Sous vide cooking is not just a method for fancy chefs anymore.
What if I told you that sous vide cookers are becoming increasingly popular for home cooks?
All it takes is having a water bath, sous vide bags with a vacuum sealer, and an immersion circulator.
We researched at length and tested each model to find the best sous vide immersion circulators of %currentyear%, and evaluated each machine based on the following parameters:
- Quality of materials
- Motor power
- Unique features
- Value for money
The process of submerging food in a temperature-controlled water bath to cook low and slow is called sous vide cooking, and we are huge fans of this cooking technique.
To cook sous vide, you will need three components; a water container, a vacuum sealer with sous vide bags, and an immersion circulator.
The immersion circulator may be the most important piece of the puzzle, as it is the machine that circulates the water and regulates the cooking temperature.
There are so many options on the market now that sous vide cooking is so popular, but THT is here to help you navigate those choices!
Our favorite and best immersion circulator tested is the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker due to its amazing sous vide cooking abilities.
The Anova precision cooker is the best of the best, but we understand that all consumers have different needs; for that, we assembled a list of our top  favorite immersion circulators:
- Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker – Best Overall Immersion Circulator
- Breville CS10001 Joule Sous Vide – Best High-End Immersion Circulator
- Instant Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator – Best Budget Immersion Circulator
What Is Sous Vide?
Sous vide cooking is the process of slow-cooking food by first sealing the ingredients in a heat-safe vacuum-sealed bag, then submerge it in a large water bath, and finally cooking via an immersion circulator.
The food cooks at a low temperature for hours, depending on what is being cooked.
The result is a tender and flavorful dish that is almost impossible to achieve any other way.
What Is an Immersion Circulator?
The immersion circulator is the most crucial part of sous vide cooking.
It is a device that allows for passive circulation of water and heats the fluid until warm, keeping the water at a stable temperature.
The water temperature is precise and always constant, giving food a perfectly even cook.
One stipulation is that the food inside the sous vide bags must be submerged completely to keep an even cooking temperature.
How Do You Use Sous Vide Machines?
First, you will need a sous vide container to hold your water bath.
This should be a heat-proof BPA-free plastic container, another large pot, or a heat-proof cooking vessel.
Some containers are made specifically for sous vide cookers, coming with attachments to keep your food submerged.
Other containers are meant for multipurpose use but are still safe to use for your sous vide water bath.
Next, add all of your ingredients to a sous vide bag and vacuum seal completely.
An example of ingredients would include a ribeye steak, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, and lemon juice.
You can of course add any ingredients you like.
Once your food is sealed, it’s time to heat the water bath with your immersion circulator.
Place the immersion circulator on the side of the container or allow the magnetic base to attach to your pot, depending on the sous vide machine that you have.
Some water bath containers will have a crevice for the circulator, others will not.
Some immersion circulators simply stand up in the container by way of the magnetic base; this will all depend on the type of equipment you have.
Heat the water to your desired temperature and submerge the bag completely.
Allow to cook for 2-4 hours before removing and devouring.
For steaks, it is customary to sear the outside of your steak in a screaming hot pan very quickly after sous viding to get a nice brown char on the outside.
What Is the Best Overall Immersion Circulator?
While we tested a lot of sous vide cookers, we found the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker to be the best sous vide machine that money can buy.
We love that the Anova precision cooker secures easily to any water bath, although you can purchase additional supplemental sous vide equipment from Anova.
Can You Use Another Appliance in Place of an Immersion Circulator?
Precision temperature control is the main factor that sets sous viding apart from other cooking methods.
The only way to get perfect temperature control is from an immersion circulator.
Some online hacks falsely state that all you need for sous vide cooking is a pot, a heat source, binder clips for securing, and Ziploc bags.
The thought of using a bag not intended for cooking makes my stomach turn, as chemicals from the plastics can leak out into your food via the heat source.
You never know exactly what materials are inside these Ziploc bags, binder clips, or any other materials used.
Since this is cooking food that you will ingest and not a science experiment, I highly recommend sticking to food-grade machines and materials if you want to get into sous vide cooking.
What Factors Drove Our Ratings?
We decided on our selections by using several factors to determine the best sous vide containers across various categories, which included:
- Quality of materials – Any immersion circulators that we choose for this list are made of quality materials by reputable companies to ensure the sous vide cooker is accurate and precise.
