Best Sous Vide Machines

10 Best Sous Vide Machines for Cooking Enthusiasts – From Immersion Circulators to Water Baths

35 Models Considered
51 Hours of Research
9 Experts Interviewed
257 Reviews Analyzed

Whether you’re looking to eat healthier, widen your repertoire of recipes, or make cooking dinner throughout the weak easier, a sous vide machine can help. Sous vide – French for “under vacuum” – is the process of cooking vacuum-sealed food in a water bath at a constant temperature. The best sous vide machine can ensure that you never over- or undercook meats or fish so that you get perfect results every time. Better yet, sous vide can help lock in the flavor that makes your dinner delicious.

In order to help you find the right sous vide machine for your cooking, we considered several features of these machines. First, we looked at both immersion sous vide machines, which can adapt to nearly any pot you already own, as well as water baths that serve as standalone heating machines. We also considered the power of different sous vide machines, since that affects the maximum amount of water you can heat and the temperature range you can cook at.

Top 10 Sous Vide Machines Review 2019

We spent tens of hours researching sous vide machines, poring through technical specifications and customer reviews. The result is our list of the 10 best sous vide cooker machines on the market today, highlighted in the table below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each machine, including its pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know about choosing the right sous vide machine for your cooking style. Finally, we sum up our three overall favorite sous vide machines to revolutionize your dinners.

Image and Rating
Name and Features
Price
ChefSteps Joule350
9.9
1. ChefSteps Joule
Editor’s Choice
Editor’s Choice

A great immersion cooker with advanced design and a magnetic base that keeps it stable, Bluetooth and WiFi compatibility and voice control

Monoprice Strata350
9.8
2. Monoprice Strata
Best Standalone Sous Vide Machine
Best Standalone Sous Vide Machine

A powerful yet relatively inexpensive machine, which is easy to use with handy touch controls

Sous Vide SVS10LS Supreme Water Oven350
9.7
3. Sous Vide Supreme SVS10LS Water Oven
Best Water Bath Sous Vide Machine
Best Water Bath Sous Vide Machine

A small but powerful water bath with a durable stainless-steel shell, great safety features, and energy-efficient design

Wancle SVC001 Sous Vide Cooker350
9.7
4. Wancle SVC001 Sous Vide Cooker
Best Sous Vide Machine for Home Use
Best Sous Vide Machine for Home Use

A cooker with a unique design allowing for single-handed operation of clamp and LCD screen

KitchenBoss Sous Vide Immersion Circulator350
9.6

A modern and simple immersion sous vide machine that heats water quickly

 
Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide Immersion Circulator350
9.5
Budget Pick

A budget-friendly sous vide cooker for one person or a small family

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker350
9.4
7. Anova Precision Cooker Nano
Best Bluetooth Sous Vide Machine
Best Bluetooth Sous Vide Machine

A popular immersion cooker with both manual controls and Bluetooth connection to app

Dash DSV300XXSS01 Chef Series350
9.4
8. Dash DSV300XXSS01 Chef Series
Best Budget Water Bath Sous Vide Machine
Best Budget Water Bath Sous Vide Machine

A compact water bath featuring the magnetic-driven water circulation system

Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator350
9.3

A larger and more powerful all-in-one water bath with the ultra-quiet circulation system

 
Gourmia GSV-130350
9.2
10. Gourmia GSV-130
Most Powerful Immersion Sous Vide Machine
Most Powerful Immersion Sous Vide Machine

A sleek and simple machine with the unique and handy clamp design

1.

ChefSteps Joule Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 1100
  • Max cook size: 10+ gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.2˚F
  • Range: up to 208°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: WiFi and Bluetooth ready; magnetic base; voice control; temperature and time controls

VIEW ON AMAZON

This immersion sous vide machine from ChefSteps was designed to be the single best home machine on the market – and most users would agree it’s achieved that. The Joule is capable of heating more than 10 gallons of water, making it the obvious choice if you are cooking for a large family, a party, or even for two for a week of dinners. Furthermore, this immersion machine boasts one of the highest maximum temperatures of any sous vide machine we reviewed – up to 208°F. That gives you plenty of flexibility to cook meals faster when you’re in a hurry or to cook meats to well done.

