What is the Best Sous Vide Machine?

What is the Best Sous Vide Machine?

The use of sous vide machines by celebrity chefs on the television is one reason for the rise in the popularity of these appliances in the home. People are becoming more experimental with the techniques they are using and well-known chefs are extremely influential in the methods people choose to attempt.

A sous vide machine, otherwise known as a water bath, allows you to cook food slowly at a low temperature in such a way that the moisture is retained in the food and the flavor is not lost. Similarly, the food will retain its nutritional value, thus making this method of cooking a healthier option. In contrast, many other methods of slow cooking can remove the moisture and leave food dry, tasteless and tough, while also losing many of the nutrients.

If sous vide is a method that you wish to try to expand your culinary skills, then you will need an appliance for your kitchen that is manufactured specifically for this purpose.

However, there is a vast range of different products available on the market and the choice is often somewhat confusing. Each product has different features and you may not know what you need. The technical jargon may baffle you and leave you unsure of whether you are making the right choice.

Here we will look at the factors you need to consider when choosing a sous vide machine to try this method of cooking. This is followed by a review of 5 products currently available, including the features, the pros, and the cons of each.

How to choose the best sous vide machine

The sheer amount of information provided on appliances is baffling for many people. It merely adds to their confusion regarding which product is the best option. To simplify things, there are usually just 8 factors to take into consideration when choosing a sous vide machine: water bath capacity, water bath container, temperature stability, equipment size, heating power, safety, maintenance, and price.

Water bath capacity

The range of water capacity available is between 5 and 120 liters. The larger appliances are usually geared toward professional kitchens where larger quantities of food are cooked at the same time. Think about the size and quantity of what you intend to cook in the machine. As a rule, you should only fill half the capacity of the water bath with pouches.

Water bath container

Not all sous vide machines come with a container, so you need to check this when choosing your appliance. If a container is included, it will have superior insulation over other types of pots. There are other devices that you can use with any cooking pot, such as an immersion circulator.

Temperature stability

The difference of as little as 1° can make a difference in sous vide cooking. The best devices have a temperature stability of 0.5°.

Equipment size

If you have limited space in your kitchen, then you will not want a large appliance taking up too much room. However, if you have space and plan to use the sous vide machine regularly for multiple items, then a larger machine is the right one for you.

Heating power

The heating power determines the length of time it takes to heat the water.

Safety

Look for a device with an alarm that goes off if the water pressure is too low, and that includes a protective shield that prevents the sous vide bags from sticking to the heating coil.

Maintenance and cleaning

If you are worried about maintaining the appliance, choose a temperature-controlled water oven with a non-stick surface as these are easier to clean.

Price

For many people on a budget, the price is often the deciding factor. There is a significant difference between the cheapest and most expensive sous vide machines. If it is an appliance that you are unlikely to use on a regular basis, then opt for a less expensive sous vide machine.

On the other hand, if you are going to use the item regularly, or even in a professional capacity, then it is worth choosing one of the more expensive options. The size, the features, and the brand will all impact on the price.

5 Top-selling Sous Vide Machines

Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven

The manufacturers claim that this is the first-ever oven specifically designed for the sous vide technique. This device makes cooking in this way affordable and easy. The Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven is a foolproof way of getting perfect results each time you cook and retaining the nutrients in your food.

Features

  • Holds 11.2 liters of water
  • Temperature control within 0.5° Celsius of the ideal setting
  • Push-button controls
  • Dual purpose lid that you can use to transport the pouches
  • Universal food pouch rack
  • Compact size

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Holds the temperature for days
  • Saves time on meal preparation
  • Cooks food to perfection
  • Retains nutrients
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Energy efficient
  • Silent operation

Cons

  • The vacuum sealer is not included
  • The lid is poorly designed
  • Short power cable

Summary

Most customers are delighted with this product and say it works well, is easy to use, and produces good results; the main complaints relate to the design. The lid is flat so water collects underneath the lid and drips onto the counter when the lid is removed.

Customers suggest that a way their cooking experience could improve is by having a lid that is angled so the water drains back into the machine. The other issue is that short power cable restricts you to using the machine close to an electricity supply.

However, for most people, this is not a huge problem. Despite these issues, the overall customer ratings are excellent. The fact that the vacuum sealer is not included is not actually an issue as the manufacturer makes it clear you will need to buy this separately. It is simply something you should be aware of so that you are prepared for the additional expense.

Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator

This product combines the best features of all-in-one water ovens and immersion circulators. It includes everything you need, so there is no need to buy additional containers or equipment. The transparent container is perfect for allowing you to monitor the cooking process without the necessity of opening the sous vide machine.

Features

  • Built-in safety indicator
  • Sleek all-in-one design
  • Digital display
  • 3-gallon capacity
  • Small footprint

Pros

  • No extra equipment needed
  • Userfriendly and foolproof
  • Large capacity without taking up space
  • Good safety features
  • Precise temperature regulation
  • Easy to clean
  • Energy efficient

Cons

No timer

Summary

The feedback for this device is excellent with the only complaint that consumers make is there is no cooking timer. This is a minor issue that is easily overcome by using a regular timer or setting an alarm on your cellphone.

People who have bought this sous vide machine like how easy it is to use, and say the appliance cooks their food to perfection.  As no extra equipment is needed, what you pay for the appliance is the total cost, and there are no surprise additional expenses, and this is something that appeals to many consumers, especially those who have a limited budget.

Another aspect of this sous vide machine that is appealing is the inclusion of safety features. For example, there is a feature that warns users if the power supply has been interrupted and there is the potential that the food is not safe to eat.

