We spent 80 hours researching and testing sous vide machines and determined the Anova Precision Cooker was our favorite. This reasonably priced and reasonably sized sous vide machine does not possess much electrical power – only 800 watts – but it can heat water to perfection and give you precise temperatures that will yield perfectly cooked food each time you use it. This well-built unit has an easy-to-read display and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can manage your cooking from start to finish from afar using an app on your smartphone.
Anova Precision Cooker
Equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the Anova Precision Cooker lets you manage your meal preparation no matter where you are with excellent results.
The rather modestly priced Sansaire sous vide machine stands in a water bath without a clamp holding it up and, with 1,100 watts of power, cooks food in hot water precisely the way you want.
The petite ChefSteps Joule stands a mere 11 inches high and weighs just over a pound, but it can cook as carefully and as well as many bigger and more expensive competitors.
The Anova Precision Cooker is easy to use, and in our testing it created very tender and flavorful meals that were well liked by our taste testers.
We really like that the Precision Cooker has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and the Anova mobile app lets you begin cooking if you’ve already prepared the food and immersed it in water. It also permits you to check on the water temperature and turn this sous vide machine off. In addition, the app can send you notifications and give you access to more than a thousand sous vide recipes prepared by professional chefs. You also can share recipes with others using the app. This is so much better than having to stand around the kitchen to keep an eye on a single pot.
Cooking is easy with the Anova since you just put food in a plastic bag or glass container, immerse it in a container of water, clamp the Anova to the side of the container and set the correct cooking temperature and time. Although it has just 800 watts, this model is powerful enough to give you precise temperatures that are accurate to plus or minus 0.01 degrees Fahrenheit, which is essential for sous vide cooking to avoid over- or undercooking food. This device's display is easy to read, and the Anova is compact enough that it’s easy to store between uses.
The Sansaire sous vide machine is a big, sturdy, cylindrical cooking device that can stand on its own in a pot of water without attaching to the side of the container. With 1,100 watts from its heating element, this sous vide machine gives you temperature precision of plus or minus 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit, which means your food will be cooked exactly the way you want.
In our testing, the Sansaire was easy to use and created some of the best textures and flavors in both our steak and chicken tests. The temperature range goes from 32 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature displays clearly on the LED readout. We like that this device has simple controls and a sleek design.
This sous vide machine does not include Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, but you can cook nearly any food with it using manual settings and get good results. You just put your food in a plastic or glass container, place it in the water and adjust your settings on the sous vide to start cooking. If you are using a deeper pot, you can use the Sansaire’s adjustable two-setting clamp that can accommodate wide-lipped containers to keep it from going underwater. You get a fine safety feature in this sous vide machine’s automatic shut-off capability, which goes into action if the water evaporates enough that it gets too low or the machine overheats. Although the lack of online capabilities might deter some cooks, the Sansaire lets you easily prepare excellent food.
The ChefSteps Joule is just 11 inches tall and weighs slightly more than 1 pound, but its diminutive size doesn’t detract from its cooking power and performance. We created some heavenly chicken and steak dishes using this device, but the app-only interface made it trickier to use than some others.
This small sous vide machine can circulate hot water in a 10-gallon container, which permits you to cook enough food to feed a modest-sized crowd. It has the biggest water level range, 6.5 inches, which is the distance between the minimum and maximum fill levels that the machine needs to work correctly. The ChefSteps Joule’s range outshines much larger sous vide machines in this area since the average water range of many popular models is only 4.5 inches.
Unlike other Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled sous vide machines that can also be run manually, the ChefSteps Joule can only be controlled through a mobile app. This could obviously be a problem when you have a low battery or if you’re trying to make something in an area without an internet connection. The app-only interface made this device harder to use in some ways, but the results still make it worthwhile. This petite sous vide machine is a snap to use and its small size makes it easy to store as well.
This sous vide machine is an excellent choice as it provides a digital display, showing both the set temperature and the current temperature of water.
It uses Wi-Fi to connect to your phone, so you can control the settings remotely or by turning the green ring around the sides of the display. It can heat up to 10 gallons of water, which means it can cook more food at once than the other devices we tested. Nomiku works with an app called Tender which is available for both Android and iOS. It allows you to browse recipes and gives you quick control over the cooking process. For example, say I was cooking beef and I wanted it to be cooked medium-rare, images with various doneness levels would appear and all I would have to do is select the one that looked the most medium-rare. Then the device would automatically set a temperature and time.
