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Best home sous vide equipment

In the Sous Vide Equipment Forum
What's the best sous vide equipment to get? I know immersion circulators are supposed to be great but are they really worth the extra grand over something like the sous vide magic? And the sous vide supreme demi just came out, how does it stack up? I can spend as much money as needed, but I'd rather not waste it on expensive equipment unless it really is worth it. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.


15 Replies So Far

I think a lot of it is what you're looking for. In my opinion PolyScience makes the best machine (I've also worked with them, so keep that in mind) but it is definitely expensive. I've also used the Sous Vide Supreme which worked well and they just came out with a new "Demi" model that is less expensive. Finally, I've also had decent results with the SousVideMagic which is the lower end of the line but is under $200 if you already have a crock pot or rice cooker to use with it.

So, if you're just testing the waters I recommend the SousVideMagic since it's the least expensive. If you know you'll be doing it semi-regularly I'd suggest the Sous Vide Supreme. And if you want perfect precision over your cooking or need to cook larger quantities of food I'd go for the PolyScience Sous Vide Professional.

Hope that helps!
I use a Sous Vide Magic and it works great. My buddy has a Sous Vide Professional though and it's awesome.
I started with the Sous Vide Magic and it's allowed me to get a taste of sous vide on the cheap. It actually works pretty darn good considering the low price. Now that I've become a fan of sous vide I hope to upgrade this Christmas. Have to see what I can talk my wife into but the PolyScience unit would be SWEEEEEET.
I fired up the new cooker set up. The 1000 watt bucket heater and a 5 gal cambro container and it worked great! I did about 3 lbs of chicken and you could cut it with a fork. I placed the chicken in the bath at 142 and it dropped to 141 and recovered within 3 minutes. Because of the volume of water I had it was not even phased by 3lbs of chicken that just came out of the fridge. I think that the Poly unit is great for the lab or the restaurant but is overrated. If you want to spend $1000 for a unit for home have at it. If you have a bag break in your bath your Poly is going to suck up all the stuff in the water. Have fun cleaning that! I would rather spend some of that $1000 on an All Clad pans for searing my foods. The Poly unit is a unitasker only good for one thing. I can break down my components from my home unit and use them for other things.
What do you have the bucket heater plugged into? I have a Auber Ins. PID that I use for my rice cooker. Can I plug a heater directly into that?
I have PolyScience and it is great. I hope to get the PolyScience low end vacuum chamber. I hane done some research and would recommend against anything from China. PolyScience is made in Italy with a high end German pump. Steve
I fretted over what to get for a water oven. Immersion heater, dedicated appliance like the Sous Vide Supreme, Build it myself using plans from Make magazine, or the Sous Vide Magic. I ended up getting the PolyScience Sous Vide Professional. The reason for choosing this option is that I believed that the other options (other than the make-it-youself) would be limited by their fixed size. I have a big stainless pot that I'm currently using with the polyscience, but if I want to do something even bigger I can always get a plastic food-grade tub and I'm all set.

Getting a PID with the bucket heater seemed very doable but at this point I really didn't want to spend my time with my soldering iron instead of cooking. I think the designers of the PolyScience unit has probably solved several issues that I'd have to figure out if I take on the design side.

The Sous Vide Supreme seems very nice. The only concern I had was that it sounds like the water tub isn't removeable so I need to carry the entire unit back and forth to the sink to fill and drain.

Note that there is one downside of the PolyScience unit in that it is not silent like the Sous Vide Supreme. Not a big issue but it does create a fairly constant background noise.
What are people using for their vacuum baggers?
Has anyone here heard of or tried a SueVee temp controller? There's one on eBay, and it looks a lot like the Auber. My husband and I really want to try out the idea of Sous Vide before investing a whole lot.

The SueVee listing on eBay has a "buy it now" price of $129.95, but I just bid $55.00 for it. Before I go any higher, I was hoping somebody might have some experience with it. Thanks!
Haven't see that one before, I you can stretch to if I highly recommend the SousVideMagic 1500D at $159. Seems well built, has dual temp display (intended, actual) which is very useful. Support is also excellent.

There have been a number of people on the site who've commented they can actually pull this off with their oven. Might be worth seeing how stable (and low) your oven temp is so that you can have a play before splashing the cash?
Dean asks what we use for a vacuum bagger. I use the Magic Vac Maxima "professional double pump". I'm delighted with it now I know how to use it. Afaiac it has only one fault. You can't seal without starting the vac pump. However if the bag isn't inserted into the vacuum chamber it doesn't suck any air out, so it's not that serious. Pumps down very well indeed and a good solid piece of kit.
I had some extra cash this year and bought myself the Sous-Vide Professional from PolyScience. It's great!

I started with a small FoodSaver vacuum sealer, and then decided to try out the VacMaster VP112 chamber sealer, which I found online for $599. It seems to be the least expensive chamber sealer our there and seems to be working very well. It's big though, and I've moved it to the basement to save some counter space.

I also saw some plans to build your own immersion circulator/heater, and since I wanted to tinker a bit, tried that out. I modified the plans to have two separate outlets instead of mounting the heaters directly in it. The JLD-612 controller controls one outlet, and the other is always on as long as the power switch is on. I plug a crock-pot into the controlled outlet, and a water pump into the other. A neighbor with a lot more electronics experience helped me a bit with the wiring and cleaned up a bit of my original work.

It seems to work well, and is a little quieter than the PolyScience machine, but I suspect it might be a little less accurate. It also takes forever to heat the water, so I heat it separately before I start.

Anyway, I'm just getting started with Sous-Vide. It's amazing how a $3.49/pound steak came out. I'm glad to see so many resources online to educate me.
Just some questions and a tip. First the tip, buy a medium sized plastic ice chest, cut a hole in the lid just the size of your immersion pump/heater. Now you can cook even the biggest roast or bird in water and absolutely minimize energy use because of the nearly sealed insulated container. If the site could take photos, I'd show you a pic of my set up. Now for the questions. Has anyone tried cooking chicken (pieces or butterflyed) with the skin on and then putting them on the grill to crisp and brown the skin? Or, has anyone done skin on chicken them done the breading thing and pan fried it until the skin and breading is crisp and brown? It seems to me that this would result in perfectly done, tender, moist fried or barbequed chicken without drying it out or burning the outside and leaving it underdone in the middle. I usually brown (Mailarde) ((did I spell that right?)) my beef over charcoal in a smoker with so e wood chips. Comes out incredible. Never tried it with chicken. These methods seem a whole lot easier than skinning the bird, cooking up the skin in the oven and then somehow putting the skin back? Really, I think that is impossible.
I have both a SVS and a circulator and use bot fairly regularly. There are pros and cons with each but for home use I don't think there is much difference.

It looks like we are at the start of second generation SV equipment. There are 2 new circulators (and at least one other) that seem to be getting a lot of interest, both priced at $199:

Anova: http://anovaculinary.com/ , and
Sansaire: http://sansaire.com/

Both these look good machines and I wouldn't be surprised to see Polyscience reduce teir prices on equivalent circulators or lose business.


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