For ages, people have always looked for ways to make their outdoor spaces more appealing by using flowers and flowerpots in all their different designs. But now, any user will tell you how there’s nothing quite as pleasing as having all your greenery overflowing from a beautifully aged whine barrel container. The piece itself is decorative, only to combine with the greenery to add that extra charm to your patio, or balcony backyard, or wherever.
Barrel planters are often made of different variations of wood, but manufacturers have been using other alternative materials like heavy plastic and resin. The antique-looking barrels make excellent containers for small plants and dwarf trees and can also be used for small plants like blueberries, bell peppers and watermelons. They come in different sizes too, and although their natural shape makes them ready to plant, you can customize them into other beautiful shapes and designs. Like you’d find half barrels coming latched together using galvanized steel, ultimately making them larger for the bigger plants.
Choosing a poor quality barrel may not quite give you the value you desire for your money. For this reason, we have compiled a list of some of the best barrel planters to add a rustic look to your outdoor space.
Top 10 Rice Cookers Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Instant Pot Duo 8 QuartBest Rice Cooker with Stainless Steel Pot
Any home cook knows all about the Instant Pot. It is, after all, one of the greatest inventions for home cooking. It replaces 7 different kitchen appliances, saving you a whole lot of space on your countertop. This model doesn’t only function as a rice cooker (and a good one at that), it also functions of pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sautes, and yogurt maker. It comes with 10 safety features, 12 pre-set temperatures, dual pressure settings, and easy one-touch controls. You can even enjoy Alexa guided cooking with this one.
The Instant Pot comes in 3 sizes 3, 6, and 8 quarts. However, there are drawbacks. The rubber seal tends to absorb smells. The cord is a bit short. Also, the rice button is only for regular white rice. You’ll need to customize the settings if you want to cook other types of rice such as Basmati and brown rice.
- 7-in-1 appliance
- 10 safety measures
- 12 pre-set temperatures
- Rubber seal tends to absorb smells
- Short cord
- No one-touch button for other types of rice
2. Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker & Food SteamerBest Rice Cooker for Brown Rice
If you want something more basic than the Instant Pot, you can opt for the Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker & Food Steamer. This rice cooker has a 2 to 8 cup capacity and is able to cook both white and brown rice. It even has a Flash Rice function which cuts cooking time by up to 50% for those nights when you’re in a hurry. Families on-the-go will love that this has a 15-hour delay timer which enables you to set the rice cooker to start only when you’re on your way home from work. Once the rice is cooked, the unit automatically goes to ‘Keep Warm’ mode. The unit also comes with a steam tray so you can cook your meals all in one appliance. Plus, you get a two-year warranty.
However, it isn’t easy to clean. The lid does not separate from the base and sometimes require cleaning. Also, the steamer takes up a lot of space inside the pot, limiting you to only 2 cups of cooked rice inside. Also, the inner pot doesn’t have a cutout or handle that makes it easy to remove while it’s hot. And the “8 cups” that the manufacturer claims are not really 8 full cups. It’s about 3/4ths of a cup which means this is not ideal for big families.
- Easy to use
- 2-year warranty
- 15-hour delay timer
- A bit difficult to clean
- The steam tray takes up too much space
- Not for large families.
3. Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer
The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer does the cooking for you through the use of Fuzzy Logic technology. It will make adjustments on temperature and heating time to produce perfectly cooked rice every time. It has a capacity of 5.5 cups of uncooked rice which roughly translates to 10 cups of cooked rice. You can use this to cook different kinds of rice such as semi-brown, brown, rinse-free, and sushi rice. You can even use this to cook fried rice just by adding in seasonings and additional ingredients and choosing the right setting – mixed rice. Other settings include the automatic keep warm, extended keep warm, and reheating cycle.
The unit comes with an extra large color LCD display, a programmable delay timer with 2 settings, and a retractable power cord. Plus, you can even choose the sound of the beep which lets you know when the rice is done. However, replacement parts like the inner bowl are expensive. It takes quite a while to cook the rice. Also, you need to send the entire unit for servicing once the built-in battery for the timer and clock runs out. There’s no other way to replace it.
- Different texture settings
- Programmable beep and delay timer
- Retractable power cord
- Can’t replace the built-in battery yourself
- Replacement parts are expensive
- Takes longer to cook the rice
4. Sistema Microwave Collection Rice Cooker
If you don’t want a new appliance taking up space on your precious counter, then you might be interested in this rice cooker. The Sistema Microwave Collection Rice Cooker is made of 100% virgin plastic which is phthalate- and BPA-free. The unit is also freezer-safe and top-rack dishwasher-safe. You can use it to cook rice, polenta, and couscous. There’s no tech involved. Just put the grain in, add water, put the lid on, and then place it in the microwave.
The lid is cool to touch and features easy-lift tabs. However, it does take a bit of trial and error in order to produce your kind of rice. It only has a small capacity – no more than 3 cups of uncooked rice. Otherwise, the water will spill over while cooking and make a mess in your microwave. Also, this is not ideal for cooking brown rice.
