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Simply by virtue of having a French name, sous vide cooking sounds a lot fancier and more complicated than it is. In reality, a sous vide machine takes about 99 percent of actual effort out of the the cooking process completely.
Sous vide is a method of cooking food by heating circulated water. To operate, you simply attach the device to a stock pot or basin of water, seal your food in a plastic bag and drop it in the pot. Set the sous vide to the correct settings and let it do all the rest. In addition to making cooking a million times easier, sous vides allow you to set very precise temperatures and cooking times, making for perfectly-cooked food every time. What that means: you’ll never have to eat a less-than-juicy steak or tough filet of salmon ever again.
What is a Good Sous Vide?
So what should you look for when you’re shopping for one of the best sous vide devices? Perhaps surprisingly, there is a lot less you have to think about with sous vides than with items that seem like they’d be pretty straightforward (looking at you cast iron pans). Here is what to consider.
Efficiency: Sous vides with a higher gallons per minute (GPM) rate come to temperature and maintain temperature more quickly than others because of the increased speed at which the water circulates. Other factors affecting a sous vide’s efficiency include how precisely it can control temperature, and whether it has features like presets that make cooking even easier for the cook.
Controls: Some sous vides are controlled remotely via app, but we prefer models that include controls directly on the device itself, usually with some sort of touchscreen LED display.
Size and Design: In general, most people favor slender sous vides, which are easy to store and use. We also look at small details like clamp design and adjustability, which can impact how convenient the machine is to use.
WiFi and Bluetooth Connectivity: Many but not all sous vides can connect to WiFi or Bluetooth and be operated via phone app. These features are especially handy if you want to start or stop your machine remotely.
1. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano
We like the smaller version of the full-sized Anova sous vide for the simple reason that it’s just easier to store — while still producing perfectly cooked food every time. People also like that you’re able to control and watch settings on the device itself. Because it’s smaller, it does take slightly more time to get water to the correct temperature, but we consider this a small price to pay.
This Anova sous vide is super easy to set up and start using right out of the box. The accompanying app lets you monitor cooking time and “done-ness” to make sure your meats and veggies come out just right.
2. Instant Accu Slim Sous Vide
If you would prefer a larger model sous vide (and already own an Instant Pot) you might prefer this Instant Pot-brand cooker, which is made to be compatible with the Instant Pot but can really work with any pot. At 13 inches long it is around the same size as an immersion blender, so while it does take up some space, it doesn’t take up so much that you’ll never find a place to put it. Unlike other models, the Instant Pot sous vide doesn’t connect to WiFi, but this actually may just make it a little more intuitive to operate using the LED touch screen display.
3. Wancle Sous Vide Cooker
The Wancle sous vide is another good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to bother with Bluetooth or confusing apps in order to operate the cooker. People are pleased with the ease of use of this sous vide, which can be operated one-handed thanks to the convenient handle design, and clamps to any basin you have at home. Another benefit to the Wancle is the ultra-quiet operation.
This is a durable, well-made sous vide that will last you for years to come.
4. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
This is the full-sized model of our top pick, which we love for all the same reasons, but boosted with a slightly speedier and more efficient cooking time. According to the manufacturer, this model is “new and improved;” what that really means is it gets faster heating times and improved WiFi connection, all packed into a slim, sleek and more durable body.