Who doesn’t want to keep tabs on dinner via an app on your smart device? OK so if you answered “I don’t”, skip this blog post! If you do, then read on as we explore whether you need a wifi or bluetooth enabled sous vide.
Sometimes using new technology makes people very uncomfortable. In the cooking world, home cooks may get nervous when faced with kitchen products that use technology. Those products can seem complicated or confusing initially. Sous vide water ovens and immersion circulators are usually operated by a series of buttons or dials on the sous vide machine itself. But a few sous vide products have arrived on the market recently that can only be operated with technology.
The sous vide community seems divided about whether additional technology is required when using a sous vide water bath or immersion circulator. Some think that it is an unnecessary, complex and unreliable element to sous vide cooking.
However there is a super active community of sous vide home cooks that LOVE what technology is bringing to the sous vide products they use. Before we explore these benefits, here is a list of sous vide water ovens and immersion circulators with WiFi or Bluetooth capability:
What does WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity actually mean?
Some sous vide machines can only be operated remotely by an app on your smart device. The sous vide machine does not have any buttons on the device itself. So everything from turning the sous vide machine on to controlling temperature and the timing of your sous vide cook, are operated through the app.
What is the difference between Wifi connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity?
Bluetooth and WiFi are different standards for wireless communication. Both will allow you to transfer information between your smart phone and your sous vide machine without cables. You’re probably familiar with WiFi, and maybe Bluetooth as well, but what’s the difference? Well, in the simplest terms, Bluetooth only transmits over a short distance (typically up to 10 meters). So you need to be within that type of range for the wireless app controls to work.
WiFi, on the other hand, allows us to connect devices across the globe. Your WiFi enabled Sous Vide product will be connected to your home or kitchen WiFi. Then you can connect your smart phone to that same Wifi network in your home and set up your compatible app to control the machine. There are no 10 meter proximity restrictions with WiFi. However, the real advantage with the WiFi enabled products is that as long as you’re connected to any WiFi signal, you can control the the sous vide machine from ANYWHERE. So if you need to check in on your food during the day from the office, maybe monitor the water temperature…no problems. As long as the sous vide is connected to your WiFi at home and you also have an internet connection on your smartphone, you can control the product as if you were standing next to it!
Want to learn more?
For those of you keen for a more detailed explanation of the difference between WiFi and Bluetooth can head to technopedia to learn a little more.
In simple language where sous vide machines utilise WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, this means that the machine has an app that you can use to control it. A mobile app is simply a computer program designed to run on a mobile device. The only real difference between Bluetooth and WiFi in this context is that when using Bluetooth, you need to be in close proximity to the sous vide product.
What does an app look like?
Sous vide manufacturers design their own apps to be used in conjunction with their sous vide product. This means they are all different depending on the brand. For example, the Joule app gives you control of the sous vide water oven but also provides you with a “Visual Doneness” function, provides you with recipes and even provides simple direction to walk you through sous vide recipes with ease. Think of the app as your trusty companion when using your sous vide machine whether it is an immersion circulator or a water oven.
Here are a couple of examples of the app for the Joule immersion circulator by ChefSteps:
Here is why WiFi or Bluetooth technology may enhance your sous vide experience:
- You can monitor how your dinner, lunch or breakfast is going using the relevant companion app on your Android or iOS device. That means more couch time, more yoga, more whatever and less trips to the kitchen to monitor what you are cooking
- You can control cooking temperature and time from the app on your smart device
- Some apps have the ability to send you various alerts. For example to let you know that your water has warmed to the set temperature or to let you know when your sous vide cook has finished
- You can set the app on your smart device to remember settings. That means you don’t have to remember specific settings each time you use your sous vide machine
- Many apps also have recipe ideas, how to videos and company as well as community support which can be awesome when you are after some hints and tips
Will the additional technology improve the quality of my sous vide cook?
Whilst an improvement in the deliciousness of your food cannot be guaranteed, reviewers of sous vide immersion circulators or water ovens with Wifi or Bluetooth technology say that:
- There are some great step to step recipes on some of the apps that walk you through the cook step by step. This reduces the risk of misinterpreting or missing steps in sous vide recipes you might be following
- It’s really helpful to have the support of an online community of like minded cooks to share their cooking experiences, ideas and tips
- There is something kinda cool about controlling your cook from anywhere in the house (as long as you have WiFi or Bluetooth connection of course!)
What extra equipment do I need to use for a sous vide machine with WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity:
You need a smart device such as a phone or tablet (some sous vide apps work on both iPhone and Android devices. Some don’t).
You need a connection to your home WiFi network. If you are not at home, you will need to use a WiFi hot spot set up on your smart device OR you need to have a Bluetooth enabled smart device to control your sous vide machine from.
Any pitfalls for using a WiFi or Bluetooth enabled sous vide machine?
WiFi enabled sous vide immersion circulators can be pretty large. You will need to make sure that your current stash of pots can house the immersion circulator, as well as the water and the food in vacuum sealed bags that you want to cook. Most home cooks use their own pots. However if your pots are not large enough, you can also use a larger water vessels like Rubbermaid plastic containers and the like.
If you have an Android smart device, the Android versions of apps are sometimes not as good as their iOS counterpart (Apple smart devices). It is best to check reviews of apps before deciding which one is going to be most useful for you.
Some reviewers complain that the Bluetooth technology is by no means fool proof. Bluetooth should work well when your smart device is within a particular distance of your sous vide machine. Sometimes this does not happen. In this instance cooks do get frustrated.
Each sous vide brand offers their own app to support their sous vide immersion circulator. The quality of those apps can vary in quality. Sometimes the app itself can be “glitchy”. Sometimes people have real trouble setting up the app in the first place to connect to their sous vide machine. And of course if a super huge storm blows through your neighbourhood, and knocks out your WiFi, this will mean connectivity will drop out between your sous vide immersion circulator and your app.
I’m still not sure about purchasing a sous vide machine that is WiFi or Bluetooth enabled
Based on community feedback we know that WiFi or Bluetooth enabled sous vide machines are not for everyone. But we would encourage you to do a little more research before you give up on the idea completely. There are some really engaged and helpful online sous vide communities that you can turn to with any questions. Customer support for products like the Joule by ChefSteps can also be a great help.
You can usually contact sous vide companies in a range of ways including via email, phone, online chat etc. Setting up the app to pair with your sous vide is usually the step that causes owners the biggest headache. So seriously consider getting someone from the company walk you through things step by step. Alternatively there are lots of Youtube videos online to assist you. Who knows, you may just find that technology and sous vide machines are a really great match. They may enhance your sous vide experience!
If this article has created even more confusion for you, we are sorry!! You may, like many people, prefer to stick with more traditional sous vide machines. Feel free to head over to our store. You can browse a range of “traditional” sous vide machines you might want to consider instead. You can also leave questions below and we’ll be happy to answer them.
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