After looking at dozens of products, we bought the 9 best sous vide machines and tested them head-to-head to determine which sous vide reigns supreme in the kitchen appliance world. We measured their temperature accuracy using lab-grade equipment and compared these products' circulation and cooking performance head-to-head. We also looked at how intuitive and easy they are to use and any smart features or functions that they might have. Check out our complete review to see which product came out on top, which is the most user-friendly, and which is your best bet when shopping on a budget.
$150.00 at Amazon
$149.00 at Amazon
$249.95 at Amazon
$45.77 at Amazon
$89.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Incredible circulating skills, extremely easy to use||Exceptionally convenient to use, impressively stable in our test||Heats very quickly, tons of circulation, can be used in very little water||Good price, strong circulation performance, decent accuracy||Powerful circulating pump, solid thermal stability|
|Cons||Pricey, mediocre results in our stability test||Not the quickest to heat up, slightly inferior circulation||No display, can only be controlled through the app||Attachment clip is far from our favorite||Bulky design, somewhat pricey|
|Bottom Line||Thanks to its exceptional all around performance, it's our first choice when looking for the best of the best||This top-notch immersion circulator has impressive heat stability and costs less than many other premium models||This is a sleek and stylish app-controlled sous vide that heats up quickly||If you want to try out sous vide cooking without spending a ton of cash, this is a great choice||An overall solid and affordable machine that boasts an excellent price but isn't quite on par with premium models|
|Rating Categories||Anova Culinary Prec...||Anova Culinary Prec...||Breville Joule 1100W||VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker||Wancle Thermal Imme...|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Anova Culinary Prec...||Anova Culinary Prec...||Breville Joule 1100W||VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker||Wancle Thermal Imme...|
|Clamp/Mounts||Adjustable and removeable screw clamp||Fixed screw clamp||Clip and magnet base||Removeable fixed plastic clip||Fixed spring clamp|
Best Overall Sous Vide Machine
Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00
Ready to dive headfirst into sous vide cooking and want the best product on the market? Our recommendation is the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00. The powerful circulation and precise temperature accuracy make this device an easy choice. The interface on the machine itself is super intuitive, and there's also a smartphone app that gives you the ability to set the time and temperature. It's simple to use, and we were beyond impressed by its outstanding performance in our temperature accuracy tests.
That said, we were disappointed with the length of time it takes for the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00 to heat water. In our testing, it took cold tap water nearly an hour to reach cooking temps. There was also some fluctuation in temperature, which isn't ideal. Still, the Anova is our top choice for anyone searching for a top-of-the-line machine.
Read review: Anova AN500-US00
Compact With Great Temperature Stability
Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano
If you don't need a full-sized sous vide machine, check out a smaller device like the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano. This sous vide can keep temperatures super-stable for look cooking times. It is simple, intuitive, and features outstanding temperature control. Though it doesn't circulate as fast as some models, it still circulates quite well, and we love the smart features available through the Anova Culinary app. You can find a number of recipes to make from preprogrammed instructions or create your own in this app and save them to use for future meals.
The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano's heating unit is smaller and less powerful than some larger models, so it takes longer to heat up initially. It can also take a bit of time to overcome the addition of food and get back up to temperature. All in all, the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano is a great choice for those on a slightly tighter budget who still want a premium sous vide that excels at holding temperatures. It calls for a bit of patience and willingness to preheat your water beforehand.
Read review: Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano
Best Bang for the Buck
VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker
If you're on the hunt for a decent sous vide machine on a shoestring budget, check out the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker. This immersion circulator is one of the most affordable out of our test group and proved itself capable in our temperature stability assessment. It delivered one of the best performances in our circulation tests and was one of the fastest when it came to initially heat the water. The controls are also very intuitive and user-friendly.