- Motor power – Wattage and voltage matters when buying an immersion circulator. Higher quality machines will have better moving parts.
- Unique features – We love any unique features that set apart one immersion circulator from the next.
- Value for money – While the components of sous vide can be expensive, all the above factors will help determine if the machine is worth the cost.
User reviews were also a large part of our research, to ensure verified buyers were happy with their purchases, and to compare our findings with the reviews.
Here at The Healthy Treehouse, we value quality over quantity. If we felt that the cost was greater than the value of what the appliance included, that model would be excluded from the list.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Immersion Circulators – Best Overall Immersion Circulator
Anova AN-5000 Sous Vide WiFi Precision Cooker
- 1000 watts precision cooker
- Adjustable and removable clamps
- WiFi feature and Anova app that provides access to thousands of sous vide recipes and allows setting of time and temperature, and monitor food from anywhere using a smartphone
- Powered by 1000 watts, which allows the equipment to heat up faster
- Adjustable clamps that can easily be attached to any stockpot or container
The best overall sous vide immersion circulator comes from the queen of all brands of this type, Anova.
This Anova AN-5000 Sous Vide WiFi Precision Cooker syncs with the Anova app so you can check the temperature of your water bath from anywhere!
Thousands of sous vide recipes also come with the Anova app, so you will never run out of recipe ideas.
Water bath heat-up time is a breeze, taking only minutes to warm.
A fully adjustable clamp can secure any sous vide water bath you have, so you do not need a fancy container to use this machine.
This ready-to-use Anova precision cooker is good to go right out of the box, so you can start cooking sous vide in no time.
Quality of Materials
This immersion circulator is made of high-quality anti-rust stainless steel on the parts that come into contact with the water bath. The rest is high-grade plastic.
The Anova precision cooker displays 1000 watts and 110 volts for easy-to-use heating inside your cooking container.
We seriously loved the app that assists you with cooking sous vide. It tells you the cooking temperature, times the whole process, and offers unique sous vide recipes.
Value for Money
The Anova is a mid-range price for a high-end product. We found the value to be very reasonable for the money.
Jason (verified purchase) had this to say about his immersion circulator, “As someone who loves to cook, this is a great addition to my kitchen arsenal. I bought it specifically to make a beef Wellington for the holidays. I already own a food saver vacuum sealer, and I bought the plastic tub and the plastic bath top designed for my cooker. The Anova was so easy to set up. You should have WiFi, which is how the app talks to the unit. Very easy to use, you can set food timers and adjust the temperature all right from your phone.“
Why Buy This Product
This was our favorite product after trying so many immersion circulators.
The end cooking result was far superior to any other foods I have cooked sous vide, and it was so easy with the smartphone capabilities.
This is the machine to beat.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Immersion Circulators – Best High-End Immersion Circulator
Our second pick is the high-end sous vide immersion circulator that has generated a lot of buzz around the internet; the Breville CS10001 Joule Sous Vide.
We loved the look, feel, and results of this easy to use stainless steel machine.
The ChefSteps Joule is a sleek, yet small sous vide machine that can be balanced and placed inside any container without securing to the side due to its magnetic base.
At nearly half the size of a traditional sous vide immersion circulator, the Joule does not compromise quality due to its proportions.
1100 watts of power heat up fast and efficiently, making this one of the best sous vide machines on the market.
There is a “visual doneness” feature on the Joule app, which shows what your recipe should look like throughout the process before you even begin cooking!
This Joule sous vide machine is a smart device, so simply download the Joule app to your smartphone to control your temperature accuracy from anywhere in the house.
Connect with Bluetooth alone or use the Joule with your home Wi-Fi.
You can also control the precise temperature with your Alexa voice control, which was fun for us to try out.
The minimum water depth for these Joule sous vide machines is 1.5 inches of water, and the maximum is 8 inches deep.
Quality of Materials
With the Joule being our high-end pick, the quality of materials of this sous vide machine was second to none, all while weighing slightly more than one pound.
This small and mighty machine features 1100 watts of power and 120 volts. Use outside of 120 volts is not recommended by the manufacturer due to Joule’s precise heating technology.
