Rice. The perfect side dish. The base for countless recipes across all types of cuisine. This grain takes an entrée and makes it into a meal.
It’s naturally gluten-free, economical, and a great source of energy for home cooks.
The only problem?
It can be surprisingly tricky to get each grain nice and fluffy while keeping that bottom layer from burning or sticking.
Whether you prefer nutritious brown rice, fresh white rice, or sticky sushi rice, rice cookers make it possible to get perfectly cooked rice at the push of a button, every time.
This article will review Tiger vs Zojirushi rice cookers and which one comes out on top for home cooks.
At a Glance
Rest assured that you will get a top-notch rice cooker whether you choose the Tiger or the Zojirushi NP.
While this article will focus on an induction heat (IH rice cooker), both brands offer budget-friendly alternatives. We’ll take a look at those, as well.
On the other hand, if I wanted a budget cooker, I would choose the Tiger JBV-A10U.
Read on to find out why, and for some nice alternatives. (Including some Korean Rice Cookers!)
Things to Consider Before Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
Before we go any further, we should take a moment to look at what makes a Japanese rice cooker worth the extra bucks.
While there are many types of rice cookers on the market, choosing a Japanese rice cooker gives you an advantage. Why do I say that?
Chefs in Japan know a thing or two about rice.
Japanese manufacturers construct their rice cookers to an exacting standard, ensuring top quality in design and performance. The difference in quality between Japanese rice cookers and cheap rice cookers is stark, which also influences the price.
Can I be honest with you?
I would much rather cook rice on the stovetop than waste my money on a cheap, low-grade rice cooker. If you cook many different types of rice or cook rice frequently, you will get more mileage and superior results from a Japanese cooker.
Types of Rice Cookers
When it comes to rice cookers, you will find four common categories, with each offering various features.
Standard rice cookers use electric heating with a coil or plate at the bottom. These rice cookers are most often “one push,” meaning they have one heat setting. These cookers might also include a “keep warm” setting, but not always.
These rice cookers are the most affordable, but they offer limited efficiency and cooking settings.
Fuzzy Logic/ MICOM
When searching for the perfect rice cooker, you might see the labels, “Fuzzy Logic” and “Micom.” What do those terms mean, exactly?
Basically, Fuzzy Logic is a technology programming method that allows machines to mimic human reasoning.
Micom is an abbreviation of micro-computerized, meaning Micom rice cookers are controlled by a microcomputer chip.
Yet there’s more to having a high-tech cooker than its controlling chip. How it heats is also a big factor, as we’ll see next.
An induction rice cooker (IH rice cooker) is the top of the line in terms of performance. The induction heating system uses coils to create a magnetic field inside the rice cooker. The magnetized inner pot reacts and heats up thoroughly and quickly.
So what’s the big deal?
By making the inner pot the heating element, you get perfectly cooked rice every time. No more worrying about uneven cooking–pretty nifty, right?
Induction heat technology also allows the rice cooker to automatically make temperature adjustments based on the cooking settings, a welcome safeguard against overcooking rice.
Another bonus? Induction heat rice cookers work more quickly than other types of rice cookers, meaning you can get that delicious rice dish to the table in less time.
Induction cooking operates on the same scientific principles as wireless charging. (Obviously don’t try to charge your phone on an induction cooker!) There’s a good chance that, as it becomes more efficient, all cookware moves towards being induction based.
Although a pressure cooker is not technically a rice cooker, per se, many people use them for cooking different types of rice. These appliances use high-pressure steam to cook food in a short amount of time.
Check out this video to understand more:
Some of the newest rice cookers even combine the pressure cooking method with their induction heat technology, but these come with a premium price tag.
I don’t think this is necessary for cooking rice. A pressure cooker that also cooks rice? Great–more versatility! A rice cooker that also uses pressure? Not worth the extra cost!
Keep Warm Function
Have you ever burned rice because you lost track of time and cooked it way too long?
No? Just me?
Having a “keep warm” function is crucial in order to avoid overcooking rice. This is especially handy when you are cooking a meal with multiple dishes and varied cooking times.
In my opinion, coordinating cooking times is one of the hardest aspects of preparing a meal. Nobody wants their rice to go cold waiting for other dishes to finish cooking.
