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on March 10, 2011
I have tried many different rice cookers purchased from a variety of local stores and was never able to find one that I liked. I finally decided to break down and buy a good one, previously I stayed between about a $30-$100 budget range, but have easily tried over half a dozen different rice cookers.

In my research for a good rice cooker I found that every review hands down all recommended the Zojirushi rice cookers as their #1 choice. Not a single review recommended any other brands as the top pick. Tiger came in as the second choice, but only if you couldn't afford the Zorjirushi, beyond that no one could seem to agree on much else other than the cookers made in japan were better.

So after my research was finished I had decided to go ahead and spend the extra money to get the unchallenged champion.

My Experience:
The very first thing I did when I received my cooker was toss in a cup of standard long grain white rice (the very same rice I had been using in all my other cookers previously). I wanted a good comparison from the before/after.

I did read the instructions but frankly there wasn't really any need to. The operation is about as simple as it can get. Put your rice in using the rice cooker cup, fill water to indicated line in the cooker based on number of cups used, select your rice type then click start, that's literally it.

Rice was finished and I dug right in, the first difference I noticed in the rice was that the very bottom of the rice was almost exactly the same as the top of the rice (never like that in any of my previous cookers). The second thing I noticed was that the rice its self was a little fluffier, lighter and softer than what was created by my other cookers. There is also a new depth to the flavor. Not a different flavor, just... I dunno... I guess a more clear, distinct and robust flavor. There were simply subtleties in the flavor that never existed before with my other cookers even though it was identical rice(exact same bag).

I ate half the rice then put it on the extended warm cycle and left the rest for several hours. I came back 2-3 hours later and finished off the rice, it was almost the same as it was freshly cooked, no dried rice. Not a single grain of rice was wasted, it was all 100% edible and tasted great.

While in my previous cookers all rice pretty much turned out the same poor quality I can easily see how you would suddenly be able to tell the difference with a higher quality rice using this cooker. I have since ordered several top end bags of rice to test with this cooker but I have no doubt I will taste every subtle difference with each (Jasmine, CalRose). My sister has trouble cooking brown rice with her rice cooker as well so we are going to test it out in the new cooker to see how it fares, but based on the performance I've seen already I expect it will turn out great.

Pros:
-Good Looks
-Extremely simple to use
-Medium size (doesn't take up too much counter space)
-Consistent rice from top to bottom every time, not a single grain of rice wasted
-Brings out each subtlety within the rice allowing you to taste the subtle differences between different rices
-Carry Handle in case you need to take it anywhere (not a big deal but nice to have)
-Easy to clean (removable top lid for cleaning)

Cons:
-Price, the cooker is very expensive, but I don't regret the decision to purchase it at all, worth every penny
-Premium Rice, now that you can taste the difference between the cheap rice and the premium rice you will want only the premium rice.

That's really it, if you enjoy rice as much as I do it's worth the cost. It makes the cheap rice taste significantly better, but once you have tried premium rice in this cooker you won't go back to the cheap stuff. If you haven't already balked at the price go ahead and get it, you won't regret it. If you have a large family or entertain much you may want to get the 10cup version, but for singles or small families this one works great.

UPDATE:
I have done some additional cooking and just wanted to update my review.

Brown Rice - Works great, not the standard mush or undercooked stuff that you get with most rice cookers. Each grain is individually plump and tasty, so much so that it actually reminds me more of a normal cooked grain than rice. Not quite what I expected, but turned out great regardless.

Tapioca - No matter what the cookbooks say DO NOT make tapioca in your rice cooker. It was barely edible and made an incredible mess out of the cooker. Luckily the Zojirushi was fairly easy to clean but I will never attempt that experiment again.

Another Update:
I have continued to experiment with different rice and frankly every rice I use has turned out great in this cooker. Though I certainly do prefer the premium Calrose sushi style rice now that I have a good rice cooker.

I also wanted to add some additional information about the warming cycle. When I first got the cooker, I had left the rice in for several hours and came back. I have since left it literally for days. I have no problem leaving the rice on the extended warm cycle for 1-2 days and coming back to finish off whatever is left at that point. There is still not a single grain of rice that is inedible, in fact even the 2 day old rice in this cooker is still better than any of the fresh cooked rice in my previous cookers.

so if you are planning lunch, dinner, etc... don't fret about the rice. Feel free to put the rice in early and simply let it go into the warming cycle to keep it ready to eat for whenever you are ready to serve the meal, and have no fear about the quality of the rice, it will still be great hours or even days later.

