Sous vide cooking has left the secrecy of restaurants and is becoming more common in home kitchens. The trendy technique takes vacuum-sealed food and immerses it into a warm bath of circulating water that cooks your meal slowly and evenly using controlled temperatures, yielding tender beef, chicken, and seafood. The chances of overcooking are slim to none, too. Your meat will retain its internal juiciness rather than shrink and dry out.
This tool isn't only for meat, though. It can also create delicious vegetables, excellent eggs, and more. Nevertheless, there are several different types of sous vide machines on the market today, including oven-style water baths and immersion cookers, so we researched both to help find one that fits your personal needs.
Here are the best sous vide machines.
Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Consistently effective performance
Can be controlled manually
Easy to clean
App includes recipes from top chefs
Quite slow and bulky
If you don't want or have space for an entire machine dedicated to sous vide, look to this durable stick-style immersion cooker. It has a much smaller footprint, measuring just 3.1 x 5.3 x 12.8 inches, so you don't have to worry about trying to fit clunky equipment in cabinets and drawers.
You actually don't even need to make extra space on the counter because it attaches directly to any pot or container via an adjustable clamp. Just add water, drop in your sealed bag of food, and set both time and temperature using the built-in controls or smartphone app. The device will begin to warm and circulate water, cooking your food to your preferred doneness—no stove, thermometer, flame, or additional equipment necessary.
This product has Wi-Fi capabilities and comes with thousands of free sous vide recipes for every skill level, accessible through the Anova app.
Price at time of publish: $219
Dimensions: 3.1 x 5.3 x 12.8 inches | Weight: 1.98 pounds | Maximum Water Temp: 197 degrees Fahrenheit | Power: 900 watts
Runner-Up, Best Overall
Hamilton Beach Professional Sous Vide Water Oven & Slow Cooker
Easy-to-navigate digital controls
Removable nonstick container for easy cleaning
Large handles help with transport
Cover is a bit flimsy
Designed for both sous vide and slow cooking, this 6-quart cooker can be set from 104 to 210 degrees and can cook for up to 72 hours, but it does not circulate the water. The container is nonstick metal for easy cleanup when used as a slow cooker and has a glass lid, so you can peek at the food without losing heat. It will automatically switch to "keep warm" when the cooking time is done.
Digital controls allow for easy toggling between sous vide and slow cooking. It's also quite simple to set the time and temperature. The container is removable for easy cleaning and filling, and large handles make it easy to move.
Price at time of publish: $110
Dimensions: 3.1 x 5.3 x 12.8 inches | Weight: 10.3 pounds | Maximum Water Temp: 210 degrees Fahrenheit | Power: 120 volts
Best Instant Pot
Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, 8-Quart
Has a high-altitude adjustment setting
Great for batch cooking
Has cooking progress indicator
Temperature fluctuates a bit during sous vide cooking
Although it's not a dedicated sous vide cooker, this versatile Instant Pot keeps water at a consistent temperature, turning out moist and tender meals just the same. The large size gives you lots of room for vacuum-sealed bags filled with whatever food your stomach desires. Our reviewer used chicken thighs. The temperature fluctuated a bit during the 90-minute cook, but it certainly got the job done.
This Instant Pot has a dial and digital display, so you can select programs for pressure cooking, soups and broth, meat and stew, beans and chili, steam, slow cook, saute, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize, and yogurt. The Ultra button allows you to customize your cooking, and a quick-release button for venting lets you manually pulse or continuously release steam.
Awesome for people who live above sea level, this cooker also features altitude adjustment, which automatically alters the cooking time to compensate for the lower cooking temperatures, so home chefs in high-altitude areas won’t need to do the math when using standard recipes. As for included accessories, this model comes with a steam rack, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup.
Price at time of publish: $160
Dimensions: 14.8 x 14 x 14.49 inches | Weight: 15.7 pounds | Maximum Water Temp: N/A | Power: 1200 watts
Oliso SmartHub Sous Vide & Induction Combo
Heats quickly due to induction technology
Doesn't use as much energy as a stove
Precise temperature control
No water circulator pump
This unconventional, albeit innovative design combines a SmartHub that docks and communicates with a proprietary SmartTop. The SmartHub is a tempered glass induction cooktop that can be used with most cookware, like a frying pan, although it will only sync with the SmartTop, which, in this case, is an 11-quart sous vide machine that can also be used as a slow cooker for infusions, broths, whole chickens, culturing yogurt, or sprouting grains.
Because it uses induction, this device heats rapidly and maintains its temperature with less energy expenditure than a stove. The temperature can be controlled precisely to within 0.1 degrees, but it does not have a water circulator pump. A spacer plate keeps food off the bottom of the pot to help with even heating and a rack keeps food in place and separated if you’re cooking multiple items simultaneously.
