Sous Vide Machine – The Basics

Sous Vide Machine

What is sous vide cooking

Sous vide (pronounced soo veed) is a pretty simple method of cooking. You simply put food into a plastic pouch (vacuum sealed bag) into a water bath for longer than normal cooking times at a set temperature. Without unnecessary fuss or anxiety your food will cook perfectly, every time. No overcooking, no undercooking, just consistent food results each and every time.

This method of cooking is so popular that even professional chefs and restaurant and cafe owners use it. Most commercial operations use a sous vide machine in their kitchens. It has not been until recent times that home cooks have been able to jump on the sous vide cooking band wagon with exceptionally consistent results.

A quick sous vide machine explanation

A sous vide machine is a kitchen appliance that can assist you when you are cooking using the sous vide method. The method involves vacuum sealing food into plastic bags and then submerging them in a water bath for slow cooking. A sous vide machine IS the water bath that you submerge your food in.

There are two types of sous vide machine.

Types of sous vide machines

Navigating the sous vide machine market can be a little confusing. Here is a straight forward guide to the different types of sous vide machines:

As far as sous vide machines go, there are two main categories:

Sous vide water ovens – this is an all in one unit. The water bath is built into the unit itself. Food pouches are placed in the water oven which is held at a constant temperature

Sous vide immersion circulators – this is an electrically powered device that circulates and heats water. You can use an immersion circulator with your existing pots, containers or other water vessels. An immersion circulator is clipped to the side of your pot and is a much smaller appliance than a sous vide water oven. Some people use larger polycarbonate containers for their sous vide cooking especially when they are cooking for larger groups of people.

Sous Vide Machine Manufacturers – Water Ovens

There are a few reputable sous vide machines on the market that have plenty of positive reviewer feedback. These include:

Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven

Gourmia Sous Vide and Multi Cooker

Oliso Sous Vide Water Oven 


Sous Vide Machine Manufacturers – Immersion Circulators (also known as precision cookers)

Immersion Circulators tend to be more popular in home kitchens than sous vide water ovens. This is because they tend to be cheaper and also because they take up less room on your counter top. There are a few sous vide immersion circulators that are very popular. These include:

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker

There are two models in the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker range. The first is the Anova Bluetooth Precision Cooker and the second is the Anova Bluetooth and WiFi enabled Precision Cooker. Here is what the Anova Precision Cooker looks like:

We have conducted extensive research on the Anova sous vide machines. Related posts on our website include:

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Blutooth Precision Cooker 800 watts Product Review

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker WiFi Product Review

Do I need a WiFi and Bluetooth enabled sous vide machine?

The Ultimate Anova Immersion Circulator Gear Set Up


Joule by ChefSteps

The Joule is a smaller sous vide machine than the Anova Culinary products. It is also very well regarded. It is a WiFi operated sous vide machine only. There is no ability to use buttons or dials directly on the immersion circulator itself.

Here are some of our related articles exploring this popular immersion circulator:

Joule by ChefSteps Product Review

Joule Discount Code 2018

There are many other sous vide machines on the market for you to consider. Click here to see over 25 sous vide machine options.

The popularity of sous vide cooking in home kitchens has created a sub category of sous vide products and accessories. These include products such as temperature controls, sous vide containers, racks, custom water bath lids, vacuum sealer bags and sous vide cooking water balls. To see our favorite sous vide accessories, click here

Why use a sous vide machine?

Sous vide cooking has bucket loads of benefits. Here are just 10 benefits of using a sous vide machine:

  1. Produces restaurant quality results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method
  2. Sick of over cooking or under cooking your food? Sous vide machines produce VERY consistent results…in your own kitchen
  3. The sous vide machine cooks food evenly from edge to edge
  4. Health benefits a plenty. Little or no additional fat or salt is needed during cooking. Vacuum sealing food means that vitamins and minerals are not lost during the cooking process unlike boiling or steaming
  5. Sous vide machines create amazing tastes by locking in flavors
  6. You can put a huge range of ingredients into a sous vide machine including create beef, pork, chicken, fish and vegetable. You can even make dessert dishes as well as cocktails and sauces in a sous vide machine
  7. Using a sous vide machine is easy. Set the temperature for your water bath, pop your food in (in a vacuum sealed bag), set a time and that’s it until you pull your food out ready to eat
  8. It’s super easy to finish off your sous vide food by throwing it on the grill, searing it, torching it or pan frying it to give a nice look and a crispy outer layer
  9. It is a budget friendly way of cooking. Even the cheapest cuts of meat cook and become moist, juicy and tender when cooked with a sous vide machine
  10. Clean up is a breeze. Sous vide machines create much less mess than other traditional methods of cooking

What can I cook in a sous vide machine?