On the downside, this unit turned out less than desirable results in our temperature accuracy test. It had an average discrepancy of 1-2 degrees under the set temperature in both of our tests, and the plastic clip can be finicky and hard to attach to containers with a lip. While these are no insignificant flaws, they aren't insurmountable, and we think this is a great bargain option for those shopping for a new sous vide on a limited budget.
Read review: VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker
Best for Value-Oriented Shoppers
Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator
If you are shopping on a budget and don't mind a fairly bare-bones option, we strongly recommend considering the Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator. This machine usually retails for quite a bit less than the top models, and we found that you can make some absolutely delicious meals with it. Its circulation pump performed impressively well in our tests, and it's pretty easy to use once you become accustomed to the interface.
However, this unit doesn't include any smart features or other ways to monitor it remotely. It's also on the larger side, making it more cumbersome to store. The spring clamp works for most containers without issue, but you might have some problems if the vessel has thick walls or a larger lip. It also wasn't the most impressive in regards to temperature accuracy. Overall, we found that Wancle's value far outweighs its flaws and think it's a great option for anyone with limited funds looking to get into sous vide.
Read review: Wancle Immersion Circulator
Best-Looking Sous Vide
Breville Joule 1100W
While the Breville Joule 1100W isn't the best sous vide we have seen to date, we still feel it deserves some recognition. It's a sleek-looking machine that offers more versatility than almost any other product we have seen with its magnetic base and clamp bracket. It's one of the fastest at heating water and is quite stable and accurate regarding temperature control. The interface in the mobile app is user-friendly and intuitive as well.
Unfortunately, we found the app-only controls to be a source of frustration when multiple people were using it or if we didn't feel like pulling out our phone. The temperature accuracy and stability also lag a bit behind the higher-scoring models. All things considered, though, it's worth considering the Breville Joule 1100W if you place a premium on style and you're not scared away by the smartphone-only controls.
Read review: Breville Joule 1100W
Why You Should Trust Us?
Our sous vide testing team is led by Michelle Powell and David Wise. Michelle has over ten years of professional culinary experience, ranging from managing an artisanal bakery to competing in latte art competitions. Most importantly, she brings a no-nonsense attitude towards kitchen appliances that don't work as they should. David has formal training as a mechanical engineer and has been an avid home cook and baker for the past five years. He is particularly passionate about mixing science and cooking, the foundation of cooking sous vide. His thermal fluids and heat transfer education came in handy when designing our temperature accuracy and circulation tests.Our testing of sous vide machines is divided across three rating metrics:
- Temperature tests (40% of overall score weighting)
- Circulation tests (30% weighting)
- Ease of Use tests (30% weighting)
We've purchased and tested 9 sous vide machines. Our extensive testing put each option through a multi-point performance analysis to rate temperature, circulation, and ease of use.
Sous vide machines were subjected to more than 16 individual tests to assess their performance. We split our testing process into three weighted metrics — Temperature, Circulation, and Ease of Use — each composed of different side-by-side tests. We used calibrated lab-grade thermometers and temperature loggers for our thermal accuracy tests. The most important rating is the temperature, which corresponds to 40% of the overall score. We used lab-grade equipment to measure and compare the temperature accuracy of each product. This rating is informed by 4 specific tests comprised of time to heat (10% of the rating), recovery time (30%), temperature stability (30%), temperature accuracy (30%). This review also utilizes research and observations from multiple testers to round out our information to compare each competitor's performance.
We spent dozens of hours making all sorts of things under vacuum, pushing the limits of what you can cook in a hot water bath in our side-by-side cooking tests. We also used dye to visually assess how well each immersion circulator circulates. Finally, we examined the convenience and ease of Use for each appliance, looking for the one that provided the most user-friendly and intuitive experience while trying out any connected smart features that a few of these machines have. To rank and compare each product's circulation capabilities, we designed a custom dye injecting apparatus so we could watch the fluid move. We also convened a panel of judges to try out each machine to decide the easiest and most intuitive to use.