What really sets this immersion sous vide cooking machine apart from the pack is the inclusion of Bluetooth and WiFi connection options. You can remotely connect this sous vide machine to your Apple or Android phone via the ChefSteps app. From there, you can set the temperature, set a timer, and even get a visual preview of how different temperatures will affect how your food cooks. The use of the phone app to control the machine also means that you can control your cooking from anywhere in the world as long as you have WiFi.

Keep in mind that while this machine is small, it doesn’t have an LCD display like most other immersion sous vide cookers. Still, you can control the machine from within the kitchen using the built-in voice commands for Amazon Alexa. But if you don’t have Alexa, it can be annoying when you’re working in the kitchen and have to use your phone to control the machine right next to you. A magnetic base is a handy feature when it comes time to put the machine away, since you can stick it to the counter or fridge.

Pros
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity allows you to cook from anywhere
  • Temperature up to 208°F
  • Cooks more than 10 gallons of water
  • Works with Amazon Alexa
  • Magnetic base
Cons
  • No LCD screen for in-person control

2.

Monoprice Strata Best Standalone Sous Vide Machine

Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 1100
  • Max cook size: 4 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 1%
  • Range: 68–203°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: LED screen and touch controls; IPX7 waterproof rating; adjustable clamps

VIEW ON AMAZON

This sub-$100 immersion sous vide cooking machine from Monoprice is arguably the best sous vide machine for the money for anyone who doesn’t need bells and whistles. You won’t find Bluetooth connectivity on this sous vide machine, but most chefs won’t miss it. Instead, what you get for the value is 1,100 watts of power and the ability to cook up to four gallons of water at temperatures greater than 200°F. The high power rating and comparatively moderate volume allows this machine to heat up water incredibly quickly, which means your water is usually ready by the time you’ve finished bagging your food. The temperature accuracy is rated to +/-1%, which is roughly equivalent to the +/-0.2°F accuracy found in most comparable sous vide machines.

This machine offers an LED screen on the top of the unit with touch controls. In addition to controlling the temperature, you have the option to set a timer for controlling cook time. Otherwise, the controls are simple, and there’s no need to fumble around with your phone to use your sous vide machine.

Monoprice designed this sous vide machine to be incredibly durable. The body is rated IPX7 for waterproofing – one of the highest levels that can be designed – and the circulating motor is intended to last for years of cooking. On top of that, users loved how easy it is to adjust the clamp to whatever pot you’re using. They also noted that Monoprice offered excellent customer service for defective units within the one-year warranty period.

Overall, users who wanted a value and don’t see the appeal of Bluetooth controls loved this simple and inexpensive sous vide machine.

Pros
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • 1,100-watt power rating allows it to heat up quickly
  • LED with touch controls
  • IPX7 waterproof rating and excellent durability
Cons
  • No Bluetooth (but most users didn’t miss this)

3.

Sous Vide Supreme SVS10LS Water Oven Best Water Bath Sous Vide Machine

Features
  • Type: water bath
  • Watts: 850
  • Max cook size: 3 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 1˚F
  • Range: 86–210°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: stainless steel shell; energy-efficient design; lid doubles as drip tray

VIEW ON AMAZON

This water bath sous vide machine from Sous Vide Supreme is small but powerful, offering temperatures that range up to an impressive 210°F. The water bath is slightly slow to warm up since it sports just 850 watts, but this along with the energy-efficient design and insulated lid combine to decreases the power draw. That’s a significant advantage if you plan on using the sous vide machine consistently for long one- to two-day cooks since it won’t drive up your electricity bill quite as much as most immersion sous vide machines.

This sous vide machine is simple to operate, with manual controls for the temperature and built-in timer. Users were overall happy with the design of the water bath, with the only complaint being that some condensation can leak out of the seal between the water tub and the body of the machine. However, this leaking was minimal and did not seem to bother most people.

More important, users love the durability of this sous vide machine. Multiple customers report using it frequently for more than five years without any issues. Plus, the machine comes with overheating protection in case you accidentally turn it on without water in the tub. Users also noted that Sous Vide Supreme’s customer service is excellent and that they are willing to help with any minor problems that arise with your unit.