Many foods can be cooked in a sous vide machine including steak and other proteins, eggs, vegetables and even ingredients to make some desserts. Check out our curated sous vide recipes page with over 200 proven recipes for you to try.

Other considerations when buying a sous vide machine

Buying a sous vide machine is something you will rarely do. So it is an important purchase that requires detailed research. At Sous Vide Hub, we’ve done the homework so that you don’t have to. Here are our top 15 items to tick off your check list before deciding which sous vide machine to buy:

1. Heater reliability

Sous vide ovens and immersion circulators warm up at different rates depending on their power. The quicker the water heats up, the sooner you can put your vacuum sealed food into it. So the higher the wattage, the more powerful the sous vide machine is.

2. Temperature range

Some sous vide machines do not go above a particular temperature or below a particular temperature. Check the temperature range carefully to make sure it will meet your needs.

3. Temperature precision

This is a critical element when it comes to the sous vide method of cooking. Reputable brands will communicate their accuracy range. Look for something with a 0.01 degree variance.

4. Temperature notifications

Alarms are a common way for sous vide machines to alert you that they have reached cooking temperature. Some products may come with a companion app that sends you are alert when the water reaches the cooking temperature you have set. Check user reviews for comments about the accuracy of these alerts and alarms as some sous vide products are better than others. The volume of the alarm is also important – you need to be able to hear it if you are in another room of your home!

5. Removable water bath

Sous vide ovens have water baths built into them (as opposed to immersion circulators which do not – instead it clips onto the side of your pot). Try to source a water oven with a removable water bath so you can fill and clean it easily.

6. Lid fit

Maintaining a consistent water bath temperature is an important part of sous vide cooking. So is minimising evaporation. Lids help greatly with both of these factors. If you purchase a sous vide water oven, it will come with a built in lid. If you purchase a sous vide immersion circulator, you need to think about how you are going to keep your water bath insulated. If you are using your own pot, sous vide water balls are a good option to consider. Many people purchase plastic containers specifically for their sous vide cooking. Many of those containers have lids that fit them perfectly.  The lid that goes on your water oven must fit tightly. However if you are using your own pot or water vessel it can take a little trial and error to find a lid that fits securely.

7. Water capacity 

Check to see how many liters of water a sous vide water oven can hold. Alternatively if you are looking to purchase an immersion circulator see what water capacity it requires to function. Most immersion circulators have a minimum level and a maximum level of water that they can tolerate. You will need to make sure that your pot or other water vessel is able to sustain those parameters.

8. Technology

If technology floats your boat, there are some sous vide machines that come with Bluetooth and/or WiFi connectivity.  Some sous vide water ovens and immersion circulators work exclusively in conjunction with technology (ie the Joule immersion circulator requires Bluetooth or WiFi and is controlled via an app).

9. Rack size

Stainless steel racks can be used to ensure that food pouches stay immersed in the water when cooking. They also help to keep those food pouches separated to allow for even water and heat distribution during the cook. Have a think about the size of meals you will be making. You need to make sure that any stainless rack you purchase can hold the quantity of food you are looking to cook. Of course the rack needs to be able to fit in to the pot, water oven or water vessel you are going to use!

10. Noise levels

You want the alarms on your sous vide machine to be loud. BUT when it comes to the cooking process itself, you want the actual sound of your sous vide machine to be quiet. A sous vide machine circulates water in the water bath, pot or other water vessel to ensure an even temperature throughout the water whilst cooking your food. Some machines make a lot of noise when they do this. Look at reviews for the sous vide machine you are considering. Avoid sous vide machines that make a lot of noise.