The rice has never survived more than two days at my house, what I cook has always been devoured in that time. That being said you can start to taste a slight difference in the rice on the second day, so I probably wouldn't bother keeping it beyond that point, but a two day warm cycle is still quite impressive.

- over a year later, and the rice cooker is still going strong. I have shared my experiences with this rice cooker with several family members who are now extremely interested in picking one up for themselves. None of them believed me when I explained that the Rice Cooker would literally hold the rice on the warm cycle for days and have it be nearly as good when it was freshly cooked. So I have made a point of taking day old rice to several family functions just so they could see for themselves, and this seemed to make quite an impression. I am still very happy with my purchase, the product is still going strong, easy to clean, and still cooks rice perfectly. Again a product I would highly recommend to anyone serious about their rice.

- 6/16/2013
Just a quick update, nearly two years later and the rice cooker is still going strong cooking everything just as well as it ever has. My brother and his family finally purchased their own 10cup zojirushi and my sister is still looking forward to getting one herself some day as well. Again the purchase was money well spent and I would highly recommend this product to anyone.
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on April 6, 2007
I was expecting this machine to cook rice very well based on previously owning a neuro fuzzy logic rice cooker made by zojirushi, which I've worn out after many years of use. I'm very happy with the new induction heating style of cooking. It cooks brown rice better.

Pro's

--Exceptional rice results, almost foolproof.

--Multiple menu settings account for most types of rice, including GABA brown (which is supposed to make brown rice even healthier)

--Easy to operate. Select menu setting, add cups of rice to bowl (rinse the rice), fill to applicable mark in bowl, and hit cook button.

--Battery backup. A lithium battery means the cooker will remember its last settings even if you unplug it. If you're a creature of habit, this feature makes it even easier to operate.

--Clock timer with 2 time settings you can set based on the clock's time. Like previously stated, the cooker remembers the timer settings until you change them. I leave my cooker set to have rice ready at 6:30a.m. (to pack for lunch at work) or 5:30p.m (dinner).

Con's

--Water level markings in pan are based on the 6.2 oz cup provided (~3/4 cup). Don't lose the cup!

--Expensive (my justification is it saves me $5 every time I pack rice for lunch instead of eating in the cafeteria)

--Takes longer to cook rice than the equivalent stove method (baking or stovetop)

--Timer is military time only (so when I said the timer was set to 5:30p.m., it's actually 17:30)

In summary, buy this machine if you want to use the timer function. If you're the type of person who only remembers things at the last minute or don't like to plan meals ahead, keep your money and get a pressure cooker or a good pot instead.

It fits my needs perfectly, so I give it 5 stars. I also recommend a Zojirushi lunch jar system if you want to use this to make rice for lunch at work. A lunch jar will keep the rice warm and moist, so you don't have to microwave it.
44 comments166 of 178 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon October 28, 2009
This is the second NP-HBC10 induction heating rice cooker I have owned, the first having been given to my son in a moment of weakness. As there are a great many reviews already, I'll just sum up the pros and cons as I see them.

PROS
The rice cooker is attractively styled and easy to use. As other reviewers have noted, be sure to remove and wash the inner lid after each use. This takes only seconds.

The control panel is clear and the interface is intuitive. While one should always read the manual one can operate the cooker without reading a single page.

Build quality, workmanship, fit, and finish are excellent, as they should be for the price.

The extended keep-warm function is incredibly effective. I have often held rice overnight and found it warm, moist, and not crusty the following day.

Cleanup is easy as the machine lacks many of the nook-and-cranny rice catchers of some other brands.

Brown rice is cooked to perfection every time. I don't often bother with the GABA cycle but for people who believe that it makes a difference, it is there to use.

The congee cycle (porridge, they call it) works well and not just for that purpose. You can keep soup hot, etc. I notice that the manual advises against this but I have done it many times.

Replacement parts can be ordered through the internet, if needed. The greatest risk I see is dropping and denting the cooking vessel. In a conventional unit, this might not make much difference but with induction the difference can be huge.