The size of this unit is the main sticking point for many potential buyers – it takes up a lot of counter space and holds only three gallons of water. However, users noted that while counter space was initially a fear, most have come to use the machine more than other appliances of the same size and don’t mind the space it takes up.

Pros
  • Cooks up to 210°F
  • Durable with overheating protection
  • Lower wattage reduces electricity bill
  • Simple button operation
Cons
  • Small leak in inner seal
  • Takes up a lot of counter space
4.

Wancle SVC001 Sous Vide Cooker Best Sous Vide Machine for Home Use

Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 850
  • Max cook size: 5 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.2˚F
  • Range: 77–211°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: 3D circulation; LCD controls

VIEW ON AMAZON

Users love this simple immersion sous vide machine from Wancle, which foregoes unnecessary features to focus on the things that matter to chefs. Most notable immediately is the odd shape of this immersion machine – that’s because it’s designed to work entirely by one hand operation so you can better multitask in the kitchen. The clamp opens by squeezing the trigger-shaped top handle, and you can start the heater with the push of a button. While users noted that the clamp doesn’t open very far, limiting you to thin-walled pots and bowls, this was a minor inconvenience for most chefs.

The heating element on this immersion sous vide machine offers only 850 watts, which means that it heats up rather slowly compared to more powerful competitors. However, it can still handle up to five gallons of water at a time and heats up to an impressive 211°F for when you want to cook meats to well done on the inside.

The LCD controls are as simple to use as the rest of the machine. Simply set your temperature and the built-in time and walk away. Everything can be operated with one finger, and there’s no need to turn to a phone app to control the device that’s right in front of you.

The other thing that users loved about this immersion machine is the circulating system. Wancle’s unique 3D circulation system is highly durable and virtually silent, making this one of the quietest immersion sous vide machines available. Plus, users found that the circulation system is easy to detach from the rest of the unit and clean, so there’s none of the maintenance fuss that comes with similar units.

Pros
  • Single-handed operation for clamp and LCD screen
  • Up to five gallons of volume
  • 211°F maximum temperature
  • Ultra-quiet 3D circulation system
Cons
  • Limited to thin-walled pots and bowls
  • Slow to heat up
Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 1100
  • Max cook size: 4 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚F
  • Range: 104–194°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 2 years

More features: IPX7 waterproof certified; 3D circulation

VIEW ON AMAZON

This modern and simple immersion sous vide machine from KitchenBoss was designed for chefs at the head of small families. The machine is capable of heating up to four gallons of water extremely quickly thanks to the 1,100-watt heating element. That speed is an essential feature for working parents who need to throw together dinner quickly.

Furthermore, the built-in 100-hour timer allows cooks to walk away after the immersion machine is started and come back when dinner is ready. A nice feature unique to this immersion sous vide machine is the light bar on the side of the unit, which serves as a visual indicator of the time left remaining in your cooking. That can be handy if you’re multitasking in the kitchen and can’t easily check on the LED timer on top of the unit.

Users also appreciated the durability of this immersion sous vide machine. It is rated to IPX7 for waterproofing and the 3D circulation unit is extremely long-lasting and easy to clean out. The exterior of the machine is a sleek-looking stainless steel that doesn’t scratch or dent easily. Plus, KitchenBoss backs up this sous vide machine with a long two-year warranty.

The four-gallon cook size is plenty for a small family or for cooking a week’s worth of meals at once. However, keep in mind that this immersion sous vide cooking machine is limited to a maximum temperature of 194°F, so you won’t be able to cook your meets fully to well done. Still, since most chefs using sous vide are more interested in preventing meats from overcooking rather than turning them gray, this wasn’t a problem for the majority of users.

