Grant SV200 review (plus comparison with SVS)

In the Sous Vide Equipment Forum
GRANT SV200 REVIEW

I bought the new and updated Grant Instruments immersion circulator a few months ago to compliment my Sous Vide Supreme and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it, and also compare it to the SVS. I went for the SV200 because I quickly outgrew the Sous Vide Supreme and wanted something a bit more versatile. It was quite expensive but I found a seller on ebay listing them for £719 delivered so I went with them.


The Packaging

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I was pretty excited to start using the new machine straight away but remembered to take some pictures of the opening ceremony.

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The machine is very well packaged and the foam is a custom-fit around the unit and so perfect for re-use and transporting the SV200 in the future.

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A laminated sheet of A4 is included in the box with clear instructions for use, but there is no indication of how to set the timer (the timer is easy to work out yourself but it would have been nice to complete the manual for reference).

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The Machine
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The machine is packaged as you would expect and the flex – a standard kettle lead – isn’t too short as is often the case.

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First impressions

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I am fussy when it comes to ergonomics and build-quality and, recently, expect to be disappointed with each purchase I make. From a simple mobile phone to a top-of-the-range dishwasher I nearly always feel let down by something not designed or working to my expectations and tend to buy German and Swiss appliances now. The SV200, however, seems to be very robustly built with positive-feel buttons and a large jog-wheel. I couldn’t find anything to disappoint, which was a relief. There are two, clearly-marked buttons on the front, a jog-wheel, the large, clear LCD display and two LED warning / indicator lights.

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The cage surrounding the submersible parts is stainless-steel and can easily be removed for cleaning (see below).

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The unit is a little top-heavy but sits comfortably right-side-up on a flat surface.

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On the rear of the unit is the AC mains power inlet next to an on-off switch, the manufacturer’s label and cooling / circulation vents.

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The cage is held on by four thumb-turn screws and it takes less than a minute to remove and replace - no tools necessary.

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With the cage removed the submersible parts can be seen a bit more clearly. The main element is the heating coil with the paddle stirrer in the middle. There’s also a temperature probe and a float switch so the unit doesn’t boil dry. All these parts may be a little fiddly to clean but with them being stainless steel or chrome they should take a mild descaling solution. (Update: the descaling solution worked a treat and is now sparkling again.)

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The clamping system is really sturdy and there is no risk of it coming loose and falling in the water.

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Before switching on the water level must be above the -min- mark on the front of the cage. I made a short video of the set up of the SV200:

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SV200 vs SVS

When I just had the Sous Vide Supreme I could cook a few meals at one time but now I have the SV200 strapped onto a 20L coolbox (it can handle up to 50L of water) I can cook at least 20 chicken breasts/legs at a time. As the SV200 is stirred you can pack the food bags much closer together safe in the knowledge that the temperature will be even as you’re not relying on convection for heat distribution. I have 5 different containers & stock pots (which I already had) that I can attach the SV200 to depending on the amount of food I’m cooking. When just reheating a meal for 2 from the freezer I just use a small stock pot so I’m not wasting water or electricity heating it. I now only use the SVS if I need two temperatures at the same time, which is rarely.

The one downside of the SV200 is the noise. It is practically silent but there is a faint whirr coming from the stirrer motor I guess. The unit sits in our open-plan kitchen and it hasn’t bothered us enough to banish to the utility room, but the SVS really is silent.

The SV200 is much quicker than the SVS for heating water and, when the SV200 is attached to the coolbox, it seems to be retaining the heat more. The unit is small enough to just store in a cupboard and not have to have on display. I also took the SV200 on holiday this year which I wouldn’t have done with the SVS.


Conclusion

As you can probably tell I am extremely happy with the Grant SV200 and, although the price was quite high, you can tell where the money’s gone as it’s a high-quality, commercial machine. The Sous Vide Supreme feels like a cheap kid’s toy in comparison - build quality is something they definitely need to work on. The SV200 is such a joy to use I have hardly put it away and my Sous Vide cooking has been revitalised as a result.


9 Replies So Far

I have the older model which I've been using for over a year, as well as a SVS.

I agree with your list of pros:
- speed (much faster than the SVS)
- flexibility ( attach to almost any pan/container)
- control (rarely moves +/- 0.1C, my SVS will fluctuate by +/- 1C
- efficiency when in a fully insulated container, rather than the partially insulated SVS

but I mostly find the SVS more convenient to use (apart from the annoying condensation that drips off the lid every time you remove it) and let's not forget, the SVS is less than half the price of the Grant, which seems to have gone up about 50% with the version change.

I would recommend the SVS to everyone but the Grant circulator is a nice but now expensive luxury, and looks comparatively expensive now against the Polyscience Pro circulator.
Hi Tony

I don't have the space to have my SVS out on the worktop so maybe that's where we differ on the convenience front.