That’s where the “keep warm” function comes into play. I can cook my rice first and let it stay warm while preparing entrées or vegetables. That way all the food gets to the table at the right temperature.
While many rice cookers come with a warming setting, my favorites have an automatic “keep warm” function that kicks in as soon as the cooking ends.
In my younger days, I tried to cook brown rice for the same length of time as white rice.
The result was inedible. Yuck!
Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about the different types of rice and how to cook them.
The time and process for rice porridge or oatmeal is not the same as brown rice. Jasmine rice is different from short-grain white rice.
Do you like to pre-soak your rice to bring out the maximum texture and flavor? Do you sometimes need to skip the soaking in order to make dinner quickly? A rice cooker with multiple settings can handle all those variables.
If you crave simplicity, there are “one-push” options that cook everything the same way. These cookers cannot handle variety with the same precision, but they are easy to use.
Rice cooker models come in a variety of sizes. One thing to note is that the rice measuring cups included with rice cookers do not correlate with the standard measuring cup (250 mL). These cups equate to approximately 3/4 cups (180 mL).
The rice cooker volumes I refer to in this article will be the rice measuring cups.
A 3 cup (0.5 liter) cooker is good for smaller portions. A 6 cup (1.0 liter) cooker can feed a typical family of four, plus maybe a guest or two. The larger 10-cup (1.8 liters) and 20-cup (3.6 liters) cookers are better for crowds or for batch cooking.
Ease of Use & Cleaning
As with all kitchen appliances, you want a rice cooker that is easy to use and easy to clean. If a rice cooker doesn’t tick both of those boxes, I’m not going to use it. Period.
And since I’m guessing you might feel the same way, you will want to consider how easy a rice cooker is to use and clean before purchasing it.
Something important to note is that many rice cookers are not dishwasher safe. The inner pot will tarnish or flake. If the rice cooker has adequate construction, however, hand washing should be relatively painless.
Rice cooker models come in a variety of looks and colors. The exterior materials range from plastic all the way to stainless steel. While most are circular, some have a more elongated shape.
Product Reviews- Tiger vs. Zojirushi
When it comes to rice cooker brands, two that consistently rise to the top are Zojirushi and Tiger. Both brands make their products in Japan, with a U.S. subsidiary arm. Tiger and Zojirushi are favorites among rice cooking connoisseurs.
Ready for the Zojirushi vs Tiger battle? Let’s begin.
This Tiger rice cooker features a non stick inner cooking pot, a detachable inner lid and steam vent cap, and menu functions for multiple rice types. Many customers praise how well this rice cooker performs, as well as how easy to clean the inner pot is.
I like the delay timer for cooking rice ahead of time. With the ability to keep rice warm for up to 24 hours, this Tiger rice cooker can fit your busy schedule.
The Tiger rice cooker has an “Ultra,” “Plain,” and “Quick” timer function. The “Ultra” setting includes a soak time to bring out the maximum flavor, so it will take you over an hour to cook a full batch of rice.
Some customers have complained about how long it takes to cook the rice in the Tiger rice cooker.
- Made in Japan
- Automatic “keep warm” function
- Delay timer function
- Ultra setting with soak time for max sweetness
- Attractive beige stainless steel color
- More expensive than other brands
- No retractable power cord
This Zojirushi rice cooker and warmer has a sleek look in dark gray stainless steel. This Zojirushi features induction heat (IH) technology, multiple cooking options, and a detachable inner lid.
Zojirushi recommends washing the inner lid after each use to avoid tarnishing and mold.
This Zojirushi rice cooker features a specific setting for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) brown rice. This sprouted brown rice is touted for its potential health benefits.
Like Tiger, the Zojirushi NP has a non-stick inner pan and includes a rice paddle and measuring cup.
- Made in Japan
- Washable inner lid
- Delay timer function
- Sushi rice and GABA brown rice settings
- Less expensive than Tiger
- No handles on the inner pot
- No retractable power cord
Tiger vs. Zojirushi: A Comparison
Now that we’ve looked separately at these rice cookers, let’s run through a breakdown comparison. Zojirushi vs. Tiger: Which one will prevail?
Both the Tiger and Zojirushi rice cookers are high-performing. Their induction heating (IH) technology ensures evenly cooked rice every time. When it comes to quality, you can’t go wrong with either one.