It works well for steaming, despite the concerns of those who opine that fuzzy logic cookers will not do so. You will, however, need to provide your own basket.

If you follow the recipes closely, the rice will always come out properly cooked and never crusted on the bottom. I've not had a single failure and I cook and eat lots of rice.

The cooker has amazing versatility. Steel cut oats for breakfast...yummmmm

Overall, it reeks of quality. That may be of greater importance to some than to others.

CONS
The stainless finish is an extra cost and essentially the same model can obtained in white for a bit less. Zojirushi NP-KAC10 5-1/2-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer with Induction Heating System

Induction heating consumes a bit more energy than conventional heating. Not a lot, but some.

The cost is high. A conventionally heated unit that works almost, but not quite, as well can be had much cheaper. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White

Retractable cord would have been nice. Mine stays plugged in all the time because I use it so often but others might find the cord a bit of a nuisance.

OVERALL
Highly recommended. This is the best non-pressure rice cooker on the market, hands down. The sweet taste of perfectly prepared rice dishes will last long after the bitterness of the price has faded. If you want a pressure rice cooker, Zoji has those, too, but the price is even steeper. Zojirushi NP-HTC Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer - Color: Stainless Brown, 5.5 cups / 1.0 liter
66 comments59 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 11, 2009
The rice cooker is best in class ie five stars.

The only negative thing about this rice cooker is that it last about 1 year before it fails. I have just recently had my second rice cooker fail and this time it lasted about 1.1 years similar to the first rice cooker. After contacting Zojirushi they gave me a repair place for the rice cooker. I have already purchased my 3rd zojirushi rice cooker and the repair for the second one will cost $136 dollars.

The nice thing is that you can get it repaired and the customer service was really nice on the phone.

Both failures caused the digital display to lock up.
2828 comments123 of 138 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 15, 2008
The cooker has done excellently. All of the rice types have been great. I'm using it for other grains. After some experimenting, here are my methods so far:

Steel-cut oats for breakfast: add 1/2 cup oats to bowl; wash a few times until the water is mostly clear; add water to slightly above 1 brown rice mark; press timer button; select porridge setting. Great oats are ready in the morning. Adjust the water addition to your personal preference. I add spices, fruit and ground flax later so I need it wet enough. Some residue gets on the top plate and into the steam vent. I set the top plate in water while eating to make it easier to clean.

Quinoa + oats: add 1/2 cup of each into bowl; wash a few times to get mostly clear water; add water to 1 white rice mark; cook as regular white. We enjoy this grain mixture at meals. It saves well in the refrigerator. Saute some onions, etc and add the grain at the end to heat it.

Hulled Barley: cook as brown rice. I like it with slightly extra water. I cook 1 cup barley at slightly above the 1 brown rice water mark.

Amaranth: I've haven't tried it enough to make a recommendation as yet. The regular white rice setting overcooked it.
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on July 5, 2008
I've been using the Zojirushi HBC10 fuzzy logic induction rice cooker for about a month and half now, and love, love, LOVE it! It makes the absolute best rice I've ever had. I especially love the porridge feature and have been making lots of jook. Although the instructions say you can't make jook out of brown rice, I've found that I can if I'm willing to put extra time into it. I run one porridge cycle, let it cool for 15 minutes (you can't start a new cycle while the bowl is hot), and than run the porridge cycle again. My favorite jook is made with Forbidden Rice (made by Lotus foods) with chicken broth, and chopped up apple chicken sausage added in the last 20 minutes or so. Yum!

I originally ordered the less expensive Zojirushi NS TGC10 model. When I recieved it, I was dismayed to see that the detachable inner lid was made of aluminum! It's my understanding that it's very unhealthy to cook foods in direct contact with aluminum. I called the seller who told me that all of the Chinese-made fuzzy logic models are made this way. I returned that model and bought the induction model instead which has a stainless steel detachable inner lid. As a long term cooking and health investment, I feel it's worth every penny that I paid. I wish the bowl was made out of stainless steel rather than non-stick, but I can live with that.

