If you are a chef or simply know your way around a kitchen, chances are that you have at least heard of Sous Vide cooking. However, if you have heard of it, but never tried it, chances are that you are a bit confused about how to get started. It can be difficult to determine where you should start and what you should try to cook first.
This guide will provide you with all of the information you need in order to get started as a sous vide cook. Not only will the guide discuss all of the tools that you will need in order to get started, but it will also provide you with some basic recipes to try out. These simple recipes are delicious and will show you why this method of cooking allows you to do even more in your kitchen.
If you’re just here for the reviews, here are our picks for the top 5 immersion circulators and top 5 water ovens of 2018. You can also click the link right after the list to skip ahead to lengthier reviews
Top 5 Immersion Circulators:
Top 5 Water Ovens:
Different Types of Sous Vide Machines
While the best sous vide will use the same basic function (cooking water with vacuum sealed bags), there is a differences between models. Let’s take a look.
A home immersion circulator is a little different. A sous vide circulator allows you to use your own pot or water container for the cooking process. So, instead of there being a big water tank, the unit will tell you how much water it can handle.
Place the machine in the water, change some settings and it takes care of the rest.
With an immersion circulator, you’re going to need to use a pot that you already have at home. We like using our largest pot, which can hold up to 2 gallons of water.
However, any pot will do as long as you can fully submerge the heating part of the immersion circulator. Cleaning these devices is really easy – just take soap and water to the part that goes under water, and make sure to dry it thoroughly.
The programmable part of the unit is usually waterproof or water resistant. There is no need to be afraid if you get it a little wet 🙂
Water oven models look a lot like a crockpot, and they’re a complete oven that will heat the water and provide you with a tank that holds all of the water. You just add water, set the temperature, and add your food into the mix.
By being a self-contained water oven, you’re not going to need to deal with cleaning a separate pot every time. The water ovens range in size, from 3L to 10L capacity. The more capacity, the more that you’re going to be able to cook in the unit.
Cleaning the water oven is usually really easy – you simply pour the water out and let the container dry. Remember, it’s easier to clean your sous vide equipment if your vacuum sealed bags are clean when going in. Sometimes sauce can get on the outside of them. Be sure to wipe that off before submerging your food. If you do get something in your water oven, then simply take soap and water to it. Again – very easy.
Sous Vide Immersion Circulators: Comparison Chart
Best Sous Vide Immersion Circulators 2018
There is often a big debate about whether a water oven vs immersion circulator is best for beginners. After weeks of testing, we’ve been able to conclusively answer that question for you.
We strongly believe that immersion circulators are the best piece of equipment for any beginner to have when getting started with sous vide cooking.
Here are the 3 reasons why:
- They’re very affordable! It doesn’t take a lot of money to buy a top rated immersion circulator. In fact, even the best immersion circulators for home use cost about as much as you’d pay for 3 fancy dinners at a restaurant!
- They’re easy to use! All you have to do is stick the it into the pot filled with water, pick the temperature, and hit start!
- They’re compact and portable! This makes them easy to store and portable! That’s right, if you hate your mother-in-law’s cooking, you can bring your immersion circulator to her house and cook for her! Imagine the brownie points you’ll score!
Without further adieu, here’s our picks for the best sous vide immersion circulators:
This is by far the BEST sous vide machine! If you prefer the versatility of using your own stock pots for cooking sous vide, then the Anova immersion circulator is a very good choice. This unit is designed to be clamped to almost any pot up to a 5 gallon capacity.
The circulators used in the Anova are very highly calibrated which results in superb temperature stability of around ±0.01°C. This means that you can be assured of excellent sous vide cooking results with this immersion cooker.
Cooking temperature can be adjusted up to 99°C and you can even change the direction of the water flow to prevent the cracking of eggs and problems with food pouches. At around $150 the Anova represents excellent value and will give you amazing suvee cooking results.
The Anova immersion circulator comes in two versions: Bluetooth only and Bluetooth with WiFi. I like having the Bluetooth and WiFi version because it allows me to monitor the cooking time and temperature wherever I am. I also get neat little notifications on my phone about the cooking process. The Anova app also has a ton of great recipes, and exclusive access to the #AnovaFoodNerd community.
