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This is a detailed review of the Anova Nano, an inexpensive sous vide immersion circulator recently released by Anova Culinary LLC.
This circulator is the latest generation of the Anova line, with the design focused primarily on reducing the cost and size of the circulator, making it available to more sous viders than ever before. But don't let the low cost fool you, this unit has the design, quality, and precision that Anova has built its reputation on. The purpose of this review is to give you the information you need to determine if the Anova Nano is the right immersion circulator for your needs.
Anova Nano Summary and Recommendation
This summary will touch briefly on some important factors associated with the Anova Nano immersion circulator. Much more detail can be found in the sections following the Summary.
As you would suspect, the Anova Nano has some similarity to its predecessor the Anova Precision Cooker. It is definitely smaller and lighter, making it easier to manipulate and store.
The Nano looks less "industrial", since it eliminated the removable stainless steel skirt that made it easy to clean the "working" parts of the Precision Cooker circulator. The Nano is all polypropylene and cannot be disassembled for cleaning.
At the time of this writing, pricing on the Anova circulators is quite interesting. As mentioned above, one of the goals for the Anova Nano was to reduce the cost of the device. They accomplished this by pricing the Nano at $99, which is significantly less than the list prices of the Bluetooth and WiFi Precision Cookers at $150 and $200 respectively.
But this is where it gets interesting. Right now on Amazon the Bluetooth and WiFi Precision Cookers are going for $85 and $129 respectively!
This poses a bit of a dilemma for potential Anova purchasers. In my opinion, the Bluetooth Precision Cooker is a slightly better circulator than the Nano, unless the reduced size is critical for you. So, especially for $14 less, I would definitely go with the Bluetooth Precision Cooker. Moreover, if your sous viding habits are such that you believe the WiFi connection would be of value, you might want to consider forking over an additional $30 as a wise investment.
With this pricing structure, you can see why the Bluetooth Precision Cooker is the "#1 Best Seller" in Sous Vide Machines on Amazon. It will be interesting to see what Anova Culinary's plans are moving forward. I suspect that they will be phasing out the Bluetooth Precision Cooker and then keeping the Anova Nano as their entry level immersion circulator.
The Anova Nano has the lowest power rating (750 W) of all the circulators we've tested. It heats water slightly faster than the Bluetooth Precision Cooker, but is still one of the slowest circulators on the market. Depending on the way in which you perform sous vide cooking, this may not be a significant issue for you.
The Anova Nano is excellent at maintaining the target temperature throughout the cook, even at high temperatures. Keep in mind, however, that the majority of circulators on the market today are all good at minimizing the temperature variation.
There are two ways to control and monitor the Nano; the physical display on the device itself and through your smartphone via a Bluetooth wireless interface. Both are simple, intuitive, and easy to use.
A subjective factor you might want to consider in your decision making is the manufacturer of the Nano. Anova Inc., the parent company of Anova Culinary, LLC, has been selling precision temperature controlled water bath systems designed for laboratory, biotech, analytical equipment control, and culinary industries for years.
It is from this heritage of extremely reliable and accurate equipment that the Anova immersion circulator was born. Clearly the supplier of this unit has experience in designing, testing, manufacturing, and supporting equipment of this type. The Amazon rating of 4.2, with more than 4,000 reviews, tends to substantiate this assertion.
Having completed this review and testing, we have decided to make the Anova Nano one of our "Top Picks" for immersion circulators. We believe that this would be a good choice for a low-cost/entry-level immersion circulator. As mentioned above, it would be prudent to also research the pricing of the Anova Bluetooth Precision Cooker at the time of your purchase to see how it compares to the Nano.
To get all of the details presented in this review, continue reading below or jump to the area you're most interested in using the Table of Contents.
Table of Contents
Now let's get started with the Anova Nano review!
