Rice has provided sustenance for humans for thousands of years. It only lags behind maize and sugarcane in terms of total worldwide production, and the latter two are used for other purposes besides human consumption. This means that rice is destined to be one of the most important sources of nutrients for humans looking for a healthy diet.
Cooking rice requires constant attention to ensure they turn out fluffy, tasty, and not burnt. This need gave rise to the popularity of rice cookers as they simplified the process with their perfect heat control and efficiency. Having a rice cooker means you have the convenience of automating the cooking so you can do other more important activities. This is enough to propel the rice cooker as a highly valued appliance in the kitchen.
Choosing the correct rice cooker for you and your household is important. Even if they all basically do the same thing, different functions and cooking options from diverse brands may be the difference between a bountiful feast and a mediocre meal.
We will be tackling two competing rice cooker manufacturers in this article with an in-depth analysis of what they offer. This way, you can make the right decision when selecting your rice cooker of choice.
Battle for the best Japanese rice cooker: Zojirushi and Tiger
Everyone loves rice. If they say they don’t, they probably haven’t eaten one cooked from a Japanese rice cooker just yet. Japanese rice cookers produce some of the best-tasting, fluffiest, and perfectly cooked rice that everyone should experience on a daily basis.
The Zojirushi and Tiger brand of rice cookers have always competed for the title of the best rice cooker not only in Japan but also worldwide as they gained popularity over the years. In 2005 alone, there were 85 million rice cookers made and sold globally. But before we explore the Zojirushi and Tiger rice cookers, let us take a deep-dive on both of their histories to better appreciate the art of making the perfect rice.
Before Zojirushi became known as one of the top manufacturers of rice cookers, they first started their business making glass-lined vacuum bottles in 1918. Back then, they were known as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company before rebranding as Kyowa Manufacturing in 1961. Today, they are known as the Zojirushi Corporation and are quite popular not just for rice cookers, but also for their water boilers and warmers, coffee makers, breadmakers, vacuum flasks, and other electric products.
During its 100th anniversary in 2018, Zojirushi celebrated being listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange cementing its legacy as one of the top manufacturing companies in the world. The company’s philosophy of “creating a quality of life” has made it one of the more renowned Japanese companies and the trusted source of great-tasting rice.
Like Zojirushi, Tiger went through multiple re-brandings before establishing as the company that we know today. It was founded in 1923. Presently, the company is known for their stainless steel thermal wares, electric water heaters and kettles, food jars and lunch boxes, other cooking wares, and most especially, their famous rice cookers.
As developments with vacuum insulation technology get better with time, Tiger has created products that have captured the needs of consumers across the world. In fact, they have managed to open subsidiaries in other countries such as the U.S., Vietnam, Taiwan, China, and also Hong Kong, ensuring continued success for the future.
Features of Zojirushi and Tiger rice cookers
Most Zojirushi rice cookers have the ability to double as a steamer. They allow you to steam fish or other similar food items while simultaneously cooking rice. Their latest line of rice cookers uses a new technology called induction heating, which elevates cooking temperatures to their highest levels.
In effect, this results in softer rice that stays that way longer than when prepared using other conventional rice cookers. Essentially, rice that was left overnight on ‘keep-warm mode’ looks and feels like it was cooked just minutes ago.
Although Tiger has yet to release a similar line of technology, they have added a new feature on their rice cookers that enables ‘slow cook mode’, allowing the creation of a variety of soups and stews.
The two manufacturers employ what is known as the ‘fuzzy logic’ cooking option to their rice cookers. Zojirushi calls their artificial intelligence ‘neuro fuzzy’ while Tiger calls it their ‘automatic cooking logic.’ Both Zojirushi and Tiger also have models that feature a bread-making function, adding to their units’ versatility.
Best Zojirushi Rice Cooker
One of the highest-rated Zojirushi rice cookers based on Amazon customer reviews is the NS-TSC10 5-1/2Cup Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1.0 Liter. It has a whopping 4.7 average rating as of 2021. It is no secret that this is a powerhouse rice cooker every household should have to create fluffy and sweet rice everyone will enjoy.
It has the default white rice setting to pair with a delicious main or side dish, or a brown rice menu setting ready to produce delicious rice at a moment’s notice. This rice cooker also includes a steaming basket allowing for a mixture of healthy vegetables, seafood, or other similar offerings. If you are looking to experiment, the rice cooker has a cake menu setting where you can try recipes (supplied in the manual) for sponge cakes or cheesecakes.
The removable inner lid is detachable for easy cleaning while the inner cooking pan is coated with nonstick material to prevent the rice from sticking. You can easily transport the rice cooker as the power cord is retractable. This also allows for easy access and storage.
The LCD display-timer is easy to read with simple clock and timer functions. It utilizes Zojirushi’s excellent fuzzy logic technology and has automatic keep warm, extended keep warm, and reheat functions that other conventional rice cookers simply don’t offer. The interchangeable melody and beep signal are also easily programmable.
The quality of rice that the NS-TSC10 makes handily beats cooking on a stove or in a pot. It’s almost without fault and guarantees fluffy and delicious rice every time.