"There are so many foods that taste great sous vide. However, some may not think to sous vide veggies but it makes a huge difference. For example, sous vide corn on the cob is incredible. When you vacuum seal the cobs with knobs of butter, the corn gets basted with butter throughout. Every bite has perfectly cooked corn and butter. You can also cook in jars to make delicious desserts, or even make cold brew coffee or infused cocktails, too!" — Steve Svajian, CEO of Anova
Price at time of publish: $450
Dimensions: 11.25 x 15 x 12.75 inches | Weight: 16.5 pounds | Maximum Water Temp: 550 degrees Fahrenheit (194 for sous vide) | Power: 1500 watts
SousVide Supreme Touch Plus with Wi-Fi
Lid is see-through
Controls are very user-friendly
WiFi- and Alexa-enabled
You're well on your way to succulent steak with this sous vide machine by SousVide Supreme. The unit is quiet, steam-free, and energy-efficient with a 3-gallon basin large enough to hold up to 20 4-ounce pouches. Reach temperatures ranging from 86 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit—or switch this over to Celsius, if you'd like—and keep your food submerged and secure in the included stainless steel pouch rack. The lid is see-through for easy monitoring.
Operation is simple: Just drop in your sealed bags, push a button, and walk away. The touch controls work even when your fingers are wet, and the digital LED display features an extra-large readout. As a bonus, this high-tech machine includes integrated Wi-Fi and Alexa voice control functionality. Connect with the SousVide Supreme app for recipes and remote control via your smartphone.
Editor's Note: This is the upgrade to an earlier version tested by The Spruce Eats.
Price at time of publish: $600
Dimensions: 11.25 x 11.5 x 14.25 inches | Weight: 17 pounds | Maximum Water Temp: 210 degrees Fahrenheit | Power: 900 watts
Our top pick is the compact immersion-style Anova Precision Cooker, which attaches directly to a pot or container via the adjustable clamp—and won't take up much precious storage space. For a multicooker with sous vide capabilities, the Instant Pot Ultra 8-Quart is spacious enough for batch cooking and has a high-altitude adjustment setting.
What to Look for in a Sous Vide Machine
Even if you have room in your kitchen for a stand-alone sous vide device, the capacity size varies greatly, from compact 6-quart machines to large 3-gallon machines. A space-saving alternative to a stand-alone is a stick-style immersion cooker that can be attached to any pot.
If space is an issue, or if you want to maximize the benefits of your purchase, look for a device that doubles as a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.
Some devices are Wi-Fi enabled and let you set and control the temperature and cooking process via a smartphone app, while others require manual control of the functions. If you frequently use the machine while away from home, remote control might be a better option.
There are considerable differences in the timer settings of the various models, ranging between 24 and 99 hours. Considering that a chuck roast takes 24 to 36 hours to cook sous vide, a device with a more generous timer setting gives you the flexibility to also cook foods that take longer.
A device with a clear lid or a clear container lets you check on the food without opening the device, which leads to heat loss.
Removable parts and nonstick surfaces make the cleaning of the device easier.
Opinions differ about whether or not a water circulator is essential for sous vide cooking. Not having a water circulator has the most impact on shorter cooking times, such as for eggs, but it is less relevant for long cooking times. It is certainly a feature that's nice to have.
Other special features include adjustments for cooking above sea level and a safety indicator to alert you that the power went off and so the food might be undercooked and not safe to eat.
What is the point of sous vide?
There are several advantages to sous vide: Food loses less moisture, weight, and nutrients than in conventional cooking. It requires little fat or salt yet the flavors and aromas are intensified, and the food retains its original colors better. You don’t have to stand by the stove to monitor the cooking process, it’s unlikely that you'll overcook the food.
What are the disadvantages of sous vide cooking?
Adversaries of sous vide cooking say that you miss out on the experience of cooking because you don’t smell or taste the food during the cooking process, as everything happens in a tightly closed box. Others complain that the long, slow cooking process yields flavors that are too intense, such as a pungent garlic flavor. Sous vide cooking requires special equipment to keep the water temperature consistent as well as special containers and sealable plastic bags. Because sous vide cooking is a slow process, you need to plan well ahead.
What can I cook using sous vide?
Virtually anything—steaks as well as tough cuts of meat, pork, lamb, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, grains, and even desserts. But it is important to always follow a recipe that was specifically written and tested for sous vide cooking to get the temperature and cooking time right.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Taylor Rock is an associate commerce editor for The Spruce Eats. She constantly has her eye on the market for new launches and updates content accordingly. As a years-long vegetarian, she hasn't dabbled in sous vide-style meat, but she does have an admiration for sous vide-style egg bites.