Cuisine Technology
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The 7 Best Sous Vide Cookers for 2020

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Before we begin: if you just want our quick answer as to which is the best sous vide cooker, we’ve picked the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker as our #1 option for standard home sous vide use.

Every year, it gets easier and easier to bring sous vide technology into your home. And now, there are two distinct kinds of home sous vide machines: all-in-one sous vide cookers and immersion circulators. These all-in-one cookers, which are similar to slow cookers (and in fact sometimes have both functions, and more!) are full machines that include a heating element, a vessel to hold the water, and (sometimes) a circulator. Immersion circulators, on the other hand, are fat sticks that you insert into a container of your choice to heat and circulate the water inside.

While both work excellently, this guide focuses only on the all-in-one sous vide cookers. If you’re interested in an immersion circulator instead, check out our list of the top immersion circulators for sous vide!

And now that you know the difference, let’s get right into talking about which machines we love and why! Our top pick for 2020 is definitely the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker. The brand is famous for being reliable and high-end, the machine works exceptionally well, and as a bonus, it also has five other functions to let you slow cook, make rice, and even sear or saute! If we had to stick with just one sous vide cooker, it would absolutely be this one.

Read on to learn about other options, including detailed information on why each of these 7 devices made it onto our list of our favorites.


The Top 7 Best Sous Vide Cookers


#1. Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker

Best for: Discerning Home Chefs Who Want a Multi-Purpose Device

We love the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker for being so diverse, and so successful for so many different purposes. Of course, its main role on this list is as a sous vide machine, and it’s remarkable in that capacity.

One challenge that many of these sous vide cookers face is that they risk not being accurate in terms of temperature. And when you’re doing something that requires a precise temperature, like sous vide cooking, this can be a major issue. The Wolf multi-cooker, though, is equipped with a temperature probe that constantly monitors the water temperature during the sous vide process, allowing the machine to make quick adjustments and maintain the exact water temperature you chose.

It’s clear that the designers were dedicated to making a truly exceptional sous vide cooker, and didn’t skimp on that aspect in favor of creating an all-purpose device. The Wolf multi-cooker comes with an included sous vide rack (one less accessory to buy!). It also offers a sear mode. And as you probably know, many foods benefit from a good sear after their sous vide cooking process is complete. This is truly an all-in-one sous vide device, making it our top pick.

Other reasons to love this machine include the multitude of other functions that it can perform. If you don’t have as much counter space as you might prefer (and really, who does?) a machine capable of multiple tasks is an invaluable space-saver. The Wolf Multi Cooker also operates as a rice cooker and a slow cooker. In its slow cooker function, it has several great details, like the option of using the temperature probe in your food to achieve the perfect temperature, and a setting that lets the machine choose the best cooking temperature based on when you want to eat.

Capacity: 7 quarts
Circulates water: No
Multiple functions: Yes

Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Capable of (and excellent at) multiple cooking techniques
  • Sleek, professional-looking design
  • Stainless steel interior
Cons
  • This much quality comes at a price to match
  • At around 30 pounds, it’s a heavy piece of machinery that isn’t ideal for frequent trips from cabinet to countertop
  • Doesn’t circulate water

#2. Sous Vide Water Oven by Vesta Precision

Best for: Sous Vide Aficionados Who Want a Purpose-Built Machine

If you’re a true sous vide aficionado, look no further than the purpose-built Sous Vide Water Oven from Vesta Precision. With a spacious 10-liter capacity and a built-in circulator, this option is fantastic for anyone who really takes their sous vide seriously. You won’t be limited on space (as you might on some other, smaller options), and the water circulation ensures an even temperature throughout the bath so you won’t end up with hot or cold patches.

We also love the Vesta app that lets you control your sous vide machine from your phone. The app gives the option of changing between Fahrenheit and Celsius, which is much appreciated. It also offers a cooking guide that lets you select what you plan to cook, then tells you the temperature and time at which to cook it. 

