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What is the best choice for a second sous vide machine?
- Yvonne Coyle
Note: The following article is an edited transcription from the video.
A recommendation for a second sous vide circulator? I'd say same criteria as the first unit. Pick a circulator that has the type of functions that interests you. The Anova Nano is a great bare-bones one, and the Anova Precision cooker has the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth. The Joule is more kind of fancy. If you tend to be a tech geek, the lack of physical controls on the Joule makes it fun to play around with!
And the pricing of sous vide machines now getting lower and lower, I would say it's the same as the best choice for your number one sous vide machine. There are many quality machines available which frequently go on sale. For instance, the Nano was recently on sale for about $70.
You can normally find the Anova Precision cookers on sale for $100 to $140, the Chefsteps Joule for around $120 to $150 and the Gourmia models for under $100 (Gourmia's new GSV140 Pod sells for $135). Gourmia has previously hired me to do some work for them, but I really do like their circulators.
Gourmia is not my personal preference because it runs a little louder than some of the other brands. Since I live in a New York apartment with my study literally in my kitchen, a machine's noise level bothers me more than some people who either don't work at home or aren't sitting in the kitchen all day long. But all of these brands make good sous vide immersion circulators.
For a detailed look at the different circulators you can check out my Sous Vide Machines section. And for more information on selecting one, you can read my comprehensive article on Sous Vide Machines: What is Best for You.
In my Sous Vide Made Easy video course, which launched last Christmas, I talked about the fact that there's currently not much of a difference between the sous vide machines. You can occasionally find some "off brands" at a Costco type store for $30 or $40 and even some of the more expensive home units for possibly $200. And as far as machine functionality, there's not a lot of difference. One might be able to heat a little bit more water, or reach the desired temperature quicker, or might be slightly more stable maintaining the temperature, but there's not much variance between models and brands.
The really big difference, and why I recommend you purchase a machine from an Anova, a Chefsteps, a Gourmia, or other well-known, big name brand is these companies have built entire organizations around making and selling the sous vide machines. A lot of the cheap ones come from someone purchasing a bulk lot of no-name sous vide circulators from wholesale places such as alibaba.com. Then they drop ship them directly to Amazon for sale. They don't even need to set up an actual company, provide any contact information or service the products they are hocking. That's how a lot of the cheap and inexpensive circulators are handled.
If you are lucky enough to get one that works as well as an Anova or Joule normally does, then you're probably fine. But if you get one that doesn't work or breaks down, it can be difficult to actually get a hold of someone to help solve the problem. We test a whole lot of circulators for the brand name companies, but we don't test many inexpensive ones because of this issue. There's no contact information provided and nowhere to reach out for further information or clarification.
So we tend to recommend the bigger name brand ones because of the support these companies have in place; you can reach an established customer service department. We've interfaced with people at all of these companies and had good success. You know Cole Wagoner from Anova is even in our Facebook group. If you have a problem, you can always tag him in a post, and he'll respond. But that's why I recommend going with those machines.
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