Sous vide, translated to English, means ‘under vacuum.’ This sounds complicated, but is actually a new and largely hands-off way of cooking meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, and more. The food is sealed inside a ziploc or vacuum-seal bag and immersed in a pot of water. The sous vide coil and pump are placed in the water and attached to the pot, then turned on, where they circulate the water using convection currents or a pump.
The sous vide coil and pump heat the water to maintain a consistent and even temperature as the food cooks. This reduces the likelihood of hot and cold spots in the cooking water and reduces mess: when the food is finished cooking, remove it from the water, cut off the bag, and serve. The result is evenly cooked meat with a tender consistency, well-poached eggs, and vegetables that are tender-crisp with all of the nutrients still inside instead of rinsed away—sous vide is a healthy way to cook that doesn’t require constant attention.
Sous vide machines vary across the market, with different temperature ranges and noise levels to consider. You may be interested in a machine with additional features such as a timer and wi-fi programming, so you can control the temperature and time with your smartphone. Keep your budget in mind, as well as the size that is best suited for your cooking tasks and available storage space.
Our Top Picks
With those shopping considerations in mind, we narrowed down the market to present some of the best sous vide machines available.
A wonderful combination of technology, simple controls, and effective, durable build, the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano is suitable for both beginner and experienced sous vide cookers. Controls are easy and straightforward on the unit itself, but the Anova app for smartphones allows easy selection of time and temperature based on the food you’re cooking. The Anova app provides thousands of recipes for easy reference as well.
For those who prefer manual control, users can opt for the large, easy-read display and control buttons on the top. Small enough to fit in most kitchen drawers, and quieter than many units, the Anova has a temperature range of 32 to 197 degrees Fahrenheit and can cook for up to 99 hours continuously. The clamps to hold the cooker to the side of the pot are fixed, so you’re slightly limited in terms of how deep the pot can be. The Anova sous vide machine is available on its own or packaged with a vacuum sealer and bags for convenience.
Anova offers a range of sous vide cookers, including this middle range unit. Featuring a powerful 100-watt heater, the Anova is capable of fast heating and effective circulation. The cooker has wi-fi connectivity to the full-featured Anova app for recipes and control of the heat and timing functions via smartphone. The digital screen on the unit itself features full controls, including temperature up to 197 degrees Fahrenheit.
This adjustable-clamp cooker from Anova can circulate up to 8 liters of water per minute and cook continuously for up to 5000 hours. The timer range and power are stronger than that of many entry-level cookers, and so the price is also higher, but the combined benefit of a stronger heating element and enhanced technological features make the cost worthwhile.
Wi-fi and Bluetooth compatible with iOS and Android, the Breville Joule Sous Vide is technologically advanced, heats up faster, and runs more quietly than many other units, as befits its luxury price tag. Its slim white body and stainless steel cap and base look sleek on the countertop, and the Breville is one of the smallest units on the market—not that its size reflects its power, because at 1100 watts it is one of the most powerful sous vides available.
The Joule app offers many beneficial features, such as a visual doneness checker, compatibility with Amazon Alexa voice controls, and numerous recipes. The Joule clips to any vessel, so you can use your own pot, container, or deep bowl, and the unit maintains water temperatures that are accurate to .2 degrees Fahrenheit. The attractive package, outstanding performance, and technological assets, plus the backing of such a trusted name in cookware, make this Breville Sous Vide worth the cost.
While most sous vide cookers rely on convection to keep the water at a consistent temperature, the Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide takes no chances: fitted with an active pump unit powered by a 12v motor and a 800 watt heater, the Accu Slim circulates water to highly consistent temperatures. The sous vide supports water temperatures from 104 to 196 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Accu Slim can be clipped on to a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot inner pot, but it can also be used with any bowl or pot. The stainless steel unit features a soft-touch, easy-grip rubber coating and a digital touch screen. The Instant Pot app helpfully provides recipes and assistance with cooking times. While this unit is not Wi-fi or Bluetooth compatible, it can cook continuously for 72 hours using the integrated timer, so it’s easy to set and walk away.
At the center of this set is the Sousvide Art Sous Vide Cooker Immersion Circulator, a powerful 100-watt sous vide heater and water circulator. Durable and easy to use, the Sousvide Art cooker is stainless steel with an ergonomic rubberized grip and an intuitive digital interface. The machine can hook onto a pot or bowl you already own and maintain temperatures up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. The set includes 15 resealable bags with suction ports and a hand pump to extract the extra air—rather than having to purchase a vacuum sealer or forcing the air out of ziplocs, Sousvide Art provides the accessories you’ll need to get started, including bag clips and a recipe booklet.
This Sousvide Art set is ideal for new sous vide users who want to try the cooking method before investing in additional accessories. In the case of starter kits, buyers will often find inferior products designed to lure in new users, but that is not the case here: the Sousvide Art cooker is a fine standalone product—the additional accessories make it a great way for cooks to try a new method of cooking using reliable equipment without a huge investment.