Sous Vide Machine Benchmark Results
Lately there have been more and more sous vide machines entering the market every month. Each one has its own specifications, and pluses and minuses. Depending on what is important to you, different machines might meet your needs better than others.
To help showcase the differences between the sous vide machines, and let people know which machines perform better at certain tasks, we created our Sous Vide Benchmark Tests. We run sous vide machines through a specific set of tests so the results can be compared across machines.
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Sous Vide Testing Setup
We ran all of the machines through a battery of tests. You can read a full explanation of the tests, including more pictures of the testing setup in our overview of the sous vide benchmark tests but I'll give a brief look at it here.
We put each sous vide machine through a two hour test. We filled a container with 8 liters (2.1 gallons) of room temperature water. We set the machine to 140°F (60°C) and left it at that temperature for an hour. Then the temperature was increased to 183°F (83.89°C) and left for an hour.
At each step of the way we tracked the temperature including how long it took to heat up and the variability in the temperature. We also tracked the sound the machine was putting off and the power consumption.
Please note that this Sous Vide Machine Benchmark does not have the rigor suitable for a scientific journal. However, we did try to make it as "fair" and repeatable as possible given the amount of time and expense we were willing to invest. So keep in mind that small differences between the performance of the various machines being benchmarked may, or may not, be statistically significant.
To make the data easier to read, we have broken it out into 4 main areas of concern for sous vide users, including heating power, temperature stability, power consumption, and sound levels.
Which Sous Vide Machines We Tested
We try to test as many machines as we can get our hands on. In general, we try to focus on either major brands or new and upcoming machines. If you have a machine you'd like to see tested, or if you manufacture machines, please let us know and we'd be happy to put it through the paces!
Sous Vide Heating Power
The sous vide heating power focuses on how quickly the circulator can bring water up to temperature. There are 3 main data points we extrapolated, including how long it takes:
- Room temperature water to heat to 140°F (60°C)
- Hot tap water at 125°F (51.67°C) to heat to 140°F (60°C)
- 140°F (60°C) water to heat to 183°F (83.89°C)
You can click on any of the sous vide machine names to see more detailed information about them.
We also have looked directly at the question of how long does it take sous vide machines to heat up?
Sous Vide Temperature Stability
During the hour the sous vide machine spent at each temperature we measured the water temperature every 10 seconds and recorded it using the Inkbird THC-4 LCD Display USB Temperature and Humidity Data Logger. Looking back we can accurately see what the variance of the water temperature was, both at the lower temperature of 140°F (60°C) and the higher temperature or 183°F (83.9°C).
Sous Vide Power Consumption
Many people are concerned about the power consumed during sous vide due to the long cook times involved. We used the P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor to monitor the power that was used both for the initial hour and the total watts consumed during the two hour test.
We also have run a power consumption-specific test that looks at various types of sous vide containers to try and determine how much the container affects sous vide power consumption.
Sous Vide Sound Levels
Most people don't care too much about how loud their sous vide machine is, at least within reason, but those of us in small apartments know a little bit of a noise can make a big difference. During the test we used a RadioShack sound level meter to record how loud the machine was, both right next to it and a foot away.
Note that the ambient sound at these location was around 50 dB. So those machines registering 50 dB, essentially create no noise at all.
Hopefully this helps you understand how the various sous vide machines work and function compared to each other. If you have any questions or experiences with these machines please let me know in the comments.
This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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