If you’re wondering where the word sous vide came from, it’s French for “under vacuum.” But if you’ve ever used a sous vide to cook the perfect steak, chops, or chicken, you likely don’t care how bad people mispronounce the name of this wonderful little kitchen implement. Plop a bag of food in water, turn on your sous vide until the food reaches the perfect temperature, then drop your meat in a pan or on the grill for a few minutes to sear it a little. It’s as close as you can get to having the perfect steak every time. When shopping for a sous vide, here are a few things to consider.

Heating Speed

This small sous vide, which is half the size of many normal sous vides, has 1,100 watts of power for fast water heating. Breville

Since a sous vide works by cooking bagged meat or other food to the temperature of the surrounding water, getting the water up to your preferred temperature quickly helps any meal be ready faster. Typically, a higher wattage sous vide will heat water more quickly than those with lower wattages, so if you don’t have all the time in the world, power is your friend. A sous vide that is very precise in its temperature setting is also a good asset. If you’re very serious about meat done right, quality is more important than timing. A sous vide that heats water quickly and is good at keeping it at a very precise temperature is the best of both worlds—and a cook’s best friend.

Ease of Use

This sous vide can be controlled with your smartphone via a WiFi connection. Anova

Like most kitchen appliances, some sous vide models are easier to use than others. If you’re an engineering genius, that won’t matter much. But if you have a hard time following instructions close enough to put the case on your smartphone, ease of use might be your top priority. The best sous vide models require you to simply attach them to your pot, turn them on, and set the temperature. Large temperature readouts make monitoring them easier. Many sous vide models can be operated by your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth, making using them to perfectly cook your favorite meat even more convenient.


This slightly down-sized sous vide will easily attach to any size pot. Anova

Flexibility in this case is mainly whether a sous vide can fit on just one size pot or on multiple different pots. Of course, one that fits multiple pots is handier to use for everyday cooking. Flexibility also describes one of the other positive aspects of sous vide cooking. With a sous vide, you can actually cook your food several hours in advance if you’d like, then let it stay in the bag in the hot water until you’re ready to sear and serve it. Consequently, those on the go can thaw steaks in the evening, marinade them over night in the fridge, pop them in the sous vide before they head to work in the morning, then quickly get them ready to serve when the get home that evening. That’s a definite win-win.