What is sous vide?
Sous vide is a method of cooking in which you put food in a vacuum-sealed bag (the name is French for "under vacuum") and cook it in a temperature-controlled, circulating water bath. The result is precisely cooked food with consistent results, like this salmon.
There are many small and large appliances available that enable you to sous vide at home. Let's take a look at the available options.
Anova Precision Cooker Bluetooth + Wi-Fi
Anova Precision Cooker Bluetooth + Wi-Fi is an immersion circulator: You attach the device to a pot of water, and it simultaneously heats and circulates the water. The Anova connects to an app so you can control the temperature or follow recipe guides. But Wi-Fi isn't essential if you want to use the Anova -- there are also controls right on the unit. The Anova Precision Cooker Bluetooth + Wi-Fi costs $159 (roughly £125/AU$218).
Anova Precision Cooker Nano
Anova recently started to sell a $99 version of its precision cooker. It's smaller than its predecessor, and it uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect to Anova's iOS and Android apps.
Anova introduced the $299 (about £225/AU$995) Anova Pro at CES 2017. The control panel will be a full-color touchscreen that will let you access sous vide instructions, controls and guides that are similar to what you'd find in the Anova app. The company has yet to release this immersion circulator.
Most immersion circulators clip to the side of your container. The Joule immersion circulator ($179/$199, which converts to roughly £141/£156 or AU$246/AU$273) has a strong magnet on the bottom along with a clip option so you can put the device right in the middle of your water bath.
The Joule circulates water through this opening on its bottom half.
When we first reviewed this immersion circulator, the $200 WiFi Nomiku (roughly £235/AU$411) lets you use an app to send cook times and temperatures to the device.
Nomiku meal delivery
Nomiku recently added meal delivery and a scan-to-cook feature to its new cooker. It can read Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on frozen, packaged food that the company will send to you as part of a meal delivery program. The tags contain information about how long and at what water temperature your food needs to cook. You wave the package in front of the device, and it will read the RFID tag and automatically start heating the water according to the information in the tag.
Nomiku has focused more on its food-delivery -- you can only order a new cooker if you live in an area in which the company delivers its pre-packaged meals.
Some sous vide machines, such as this one called Mellow, are made up of a container for the water bath and a heating element in its base to bring the water to the right temperature. The $399 Mellow countertop sous vide machine (roughly £313/AU$547) also includes a built-in refrigeration element lets you keep your food in cold water until you're ready for the Mellow to start cooking. This lets you schedule the exact time you want your food to be ready without worrying about it sitting in tepid water all day.
Oliso SmartHub & Top
The Oliso SmartHub & Top consists of an induction-powered base that heats the water in the SmartTop, the vessel that fits on top of the base. The SmartHub can also be used as a standalone induction cooktop. The Oliso system costs $500 (about £393/AU$687).
Instant Pot Max
The $200 Instant Pot Max (about £157/AU$273) includes a sous vide feature that lets you create a water bath in this pressure cooker.
Paragon Induction Cooktop
The $299 (about £235/AU$411) FirstBuild Paragon Induction Cooktop is a countertop system that lets you sous vide with the induction burner and Bluetooth-connected temperature probe.
The Paragon Mat is the latest addition to the Paragon Smart Cooking System. The mat lets you set specific temperatures when you're using a pan to cook, and it will automatically maintain a steady temperature.
Tasty One Top
The Tasty One Top is a $149 (£117/AU$204) Bluetooth-enabled induction countertop burner designed to help you cook the recipes you see from Buzzfeed's Tasty cooking videos. It comes with a temperature probe to sous vide.
Whirlpool sous vide appliance
Whirlpool received a patent in July for a sous vide cooking device. The small appliance described in patent documents consists of an induction cooktop, a cooking container, a wireless temperature probe and a magnetic stirring plate. It's not clear if or when this will be available.
GE Induction Stove
Even large appliances are getting in on sous vide. GE's Cafe series electric slide-in stoves with induction cooktops come with a Bluetooth-connected temperature probe that connects to your smartphone or tablet so you can control cooktop temperatures down to the degree. (This is same approach used by the Paragon Induction Cooktop, developed by GE's "FirstBuild" microfactory/maker space in Louisville, Ky.) The combination of the induction burners and the connected temperature probe means you can sous vide on your stovetop without needing to buy an additional small appliance.
Suvie Kitchen Robot
The Suvie Kitchen Robot (which starts at $429/£337/AU$587) launched on Kickstarter in February. This countertop cooker is designed for meals that contain a protein, a starch, a vegetable and a sauce. Water cooks the protein and vegetable at the top of the Suvie using sous vide and steam, respectively, then it fills the starch compartment to cook what you have in there.
Suvie Smart Meals
Suvie will have an optional meal plan in which the company will ship you prepackaged, uncooked meals that will feed three to five people.