UPDATE - 1 Year Later
- I've used this rice cooker for almost a year now and still love it. I use the timer to have hot steel-cut oatmeal or jook ready for me when I wake up. I've also used the porridge setting to make risotto which comes out fantastic - with SO much less work than making it on the stove top. It makes fabulous brown rice, and the GABA brown rice is especially good. I've also used it to cook lentils, beans and quinoa, which come out perfect every time. After a year, I still feel this rice cooker is the best "kitchen investment" I've ever made.

I highly recommend buying The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook with this rice cooker. It gives you a ton of great information on different kinds of rice, grains and legumes, and all the things you can do with your rice cooker.The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook : 250 No-Fail Recipes for Pilafs, Risottos, Polenta, Chilis, Soups, Porridges, Puddings and More, from Start to Finish in Your Rice Cooker
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on May 24, 2010
*note* this is the same review I gave for the 10 cup model. I was debating between the 5.5 cup and the 10 cup so I thought sharing this review here was relevant. *****

Did not purchase on amazon. The price here is about $270.00 (May 2010), that was way too much so I shopped around and scored a new one for $200 shipped on eBay. Honestly even $200 was a lot but based on the reviews, I decided I had to have it. Now I wouldn't say don't buy from Amazon, they are great and if u have issues you can return. I don't think eBay buyers get the 1 year warranty...so there is some risk to save some money.

First of all the rice cooker itself is really nice looking. Very slick stainless exterior which matches our appliances. I actually wanted the 5.5 cup model, because it's just me and my wife who will primarily use it and obviously we would never cook 10 cups of rice for any reason, but the price I scored was for the 10 cup model so I went for it. Now I am glad that I got the 10 cup model. It really is only 1-2 inch's more on each side and tall then the 5.5 cup, so it's not like that big of a difference. But the reason the 10 cup is worth having is you get more space in the inner bowl. So if you are heating pasta, dumplings, porridge etc, there is less chance of water and gunk possibly spewing out. Also if you are doing other recipes besides rice the extra space is nice to have.

First thing I did that night(got home late and didn't really want to cook rice just to cook it). I used the quick cook, put some water in and about 6 eggs. I stopped the cook cycle 15 minutes in and had me 6 nice hard boiled eggs! That night I put some quick oatmeal and set the timer for the morning on porridge mode and the oat meal was fabulous and great have it right when you wake instead of boiling water and waiting. Now I can't wait to try steel cut oats!

Ok, now lets get to the most important thing...how does it cook rice? The first rice we did was a brown rice. Now let me tell you. I didn't mind brown rice before. We had a push button rice cooker, (National Brand, made in Japan) so it was a decent cooker on it's own. But every time the brown rice had the same chewy hard texture....edible but nothing to get excited about. So back to the Zoji...I had to try the Gaba Rice function....put it in the morning, set the timer for later that night....4 cups of rice. To eat with I grilled on the Weber a New York Strip and chicken drums, potatoes, mushrooms....Anyhow the Gaba rice was OUTSTANDING! It barely tasted like brown rice. It was soft and it was hard not to inhale it! It went well with my steak and veggies and my wife commented how good the rice was too. The 4 cups of rice lasted me 2 more dinners and 2 more lunches and I eat a lot more then 1 serving each time....even reheated in the microwave, this rice beats out what the old rice cooker made fresh.

Lastly, just wanted to say we were at H Mart(Korean Market) last night and of course I spent 10x more time then usual in the rice and grain section. There are so many varieties to choose from. We ended getting some Jasmine Brown Rice, Mixed Grains, Sweet Brown Rice, Calrose Rice and I splurged on a bag of Icheon Korean Short Grain Rice (on sale for 19.99 - 11 lbs, yes that is ON SALE!, most I paid for rice by the pound) - I had no clue why it was so much, but I had to get it, when I got home I did a quick google and apparently it is a very premium rice from Korea(something about they use to serve it to Royal Kings back in those days...lol, works for me. Anyhow the Icheon is on Timer and should be ready in 2 hours...can't wait!

*UPDATE*

The Icheon Rice was Amazing! It was made on regular white rice mode and the texture you would have to taste yourself to appreciate. Paired with Pork Belly and Gai Lan(chinese broccoli), perfect meal! This is easily the best $200 I spent!

*UPDATE #2*
Made some split pea soup(1 lb of split peas, 2 small white onions, some dried beef stock and water) last night using the porridge mode, and it came out amazing!

