A sous vide machine, also known as an immersion circulator, is a powerful kitchen tool that slowly cooks vacuum-sealed food in a temperature-controlled water bath. By circulating water, food is evenly cooked to a precise degree, flavor and moisture are locked in, and you'll end up with restaurant-quality food at home. This strange yet fascinating cooking technique is actually much easier than it sounds, though having the best smart sous vide machine at your side can make the long cooking process easier. The Joule Sous Vide is a small but mighty favorite and one of our best smart kitchen products for a reason. But there are a few other excellent smart sous vide machines worth considering.
Best Overall: Joule Sous Vide
Joule Sous Vide
Small but mighty
The Joule Sous Vide has everything you're looking for in a smart sous vide machine. It's the smallest and most compact sous vide on this list and reliable, accurate, and incredibly powerful for its size. Boasting 1100 watts of power, it heats water quickly, quietly, and barely weighs a pound. The Joule and its 11 inches easily fit into a kitchen drawer.
Unlike most sous vide machines, the Joule has a trendy and sleek design, though it lacks a physical display and can only be operated using a smartphone and an app by connecting through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. With the Joule, you can do things like connecting to Alexa or, even better, control your Joule while you're not home and start cooking dinner in the car on your way back from work. You don't need to constantly monitor your Joule and go about your day as your food cooks, which is a huge bonus for anyone with a hectic lifestyle.
Another big advantage of the Joule is its magnetic base, though there's a versatile clip if need be. Most sous vide machines rely on clamps to attach to a pot, but the Joule can stick to the bottom of most pots and stay upright thanks to this base—ultimately creating less hassle when setting up your machine. Of course, the Joule wouldn't be a favorite if it didn't have an amazing app that includes cooking guides, recipes, and an impressive "visual doneness" feature that lets you check in on how your food is coming along. Through the Joule app, you can also set cooking temperatures and cooking times, and you'll get a notification when your food is ready.
Though the Joule Sous Vide's price tag is higher than others, its quality, power, 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit temperature accuracy, and design are why it comes out on top. Available in white polycarbonate or stainless steel, the Joule sous vide machine is the best overall purchase for anyone serious about sous vide cooking and in need of a solid, reliable, and easy-to-use machine.
Best Runner-up: Anova Precision Cooker
Anova Precision Cooker
Faster, stronger, smaller
The Anova Precision Cooker is a strong competitor to the Breville Joule Sous Vide machine and has many of the same features, one being that it doesn't come cheap. The Anova Precision Cooker's temperature accuracy is within 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and with 1000 watts of power, it's guaranteed to heat water quickly.
The Anova Precision Cooker claims to be "faster, stronger, smaller," and no one could argue that. However, it is minimally taller than the Joule, though it should still easily fit in a kitchen drawer. Perhaps this sous vide doesn't have the same minimalist design. Still, it makes life easier by being water-resistant and having a fully adjustable clamp that can attach itself to any pot in your kitchen.
One key advantage of the Anova Precision Cooker is that it's intuitive and user-friendly. It can be operated manually with its built-in controls or through the Anova app when connected to Wi-Fi. This flexibility is where the Anova Precision Cooker distinguishes itself from the Joule and might appeal to those who aren't quite as tech-savvy but occasionally want the option of starting up their sous vide machine from afar.
Best for the Beginner: Anova Precision Cooker Nano
Anova Precision Cooker Nano
Affordable yet accurate
The Anova Precision Cooker Nano smart sous vide machine is accurate, simple, and the perfect compact size. It's very affordable and reliable, which is why it's great if you're just getting started in sous vide cooking. Though the Anova Precision Cooker Nano isn't quite as small as the Joule, it comes close and distinguishes itself with its trendy jet black look and feel.
The Nano may not offer a Wi-Fi connection, but you can still connect it to your phone via Bluetooth and control it through the Anova app. The Anova Culinary app actually has one of the world's largest collections of sous vide recipes, which is bound to serve as a useful tool when learning the sous vide cooking technique from scratch. And just like other Anova sous vide machines, the Nano has a touchscreen interface that's useful if you're the kind of person who doesn't like having their smartphone around while cooking.
One downfall of the Anova Nano is its fixed clamp, which could make it more inconvenient to store and attach to pots, and the fact that it only has 750 watts of power. Inevitably, it'll take this smart sous vide machine a bit longer to bring water to temperature. If you're a sous vide novice, you probably won't notice and will still be impressed with the Anova Precision Cooker Nano's capabilities.
