- 1 5 Good Reasons Why You Should Try Sous Vide
- 2 How To Choose Your Perfect Sous Vide
- 3 What You Get Is Not Everything You Need
- 4 Reviews Of The Best Sous Vide In 2019
- 4.1 1. Anova Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best To Buy In 2019
- 4.2 2. Chefsteps Wi-Fi, Sous Vide – Runner Up In 2019
- 4.3 3. Anova Nano Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best Small and Affordable
- 4.4 4. Gramercy Kitchen Sous Vide – Best Low Tech Value
- 4.5 5. Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide – Best Budget
- 4.6 6. Yedi Total Package Sous Vide – Best All Inclusive Package
- 4.7 7. Dash Chef Series Sous Vide – Best Value Small Water Oven
- 5 Top-rated Sous Vide Comparison Chart
- 6 Conclusion
If you have been around the block at least once, you may have heard about sous vide cooking. It sounds daringly avante-garde, with a smattering of gourmet or an elevated nose whiff of haute cuisine. True, it used to be the preserve of the Michelin 3-star menu but now, thanks to new innovative devices, it’s becoming a mainstream fad. Maybe it’s time for you to get your hands on the best sous vide on the market today?
Many sous vides now flaunt their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off-planet monitoring and control mechanisms as well as app credentials. As incredulous as that sounds, we’ll investigate the matter and present you with our pick of the best sous vide to buy in 2019, be it sous vide immersion circulators or sous vide water ovens. Whether this is the remote, smart, cloud cooking experience we’ve all been waiting for—we’ll let you be the judge of that.
What Is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is food sealed into an airless bag and cooked in water at a low temperature for an extended period of time. Plain and simple. All you need to do is fill a container with water, vacuum-seal your food bag, stick in your Jedi heating rod, set the temperate, and the slow cooking starts. If you get the fad model, you can remotely monitor your steaks’ progress at work, but don’t forget– a watched pot never boils!
The origins of sous vide can be traced along different routes, but all are discernibly French. The story begins just before WW2 when a French scientist, Henry DePoix, came up with the idea of shrink wrapping food to help preserve it better. He named this Cryovac and took his idea to the American company Dewey and Almy Chemical.
Cryovac technology was then applied in the industrial food sector. Scientific observations were made into how this vacuum technique not only preserved food, but also concentrated flavor and improved texture.
Another Frenchman, Bruno Goussault, started using this vacuum technique to pre-cook meats in massive water baths for commercial food production. He was a food engineer who had researched the effects of time and temperature on different foods as well as non-chemicalized food preservation.
Simultaneously, yet another Frenchman, a restaurant chef named George Pralus, had gained fame for his technique of cooking foie gras in a water bag which saved almost a quarter of the foie gras volume. These two cuisiniers later collaborated in advancing sous vide techniques in restaurants, hospitality and catering. The word itself simply means ‘under vacuum’.
5 Good Reasons Why You Should Try Sous Vide
As sous vide emerged from the synthesis of scientific research and discoveries in the commercial food sector, its safety, efficacy and application are very well documented. So, if you are undecided about dipping your toes into the (tepid) water bath, take some time to look into it for yourself.
More Precise Cooking
With sous vide cooking, the transfer of heat is more gradual and evenly distributed. You’ll never have to chew through a burnt outer crust to get to the succulence inside. Furthermore, you can limit the embarrassment of over-cooking because of low temperatures, precise control and minimal residual heat. The difference between done and ruined is measured more in hours than minutes, which is more than most can ask for.
When you sear, roast or grill your food – not to mention dropping it into hot oil or water- flavor, nutrition, and juices are literally pouring out. Sous vide, on the other hand, traps all natural juices and flavors practically marinating your food. The pressure created in the bag actually promotes osmosis, and whatever flavors or seasonings you add beforehand penetrate deep into the food. Sous vide is also the gourmand’s gourmet because cheap meats can be turned into something worth eating.
Apart from not having to create extra sauce and gravy to cover up your deeds, it is a well-researched fact that high temperatures ravage nutritional content. As the great Goussault explained, “Higher temperatures do irreparable damage to food. The cell walls in the food burst, making it impossible for the food to reabsorb the liquid it loses”.
Vacuum packing keeps oxidation to a minimum and with sous vide, your food is cooked fully dressed for the occasion. Storage depends on how long you have cooked the food. Packs can be refrigerated up to 48 hours or up to a week if cooked at higher temperatures, before needing to go into the freezer.
