HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Rice cookers - Tiger or Zojirushi?

I currently use the stove top method but thought it is worth trying a rice cooker.
Any idea which stores in the Toronto area have a decent selection?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I noticed Tap Phong has a lot of rice cookers, at I assume a good price. Not familar with brands and rice cookers in general though.

    1. Neo home on Spadina north of queen, T&T but i'm not sure about who has the best prices. for the past 3 yrs i have a 5 cup panasonic with fuzzy logic that's been great. i got mine on sale and with a manufacturer's coupon from neo home.

      1. We've had a mid-sized Tiger for over 15 years, use it a couple of times a month and it still performs like new. We have cooked many types of rice and once we learned how to adjust the liquid for each type of rice, it makes perfect rice every time. (ok, sometimes when we use stock there will be a bit of sediment-only a bit-at the bottom).

        So obviously my first choice would be Tiger. Actually don't know how we'd get along without it now.

        1. I have had a National brand rice cooked for nearly 25 years. Use it 2 or 3 times a week and have never had a problem with it. That's nearly 3000 batches of rice folks.Don 't know if they still make them. Very simple operation--on/off switch that automatically shuts off when rice is cooked and holds warm for up to 3 hours

          2 Replies
          1. re: ishmael

            I have a national as well - it has served me well. I haven't had it that long - about 7 years. It's so very reliable. Although I secretly hope it breaks down so I can upgrade to a Zojirushi

            1. re: Apple

              I guess this post was bumped after almost 7 years! My national is still holding on - but when cooking brown rice, bubbles all over the side. (making a case for my zojirushi!)

          2. Go with the elephant if you can afford it. Panasonic/National is also good. Go to your larger Asian supermarkets such as T&T.

            1. I'd say it's not so much the brand that makes the difference (as long as they are not B- or C- grade brands. Zojirushi, Tiger, National... they are all good brands and have been making rice cookers for ages), but more the specific product line that you must look at when selecting the right cooker for you.

              Here's a mini-lecture on: How to choose/What to look for in a rice cooker.

              First off, how much rice will you be cooking at a time?
              We are a Japanese family and we eat a lot of rice everyday, and we use 'issho-daki' or a 10-cup cooker. This type is of course not recommended for a single person or a couple who may eat a mere 1-cup per meal (1 cup of rice gives approximately 2 bowls of cooked rice). If you are only cooking for yourself, maybe 1-2 cups at a time, go for a 3-cup cooker, but if you have 2 adults and 3 children all eating 2 or more servings of rice, then consider a bigger size cooker.
              Usually a cooker performs well when cooking 60-80% of its rice capacity.
              Sounds too obvious? The key here is, if you are buying a small rice cooker, you must buy a cooker that is specifically designed for cooking a small amount of rice, and not a cooker that uses the same method as the traditional issho-daki, only downsized. That makes the whole difference!

              Secondly, are you cooking strictly white rice, or are you cooking brown rice (genmai), mixed rice (takikomi-gohan), and so on? There are cookers that are specifically designed to cook different types of mixed rice well, and others that focus and concentrate on cooking the best white rice.

              Thirdly,look for 'inverter circuit' (I think that's what it's called) that regulates the heat conduction of a cooker. I think most recent models are equipped with it, but just to make sure. If the power is instable during the cooking (this can happen from using multiple appliances at home at once, for example), you might as well use a clay pot (donabe) and cook over fire (in fact, a simple donabe cooks wonderful rice!).

              Lastly, choose a cooker that has the big, thick, and heavy inner bowl. It may take longer to heat up and cost more, but the finished product is sooooo much better. The thin inner bowl cooker is similar to putting rice in a casserole and boiling it over fire, nothing wrong with cooking rice with a casserole but not the way to cook Japanese rice... whereas the thick inner bowl cooker encloses all the heat and 'cooks' rice inside, by the heat of the cooker itself, and not by the 'fire' outside (i.e. heating element outside the bowl). I've also heard that cookers with 'vacuum' type inner bowl (like the thermos) are great, though I have not tried them myself, and I don't know if these types are available in Canada at all.
              On the same note, a cooker that heats from all sides of the bowl (e.g. Induction Heating, or IH cooker) performs better than a cooker that heats only from the bottom of the bowl. Rice needs to be enclosed and cooked, heat and steam and everything kept inside. We Japanese use the verb 'taku' for cooking rice exclusively and there is a reason!