Best Budget: Inkbird WiFi Sous Vide Cooker
Inkbird WiFi Sous Vide Cooker
Bang for your buck
If you're new to sous vide cooking and not quite ready to make a big investment, the Inkbird WiFi Sous Vide Cooker is a good choice. It has its fair share of great reviews on Amazon and is anything but complicated. Though it's much taller (16.5 inches) and heavier (a little over 3 pounds) than some other sous vides, it's still a powerful machine that will get the job done with its 1000 watts of power.
Unlike the more expensive Anova Precision Cooker Nano, the Inkbird is Wi-Fi enabled and can be controlled outside your kitchen (as well as through the LCD display). But where this device loses is in temperature accuracy, which is within 1 degree Fahrenheit. Because temperature accuracy is critical for sous vide cooking and the difference between a rare and medium-rare steak is a matter of degrees, this is a flaw that some might not be able to overcome.
Another disadvantage is that the Inkbird isn't waterproof, which can be an issue if you're a clumsy cook. However, it does have safety features that will alarm you when your pot's water level is lower than the minimum required or when the water's temperature reaches its set target. Though the Inkbird isn't perfect, it's great for its price.
Best for the Prof Chef: Anova Precision Cooker Pro
Anova Precision Cooker Pro
Pricey, powerful, and precise
The Anova Precision Cooker Pro is a smart sous vide machine created with professional chefs in mind and isn't the right choice for someone who only intends to dabble their feet in sous vide cooking. With its steep price comes 1200 watts of power and durability, as well as a larger touchscreen interface. Surprisingly, however, the Anova Precision Cooker Pro isn't much larger than other sous vide machines—weighing nearly 3 pounds and standing at 13.78 inches tall.
What's great about the Anova Precision Cooker Pro is that it can run for at least 10,000 hours straight and cook up to 100 liters of water. This fact alone makes it an ideal pick for a restaurant kitchen or anyone who likes to cook for a substantial crowd (we're talking about a wedding or holiday feast).
Another important factor to note is that the Anova Pro is more accurate than any other sous vide on this list, with 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit temperature accuracy. So not only can you cook a lot at once with the Anova Pro, you can rest assured that it will turn out perfect every time. The Anova Pro also comes with an adjustable and detachable clamp, as well as a removable skirt that makes this device easy to clean and versatile. Lastly, it has an improved Wi-Fi connection so that you can cook while you're away for the weekend. Overall, the Anova Pro is an excellent choice for someone looking for a high-end sous vide machine.
Best Value: Chefman Sous Vide Circulator
Chefman Sous Vide Circulator
A smart sous vide steal
Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi equipped, the Chefman Sous Vide Circulator is a steal. It's cheaper than most other sous vide machines on this list but comes with a lot of the same (or better) specs as well as the Club Chefman experience—aka the Chefman app, which has an extensive library of sous vide recipes, tips, guided cooking videos, and a cooking calculator. Because knowing which temperature to cook at and for how long to cook is key when it comes to sous vide, having an informative app to access is a handy tool.
Not only does the Chefman Sous Vide Circulator come at a great price, but it's also powerful and has 1100 watts. That's more power than the Anova Precision Cooker and for almost half the price. However, it weighs 2.4 pounds and is 15 inches tall, making it larger than more compact sous vide machines. The Chefman Sous Vide Circulator may not be the most pretty sous vide machine, but it's a perfect option for someone looking for affordable, user-friendly efficiency without sacrificing power.
Though each smart sous vide does a great job at cooking food, the Joule Sous Vide stands out as the best smart sous vide machine. Only 11 inches tall and weighing 1.3 pounds, the Joule is not only the easiest to store—it's powerful. With 1100 watts of power, it'll heat water faster than some other sous vide machines without losing accuracy.
And because the Joule is operated solely through an app, you can safely control it from just about anywhere by connecting it to Wi-Fi. This smart sous vide machine is simply two steps ahead when it comes to modern cooking. If you decide to get this brilliant gadget, just make sure to check out some of the best accessories for your Joule sous vide cooker.
At the end of the day, there's a smart sous vide machine out there for everyone just waiting to revolutionize boring, everyday meals. With a sous vide machine, overcooked and dried-out food will become a thing of the past. You won't regret the investment, no matter how small or large, once you've taken a bite out of your perfectly cooked, tender, juicy, medium-rare steak.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Olivia Lipski is a freelance writer for Android Central and loves testing out the latest kitchen tech. When she's not busy running around NYC trying to find the best food or coffee, she's in her kitchen trying to make it herself.
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