While we appreciate the app’s cooking guide, it feels somewhat unfinished; there are spelling errors, and some of the selection choices are limited or don’t make sense. For example, the only infused oil option is olive oil, and the only infused spirit option is vodka. If the cooking guide were more complete, we would love it. But for now, we recommend you look elsewhere for more thorough recipes and information.

In short, the Vesta sous vide machine is ideal if you want a high-tech, purpose-built device that’s specifically designed to excel at sous vide. We recommend this one for passionate sous vide enthusiasts who use this cooking method regularly, or anyone cooking for a family of four or more due to its larger-than-average capacity. But while the app is handy for managing the cooker, don’t expect it to be an all-in-one solution for your sous vide information.

Capacity: 10 liters
Circulates water: Yes
Multiple functions: No

Pros
  • Purpose-built and feature-rich sous vide machine
  • Sleek, classy design that would look great in any modern kitchen
  • Excellent temperature control for precise sous vide cooking
Cons
  • This level of quality comes at a price
  • Designed specifically for sous vide and doesn’t serve any other functions

#3. Instant Pot Aura Pro 11-in-1 Multicooker

Best for: Those Wanting an Affordable Jack of All Trades

If you were impressed by the Wolf 6-in-1 cooker, just wait until you learn about the Instant Pot Aura Pro 11-in-1 Multicooker. That’s right; this countertop device has eleven different functions. If you want one tool that really does pretty much everything (including excellent sous vide), this might be exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to sous vide, this device is also designed to sear, bake, and steam, as well as make yogurt, rice, and more.

But we’re here to talk about sous vide machines, so let’s focus on that! We wish that this one circulated the water so we could recommend it without hesitation, but it does a remarkably good job even with this omission. The water consistently stays at the correct temperature despite the lack of circulation, leading to consistent, reliable results. It also comes with a sous vide rack included.

Cooking incredible food is always a fine balance between creating incredible meals and trying not to over-complicate your life. The biggest selling point we’ve found for this device is that it makes things easier instead of harder. You can use one device for various purposes, which justifies leaving it out on your countertop.

That means no more digging through cupboards for your sous vide immersion circulator, hunting down that one pot that it fits perfectly on, and struggling to wash up afterward. Just put your bags of food in here, set the temperature and time, and you’re good to go! And the cooking pot, lid, and rack are all dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.

Capacity: 8 quarts
Circulates water: No
Multiple functions: Yes

Pros
  • Capable of excellent sous vide cooking, and packed with many other options too
  • Fairly large internal pot size
  • Reputable brand and extremely reasonable price for the quality and quantity of functions
Cons
  • The sheer number of features can be confusing at first and take some getting used to
  • Not purpose-built for sous vide

#4. Black+Decker SCD7007SSD 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker

Best for: The Sous Vide Curious on a Budget

Given how well the Black+Decker SCD7007SSD 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker works, it’s hard to believe how affordable it is. If you’re on a budget, and you just want a machine that works for slow cooking and sous vide, this may be the best pick for you.

While it’s marketed and sold as a slow cooker, this Black+Decker machine is actually designed with sous vide cooking in mind as well, so don’t be alarmed by the name! In fact, it even comes with a sous vide rack and two disposable plastic bags. Just two bags won’t last long, so you’ll want to buy more pretty quickly, but we appreciate the company’s dedication to letting you sous vide with the product right out of the box even if you don’t already have Ziploc bags or a vacuum sealer.

Like our top pick, the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker, this Black+Decker cooker comes with a temperature probe. That allows it to continually monitor the water temperature as you use the sous vide function, ensuring that the temperature stays consistent (which is so important for sous vide).

Our biggest complaint about this product is that it doesn’t circulate the water. When you’re using a sous vide machine, water circulation helps to ensure that the whole bath stays at one uniform temperature instead of having hotter or colder areas. With that said, the machine still performs remarkably well, so don’t let this one detail deter you if you love everything else about it.

Another point to consider is that this option is relatively limited selection of cooking options. If you’re purely looking for a slow cooker with a sous vide function, this device is ideal. But it doesn’t have the wide range of cooking settings that some other devices include. If you tend to prefer fewer buttons and options and get overwhelmed by devices being too smart (and we can definitely relate to that!), this might actually be a good thing.

