Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1
Our pick of the bunch, the Anova Precision Cooker does everything you’d want from a sous vide machine: It is easy to use, it has fantastic temperature control, and it boasts an excellent start-up time.
Not only all this, but its Wi-Fi feature makes it part of Apple’s HomeKit smart home technology, meaning that you can control it remotely. It’s as close to perfect as we’ve found, and at under $200 it’s hard to find better value than this.
Sansaire Sous Vide 110v
Second, but not by far, is the Sansaire Sous Vide 110v. Its sleek interface is beautiful and modern, and dial temperature control is a joy to use.
This immersion circulator performs brilliantly with cooking, but especially so with steaks, slow cooking them to perfection. Furthermore, it isn’t dominating on your kitchen space at all, as it’s sized about roughly the same as a champagne bottle.
Rounding off our top 3 picks is this professional-quality pump and immersion circulator. Its control panel is brilliantly simple to use, and it can heat up to an amazing 30 (!!!) liters of water at once.
This is the most powerful unit of the lot, boasting about 400 watts more power than the others, making it comparable to high-end, professional models, but for a fraction of the price. It is quite large, but for all its size it is remarkably quiet. If you’re after something that can really ramp up the power, this is the one for you.
What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide cooking is an ingenious way of cooking, involving vacuum packing food and then cooking them in water. It’s a form of slow cooking, so it’s a way of making food more delicious, but also it’s done in a BPA-free environment, making your food safe.
When you cook in a regular oven, the fan or flames will do their best to burn or blow away a lot of the juices and flavor. No such danger with a sous vide cooker, as everything is packed and locked in the pack until done.
What is a sous vide machine?
Obviously, a sous vide machine is the device that allows us to cook in this way. The thing is, this can actually be done in a couple of ways: With a sous vide immersion circulator, or with a water oven.
A home immersion circulator is a little different. A sous vide circulator allows you to use your own pot for cooking. So, instead of there being a big water tank, you can choose your own size of container – just so long as the circulator says it can handle it.
Place the machine in the water, change some settings and it takes care of the rest
Water oven models look a lot like a crockpot, but with the added bonus of facilitating the heating of the water themselves. You just add water, set the temperature, and add your food into the mix.
So what types of food can be cooked in a sous vide immersion cooker? You’ll be glad to hear that these machines are brilliant in their versatility, and can cook a whole range of foods.
Slow cooker vs sous vide – What’s the difference?
This is the burning question, and it’s one that is fairly easy to answer. Although both cook food slowly, sous vide cookers by virtue of vacuum sealing do a much better job of packing in all of the flavors until the food is done.
Sous vide also tend to cook at a lower temperature, meaning you also don’t risk overcooking as much, ensuring that your meat (if you are indeed cooking with meat) is tender.
Sous Vide Water Oven: What to look out for
Important because not only will the water oven need to contain your food, but it will also need to be able to contain enough water in order to sous vide cook.
Certain foods need a specific water depth. For example, lamb needs at least 6 inches of water depth in order to cook well.
As with any oven, certain foods will need higher or indeed lower temperatures than others. Try to find out the temperature range of the food you want to cook will be.
A great safety feature that will allow you to leave the water oven to it, instead of continually needing to check on it.
Sous Vide Immersion Circulator: What to look out for
Precise temperature measurement
Even one degree off could have an impact when slow cooking, so be sure to look out for circulators that are praised for their temperature accuracy.
As these are left on for a long time, the last thing you want is a circulator that makes a racket like a blender. The quieter the better.
Temperature stability and efficiency
How quickly will your sous vide machine heat up the water? You do not want to be waiting ages for the water to reach the desired temperature, nor do you want to a circulator that deviates from your chosen heat setting. The best sous vide machines can maintain temperature stability to ±0.05°C.