While both the Tiger and Zojirushi rice cookers have non stick inner pots, the Tiger pot features grip handles on the sides, making it easier for you to carry the pot. The Zojirushi rice cooker does not have any handles.
Winner: Tiger Rice Cooker
Both the Tiger and the Zojirushi rice cooker have multiple cooking options for different types of rice.
The Tiger cooking options include an ultra, plain, quick, and mixed setting. It also has settings for jasmine rice, brown rice, rice porridge, and steel-cut oatmeal.
The Zojirushi rice cooker has a white and rice setting with texture options, as well as settings for jasmine rice, sushi rice, sweet rice, rice porridge, brown and GABA brown rice.
Both have the important keep warm function.
Although these two rice cookers are comparable in price, the Zojirushi rice cooker is usually more affordable than the Tiger. Remember, prices can vary, so it’s worth checking them both out.
Winner: Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Product Reviews- Tiger vs. Zojirushi on a Budget
Do you want the benefits of these brands without the steep price tag? Both Tiger and Zojirushi offer alternative rice cookers that are easier on your wallet.
It’s Zojirushi vs. Tiger on a budget. Let’s jump right in.
This Tiger rice cooker features four cook settings for brown, plain, slow-cooking, and synchro-cooking.
The JBV-A10U is a Fuzzy Logic cooker that uses microcomputer chip (Micom) technology to make cooking a simple, “one-push” process.
- Easy to use
- Includes steamer basket
- Multi-dish synchro cooking option
- More affordable than the Tiger IH rice cooker
- Made in China
- Does not have separate settings for rice porridge or sushi rice
- Traditional heating element (not induction)
The Zojirushi NS is a conventional “one-push” rice cooker. It can handle up to 10 cups (1.8 liters), a larger capacity than the Tiger.
- Easy to use
- Triple heater for even cooking
- Larger capacity of 1.8 liters (10 cups)
- More affordable than Zojirushi IH cooker
- Does not have separate cooking functions
- Traditional heating element (not induction)
Zojirushi vs. Tiger: Comparing the Budget Options
While I did not find a large gap in the cost of these options, there are a few features that differ between the two.
The Zojirushi rice cooker has a larger capacity than the Tiger. If you’re cooking a lot of rice, you might prefer the larger volume of the Zojirushi. However, the Tiger’s 5.5-cup (1 liter) capacity will easily serve a family of four.
Another distinction is that the Zojirushi is a traditional electric cooker, while the Tiger option has fuzzy logic Micom technology for more precise cooking. In this category, the Tiger gets the advantage.
The Tiger cooker has more functions available, with four settings. It also includes a steamer basket. The Zojirushi, on the other hand, only has one setting: cook. Both the Zojirushi and Tiger do include a warming function.
What Are the Alternatives?
Don’t fancy the Zojirushi rice cooker and not convinced by Tiger? Maybe Japanese rice cookers aren’t for you?
Cuckoo is a Korean brand that has specialized in rice cookers and kitchenware for over 40 years.
This fuzzy logic Micom model can cook up to 1 liter of rice. It comes in a bright pink and white exterior. Customers loved the cooking performance of the Cuckoo, but some had issues with condensation and water spewing out of their rice cookers.
- Bright pink color (if that’s your thing)
- Bright pink color (if that’s not your thing)
- Not induction
- Some customers complained of water spills
If you want a high-end deluxe rice cooker, this Cuckoo cooker features pressurized induction heating and Micom technology, voice navigation in three languages, and an auto steam cleaning option.
- Stainless steel steam vent
- Auto-cleaning option
- Voice navigation & LED menu options
- Sleek dark gray exterior
- Not as affordable as Tiger and Zojirushi
Japanese Rice Cooker Battles: Tiger or Zojishuri NP?
The bottom line? The best rice cooker for you depends on your use and preference.
I like the Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH rice cooker. This Zojirushi rice cooker works well, is easy to use, and not too pricey. It isn’t pressurized, but then rice cookers don’t need to be.
Best Budget Japanese Rice Cooker
For those who want a reliable budget rice cooker without a lot of bells and whistles, I would go with the Tiger JBV-A10U. This option is good for your budget without sacrificing performance.
Best Deluxe Rice Cooker
If you’re looking to splurge on a posh rice cooker, the Cuckoo CRP-DHSR0609FD is first-rate. Just remember it’s not a Japanese rice cooker.