- 100% virgin plastic
- Top-rack dishwasher safe
- Cool to touch
- Trial and error to get the perfect rice
- Small capacity
- Not for brown rice
5. Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W Rice CookerBest Rice Cooker for White Rice
The Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W Rice Cooker might look like your average rice cooker but it provides a lot more value than that. It features 4 cook settings – plain rice, brown rice, slow cooking/steam, and synchrony-cooking. It has a non-stick coated inner pan that’s easy to clean, a cooking plate, non-stick spatula, and a measuring cup. This one of the best rice cookers even comes with a cookbook to teach you how to use the “Synchrony-cooking” function. This function enables you to cook rice in the inner pot and cook the rest of your meal using the cooking plate.
Cooking rice in this unit is very easy, not to mention fast. However, the lid opens fast as well which causes water from the steam to splash everywhere. Also, there’s no audible alert to tell you that the rice is done. And the slow cook function is only for soups and stews that can be cooked for two hours or less.
- 4 cook settings
- Includes a cookbook
- Easy to use
- Slow cook is only good for 2 hours
- No audible alert
- Lid opens too fast; splashes water everywhere
6. Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & WarmerBest Rice Cooker for Oatmeal
The Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer is not your average rice cooker. It’s also not a multi-tasking rice cooker. So why the high price? Because this unit uses the best technology there is to cook rice – induction heating. Instead of heating just the bottom to cook rice, this technology ensures even distribution of heat and greater precision.
Aside from the technology, one of the best rice cookers has a variety of cooking functions to enable you to cook different types of rice from plain to GABA brown and porridge to scorch setting. The latter toast your rice to a crispy golden brown. The LCD is large and easy to read. It features a clock as well as a delay timer. The detachable stainless steel inner lid makes cleanup so easy. However, cooking rice does take time and the bowl gets easily scratched.
- Induction heating technology
- Various rice/texture settings
- Easy to clean
- Very expensive
- Cooking rice takes time
- Bowl gets easily scratched
7. Hamilton Beach (37548) Rice CookerBest Rice Cooker with Timer
The Hamilton Beach (37548) Rice Cooker is perfect for large families who love rice. It has a 14 cup capacity, enabling you to cook between 2 to 14 cups of cooked rice or whole grains. You can use it to cook one-pot meals such as steamed veggies or seafood, soup, beans, grits, and hot cereal. It has a delayed start so you can have your breakfast cooked as you wake up. The steam basket doubles as a rice rinser. And once the rice is cooked, the unit automatically shifts to the warm setting. However, it tends to crisp the bottom of the rice if you’re only doing 2 cups. The measuring line for water is hard to see for some users. And the instructions are poorly written.
- Large capacity
- Automatic warm setting
- Cooks one pot meals
- Crisps the bottom when you cook only 2 cups
- The measuring line for water may be hard to read
- Poorly written instructions
8. T-fal 10-in-1 Multicooker
When it comes to multi-tasking cookers, few can match the capabilities of the T-fal 10-in-1 Multicooker. Aside from the usual meals such as rice, oatmeal, soup, and risotto, this one can also bake goodies for you. It uses Fuzzy Logic technology and features a push-button digital control panel. The 24-hour delay start enables you to set it up overnight to cook in the morning or at night as soon as you get in the door. The unit features a removable 2mm thick non-stick inner pot with ceramic coating. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe. However, the keep warm setting seems to dry up certain kinds of rice such as sushi rice. The spatula holder is a bit flimsy. And this model will take up quite a bit of space on your counter.
- Large capacity
- 10-in-1 multicooker
- Keep warm setting dries up sushi rice
- Spatula holder is flimsy
9. Panasonic “Fuzzy Logic” Rice CookerBest Rice Cooker with Porridge Setting
The Panasonic “Fuzzy Logic” Rice Cooker doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of our other picks do. But if you want something simple for your kitchen, then this is the one for you. The unit cooks white rice, brown rice, porridge, soup, and steamed veggies/meat. It also has a Quick Cook setting. The cord is detachable which makes it easier to store away or pack with you if you wish to have rice on vacation. However, it doesn’t have an audible alert for when the rice is done. It takes more than an hour to cook brown rice. And there’s no spatula holder.
- Very easy to use
- Detachable cord
- No spatula holder
- Takes long to cook brown rice
- No audible alert
10. Cuckoo CRP-G1015F Electric Heating Pressure Rice CookerBest Rice Cooker with Fuzzy Logic
The Cuckoo CRP-G1015F Electric Heating Pressure Rice Cooker is quite similar to a lot of our other picks. It uses Fuzzy Logic technology and features multiple cook functions such as sushi rice, chicken soup, baking bread, porridge, etc. It can even cook fresh GABA rice. The unit comes with a unique feature you rarely see in other models – My Mode. This mode lets you set the cooking temperature as well as the degree of ‘softness’ and ‘glutinosity & tastiness’ of the rice so you always get your rice cooked your way.
The rice cooker has a water drainage system for easy cleanup, a delay start timer, and 12 safety features. However, the manual and cookbook are in Korean which can make it hard to learn how to use the rice cooker properly. The voice of the rice cooker is also Korean. Also, the inner coating can get scratched easily.
