Top 10 Best Sous Vide Cookers in 2020

Sous vide has quickly become a popular cooking method for its precise and perfect food results. 

Sous vide cooked food was previously only attainable at high-end restaurants from professional chefs, but more reasonably priced sous vide immersion circulators have come into the home kitchen market in the last few years. Any and everyone is now able to create their own perfect steaks. 

I spent countless hours reviewing sous vide machines to find the 10 best sous vide cookers on the market.

Cutting to the chase, the best overall sous vide cooker is the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker at 1000W of power. The package of power, features, and price provides you with the best overall value. 

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Here’s the narrowed-down list of the 10 best sous vide machines followed by a more detailed look at each circulator. Below the individual reviews is a buyer’s guide with tips on how to choose the best sous vide immersion circulator, along with frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

10 Best Sous Vide Cookers in 2020

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07WQ4M5TS&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USAnova Precision Cooker

Anova Precision Cooker

  • 1000 Watts

  • Wifi

BEST OVERALL

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01M8MMLBI&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USBreville Joule Sous Vide

Breville Joule Sous Vide

  • 1100 Watts

  • Bluetooth and Wifi

    BEST HIGH-TECH

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07BKSH4KY&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USWancle Thermal Immersion Circulator

    Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator

    • 850 Watts

    BEST
    BUDGET-FRIENDLY


    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07C7PW3PC&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USAnova Precision Cooker Nano

    Anova Precision Cooker Nano

    • 750 Watts

    • Bluetooth

    BEST COMPACT

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07QFC6LN6&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USAnova Precision Cooker Pro

    Anova Precision Cooker Pro

    • 1200 Watts

    • Wifi

    BEST FOR POWER

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00NPYDAW8&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USPolyscience Creative Series

    Polyscience CREATIVE Series

    • 1100 Watts

    BEST COMMERCIAL

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B081DMRVVL&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USKitchen Boss G300 G310 Cookers

    Kitchen Boss G300 / G310 Cookers

    • 1100 Watts

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07RNWJZNR&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USInkbird Sous Vide Precision Cooker

    Inkbird Sous Vide Precision Cooker

    • 1000 Watts

    • Wifi

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07B4D5PR2&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USChefman Immersion Circulator

    Chefman Immersion Circulator

    • 1100 Watts

    • Bluetooth and Wifi

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B073R2PZF3&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USGramercy Kitchen Sous Vide Circulator

    Gramercy Kitchen Sous Vide Circulator

    • 800 Watts

    1. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker – Best Overall Value

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07WQ4M5TS&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USAnova Culinary Precision Cooker

    Features

    • 1000 Watts of power
    • Flow Rate is 8 Liters/min.
    • Wifi connectivity
    • Anova App 
    • Can cook up to 5,000 hours continuously
    • Temperature Range: 0˚-92˚C (32˚-197˚F)
    • Temperature Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚C (0.2˚F)
    • IPX7 water and splash resistance
    • Control on the cooker or through Wifi and the Anova App
    • Easy to use with your choice of pot or container
    • Adjustable and Removable Clamp
    • 2 year warranty
    • 100-day money-back guarantee

    The Precision Cooker offers the best overall value with its features, dependability, and price. Anova Culinary is a well-known name when it comes to sou vide cuisine and this the Sous Vide Precision Cooker doesn’t disappoint.

    If you’re a home chef and want something that gives you great bang for your buck, the Anova Precision Cooker is for you. You get a large amount of power and speed that will ensure good water circulation to cook any type of food: chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs, beef, lamb, pork and more. Anova also offers the flexibility of remote and onboard controls. 

    The size is also perfect as it’ll heat and circulate water containers up to 20 quarts, allowing you to comfortably cook for up to 6 adults. 

    The Anova Precision Cookers also come with the Anova app that allows you to remotely control the time and temperature. There’s also a preset list of recipes that come with the app that you can pick from and it’ll automatically set the time and temperature. Saves you from going to a cookbook or online for a recipe. 

    The Precision Cooker series of circulators is amazing – you probably noticed I’ve listed each of the three versions in the list. This one is their baseline product that sits in the middle and has everything you need to get sous vide cooking immediately. 