Capacity: 7 quarts
Circulates water: No
Multiple functions: Yes

Pros
  • The sous vide function works extremely well
  • Sticks to two tasks instead of overwhelming users with a multitude of options
  • Includes a sous vide rack and two disposable bags so you can get started right away
Cons
  • Some limitations of features (specifically in the slow cooker mode, not for sous vide specifically) may frustrate experienced users

#5. Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide

Best for: Budget Shoppers Wanting a Dedicated Sous Vide Device

Let’s be honest: you’re here for a sous vide cooker, and half the devices on this list are multitaskers that can also do way too many other things. Here’s the one you’ve been looking for! The Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide machine is purpose-built for sous vide specifically, and sticks to what it does best instead of venturing out into other possibilities.

Since it’s made specifically for sous vide, you would expect it to excel in all the related functions and to come with the necessary accessories. And, for the most part, it does. When you buy this machine, you’ll also get a hand-pump vacuum sealer and ten vacuum bags to get you started.

The water circulates, which is a great feature for keeping the bath at the correct temperature for the entire cooking process. Finally, we love the option to set the cooking time to as long as 72 hours, which should meet all but the very most extreme sous vide needs.

So why isn’t it our top pick? Because despite the dedication to making a product specifically for sous vide, the Dash option misses the mark on a few important points. The included rack significantly limits the cooking space, making the generous 8.5-quart capacity much smaller than it sounds.

This would be less of a problem if you could just use the machine without the rack, but this one requires a rack to keep the bagged food away from the bottom and sides and prevent it from cooking unevenly. Your only realistic options are to either only cook food that’s small enough to fit comfortably in the rack, or to spend more money on a third-party rack with better spacing.

Despite this issue, we love this machine for this price. It’s ideal for those who want a high-quality dedicated sous vide cooker without splurging on the (often extremely high) price tags of many other options.

Capacity: 8.5 quarts
Circulates water: Yes
Multiple functions: No

Pros
  • A purpose-built specifically designed for sous vide cooking
  • Large capacity and high cooking timer allowance (72 hours)
  • Comes with vacuum bags, hand pump, and rack included
Cons
  • The included rack limits the generous capacity of the device and struggles to accommodate large pieces of food

#6. Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus Pressure Cooker 9 in 1

Best for: Home Cooks Who Want to Sous Vide and Pressure Cook

That’s right, the famous Instant Pot snags another spot on our list! One major complaint that some people had about the Instant Pot Aura Pro 11-in-1 Multicooker is that, despite being made by Instant Pot, it’s not in fact a pressure cooker.

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus Pressure Cooker 9 in 1, on the other hand, does contain that pressure-cooking ability that the brand is so famous for. And it also has a dedicated sous vide function, giving you the best of both worlds! If you’ve been itching to upgrade your kitchen by adding an Instant Pot and a sous vide cooker to your culinary arsenal, we recommend saving space by going for this option that provides both. In addition, it has settings to allow you to make rice or yogurt, and to saute, steam, and even bake.

Our biggest issue with the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus is that it may not always maintain the temperature as accurately as you want for precise sous vide applications. If you choose this machine, we recommend that you also buy a thermometer so that you can check the water temperature yourself and make sure that it’s correct.

Being able to trust the temperature is kind of a big deal, so the potential unreliability knocks this out of the running for our top spot. But if you’ve been wanting an Instant Pot anyway, this quirk might be forgivable if it means you get both in one device.

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus also comes in a 6-quart size. While this might be fine for a pressure cooker, we highly recommend that you go for the larger size since you’re interested in its sous vide functionality. It’s important when you sous vide to allow the water enough room to circulate freely between bags of food to make sure it maintains a consistent temperature.

If you try to pack too much into the smaller machine, you run the risk of missing out on that even temperature, which is pretty much the whole point of sous vide cooking.

Be aware: the Instant Pot Duo Ultra does not have a sous vide setting. You’ll want to make sure you go for the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus instead.