              On a side note, the taste of rice also depends much on the quality of the rice itself (do not buy in bulk and store forever! Rice is fresh produce, and should be consumed within two weeks, or one month at the most. Store unused rice in a fridge, tightly sealed), its preparation (washing, or 'togi' should be done with ice cold water, in less than 30 seconds but washed thoroughly), and in its keeping (do not rely the warming function of the cooker, no matter how good the warming method, the quality drops after the first 2 hours or so and it's also not economical to keep rice heated for a prolonged period anyways. If you want to cook enough rice for, say, the next day, then freeze it while it's still fresh, and heat as necessary. Microwave heats rice well, steamer does a better job).

              2 Replies
              1. re: lilith

                Great response! I'm now going to store/buy rice differently.

                1. Well it's tough to follow such an amazing post by lilith. But I will simply comment that we have a Salton purchased from Canadian Tire for perhaps $25 and we've used it 2 or 3 times per week for about 10 years without problem. Perfect rice every time.

                  1. The hi-end Zojirushi models, especially the Neuro Fuzzy line, are among the best on the market for build quality, induction cooking, and ability to cook rice of all types to perfection.The old-school National type(Tiger and Zojirushi make similar bottom-element models) do just fine for smaller quantities--I have a small Zoj that's great. But for larger quantities or different rice types, the feature-laden big Zoj is great.The timer feature is perfect for nights(most nights) when I'm back late and hungry. I got mine from an interesting little shop in Mississauga the carries a range of Zojirushi appliances along with their rice cookers--Mika's Japanese Gifts.

                    1. any of the PAT stores around toronto would carry a range of rice cookers....I personally use a rice cooker most times (Zojirushi) but I prefer to cook rice on stove top (when I have the time & patience): the flavour can't be beat. it's even better when you cook the rice in a stone bowl/pot which is what a lot of my friends/family are doing these days, ie. going back to the old w/days and buying a stone pot (which are also available at the PAT korean stores, btw)

                      1. The houseware shops in Pacific Mall all have many models to choose from.

                        1. I've owned National, Tiger and Zojirushi, and I find Zojirushi (elephant brand) to be the best by far. Very durable (and stylish!) :)

                          1. I received a Tiger for my wedding present, and it's amazing. The new digitally controlled ones have settings for almost endless combinations of rice and preparation methods (ie. white, brown, wild rice, hard, soft, congee). Plus, the cooking pot inside is idiot-proof, and tells you exactly how much water to put for what kind of rice.

                            Personally, I've used the simple ones (on off switch, with warmer setting) for years before owning this one, and I'd say if you have the money, it's definitely worth spending on a digital one.

                            1. Not on your list, but I picked up a cheap SunPenTown 6 cup rice cooker in chinatown a few years ago. Like everyone else, we use it a few times a week and makes excellent rice everytime. Not fancy, no fuzzy logic, but it was only $60. Only advice I would have is be sure to get one that seals, and not one with a lid that simply rests on top: I'm told that the latter is not as good.

                              1. I have Zo rice cooker. Best thing ever! I've had it for the past 4 years and use it about once or twice a week. It makes life so much easier.
                                I got mine on Amazon.ca on sale. It comes with instuctions, recipes, a ladel and a measuring cup.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Hondapendragon

                                  +1 for Amazon.ca for Zo as when they have the sale on they are the same price as US from what I have seen.
                                  I personally have a tiger unit and it works like a charm and have it for almost 10 years and it never skips a beat. Good rice every time.

                                2. I know this is an old post but I was wondering if anyone knew of a good rice cooker that can handle brown and wild rice for around the $80.00 range?

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: youdonut

                                    I was at Tap Phong earlier this week and they had a great selection of rice cookers, some within your price range.

                                    I didn't notice any Zoji's but they did have Tiger brand. I find the folks there to be quite helpful so I'd suggest going in and talking w them if you don't get any other ideas here.

                                    Like others here, I have a Zoji which I purchased on Amazon. I've had it for a few years now and I love it. It cooks all types of rice to perfection and gets used a few times a week.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      We got a zojirushi from tap phong and we LOVE it. We use it for white rice, brown rice, and steel cut oats. We got the neuro fuzzy model.


                                      It is expensive but its worth every penny considering how much we use it and how well it cooks rice and oats.

                                      Perfect every time.

                                      1. re: acd123

                                        Wow, this is a great thread. We have a very simple old rice cooker by Salton with a non-stick aluminum bowl. It's always worked perfectly for us, but I'd really like to upgrade to healthier materials, avoiding Teflon and aluminum. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                          I have an Aroma rice cooker with a stainless steel bowl. It's just a basic rice cooker with just an "on" button (a la the old Panasonic that I had for 20 years) and a warm setting. But I've always been able to cook any type of rice in the basic models, just by adjusting the water level.