    Here’s a great in depth video review of it: 

    Anova NANO Sous Vide In Depth Review!

    Find the Anova Precision Cooker’s user manual and user guide

    Pros

    • Best Overall Value
    • WiFi Connection
    • Anova reliability and expertise

    Cons

    • On the heavier side 

    2. Breville Joule Sous Vide – Best High-Tech

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01M8MMLBI&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USBreville Joule Sous Vide

    Features

    • 1100 watts of power for hyper-fast water heating
    • Wifi and Bluetooth ready
    • Compatible with Amazon Alexa
    • Small and sleek – 11 inches height and just 1.3 pounds
    • Sold stainless steel cover and base
    • Precise to 0.2°F / 0.1°C

    The Breville Joule (previously known as the ChefSteps Joule) is one of the top ones out there. If there wasn’t the Anova Precision Cooker, the Joule would be the Best Overall cooker. 

    The Joule is compact, yet it comes packed with technological features. It comes with Wifi and Bluetooth compatibility, an app, and it’s Amazon Alexa ready. None of the others in this list have all that. 

    The Visual Clarity feature in the Joule app shows you how the food should turn out, allowing you to see accurate doneness, along with chef-tested recipes. 

    There’s also a non-stainless steel version, but we still prefer the stainless steel quality. The difference in price is negligible for the durability and quality you get with stainless steel. 

    If you’re looking for how to use the Joule, here is the Joule’s user manual and user guide

    Pros

    • Bluetooth and Wifi
    • Lightweight and portable
    • Fast and Precise
    • Store in a kitchen drawer

    Cons

    • Priced on the higher end of circulators

    3. Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator – Best Budget-Friendly

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07BKSH4KY&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USWancle Thermal Immersion Circulator

    Features:

    • 850 watts
    • High temperature accuracy: ± 0.01 ° C
    • Temperature range: 25-99.9°C (77°F-211.8°F)
    • Maximum time: 99h 59mins
    • Stainless steel
    • Overheat and low water level protection mechanism
    • 2 year warranty
    • Ultra silent 

    Unlike the previous immersion circulators with Wifi and bluetooth capabilities, this one gets back to basics with none of that. The Wancle cooker focuses on the core functions of the sous vide cooker itself. The stainless steel sleeve makes it very easy to clean and dry. No other high-end equipment is required.

    The digital control panel makes the temperature accurate to 0.1°C and the time specific to the minute. The wide temperature range and time control allow you to cook any type of food. 

    Find the Wancle’s user manual and user guide here. 

    Pros

    • Smart Design, Single-Hand Operation
    • Very easy to use and works great

    Cons

    • Occasionally doesn’t heat to the proper temperature, so need to keep an eye on it

    4. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano – Best Compact

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07C7PW3PC&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USir?t=sousvide110 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07C7PW3PC

    Features

    • 750 Watts of power
    • Flow Rate is 5 Liters/min.
    • Bluetooth connectivity
    • Anova App 
    • Can cook up to 3,000 hours continuously
    • Temperature Range: 0˚-92˚C (32˚-197˚F)
    • Temperature Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚C (0.2˚F)
    • Control on the cooker or through Wifi and the Anova App
    • Easy to use with your choice of pot or container
    • Fixed Clamp
    • 2 year warranty
    • 100-day money-back guarantee

    The Anova Precision Cooker Nano is small enough to fit in your kitchen drawer for quick and easy storage. But it’s still powerful enough to cook for your family of four.The Nano can be easily fixed to any water tank or container with a fixed clamp and made of an ultra-durable plastic that’s easy to clean.

    Pros

    • Best selling sous vide circulator
    • Compact and portable
    • Anova reliability and quality

    Cons

    • Not made for cooking for more than 5+ people

    Find the Anova Nano’s user manual and user guide

    5. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Pro – Best for Power

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07QFC6LN6&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USAnova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano

    Features

    • 1200 Watts of power
    • Flow Rate is 12 Liters/min.
    • Able to heat up to 100 liters (105 quarts) of water
    • Wifi connectivity
    • Anova App 
    • Can cook up to 10,000 hours continuously
    • Temperature Range: 0˚-92˚C (32˚-197˚F)
    • Temperature Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚C (0.2˚F)
    • IPX7 water and splash resistance
    • Control on the cooker or through Wifi and the Anova App
    • Easy to use with your choice of pot or container
    • Adjustable and Removable Clamp
    • 2 year warranty
    • 100-day money-back guarantee

    The Anova Precision Cooker Pro is the top of the line cooker for Anova and packs the most power. It comes with many of the same Anova features like the app and product quality, but in a bigger package. 

