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Before we begin: if you’re just looking for our top pick, our favorite sous vide weights are the Familiar Sous Vide Weighted Magnets. We love them for their versatility, budget-friendly price, and ease of use.
Sous vide cooking relies on water’s ability to transmit heat more effectively than air can. As a result, it’s incredibly important that your bags of food stay completely underwater in the sous vide bath. Any part exposed to the air is at risk of cooking unevenly, and can even become a health and safety hazard due to not reaching the intended temperature.
Unfortunately, some foods are fairly buoyant. This means that when you put them into the water, they’ll tend to float.
That’s where sous vide weights come into play. You use these to hold your sous vide bags fully underwater, ensuring that your food cooks perfectly and evenly without the dangers of the bag being partially in the air. While there are homemade alternatives that you can use, having designated sous vide weights definitely makes things easier!
The Top 7 Sous Vide Weights
Best for: Home chefs who want a hassle-free, versatile, and budget-friendly option
These sous vide weighted magnets are our top pick, and for good reason! Since they’re weighted magnets instead of just weights, you don’t actually need to put them inside the bag. Instead, you put one on the outside of your container and one inside the container (but outside the bag) to pin the bag into place.
This has two great benefits. First, it lets you attach your bags wherever you want; you can anchor them to the side of the container instead of only the bottom like with traditional weights. And second, it means you don’t need to wash the weights after use, because they haven’t come into contact with food.
With that said, you absolutely can put the magnets into the bag along with the food if you prefer. They’re coated in FDA-approved food-grade silicone, so it’s safe for them to be inside the bag with your food. Just be sure you wash them off well after each use if you use them directly with the food!
This set comes with eight magnets, which is enough to hold four bags in place (since each bag requires two magnets). This should be enough for most typical home sous vide users, but if you regularly cook more than four bags at once, consider investing in two sets of these weighted magnets.
Specs and Features:
Weight: 2.2 ounces (62 grams) per pair
Best for: Straightforward use in the home kitchen
Made of a heavy stainless steel core surrounded by food-grade silicon, these SO-VIDA sous vide weights are ideal for use inside a bag. At 5 ounces (142 grams) each, they’re heavy enough that you’ll rarely need more than one per bag. If you’re cooking something particularly large or buoyant, though, you can just add in an extra weight.
SO-VIDA is a company that exists specifically to create effective accessories for sous vide cooking, so the creators have thought through every detail of these weights to make sure they’re appropriate for sous vide enthusiasts. You can see this in everything from the shape (to ensure great water flow) to the conveniently small size to the dishwasher-friendly materials.
These weights come in 3-pack or 5-pack options. For home use for most families, we recommend the 5-pack. If you have a large family or tend to cook for a lot of guests, though, you may want to get extras. We recommend having one per bag you intend to cook, plus one or two extras just in case a particular bag is more buoyant than expected.
Specs and Features
Weight: 5 ounces (142 grams)
Best for: The sous-vide enthusiast who doesn’t mind splurging
Like our top pic, these weights are actually weighted magnets. That means you’ll get all the versatility that we described when talking about the Familiar Sous Vide Weighted Magnets. You have the option to anchor bags to the side of your sous vide container (instead of just weighing them to the bottom), and you can use the weights either inside or outside of the bags.
These KORE Sous Vide Weighted Magnets are significantly heavier than the Familiar option, at 5.6 ounces (159 grams) per pair as opposed to 2.2 ounces (62 grams) per pair. This means you’re far less likely to need more than one—which is a good thing, because these are far pricier per pair than the Familiar magnets.
We didn’t choose these as our top pick simply because they’re so much more expensive per pair than the alternative. We would rather have 4 pairs of lighter magnets than one pair of heavier ones, since most of our bags only need a tiny bit more weight to hold them down. However, if you frequently cook only one bag and it tends to be buoyant, you may find these are a better option. And if you have the budget to get several pairs of these instead of needing to save money by going for the Familiar weights, definitely go for these instead! The extra weight is a great selling point; we just find it to be overkill for most home cooks.
Specs and Features
Weight: 5.6 ounces (159 grams) per pair
Best for: Cooking multiple bags at a time
The TopHat Sous Vide Sinker Weight is completely different from any of the other options we’ve listed so far. Instead of being a weight that you put inside or outside of the bag, this is more of a weighted metal net. You put your bag or bags into the sous vide bath, then drape this chainmail-style netting over them. And just like that, they’re held underwater!