Pros
  • 1,100-watt heating element heats water quickly
  • Built-in light bar to indicate cook time
  • Durable IPX7 waterproofing
  • 3D circulation mechanism
  • Four-gallon cook size
Cons
  • Limited to 194°F
  • Somewhat expensive compared to competitors
Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 800
  • Max cook size: 4 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.5˚F
  • Range: up to 194°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: safety alarm; LED acrylic touch screen; scrolling wheel to set time and temperature

VIEW ON AMAZON

For chefs new to sous vide or who don’t have a ton of money to spend on kitchen appliances, this immersion cooker from Kitchen Gizmo is the best budget sous vide machine we’ve found. Priced at just $65, it’s hard to find a less expensive sous vide machine that can get the job done as well as this unit can.

The immersion sous vide machine is equipped with a small 800-watt heating element – slow heating is the main price you’ll pay for the relatively low cost of this sous vide cooker. Once you get it running, though, the machine can heat up to four gallons of water to up to 194°F. That’s plenty of volume and heat for cooking meat to medium well for a family of four or more.

The LED touchscreen display on the top of the unit is simple to use, with two side buttons for added control. You’ll find a scrolling wheel that allows you to quickly and precisely set the cooking time and temperature. Plus, a built-in safety alarm alerts you when something has gone wrong with the unit – this is one of only a handful of sous vide cooking machines that is ETL certified for safety.

Users especially liked the clamping mechanism on this immersion cooker. It can be operated with a single hand and pressing down on the lever opens the clamp widely enough that it can work with almost any pot or bowl.

When it comes time to clean the immersion cooker, a removable interior sleeve can be easily popped out of the unit and washed in the sink. That reduces overall wear on the machine, allowing it to last for years of use.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly sous vide machine
  • ETL certified
  • Simple clamping mechanism
  • Removable interior sleeve for cleaning
Cons
  • Slow to heat up
7.

Anova Precision Cooker Nano Best Bluetooth Sous Vide Machine

Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 800
  • Max cook size: 5 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.2˚ F
  • Range: 32–197°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 2 years

More features: manual time and temperature controls; Bluetooth 4.2

VIEW ON AMAZON

The Anova immersion sous vide machine is a favorite among users, although the company has recently run into hot water because of some changes to the cooker’s app control. The cooker is relatively low power at just 800 watts, but don’t let that fool you – it can still heat up as much as five gallons of water up to 197°F. Better yet, it has a +/- 0.2°F accuracy, so you can be sure your meat is being perfectly cooked at the higher end of the range.

The LCD screen allows you to control the temperature settings and built-in 99-hour timer directly from the cooker. Alternatively, you can pair the machine with your Android or Apple phone via Bluetooth and control the temperature via the app. In addition, the app will offer notifications about your cooking so you can always stay abreast of your food no matter where you go in the house. Of course, since it’s Bluetooth only, this is not a major help if you need to go more than 30 feet from the kitchen.

Users were recently widely upset by the fact that Anova changed their software to require a login – to Anova’s app or to Facebook – to control the sous vide machine. It’s unclear whether Anova will remove this requirement in response to customer pressure.

The sous vide cooker comes with a two-year warranty, which is relatively generous given the modest price. In addition, this sous vide machine has one of the easiest cleaning mechanisms we’ve seen – it’s dishwasher safe and the parts that need frequent cleaning simply detach from the rest of the immersion machine.

Pros
  • Cooks up to five gallons
  • Manual controls or Bluetooth connection to app
  • Easy cleaning in dishwasher
  • Two-year warranty
Cons
  • Relatively low power
  • Anova app now requires login to use
8.

Dash DSV300XXSS01 Chef Series Best Budget Water Bath Sous Vide Machine

Features
  • Type: water bath
  • Watts: 700
  • Max cook size: 2 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.2˚F
  • Range: 104–194°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: magnetic-driven water circulation system; sensor-touch control buttons and LED display

VIEW ON AMAZON

Users loved this extremely small and compact sous vide water bath from Dash when cooking for one or two people. The machine comes with a front LED display that is controlled by sensor-touch buttons for easy use. The built-in timer helps you control exactly how long your food is cooking for, and you can heat water up to 194°F within +/- 0.2°F accuracy. Water can be slow to heat up since the water bath is equipped with only a 700-watt heating element, but users liked that this saves a lot on electricity usage. In addition, the magnetic circulating motor is quieter than a standard circulating motor and uses very little power – although users did note that it prevents the machine from being completely silent.