This Joule sous vide cooker was different than all other circulators we tested. The small and sleek look really grabs your attention, and the ease of use with smart technology stands out. Controlling the Joule app through your home Alexa is also a great feature.
Value for Money
High-end usually means a high price, however, the Joule is priced appropriately just above our top pick.
Constance (verified purchase) had this to say about her Joule purchase, “Used the Joule to make a beef roast, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and creme brulee for dessert. I can be shopping for groceries and operating the Joule as needed from my phone. More bonuses are the compact size and sleekness of this unit, and the ChefSteps Joule app, complete with photos to ensure your cooking is on-point.”
Why Buy This Product
This Joule would have the top spot if it weren’t for the price, however, we like products that are highly accessible to everyone.
If you want your sous viding to be an experience rather than just a cooking technique, especially for home cooks, buy the ChefSteps Joule sous vide cooker.
Top-Rated Best Sous Vide Immersion Circulators – Best Budget Immersion Circulator
Instant Accu-Slim Sous Vide
- 1 Instant Accu-Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
- Touchscreen digital-analog that makes it easy to read display and control its settings
- Active pump system that ensures uniformly heated water free from hot or cool spots
- Extremely quiet motor
- Easy to clean
- Budget-friendly, durable, reliable
And finally, one of the best sous vide machines for those on a budget; the Instant Accu Slim Immersion Circulator.
Made by the same company that produces Instant Pot cookers, these sous vide machines are half the price of the rest of the immersion circulators on this list.
These immersion circulators can be used with or without an instant pot, allowing freedom to use whatever container you have already.
The temperature accuracy is consistent each time, turning home cooks into sous vide chefs!
The touch-screen digital display is easy to use; it displays the time and temperature right on top of the sous vide machine.
Simply set the temperature and forget about it until the timer goes off!
The Instant Accu Slim has an active pump system that ensures even heat distribution throughout the container without hot or cool spots.
The quiet motor can run without being bothersome to folks who are sensitive to noise.
Easy to use and very easy to clean; almost no cleaning is required after use!
Quality of Materials
The stainless steel body on this immersion circulator is anti-rust and requires almost no cleaning after use, just a quick wipe down is necessary.
The quiet motor can hit the target temperature quickly and efficiently, with 120 volts of power.
The time and temperature display on the immersion circulator’s head helps achieve the target temperature for cooking. The stainless steel body can heat a water bath quickly and quietly.
Value for Money
At half the price of other immersion circulators on this list, this Accu Slim sous vide cooker is well worth the small price tag, especially if you also need to purchase other necessities for sous vide such as a vacuum sealer.
Darren (verified purchase) said this about his recent purchase, “I bought these exact sous vide machines and have nothing but great things to say. I season my steak, vacuum-seal it in a food saver bag, and toss it in. When it’s to temperature, I pat the meat down and sear the outsides. The steak is always evenly cooked throughout and is very tender. This is now the only way I will ever cook my steak again.”
Why Buy This Product
If you are on a budget but still love to try out fancy cooking techniques, the Instant Accu Slim is perfect for you.
It’s for the person who does not need high-tech devices yet loves a perfectly cooked steak.
Related Helpful Information
Now that you have your favorite sous vide machines picked out, it’s time to rally together your other necessary devices for sous vide cooking.
The other element that makes cooking sous vide possible is the sous vide container in which you will be circulating the water.
We thoroughly tested a variety of containers that are safe for sous vide and wrote about our results.
Perhaps you are wondering more about the logistic side of sous vide cooking, like whether or not sous vide cooking is healthy. (Spoiler alert; it is, mostly.)
Another essential add-on for sous vide cookers is a reliable vacuum sealer with sous vide-safe bags.
Be sure the vacuum-sealed bags are specific to sous vide machines, as you will be heating them to a precise temperature.
Immerse Yourself in Immersion Circulators
Sous vide cooking is the present and future of cooking, so having any sous vide machine will keep you hip to the trends.
We tested the best sous vide machines on the market and came to find that the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker is the best sous vide cooker on the market today.
Wi-Fi controlled cooking is present in two of the circulators we tested, making the perfect medium-rare steaks, tender seafood, and so much more.
Once you pick the sous vide machine that is perfect for you, all you need is a vacuum sealer, food-safe bags, and a container and you are ready to sous vide!
Let us know how your journey goes in the comments below!