It doesn’t get simpler than this, and we love the convenience factor. Plus, since the netting never comes into contact with the food itself, there’s no messy cleanup! And at 13” by 14” (33 by 35.6 cm), the sinker weight should fit most home sous vide containers. We also love its versatility; since it’s basically chainmail, it can shape itself to cover odd-sized or unusually shaped bags of food.
While the TopHat sinker weight works for multiple bags, we recommend it for only a few at a time. If you end up stacking your bags (instead of laying them side-by-side) and then weighing down the pile, you risk losing the water circulation that’s so important in sous vide cooking.
Specs and Features
Weight: 18.9 ounces (535 grams)
Best for: Cooks who want to avoid silicon products and use natural materials instead
You may have noticed by now that all of the weights we’ve recommended so far that go inside of bags have a food-safe silicone lining. But what if you prioritize natural materials as much as possible? (Of course it’s almost impossible to sous vide most things without some plastic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth cutting back where possible.)
These Himalayan stone weights from JUJUPANDA are a great alternative to silicone-coated steel. They’re food-safe, natural, and surprisingly affordable. Plus we love the look, which is reminiscent of green marble. If you want weights to use inside your bags but are determined to avoid silicone or plastics when possible, these are the way to go.
You have the option of getting either a 4-pack or a 2-pack. We recommend the 4-pack for typical home use; you might find yourself wanting to cook more than two bags at a time, so having just two weights may be limiting.
Specs and Features
Weight: 5 ounces (142 grams)
Best for: Multiple approaches to weighing down your bags
Most of the weights designed for sous vide cooking are cylindrical, which is intended to ensure maximum water flow so your food cooks evenly. This set of Depp’s Sous Vide Weights takes a slightly different approach, though. While the weights are still curved on the sides, they’re flattened on two sides.
This design makes these weights more versatile in how you can use them. Where a regular cylindrical weight might roll off a bag, these flattened ones are designed to stay snugly in place. This gives you more options; you can use them inside your bags as usual, or simply balance them on top of your bags to hold them down.
With that said, we generally prefer them for use inside the bag, as that’s more stable and less likely to have issues (especially over prolonged cooking periods). And if you’re going to put them in bags anyway, we’re not sold on the unusual shape having any real advantage over traditional cylinders. With that said, if you think you might like to use them on top of bags, these weights may be the best choice for you.
Specs and Features
Weight: 6.2 ounces (176 grams)
Best for: The budget-conscious, sous-vide curious cook
What if you don’t want fancy magnets, chainmail mesh, or Himalayan stones? What if you’re just looking for basic, standard sous vide weights at an affordable price? Then look no further, because that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Joyhill Sous Vide Weights. This set of three weights will get the job done simply and easily, without any extra bells and whistles. And at this low price, you can’t go wrong.
Like several other options on our list, these weights are made of a stainless steel core with a food-grade silicone shell. We also appreciate their triangular shape, which—like the many cylindrical options—is designed to allow maximum water flow. And at 6 ounces (170 grams) each, these are among the heavier options on our list.
Specs and Features
Weight: 6 ounces (170 grams)
What are Sous Vide Weights? Do You REALLY Need Them?
Sous vide weights are generally fairly small weighted items intended specifically to hold bags of sous vide food under the water. As we mentioned in the introduction, letting your bags float and come into contact with the air is not only an issue in terms of food quality, but also a potential health and safety hazard. That’s why it’s so vital to weigh your food down if it’s prone to floating, and sous vide weights are designed to handle this task.
But do you really need them? Here at Cuisine Technology, the whole team is passionate about being transparent and honest with you even though the site is supported through affiliate income. So I’ll be honest right now: you absolutely do not need sous vide weights. There are lots of makeshift options you can use at home, like clipping something heavy to the outside of the bag. We’ve even heard of people putting various household items into their bags to weigh them down.
With that said, sous vide weights are definitely a nice addition to your setup. One of the biggest common problems with sous vide cooking is the issue of bags refusing to stay underwater, which can lead to uneven cooking and potentially even health and safety issues. And while you can make do with silverware clipped to the bag or a bag of sanitized marbles inside your bag of food, having designated sous vide weights will make the whole process easier.
Sous Vide Weights Vs. Sous Vide Racks: Do You Need Both?
Racks are designed to separate your bags of food, allowing water to flow around them. Most (but not all) also hold the food down. If you have one of these racks that ensures that the food stays underwater, you don’t also need weights.
However, if your bag only separates food and doesn’t keep it underwater, you may find that you need weights as well.
