Cuisine Technology
Close-up shot of metal rack inside metal container full of water.

The 5 Best Sous Vide Racks in 2020

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Before we begin: if you just want our top pick, we recommend the L10x of the  “L” series of racks from Lipavi as a solution that will work for most users. It fits the most popular container sizes, includes an anti-float solution, and is made of stainless steel.

There are two main issues with attempting to cook multiple packages at once in a sous vide water bath. First, some foods will naturally want to float during the cooking process, even if you use a vacuum sealer. Second, if you pack too many bags in, they’ll come into contact with each other and reduce water circulation. This leads to uneven cooking, which defeats the purpose of sous vide.

Fortunately, sous vide racks fix both of these issues. These simple, handy little devices keep your packages in a neat row that lets the water circulate well. Most also have a retaining rack that rests over top to keep any bags from escaping vertically and floating. (Some don’t have this feature, and you’ll need to use weights or clips along with the racks.)

And while sous vide racks are pretty straightforward, it’s difficult to suggest a be-all-and-end-all product since it depends so much on the rest of your setup. You’ll need to make sure you get one that’s the right size! Most are made to fit a twelve-quart container, but there are options for a wide range of sizes. You’ll also need to decide on what material you prefer, and whether you want a retaining rack. With so many options out there, here’s our list of our favorite racks to suit a variety of situations.


Best Sous Vide Racks at a Glance

Best for: Home cooks looking for an all-around great rack
Best for: A Unique Solution to Floating Bags
Best for: A Comprehensive, Compatible Series of Products in Polycarbonate
Best for: Use with the EVERIE suite of products
Best for: In Place of Two Largest Lipavi L-Series Options


The Top 5 Sous Vide Racks


#1. LIPAVI L10X Sous Vide Rack

Best for: Home cooks looking for an all-around great rack

Lipavi is no stranger to the sous vide world, being a very prolific creator of sous vide accessories. They’re so prolific, in fact, that it’s difficult for us to pick a “best” out of their huge lineup! Regardless of the size you need, every member of the LIPAVI rack ecosystem is collapsible, modular, and easy to clean, all must-have features to be included in this list. 

These racks are a sleek, easy-to-clean stainless steel design that easily collapses to be stored neatly. One small issue is that the same collapsible nature that works so well for storage sometimes causes frustration as the ends try to fold in while in use. It’s an easily overcome issue, but worth mentioning.

Our particular recommendation is the L10X option (the “X” in the name indicates that it has an anti-float bar across the top). We picked the L10X because the larger L20 doesn’t have an “X” version on offer as of the time of this writing. However, the 10 will still fit nicely into a twelve-quart container, and we have a solution for “party size” stainless steel racks later in the list!

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: Varying (series)
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Collapsible: Yes
  • Anti-Float Bar: Yes (on “x” models)
  • Weight: Varying (series)
Pros
  • All stainless steel
  • Compatible with a massive range of products and containers sizes
  • Easy to store and clean
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • While our recommendation of the L10X has a retaining bar over the top, many other options in the series don’t, so you’ll need to find some other way to avoid things floating upward
  • The larger options in the series have some issues staying upright at times

#2. Huispark Sous Vide Rack

Best for: A Unique Solution to Floating Bags

This option from Huispark boasts a unique take on preventing wayward packages, opting for a spiral design in the dividers in place of a top bar. This allows you to add and remove bags without removing the rack, but also keep them in place during cooking. Unlike some other options on the list, this rack only comes in one size. Luckily,  it’s the right size to fit in the most popular twelve-quart sous vide containers. 

The stainless steel design is modular and collapsible, making it easy to customize to your needs, clean, and store. Coming in at an affordable price even for these generally low-budget devices, it makes a great choice for the sous vide chef who doesn’t want to fuss with that top bar and doesn’t need a massive option. 