Capacity: 8 quarts
Circulates water: No
Multiple functions: Yes

Pros
  • Very reasonably priced for all of its features and quality
  • Excellent pressure cooker with added sous vide capability
  • Free App for iOS and Android has tons of recipes helps you make use of all those features!
Cons
  • The included instructions leave something to be desired. Prepare to become friends with Google.
  • Not purpose-built for sous vide. If you’re only looking for a sous vide machine, other options will be a better fit.

#7. Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator

Best for: Cooking Large Quantities at Home (and Curious Chefs Who Can’t Resist Peeking)

I have a confession: no matter how many times my delicate baked goods come out denser than they should, I still insist on cracking the oven door to peek at them as they cook. Sous vide is no different; it’s a constant battle to just leave the bags in the water and not inspect them every few minutes.

Can you relate? If so, this Tribest Sousvant SV-101 Complete Sous Vide Circulator might be your perfect match. It stands out among all the other entries we picked for one simple reason: its vessel is transparent, allowing you to keep a very close eye on your food without messing up the temperature by pulling out the bags mid-cook. For us curious (and impatient) cooks, this is a dream come true.

But enough about its sleek, creative appearance. We also love that this device is built specifically for sous vide and doesn’t need to make any concessions to other cooking methods. It has a built-in circulation system to keep all of the water at a consistent temperature. It also seals, meaning you don’t have to worry about your water level lowering due to evaporation during long cooking periods. 

The generous capacity—the largest of any option on our list—gives you plenty of space to cook for the whole family. (As a bonus, the design of this machine means that you don’t need to use a rack, so you’re not losing any space.) If you tend to have people over for dinner frequently, this extra capacity gives you enough room to make enough for everyone.

Capacity: 12 quarts
Circulates water: Yes
Multiple functions: No

Pros
  • Extremely generous capacity (the largest on our list)
  • Easy to empty the water vessel when you’re done cooking
  • Built specifically for sous vide with various features that multi-cookers lack
Cons
  • Doesn’t include recipes, and the instructions aren’t detailed. If you’re not already a sous vide expert, you’ll need to find recipes elsewhere.

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

You probably understand the basics of sous vide cooking already, but let’s recap. In short, this technique involves submerging sealed plastic bags of food into a water bath that’s held at a precise, specific temperature. After a certain amount of time, the food comes out perfectly cooked (although for most proteins, you’ll want to give it a nice sear afterward). Because you can control the temperature, you ensure that you never accidentally over- or undercook your meal.

So why do you need a sous vide cooker instead of just heating a pot on the stove with your bags of food in it? Because the technique relies so much on precision. If you’re using the pot-on-a-stove method, you’re likely to accidentally heat your water too much or too little, which defeats the whole purpose of this technique. It also requires constant monitoring, which can get exhausting over the course of hours of cooking time.

A good sous vide cooker takes out all the guesswork and does the work for you. You simply plug it in, set the temperature and time, pop in your food, and wait. 

This is why it’s so important that you choose a machine that will do the job reliably. If it doesn’t hold its temperature accurately, the cooking method can fail. We here at Cuisine Technology love the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker. The brand is renowned for its high-end reliability and durability, so we completely trust this one to maintain the correct temperature (and to last for years to come). While it costs more than other options, we would rather buy an incredible device like this just once than need to replace a less reliable one every year or two.


The Different Types of Sous Vide Devices

There are two main types of sous vide devices.

First, there are the ones that we’ve covered throughout this article. These are self-contained machines that do everything themselves. They’re similar in style to slow cookers (and in fact, several also have slow-cooker functions or are actually slow cookers that also offer sous vide options). They heat the water, maintain the temperature, and (in some cases) circulate the water, all within their own chamber.

The second, and more common, type of sous vide machine is an immersion circulator. These are the fat sticks or wands that you’ve probably seen, which look a lot like immersion blenders. These typically don’t come with a water chamber. Instead, you insert them into a water-filled container of your choice. You might use, for example, a large pot or Cambro.