I have also made a whole wheat cake, brownie, and corn bread in it and all have came out quite well. I did not expect it to taste like oven made, but the bowl itself added some nice crispy textures. Although there is no "cake" mode in this, don't be worried, just use brown rice and it works out just fine.
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on July 1, 2008
I lived in Japan and can tell you that the Japanese are rice fanatics. They are also "gizmo" fanatics. Well, those two combinations create this most unbelievable kitchen appliance.

We use it for Brown (Gaba Setting) rice, I never liked Brown rice before, I liked traditional Japanese White Rice. Brown always tasted bitter. Gaba is a very complicated method of cooking rice and you could never do it without a timer, the induction system helps too since it can regulate the temperature on the rice much more accurately. This thing also has some kind of logic chip that controls the cooking. The brown rice comes out sweet and a little "nutty". The rice kernels kind of "pop" in your mouth when you bite .

Also, Steel Cut Oatmeal, no problem. I purchased a smaller Zojirushi without logic and no induction. It made a mess (I live at 6,000 feet, that could be a factor).

This one makes steel cut perfectly, no mess, beautiful oatmeal. Mix ratio: 1 part oatmeal to 3 parts water. Use the porridge setting. I can't imagine going back to quaker rolled oats.

Awesome piece of engineering.
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on June 30, 2008
Zojirushi NP-HBC10 5-1/2-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer with Induction Heating System, Stainless Steel

My old dime store rice cooker finally died a few weeks ago so I got online to shop for a new one. I tried the high-end brand names I usually buy for my kitchen since I love to cook and invest in good quality items. The selection of typical hot pots with and on-switch was endless. Even the better brands only offered a sleeker look for the higher price. And then there were a couple foreign makers at very high price tags. I browsed them just to see what made them so proud of thier product and figured they would be for commercial use or something. After I read the features and looked back at the others, they all just looked pitiful. I have delayed starts,keep warm, audible finish signals, and LED read-outs on other kitchen and household appliances, so why not a rice cooker. I just hated to pay that much just to make rice. After all rice is rice and it's not like we eat rice every day or even every week. I tried making rice one night on the stove and that was awful. I finally bought the Zojirushi 5 cup induction in stainless for the convenience features. The delay start and keep warm are hard for a busy mom to resist. It looked nice in my kitchen when I got it out of the box. The instruction book was a bit intimidating until I realized it was mostly sections in other languages. The English section made sense and is much easier to operate than my cell phone. The first pot of rice was with my regular store brand. Rice is rice, right? Nope. This stuff had an aroma, texture and taste that was wonderful. It was like trying a new food. Had I known how fabulous it would taste, I'd have bought it for the food quality alone. Sure it was an investment and a risk. It could have arrived and just made... well... rice. But it didn't. After the first meal, there was no more discussion about the expense for plain old rice. This new stuff was well-worth it. Now if it's buying one of these or paying your electric bill, keep the lights on. You have other things to worry about. But if this is within your reach, it would be a sound investment. I truely enjoy cooking and trying exotic foods. My mother-in-law has become very trusting over the years and will try anything I make even if she can't pronounce or recognize it. Sadly, rice (well this new stuff) had never been on the menu much. All that has changed. My sushi can stand up to any sushi restraunt. Just think what you'll save by making your own California rolls. I'm reading Asian cookbooks that have been collecting dust in my archives for years. Now I know what they were talking about. You have to start with great rice. Even if you don't cook and aren't a foodie, this is still the right machine. Should this sturdy little gizmo ever need to be replaced, it will be with a Zojiurshi.
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on January 31, 2008
I just retired the Zojirushi rice cooker I was given by my mother over 10 years ago which she used. This is a worthy replacement. It is even better with the multiple settings than the one button. (you know what I'm talking about) But face it, guys aren't supposed to be into appliances but I can't stop thinking this is sweet looking every time. A cool thing is the clock is already set when you get it. It has a battery. I thought it was a sticker at first and tried peeling around the display. (Don't be mean) Yeah it really is expensive but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. After the previous Zojirushi's track record I am brand loyal. If you eat rice frequently and have a small family you won't be disappointed by any of their rice cookers, but this will be the best looking one in the family.
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