Our only concerns are that the spiral design takes a bit of a learning curve, and the dividers themselves can take some convincing to stay the way you want them even with the bottom crossbar in place.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 7.5×7.5×6.5 inches
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Collapsible: Yes
  • Anti-Float Bar: No
  • Weight: 1.5lb
Pros
  • Spiral design in the dividers keeps packages in place without the hassle of an anti-float bar (which can make adding and removing packages a challenge)
  • Modular, collapsible design
  • Easy to clean, stainless steel construction
Cons
  • The lack of a proper retaining bar over the top of the dividers makes for a bit of a learning curve
  • Can be a bit difficult to convince the dividers to remain upright
  • Comes in only one size (but it’s the most popular size for home chefs)

#3. LIPAVI N20X Sous Vide Rack

Best for: A Comprehensive, Compatible Series of Products in Polycarbonate

We did mention that LIPAVI is quite prolific! Their “N” series is their polycarbonate run of racks for those that prefer this material over stainless steel. The sizes are similar, but not exactly the same as the “L” series. The “N” series tends to be quite a bit narrower. Remember that the “X” rule still applies, so options with an “X” in the name have an anti-float bar! 

These “N” model racks are white polycarbonate with stainless steel weights, and while the plasticy nature may put some off, they function well and the design is rather sleek. There’s bound to be an option in your size out of the lot, but we chose to feature the N20X for its unique size.

These things, coupled with the fact that the N20X fits perfectly in popular twelve-quart containers and is also designed to be doubled up in LIPAVI’s massive C20 container, make it a standout choice. Just be careful with the rest of the series! Some of the smaller models suffer from being just a little too light, and can try to float if you aren’t cooking much in them.

Specs and Features:

  • Dimensions: Varying (series)
  • Materials: Polycarbonate with Stainless Steel Weights
  • Collapsible: Yes
  • Anti-Float Bar: Yes (on “X” models)
  • Weight: Varying (series)
Pros
  • Large size perfectly fits a 12 qt container, or place two into LIPAVI’s C20 container to cook for a large gathering
  • Collapsible and dishwasher safe
  • Anti-float bar on the “X” models keeps food from reaching the water line
Cons
  • Polycarbonate is an issue of taste; you may prefer stainless steel!
  • Some models are just a little too light and can end up trying to float
  • The wide range of containers and racks can be a bit confusing to shop through

#4. EVERIE Weighted Sous Vide Rack Divider

Best for: Use with the EVERIE suite of products

EVERIE is another heavy hitter in the world of sous vide accessories, with their all-in-one bundle landing them a slot as one of our favorite sous vide accessories not too long ago! While this listing doesn’t have the sheer amount of options as LIPAVI, it’s also much easier to shop and not be locked into just one size. 

You have a choice of a smaller, seven-quart container rack or the more standard twelve-quart rack. Both sizes are designed with the EVERIE container in mind, but are perfectly capable of fitting most containers. They’re also easy to use, clean, and store. The included anti-float top bar is a welcome addition to keep those pesky bags in place when they try to make a great escape. 

EVERIE also boasts that their dividers snap in so securely that you won’t have to worry about the annoying wobble that some other options can take on. Our only nitpicks are that the top bar is just a little too long and you may have to fight it a little to get it nestled in just right, and the products lack the long handles of some other options.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 7qt-7.5’’x4.2’’,12qt- 8.1’’x6.3’’
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Collapsible: Yes
  • Anti-Float Bar: yes
  • Weight: 7qt-1.1lb, 12qt-1.6lb
Pros
  • Two options to suit two common setups
  • Part of a wider suite of EVERIE sous vide products
  • Anti-float bar keeps packages from floating above the water line
  • Easy to clean and store
Cons
  • Not as many options as some competitors
  • The anti-float bar is a bit touchy and difficult to get situated, but does hang on well once it’s in place

#5. Geesta Large Sous Vide Rack

Best for: In Place of Two Largest Lipavi L-Series Options

Finally, here’s the promised stainless steel party-sized rack solution! The Geesta sous vide rack is made to go big, foregoing compatibility with the standard twelve-quart containers and going straight for 18-quart, 20-quart, and 26-quart compatibility. This lands it comfortably in the realm of some of LIPAVI and Rubbermaid’s large containers. 

We recommend this product in place of LIPAVI’s larger “L” series options simply because it includes an anti-float top bar. When you’ve got enough food to warrant one of these big racks, you don’t want any escapes! Like all the others on our list, it breaks down, cleans, and stores away very easily. The assembly itself can be a little finicky though, as the top bars attach in an awkward spot.