This device is awkwardly shaped compared to some other sous vide machines, so it might have difficulty fitting in drawers and cabinets. When it comes time to clean, you can remove the base of the unit and place it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. No other sous vide machine in our comparison has a removable, not to mention, dishwasher safe sheath.
Best Water Oven
Of the water ovens we compared, the Sousvide Supreme 10L performed the best.
The built-in container can only heat 2.5 gallons, so you won't be able to make as much food with this device, but it works well enough when cooking for a small group. This unit takes up about the same space as a bread maker, but the design is pleasant and will look good on your counter. Some water ovens are very loud, but this one ran quietly and didn't distract. IT doesn't have any Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity so instead of controlling it with your phone, you will need to press the physical buttons on the display.
The manufacturer sells it for just short of $400, which isn't the most expensive device we tested, but definitely is not the least expensive either. It comes with a pouch rack to position your ziplocked foods in such a way that they cook at their best advantage. When it comes time to remove the pouches, the lid can double as a tray, so you can prevent water spilling all over your kitchen. We found that this device provided some of the best cooking results of all of the sous vide machines in our comparison. So, while it costs a pretty penny, you will be pleased with the tender and savory cooking results.
Why Trust Us
ShopSavvy has been researching and ranking kitchen appliances for performance, quality, durability and safety since 2010. After we research a wide range of products within a category, we narrow the field by testing and scoring them using a proprietary system that helps determine which products to include in our final list. This system helps us rank the best products in hundreds of categories and make the best recommendations for you.
How We Tested
We spent 80 hours testing and evaluating sous vide machines recently. To begin, we read user reviews and looked at food-related articles and blogs about using the sous vide method. To further inform our research, we interviewed Sous Chef Hans Storrer about his experience using this cooking method. Excerpts of that interview are available below.
We undertook two cooking tests, one for chicken and the other for steak, to determine which sous vide machines produced the most tender and flavorful meat. These devices can be pricey, so we gave higher scores to ones that were both reasonably priced and effective cooking tools. We also compared the machines by evaluating the buttons and screens of each device, trying out the accompanying phone apps, and comparing temperature ranges and immersion depth needs to see which ones offered the most convenience and worked most intuitively.
Is a Sous Vide Cooker Worthwhile for Home Use?
As with any kitchen appliance, the value it brings to your home depends on how often you will use the machine. Sous vide machines are easy to set up, but it does take a while to fill the tub, heat the water, and ultimately cook your food. Heating water takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on what you are cooking. Food cook times also vary by the type of food you’re cooking (for example, vegetables cook quicker than steak) and how well done you want your food. The type of sous vide machine you use will influence this as well. Some of the machines we tested took 60 minutes to cook steak rare while others took 90 minutes.
The good news with sous vide machines is it is virtually impossible to burn or overcook your food. This is because when you set your water temperature, the sous vide keeps the temperature consistent while it is cooking, then warm enough to maintain the internal temperature of your food without further cooking it.
A sous vide machine can be a handy gadget for cooking food. The value depends on how often you will use it in your own kitchen.
How Much Do Sous Vide Machines Cost?
These devices have been used for years by high-end restaurants; it wasn't until relatively recently that sous vide devices were available in home kitchens. For this reason, it's somewhat understandable that they would cost so much. The best priced, home-use sous vides usually sell between $150 and $250. While the more professional-grade devices sell between $300 and $750 or even more. We've found that sous vides that use immersion circulators typically cost less than water ovens but immersion circulators require that you use a container to heat your food in, which is another cost you should consider.
Things to Know About Sous Vide Machines
The USDA states that any foods kept between 40 and 140 degrees F – aka the "danger zone" – for more than two hours are unsafe to eat. The USDA adds a 10 degree padding to keep everyone safe, which means that the danger zone's high temperature is actually 130 degrees F. Bacteria grows most rapidly in this temperature range, with the ability to double their numbers in as little as 20 minutes. To be safe, if you're going to be cooking your food for a few hours, you should never set the temperature lower than 130 degrees. To learn more, you can visit the USDA website.