The water bath is designed to hold just two gallons of water, and users noted that it comes with a series of built-in racks that further limit the size of food portions that you can fit into the bath. While this isn’t a problem for small cooking, it’s worth noting that this machine is not flexible enough to cook a week’s worth of food at once or to expand to cook for a party. Users also noted that purchasing a third-party rack for the inside of the machine can help to increase the available space, although it is still a relatively small volume.

Given that this water bath sous vide machine costs less than most immersion machines, users were pleasantly surprised at its durability. The water bath comes with a sturdy insulating cover, and the magnetic circulation holds up well over long-term use. Users also noted that the machine does not develop any leaks over time, and the simple cleaning reduces unnecessary wear and tear.

Pros
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Durable design with sturdy cover
  • Simple LED and sensor-touch controls
  • Good for two people
Cons
  • Small two-gallon volume made smaller by built-in racks
  • Low-wattage heating element takes a while to heat water up
Features
  • Type: water bath
  • Watts: 1000
  • Max cook size: 3 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚F
  • Range: 195–194°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 2 years

More features: transparent carafe, built-in safety indicator; all-digital display

VIEW ON AMAZON

This all-in-one water bath sous vide machine from Tribest comes with a unique transparent carafe so you can actually watch your food cook and ensure that it is circulating properly in the water. The machine is simple to use, with a digital LED display that shows the temperature and remaining cook time. The controls are limited to just four buttons, so it’s easy to operate this machine with a single hand when in the middle of cooking. Plus, there’s a built-in safety indicator display so that you always know if the machine is overheating or something else has gone wrong.

On the technical side, this water bath sous vide cooker holds its own. It sports a 1,000-watt heating element that allows it to heat up three gallons of water very quickly. While it’s limited to a maximum temperature of 194°F, this isn’t an issue for the vast majority of chefs. The circulation system ensures a constant temperature throughout the water bath and yet is virtually silent while your food is cooking.

The bowl is three gallons in size, which is smaller than what most immersion sous vide machines can handle but large enough for cooking for a small family or for preparing a week’s worth of food. Users appreciated having handles on both sides of the carafe for emptying out water after cooking. Plus, they felt that the machine is very durable overall.

It’s worth noting that while Tribest provides a two-year warranty on this sous vide machine, customers who had defective units reported some issues resolving the warranty with Tribest’s customer service. Thankfully, issues with this sous vide cooker appear to be relatively rare, but the machine does get dinged for lack of customer service compared to its competitors.

Pros
  • Simple one-handed controls
  • Heats up very quickly
  • Ultra-quiet circulation system
  • Two-year warranty
Cons
  • Limited to 194°F
  • Poor customer service

10.

Gourmia GSV-130 Most Powerful Immersion Sous Vide Machine

Features
  • Type: immersion
  • Watts: 1200
  • Max cook size: 5 gal.
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.1˚F
  • Range: up to 203°F
  • Built-in timer: yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

More features: 360º water circulation; LCD control panel

VIEW ON AMAZON

The Gourmia immersion sous vide machine looks sleek and simple, but it’s smooth exterior hides a number of helpful features. Most notable immediately upon first use is the unique clamp design, which works much like a chip clip. This allows the sous vide machine to be setup with just one hand and clamped to virtually any thickness of pots.

Once you start the sous vide machine, you’ll notice its impressive 1,200-watt heating element – the most powerful of any sous vide machine we reviewed. While it does take some time to heat up a full five gallons of water with this immersion cooker, this unit is notably faster at heating than its less powerful competitors. That said, it also takes a lot of electricity, which frequent users noticed on their electricity bills.

The sous vide machine is able to heat to temperatures of 203°F and is extremely accurate – within one-tenth of one degree. Strangely, while the machine has a built-in timer, it only extends to 59 hours. That’s far shorter than the 72 or 99 hours found on most other sous vide cooking machines and can actually create problems if you like to cook meat for a full three days at a time.

Users also had a problem with the controls on this sous vide machine. While the one-touch buttons and temperature control dial were meant to be elegant and intuitive, they instead caused headaches. Users had trouble powering the unit up or down, and it was hard to tell whether button presses were registered by the machine. While no issues were reported, some users were concerned about safety because of these buttons.

