A 10-cup (2000 gram) rice cooker is a good appliance to have in the kitchen because rice is a component of or side to so many different dishes a chef can make for a family. Many different models of 10-cup rice cookers are available on the market. Picking the best one requires examining the cooking method the appliance uses, its cost, complexity in terms of technology, materials, steaming options, warranty availability, physical bulk and aesthetics.
By far the most important element of choosing the best 10-cup rice cooker is to look at the cooking method. Some rice cookers are very simple plate-based models which have a heating element that sits under the inner pan. Heat rises from the bottom of the pan as a result, making the rice at the bottom cook faster. Uneven results are common with these cookers, but because they are the cheapest, they are the most practical for someone on a budget.
Some 10-cup rice cookers use what is known as "fuzzy logic" technology. These cookers have computerized components that allow the cooker to make adjustments to temperature and cooking time as needed automatically. These are much more sophisticated machines than basic plate models. They are pricier, but their method of tracking the condition of the rice as it cooks is desirable because poor, uneven cooking results in a lot of wasted food in a cooker with 10-cup capacity. They cook more slowly than basic models, though, so chefs have to consider their normal meal preparation time when considering these cookers.
The last type of 10-cup rice cooker a person might select is an induction cooker. Induction rice cookers use a magnetic field to generate friction, which results in heat. These cookers provide extremely even results because the heat from the friction is created in the entire magnetic field, not just at the bottom of the cooker as with a plate mechanism. They often are highly computerized with very sensitive adjustments, multiple presets and delay cooking options. These are the best for people who want a top-of-the-line cooker and who have rice as a daily staple, but they might not be as good for someone who has trouble working with complex electronics.
Once a consumer knows the type of cooking method he wants in a 10-cup rice cooker, the next step is to look at the material of the inner bowl. Some cookers are made of natural materials such as clay to make them non-stick, while others are non-stick because the metal used is anodized. The cheapest models use metal inner pans that are not anodized, so they are not recommended. Materials within the inner bowl impact heat distribution and cooking as well as clean-up.
Although some families use a rice cooker exclusively for rice, many use them for steaming vegetables. The 10-cup rice cooker is a good choice for this because the inner pan is large enough to hold one to three servings of vegetables, depending on the item the chef is cooking. When searching for a good model, check that the rice cooker includes a steaming basket or rack. This will allow more cooking use and variety out of the appliance.
People who use 10-cup rice cookers tend to use them fairly regularly, and the extra wear and tear takes a toll. See if the manufacturer offers a warranty on the cooker. A basic warranty usually lasts no more than a year and covers only manufacturing-related defects. The best cookers have warranties that include repair and replacement of parts — particularly the lid and inner pan — even when the issue is consumer-founded. The more expensive the cooker is, the more important it is to have the warranty.
A 10-cup rice cooker is a larger appliance. Some models are wider than they are tall, so consumers have to think about how much counter space they have. If space is an issue, taller cookers are the best because they appear more compact.
The last thing to consider with a 10-cup rice cooker purchase is whether the cooker suits the decor of the kitchen. If a chef uses the 10-cup cooker only occasionally for things such as family gatherings, this is not a huge issue. If the chef uses the cooker daily and never puts the cooker away, however, it is more important for the cooker, which is significant in size, to match the kitchen's aesthetic feel.