lights, the cooker is pretty easy to operate. Once the cooking cycle completes, the cooker turns off and the keep warm feature kicks in with a light indicator. It can keep your meals warm for several hours to be consumed later.
Upon purchase you get a Dash mini rice cooker including a rice paddle, measuring cup, removable pot with PFOA-free non-stick coating, and a recipe book. Dash mini rice cooker and steamer is a must-have for a small apartment, kitchen, RV, or college dorm. With less than a 20$ price tag, the rice cooker offers great value.
4. Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cup uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker
Mirama Enterprises Inc. aka Aroma Housewares is a reputed brand manufacturing quality yet affordable kitchen appliances for years. Aroma ARC-150SB looks good and prepares great-tasting fluffy rice. Other than white rice, it has a separate button for brown rice, settings for steaming food, slow cook, keep warm, delay timer and a power button to start with.
The rice cooker features a huge 20 cups (cooked) capacity which makes it suitable for a big family or a small gathering of people. A rice cooker with this capacity is not recommended for a single person or a couple as well.
The controls are very simple to understand and the cooker is easy to operate. The buttons are clearly labeled with the functions that enable you to set the timer, select the function with convenience. The ‘flash rice’ key is the new upgrade for people in a rush. It lets you have a bowl of rice in a jiffy.
It has a plastic steamer basket for steaming veggies, meat or whatever is that you wish to have for dinner. You can steam vegetables while the rice is cooking below without affecting the taste of one another. If you do not wish to cook rice but only steam veggies, add some water, put in the steam tray with the veggies or meat to steam and press the steam button. Pretty simple huh!
Overall, aroma ARC-150SB is equipped with almost all the features of a modern rice cooker minus the MICOM or Fuzzy Logic that you often get in Best Korean Rice Cookers. Thousands of Aroma rice cooker reviews on Amazon are evident that the appliance has satisfied its consumers across the globe.
5. Aroma Housewares ARC-753SG Stainless Rice Cooker & Warmer
Aroma Houseware ARC 753SG is another budget option from Aroma. It looks more like a replica of Dash mini rice cooker except the capacity. This stainless steel 3 cup (Uncooked) rice cooker can prepare a maximum 6 cups of white rice in its stainless steel cooking bowl.
The hallmark feature of the ARC 753SG rice cooker is its stainless steel inner pot made out of food-grade stainless steel material hence no aluminum or non-stick Teflon coating to worry about. The single switch operation is pretty easy and anybody can cook using the appliance.
Although, stainless steel cooking pot is incredibly healthy to cook in it’s a little annoying to clean when the rice sticks to the bowl. To make cleaning easy, let it soak in warm water for few minutes before cleaning.
Like most rice cookers, it turns off automatically once the cooking cycle is complete. It has light indicators to let you know what mode the rice cooker is functioning at. The keep-warm feature is automatic and keeps the food warm for several hours at optimal temperature so you don’t have to worry about reheating every time you need to eat.
If you are one of those who are conscious about harmful chemicals mixing in your meals from non-stick coating, stainless steel is a satisfying factor. Home-cooked healthy meals hassle-free and at a very affordable price!
6. Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker and Steamer (37518)
Hamilton Beach is a well-known brand from the USA manufacturing quality cookware for years and Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker and Steamer is a very affordable rice cooker having many of the same features as premium rice cooker models from Cuckoo or Zojirushi Rice Cookers.
The rice cooker has a stainless steel body and a compact design that will not require a lot of space on your kitchen counter. However, the small appliance is packed with rich features making it versatile. You can cook rice, whole grains, hot cereals, steam vegetables, and much more with single appliance.
With the steaming tray, you can prepare steamed seafood, poultry, or vegetables while the rice cooks below. It’s a perfect way to get your one-pot meals ready in a jiffy. Rinsing the rice before cooking helps create a fine taste and its simple to do with the added steam basket with the rice cooker.
The simple-to-understand user interface lets you control the appliance with ease. Whatever you wish to cook, all you have to do is toss in the ingredients, and press the corresponding button. Once the meal is ready, it will keep it warm at serving temperature until you are ready to eat.
Hamilton beach 4 Cup (Uncooked) rice cooker prepares restaurant-quality 8 cups (cooked) rice. Besides comfortable cooking, cleaning is as smooth as butter due to all the parts being dishwasher safe.
7. Aroma Housewares Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Aroma Houseware pot style rice cooker and steamer is a no-frills, not-so-fancy rice cooker that can cook 1-3 cups uncooked rice (2-6 cups cooked rice) which is more than enough for 1-3 persons depending on how much you eat.
The rice cooker has a simple design with only one button to turn it on/off and two indicator lights that tells the status of rice. Push the button down to initiate the cooking cycle. The steam vent hole in the lid may bubble with starchy water so we recommend rinsing the rice a few times before cooking.