Much Less Time In The Kitchen
Sometimes, after spending hours slaving in the kitchen, you’re the one who’s too tired to savor the meal. If you use the sous vide method, you won’t have to stand and watch over the fry-pan or bubbling pot so much. In addition, food can easily be prepped and marinated in advance and stored.
How To Choose Your Perfect Sous Vide
The key to sous vide is keeping a constant temperature, usually around 140°F / 60°C, coupled with good water circulation for a few hours at least. The obvious considerations are power costs, temperature accuracy, and evaporation as well as the noise of the motor and water circulator.
What Types Of Sous Vide Are Out There?
There are basically three designs. One is the immersible circulator device and heater which looks like a rod. You clip the device onto the side of the water container and you have some choice over volume and capacity. The other is the typical oven box-type design, which now has a cheaper cousin in the jug type design. Both of the latter types have fixed capacities.
What Is The Power Consumption Like?
Because a sous vide is running for an average of 4 hours, but can also go up to 24 to 72 hours, the biggest concern is the power bill. Based on 24 hours of continuous running, the cost is from $0.17 to $1.10 at $0.15 / kWh, depending on your set-up.
This summarized data table comes from a test run on the popular immersion model, Anova, and a high spec oven type, Oliso Smart Top, using 2.64 gal / 10 L of water. The Anova was placed in three environments. First, a lidless container, then the container with its lid on, and lastly, with a lid but also wrapped up in bath towels. The Oliso has one set of results and both used two start-up temperatures – cold tap water and hot tap water to speed things up.
|Room temp. Startup||32.10 min||29.20 min||28.400 min||21 min|
|Hot tap startup||10.20 min||8.30 min||8.20 min||5.30 min|
|12hr consumption||3.84 kWh $0.58||2.09 kWh$0.31||1.38 kWh$0.21||0.81 kWh$0.12|
|24hr consumption||7.30 kWh$1.10||3.77 kWh$0.57||2.30 kWh$0.35||1.16 kWh$0.17|
Another experiment showed how a thick frozen steak, taking about 2 hours to cook in a lidded container, used up to 0.363 kWh. Multiply this by your local rate cost per hour, let’s use $0.15, and you can get a pretty good picture of things (5c a steak).
Obviously, the conclusion here is that running costs are very affordable if you set things up correctly and intend to use the device maybe 3 to 4 days a week.
In summary, oven-type models are significantly more cost-efficient. Using a proper lid, and extra insulation, will cut costs. If you choose to go lidless, further tests have shown that evaporation will allow only 14 hrs of cooking for 10 L.
How Long Does It Take?
You don’t have to worry too much about cooking time in the sense that you don’t need to be around to monitor things (for the paranoid there’s Wi-Fi). It’s better to get a device with an automatic switch-off timer to prevent overcooking, but all devices should switch off if the water level drops below the minimum.
As for cooking time and temperature, it depends on what type of food, how thinly or thickly it is cut, and how well you like it done. Most models will come with a comprehensive temperature and cooking guide. Smart cookers come with apps where you can easily use your smartphone or tablet to select your food type and how you like it cooked. Parameters vary widely between different groups of food, so you should cook each separately.
Red-meats generally take the longest- anything from 2 hours to 72 hours! Poultry usually takes a little less time on average, except for tougher game, and seafood often cooks in less than an hour. Veggies and fruit vary between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
Which Container And Volume Are Best?
Make sure whichever container you use is large enough for the proper circulation of water between the packs. Don’t overcrowd with too many food bags. A larger container will also result in less noise from water circulation. Check the instructions carefully for minimum water levels and maximum volume capacity.
How Much Noise Do They Make?
Overall, the sous vide is not too noisy and the added bonus is that no cooking smells are produced! The thing to take into account here is that the sound will be going on for a few hours or even up to 2 days!
Noise types and levels can vary somewhat between different models. With immersion models, you’re looking at a continuous, low buzzing or humming sound. A few devices are almost silent except for the gentle woosh of water. Others are a little louder, while oven-type devices are usually completely silent. Models which produce a low pitch buzz are a lot more tolerable than those with a high pitched one.
What You Get Is Not Everything You Need
Be aware that there may be additional costs involved other than just purchasing and unpacking your new kitchen toy.
- While a few bags might be included in your package, you will need to buy more. Ziplock bags for freezing are good, but there are numerous BPA free, reusable sous vide bags you can get.
- A plastic hand vacuum pump is useful too if you don’t want to use the water displacement method to get air out of bags. Or you can just use a straw!
- You could also buy a proper vacuum sealing machine, which is useful for general food storage too.
- It’s best to have a sealed cooking container. You can make your own, but there are many custom ones available as well as pot lids and pot insulators.