    Anova states it has the ability to cook up to 105 quarts of water, so you’re able to cook for big parties. The trouble you’re going to have is finding a container that big. It might be useful for a small scale restaurant or catering business.

    Pros

    • Simple and approachable technique
    • Easy to use with the Anova help
    • New level cooking product

    Cons

    • Expensive and is too much for a family of four

    Find the Anova Precision Cook Pro user guide here

    6. PolyScience CREATIVE Series Sous Vide Circulator – Best Commercial Cooker

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00NPYDAW8&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USPolyScience CREATIVE Series Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

    Features

    • 1100 Watts of power
    • IHA Innovation Award Finalist
    • Large, back-lit LCD screen displays
    • Rugged clamp design 
    • Circulates and heats up to 20 quarts
    • Pump-flow regulation
    • Maximum Temperature: 210°F (99°C)
    • Temperature Stability: ±0.07°C/±0.1°F
    • Over temperature Protection
    • Low liquid level safety

    Breville|PolyScience’s cutting-edge products are geared toward professional chefs and restaurants. Their products are highly accurate, because their users need to meet the expectations of their customers. 

    The PolyScience Creative series is for the home chef who wants the power and features of commercial cookers, but at a price that’s made for home cooks. 

    Their commercial sous vide Professional line begins with their PolyScience Sous Vide Professional Immersion Circulator CLASSIC that’s the standard for professional kitchens. They also have the PolyScience Stainless Steel Integrated Bath System. They then created their PolyScience CHEF Series Sous Vide Commercial Immersion Circulator that’s at a lower price point than their Classic line. Those are all good options if you’re looking for commercial sous vide machines. 

    Pros

    • PolyScience quality and precision
    • Commercial and Professional quality at home

    Cons

    • Lacks an App like others
    • Higher prices

    See the video on the PolyScience Creative Series cooker: 

    The PolyScience Sous Vide Professional™ CREATIVE Series

    Find the user manual here. PolyScience also has a great temperature reference guide to download. 

    7. Kitchen Boss G300 and G310 Sous Vide Cookers

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B081DMRVVL&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USKitchen Boss G300 and G310 Sous Vide Cookers

    Features

    • 1100 Watts of power
    • IPX7 waterproof certification
    • Can cook continuously up to 10,000 hours
    • Ultra quiet 
    • Unique 3D circulating pump design to evenly maintain water temperature
    • Temperature range: 104°F to 194°F (± 0.2°F) / 40°C to 90°C (± 0.1°C)
    • Time settings: up to 99 hours and 59 minutes

    The Kitchen Boss G300 and G310 are the same immersion circulators, except for the design of the top of the cooker. The G300 has a 12-sided polygon shape and the G310 is a circular shape. 

    The Kitchen Boss circulator is great for those looking for a power cooker at a great price. It still provides precise temperatures and powerful enough to effectively cook up to 15.85 quarts of water.

    Both circulators are IPX7 waterproof and are built to withstand steam and water seeping into crevices and breaking the circulators. There’s no concern about dropping the circulator into the container and you’re able to clean it worry-free. 

    I did a longer review if you want to go in-depth on the Kitchen Boss machine.

    Pros

    • Great value for the price and power
    • Good temperature range
    • Good two-pin clamp system for secure holds on containers and pots

    Cons

    • No Bluetooth & Wifi

    8. Inkbird Wifi Sous Vide Precision Cooker

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07RNWJZNR&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USInkbird Wifi Sous Vide Precision Cooker

    Features

    • 1000 Watts of power
    • Wifi connectivity
    • Temperature range: 77°F to 210°F (25°C to 99°C)
    • Temperature accuracy: 0.1°C (1°F)
    • Time setting up to 99 hours 59 minutes
    • Time setting minimum interval: 1 minute

    The Inkbird Sous Vide Precision Cooker also comes with the Inkbird app to manage your circulator’s temperature and timing. The app also has preset recipes. A cool feature with the Inkbird is the ability to set the recipe on the circulator’s LED screen, no app needed. 