Plus, the Anova sous vide immersion circulator with Bluetooth and Wifi is only like $20 more.
Click the yellow button below to see both versions on Amazon. You’ll be able to read all of the great things that customers are saying.
Runner Up: The Joule (ChefSteps CS10001)
The Joule CS10001 by ChefSteps, has taken the sousvide world by storm; this is the first immersion circulator that can integrate with the most modern of technologies, such as Amazon Echo! Ready right out of the box, the Joule will cook the perfect meal for you each and every time! Don’t let the beautiful design on the Joule fool you; this immersion circulator packs a powerful punch!
Powering up to 1,100 watts, the Joule can hang with nearly any standalone sous vide machine available. Of course, since it is an immersion circulator, you can just use a pot you already have lying around at home.
There’s nothing that the Joule cannot tackle. I highly recommend it for every kitchen – both home and professional! Not only does it totally look futuristic and high-tech, but it also interfaces with your smartphone, tablet or another mobile device, on both iOS and Android, or you can just control it via Alexa.
What this does is give you a very slick modern-age advantage over other sous vide machines, allowing you to check online to see what the proper cooking time and temperature is, customize the cooking time on the fly – from anywhere – and then save those settings so that you always know how to cook your favorite foods perfectly. This cooker is a major game-changer in the kitchen, and you should get yours right now because once you make your first meal with it, you will want to use it every single day.
The Joule comes in two versions – the regular version and the stainless steel cap and base version. Functionally, they’re the exact same. The stainless steel version is more aesthetically pleasing and is theoretically more durable. For only $20 more, we choose to opt for the stainless steel version.
Click the yellow button below to view both models on Amazon.
Honorable Mention: Sansaire SA15
The Sansaire SA15 is very competitively priced will produce excellent sous vide cooking experiences. The Sansaire will allow you to use your own stock pots or water containers to cook with up to 6 gallons of water.
Using the Sansaire couldn’t be easier. It is a minimalist machine that lets you turn it on and off and set the cooking temperature. The real value is in the quality of cooking results that it produces which are excellent. This is a great suvee machine to get started with.
The only thing we didn’t like is how cheap the product feels. While it’s made of high-quality BPA-free plastic, we couldn’t help but think that the construction was a bit cheap. Of course, we haven’t had any problems whatsoever with it. It’s a super minor thing!
We really, really love about the Sansaire immersion circulator is how quiet it is. When comparing the noise levels of the Sansaire vs Anova vs Joule, the Sansaire is by far the quietest.
Oh, we didn’t mention our FAVORITE part about the Sansaire… and that is how FAST it heats up water. Even though the wattage is comparable to other models, we found that this baby heated up water the quickest! It’s always torture waiting for water to heat when you have a nice, juicy steak in front of you. This cuts down on the pain!
Click the yellow button to read what other customers are saying about the Sansaire sous vide circulator on Amazon.
Top Budget Pick: Gourmia GSV140
Gourmia continues to impress us with their newer immersion circulators. With a super-impressive 1,200 watt motor, the Gourmia GSV140 is one of the most powerful sous vide circulators on the market! Not only will water heat up extremely quickly, but it will remain heated to within 0.01 degree for the duration of the cook!
Because of its super-powerful motor, you can cook a TON of food at once – much more than most immersion sous vide pods. We really love this model for large families and for cooking larger quantities of food.
What we really, really love is how much value you’re getting for the cost. This is by far the best budget sous vide immersion circulator. Gourmia did a fantastic job of building a high-quality machine that’s affordable for absolutely anyone.
The only minor downside we’ve found is that you have to switch it from Celsius to Fahrenheit each and every time that you want to use it. This can become annoying, but it takes all of 2 seconds to do. Definitely not a deal-breaker.
If you’re a beginner and want a budget-friendly machine, you won’t find a better option than the Gourmia GSV140. It’s less than $100 and works great! Click the yellow button below to see what others are saying about the Gourmia GSV140 on Amazon!
Honorable Mention: Wancle Thermal Circulator
Like the Gourmia GSV140, the Wancle Thermal Circulator is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget sous vide machine. With an 850 watt motor, you’ll be able to cook all of the food that you love, to perfection!