Most sous vide devices will warn you if you’re cooking in the danger zone, to help keep you safe. It's true that some sous vide enthusiasts cook their foods in this temperature range regularly and swear by the results. If you want to use their methods, you'll have to trust your own judgment and be wary of potential health risks.
Since sous vide cooking uses precision temperature control and the foods themselves are vacuum sealed in plastic, you might be wondering if additives like BPA and phthalate will get released into your food. Fortunately, sous vide temperatures are too low to melt food bags, and the bags themselves are made up of food-safe plastics, so these chemicals won't be released during cooking.
Cooking Tips & Insights with Sous Chef Storrer
We got so many helpful insights from Sous Chef Storrer that we've decided to dedicate a section to his comments. Read on to learn more about sous vide cooking.
When we asked Storrer why he likes sous vide cooking, he told us that vacuum sealed sous vide cooking doesn’t dry out food like traditional methods can. "Where [sous vide] really shines," he says, "is the inexpensive tough cuts of meat. Its ability to cook at a lower temperature over a longer period of time allows it to turn those tough cuts into something comparable to a prime cut in texture." He went on to say that his wife loves the convenience of this cooking method since she can prepare meals in advance and store them in the freezer until she is ready to cook them –and she doesn't have to monitor the cooking process when it is happening. I think we can all agree that convenience and saving time are major advantages of cooking sous vide.
Sous vide cooking has long been lauded for its ability to create moist, tender and flavorful meals. But as Storrer went on to tell us, you shouldn't view it like a Crockpot. To get the most out of sous vide cooking, you need to also sear your meat by broiling, grilling or pan frying it to achieve the Maillard reaction, which adds a caramelized look and texture to your meat. Makes you want to eat just reading about it, huh?
Interestingly, some sous vide enthusiasts place a few layers of ping pong balls in the water to prevent water from evaporating, which helps the cooking process. When we asked Storrer about this technique, he said, "In helping the machine not work as hard, you will also increase its longevity." Considering how expensive these devices are, you might want to insulate your cooking to help your sous vide machine last longer. Storrer told us that he uses a special Cambro container and accompanying lid to achieve the same insulating effect.
Finally, Storrer gave this advice:
“As the cooking technique has become more common, so has the wealth of knowledge. My advice is the same for sous vide as in cooking in general. Never stop pushing. Learn the basics and then push out of your comfort zone and try something new. A new product, a new technique. Adjusting your time and temp can yield different results and textures. Take pork belly for example. A lower temp for a longer time can yield a soft buttery texture where a higher temp and shorter time can give it a tender but ‘snappier’ texture. Do not be afraid to play around. Chances are you will make something pretty horrific and disgusting, but don’t let it dissuade you. Those failures can lead to food that is magical, and that is what fine cuisine is all about.”
As he said, get out there and explore. Sous vide opens so many cooking possibilities, you'll only know what you really like if you keep experimenting.
The maximum bath volume of the average sous vide machine ranges from 3 to 8 gallons. Most immersion wand sous vide machines are designed to heat about 4 to 5 gallons of water, though some offer more power. A small-capacity unit limits how much food you can cook at one time, so if you plan to make larger quantities, like for a large family or group gathering, you’ll want a unit with more capacity – although these typically are more expensive. Restaurant owners often use industrial-size sous vide machines to cook for large numbers of people at once. If you need a sous vide this size, just remember that they are much more expensive.
One extra feature that can help keep your household safe is an automatic shut-off. If the water gets too hot or evaporates below a certain level, the machine will turn itself off, which reduces the risk of fire.
Wi-Fi integration is convenient since it lets you sync the sous vide machine to an app that can be controlled with your smartphone. Rather than waiting to start cooking at home, you can prepare food in the morning, then turn on the machine from wherever you are during the day. Dinner will be done by the time you get home from work. You also get an additional benefit since most apps include a library of sous vide recipes created by professional chefs and a community of sous vide enthusiasts.
Are Ziploc Bags Safe for Sous Vide Cooking?
Yes! There is no requirement to use a vacuum sealing bag when sous vide cooking, which means a zipper-style bag like a Ziploc is a very good, economical choice. Not only are Ziploc bags cheaper and easier to find at your local grocery store, but you can also purchase them in the sizes you need and keep the rest for other uses like packing school lunches or protecting important documents. The trick with sous vide cooking is making sure you squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag before submerging it into the water. This encourages even cooking.
