Aroma ARC-150SB Review
Pros: This programmable pot is immensely popular, and a smaller version was voted No. 1 by America's Test Kitchen. For the price, the Aroma ARC-150SB (starting at $37; available on Amazon) is a good value, delivering up to 20 cups of cooked rice of consistent quality. It has a few simple functions -- white rice, brown rice, and steaming. It also acts as a slow cooker. In Aroma ARC-150SB reviews on Walmart.com, consumers say they have used it to make everything from soup to casseroles to baby food. Many also like the fact that this cooker makes an audible pinging sound when switching from cook mode to warming.
Cons: Although Walmart.com identifies the Aroma ARC-150SB as a fuzzy logic pot, it is not. Unlike its high-tech cousins, this programmable model doesn't adjust the temperature to cater to the specific variety of rice that's been placed in the pot. The functions are programmed by time -- how long to cook each particular kind of rice before turning to warm. Some adjustments might be necessary when cooking long-grain basmati rice as opposed to short-grain Asian rice, for example.
Many reviews claim that this machine makes perfect rice every time, but there are a few complaints of sticking or crusting on the bottom of the pot. This cooker stays on "keep warm" for 12 hours before automatically shutting off, but several Amazon reviews note that rice left in the machine too long gets burnt. Finally, while the inner pot can be taken out for cleaning, the hinged lid is not removable. If there is a lot of condensation or the water boils over, the lid must be sponged down or wiped with a paper towel, which some users consider an onerous process.
Features: The Aroma ARC-150SB features an easy-clean nonstick cooking pot and a locking lid. It is not dishwasher-safe, but most users have found it easy to clean. A water reservoir under the lid collects condensation during cooking, a design element that helps to keep rice fluffy and appropriately dry. The cooker comes with a measuring cup and spatula, as well as a steamer basket. The instructions are clear and easy to understand, and user reviews stress the importance of reading and following them to ensure the best results. The expert reviewer behind the blog SacredRice warns that if the rice is not soaked before using the machine, it will spill over.
Takeaway: With a price tag at the low end of the Cheapism range, the Aroma ARC-150SB claims pride of place for overall value. Its large capacity, versatility, easy-to-use components, and consistently high-quality results make it a welcome addition to many homes.