I think it was a little unfair of me to make a comparison between arguably the cheapest and top-end sous vide appliances on the market. They're like chalk and cheese. There will always be a place for top-quality (and top-priced) products otherwise companies like Miele wouldn't be in business, and in contrast there will always be a place for cheaper products too.

While you've posted about the price difference you haven't posted about the quality difference which justifies (in my mind) the extra money the SV200 attracts, and can it really be compared to the Polyscience?

The SV200 is predominantly made of thick-gauge stainless steel with a full-stainless chassis. It looks like a workhorse designed to work 24/7 and fit's right in to a commercial kitchen (and is marketed thus). It also looks very serviceable with a few simple tools to take it apart. I haven't seen the Polyscience IC in person but from pictures it looks much more like a household appliance and is made of plastic. The Classic looks to be more comparable to the SV200 and it is a similar price too.

For some of us high-quality precedes price-point on the list of desirables and I think it is for those people my comparison & review applies.

Dave
Dave, all fair comment.

My only quibble is around your quality/price comment. For most people its about value, or perceived value, rather than quality (whatever that is). Quality is a very subjective thing, (as of course is value), I tend to prefer the 'fit for purpose' or 'good enough' definitions, others may use different definitions.

As I said I have both a Grant circulator and SVS both of which I use regularly both of which have benefits and drawbacks (admittedly not many re the circulator. Both will provide a good sous-vide experience and I'd recommend either to anybody thinking about investing in a sous-vide set up. In fact if you you are committed to sous-vide, you probably want both anyway :)
At the weekend I had the chance to use an SV100, the older model Grant circulator, and I'm surprised by the evolution to the new SV200. They have obviously spent a lot of R&D hours on the new model as it looks like a complete redesign, and not a rehash of the original.

I'm thinking of buying a second SV200 and getting rid of the SVS - the only problem being another £720. Does anyone want an SVS going cheap(ish)?

Dave
There is a new Polyscience model out now that is nearly the same price as the SVS at £383.99 from sousvidetools.com

This is the model I have just purchased to cook my baby back ribs. This is nearly as silent as my SVS but heats twice the capacity! I am really chuffed to say the least. We have just bolted it onto a gastronorm container which works perfectly. The unit is lightweight and easily stored in the draw when finished with.

Hope this helps. Vickie
Yes Vickie, this looks like their less powerful, domestic model, and certainly more equivalent to the SVS. I would be interested in whether you get the claimed control to +/-0.1C as per the spec. As I said earlier the Grant circulator is rock solid at the set temp, whereas I find the SVS temp moves around +/- 1C.
I have been thinking about a review comparing the Pro-Science model at $800 to the SV models, the cheaper demi costing almost $500.
I think you have covered it well.
As my own perception of value, I see no reason to suggest SVS to anyone. Maybe a 'Bed & Breakfast', where a 1c variation isn't too important. However, it seems to me that for the extra $300, or less, even a beginner should consider one of these circulating machines.
As I mentioned up thread, I have both a SVS and circulator, but tend to use the SVS more often for day to day cooking and the circulator if I'm doing something special or for large pieces of meat. I tend to leave the SVS on the worktop so find it convenient to use, the internal rack also saves a lot of messing about making sure the bags are fully submersed.

Once you start cooking sous vide, you soon want to cook more than one item at the same time requiring a different cooking temperature, particularly if you have a a 72 hr short rib on the go. An SVS and circulator is a good combination though clearly as circulators come down in price to match the SVS (not the case when I bought mine, I got the circulator first then the SVS), then 2 circulators could be a better choice.
Greetings all. I've just stumbled upon this blog site from googling "Grant SV200 versus Sammic SVP-100".
I'm not exactly sure where this blog emanates from, but I am guessing Europe. I'm writing this post from "the other side of the pond". I live in Los Angeles.
I'm a home cook, but I guess a home cook on steroids :) I've always gone for the best of the best, and I would say that I eat, sleep and breathe cooking. I'm very new to the world of Sous Vide, and to say that I am over the top happy, is an understatement. I've been cutting my teeth on a Sous Vide Supreme, and now I'm totally ready to up my game. Up until 2 days ago, I was vacillating between the Fusion Chef Pearl, and the Sammic SVP-100 immersion circulators. I've only just learned about Grant Instruments, and this is now a huge contender for me, and if I go this route, I can have one sent to me from Canada. I've driven myself a little bonkers with all of the indecision, but if this has ended up leading me to the Grant unit, then it will have been worth it. If anyone out there might offer up any gentle nudges or advice from knowledge of the various brands I've mentioned, this fellow from L.A. would be thrilled to hear.
My very best wishes,
Jeff


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