Gourmia GSV550 Qt Sous Vide Water Oven Cooker 

This sous vide machine uses exclusive SimpleSet technology that allows even a novice in the kitchen to experiment with this method of cooking. There is no need to keep checking if your food is ready as the audio alerts will let you know as soon as your food has cooked for the optimal time, and you can cook multiple meals at once in this model.

Features

  • Rack included to cook multiple pouches
  • Wide-ranging temperature control from 45° to 90° Celsius
  • Time and temperature audio alerts
  • Large LCD display for digital timer and temperatures

Pros

  • Alerts let you know when food is ready
  • Smart design
  • Easy to use
  • Dual use lid that acts as a drip tray
  • Recipe book included
  • Good insulation to maintain cooking temperatures

Cons

  • Takes up space on the countertop
  • Some reports of problems setting the temperature control
  • Teflon coating is easily damaged

Summary

One of the main reasons why people who have bought this product are happy is because it is easy to use. For anyone who is new to sous vide cooking, this is a good option.

Overall, the reviews are extremely positive although there are some minor complaints. The first is that the machine takes up a lot of countertop space. However, the dimensions of the product are clearly stated and some people prefer a bigger appliance.

This is unlikely to cause a problem for people with a larger kitchen or those with plenty of countertop space. Another complaint is that the Teflon coating peels away; this seems to have affected only a small number of these devices.

Finally, some people have reported problems setting the temperature control. Only a few people have mentioned this issue, so it is possible they are unlucky to have received a defective product, or that it is human error.

Oliso 60001000 Smart Hub Induction Cooktop with Precision Top Removable 11 Quart Sous Vide Oven

This is one of the most professional, technologically advanced and versatile appliances currently available on the market, as it is more than just a sous vide machine. It also has a range of other functions including slow cooking, induction cooking, a yogurt-making feature, and the versatility to use in the same way as a regular gas or electric oven.

Features

  • Water container that holds up to 10.4 liters
  • Interchangeable tops that dock with the Smart Hub
  • Temperature control to within 0.1° Celsius
  • Induction burner

Pros

  • Extremely versatile
  • Large water capacity
  • Compact design
  • Consistent temperature control
  • Heats quickly
  • Multifunctional

Cons

  • Does not come with the pouches or vacuum sealer
  • Unclear instructions

Summary

Although this is one of the more expensive options, the range of cooking methods you can use this appliance for make the additional cost worthwhile.

This device seems to appeal to serious cooks who like to experiment with many different cooking methods. The vast majority of customers are delighted with their purchase and have tried out many of the different functions.

However, there are two issues that are brought up by people who have bought this device. The first is that the appliance does not come with the vacuum sealer and the bags.

This is not a serious issue as both these items are available for separate purchase. It is, however, something to take into consideration as you need to factor the additional cost into your budget. The second problem highlighted is the instructions are not clear.

Although there is a lot of information from the manufacturer about using the sous technique, there is very little advice about using the other functions and cooking methods.

Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide Water Oven & Slow Cooker, 6 Quart Programmable, Stainless Steel (33970)

This is another device that offers great versatility as it doubles as a sous vide machine and a slow cooker. This makes this particular model a great option for anyone who uses these two cooking methods on a regular basis.

Features

  • 6-quart capacity
  • Non-stick metal vessel
  • A sous vide machine and a slow cooker
  • Programmable controls
  • Sous vide rack
  • Stainless-steel exterior
  • Glass lid
  • Large handles

Pros

  • The cheapest option reviewed
  • Dual function
  • Easy to use
  • Compact size
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • A versatile appliance
  • Automatically keeps food warm when cooking time is finished

Cons

  • Problems with consistent temperature control
  • Quiet completion beep

Summary

Although this is the cheapest product reviewed, it has some fantastic features. The main reason why consumers choose this product over its competitors is the dual function of both slow cooker and sous vide machine.

While most people have reviewed this sous vide machine in a positive manner, there is one repeated negative relating to this appliance: problems maintaining a specified temperature.

Many customers have experienced issues with the actual temperature of the water matching the temperature stated on the display. Reviews suggest that the temperature consistently reads as 6° Celsius higher than the actual temperature of the water.

It is possible to overcome this problem, if you are aware of it, by always setting the machine at a higher temperature than you need. However, this is still an issue with which users should not have to contend.

The only other complaint made people who have bought this model is that the beep the machine gives when the cooking process is complete is very faint and hard to hear.

Verdict

There are many different options available on the market and which you choose will depend on a variety of factors. These include you budget, your personal preferences, your requirements from this kitchen appliance, and the space you have available to house such a device.

For serious cooks who are willing to pay a little more to get a top machine, the OSio 60001000 Smart Hub Induction Cooktop with Precision Top Removable is a clear winner. This offers the versatility to use a wide range of different cooking techniques with just one appliance.

Although this is one of the most expensive sous vide machines reviewed, you would save money in the long run as you would not need to buy separate appliances for each of the cooking techniques for which you can use this machine.

If you have a limited budget, then the Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide Water Oven & Slow Cooker is a great choice. Although it much cheaper than many of the other choices, it still has a dual purpose so it is more likely you will use the device on a regular basis.

The Gourmia GSV550 9Qt Sous Vide Water Oven Cooker is the ideal option for novices to using the sous vide technique as it is one of the simplest machines to use. Using this appliance is completely foolproof. You can gain all the benefits of cooking food using the sous vide method without the stress of spending time setting up an appliance.

Both the Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven SVS10LS and the Tribest Sousvant SV-101 are a good choice for people who plan to sous vide their food on a relatively regular basis. These two machines are comparable both in price and in container capacity.

Overall, each of these sous vide machines has something different to offer and will meet the needs of different users. Before deciding which is the best option for you, it is important to know exactly what your expectations are of a machine, and what you are willing to pay for such an appliance. You should also carefully compare your options before deciding which sous vide machine best suits your needs.