Pros
  • Excellent clamp design
  • 1,200-watt heating element heats up quickly
  • Temperatures up to 203°F
Cons
  • Timer only works up to 59 hours
  • Issues with buttons registering presses on controller

Buying Guide

The world is in the midst of a sous vide revolution, with these cooking devices moving from restaurants into the home. Accordingly, the number and styles of sous vide machines that are now available to home chefs is greater than ever before. All that choice can make it hard to determine which sous vide cooking machine is best suited to your needs. That’s why we took on the challenge of finding the 10 best sous vide machines for every cooking style and budget. But how do you choose between these 10 to get the perfect sous vide machine for you? In our buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how sous vide machines can make your cooking more efficient and easier overall, as well as how to choose a sous vide machine.

Sous vide: How is it better than your casual cooking?

10 Best Sous Vide Machines for Cooking Enthusiasts – From Immersion Circulators to Water BathsNot that long ago, sous vide was mainly used by restaurant chefs at high-class establishments. But today, sous vide is beloved by home cooks around the world for its simplicity.

Sous vide involves sealing food – usually protein like meat or fish, although the same process can be used for vegetables as well – into a vacuum bag and then cooking it in a water bath at a constant temperature. The sous vide machine is responsible for heating that water bath to the desired temperature and keeping it there without fluctuating.

Cooking at a constant temperature has a number of advantages. The most important is that you can never overcook protein because the interior and exterior of a piece of meat, for example, will never exceed the temperature of your water bath. That means no more having to guess when the inside of your meat or fish has reached the desired temperature – or cutting up your meat to look inside and ruining its presentation in the process.

At the same time, sous vide ensures that you won’t burn or char the outside of your food in your efforts to get the interior fully cooked. For meat and fish, this additionally offers the possibility of grilling or blackening the outside of the protein after it has finished cooking for presentation and texture.

For many chefs, the appeal of sous vide is that it’s convenient. Much like a slow cooker, you can start cooking food via sous vide and walk away for a few hours – and your food will be ready when you get back, with no chance of being overcooked or ruined. That makes meal prep, especially for a large family, far simpler than conventional cooking.

Finally, many chefs like cooking meats, fish, and vegetables sous vide because it allows flavors to be soaked into the food. You can pack the vacuum bag with marinades and herbs, which then soak into the food as it cooks rather than leak out like during traditional grilling.

Features to consider while choosing a sous vide machine

Many home chefs are excited to try out cooking sous vide, but don’t know where to start when it comes to actually choosing a sous vide cooking machine. Here, we’ll take a look at the features you need to consider when deciding on a sous vide machine and explain how they can impact your cooking.

Type: immersion or all-in-one water bath?

10 Best Sous Vide Machines for Cooking Enthusiasts – From Immersion Circulators to Water BathsThe main choice you’ll need to make when deciding on a sous vide machine is whether you want an immersion sous vide machine or an all-in-one water bath.

Immersion sous vide machines like those from Kitchen Gizmo, KitchenBoss, Monoprice, and ChefSteps are designed to clamp onto any heat-safe container that you have at home like a large soup pot. These immersion tools sit in the water and have heating and circulating elements that together create a hot tub effect – the cooker both heats the water to a constant temperature and circulates it around your pot.

All-in-one water bath cookers, like those from TriBest, Dash, and Sous Vide Supreme, combine the heating elements with the water pot. This cooker style is like an entire hot tub, including tub, heating elements, and jets all together.

There are a number of important differences between these two styles of sous vide cookers when it comes time to make dinner. First, you’ll need to consider how much food you’ll be cooking at once. While water bath sous vide machines can be large – restaurant models can be over 50 gallons – most home all-in-one machines only offer capacities up to three gallons like the Sous Vide Supreme machine. Immersion cookers typically are able to work with larger pots, up to more than 10 gallons in the case of the ChefSteps Joule machine. Of course, this requires that you have a pot that large at home.

While the capacity difference pushes many people towards immersion machines, don’t forget to consider cleaning.