Analysis and Test Results
We tested each product to help provide the details you need to find the right product for your needs and budget. We tested temperature, circulation, and ease of Use.
Fortunately, you can get into sous vide cooking without spending a fortune. The Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator does a solid job at a reasonably low price, though it lacks extra features (like smart connectivity) that some of the top-tier models have. The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker is another good option to consider if you are shopping on a restricted budget. It typically has one of the lowest price tags of the group, and we don't think it has any major insurmountable flaws.
If you have a smaller budget but like the idea of extra features, then the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano is a good option. It costs just a bit less than the top-tier models and performs quite comparably. The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00 and Breville Joule 1100W have even more features and functions and come with premium price tags, making them good options if you're willing to spend some money to get the absolute best.
Since heating water is easily the most important function of a sous vide machine, our temperature metric accounts for 40% of the final score for each product. In this metric, we looked at the temperature accuracy of each product, the time they take to heat, the recovery time after adding cold food items, and the ability to hold a constant temperature over long periods.
The Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator and the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano tied for the top spot overall in this series of tests. This pair did exceptionally well in our stability test, where we vacuum-sealed iButton temperature loggers inside sous vide bags to assess performance. Both machines held a stable temperature within 0.1°F for 60 minutes, with the loggers failing to detect any temperature variation whatsoever. However, we did observe some slight temperature inaccuracies with both products. The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano averaged about 0.29°F above the set temperature, while the Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator was an average of 0.50°F under the target.
Unfortunately, neither of these sous vides were particularly quick to heat up, taking almost an hour to raise cold tap water (48°F) to 147°F. The Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator and the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano did alright in the thermal rebound test, only taking one and three minutes, respectively, to get the temperature back up to 135°F after we dropped in three vacuum-sealed frozen hamburger patties.
The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00 displayed good accuracy, with an average discrepancy of 0.09°F from our measurements with a control thermometer at various temperature set points. It also recovered after only three minutes when we dropped the frozen burgers in, but it wasn't the fastest at initially heating. When filled with cold water, it took 55 minutes to reach the target temperature. Our stability test showed some temperature oscillation, spending 11 minutes of the hour-long test a little off from its steady-state temperature, though it was only off by an average of 0.16°F.
The Breville Joule 1100W had an average error of 0.39°F above its set temperatures. However, it is pretty fast at heating water, needing only 36 minutes to heat the water to 147°F compared to the 55 minutes it took the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00. The Breville Joule also recovered slightly faster, taking two minutes to regain the set temperature after the frozen food was introduced. It was also a bit better at holding a steady-state temperature. In our hour-long test, it spent 10% of the time off of its baseline temperature by an average of 0.09°F.
The Sousvide Art 850W Immersional Circulator was a little more accurate than the Breville Joule 1100W but showed more error than the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00. The Sousvide Art averaged about 0.14°F under the set temperatures in our test. It performed exceptionally well in maintaining a temperature — our loggers picked up no fluctuations whatsoever. However, it is a bit slow at heating.
Unfortunately, the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker did quite poorly in our accuracy test. When the temperature was set to 135°F, it averaged just over a degree below and almost a degree and a half under when set at 147°F. However, it redeemed itself by delivering essentially perfect results in the stability test, exhibiting zero variations whatsoever, and by heating the water very quickly in our initial heating test. This sous vide only took 39 minutes to get the cold water up to cooking temperature, just narrowly missing out on claiming the fastest time overall by a few minutes.
The Aobosi Sous Vide Cooker brought up the rear in this metric, delivering what we considered fairly mediocre results. It averaged a mere 0.15°F under the set temperature and only differed from the stable temperature for 8.3% of the hour test. However, it took a bit longer than average to warm up the water initially, and it took much longer to recover after cold food was added to the bath.
