There are only two important elements to successful sous vide: a clamp-style vacuum sealer and food grade seal bags. Be aware that you can only use them if they are approved for cooking. They are usually suitable for recipes with no liquid in the pouch.
If you are looking for another type that works smoothly with liquid, you may need to purchase an expensive clamp-style vacuum sealer, which is what most restaurants use.
The water bath capacity on most sous vide machine is anywhere from 5l to 120l. This is where you are going to place your food pouches.
In order to ensure proper circulation of water, there must be adequate space between the food pouches and make sure you don’t fill more than half of the water bath with food pouches. This capacity is determined by the power, size, and the water pump of the device.
While you’ll see the container on some models, other models might not have it. The water bath container has to have a powerful insulation so as to save energy consumption. Moreover, it should come with a special lid that reduces water evaporation.
This is important because of the long hours required for the sous vide process to complete. Some sous vide devices such as the immersion calculator allows you to use any cooking pot for sous vide.
However, more often than not, then don’t come with a dedicated lid for containing the device or the insulation.
Most if not all of the sous vide equipment you will come across will have a temperature stability of ±0.05oC because a tiny 1oC can make a big difference in your sous vide.
Immersion calculators perform better at maintaining a steady temperature because of their electronic water pump which helps in circulating water in the bath.
If you are concerned about how much space you can spare in your kitchen and countertop, you should evaluate what you are buying. Each device should be looked at in terms of how much space it will take up in storage and when in use.
Immersion calculators are cool to have when you don’t have much space because they are small and portable and you can use them with any cooking pot.
But if you like something more robust and powerful and have the space on your countertop for it, you can look at temperature control water baths. Moreover, some models can easily go on your countertop, without taking too much space or be look-like of ugly caricatures.
This is the capacity at which a sous vide equipment can heat water to a desired temperature for cooking. The more powerful a device is, the faster it can heat water and vice versa.
When you are sous viding, keep a keen eye on safety features on sous vide devices. Thus, you should always ensure there is enough water in the bath – something that a lot of sous vide equipment is capable of doing.
To keep water dehydration to a minimum level, devices come with dedicated lid to keep water at certain levels. Some other models will shut down automatically or raise a beep when the water is too low.
Some immersion calculators do feature a safety shield, which stops the cooking bags from making contact with the coil and pump.
If you can, buy the temperature control water ovens. They are very easy to clean as they don’t have any exposed parts. Some models are coated with non-sticky surfaces to make cleaning easy.
In the past, sous vide equipment are extremely expensive that only a few could afford them. Nowadays, their prices range from a scanty $200 to over $1000.
The most expensive items are still immersion calculators because of their accuracy which explains why they are mostly used by the crème at the top.
Truly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can achieve with sous vide. To give you an idea of what your sous vide device can cook – Vegetables, Eggs, Fish, Cheesecakes, Oatmeal, Stock, Steak, Chicken, Beef, etc.
This list is by no way close to complete. There are a lot more you can achieve with your sous vide if only experiment. In fact, many people are coming up with different recipes and trying out new techniques on their devices for something new and original.