    The Inkbird comes in at a great price and value for the 1000W and the Wifi connectivity. 

    Pros

    • Accurate Temperature and Timer
    • Fast heat circulation
    • Wifi connectivity

    Cons

    • App isn’t the greatest
    • Not waterproof

    9. Chefman Sous Vide Immersion Circulator 

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07B4D5PR2&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USChefman Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

    Features

    • 1100 Watts of power
    • Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity
    • App for guided cooking
    • The immersion circulator has a 360 directional pump and a touch screen LCD. 
    • CETL approved advanced security technology for long-term durability

    The Chefman sous vide cooker and the app is a great pairing. There’s no lack of power with its 1100 watts and the app has videos to guide your cooking with the circulator. The Chefman Sous Vide app (for iOS and Android). Comes with step-by-step recipes, temperature guides, how-to videos, tips, and more, you can make delicious food consistently!

    The Chefman cooker has built-in smart sensors for monitoring water levels and a flexible clamp fixture to fit most pots and containers.

    Pros

    • Good features and power for the price
    • User-Friendly, secure and reliable

    Cons

    • Some have reported Wifi connectivity issues, but it can be operated manually too

    10. Gramercy Kitchen Sous Vide Circulator

    q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B073R2PZF3&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sousvide110 20&language=en USGramercy Kitchen Sous Vide Circulator

    Features

    • 800 Watts of power
    • Temperature maximum: 100C, 212F
    • Thermal stability: +/- 1% C
    • Delay start timer
    • Stainless steel pump housing
    • Specially designed vent cover to prevent steam from damaging the circulator

    A cool feature with the Gramercy Kitchen circulator is the delay start timer. It allows you to set the cooker to start working later whenever you want, without needing to be there. You’re able to set the cooker to start and when you get home later, dinner can be ready.

    Gramercy Kitchen’s cooker comes with a velvet storage sleeve to keep your sous vide machine clean. They also have a downloadable time and temperature guide to get you started with sous vide cooking.

    Pros

    • Back to basics and gets the job done
    • Delay start timer

    Cons

    • No wifi or bluetooth connectivity

    Home Sous Vide Cooker Buying Guide 2020

    As you research and look into finding the best sous vide cooker for you, I’ve added some of the most popular questions and consideration. I know it’s a lot of information is fragmented and dispersed all across the internet, so I’ve put together the most important info here.

    What is Sous Vide?

    Sous vide cooking (pronounced SOO-Veed) is all about precision and perfection. Longer cooking times at precise low temperatures to ensure perfectly cooked food. This method of cooking allows for the food to be evenly cooked, especially when it comes to steaks. I think we know how hard it is to evenly cook or grill a steak. 

    Sous vide’s origins date all the way back to the 18th Century when Benjamin Thompson was trying to roast meat in a machine looking for meat that was “not merely eatable, but perfectly done, and most singularly well-tasted” (source). It wasn’t until the 1970s when French chef Georges Pralus, considered the father of sous vide, combined vacuum sealing with low-temperature cooking – inventing what we know sous vide as today. 

    Professional sous vide machines started to appear in restaurants and sous vide food became a popular cuisine in high-end restaurants with many professional chefs. It was more of a dining experience saved for special meals and events. 

    Home sous vide started to pick up in the mid-2000’s with sous vide circulator appearances in Iron Chef America (Wylie Dufresne vs Mario Batali), New York Times, and the beginning of sous vide circulators for home kitchens. In 2016, ChefSteps released the Joule (now called the Breville Joule as mentioned earlier) (source).

    How Does Sous Vide Work?

    How to Sous Vide Best Sous Vide Cookers

    The sous vide process is to vacuum seal fresh food seasoned with spices in a bag and submerge the bag in water at a precise, low temperature for around 1-7 hours normally. 

