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Best Sous Vide Machine Review

Why Buy a Sous Vide Machine?

A sous vide machine brings a wonderful cooking method to your kitchen. By heating water at a constant temperature, these machines cook food to perfection with practically no clean up. All moisture, flavor and nutrients are retained. Even large quantities of food can be prepared with ease and with delicious results. A sous vide machine can take your home-cooked meals to the next level.

What Is Sous Vide?

Sous vide is a gourmet culinary technique. Meaning “under vacuum” in French, this cooking method is basically slow cooking in water. Food is sealed in air-tight bags and submersed in a temperature-controlled water bath. The food then cooks in the water for an extended amount of time. The consistency of temperature and time yields perfect results.

Anything can be cooked with sous vide. Foods commonly prepared using sous vide are beef, chicken, eggs and salmon. There are numerous sous vide recipes online which include not only the ingredients, but the suggested time and temperature. Cooking is as simple as putting all the ingredients in a sous vide cooker, setting the temperature and time, then waiting until it's completed.

There are two types of sous vide machines – immersion circulators and water ovens. Both achieve the same results, and they function the same except for one primary difference. Immersion circulators require an external water container while water ovens do not. Water ovens are standalone machines that are about the size of a small cooler. Immersion circulators are long, stick-like devices that you can attach to any container filled with water.

Three of the top sous vide machines now on the market are the Anova Precision Cooker, Sansaire and PolyScience Chef. Learn more about sous vide machines with our articles here.

Sous Vide Machines: What to Look For

The best sous vide machines vary in price, ranging from around $200 to more than $700. If you're just using the machine at home, a model on the less expensive end would be effective. An increasing number of quality sous vide machines on the market has substantially reduced the cost.

One feature worth seeking is smart phone integration, which allows the chef to control the machine through an app. You’ll also want to consider the design, features and size of any sous vide machine you’re looking to purchase.

Design
Most sous vide machines function the same, but they differ slightly in design. Three important differences include temperature control, capacity and aesthetics. The heating elements of sous vide machines have various levels of wattage, ranging from 800 to 1500 watts. This difference of power affects the temperature control. A lower wattage unit will take longer to heat water and have more difficulty in maintaining the water temperature, especially in a non-insulated container. If the temperature is off while cooking, even by a few degrees, the food could be under or overcooked.

The capacity is an important consideration. The maximum bath volume of sous vide machines range from 3 to 8 gallons. Most immersion wands are designed to heat about 4 to 5 gallons of water, though some offer more power. A small-capacity unit will limit how much food you can cook at a single time, so if you plan to make larger quantities, like for a large family, you’ll want a unit with more capacity. Also be aware that larger-capacity machines tend to be more expensive.

Another design difference to consider is the look. Some sous vide machines are sleek and minimal while others are large and blocky. If you need a machine that fits with your kitchen décor, the look will be important to consider.

Features
Aside from simply heating water, most sous vide machines have useful extra features. One feature to look for is a safety measure. If the water gets too hot or goes below a certain level, the machine will turn itself off. Another useful feature is Wi-Fi integration. This feature allows you to sync the sous vide machine to an app that can be controlled with your smartphone. This remote access provides a convenient way to manage the machine. Rather than waiting to start cooking at home, you can prepare food in the morning, then turn on the machine from anywhere. Dinner will be completed perfectly by the time you return from work. Most apps also include a library of sous vide recipes created by professional chefs and a community of sous vide enthusiasts.

Size
Sous vide machines vary in size. The biggest difference is between water ovens and immersion circulators. Water ovens are the size of a small microwave, while immersion circulators are more akin to a wand or relay baton. Units with a larger water capacity will be bigger than those with less. This is especially true for water ovens which have the water container integrated in the device. It is important to consider the size if storage space is limited or if you plan to keep the unit on the counter. An immersion circulator will require much less space compared to a water oven.

Sous vide machines all perform the same function, but they differ slightly in size and design. Consider how often you'll use the machine and your available storage space to determine which one is right for you. If you want an effective and easy method of cooking food, a sous vide machine will be a great addition to your kitchen.