Anova Nano Basic Specifications
The chart below lists the basic specifications published for the Anova Nano. Please refer to this as necessary as I highlight some of the specifications. As I go through I will also point out some of the differences between the Nano and its predecessor, the Anova Precision Cooker.
||1.6 lbs (0.7kg)
|Min Immersion Depth
|Max Immersion Depth
|Min Pot Depth
|Type of Clamp
|Max Clamp Opening
|Wetted Part Material
||Can't be disassembled
Size of the Anova Nano
Since I have been using the Anova Bluetooth Precision Cooker for quite a while, I was surprised with how "nimble" the Anova Nano seemed when I pulled it from the box. There are several factors which contribute to making the Nano feel more compact and agile. The diameter of the tube on the Nano is smaller as well as the control panel at the top. Most striking, however, is that the length is about 2" (5cm) shorter. And the fact that the entire body is made of polycarbonate, makes it considerably lighter as well.
Because of the smaller size, the Anova Nano will take up slightly less room in the water bath container and a lot less room in your kitchen drawer when not in use.
Min/Max Indicators in Relationship to the Clamp
This unique relationship came into play when I was setting up to run the Sous Vide Machine Benchmark on the Anova Nano. I filled the water bath container with the 8 L of water used for the test. Next, I attached the Nano to the side of the container and noticed that the "Min" line on the device was about 1/2" (12.7mm) above the water level. This made it impossible for me to run the test in the traditional manner. This had not happened to me with any of the numerous circulators I benchmarked previously.
In order to run the benchmark without impacting the results, I ended up needing to use an external clamp to secure the circulator to the side of the container so the "Min" line was below the water level.
If you study the picture you can see quite the difference between where the "Min" indicator shows up on the two Anova circulators. The other thing I found strange in this relationship is that the "Max" indicator on the Nano is essentially at the same level as the clamp. In other words, the water level in the container will never go above the "Max" indicator because it will be pouring over the side of the container first!
Although I found this relationship quite odd, it does not have a major impact on the usability of the Nano. However, it does mean that you will typically need to fill the water bath container you're using to within about an inch or two of the top. In my case, it requires about 9 L of water in my water bath container in order to use the Anova Nano. This may be much more water than is required for what you're sous viding, which will have a couple minor impacts. Because of the additional water needed, it will take longer and expend more energy to reach the target temperature and require more energy to keep it at the desired temperature.
Another time this comes into play is when cooking a larger amount of food such as a chuck roast or pork loin. Because there is only a few inches between the min and max line, and the food displaces a lot of water, it's impossible to heat the water and add the food, otherwise the water goes above the max line. I had to heat up the water above the min line, then remove some water before adding the food so it wouldn't overflow.
Support For Numerous Water Bath Containers
The Anova Nano has the clamp permanently attached to one spot on the circulator. As a result you need a container that's at least 5" (12.7mm) high to use the Nano. Fortunately, most water bath containers for sous vide are at least this tall.
This new clamp design is unfortunate since one of the Anova Precision Cooker's greatest differentiators is its ability to work with a wide variety of water bath containers. This is because the design allows the immersion circulator to slide up and down in the attachment bracket, so it can be used with containers of different heights.
Moreover, you can easily rotate the circulator in the bracket to direct the output of the pump if necessary.
Unfortunately, the Anova Nano negates both these advantages with its fixed clamp.
The clamp itself has both a plus and a minus. I like the wider threads on the screw clamp, which makes it quick to tighten it up. However, the clamp does not open very wide, 0.7" (17.8mm) on the Nano versus 1.25" (31.7mm) on the Precision Cooker, so it would be difficult to put the Nano circulator on something like an insulated cooler, etc.
Materials and Cleaning the Anova Immersion Circulator
To cut costs Anova eliminated the removable stainless steel skirt that was on the Precision Cooker and went to a totally polycarbonate, "closed" design. Even though I fully understand this reasoning, perhaps it's the engineer in me, but I miss the shiny stainless steel and the ability to get inside to give the unit a thorough cleaning.