    The sous vide method helps keep the nutritional value and benefits of food intact because the food is cooked at a constant, low temperature that allows the food to cook evenly. Plus, it’s in a vacuum-sealed bag, so there’s nowhere for the nutrients to go.

    After food is sous vide cooked, you can sear the meat in a pan to keep the juices inside and have a crispy texture on the outside. Especially popular with steaks because you’re trapping the moisture and flavor inside, creating a perfect steak when you cut into it. 

    There are many different benefits with sous vide cooking methods. 

    Benefits of Sous Vide

    1. Precision Cooking

    The vacuum heat exchanger between water and food is smoother and more consistent than a stove or furnace. The lower temperatures and longer cooking times allow for food to evenly cook through and through. 

    You can cook all types of food like short ribs, pork shoulder and other meats. It’s not just for meats either, it’s also for vegetables. 

    Ever go to a high-end restaurant and wonder why your food comes out much slower than the hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the corner? It’s because the chefs take their time to try and make sure food is as evenly cooked as possible. That’s how food tastes perfect

    Look at the inconsistencies when cooking a steak normally vs a sous vide steak, where the inside is consistently cooked all over. What looks tastier?

    Sous vide benefits with steak

    A note on the lower temperatures, the water is still hot, so don’t stick your hands in there. The water is hot enough to kill bacteria in the food too, so there’s no health safety concerns. The time and temperature balance will lead to pasteurization, which is the killing of bacteria – making the food safe. 

    2. Delicious and Flavorful – Perfect

    Longer cooking times also allow for more flavors coming from your food. Just as you marinate your steaks, fish, chicken, and other food with other cooking methods, you can marinate with sous vide too. 

    You can flavor your food by putting sauces, spices, and oils inside the vacuum bags too. Think about the time that you’d normally marinate a steak and why you marinate in the first place. Then think about sous vide and how long your marinade will be in the bag with your steak, absorbing and cooking evenly throughout. 

    Yum! 

    3. Nutrient Rich

    High heat destroys the nutritional value and benefits of food. High temperature steaming and boiling will cause a significant loss of vitamins and minerals in vegetables and other foods (NY Times article)..  

    Sous vide’s low temperatures and cooking method inside the bag will keep more of the important vitamins and nutritional value. 

    4. Durable

    Foods suffering from a vacuum consume less oxidation, which means a longer shelf life. It is based on many factors, including how long it takes to store fresh food safely. Foods that are cooked at high temperatures can only be kept for less than 48 hours to one week before being thrown away or in the refrigerator.

    5. Minimal time in the kitchen

    Sous vide cooking is a simple process, bag + water, which means less time for you slaving away in the kitchen keeping an eye on how your food is cooking. It’s not “set it and forget it,” but it’s as close as you’ll get when it comes to cooking.

    Sous Vide Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • It’s a healthy cooking method. While other cooking methods eliminate the nutrients, this method is different. Cooking three-course meal protects all ingredients, so they provide many benefits to your customers
    • As a result of the cold process, the food produces the most flavors.
    • It allows you to pre-cook the meat until you lose the quality and flavor. It can be cooked and chilled even 2-3 days before serving. This way, if you have too many customers to cook on the same day, you will have ready meals, and you only need to reheat them.

    Cons

    • This method does not work for all types of foods. There is a loss of taste through the soy-based process. For example, you cannot cook with alcohol, use garlic, and others. The taste of the white can be pregnant, and the drink does not breathe with a secure vodka seal.
    • Despite the temperature setting, baking sous vide is not always as good as traditional cooking methods. It is not the best option when you have to cook in a hurry. Cooking in this meal is a slow and gradual process depending on your diet.
    • Sous vide immersion cooking requires equipment. You will need water storage bags and large pots or containers for the pool, so there will be additional costs.

    Now that your mouth might be drooling a little and you want to start sous vide cooking great food, let’s talk about the options for sous vide cookers at home and even small scale restaurants. These won’t meet the needs of larger, commercial restaurants and kitchens as you’ll need commercial sous vide cookers for that.  

    Types of Sous Vide Cooker

    There are two main types of sous vide cookers to cook perfect food – Immersion Circulators and Water Ovens. Both options still use vacuum sealed food bags immersed in water.

    Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

    Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

    The immersion circulator is the most accessible and popular of all sous vide home cookers. These sticks are made for portability and convenience. These circulators are cheaper when compared to water ovens, but they can still run $60 to $500+.

    I focused on immersion circulators here, but water ovens are also a popular type of sous vide machine. 

    Sous Vide Water Oven

    Sous Vide Water Oven

    Water ovens are an all-in-one circulator plus container as there’s no need for two separate equipment. These are also called water baths or bathtubs. You just add water, set your temperature and put your bag of food in when the water is heated. 

    Sous Vide Immersion Circulator VS Water Oven

    Both circulators and ovens will get you sous vide cooking quickly. Which one to get depends on your lifestyle and needs. Here are some tips on helping you decide whether a circulator or oven is better for you: 

    Buy an immersion circulator if you:

    • Have a lower budget
    • Cook for 4+ guests 
    • Want flexibility with different sous vide containers, lids, racks, and accessories
    • Like the ability to store the circulator in a drawer

    Buy a water oven if you: 

    • Have a higher budget
    • Cook for 1-3 people
    • Want an all-in-one solution
    • Have a large countertop for the oven to sit on 

    I personally prefer the flexibility of using different sized containers depending on whether I’m cooking just for my family or for guests also. Sous vide can take hours for one round of food to cook, so I can’t make multiple rounds of steak if I have guests over. 

    But, if you do plan to have many guests over, you can prepare days in advance by pre-cooking meats. Pre-cooking is a huge advantage of sous vide cooking. All without losing the taste and flavor too. You can cook up to 2-3 days in advance of your guests coming over. 

    When your food is done cooking, you’ll want to immediately put it in an ice bath to chill before putting them in the fridge or freezer (if you’re not going to consume the food in 48 hours). To reheat sous vide food, put the food back in a water bath and cook 2-5 degrees Celsius (up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) below your original cooking temperature and for about half the original cooking time. 

    This way, if you have too many customers to cook on the same day, you will have ready meals, and you only need to reheat them.

    Things to Look for When Buying a Sous Vide Machine

    All sous vide machines will heat water, but what sets them apart will be things like power wattage and other technologies. Let’s take a look at some features to consider when buying the best sous vide cooker to fit your needs.

    Power Wattage and Speed

    Sous vide immersion circulators will range in power from usually 800 watts to 1200 watts. The more watts a circulator has, the higher the price of that circulator. 

    The more power a sous vide cooker has, the faster the water will be heated to your desired temperature. In my experience, an 800W circulator will usually heat room temperature water to 135°F in about 20 minutes. A 1000W circulator will take about 15 minutes. 

    The few minutes are not a huge difference in the whole cooking process that can take hours, but it’s also nice to know that when you put cold food into the water, the water will heat faster too. If you do go for more power, keep in mind your circuit breakers and don’t plug too many other things in the same outlet as your circulator.

    Accuracy

    Sous vide cooking is about precise temperatures, so you’ll want a circulator that will be as accurate as possible. Circulators will always be a little off due to the setup and environment, so it’s not a concern if you’re within a margin of error that’s around ± 0.5°F / ± 0.3°C. You don’t want one that’ll get up to ± 1.0°F / ± 0.6°C variance. That’s a huge difference that will affect your food. 

    Accuracy also comes with making sure all the water in the circulator is the same temperature. Immersion circulators are meant to be immersed in water and circulate the water. You don’t want any hot or cold spots in the water. 

    Price

    Prices can range anywhere from $60 to $500+. I’ve seen sous vide cookers that are around $30-40, but I usually steer away from those. I don’t feel comfortable with anything that’s priced that low, because of potential safety issues with shoddy parts. That’s just me though. I know there might be good reviews on the Amazon listings, but are they real reviews?

    Good circulators will generally be the ones in the price range of $80-$200. You can go higher for more features, but that range is usually where you’ll find a good sous vide cooker.

    Flexibility with Containers

    The advantages of an immersion circulator is the ability to pick and choose your water container  Most circulators can fit on any containers, but you’ll want to check the specific circulators to make sure. 

