Estimate how much rice you are likely to cook at a time. If you regularly cook for one or two people, you will not need a rice cooker with a volume of over 5 cups. To cook rice for a whole family, choose a model that cooks at least 5 cups at once.
Figure out how often you cook rice. If you eat rice several times a week, you should invest a little more money in a high-quality rice cooker, and you will want to look for one with a nonstick bowl so it is easier to clean. Also, look for a one-piece model without a separate lid for easier cleaning.
Look at the storage and counter space available in your kitchen. If you are short on space, go for a more compact model.
Decide if you want a rice cooker that can cook different types of rice, which require different cooking times. The more expensive rice cookers have “fuzzy logic,” meaning they have sensors to adjust heat and moisture levels to perfectly cook every type of rice. Bear in mind that these types of cookers take longer to cook the rice than less expensive models.
Ask yourself if you want your rice cooker to multitask. Some rice cookers have an attachable steam basket so you can cook vegetables, buns and dumplings along with the rice. If you are unlikely to cook these things, don’t bother; the basket will take up unnecessary space in your kitchen.
Figure out how much time you usually have for cooking. Some rice cookers can be programmed to turn on at a set time. If you are often short on time, this is a feature to look for. It enables you to add rice and water in the morning and program the cooker to have the rice ready at dinner time. You may also want a “quick-cook” mode or a cooker that will keep rice warm once it is cooked rather than turning off, allowing more flexibility in cooking time.