- To prevent bags moving and clumping up, various cheap sous vide weights, some magnetic, can also be purchased. You put these in the bag before sealing.
- Finally, you may want to invest in a quality flame searer and a good, solid searing pan.
Reviews Of The Best Sous Vide In 2019
Now that you are ready to take on sous vide or perhaps you are gearing up to challenge the sous vide champions, here is our selection of the 5 best sous vide in 2019.
- Anova Wi-Fi Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best To Buy In 2019
- Chefsteps Wi-Fi Sous Vide – Runner Up In 2019
- Anova Nano Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best Small and Affordable
- Gramercy Kitchen Sous Vide – Best Low Tech Value
- Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide – Best Budget
- Yedi Total Package Sous Vide – Best All Inclusive Package
- Dash Chef Series Sous Vide – Best Value Small Water Oven
Here are our picks for Best Sous Vide in 2019:
1. Anova Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best To Buy In 2019
The two most heavily reviewed and competitive models are the ChefSteps Joule and the Anova Culinary. We feel that the overall consistency of results and problem-free performance of the device warrants the Anova as the Best Sous Vide in 2019.
For this model, Anova provides a choice between a lower or a higher-spec version. We chose this higher-spec model, but both are equally well reviewed. The lower-spec model only has Bluetooth and no Wi-Fi, while the motors are 800W and 900W respectively. There can, however, be a retail price difference of up to $40 between them, so you need to consider whether Wi-Fi is worth it for you.
What Value Do Bluetooth And Wi-Fi Have?
They both allow you to start the device at a distance and to monitor or adjust what is happening through the app interface. The app makes it a little easier to enter temperature and time settings than pushing through buttons on a device.
Bluetooth has a limited range of 30 feet and can operate through one barrier (wall). Wi-Fi can be operated from your first class air-cabin. The real advantage of the app is how easy it is, with just a few taps, to browse for a recipe, select how you would like your food done, and then just export the settings to the device. This can easily be accomplished just with Bluetooth, but Wi-Fi has less issues with connectivity.
How Does Anova’s Smartness Measure Up?
Anova does give detailed Wi-Fi instructions, but inevitably, there are always those who have problems getting things to work (the device is the smart one!)
In all fairness, more recent buyer reviews have much fewer issues with Wi-Fi, while there are still quite a few negative comments about Bluetooth not connecting or repeatedly dropping the connection. It could be that some users have cheaper phones or are not aware of range limitations.
Currently with the Wi-Fi feature, multiple users cannot access the device at the same time. Anova are, however, working on this and also the ability to have the app manage more than one cooker at a time.
It’s also worth noting that neither the app nor the device allow for a delayed startup, so you can’t have eggs with your coffee right after you wake up.
How Good Is The App?
The cooking guide in the app is quite detailed, but the only vegetable they have is corn! While their app is not as fancy as the ChefSteps Joule, the Anova app is the winner hands down. This is because it allows for user-generated content (recipes for vegetarians, for example) and social interaction in their recipes section.
Many of those contributing recipes are top chefs and people in the sous vide community—you can easily click on their pic to see their profile. Recipes can be filtered according to category or keyword search. However, the browser has more functionality like tags and if you sign up, you can participate in the forums, contribute recipes, and earn different kinds of community badges.
If you want to print, share, like, star, favorite, comment or discuss any recipe, you can’t do that through the app, but you can just pop up your mobile browser. You have to be in the app though to operate or export settings into the cooker.
How Good Is The Hardware?
If you don’t cram in too many bags, the circulation is really good and produces consistent, evenly-cooked results. This 900W model heats things up and stabilizes the temperature faster than the 800W model. While the Anova is reportedly quieter than the Joule, some people find its sound to be a little high-pitched and annoying.
With this model, unlike the Anova Nano—also reviewed below, you can adjust the height of the clamp, which is a big plus for more experienced users. Also, it has a convenient scroll wheel to adjust time and temperature.
Anova has excellent customer service and they are one of the few makers that offers a full two-year warranty. Make sure that if you buy one through a vendor, they are certified by Anova, otherwise your warranty may not be valid.
The Anova is a sturdy, well-designed product which gives you both a hands-on and hands-free experience. Their two-year warranty and top-level customer service are also a major plus. This is a great device if you intend to do some serious cooking for more than 4 people. If you don’t need Wi-Fi or the extra 100W of power, the cheaper model will do just as well..
2. Chefsteps Wi-Fi, Sous Vide – Runner Up In 2019
The ChefSteps Joule fetches a premium when compared to other immersion circulators, but it does out-perform all in terms of quality and consistency of slow-cooked food as well as quantity. While everything is top class for size, weight, and durability, the major drawback has been the ongoing issues with its dependency on the app.