                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                            TorontoJo, is it relatively simple to clean the bowl?

                                            1. re: Yongeman

                                              You definitely get rice that sticks to the bottom of the bowl, but a short soak and a scrubby makes easy work of it.

                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                Oh, that's good to know, TorontoJo. I don't mind a little 'elbow grease'.

                                                1. re: Yongeman

                                                  Yeah, I had a classic Panasonic/National rice cooker for years. Then one day I finally paid attention to how much of the coating was no longer on the bottom of the bowl. Quicly moved myself to stainless steel. :o)

                                          2. re: Yongeman

                                            Tatung may be an alternative for you Yongeman if you don't want Teflon. But most models are aluminum. I have not found it in retail stores in Toronto.

                                            1. re: smfan

                                              Tatung looks very interesting, smfan. Thanks.

                                            2. re: Yongeman

                                              I bought a Tattung Model TAC-06KN automatic rice cooker appox. 2-3 years ago from a home housewares supply store in the strip plaza where T&T Supermarket at Steeles/Warden Ave. is located. It is the one that is further away from T&T (closer to SDM). The rice cooker comes with a stainless steel inner pot and with stainless steel exterior. It is a simple cooker with on/off/warm functions where the inner and outer cooking pots are separate and water needs to be added to both pots.

                                              No complaint at all about this rice cooker. The rice does stick a bit to the inner pot, but is easily removed after soaking and some scrubbing with a stainless steel pad. There is quite a bit of steam released while rice is being cooked and usually some water left on countertop afterwards. It cooks different types of grains. Some experimentation may be needed to get the desired consistency. I even cook chickpeas in it.

                                              I would really like one that I can program in terms of time, but couldn't find one with stainless steel pot. The Tattung is a well made alternative.

                                              1. re: Entore

                                                Thanks Entore. Do you think Tattung uses STEAM to cook the rice? How long does it take to fully cook the rice?

                                                1. re: smfan

                                                  The model I have uses what is called "Indirect heating" which seems like steaming or similar to steaming to me. This is the link to the rice cooker I bought http://www.tatungusa.com/App/pagecate... .

                                                  This rice cooker can also be used as a steamer, although I usually use the stovetop for that. It takes approx. 20 min. to cook white rice to a firm texture. Brown rice will take anywhere from 40-50 minutes. You probably have to experiment a bit, as this is not a computerized programmable rice cooker. I find that rice cooked with this rice cooker to be as good as any cooked by some of the more expensive programmable cookers (friends').

                                        2. re: youdonut

                                          youdonut, in your price range Costco has a Tiger in the warehouse, and a Panasonic at www.costco.ca

                                          1. re: jayt90

                                            thanks for the info, i will definitely check out costco.

                                            1. re: youdonut

                                              By appearance, I'd say the Tiger, while smaller, has a superior ceramic bowl. The Panasonic appears to be aluminum.

                                        3. I bought a Zojirushi NP-GBC05 rice cooker in 2010, $285 taxes & shipping included. I loved that machine. This morning the screen is blank, the mother board is shot. $100 to fix plus $50 shipping to Toronto each way. My supplier is in disbelief as am I. Zojirushi's response: "We will forward your feedback to our marketing department and hopefully, we will make improvements in the future. Once again, thank you for your feedback and your loyal support of Zojirushi America over the years." So very comforting. I pulled out my old National brand SR10E which I bought in September 1975 and cooked my rice.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: chilibeanpaste

                                            My small Tiger 5 cup was only $65 on clearance at RCSS. I loved it, for 1.5 years until it failed, just like yours, with a blank inoperative screen . I have no warranty claim, and I miss using it sorely. Fortunately, I can put the Tiger ceramic bowl into my old PC rice cooker and get good rice or porridge. I no longer have all the programs, but who cares; electronics in a humid environment suck.

                                            1. re: jayt90

                                              Wow! Two great examples of the 'KISS' principle. It's like dishwashers--I only ever use one specific cycle, so who needs the fancy programming.

                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                I've been using a Sanyo 5-cup number with an aluminum pot for FIFTEEN years. When and if I do make the upgrade, I will steer clear of anything with electronics. Yes, maybe I'll get a larger machine with a ceramic (chip-able?) pot but I'll stick with the same strategy I used when I bought a larger but basic slow cooker. It's basic technology and the only reason to buy the bells and whistles is to spend more money.

                                                I'll do this not just to avoid throwing the whole thing out when the electronics fry, but to avoid getting some canned response from these companies Customer Relations robots.