Specs and Features

  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.3 x 3.3 inches
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Collapsible: Yes
  • Anti-Float Bar: yes
  • Weight: 2.87lb
Pros
  • Fits 18-, 20-, and 26-quart containers
  • Top retaining rack prevents package escapes
  • Easy to clean and store
  • Stainless steel construction
Cons
  • Only suitable for large containers
  • Assembly is a little awkward

What Is a Sous Vide Rack? And Why You Need One

Sous vide relies on good water circulation to heat all sides of a vacuum sealed package evenly, cooking it consistently and to a uniform temperature. But if you attempt to cook multiple packages at once they may end up pushed together under the water, ruining the circulation and leading to some parts of the food not being cooked the same as others. That would completely defeat the purpose of the method! 

Even if you’re only cooking one package, you can run into another common problem.  Lightweight or fatty packages will want to rise up and float, and if they break through the water line, they aren’t going to cook correctly. 

Sous vide racks solve these problems by creating an organized way of keeping food separated horizontally, and in most cases held in place vertically as well. They make use of several dividers to create “slots” in the container of your choice. Most racks then prevent floatation as well, either with a crossbar over the top or one of a few other novel methods. In some cases, you may find you can even cook more than you thought at once with the extra organization!


The Different Types of Sous Vide Racks:

There’s a noticeable industry standard already in place for sous vide racks, most being rectangular, weighted racks that rest on the bottom of a container. They’re usually fit to twelve-quart containers, and good racks will collapse or come apart to be stored neatly. 

There are, however, a few differences:

Polycarbonate or Stainless?

The most common material for a sous vide rack is stainless steel. It’s a no brainer with its sturdy, corrosion- and rust-resistant material, and sleek look. Polycarbonate options are also out there, though! Aesthetically they are often just as sleek, and one member of our team even prefers the look. It isn’t for everyone, though, because while food-grade polycarbonate poses no health risks, you can’t be blamed for trying to keep from adding yet more plastic to what tends to be the already plastic-heavy process of sous vide.

Does it Have an Anti-float Mechanism?

The overwhelming majority of sous vide racks include a bar that runs over the top of the rack, or some other anti-float feature to hold lightweight and fatty foods down when they inevitably try to make a great escape. If you cook buoyant foods often, we definitely recommend you make sure you don’t have one of the rare options that don’t have an anti-float mechanism! 

If you tend to cook heavy, less buoyant foods, you probably won’t notice the absence at all. Instead, you can just focus on fitting your size needs! If you do end up needing to hold a bag down occasionally and your rack doesn’t do the job, you can use sous vide weights instead.

Benefits of Using a Sous Vide Rack:

  • Keep multiple bags separated and submerged to ensure accurate, consistent cooking of bulk meals. Sous vide relies on water’s ability to transmit heat effectively, so it’s important to ensure that your bags have space between them for the hot water to circulate freely. This is exactly what racks provide. Most of them also keep your bags submerged, which is vital in sous vide cooking.
  • Organize packages to keep track of things easily. No more digging around through hot water with tongs or gloves (or bare hands, ouch!) to try to find one specific bag.
  • Get it all into and out of the water at once. Almost all of the racks we recommend have handles. This means that you can organize your food in the rack on the counter, then easily transfer the entire rack into the sous vide bath.

Things to Look For in a Good Sous Vide Rack:

  • Figure out the size you need. A sous vide rack that’s too big to fit your preferred container, or too small to hold the amount of food you routinely cook, won’t do you any good.
  • Pick a preferred material. As mentioned above, your two most common options are stainless steel and polycarbonate. We recommend stainless steel to cut back on plastic, which is already an issue with sous vide cooking. One member of our team prefers the look of polycarbonate, though, and it’s definitely a personal choice that you’ll need to make!
  • Opt for a rack with an anti-float method if you need one. If you don’t mind using weights, or don’t tend to cook buoyant foods, you may not need this feature.
  • Make sure the rack you choose is easy to clean and store! There are way too many options available to settle for one that isn’t.

Conclusion 

We heartily recommend a sous vide rack to match a proper sous vide container for those really getting serious about sous vide cooking. These products solve a very real and prevalent issue, and tend to do so at extremely affordable prices. 

The products are simple, and an industry standard keeps you from having to fuss too much over specifics aside from the size you want and your preferred material (and it really is just preference!). As a result, our list doesn’t have a be-all-and-end-all “best” option (though the L10X from Lipavi is our closest bet). Our list includes great solutions for a variety of situations and set ups, and helps you figure out which is best for you!