Alternative Zojirushi Rice Cooker to look out for
- 5-1/2-cup computerized rice cooker and warmer with advanced Neuro Fuzzy logic technology. Wall mountable
- Multi-menu selections; automatic keep-warm, extended keep-warm, and reheat cycles. Electrical Rating - 120 volts / 680 watts
- Spherical, nonstick inner pan allows for uniform heating; LCD clock and timer; retractable cord
- Menu settings include white (regular/sushi, softer or harder), mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, brown, rinse-free and quick cooking
- Measures approximately 14 by 8 by 9 inches; 1-year limited warranty, Dimensions (W x D x H) : 10-1/8 x 13 x 8-1/8 inches
The Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2Cup rice cooker is a good alternative if you’re shopping for a different model. It shares the same fuzzy logic technology as the one mentioned above making the rice cooker ‘think for itself’ and make fine adjustments to its temperature and heating time to cook delicious rice every time.
The spherical design and shape of this rice cooker makes it stand out. It has stay-cool side handles providing even heating. Automatic keep warm, extended keep warm, and reheating cycle functions also exist for this rice cooker. A spatula and its holder and 2 rice-measuring cups for both regular and rinse-free cooking are included upon purchase. You can never go wrong with the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10!
Best Tiger Rice Cooker
Competing against the NS-TSC10 is the Tiger JBV-AU10 5.5Cup rice cooker. It also has high customer ratings from Amazon at 4.6 out of 5 stars as of 2021. This rice cooker has a ‘synchro-cooking’ function allowing the cooking of rice and a main dish at the same time. There is minimal preparation needed for cooking as they can be done at a press of a button. The rice cooker’s logic system analyzes cooking temperatures to create the perfect meal.
If you are wondering how the smell of the dish may affect the rice as it cooks at the same time, this rice cooker has a specially designed plate that separates the flavors from the cooking plate and does not affect the taste and texture of the rice at all. While this may sound gimmicky, it surprisingly performs as advertised. This is a great choice for individuals who are looking for a rice cooker that’s easy to use. The one-push operation allows for both the rice and the dish to be cooked quickly. The inner plate is easily detachable and is dishwasher-friendly.
The Tiger JBV-AU10 5.5Cup rice cooker’s key features include a plain rice setting for fluffy and delicious rice and a brown rice setting for longer water absorption that provides the best cooking results. Other notable settings are its slow cooker for your favorite recipes, and the synchro-cooking function as previously mentioned. Before you know it, your meal is ready in no time.
The rice cooker is easy to clean as its inner pan is coated with non-stick material. Purchase of the product includes a non-stick spatula, cooking plate, measuring cup, and a cookbook for using the synchro-cooking function.
Alternative Tiger Rice Cooker to look out for
- Inner pan with grip handle for easy carry
- Preset cooking timer
- 3 layer metal inner pot
- Detachable inner lid and steam vent cap
If you’re in the market for a Tiger rice cooker, a great alternative choice is the JKT-B10U-C. It shares the same induction heating technology as the previous model. This allows the rice cooker to make precise adjustments in temperature therefore reducing total time when cooking rice.
For short-grain or white rice, the rice cooker has 3 functions. You can select between plain, ultra, and quick. The ultra-setting should bring out the maximum sweetness and stickiness of the rice while the quick-setting will cook the rice in the shortest amount of time.
Its multi-cooking functions include 8 computerized menu settings that even include an oatmeal program. The control panels are displayed in an illuminating LCD and are easily programmable. The pan is coated in 3 layers. Purchase of the product comes with a non-stick spatula, a rice measuring cup, and a ladle. Lastly, Tiger rice cookers are made in Japan so you are assured of their quality and durability.
After going over Zojirushi and Tigers manufacturer’s warranty information, we learned that both give consumers a guarantee of one year. Both brands offer excellent customer service, too. That is why there aren’t a lot of complaints when you browse for their products online. Durability-wise, they both score high in total rice cooker lifespan against conventional ones. Some customers even claim that their rice cookers are still making perfect rice meals even after a decade of use.
The stark edge that Zojirushi has over Tiger is that Zojirushi does not require their customers to register their item after purchase when making a warranty claim. On the other hand, Tiger requires you to register their product to claim a service warranty and even then, it only covers repairs for electrical components. This can be a huge hassle for some people.
Zojirushi offers better service for warranty concerns over Tiger simply because it covers all defects not just the electrical parts. These include the overall workmanship and material defects that may be present during or after purchase. If registering your personal information is not your thing, Zojirushi is the convenient option.
Both Zojirushi and Tiger are great brands that promise you excellent rice cookers. Apart from the neat functions they come with, both brands’ rice cookers have non-stick inner pans to make cleaning a breeze. The Zojirushi rice cooker looks really modern and feels like care was put into its design process because of the elegant finish. The Tiger rice cooker may look somewhat cheap relative to the Zojirushi models. Don’t be fooled by its looks though as it is fairly easy to use and produces similar results when it comes to cooking great tasting rice.
Durability-wise, both the Zojirushi and Tiger line of rice cookers perform well compared to other competing brands. Since the two are both top-notch in the rice cooking department, cooking rice in any of them falls on the same level. While each may have a slightly differing function from another, they both do a really good job when it comes to their respective specialties.
Choosing between the two will not make a huge difference and it’s safe to say that their excellent performance, regardless of their visual appeal, shall produce great results. Researching other manufacturers’ warranty and instructional manuals, however, can be a good way to determine what rice cooker is best for you.