Most sous vide can be kind of imposing, especially with their big heads which need to be wide enough for controls. I guess the Joule tried to get around this by decapitating the head controls and putting them into the app.
Smart move, but now the key is connectivity (both ways) and quality software. However, even very recent reviews have issues with app speed, connectivity, crashes and failure to start the device. With this kind of technology, it’s difficult to know where the issues lie—with the app, the machine or the users’ smart device or tech know-how?
Both Google Play and Apple App stores gave it less than 4 stars with a big split favoring 5 stars or 1, so it may be a user-side issue. Hopefully, ChefSteps is working on these issues because it is a very good product.
Recipe Guide Well Done
The cooking guides on the app are actually really well done. The recipes—there’s a ton of them— are beautifully photographed for each step as well as for the final result. You can select the thickness of meat and then go directly to pre-programmed settings and everything is automatically done for you. Each recipe has a videos too, slicing through the meat, and these can be disabled to save data.
Packs A Lot For Its Size
To give credit where it’s due, the Joule can do a lot for its size. It’s only 11” tall, and 1.85” across the base; it weighs in at 1.28 lbs and can easily manage 10 gallons (40 liters). When standing on its unique magnetic base, its minimum depth is 1.5” and the maximum is 8”. While there are other models with more than its 1100 watts, the Joule does a much better job with circulation and temperature consistency.
Overall, this slender rod really has a lot to offer, but as many users point out, its core dependency on the app does not always deliver the experience it promises. As things stand, it’s not quite ready for outer space, so the Joule will have to take second place.
3. Anova Nano Bluetooth Sous Vide – Best Small and Affordable
The Anova Nano has 750 watts, Bluetooth and operates off the same app as higher spec models. The overall quality, endurance, and performance of the Anova Nano are not much different from its bigger counterpart.
In terms of looks and feel, this Nano model has a slick, professional, and hardy appearance and size-wise it sits halfway in between its big brother and the ChefSteps Joule.
The biggest beef is with the clamp which, for one, is fixed and cannot be moved up or down the shaft and is not wide enough for some pots. This means that you are limited to using it in a fairly large pot.
Other differences include noise, circulation and temperature range. While the Nano is a little noisier, it has a less irritating pitch on par with a comfortable white-noise. With its smaller motor, the Nano tends to have slower circulation.
Additionally, it has a temperature range of 32°F to 197°F (0°C – 91°C ), whereas the big guy has 77°F to 210°F (25°C to 98°C)— so the Nano is really good for making yogurts, brulets and other kinds of desserts.
Overall, this is a very good starter model. It’s a perfect fit for those in a compact living environment, or living as a single or couple. It is also a very good choice for more serious sous-viders who need an extra device to do things on the side.
4. Gramercy Kitchen Sous Vide – Best Low Tech Value
The sous vide market is becoming really crowded and there are a lot of makers in it for a quick buck or those producing generic knock-ups. We searched really hard to find another product that can distinguish itself. We chose Gramercy because they’re a dedicated company with a limited range of products, but excellent customer service.
The uniqueness of this Gramercy is that it’s practically the only sous vide with a delayed start-up function. If you want your eggs cooked when you wake up, this one will do it. With delayed start-up, especially if you’re cooking meat, it’s best to put your bags in a container with half water and half ice in order to keep a refrigerated temperature as long as possible.
Some people get confused with the settings on this device because you have to set the delay time first, then the temperature and then come back to the same time button to set the cooking time. But, once you figure that out, everything else is easy enough.
The Gramercy also has a convenient adjustable clamp and the only issue reported is that its range is a little limited, other than that it’s strong and secure.
There have also been reported malfunctions with some units, but people have overwhelmingly positive appreciation for customer service and the speed of replacements.
This Gramercy performs similarly well to a number of other generic makes. Although the price tag is often a little higher, we feel that the adjustable clamp, the delayed start-up, and their great customer service make it a reasonable deal and the best low tech value sous-vide.
5. Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide – Best Budget
If you’re looking for a budget model around $50 or less, there are a few available, but in the final analysis scraping the bottom of the market isn’t really worth it. Sous Vide circulators undergo many hours of wear and tear, and low-priced models will not last very long. If you can afford an extra $20, you can get something well worth having.
Our pick for this category is from the Canadian company Instant Pot— the Accu Slim Sous Vide Circulator. There is no tech frill hassle here and this model has some added features for its price range.