The rice cooker’s outer surface and the lid get hot during cooking, so be careful while handling the cooker. Once the cooking cycle completes, the switch pops back and activates the keep warm mode. Its not a great idea to keep the rice on keep warm mode for a long time, it will eventually overcook the rice. Unplug the rice cooker after the cooking cycle completes.
Like its simple appearance, cleaning too is pretty simple. The glass lid, steam basket, cooking pot, cup and rice spatula all are dishwasher friendly. Please note, the rice measuring cup is 6 ounces not a standard 8-ounce cup. You might want to keep that in mind while you measure rice.
With an Aroma Houseware pot style rice cooker, it takes usually 20 minutes to cook 1 cup of rice, 25 minutes for two cups, and half an hour for 3 cups of rice. You can steam vegetables, meat or anything of your taste simultaneously while the rice cooks below. A complete solution for your one pot delicious meals!
8. Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker with Steam Tray
Oster 6 Cup rice cooker with steam tray is a doppelganger of Aroma Housewares Pot Style Rice Cooker, the only difference is the price. It is expensive than Aroma pot style rice cooker. It cooks perfect 6 cups of rice enough for 2-3 people. The cooker has an aluminum steaming basket for steaming veggies.
Oster 6 cup rice cooker has a non stick coating which makes cleaning super easy. But we suggest not using any metal utensil for plating the rice of scrub the pot too hard as it will ruin the nonstick coating. There are markings inside the cooking bowl for convenient water measurement.
For accurate measurement use the included measuring cup to measure rice as well as the water. The measuring cup has 6 ounces capacity, little smaller than the standard US 8 ounce cup. With the included aluminum steaming basket you can steam vegetables while rice cooks below but there will not be ample space to cook the max amount of rice.
The steamer basket can hold enough veggies for one person but not for the family so if you are cooking for the family you may have to cook in batches. Or get a larger rice cooker with a large capacity to steam enough for entire family.
The Oster CKSTRCMS65 3-cup (Uncooked) rice cooker and food steamer is an affordable rice cooker that doesn’t have much to offer in terms of advanced features and functionality. But for a person or two, it is perfect to cook one pot meals, oatmeal, steamed vegetables, Frittatas, Mashed potatoes, Banana Bread, Hard-boiled eggs and much more. You can check other Oster Rice Cookers here
9. Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
Zojirushi is one of the best Japanese rice cooker manufacturer. They are well known for their advanced and sophisticated rice cookers equipped with innovative design and tech. Zojirushi NHS-06 3 cup (Uncooked) rice cooker is one of the simplest forms Zojirushi Corporation featuring easy to use single switch control, a see-through glass lid and a stay-cool knob for comfortable handling.
The stay-cool handle of the rice cooker makes it easy to transport the rice cooker from the stovetop to the dining table. The nonstick coating makes cleaning smooth and easy.
Zojirushi takes the babysitting and guesswork out of the cooking, just set it for forget it! The rice will be ready in no time and the appliance will shut off automatically and turn its keep warm feature on to keep the rice at serving temperature for several hours.
With no complicated navigation menus, programmable settings, or preset features, the device is super easy to operate. Once the cooking cycle completes, do not keep the rice on keep-warm mode else you will have an overcooked layer at the bottom. Unplug the appliance and enjoy delicious and aromatic rice hassle-free.
For a bigger and advanced rice cooker you may check Best Zojirushi Rice Cooker Reviews here!
10. IMUSA USA GAU-00011 Electric Nonstick Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are convenient and helpful when you have a busy lifestyle. With IMUSA USA GAU 00011 electric nonstick rice cooker, you can prepare your favorite rice dishes, veggies, and much more. Don’t have time for breakfast? Cook delicious and healthy oatmeal in a jiffy.
The small size doesn’t take much space on the counter and easy to store. It is a perfect pick if you are living single or with your partner. The design fits well with any kitchen theme. Also, it’s available with larger cooking capacity of 5 cups and 8 cups.
IMUSA 3-cup rice cooker and warmer is an energy-efficient appliance, cooks faster hence reduce energy consumption significantly. With IMUSA, rice comes out perfect and evenly cooked every time. The cleaning is easy without having to rub and scrub thanks to its non-stick coating.
Inside the package you get a measuring cup, a serving spoon and of course the rice cooker. Overall, it is a durable, elegant and simple to operate rice cooker with a very affordable price tag.
Best Cheap Rice Cookers: Buyers’ Guide
In today’s fast-paced world cooking rice the conventional and traditional way (Boiling in a pot on a gas stove) is not ideal anymore. Since we all have jobs to do, matters to take care of and we love to spend our spare time relaxing and catching up with our loved ones so nobody wants to spend hours by the stove cooking rice.
On the other hand, eating outside every day gets boring and monotonous, also it cost a lot and the food is not healthy like home-made delicious meals. With the rice cookers, you can cook meals at home quickly and easily without spending hours by the stove and sink.
