The VonShef 8L is a compact and low-cost sous vide water oven. This model is an all-in-one water oven and has a very different shape and cooking method from the immersion devices we tested. Although cheaper and smaller than other units, it still has comparable features and performance. The biggest downside is you cannot cook a lot of food at once so this unit is better for preparing meals for a smaller number of people.
This water oven was different from the immersion sous vides we tested as it provides its own container for you to use. We found the buttons and interface simple and straightforward. Our taste testers were neither super impressed nor disapproving of the meat this sous vide produced. So, while it provides acceptable cooking results, this might not be the best choice for you if you're wanting to wow your guests. We appreciated the see-through window in the lid at first, but it very quickly steamed over making it impossible for us to see how the meat was coming.
The VonShef 8L is an affordable and compact sous vide water oven. Priced at about 35 percent less than the average sous vide machine of this type, this unit will not break your bank account. Its 800-watt heating element and circulator brings water to precise temperatures, and the 2.1-gallon insulated bath has enough room to fit about six smallish plastic bags of food. This happens to be the smallest capacity of any device we tested, which makes it better suited to small dinner parties or a dinner for two. It also includes racks to keep the food separate and organized. If you'd prefer a device that can help you cook for a large number of people, you might want to consider the Nomiku.
The relatively small bath makes this unit compact. At 15 inches long, 10 inches tall and 9 inches wide, this machine is about the size of a small crock pot or cooler. It can either be placed on the kitchen counter or stored in a bottom cupboard. Though much bigger than a sous vide immersion circulator, it is small for a water oven and will not take much space.
This model is less expensive than others, but the low cost comes at a sacrifice. While other water ovens heat water from all sides of the bath, this one doesn't. Instead, it uses a noise-making circulator to evenly heat the water. Water ovens are generally silent sous vide machines, so be aware that this one will make noise.
In addition to the noise, this unit also has limited water bath capacity. At 2.3 gallons, the VonShef Premium has nearly the smallest capacity of all sous vide cookers we looked at. The stick-like immersion circulators, though much smaller in size, have a greater capacity that ranges from 3 to 10 gallons. You won't be able to cook sous vide for a large dinner party with this machine. The size of this unit's container also restricts the types of food that you can cook. Small cuts of meat are easy to cook, but issues will arise with irregular and large types of food. Sous vide cooking a long slab of ribs and a whole salmon will not be possible in this machine.
Though limited in cooking capacity, the VonShef 8L is affordable and compact for a water oven type of sous vide machine. Consider this machine if you want a low-cost option and plan to only cook for a few people.