Water bath cookers require almost no maintenance or cleaning – simply dump out the water when you’re finished cooking and let the tub dry. Immersion cookers, on the other hand, require frequent maintenance because water is circulated through the cooking machine. That means that you’ll need to disassemble your immersion sous vide cooking machine in order to remove mineral deposits and any food scraps that get caught inside the machine.

Water bath machines also have a few ancillary advantages. Since they are covered with an insulated lid, there is no evaporation during long cooking times like there will be when using an immersion cooker. In addition, water bath heating elements are fully covered so that it is impossible to burn yourself. Immersion sous vide machines also make a whirring noise when circulating water, while all-in-one water bath machines are completely silent.

However, immersion sous vide machines remain the most popular because they don’t take up any counter space when not in use and are significantly less expensive than water bath cookers.

Heating power

10 Best Sous Vide Machines for Cooking Enthusiasts – From Immersion Circulators to Water BathsThe heating power of a sous vide machine is important because it affects the maximum capacity and temperature range of your cooking. Immersion sous vide machines typically vary between 800 watts and 1,200 watts – available in the powerful Gourmia immersion cooking machine – while water baths don’t require as much power and typically offer 1,000 watts or less for a home machine.

Keep in mind that wattage isn’t everything – the ChefSteps Joule is able to heat more water to a higher temperature than the Gourmia cooking machine while using 100 fewer watts.

Maximum cook size

The maximum cook size is extremely important to consider if you’re cooking more than one or two portions of food at a time. If you need to feed an entire family or prefer to make a week’s worth of food at once, you’ll need a sous vide cooking machine that can handle a larger volume of water. Also, keep in mind when determining how much cooking space you need that you’ll need to leave some space between your vacuum-sealed food bags so that they can be fully in contact with the hot water.

The maximum cook size for home-use water bath sous vide machines is relatively limited – the TriBest and Sous Vide Supreme bath machines are both limited to just three-gallon volumes. However, immersion sous vide machines can often handle cook sizes of four to five gallons, and the ChefSteps Joule is rated for volumes greater than 10 gallons. Keep in mind that when cooking in large volumes with an immersion sous vide machine, you’ll need to allow more time for the water to come to the proper temperature.

Temperature range

The idea behind sous vide cooking is that the temperature of your food will never go past the temperature of your water – so the maximum temperature of your sous vide machine is the main factor determining the maximum internal temperature that you can cook meat and fish to. Most sous vide machines for home use cook to a maximum temperature of 194°F, which is plenty hot for cooking most meats to medium well. However, for cooking to even higher temperatures, the Wancle and Sous Vide Supreme machines both exceed temperatures of 210°F.

Temperature accuracy and stability

The accuracy and stability of the water temperature is critical to your sous vide machine. Your machine needs to be able to reach the temperature you set it to and hold the water to that temperature closely in order to ensure even cooking without over- or undercooking. That said, most sous vide machines offer accuracy to within 1°F of the set temperature, and many that we reviewed – including the TriBest, Gourmia, and KitchenBoss machines and more – can hold the temperature to within 0.1°F of the desired setting. That’s plenty accurate for any type of cooking, even if you are trying to achieve the perfect level of pink in a piece of meat.

Time the machine needs to heat the water

10 Best Sous Vide Machines for Cooking Enthusiasts – From Immersion Circulators to Water BathsSous vide cooking is slow by design. But if you’re trying to set up a cook in a hurry, the amount of time the machine takes to heat up your water can be important. This is generally where more power can come in handy – a sous vide machine with more watts should be able to reach your set temperature more quickly since it can deliver more heat when first turned on. Still, it’s a good idea to check reviews and customer feedback to determine how long any specific sous vide machine will take to heat water to its maximum temperature or an intermediate temperature.

Ease of use

Sous vide machines are designed to be chef-friendly, but features specifically targeted towards ease of use can make them downright fun and simple. Most sous vide machines come with simple temperature controls so that you can dial in the desired cooking temperature. In addition, LCD screens with buttons for setting a timer and other options are very common and allow you to fully walk away from your sous vide after setting it up. Some immersion cooking machines, like the Monoprice machine, offer touchscreen controls, while the ChefSteps machine uses Bluetooth and WiFi to allow control remotely from a phone app.