Having a rice cooker makes things pretty easy, just put all the ingredients in the pot, push a few buttons to initiate the cooking cycle. Sit back and relax while the appliance will take care of the cooking. Once your rice dish is ready, you will be informed with a beep and the device will shut off automatically. That’s the comfort level we are talking about here, grab a bowl of fluffy rice in less than 20 minutes.
What to Look for in a Budget Rice Cooker?
Usually, people are of the opinion that a budget rice cooker or a rice cooker with a low price does not perform well. That’s not true at all. There are highly dependable and functional rice cookers in the market that anyone can afford to have. Although, they do not have the features of a super-advanced programmable rice cooker yet they perform the task of cooking rice real well. Here are some of the basic features that you will have in a cheap rice cooker.
First and foremost, you should know how many cups of rice you’d be cooking per cooking cycle. Secondly a cheap rice cooker doesn’t mean it is small. There are big rice cookers with s small price tag that you can buy for your kitchen. For a small family, a rice cooker with 2-3 cup uncooked rice would be great. For a family of more than 3, you may consider a cooker with 4-6 cup uncooked rice capacity. If you host family gatherings and parties regularly, it would be nice to go for a rice cooker with large cooking capacity like 16 and 20 cups cooked rice.
Basic & Simple
The basic and main purpose of getting a rice cooker is to help you cook daily meals quickly. While you search for a cheap rice cooker, find the one that has simple operations. Most basic rice cookers make the task easy as tossing the ingredients in the pot and pushing down a single on/off button to initiate the cooking cycle. Also, they have a keep warm feature to keep the rice warm for several hours.
Some are equipped with a digital LCD display where you find a range of cooking options and preset cooking menus. They let you cook a variety of meals with convenience. If you are looking for more versatility and high-end cooking features, there are rice cookers that work as slow cookers, steamer, air fryers, and more. If you need a high-end rice cooker you may check Zojirushi rice cookers, Cuckoo rice cookers or you may find a suitable option from our best rice cooker reviews.
Just because you are looking for a budget rice cooker doesn’t mean you should grab whatever you find or you have to settle for poor quality material and functions. The market has a plenty of budget rice cookers made out of high end material. They are as durable as any other premium and expensive rice cookers. Also, check for cooking pot with non-stick coating to prevent scratches. Cookers made of stainless steel are the most durable, healthy and convenient to clean.
Don’t forget to check the included accessories in the package. Most rice cooker packages come with measuring cup, cooking pot, spatula or rice paddle. These accessories are something that you will need while cooking rice every time. Also note that do not use any cup for measuring rice as the added measuring cups are especially designed for rice cookers.
Some of the brands offer more accessories such as steaming baskets, rice washers, rice storage container and recipe books. Buying a rice cooker with essential accessories will help you cook conveniently. Also, you will not have to buy any accessories separately on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best affordable rice cooker?
Considering the features, functions, and versatility it has to offer, Aroma Housewares ARC-954SBD Rice Cooker is one of the best cheap rice cookers available on the market. Other than rice cooker, it works as a slow cooker and steamer. You can sauté and simmer, cook oatmeal, white rice, brown rice, quinoa and its quick rice feature lets you have a bowl of delicious rice in a flash.
Which is the best rice cooker to buy?
There are plenty of well known brands manufacturing some of the best rice cookers available in the market with Zojirushi and Cuckoo on top of the game. Cuckoo has been manufacturing some of the most innovative rice cookers with tons of stunning features. They can replace multiple appliances and serve the purpose well. Some of the best rice cookers are as follow:
- Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
- Zojirushi NP-NWC10XB Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer
- Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
- Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
- Cuckoo CRP-DHSR0609FD Multifunctional and Programmable Electric Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker
- Cuckoo CR-0631F 6-cup Multifunctional Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer
Are budget rice cookers worth it?
People often think a cheap rice cooker wouldn’t last long, or they may underperform as compared to expensive and high end rice cookers. Well it is true to some extent but some of the brands are manufacturing quality rice cookers with an affordable price tag.
Although they don’t have all the advanced features and innovative technology like Fuzzy logic or MICOM Technology but they cook rice, quinoa, oatmeal and steam veggies and they do it well. So yes, budget rice cookers from reputed brands are worth the investment and they can last for years if well maintained.
The taste and aroma of meals when you cook traditional way is matchless but it’s kinda hard to spend few hours by the stove and sink every day hence these wonderful kitchen appliances come to the rescue. While certainly there are premium quality, high end and advanced rice cookers in the market, you don’t have to pay a lot to get the benefit of convenience, and comfort of a rice cooker. Any of the above-reviewed budget rice cookers can make the process of cooking pleasant and easy from prep to cleaning the pot.
These appliances allow you to save time, effort, energy without going out of your budget. The appliances mentioned above rank high and are best sellers on Amazon with impressive views and approximately 5-star ratings from thousands of content users around the globe. Grab one and have a fluffy bowl of rice right away!