On the other hand, if you have weights, you generally won’t need a sous vide rack. You can arrange weighted bags to have some space between them, making a rack typically unnecessary.
If we had to choose between the two, we would choose to go with weights. They take up less space for storage and leave more room in the sous vide container.
The Different Types of Weights
Standard sous vide weights, of which you’ll find several on our list, consist of a stainless steel core surrounded by food-grade silicon. This standard style is designed to go inside the bags with your food, which is why it’s so important that they’re food-grade! Some people also choose to try to balance them on top of bags instead of putting them inside, but most aren’t effectively shaped to work this way.
There are a few variations in type and style, several of which are also represented on our list!
Our favorite alternative (and our top recommended product, the Familiar Sous Vide Weighted Magnets) includes a magnet within the weight. This means you can use them to anchor your bags to whatever part of your sous vide container you want. You can send them to the bottom like you would with typical weights, or you can use the magnets to attach them to the sides of the container. Most magnet weights are designed to work either inside or outside of your food bag, but make sure the ones you choose are food-safe if you want to use them inside! Keep in mind that you’ll need two magnets per bag, so a set of 8 magnets is enough for just 4 bags.
Another variation is a weight that’s designed to hold your bag(s) down from the outside. You’ll see this represented in the TopHat Sous Vide Sinker Weight on our list, which is basically a chainmail net that you arrange over your food bags to hold them down in the sous vide bath.
Finally, there are a few options for non-silicone sous vide weights designed to go inside the bag. On our list, the JUJUPANDA Sous Vide Weights are an example of this type. They work exactly the same way as standard sous vide weights, by going inside the bag. However, they’re made of Himalayan stone instead of steel surrounded by silicone.
4 Benefits of Using a Sous Vide Weights
- Your bags will stay submerged throughout the cooking process. This helps ensure food safety, while also contributing to the perfectly even doneness that sous vide cooking is so famous for!
- Weights promote great water circulation. When your bags are weighted down, you have more control over where in the sous vide container you put them. They’ll tend to stay in place better, instead of drifting around and potentially all clumping together. This means you can line them up evenly so that water is free to circulate between them, which is important for even cooking.
- Sous vide weights are less bulky than a rack. While many racks also hold your sous vide bags underwater, they take up a lot more space in your sous vide container. This may be fine if you’re only cooking a few bags at a time, but when you want to do more, that extra space that the rack occupies can be really helpful. Weights reduce or eliminate the need for a rack, giving you extra room to work with. (Just make sure you don’t pack your bags in too tightly! Remember that the water needs to circulate.)
- Peace of mind! Part of what I love about sous vide cooking is that I can basically set and forget it. It’s almost like a gourmet slow cooker in that way. But if I’m stressed out about whether my bags might have started floating, this benefit of sous vide cooking is lost. With bags adequately weighted down, you won’t need to stress out and keep checking on them.
How Do You Weigh Down Sous Vide Bags Without Weights?
By now, you understand the value of sous vide weights! But what if you want to do some cooking right away, and your weights haven’t arrived yet? Or what if you’re on a strict budget and can’t justify splurging on yet another cooking gadget just yet?
We’ve got you covered. You see, even though this site is supported through affiliate links (meaning that we get a small commission every time you buy a product through our links, at no extra cost to you!), one of our core tenets here at Cuisine Technology is always to serve your needs first and foremost, even when that means telling you that you don’t need to buy something.
In the case of sous vide weights, we recommend them because they really are simple, straightforward, and easy to use. I personally hate dealing with the hassle of trying to clip silverware onto a slippery bag (“Ugh, where’s my clip? Is this fork heavy enough? Are the tines so sharp that they’ll pierce another bag? Great, now the clip isn’t staying where I want it to.”). But depending on your circumstances, a makeshift alternative may be a better choice for you than buying or waiting for weights.
Here are some items and techniques you can use to weigh down your sous vide bag without weights!
- Clip something heavy to the outside of the bag. You’ll need a clip and something to attach. The most common option is silverware; try a fork or your heaviest butter knife. Keep in mind that both the clip and the item you attach need to be able to withstand being in heated water for the duration of the cooking process.
- Put silverware inside the bag. If your fork or butter knife is dull enough not to pierce the sous vide bag, you can put it straight inside along with your food! This is exactly what you’d do with a standard sous vide weight, you’re just substituting something you already have in your kitchen instead.