    Another thing to consider with containers is the size of the container and whether or not the circulator will sufficiently heat water in large containers. I go into a lot more on considerations of containers in the buying guide for water containers

    Controls – Remote and Onboard

    Many circulators nowadays have Wifi and/or Bluetooth connectivity, so you’re able to control circulators on your phone. The remote connection is great if you don’t want to get up to check on the temperature and food. 

    Downloading an app is an extra step and it’s a second device that we need to manage, so I still prefer having the onboard controls. 

    Built-in Timer

    Timers are an important feature for sous vide circulators for me. It’s nice to know how much time is left with a countdown. You want food in the temperature danger zone of 40°F to 140°F / 4°C to 60°C because that’s when bacteria will begin to grow in your food. If you don’t know how much time is left and the water begins to slowly cool, you run the risk of bacteria growth becoming a problem. 

    Where to Buy a Sous Vide Cooker?

    Sous vide cooking has continued to grow in popularity and become common in many homes. That’s resulted in being able to buy sous vide cookers in most electronics stores and of course on online marketplaces like Amazon. 

    I usually buy on Amazon and because I have Amazon Prime, it’s even better with Free Shipping. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you should definitely get it because you get Amazon movies and TV episodes, Kindle books, and more. Amazon Prime is well worth it. 

    Whether you buy on Amazon or at your local Best Buy or Bed Bath & Beyond, make sure you receive a warranty and check the return policies. Hopefully you don’t need to use the warranty or return policy, but you never know. It’s always good to have that. 

    Conclusion

    I hope I’ve been able to help you make an informed decision in choosing the best sous vide cooker for you. 

    If you’re just buying your first sous vide cooker, welcome to the sous vide family! It’s a really easy cooking method and I know you’re going to enjoy your perfectly cooked food. 

    If you own a restaurant, you’ll want to get a professional sous vide machine and I plan to do a post on professional cookers for small scale restaurants. 

    Enjoy your sous vide cooked food! 

    FAQs


    How Big of a Sous Vide Container is Needed?

    How big of a container you need depends on how many people you normally cook for. A good guideline is 3-4 quarts per adult. A 12-quart container is usually good for a family of 4.  Here’s a handy guideline:

    Container that’s less than 12 quarts: 2 adults.
    – 12 quarts: 2-3 adults; Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids). 
    – 18 quarts: 4-6 adults
    – 26 quarts: 10 adults


    What Food Can Be Cooked In Sous Vide Machines?

    This is perhaps the most frequently asked question regarding sous vide cooking. Many people think of cooking only steaks with sous vide. However, there are many other foods that you can cook.

    Any sous vide circulator will allow you to cook:

    Pork
    Chicken
    Eggs
    Fish
    Desserts (including in jars)
    Beef
    Vegetables


    What Temperature Should I Set My Sous Vide To?

    Different foods will need different temperatures, so you’ll need to check your recipes. 

    Check out Anova’s Sous Vide Time and Temperature Guide for a great list of all kinds of food and how long and at what temps to cook them at.  


    How Do I Clean The Sous Vide Stick?

    The sous vide stick only comes into contact with clean water, so cleaning is not a problem. It is sufficient if you dry it with a clean cloth after each use. If the manufacturer adds cleaning instructions, follow those.

    Avoid using cleaning agents, as this can damage the circulator!


    How Much Water Is Needed For Sous Vide Cooking?

    There is no exact guideline on how many liters of water you need for the cooking process. The bags must be covered by the water and there must be free space for the water to flow around them. 
    Some circulators will have minimum and maximum water levels lines marked on the sticks themselves, so you’ll want to make sure your water level is between those lines. 


    How To Reheat Sous Vide Cooked Food?

    Put the previously sous vide cooked food back in a vacuum-sealed bag and into your water container. You’ll want to set the temperature around 2-5°C / 4-9°F below your original cooking temperature. The reheat time is about half the original cooking time. 


    Where Can I Get Sous Vide Recipes?

    The Internet is a great resource. If you’re like me and like to have dedicated sous vide recipe books, check out these books:

    Why Is Sous Vide Cooking Popular?

    Sous vide is popular because it results in consistent, perfectly cooked food that tastes delicious. Home chefs are able to cook restaurant-quality food with little effort. The water temperatures and times are set and the cooking is amazingly hands off.