The Anova Nano is Inexpensive
Anova achieved their cost reduction goal and are selling the Nano currently at $99. Although this is a competitive price, they are, at the time of this writing, also offering the Anova Bluetooth Precision Cooker at $10 to $20 less than the Nano. Unless the size of the Nano is critical for you, I believe the Precision Cooker is a better deal at this point.
Anova Nano Performance Specifications
The primary function of a sous vide water bath is to maintain a precise low temperature during the entire duration of the cooking cycle, which could be minutes or days. There are numerous factors that go into determining how well the Anova Nano immersion circulator can perform this function. I will cover those in this section and highlight some of the similarities and differences between the Anova Nano and other immersion circulators. Please refer to the chart below as needed as you read through this section.
|| 32°F (0°C)
|| 197°F (92°C)
||0.5°F or 0.5°C
|Has Circulation Pump
|Can Direct Pump Output
|Maximum Water Capacity
||5 gallons (19 L)
|Water Level Sensors
||Max shut off/Min alert
|Amazon Review Count
Parameters Similar to Other Immersion Circulators
The Anova Nano has many performance characteristics that are similar to other immersion circulators.
Sous Vide Temperature Range
The Anova covers a temperature range which is adequate for all sous vide cooking and the variability is comparable with other units.
Sous Vide Water Bath Size
The Anova Nano can handle a water bath up to 5 gallons (19 L), which is comparable with other immersion circulators. I believe the Anova Nano would be suitable for the vast majority of noncommercial sous vide applications.
Many sous viders use either the 12 Quart Camwear Polycarbonate Container or the Rubbermaid 12 Quart Food Storage Container. Therefore, there is less than 3 gallons of water in the container, which is well within the capability of the Anova Nano.
Sous Vide Pump Circulation
The Anova Nano has a pump speed of 5 L/minute which is on the low end compared to other immersion circulators. However, I believe this is adequate when using moderate size water bath containers like mentioned above.
Anova Nano is the Lowest Power Immersion Circulator
The Anova Nano is specified at 750 Watts, which is the lowest of all the popular immersion circulators on the market today. I would like to mention two things in this regard. Depending on how you use your circulator, this may, or may not, be an issue for you. In general the Anova circulators do tend to have less power than average. To see if this might be an issue for you I suggest you look at how we addressed this in the Anova WiFi Review.
Secondly, I would like to point out that the rated wattage of the unit is not the only factor involved in how quickly it can heat the water. When we benchmarked the Anova Nano at 750 W, the heating times were faster than both the Anova Precision Cooker and Precision Cooker WiFi, which are both rated at 800 W.
Anova Nano Benchmark Results
The prior two sections presented the specifications for the Anova Nano. This section will demonstrate what actually happens when the "rubber hits the road". We have created the Sous Vide Machine Benchmark that runs the immersion circulator through a series of lifelike scenarios to see how it operates "in the real world".
|Room Temp Start Time
|Hot Tap Start Time
|Low Temperature Maximum
|Low Temperature Minimum
|Low Temp Variation
|Temp Rise Time
|High Temperature Maximum
|High Temperature Minimum
|High Temp Variation
|First Hour Power Use
|Total Power Use
|Sound 12" Away
The results of the benchmark are shown in the table above for the Anova Nano. You can see how the Anova Nano compares with other sous vide machines we have benchmarked.
Anova Nano is Slower to Reach Target Temperature
Although the Anova Nano achieves respectable start times, given the unit's power rating, the Nano is still one of the slower circulators that we've tested. As mentioned above, this may not be an issue for you depending on how you sous vide.
Anova Nano Accurately Maintains the Target Temperature
The Anova Nano excels at minimizing the variation in the target temperature. It limited the variation to less than, or equal to, 0.1°F, even at the high temperature.
Anova Nano is a Relatively Quiet Circulator
The Nano is one of the quieter immersion circulators we've tested. It will not annoy you when working next to it in the kitchen.
