Sous vide is one of the most popular cooking methods that has been into existence for a long time now. Many of you may have enjoyed a well-cooked sous vide dinner at your favorite restaurant and often ended up thinking it would be great if you could try it out at home. With the many sous vide machines available on market today, sous viding has never been easier.
Sous vide is a technique which doesn’t involve roasting or baking food; instead, food will be vacuum-bagged and placed in a water bath to cook evenly from all sides by warm water. Temperature control is the most vital aspect in sous vide cooking. In order to make sure that your food is cooked uniformly, you need to vacuum seal the food and have a proper temperature controlled water bath, for which you need a sous vide machine.
Factors to Consider
In order to buy the best sous vide machine, following are some of the factors you should consider:
Even the slightest change is temperature can have a huge effect in sous vide cooking. The best sous vide machines usually have ± 0.05 °C temperature stability. Immersion circulators, the latest in sous vide machines, are more capable of maintaining the right temperatures.
Capacity of the Water Bath
The capacities of water bath in sous vide machines typically range between 5 liters and 120 liters. When considering the water bath capacity, you need to keep in mind that there should be enough space between the food bags to enable sufficient water circulation. The size of the sous vide machine, its power, and the ability of the water pump to evenly circulate water are the three factors that determine the capacity.
Size of the Machine
Like with any other kitchen appliance, you should take into account the available countertop space as well as storage space in your kitchen before determining the size of the sous vide machine you need. Traditional sous vide machines are usually quite big. If you don’t have enough space in your kitchen, immersion circulators would be the ideal choice for you, since they are relatively small and can be used in your normal cooking pots.
During sous vide cooking, water automatically evaporates. It is important to always make sure that the vacuum sealed food bags remain immersed in the water bath at all times. While some sous vide machines come with a lid to prevent or at least reduce water evaporation, others have an alarm system that goes on when the water level gets too low. There are also machines that automatically shut down when the water level goes too low.
Best Sous Vide Machine
Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven
The Sous Vide Supreme is a domestic version of the most coveted sous vide machines. No matter what appliance you buy, what attracts you to a product will be its look. In this aspect, the Sous Vide Supreme doesn’t disappoint. Made mostly of stainless steel, the machine looks good and is almost the same size as that of a microwave. With a maximum water capacity of 11.2 liters, this machine is designed with a precision temperature control of 0.5 degree Celsius (1oF), which is exactly what a good sous vide machine should have.
The Sous Vide Supreme allows you to set the cooking temperature from 88oF to 210oF and set the timer from 0 minutes to 99 hours. One of the major positives of this machine is that it is capable of maintaining a steady temperature throughout the cooking time. But, what this sous vide machine lacks is a built-in vacuum sealer. Though this isn’t an absolute necessary feature, it would greatly improve the ease of use. Also, a detachable hose would have been a useful addition to the machine. On the whole, this is one solid sous vide machine and would have been much better with a few more features. The Sous Vide Supreme is available for $304 and comes with a one year limited warranty.
Pros – Occupies less space, precision temperature control, maintains steady temperature.
Cons – No built-in vacuum sealer and detachable hose for draining water.
Gourmia GSV-900 Water Oven with Rack
The GSV-900 is a recent introduction from Gourmia. This sous vide machine is a circulating water oven and comes with a rack that can accommodate up to 12 food pouches for cooking at the same time. The Active Control Thermostat (ACT) provides you with complete control over the water temperature and circulation throughout the cooking period. The machine is also claimed quiet when operating; therefore, you will not hear any disturbing noises.
The Gourmia GSV-900 has two water level indicators, one indicating the minimum level and the other indicating the maximum level. This makes water filling easy as you don’t have to measure separately. You can set the time range between o to 24 hours, which is actually quite low when compared to the previous sous vide machine we discussed. The cooking temperature in this machine can be set between 30oF and 200oF. Despite the company’s claim of the machine not producing loud noises, some users have reported the Gourmia sous vide machine to be quite noisy. There are also complaints about not being able to set the required temperature. The GSV-900 is available for $200 and comes with a limited one year warranty.
Pros – Can hold 12 food pouches at once, provides good control.
Cons – Could be noisy.
Oliso PRO SmartHub
Manufacturers are constantly innovating their products and implementing new technologies to meet the varying needs of customers. The Oliso SmartHub is one such innovation in the sous vide machine sector. This product has an induction base that basically heats the water bath in the pot that sits on the base, called the SmartTop. In addition, the machine can also be used as an induction cooktop, which means that the SmartTop can be used to cook your regular meals as well. Another huge advantage is that the induction cooktop is designed to work with any induction-safe cookware.
The SmartTop has a capacity of 10.4 liters and is capable of maintaining the same temperature for a long time. Though there has been no negative reviews about this sous vide machine yet, what we think could be difficult for many users is lifting and removing the water tack from the induction cooktop to discard the water or use the induction burner for a different purpose. Also, the price tag ($499) could be expensive for many. Other than that, the machine performs well in all aspects. The Oliso PRO can be bought paired with a vacuum sealer, for $599. The product is backed by a one year limited warranty.
Pros – Versatile, works with all induction-safe cookware.
Cons – Pricey, heavy water tank could be difficult to lift for many users.
Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
If you are looking to save some space, this sous vide immersion circulator from Sansaire should be your choice of the best sous vide machine. This machine is so compact that it is just the size of a champagne bottle, so using it or storing it will not be a problem even if you have a much smaller kitchen. One huge benefit of this sous vide immersion circulator is that you can use it in any pot or container you have at home. You can set and adjust temperature on the rotating dial on top of the circulator. It is designed large enough to display temperature clearly. As the adjustment resolution is very sensitive, adjusting the temperature to exactly what you want it to be could be a little tough.
The Sansaire immersion circulator allows for a maximum container capacity of 22 liters. The product has relatively better drainage at its bottom, which means that once you lift it out of water, the excess water from the machine automatically drips out within seconds. A major downfall of this machine would be its all-plastic casing, which does feel a bit fragile. Therefore, even an accidental drop can crack the casing. The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Calculator is available for $188.
Pros – Compact, can be used in any cooking pot, better drainage.
Cons – Fragile plastic casing, no timer.
Anova Wi-Fi Sous Vide Precision Cooker
This is yet another innovative product in the sous vide category. Designed and manufactured by Anova, this cooker has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means that you can not only control the cooker from around your home, but also when you are away from home. With the Anova Wi-Fi App, you can easily schedule a cook from wherever you are and come home to a restaurant quality meal.
You can set the required temperature and time using the app, which will also send you notifications about the progress of your cook. A common complaint about the Anova Wi-Fi precision cooker is it produces noise. The company is known to keep improving its app for better user experience, so you can expect better features and ease of use. The product is available for $199 and comes with a one year limited warranty.
Pros – Enables cooking from anywhere, compact.
Cons – Could be noisy.
You no longer have to visit a restaurant for a sous vide. Get your own sous vide machine and enjoy your favorite meal right at home.