Next, we compared and scored how well each machine circulates water, which is responsible for 30% of the total score for each product. The more circulation there is in the water bath, the more homogeneous the temperature will be, and the less likely it is for any cold or hot spots. To measure this, we injected 15 mL of diluted food dye into the same spot in the bath for each machine, then timed how long it took for the color to become uniform. We used the same container and water amounts for each product and ensured the water was at the same temperature to ensure the dispersion rate was the same.
The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00, the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker, and the Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator all delivered top results in this metric. The Wancle and the VPCOK tied for the group's fastest time, dispersing the dye to achieve a uniform color in a mere 14 seconds. The Anova AN500-US00 was just behind, taking only a second longer than the other two.
The Aobosi Sous Vide Cooker and the Breville Joule 1100W were the next fastest. The Breville needed 21 seconds, and the Aobosi Sous Vide Cooker required 26 seconds to achieve a complete mix. There was a bit of a jump in time for the next product, with the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano taking 48 seconds to disperse the dye completely.
There was an even larger jump in time for the Sousvide Art, which needed over two minutes to fully incorporate the dye, earning it a below-average score. The Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator and the Gourmia GSV115 finished at the back of the group for this metric, earning the lowest score for taking more than three minutes to mix in the dye thoroughly.
Ease of Use
Our last round of tests dealt with how convenient and easy to operate these products are. This also accounts for 30% of the total score. Primarily, we looked at each product's interface, how it attaches to the sous vide bath, and how easy it is to use the smartphone companion app if there is one.
Overall, we found the Anova models, the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00 and the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano to be the easiest and most intuitive to use in the entire bunch, earning them top marks. Both machines offer a companion smartphone app and controls right on the device itself. We liked that the app is simple and easy to understand, allowing you to select a specific recipe or enter a custom time and temperature. You can also save custom recipes, mark which ones are your favorite, and start or stop either Anova remotely.
The controls on these machines are very similar, both having a simple display and a few touchscreen buttons to set the time and temperature manually. We found this helpful if we didn't feel like pulling out our phones or if someone else was using it who hadn't set up the app. Both models have a screw-on clamp to attach them to the side of the sous vide vessel with a smooth action that allows you to install or remove them quickly.
The Breville Joule 1100W can only be controlled through its smartphone app, which we found to be inconvenient at times. However, the app itself is straightforward to use, with an entire history of the recipes you have made with the Breville Joule 1100W and an extensive library of preconfigured options from which to choose. Offering both a clip for the side of a vessel or a magnetic base to stand it up in a metal pan, the Breville Joule 1100W is one of the easiest models to attach to a wide variety of containers. It also requires much less water than other models to operate, so you don't need to fill up a giant container if you're only sous vide-ing a small item.
The Wancle Thermal Immersion Circulator, the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker, and the Aobosi Sous Vide Cooker deliver somewhat above-average results. Controls are limited to what's on the machines themselves, though we thought the Wancle and the VPCOK were a little more user-friendly than the Aobosi. With its screw clamp, the Aobosi is a little easier to attach than the Wancle's clamp, which takes a bit more effort to wrangle into position.
Unfortunately, we weren't enamored with the clip on the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker. The clip is removable from the main body of the immersion circulator, but the fixed plastic clip can be challenging to attach securely to any container with a lip.
We didn't find the interfaces of the Gourmia GSV115, the Sousvide Art, or the Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator to be very intuitive and none of these have smartphone companion apps.
You'll need to start the heating process and set the time once they have heated, rather than setting everything at the beginning and having the timer start automatically once the temperature is reached. These models all attach with a screw clamp, but the screw doesn't spin as freely as the top models, so it can take a little more effort to get them in place.
We hope this review will help you pick out the perfect sous vide machine for your kitchen and feel ready to try out this cooking method. All of these machines will heat water, and we could cook delicious meals in all of them. Some were just more consistent and easier to use in our tests. Additionally, we always recommend that you pay close attention to food safety standards with this type of cooking and leave yourself a safety margin since your machine might be a few degrees colder than it claims.
— Michelle Powell and David Wise
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