One key feature is its incremental settings. Temperature can be increased by increments of 0.1 or 1°F, while the timer works with 1-minute increments up to 72 hours. Incremental time is kind of meaningless though, but every scout needs his badge of honor. The temperature range is from 68°F to 203°F (20-95°C), so it is also good for making yogurts and other similar treats.
The Accu Slim is also very quiet and Instant Pot attribute this to their unique use of a 12V DC motor which is also more durable than an AC.
While it also has an automatic default setting of 113°F (56°C) / 4 hrs, some people find this annoying because if you try to pause your heating, the settings go back to default. Another issue was also with the beep emitted to signal start-up and completion, as some thought it was too low. However, the device will shut down at the end of the set time and also switches off automatically if taken out of water.
Other than that, it seems that many devices, even high-end ones, always have issues with the clamp being either too small or not strong enough; and with this model, users also thought the clamp was kind of flimsy.
Overall, for its comfortable size (12.9”H x 2.6”D), and powerful 800W DC motor, this well made Instant Pot sous-vide will give you a no hassle, quality experience at a reasonably good budget price.
6. Yedi Total Package Sous Vide – Best All Inclusive Package
Yedi is another quality, small maker of kitchen appliances and their sous vide immersion circulator comes well-reviewed like all their other products.
The package includes all the necessities to get you started, namely: 1 hand pump, 10 reusable FDA certified, BPA free, gallon-size, vacuum-sealed bags, 4 sous vide container clips, and 1 sous vide vacuum-bag sealing clip!
Many customers really appreciated these extras and many more had actually received the sous vide as a gift. All the basics are included and it also comes with a two year warranty which also makes it a good choice for gifting.
As for general specs, it has a powerful 1000 watt motor which heats the water up fast, but its flow rate is quite high and evaporation can be a problem. If you are cooking for a long time, however, it has an added feature of a low-level water alarm so you can avoid an automatic shutdown.
There is no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but the brand app does have sous vide recipes with regular updates, however there are not many and a lack of proper categories or easy searching means it’s not as good as it could be.
If you’re doing sous-vide for the first time or looking for a unique gift, then this Yedi Total Package, with its added extras and two year warranty, is our recommended choice.
7. Dash Chef Series Sous Vide – Best Value Small Water Oven
There are a few contenders in this small oven category such as the Hamilton Beach and the VonShef, both of which are cheaper. This Dash is worth the extra expense though, for the quality and consistency it offers. The Hamilton had quite a few reported temperature issues and the VonShef had far too many manufacturing bloops.
The Dash will take up 14”W × 11”D × 9.4”H of counter space, weighs 13 lbs and will hold 2 gallons (8 liters) of water. It comes with a 4-slot rack, so it is limited to 4 bags. However, if you get a flat rack replacement, with legs to stand above the magnetic circulator, you can fit in a little more without compromising the circulation. This magnetic circulator is actually far more reliable and innovative than the typical convection type.
Reviewers are consistently happy with this product, although it takes a little time to stabilize temperatures and can be somewhat noisy when starting off. The temperature range is a basic 104-194°F (40-90°C) with a timer from 10 minutes to 72 hours.
At the end of the day, if you don’t want the fuss of containers, lids, clips, weights and insulators, and just want to shut the lid and let it be done, then this one’s for you. It can cook steaks for a family of four, and it gives you care-free prep time over the weekend if you want to refrigerate for the weekdays ahead.
Top-rated Sous Vide Comparison Chart
|Model||Size inches||Powerwatts||Temp℉ (℃)||Volume||Smart Tech|
|Anova Precision Cooker||14.75 x 2.75||900||77 - 210(25 - 98)||5 gal (20 L)||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, App|
|ChefSteps Joule||11 x 1.85||1100||68 -208(20 - 97)||10 gal (40 L)||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, App|
|Anova Nano||12.8 x 2.2||750||32 - 197(0 - 91)||5 gal (20 L)||Bluetooth, App|
|Gramercy Kitchen||16.5 x 4.3||800||68 - 212(20 - 100)||4 gal(15 L)||No|
|Instant Pot Accu Slim||12.9 x 2.6||800||68 - 203(20 - 95)||2 gal(7.5 L)||No|
|Yedi Total Package||16 x 3.2||1000||77 - 20 (25 - 95)||5 gal (20 L)||No|
|Dash Water Oven||14W x 11D x 9.4H||700||104 -194(40 - 90)||2.1 gal(8 L)||No|
We hope you have enjoyed learning about sous vide and we are happy to be able to offer you 7 great products in an ever increasing and competitive field. Best of luck with your 5-star sous vide cooking!