Best Sous Vide Machine for You: Four Popular Immersion Circulators Reviewed
How do you know you are getting the best sous vide machine? With the many options on the market, how do you choose the right one for you? Each one offers various features. The price varies just as much. What makes the high end machines so different from the cheaper machines? What makes a sous vide machine a good machine? These are all questions you need to answer before settling on which one to buy. I hope to help you answer these questions in this review of the most popular options right now:
It’s important to look at all your options, so that you can find exactly what fits your needs.
Anova vs Joule
If you are more technologically inclined, you might want to buy the Anova, or the ChefSteps Joule. These two are the two most popular options for home chefs looking to cook via sous vide. Both of these work with your smartphones. They both have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, although they both have differences. The biggest difference being the Anova has a built in touch interface whereas the Joule does not have an interface at all. This limits you to only using the associated app with the Joule.
The Anova immersion circulator is actually my personal favorite sous vide machine. For home users, I think it’s one of the best sous vide machine for your money (check the price on Amazon). It allows you to switch from remote cooking to hands on cooking with just a simple touch. It features a thumbwheel which allows for precise setting of the timer and temperature settings. The timer, when connected to your Apple or Android device, will send a push notification letting you know when your water gets up to temperature and when your timer has reached zero. I would have preferred an alarm of some sort, but with no fear of overcooking this isn’t too big of an issue. The Anova heats quickly and stows away in any deep drawer or cabinet.
I did notice that when you set up your machine to cook with your smart device, and the machine lost connectivity, the Anova would pause the device. This could be extremely inconvenient when living in a larger house or two story house because you may lose connectivity. You can bypass this inconvenience completely by manually starting it on the Anova itself, but that’s yet another inconvenience in itself.
The Chef Steps Joule is an even smaller, sleeker design. With no bulky, built-in interface, this device only weighs 1.3 pounds, measuring at 11 inches tall. It is a great portable device. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, cooking is as simple as alerting Alexa to start your cook cycle and set your timer. It is small, but very powerful.
The greatest advantage the Joule as over other sous vide immersion circulators is you can cook in as little as 1.5 inches of water or as much as ten gallons. This opens up your options for cooking containers quite a bit. The also heats water quickly and does an excellent job at maintaining the set temperature.
Lack of a built-in interface makes the Joule a poor choice for anyone who is not technologically inclined. The mobile app is amazing and offers a lot of information about sous vide cooking; including time and temperature guides. However, no matter how amazing the app is, it’s only useful for those who know how to use it. This machine also continues to cook your food even when you lose connectivity to the device.
If you’re deciding between the Anova and the Joule, the biggest deciding factor would be the lack of an interface. Of course, the price might also matter to you, so check the price on Amazon to make sure. I do love the Joule, and I am quite a technical person, but I like having manual control on the device itself. If you don’t mind the lack of manual control, the Joule sous vide cooker may be the choice for you.
If you’re not looking for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and you only want a basic sous vide cooker then consider the Sansaire immersion circulator. Being one of the most affordable, and highest rated sous vide machine on Amazon, it’s an excellent choice for a basic sous vide circulator.
For its very affordable price, you would imagine its some massive monster, but it’s not. It’s actually very sleek and it takes up as much space as a champagne bottle. It also performs well. It heats quickly and maintains the water temperature quite well.
Without any fancy wireless connectivity, this is one of the more basic immersion circulators. But it works well, and it’s great for starters. You can check the current price on Amazon by clicking here. The only function is the temperature dial and the always on LED which displays the set temperature and the actual temperature
It doesn’t include a timer, but most don’t anyways and everyone has a few timers on hand, so this isn’t much of an inconvenience. In terms of functionality, it works with no problems. However, you can feel the reason why it is the cheapest. The plastic feels a little fragile and cheap, but as with any electronic, you should handle with care anyways. There are a few reports of people having issues with the temperature rising improperly, but those could have been faulty devices. I couldn’t find any widespread indication that the device doesn’t maintain temperature.
If you already have some experience with sous vide and you’re ready to upgrade to some serious stuff, then the Polyscience CHEF series immersion circulator is what you’re looking for. Or if you only want to spend once, get the best, and never have to keep upgrading then the Polyscience is also an excellent choice. That’s because this is about as high end as it gets for sous vide cooking for the home chef.
The Polyscience is a consumer grade immersion circulator made available for home users. It can heat up to 8 gallons. Yes, the cheaper options also heat up to 8 gallons, or even more. But none of them are capable of heating 3 gallons per minute. That means this thing heats up fast!
Each device is tested before leaving the factory for accuracy. The thermostat is calibrated with a traceable thermometer that has been calibrated to a government standard. What does this mean? This means it is crazy accurate. It will keep the water to 0.5 degrees of the set temperature. And because each unit is tested individually before leaving the factory, you likely won’t get a lemon and have to go through the hassle of returning/exchanging the product.
The Polyscience is easy to use and it doesn’t come with any fancy features that could complicate things. It does what it is design to do, and it does it very well. The large, easy to read, back-lit display shows set temperature and actual temperature. The responsive buttons are friendly to use. The power cord is also twice as long as the Anova; making cooking off of your counter top easier without having to pull out the extension cords.
Since this sous vide circulator was built to perform, it is a little noisier compared to the other immersion circulators. However, for the little bit of fan noise, it is an award winning, high quality machine that is made to last. It maintains the temperature well and performs excellently. If my budget allowed for it, I’d probably choose to buy the Polyscience over all the others.
If wireless connectivity is a deal breaker for you, the Anova or the Joule will be a better choice. If you just want something basic to start out with, the Sansaire will serve you well. But if you value accuracy, dependability, and quality above all else then the Polyscience is the best sous vide machine for you.
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