- Multiple cook functions
- Customized cooking
- Delay start timer
- Very expensive
- Instructions and voice are in Korean
- The inner coating can get easily scratched
How to Choose the Best Rice Cookers: The Ultimate Buying Guide
For some of us, rice is life. Which means that not just any ole rice cooker will do. You’ll want one that is able to cook your rice just the way you want it. Of course, that’s not all a rice cooker can do. The right one can also cook a variety of foods such as quinoa, risotto, beans, oatmeal, etc. Some can even saute, steam, and warm food up. So, how does one find the perfect rice cooker for their home? Well, our shopping guide should help.
What are the Different Types of Rice Cookers?
A conventional rice cooker is the most basic type you’ll find. It has four components – the outer body, a heating plate at the bottom of the body, an inner cooking pan, and a thermal sensing device. You put water and rice in the cooking pan, put that into the main body, and then plug the unit. Most models feature a switch that you flick down to turn the unit on. This switch flicks up to the “off” position once the rice is done.
This type of rice cooker is also called a micro computerized (Micom) rice cooker. Aside from the four main components, this one also features a microchip which senses how “cooked” your rice is and then adjusts the temperature and cooking time in order to produce “perfect” rice every time. Fuzzy logic was designed to account for human error such as adding too much water to the rice or too little. The Panasonic “Fuzzy Logic” Rice Cooker is the perfect choice if you’re not too sure about your rice cooking skills.
This type of rice cooker heats up the pan through induction (hence the name). An electric current passes through metal coils located at the bottom of the main body which creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field generates heat throughout the entire pan resulting in more evenly cooked rice.
Induction heating also allows for better precision, enabling the rice cooker to fine-tune the temperature and make minute adjustments to the cooking time in order to cook rice consistently. The Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer uses induction heating to cook your rice.
This type of rice cooker is as simple as it gets. Just add water, close the rice cooker and put it in the microwave. It’s quick and easy to use, provided that you have done some experimenting on how to get the best results – the perfect ratio of rice to water. The Sistema Microwave Collection Rice Cooker is the best we’ve found of this type.
Multi-tasking Rice Cooker
If you want more function than just cooking rice, some models come with a variety of functions that enable you to cook more than just rice including vegetables, fish, poultry, and meat. One good example of this is the Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart.
How Much Rice do You Need?
One of the most important factors that you need to consider is capacity. This is usually measured in cups. However, you should note whether the manufacturer is referring to a cooked cup or uncooked cup of rice. The rule of thumb is this: 3 cups are good for 1 to 3 people, 5 1/2 cups are good for up to 5 people, and 10 cups is good for up to 10 people. If you feed a large family or would prefer to cook large batches and storing the leftovers, you’ll want to go with a large capacity rice cooker. Otherwise, the general consensus is to get the 5.5 or 6 cup capacity like the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer which is enough for most people.
What’s the Cooking Pot Made of?
The cooking pot or pan is usually made of stainless steel or non-stick coated aluminum. Just like your usual pots and pans, these two materials have their benefits and disadvantages. For example, stainless steel is durable though it’s not so easy to clean if you burned the rice you were cooking. Of course, this shouldn’t happen if you have a rice cooker capable of intelligent cooking. Non-stick, on the other hand, is easier to clean. But it does wear away and chip over time. The T-fal 10-in-1 Multicooker, for example, features an inner pot with non-stick ceramic coating while the Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart uses a stainless steel pot.
Does It Have a Timer?
A lot of models like the Hamilton Beach (37548) Rice Cooker have this feature, enabling you to delay the start of cooking until you need it to. This is handy if you want to have things set up early and have the cooking done just as you come in the door from work or when you wake up n the morning.
Does It Have Texture Settings?
Everyone likes rice in a certain way. Plus, rice has a lot of varieties. A rice cooker with a texture setting enables you to select the texture you prefer such as regular, soft, or firm. In relation to this, you might also want to find a rice cooker able to handle multiple grain types such as long-grain white rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc. The Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W Rice Cooker, for example, has a different setting for cooking brown rice.
Does it Have a “Keep Warm” Setting?
This is a useful feature to have if you plan on keeping the rice warm for another meal later in the day or for someone who’s coming home late at night.
Do You Need a Porridge Cycle?
Some rice cookers like the Cuckoo CRP-G1015F Electric Heating Pressure Rice Cooker allow you to cook porridge which is perfect for breakfast, especially when it’s cold outside. You can also use this setting to cook other breakfast cereals.
Other Features You Need to Consider
You need to make sure that you get a measuring cup and a spatula with your rice cooker. The former helps ensure that you use the right amount of rice per water. The latter enables you to scoop up rice without scratching the cooking pot. You may want to consider getting a dishwasher safe model to make it easier to clean. Also, you may want to opt for a glass lid if you want to keep a close eye on your rice as it cooks.
One other tool to use in your kitchen besides one of these best rice cookers, you can use one of these best slow cookers.