11. Added extras

Look out for extra accessories or offers included with your sous vide water oven or immersion circulator. Many companies include recipe books, temperature guides, tongs, wire racks and/or food pouches. Others offer access to an app which contains recipe ideas, How To guides, step by step sous vide cooking video clips and more. Others may package up full “kits” that come complete with a vacuum sealing machine as well.

12. Condensation 

Water can accumulate on sous vide machines. This in turn may drip off your sous vide machine onto your counter top and so on. Look out for products where condensation is minimized and/or managed effectively. Reviews are sometimes helpful too as actual users will definitely comment if condensation is a problem with sous vide machine they have purchased. Keep in mind that sous vide water ovens can get very hot on the base of the unit. Consider using a trivet or something similar to protect your counter top.

13. Unit warmth

Some units warm up a lot which makes them hot to touch. Again reviews will uncover feedback on specific sous vide machines that heat up to significant levels. Avoid sous vide machines that get seriously hot. They pose a safety risk to you and others in your kitchen.

14. Ease of clean up

It goes without saying that ease of clean up is a very important aspect for kitchen appliances. Seek products made with materials that are easy to wipe down and clean. Keep in mind that units with lots of coils etc can be trickier to clean.

15. Unit weight and size 

Most people don’t leave their sous vide ovens or immersion circulators on their counter tops, although you certainly can if you are going to use it daily. Consider the weight of the unit. Will you be able to easily move the sous vide machine from the bench top to your kitchen cupboard? Consider how much space it will take on your counter top. It is a good idea to measure out the area of the unit and even mark up the dimensions of the product you are considering on a piece of paper. Cut that out and place the paper footprint in various spots in your kitchen to get a good feel for where the sous vide water oven or immersion circulator will fit best in your kitchen.

To see our Product Recommendations and a range of other helpful information including the best sous vide recipe websites, apps, YouTube channels and more, head to our Resources page.

A word about durability

This is obviously one of THE most important elements for consideration when choosing a sous vide machine. The best machine is one that you does exactly what it is designed to do. Hold a constant water bath temperature over a long period of time to ensure your sous vide meal is a raging success.

Sous vide durability is usually characterized by:

  • The quality of its parts. A design incorporating stainless steel parts is best
  • A design that is easy to clean
  • Buttons and dials that work well and are not too sensitive or temperamental

Is a sous vide machine the only thing I need to try sous vide cooking?

You can in fact experiment with the sous vide cooking method WITHOUT a sous vide machine. That’s right. You don’t need to buy expensive sous vide products to try this method of cooking. Our Resources page contains some DIY hacks that you might be interested in if buying a sous vide machine is not on the cards for you right now.

Maintenance and Cleaning

The great thing about sous vide cooking is the small amount of clean up required after your meal. To prolong the life of your sous vide machine, you should definitely follow the instructions of each manufacturer carefully. The biggest issue with most sous vide machine is dealing with mineral build up and hard water issues. Check out our article which comprehensively covers what you need to do to clean and maintain your sous vide machine, the big “No No’s” and some specific sous vide machine brand tips by clicking here.

Sous Vide Machine Warranties

A sous vide machine is most definitely a product that needs to work…well…for as long as you have it. In addition, many sous vide machines are not cheap. So you should check that there is a warranty in place for any sous vide machine you consider buying.

In addition, sous vide machines are often delivered in boxes via post. It is really important to check the product as soon as you unbox it. This will allow you to return the sous vide machine if any damage has been sustained in transit.

Where to buy sous vide machines

There are a few different places to purchase a sous vide machine including:

Want to learn more?

If you want further information, hints and tips about sous vide machines, have a look around our website. Here at Sous Vide Hub, we aim to provide you with detailed resources to help you find the best sous vide machine for you. AND once you have it, we can be your number 1 resource for recipes, hints & tips and How To guides to get the most out of your sous vide cooking. 

Got more questions about sous vide cooking? Head to our FAQ by clicking here.

Head to our Resources page to see a range of information, websites and blogs that will help you to navigate the sous vide machine market.

Join the Sous Vide Hub community

If you would like to hear more about the latest sous vide news, product reviews, hints and tips, recipes and more, join the Sous Vide Hub community. Subscribe here. We would love you to join us.







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