Since the motor is only 850 watts, you’re not going to be able to cook large quantities of food, nor do we recommend doing long (read: overnight) cooks with it.
However, if you’re looking to reliably make dinner in a few hours, then you really can’t go wrong with the Wancle. It’s a high-quality machine with a low price-tag. What’s not to love about that?
We found that it was able to hold the temperature to within 0.1ºC for up to 4 hours of cooking. This is going to be plenty for the overwhelming majority of the foods that you would cook. Since the Wancle is made of stainless steel, cleanup is an absolute breeze! Simple take it out of your pot and dry it off!
If you want a budget machine, we like the Gourmia GSV140 a bit more than the Wancle because of how powerful the GSV140 is. The Gourmia GSV140 is only $10 or so more than the Wancle, so entirely worth it. However, if you want to check out what other customers are saying about the Wancle, click the yellow button below to see it on Amazon!
If you’d rather have the all-in-one water oven, then you’re going to love the below section. Scroll down to see which water ovens made our list!
Sous Vide Water Ovens: Comparison Chart
Best Sous Vide Water Ovens 2018
Top Pick: SousVide Supreme Water Oven SVS10LS
This award-winning, high quality, self contained water oven from SousVide Supreme, one of the premier sous vide manufacturers, ranks as our top pick for sous vide water ovens. With a water container that can hold 11.2 liters or 2.96 gallons, you will be able to cook up to 20 pouches of food at a time.
It uses convection and some very sophisticated electronics to control water flow and temperature. The temperature stability is within ±1°F, ensuring that your most-expensive fillet cuts will come out perfectly. Because it uses the convection method, it is incredibly energy-efficient and only draws 850 watts of power. It also runs nearly-silent!
Cleanup is a breeze with the SVS10LS. All you have to do is empty out the tank and wipe it with a dry cloth! Talk about easy!
It is a truly “set and forget” sous vide cooker. Once you have used the simple controls to set up the cooking temperature and cooking duration time, you can walk away safe in the knowledge that you will get great cooking results from this unit. This is an excellent self contained suvee cooker.
We’ve had some of the best meals of our life thanks to this machine. We cannot recommend it enough. Click the yellow button to see what others are saying on Amazon.com
Runner Up: Tribest Sousvant SV-101
Our runner up is the Tribest Sousvant SV-101! This is a very well-thought out device that’s sure to wow even the most seasoned sous vide chefs. This amazing complete sous vide machine has a huge capacity of 3 gallons, allowing you to fit anything and everything in! The temperature and circulation are extremely precise and lead to a perfect cook each and every time.
Water heats up incredibly quickly and stays heated within 0.1ºF throughout the duration of the cook.
Using the Sousvant is simplicity itself. It has a very clear LCD display and easy to use buttons for temperature and cooking duration settings.
The Tribest sous vide cooker is priced extremely competitively and offers tremendous value when compared with other self contained units. It produces superb sous vide cooking results and you will want to use it more and more!
Honorable Mention: Sous Vide Supreme Demi SVD-00101
With this machine anybody can become a gourmet chef and cook amazing food. It is a fully self contained unit with a lid that helps prevent water evaporation. This means that you can set it up to cook your food and then leave it alone to do a perfect job for you.
The SousVide Supreme Demi offers excellent temperature stability to within ±1°F which means that you can rely on it to produce excellent results each time. The controls are really simple to use and the timer will let you know when your food is ready.
This incredible machine can cook with 8.7 liters of water and includes a specially designed rack that can hold 12 food pouches. The design of the Demi is compact and it will not require a lot of space in your kitchen. Get this superb suvee cooker today and you will not be disappointed.
Best Premium Unit: Oliso 60001000 Pro Cooking System
Oliso really outdid themselves with this unit. It’s a complete cooking system that gives you both a sous vide machine AND an induction cooker! So not only are you going to be able to cook perfect food with this unit, but you’ll be able to sear your meal on it as well!
This is an awesome unit to have if you were either thinking about buying a separate induction cooker, or if you are looking to have a sous vide unit for your camper / RV / trailer.