- Put something else heavy inside a bag, then put that bag into your sous vide bag. Common examples for this technique include marbles and pie weights. The best practice here is to sanitize your weights, then bag them, removing as much air as possible. You then put that entire bag into your sous vide bag with your food, so there’s a layer of protection between your makeshift weights and your food. Seal the sous vide bag as normal (using either a vacuum sealer or the water displacement method), and then cook as normal. If you choose this method, please make sure you use something that you’re confident is food-safe. The double-bagging technique should prevent your weights from coming into contact with your food, but bags can fail, so be safe.
- Use a vegetable steaming basket. Place this over your food bags, and then (if necessary) add extra weight on top to hold it down. Thanks to its many holes, this type of basket allows for water circulation despite providing great coverage over the surface of your bag(s).
See? You can absolutely be creative and make do with what you already have in your kitchen! With that said, we do not recommend using items that will fully cover the surface of your bag(s) other than items like a vegetable steamer, since it’s full of holes. The reason for this is that sous vide cooking relies on circulating water to evenly transmit heat into your food. If you put something solid on top of your food to weigh it down, you risk blocking that free water circulation, resulting in a less-than-ideal result.
Some examples of options that we recommend avoiding include:
- Plates. These will definitely hold most bags down, but the large, flat surface resting right on top of your bag interferes with water circulation across your food.
- Bricks. We’ve heard of people using these, but absolutely don’t recommend it. In addition to blocking water circulation, they’re putting a lot of extra weight on top of your food. This can affect the texture and integrity of what you’re cooking. Think of salmon, for example—what would happen to a nice, tender, soft piece of salmon if you put a brick on top of it for 3 hours? The exception to this is if you can use the brick to hold down the corner or side of a bag without actually resting on the food itself.
Do Sous Vide Bags Need to Be Fully Submerged?
Yes! It’s absolutely vital that your sous vide bags are fully submerged throughout the cooking process.
Water transmits heat much more effectively than air—and besides, the air in your kitchen probably isn’t as warm as the sous vide water bath anyway. This means that any part of your food bag that’s exposed to air isn’t heating to the same temperature as the part in the bag.
The most obvious issue here is with the food quality. The part of the food that wasn’t underwater won’t be cooked to the same doneness as the part that was submerged. This defeats the purpose of sous vide, which is all about getting an even, perfectly consistent doneness throughout your food.
Less obviously, but even more problematically, the part of the food that isn’t submerged is likely to be in the food temperature “danger zone.” Also, it may end up dangerously undercooked. Both of these issues can lead to serious health and safety problems. Sous vide cooking in general is safe as long as you follow some basic rules, and one of the most important of those is to ensure that your bag is always fully submerged!
A Common Problem With Sous Vide Weights (and How to Avoid It!)
Most standard sous vide weights are made with a stainless steel core surrounded by a layer of silicone. Since these go straight into the bags with your food, the silicone can absorb the odors of the foods you cook, even if you wash your weights well.
If you’re repeatedly cooking similarly flavored savory things, this might not be an issue. A hint of garlic or onion aroma carrying over from one steak to another shouldn’t be a problem, for example. However, it can be seriously noticeable if you’re switching between sweet and savory; you probably don’t want a hint of garlic in your sous vide vanilla peaches, for example.
To combat this, you can put your weights inside their own bags. These sealed bags then go inside your sous vide bags along with your food. This way, the food never actually comes into contact with the weight.
I personally tend not to go through this extra step for a lot of sous vide preparations. However, when cooking anything with a particularly noticeable aroma, it’s worth the hassle to make sure the weights don’t start getting smelly!
Another option, of course, is simply to buy two different sets of sous vide weights (ideally in different colors) and use one for smelly savory things and one for everything else. You may already do this with cutting boards, since it’s common to have one designated as the garlic/onions/etc. board (or one on which those foods aren’t allowed). Just apply that same philosophy to your sous vide weights and you’ll avoid unintentionally garlicky desserts.
While sous vide weights aren’t strictly necessary (since you can make do with items you probably have in your kitchen already), they’re a fantastic addition to your sous vide toolbox. They make it incredibly easy and convenient to weigh your bags down, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about uneven cooking or parts of your food ending up in the temperature “danger zone.”
Just about any sous vide weights will work, although they function differently, so you’ll need to make sure you choose an option that’s right for your cooking style. Our favorites are the Familiar Sous Vide Weighted Magnets, which we love because you can use them either inside or outside the bag, and they give you a lot of flexibility in where you place your food in the sous vide container.