Both options have their pros and cons, of course. We love that these complete sous vide cookers means that you never have to hunt down a container large enough, because it’s already part of the machine. Plus they’re much harder to misplace than an immersion circulator, which is easy to lose track of in the back of a cupboard or pantry. And some sous vide cookers include other functions like slow cooking, making rice, or even searing and baking. This means you can cut down on the number of large devices you have in your kitchen.

On the other hand, immersion circulators are convenient for their small size. They take up much less room, which is invaluable if you have a small kitchen with limited counter space. Instead of hauling a heavy machine from cabinet to countertop every time you want to use it, you can just tuck away an immersion circulator in a drawer when you’re done.

If you think you might prefer one of these smaller devices instead, check out our guide to the best immersion circulators. Just keep in mind that you’ll also need to have a large pot or container of some sort, which you may need to buy separately if you don’t already have a suitable one.


The Benefits of Using an All-In-One Sous Vide Cooker

  • Precise temperature control allows you to cook your meals perfectly every single time. No more burned or half-raw accidents!
  • These all-in-one options mean that you don’t need to mix and match various pieces the way you do with an immersion circulator. You just put your food in the water bath and get started, instead of trying to find the immersion circulator, a container big enough, and maybe even a sous vide rack.
  • Some of these machines serve various other functions, which isn’t something an immersion circulator can do. Depending on which device you choose, it might also serve as a rice cooker, slow cooker, and/or pressure cooker, and it might have options to bake, saute, and/or steam.

Four Things To Look For When Choosing Your Sous Vide Device

First and foremost, you want your sous vide cooker to hold a reliable and consistent temperature. There’s a big difference between even a 7°F/4°C variation in temperature; a steak at 128°F/53°C is cooked rare, while one at 135°F/57°F is medium (skipping over medium-rare entirely). If your device doesn’t hold the right temperature or measure accurately, you might find that your food comes out significantly differently than you anticipated.

Second, look for a device with a capacity that works for you. A smaller device might be fine if you’re just feeding yourself or you and a partner. But if you have a larger family or like to host dinner parties, a larger capacity is vital. 

Third, decide whether you need an included circulator. Keeping the water moving can help the water bath maintain a consistent temperature throughout, without any hotter or cooler areas. This isn’t absolutely necessary, and some devices do an excellent job of keeping the water evenly heated without a circulator. 

Finally, consider whether you want a purpose-built sous vide cooker or a multi-cooker. If you’re purely interested in excellence when it comes to sous vide cooking, you’ll probably want a machine specifically designed for that purpose, because they tend to excel at what they do.

Devices that need to handle up to 11 distinctly different tasks sometimes need to make concessions, sacrificing a little of each in favor of being able to do them all. If you’re sold on a purpose-built sous vide machine, we recommend the Sous Vide Water Oven by Vesta Precision. We love its dedication to sous vide excellence, its sleek and classy design, and the fact that it circulates the water.

On the other hand, most of us never have quite enough counter space or money. If you fall into that camp, buying a multi-purpose cooker can save you on both. You don’t need to buy a sous vide machine, slow cooker, and rice cooker separately; you can get them all in one! That’s fewer products to buy, and fewer bulky devices to drag back and forth between cabinet and countertop.

If you’re interested in a multicooker, our top pick by far is the Wolf Gourmet Programmable 6-in-1 Multi Cooker. It’s a big upfront investment, but the brand is well-known for its reliability, quality, and truly high-end appliances.


Conclusion 

There’s enough competition in the sous vide marketplace now that most of the devices available will work decently, regardless of whether they’re all-in-one sous vide cookers or simply immersion blenders. With that said, there are still significant differences between your various options.

Any one of the seven we’ve compiled on this list should serve you well for your sous vide needs, and some of them even have other functions too. Whether you’re looking for a high-end purpose-built sous vide machine or a multi-cooker that can perform sous vide as one of its various functions, we hope you’ve found this list’s information helpful in making your final decision on which to buy! Remember to consider quality, consistency, and vessel capacity as you narrow down your list to make sure you’ll find the product you’ll love.