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The 3 Best Inexpensive Rice Cookers

Cooking up rice does not need to cost you a lot of money. For less than $50, you can find a quality rice cooker that won't break, or break the bank. Enter: The best inexpensive rice cookers.

As with any search for affordable kitchen gadgets, you'll want to look out for duds. Pay attention to the reviews (I've got you covered here), because there are a lot of rice cookers out there, and they aren't all worth your money. Reviewers will be able to tell you which ones won't quit on you one month in.

Consider which features really matter to you: Are you going to want a rice cooker with a digital control panel you can use to time the meal? Or are you looking for a more no-frills model? Do you need your rice cooker to make a large portion of rice, or are you better off with a smaller one that will serve a few people?

Once you've made those decisions, you're ready to start shopping. Keep in mind, that the more you invest up front, the longer the cooker will last. So, if you're looking to have one for the long haul, an extra $10 now might save you having to replace it for a new one down the line.

But, this rice isn't going to cook itself. Here are the best inexpensive rice cookers out there today.

1The Best Overall, All Things Considered

For the money, this 20-cup rice cooker is the best inexpensive rice cooker. Not only does it have the largest capacity of any cooker on this list (20 cups of rice can accommodate at least 20 servings), but it also is the only one with a digital control panel. This panel allows you to set a timer and walk away from it, and adjust the settings if you're looking to use it as a rice cooker, steamer, or slow cooker. It even has a flash-rice button that lets you to make harder-to-cook grains faster. Built with a high-quality stainless steel body, this cooker is durable and comes with its own steam tray, a measuring cup, and a serving spatula. Best yet, both the inner pot and the accessories are all top-rack dishwasher safe. Nearly 4,000 reviewers concur: "It's worth so much more than I paid."

2The Most Affordable, For Its Size

Even without the digital control panel and the stainless steel construction, this bare-bones rice cooker can still get the job done — and is the cheapest option on this list per cup. This cooker can hold up to 16 cups of cooked rice (8 cups of uncooked rice), and even has a built-in steam basket you can use as a colander or to cook up vegetables. While some reviewers report that this model may be a bit messier to clean up, it's one of the most cost-effective options you can find and, most importantly, can capably and reliably cook rice. Isn't that all you really need?

3The Best Smaller-Capacity Rice Cooker

If you'd rather save the kitchen space and don't need to cook up huge batches, you're better of with a smaller model like this 6-cup cooker from Oster. Not only is the non-stick pot removable, but it's dishwasher safe. It also comes with its own steaming tray that can cook up to 1 liter of vegetables. While this isn't quite as cost-effective as the model above, at $20, it's still a seriously affordable option. And, as one fan puts it: "The combination of accessories, features, quality, durability, and ease of use insures that you will get a great return for your investment, which is hardly anything in the first place."

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