Strip steaks are known by a lot of different names. Some are the exact same cut, others have very minor differences. When using sous vide all strip steaks can be cooked the same way, but it does help to know the minor variations of them.
All of the strip steaks come from the loin primal, specifically the strip loin section of the short loin. The cuts from the loin are all tender, including t-bones and tenderloin.
There are a lot of names, and very minor differences, so for most people, just remembering that if it has "strip steak" anywhere in the name, it's probably an almost indentical cut.
What is a Short Loin
The short loin is the name for the entire loin primal that you can cut your own strip, filet and t-bone steaks from. It usually still has the bone attached. It can be hard to sous vide a whole short loin because it is so big, but with a proper bag you could make an amazing presentation. It is normally cut into the individual steaks themselves.
What is a Strip Loin
The strip loin is the name for the entire loin that is removed from the short loin. This may be bone in or bone out and is can be broken down in many strip steaks.
What is a Top Loin Strip Steak
The top loin strip steak is found at top of the short loin primal cut. Like all the different kinds of short loin primal cuts, the top loin strip steak is a very versatile cut that can be cooked in many ways. You can identify a high quality top loin strip steak by checking how well-marbled it is. Buying this cut with the bone or deboned depends on personal preference.
What is a New York Strip Steak
A New York Strip is probably the most common and all inclusive name for all of the cuts. As mentioned above, they also all sous vide pretty much the same way.
Many of the names are also used interchangeably (or incorrectly) over the years, so they can all mean pretty much the same thing. That said, here are a few common varieties and how they "might" be different.
What is a Kansas City Strip
A Kansas City strip steak is basically a normal New York Strip with some bone on it. When making sous vide Kansas City Strip be sure that the bone is not sharp or it could puncture the bag.
What is a Shell Steak
A bone-in strip steak with no tenderloin attached is sometimes referred to as a shell steak.
Other Names and Similar Cuts
The other names for strip steaks seem to have no real different between them and the above. They are the Top Loin Steak, club steak, Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, and Top Loin Strip Steak. And any that are "first cut" usually have more gristle that isn't present on the steaks cut from the middle of the loin.
In France, it is called contre-filet. Then to confuse matters, it is known as a Porterhouse and Sirloin or striploin steak in Australia and New Zealand and a sirloin in the UK and Ireland.
Pretty confusing, isn't it!
If the strip still has the full bone and there is filet on the other side, it is a t-bone or porterhouse steak.