The name “sous vide” has a kind of gravitas that might scare away home cooks like most of us. But in reality, it is nothing but vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a water bath. New sous vide machines have made this elite cooking process accessible to everyone.
The immersion calculators we are about to review in this article allow you to pre-program the time, temperature, and then sit and relax. The machine will take care of the rest.
But the burning question in your mind right now is how to choose a sous vide machine that fits the bill? Don’t worry. We have narrowed down the choices to 5 products to ease your dilemma.
Reviews of the Top 5 Sous Vide Machines of 2020
1. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano
The first sous vide machine on our list perfectly justifies the adage: big things come in small packages. This sleek and compact device could be a great way to start your journey with sous vide cooking.
The Precision Cooker Nano is one of the smallest machines in the brand’s catalog. Before we move on further, here is a quick summary of its main features:
Key Features :
- Made from high-quality heat-resistant plastic.
- Precise on-screen controls on a bright display.
- You can tweak the controls using the Android and iOS compatible App.
- Bluetooth enabled.
- The compact device measures 12.8” across.
- Comes in two variants: 750 W and 800W.
The chic all-black nano has a display on top for easy viewing. The center of the screen shows the temperature while the side icons show the current temperature, time remaining for cooking, and ideal target temperature.
You can adjust the timer and temperature using the buttons on the base of the display. Now here comes the most exciting part. You can operate the device with your smartphone using the very intuitive Anova app. This app is incredibly easy to use and helps you keep an eye on the food when you are busy with other household chores.
Timing and temperature are the two critical factors in sous vide cooking. The Anova Nano 750W can heat 1.25 gallons of water to 160 degrees within 25-28 minutes. That’s 2-3 minutes faster than the original Anova sous vide machine that uses the 900W heating element.
If you are okay with spending a few extra bucks, you should go for the Nano 800 W version. While they have similar features, the 800W packs a lot more punch. It has a better heat retention ability than the 750W version.
- Lets you achieve 0.1-degree variance in temperature for perfect steaks.
- The material is heat and water-resistant.
- Hands-on adjustment with the buttons under the display.
- The display shows accurate readings.
- The app works incredibly well.
- The app asks you to log in every time you cook a meal.
Anova Nano is ideal sous vide machine for beginners. It offers precise temperature controls, which can be adjusted both manually and via smartphone. Add to that; the device is super easy to use; the features and controls are relatively streamlined. Lastly, this Bluetooth-enabled, compact, and technically sound machine doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
2. Instant Pot SSV800 Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
First things first, SSV800 is designed to transform your humble and Instant Pot electric pressure cooker into a new sous vide machine. You can use it for creating amazing meat, seafood, vegetable-based dishes as well as fruits and desserts.
It evenly distributes the heat across the water to make sure there are no burnt edges or rare centers. Before jumping to the detailed review, take a glance at the product’s most attractive features:
Key Features :
- It is a ready-to-use, fully assembled immersion circulator.
- Allows for a cooking time between 10 minutes to 72 hours.
- Offers a temperature range of 104F – 195F/ 40C – 90C.
- Easy touchscreen controls.
- Use a 12 DC motor for effective yet noise-free operation.
Built from top-grade stainless steel, this immersion circulator works both with or without an Instant Pot. The biggest strength of this machine is that it keeps the temperature of the water-bath consistent throughout the cooking time. This is achieved by the inclusion of multiple holes on the sides and bottom. It helps to improve the water circulation in the pot.
The quiet yet powerful 12 DC motor can accurately heat the water between 104F-195. The fillet steaks, salmons, eggs, and veggies come out evenly cooked, correctly retaining their juice and flavor.
The fact that it isn’t Bluetooth enabled or Wi-Fi-powered might bother the tech-savvy cooks. Accu Slim only lets you manually control the timer and temperature. It is convenient for those who don’t want to open their phones to make small adjustments continually.
- Cooks perfect medium-rare thick-cut fillet and sirloin steaks.
- Simple touchscreen controls.
- Sturdy construction, steady clamp.
- The active pump system helps to avoid cold spots.
- Compatible with both Instant Pots and other sous vide cooking pots.
- Doesn’t have Bluetooth or wireless connectivity.
If your sole aim is to cook restaurant-quality steaks at the convenience of your home, then this could be a great option to consider. It is a simple, straightforward, robustly designed machine.
