Even those fortunate few who never have a problem making rice on a stovetop can benefit from a good electric rice cooker: The rice that results is consistently cooked every time, with fluffy, aromatic, separate grains that are never burnt or soggy. Some machines have a delay-start feature, so that rice can be put in the pot in the morning and be programmed to produce a warm meal in time for dinner. Even if rice is not a staple in your household, this versatile gadget can come in handy for a lot more than just rice. It functions very much like a slow cooker, so anything that requires a long simmer, like soup or chili, can probably be cooked in a rice cooker. Most also come with a steamer basket, so that vegetables can be prepared alongside the rice.
Still, many consumers don't want to spend too much on yet another small, specialized kitchen appliance. Cheapism.com sifted through hundreds of consumer and expert reviews to find some of the best rice cookers for $75 or less. From basic on/off machines to high-tech computerized models, here are six rice cookers that make preparing perfect portions -- for the whole family or just for one -- a pretty much foolproof process.