You can purchase vacuum sealer bags in a variety of sizes, too, but it is usually more economical to buy a roll of plastic and make the bags yourself. Vacuum sealing draws air out quickly and effortlessly, and you can wash and reuse the bags multiple times. This isn’t quite the same for Ziploc bags, which aren’t as thick and tend to tear more easily.
Check out our review of the best vacuum food sealers to learn which ones we recommend for sous vide cooking.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Pricing||Performance & Heating||Cooking Specifications||Convenience & Safety||Ease of Use||Steak Test||Chicken Test||Type||Time to Heat - Steak (minutes)||Time to Heat - Chicken (minutes)||Steak Cook Time (minutes)||Chicken Cook Time (minutes)||Heating Power (watts)||Minimum Temperature (fahrenheit)||Maximum Temperature (fahrenheit)||Minimum Immersion Depth (inches)||Maximum Immersion Depth (inches)||Maximum Bath Volume (gallons)||Dishwasher Safe Bottom Sheath||Voice Control||Warranty||Bluetooth||Wi-Fi||Screen||Mac Compatible App||Andriod Compatible App||Automatic Shut-Off||Removable Side Clip||Width (inches)||Depth (inches)||Height (inches)||Weight (pounds)|
|Anova Wi-Fi Precision Cooker||View Deal||5/5||10||9.8||8.8||10||100%||90%||95%||Immersion Circulator||35||50||60||60||900||77||210||2.5||7.5||5 Gallons||Not Specified||-||1 Year||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||2.75||2.75||14.75||2.5|
|ChefSteps Joule||View Deal||5/5||9.5||10||10||7||85%||100%||100%||Immersion Circulator||37||37||90||60||1100||68||208||1.5||8||10+ Gallons||✓||✓||1 Year||✓||✓||Must Use App||✓||✓||✓||-||1.85||1.85||11||1.28|
|WiFi Nomiku||View Deal||4.5/5||9.8||8.5||9.3||8.8||90%||80%||80%||Immersion Circulator||-||-||-||-||1100||32||203||1.5||5.5||8+ Gallons||✓||-||1 Year||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||4||2.7||12||4.8|
|Sansaire SA15||View Deal||4.5/5||9.5||9.8||8.5||5||100%||90%||90%||Immersion Circulator||20||35||60||60||1100||32||212||3||6.5||6 Gallons||Not Specified||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||✓||✓||4||4||15||4|
|VacMaster SV1||View Deal||4/5||9||8.5||9||5||90%||70%||75%||Immersion Circulator||-||-||-||-||1500||77||210||N/A||N/A||7.9 Gallons||-||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||✓||-||2.5||6||13||2.28|
|Sousvide Supreme 10L||View Deal||4/5||8.5||9.3||8.3||3.8||90%||80%||90%||Water Oven||-||-||-||-||1100||86||210||N/A||N/A||2.5 Gallons||N/A||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||Not Specified||N/A||10.96||11.3||12.99||9.8|
|VonShef Premium 8 Liter 13/104||View Deal||4/5||10||8.3||8||3.8||90%||70%||70%||Water Oven||-||-||-||-||800||0||210||N/A||N/A||2.11 Gallons||N/A||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||Not Specified||N/A||15||10||9||11.86|
|Gourmia Pod Precision Cooker GSV130||View Deal||4/5||9.8||8||8||3.8||85%||85%||50%||Immersion Circulator||-||-||-||-||1200||32||203||3||6||3.5 Gallons||Not Specified||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||-||-||4||5||14.5||2.3|
|Oliso Smart Hub||View Deal||4/5||7.8||8.5||8.3||3.8||95%||75%||80%||Induction Based Water Oven||-||-||-||-||1500||86||192||N/A||N/A||2.5 Gallons||N/A||-||1 Year||-||-||✓||-||-||Not Specified||N/A||14||17||18||9.5|
|PolyScience Chef Professional Professional||View Deal||3.5/5||6||8.5||7.5||3.8||85%||80%||75%||Immersion Circulator||-||-||-||-||1100||70||200||3.4||Not Specified||7.9 Gallons||-||-||7.9 Gallons||-||-||✓||-||-||Not specified||-||3.8||7.3||14||9.1|