It’s heating capacity, and heat retention ability are excellent. Sure it doesn’t have any bells and whistles new sous vide machines are known for. But its functionality and ease of use make up for that.
3. Wancle SVC001 Sous Vide Cooker
Wancle SVC001 is more geared towards home cooks who wish to indulge in occasional sous vide cooking. It doesn’t have the finesse of Anova or ChefStep sous vide machines.
However, the practicality of the design and features it offers makes it a value for money investment. Compared to the contemporary sous vide cookers, it has a strikingly unusual design. Before we get to more details, have a look at its best features for a better understanding.
Key Features :
- Operates on a wide temperature range of 77-211.8 degrees F.
- The controls are located at the side of the display.
- The clip uses a teeth system to stick to the sous vide pot instead of a more common pressure system.
- Has a unique handle/grip design for single-handed operation.
- Rated for 850 watts, designed explicitly for cooking small quantities.
The energy output of this device is 850 watts, which should suffice for small quantities of meat, fishes, veggies, salads, pasta, and egg. It can reach a max temperature of 211.8 degrees F, which is considerably higher than what most other models offer. This means reduced cooking time.
The unit keeps circulating the water regularly and quietly to ensure that your food is cooked all the way through, without any cold spots. To keep the juiciness and texture unaffected, it lets you modify the temperature to 0.01-degree accuracy. The display is waterproof, and the controls are on the side instead of being on the top of the screen.
Instead of buttons, it has a wheel scroll for adjusting the temperature. Spinning the scroll for setting precise temperature may take some practice. One neat little function of this scroll is that it lights up blue when everything is fine and turns red when there is an error in the machine.
The construction and build quality are nearly flawless. However, due to the quirky design of the clamp, you cannot clamp it on wide and thick sous vide pots. But you can quickly resolve this issue by merely using taller vessels.
- Smartly designed grip for convenient one-handed use.
- Robust and durable body.
- No-frills design.
- Maintains the temperature accuracy of 0.01 degree F.
- The clamp mouth doesn’t get wide open, therefore, only suitable tall cooking pots.
- The placement of the controls on the side instead of at the top.
Wancle Sous Vide cooker does have its fair share of shortcomings. But considering the low pocket pinch, we would still consider it a good value for money. It gets the basics right. The build quality is exceptional in this price range. Once you are used to adjusting the temperature using the scroll, it can help you create gastronomic masterpieces with the least effort.
4. ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide
If you are okay with paying a high price for stunning design, optimal efficiency, and cooking precision, then ChefSteps Joule could be just the right product for you. Have a good look at the marvelous features of this tech-rich device before jumping to the detailed review.
Key Features :
- Works on 1100 watts to quickly spike the water temperature.
- Bluetooth enabled and Wi-Fi compatibility.
- Visual doneness feature on the compatible app for perfect steaks.
- Has a magnetic base to securely attach the device to the vessel.
- High-accuracy temperature sensor with 0.02 degree F accuracy.
The powerful 1100 watts heater can raise the temperature of 6 liters of water to 135 degrees (75 degrees is the starting temperature) within merely 12 minutes. It is almost unbelievable that such a small and sleek device can squeeze out so much power.
Due to its small size, you can toss it in your cabinet right after cooking. It won’t take much space. Another design element we loved was the magnetic base which sticks right into the center of the pot. Don’t worry if you are using polycarbonate sous vide vessel like most of us. There’s a secondary clip included at the back.
You can make necessary adjustments in the temperature, program the timer, and do a lot more using the Android and iOS compatible app. It is super simple to use and has step-by-by instructions, tons of recipes as well as an exclusive Visual Doneness feature. All these to help you achieve the precision level of a revered chef.
- Magnetic base for extra stability.
- 1000 watts water heater makes the temperature rise fast.
- The app is loaded with features.
- Visual Doneness feature on the app.
- Keeps the natural flavor of the food intact.
- Can be operated by Alexa.
- The absence of physical controls can be bothersome at times.
When it comes to the most luxuriously built sous vide machines of the current times, ChefSteps Joules rules the roost. Apart from the lack of manual controls, there’s almost no flaw in the device. Although there are tons of features, none of them seems redundant. On top of that, the Joules app is the most user-friendly sous vide app we have tested in this segment so far.