Warranty

A sous vide machine is a major investment in your cooking, so you want to be sure that it will last. Most sous vide machines come with warranties of one to two years to cover manufacturer defects, such as broken heating elements or failed waterproofing.

Prices

Prices for sous vide cooking machines can vary widely depending on whether you opt for an immersion or all-in-one water bath machine and what types of features you want. Budget immersion machines start at just $65 for the Kitchen Gizmo sous vide cooker and range up to almost $200 for the ChefSteps machine. Water bath sous vide machines typically cost several hundred dollars, but it’s possible to find budget units like the one from Dash that cost around $100.

Tips on using a sous vide machine

  • When using your sous vide machine, cover the lid of your container to prevent evaporation and heat loss. Most water bath machines come with insulated lids, but you may have to make a makeshift lid out of plastic wrap or aluminum foil when using an immersion machine.
  • When cooking, your food should remain fully immersed in the water. The circulation when using an immersion machine may cause food to bob up and down, which is usually a sign of air bubbles in your bag. If you are cooking especially lightweight food like fish, consider adding a food weight to your bag.
  • Think carefully about how long you plan to keep your food in the sous vide machine. The total cook time should always be less than three days to prevent the growth of bacteria, and more time isn’t necessarily better once your food has reached the desired internal temperature.
  • Consider cooking your food in two temperature stages, first a lower temperature and then a higher one. This breaks down the connective tissue in meats more effectively, leading to a more tender protein.

What else do I need for sous vide cooking?

Sous vide cooking does require a few other things beyond just a cooking machine. You’ll need bags and rolls to seal up your food, and a vacuum sealer if you plan on using vacuum bags and rolls for your sous vide cooking. If you’re using an immersion sous vide machine, you’ll also need a container that can fit your immersion machine and your food together.

FAQ

Both immersion machines and water baths heat water to a constant temperature, so you shouldn’t see any difference in how they actually cook your food. The main difference between the two in terms of cooking is that an immersion machine circulates water, which can help ensure that there are no hot or cold spots in your water.

No. How your food turns out depends entirely on what temperature your sous vide machine was set to and how long you cooked your food for. The power of your sous vide machine may affect the temperature range of the machine or how long it takes to heat up, but these shouldn’t affect your food once it’s cooking.

Water bath sous vide machines are virtually silent since they have no moving parts. Immersion machines, on the other hand, use a small motor to circulate water and do make a humming noise. However, this noise is relatively muted and most chefs are not bothered by the noise of these machines.

If you’re using an immersion sous vide machine, you are constrained by the maximum cook size your machine is rated for. If you exceed this water volume by using a larger container, your sous vide machine may not be able to maintain its temperature – which would affect the results of your cooking. However, you should be able to use a larger container as long as the volume of water in the container remains below the maximum cook volume of your machine.

Sous vide machines can be used with any sealed bags that can withstand the temperatures you will be cooking at. In general, sous vide chefs tend to prefer vacuum-sealed bags and rolls because this removes air space between your food and water and allows for the inclusion of marinades against your food.

Our Verdict

Our three overall favorite sous vide machines on the market today are the ChefSteps Joule, the Monoprice Strata, and the Sous Vide Supreme SVS10LS Water Oven. All three of these sous vide cooking machines are able to heat to temperatures over 200°F. The Sous Vide Supreme is our favorite all-in-one water bath machine thanks to its three-gallon cooking capacity and energy-efficient and durable design. The Monoprice Strata is an attractively priced immersion sous vide machine designed for chefs who don’t need bells and whistles like Bluetooth or WiFi to cook their meals. But for chefs who want it all, the ChefSteps Joule is undoubtedly the best sous vide machine overall. This sous vide machine features Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity so you can control your cooking from anywhere outside the house, as well as answers to Amazon Alexa for when you’re multitasking in the kitchen. Plus, it offers an impressive 10-gallon cooking capacity – more than twice what most other home immersion sous vide machines on the market today are capable of.

9.9/10 Total Score
ChefSteps Joule - Editor's Choice
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