As I talked about in my post on magnetic induction cooktops, it’s hard to measure comparative energy use between a gas stove an a replacement electric appliance, but the nature of heat losses on an open flame compared to an enclosed, insulated rice cooker with an electric coil make the rice cooker a clear winner. This is especially true when you take into account that I need to leave the pot half hanging off the flame to get the right temperature.
That was why I decided to try out a rice cooker to see what kind of power consumption it had. And I didn’t want to try out any rice cooker, I wanted to try something that would make better rice than I ever had while still eliminating some of the waste of my natural gas stove. That’s what I picked the Zojirushi NS-ZCC.
The most impressive thing about the NS-ZCC is how much it can do. It has all sorts of settings that allow you to cook any sort of rice to perfection, much better than I can ever do it. It’s easy to talk all day about how good the rice from this cooker is, and that’s really what sets it apart. You won’t be disappointed with what it can do.
It also comes with other features as a matter of convenience. The lid is removable and washable, the power cord is retractable, and there is a handle for easy transportation. What’s more, it has a battery that powers the clock even when it’s not plugged in. And, just to be unnecessary, it plays a little song when your rice is ready just so to let you know.
As I already said, the Zojirushi makes great rice. I’ve made my own rice and used various 1-button type rice cookers over the years, but nothing compares. Usually your rice is too watery or soft or comes burnt around the edges of the rice cooker. None of this is an issue with the Zojirushi because it uses “Neuro Fuzzy Logic” to adjust how it cooks the rice during cooking to make sure it always comes out perfect.
It does take a while to cook, which would be my only complaint, but once you get used to it you know to set it before you plan to eat, and it even comes with a countdown timer to let you know when your rice will be ready, which is a nice touch. Furthermore, the keep warm feature does a good job of keeping the rice at the right temperature without drying it out.
Frankly, I expected the NS-ZCC to use more energy than it does. On full blast, the cooker uses about 700 watts, but over the course of cooking 2 cups of rice it only consumed 0.14 kWH, which is a little more than a cent’s worth of energy. The keep warm feature uses about 28 watts consistently, and having it on during the meal only meant an extra 0.01 kWH was used. What’s even nicer is that the idle energy consumption is so low that it didn’t even register on my Kill-A-Watt.
If you’re looking for a rice cooker or a way to reduce some natural gas usage, this is a great choice for both. It may be a little pricey, but it would be a good, practical gift for this holiday shopping season. I’m definitely glad I have mine.