User Interface of the Anova Nano Immersion Circulator
The Anova Nano has two user interfaces: one on the device itself and one to the "Anova" app via the Bluetooth interface. I will present the user interface to the device itself first and then follow it with accessing it via the smartphone app.
Anova Nano Device User Interface
The device user interface to the Anova Nano is a relatively simple capacitive touchscreen with a large numerical display and six buttons. It is intuitive and straightforward to use.
There is just enough angle on the touchscreen that it can be read by cooks who are short and by your kids if they are helping you. It is also possible to read the temperature from across the room.
Ever since the introduction of the ChefSteps Joule, there has been lively debate around the need for a physical control on the device itself, or whether control through a smartphone is adequate. Personally, I prefer using the control panel on the device itself rather than through my phone. If you are like me, you will find this display quite comforting.
The numerical display is large and easy to read and will indicate either the current water temperature, the target temperature or time.
There is a button for the Current Temperature, Target Temperature, Timer, Reduce Time/Temp, Increase Time/Temp, and Start/Stop. The Increase and Decrease buttons have replaced the scroll wheel on the Precision Cooker.
Anova Nano App User Interface
Similar to the Anova Precision Cooker, the Nano also can be controlled and monitored through a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. Once you have plugged in the Nano and turned it on using the Start/Stop button on the display, you can then control and monitor the device through your smartphone (if you have connected the Bluetooth and you are within range).
From your smartphone you will be able to easily set the target temperature and time, then begin the cook. The temperature of the water bath and the duration of the cook can then be monitored as well.
There is one thing that is available in the app, that you cannot get from the physical device interface. If you have set the timer, and the cook has run past that time, the app tells you how long the unit has been keeping the bath warm since time expired.
One advantage the Anova Nano has over some circulators is when the timer is set, and then expires, the Nano will continue to keep the water bath at the target temperature rather than just shutting off. This is particularly important if your cooking near the top of the danger zone, around 130°F (54.4°C).
The Anova app also includes Guides and Recipes to assist you in your sous viding. We do not analyze and review the various sous vide apps since they are constantly changing. But from my limited experience, I prefer the ChefSteps Joule app the best.
Subjective Factors With the Anova Nano
The factors I have discussed thus far have been primarily objective in nature. However, there are a few factors that are more subjective. I will present my view of them in this section. Since they are subjective by nature you may totally disagree with my assessment - which is fine. But these are at least factors that you may want to consider as part of your purchasing decision.
Anova Nano Design
When you look at the Anova Bluetooth Precision Cooker it looks like a piece of lab equipment and it's built like a tank. By contrast the Anova Nano has a completely different "vibe" to it. With the minimalist sleek body design, smaller size, and matte black finish, it appears much more modern and stylish than prior Anova circulators.
Although it's impossible to gauge actual quality without rigorous testing, when you hold the Nano in your hands and examine it, you get the sense that it's well-designed and will have a long and productive life.
Precision Temperature Control Heritage
The Anova Nano is the fifth product from Anova Culinary, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Anova Inc. The parent company has been the biggest competitor of PolyScience in the area of precision temperature controlled water bath systems, refrigerated/heating circulators, and immersion circulators. Anova Inc.'s products are designed for laboratory, biotech, analytical equipment control, industry processes cooling, and culinary industries. It is from this heritage of extremely reliable and accurate equipment that the Anova immersion circulators were born. Clearly the supplier of this unit has experience in designing, testing, manufacturing, and supporting equipment of this type.
I hope this review of the Anova Nano has provided you with the information you need to make a well-informed purchasing decision regarding a sous vide immersion circulator. I encourage you to explore the site for reviews of other sous vide machines. If you do purchase an immersion circulator you may be interested in looking at our reviews of Sous Vide Water Bath Containers.
If you have experience with the Anova Nano, I would appreciate you sharing it in the comments
Happy sous viding!
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This article is by Gary Logsdon, my resident equipment tester, researcher, business partner, and most importantly, my Dad. He loves diving into the nuts and bolts of different pieces of equipment, researching what works best, and sharing that information with you.
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