You’re able to fit an enormous amount of food (up to 11 quarts) into this machine. It also comes with a stainless steel rack – which is something that most standalone units need, but don’t come with. You’ll be able to place 4 large bags within that rack.
Oliso gave this machine a very wide range of temperature, with a minimum of 86º F all the way up to 194º F. With the huge capacity, you’ll be able to make very large, overnight meals!
If you’re looking for a premium all-in-one sous vide unit, then you can’t go wrong with the Oliso Pro! Click the yellow button below to see what others are saying on Amazon!
Magic Mill made this awesome standalone sous vide unit with two things in mind: to create a high-quality, extremely versatile unit and to provide that unit for customers on a budget! Well folks, they more than exceeded their original goals!
The Magic Mill Professional 2-in-1 sous vide bath doubles as both a sous vide cooker and a slow cooker… all for less than $60! How amazing is that? Even more amazing is how well it works!
We have no idea how Magic Mill is making any money off this machine (nor do we really care, since it’s great for consumers!). Meals cooked in this unit, whether via sous vide or via slow cooker, come out perfectly. The unit cooks and cleans up incredibly well! Temperature is maintained throughout the duration of the cook.
You can’t really ask for much more from a budget unit! If you want to spend less than $60 on a standalone unit, then you really need to get the Magic Mill Pro 2-in-1. Click the yellow button below to grab yours today!
Sous Vide Equipment Buying Guide
When you buy sous vide machine cookers, you’ll find that there is a lot to consider. Every model has its own benefits and drawbacks, and when you choose an oven or circulator, they’ll have a few specs and features that need further consideration.
Important Specs and Features
The specs and features you’ll need to take into consideration before deciding on the Sansaire sous vide or PID controller sous vide (a neat device that transforms many appliances into a sous vide), you’ll need to consider the following:
- Water Capacity: How much water does the unit need (circulator) or how much can it hold (oven)?
- Capacity: How much food can the machine hold?
- Water Depth: Certain foods need a specific water depth. Lamb, for example, cooks best when immersed in 6” + of water.
- Temperature Display: Can you see the current temperature?
- Temperature Range: Certain foods need higher temperatures or lower temperatures. Learn what the temperature range is before choosing a model.
- Timer: A great safety feature and provides even more confidence when cooking.
These are really the most important features of a water cooker. If you purchase a circulator, you’ll want to think about:
- Precise temperature
- Noise production
- Water capacity of current water containers
Every sous vide review will tell you the basics, but you need to also know what to look for, and this is why you’re reading our buying guide. We discussed a few of the most important features above, but you also want to scour all of those immersion circulator reviews (or regular sous vide) for comments on:
- Hard Scale Buildup: Scale buildup needs to be removed, and some models are very hard to clean. Look for methods of cleaning this buildup or common complaints of buildup.
- Leaks: The tanks can leak, and this would render the sous vide useless if the leak is serious. Check to see if the model has a common problem with leaking.
- Button Problems: Circulators often have button problems, and this needs to be looked at, too.
- Pot Options: Circulators that go into your own pots or containers need to be reviewed in terms of what issues people had with their pots. If the unit says it works for an 8-quart pot and every user is stating it won’t work for their 8-quart pot, this is a concern.
Just remember every model will have their own complaints – they all do. The only issue we find with reviews is when trying to find sous vide commercial equipment. In this case, reviews seem to often be lacking for these models.
Although most commercial sous vide machines would be considered safe, it is worth looking for additional safety features. The main danger comes from the evaporation of water while cooking. You want your pouches of food to be continuously immersed in the water.
If your sous vide cooker has a lid then this will help. Other machines will actually measure the level of the water and will either shut down automatically or sound an alarm if the level of the water becomes too low.
A lot of immersion circulators will have protective shields which are designed to prevent the pouches of food touching the pump and heating coil during the cooking process.
With sous vide cooking becoming more and more popular there are a lot of suvee machines available and choosing the right one for you can be difficult. That’s why we offer our honest sous vide machine reviews. Each of the six machines in our top six have their own special features and qualities, so first consider what you want from a sous vide machine and then click to buy the one that meets your requirements.