Induction heating cooks more evenly and efficiently, using an electrical current to heat the entire cooking pan, not just the bottom of the rice cooker. This means that cooked rice does not end up in clumps or cooked unevenly. Rice aficionados swear that this type of cooker makes rice turn out consistently delicious every time.
The Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-NVC10 (Est. $690) cooks rice to perfection, expert and consumer reviewers say. This cooker uses induction heating, pressure cooking, fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence to do all of the thinking for the cook. Artificial intelligence is a technology that "learns" from previous rice cooker usage to adjust the cooking cycle for the best results. It addresses seasonal water and room temperature differences to maintain rice texture and consistency, according to Zojirushi.
Menu settings on the NP-NVC10 include white (regular, soft or harder), umami, mixed, sushi/sweet, porridge, brown, germinated brown, steam-reduce, scorch, rinse-free and quick cooking. With its programmable timer function, you can fill the pot and tell the rice cooker when to turn the rice on so it is done when you are ready for it. The platinum-infused nonstick inner cooking pan changes the cooking water's quality to create sweeter-tasting rice.
Our runner-up, the Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-HTC10 (Est. $430) , is similar to the NP-NVC10 but at a much lower price. It also has pressure-cooking function, induction heating, fuzzy logic and a microprocessor. It does not have artificial intelligence. Menu settings are nearly the same as the NP-NVC10, but the NP-HTC10 does not have the umami, steam-reduce or scorch settings. Expert and consumer reviewers say it is easy to use, cooks excellent rice and is easy to clean up.
All Zojirushi products carry a one-year warranty. Some consumers, say they wish the warranty was longer for such expensive pieces of equipment as the NP-NVC10 and the NP-HTC10. However, we found no durability or service complaints, so the short warranty may not be an issue. Each of these models comes in two sizes: 5.5 or 10 cups of dry rice.
For the cook looking for a top-of-the-line rice cooker with all the bells and whistles, the Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-NVC10 is the perfect choice, and if you use it frequently over a long period, it's cost is justified.