5. Gourmia GSV150 WiFi Sous Vide Cooker Immersion Pod
If an 1100 watts heater is still not enough, how about an immersion pod incorporating a robust 1200 watts heater? The Gourmia GSV150 is all about power, precision, versatility, and efficiency. Here’s an overview of its salient features before we get to the in-depth review:
Key Features :
- Uses 1200 watts water heating element.
- Circulates 1.5-gallon water in all directions to preserve the tenderness and flavor of the meat, seafood, and veggies.
- LCD control panel to help you adjust the cooking time and temperature.
- Provides a maximum temperature of 203 degrees F.
- Bluetooth compatible and app-controlled.
Like ChefStep, this one also uses a high-power heating element combined with a 360-degree water circulation feature. This means the water can reach the target temp quickly and retain it for a long time. This helps your steaks, pork chops, and chicken breasts turn out juicy, tender, and sumptuous.
You can set the time and temperature manually by tapping the SET button and spinning the dial near the display. Since it also has Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, you can be out of your home, running errands, and still be in full control of your cooking.
Another significant feature we noticed was that once you set the timer, the device keeps beeping while the water reaches the target temperature. It will keep beeping until you put the food into the water bath and press the “start” button. You need a reminder like this in your life when you are too caught up with other work.
- Has both manual and hands-off controls via Bluetooth and app.
- The device alarm beeps when the water bath is ready for cooking.
- Fast heating.
- Excellent heat retention.
- Temperature precision of +/- 0.1 degree.
- The app isn’t very user-friendly.
1200 watts is easily the most powerful device you can get. It is an ideal choice for individuals who hate to wait for hours to get the desired temperature. Short cooking time is undoubtedly the USP of this unit. Design-wise, it’s pretty basic. However, the controls are easy-to-operate and ensure that the steaks melt in your mouth.
Sous Vide Machine: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
You don’t have to be a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef to use the sous vide cooking technique. We know that Sous Vide sounds too fancy for a home cook. But it is just a simple process of cooking food in a vacuum-sealed bag inside a water bath.
In this age, where time is more valuable than everything else, you might wonder what the point of indulging in slow-cooking is? Why do top chefs around the world vouch for this?
3 Major Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking
Sous vide cooking isn’t just about bringing out rich flavors. There are three other stellar benefits too:
- It ensures consistent temperature to avoid both overcooking and undercooking. A sous vide machine will help you cook your steaks thoroughly, avoiding rare centers.
- Sous vide has to be the most straightforward modern cooking technique. No need to continually stir, toss, or monitor the food. Just set the timer, temperature, and forget about it for a while.
- Slow cooking in a water bath is the best and easiest way to keep the meat tender, moist, and juicy.
Now that you know what sous vide cooking is, and how it makes life easier, time to dive into the more serious stuff. You need a quality sous vide machine that best matches your individual cooking needs.
Things to Look for While Buying a Sous Vide Machine
Today’s market is flooded with all kinds of sous vide machines in the various price range. Each device comes with its own set of unique features. However, there are a few underlying factors that may help you select the right product. These are:
1. Heating Power: Heating power determines the temperature range and cooking time required by the machine. For regular heavy-duty cooking, you should go for a 1000-1200 watts device. Whereas, for small quantities, a 750W to 850W machine will serve you just right.
2. Water Capacity: If you usually cook small portions, you can settle for a device that can heat up to 5 gallons of water. Higher-end models can heat up to 10 gallons.
3. Design: Adjustable, easy-to-attach clamps with broad opening, water-resistant, and heat-resistant body, bright LCD with controls are the most sought-after aesthetic elements in a sous vide machine.
4. Highest Temperature: The temperature range provided by a sous vide machine can make or break the deal. For general home-cooked food, a maximum temperature of 194 degrees should suffice.
5. Controls: Most devices offer streamlined manual controls for adjusting the cooking time and temperature. You can also go for a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled model that’ll allow you to control the device using your smartphone remotely.
So that was our take on the best sous vide machines of the year. None of them are perfect, as you might have already understood by now. But each device has something unique to offer.
Some are great for beginners, and some are more geared towards seasoned professionals. We have ensured that there is something for everyone in every budget group. We sincerely hope we have made your decision easier. Thanks for reading.