You may well be asking what ping pong balls have got to do with water baths such as the SousVant and you would be right to do so. It is quite well known that in lesser models, one way to avoid too much water evaporation is to have ping pong balls covering the surface but not with this one. In fact the lid forms such a nice seal on the container that you can be confident that even after a two day cook there will be virtually no water loss and your legendary culinary skills will remain intact (we know how to keep a secret!).
So what else is there to tell you about this kitchen magician?
Firstly, we love how it looks great in the kitchen. All too often with gadgets such as this, what they deliver in functionality, they lose in aesthetics and who wants an eyesore in the kitchen? Not with the SousVant though – with its elegant design, chrome finish and simple LED display, it fits right in – unlike the metal boxes that are the Caso SousVide Center and the SousVideSupreme.
So now we know it looks good and can retain water but let’s take a proper look ‘under the hood’:
Whilst the SousVant may seem like a lightweight, do not be fooled. This clever device actually holds an impressive three gallons of water. With the carafe (as the instruction manual helpfully calls it) weighing just four pounds, you don’t need to be a regular at the gym to use it. The same can’t be said for the SousVide Supreme which weighs around 13 pounds and that’s without the water weight, and yes, you do have to lug the whole thing to the sink in order to fill it up.
Unlike the SousVide Supreme and the Caso SousVide Center, the temperature options are pretty tight and range from 95 to 194 degrees Fahrenheit (35-90 degrees Celsius). However, that is plenty to accommodate the majority of cooks so does not present any major drawback. One area where it does fall down is the time it takes to set the temperature. To do this, you have to hold down the arrow keys until you reach the desired level. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this up, no matter how long you hold the button down for and we think that a wheel would have been a better option – still who wants things to go quickly in the kitchen?
The SousVant gets full marks for performance and we tested it on a variety of food types including a flank steak and a beautiful piece of salmon. In each case, the SousVant’s ability to sustain the water temperature throughout the cooking time provided us with succulent, mouth-watering results. It does this so well, that even when removing the lid, the temperature only dropped by a degree or two and even that, it quickly recovered.
We have already highlighted that it has a nice simple LED display and this is very easy to use. Even the biggest technophobe would have no problem operating the SousVant but what about those of us who like our features – how does it measure up? Well, to be honest, the SousVant is not exactly laden with extra functionality and falls short when it comes to the timer. Once the preheat finishes, it moves on to the next stage; no option to stop it, reset it or have any control over it at all. Not only that but the SousVant doesn’t even tell you when it has reached the pre-heat stage so you need to keep a watchful eye on it – particularly when you are using it for shorter cooks otherwise you might miss out on valuable cooking time and the timer waits for no-one!
If you are one of those people who worries that they may have left the iron on (or is that just us?) then there is no need to fear with the SousVant as it has a built in shut off safety feature which kicks in after 72 hours of inactivity. It also lets you know if your food is unsafe in the event of a power outage and the temperature dipping below 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Centigrade). Even better news, if the temperature has not dropped below 131 degrees F, it quickly gets it back up to your setting.
- Looks great in the kitchen
- Retains temperature and water levels really well
- Comes with easy to use lightweight carafe
- Limited options on the timer
- No pre-heat notification
- Offers only the basic of features
If performance is your primary decision making criteria and you don’t mind having just the basic features, then the SousVant is definitely for you. Priced at $400, it offers a competitive alternative when compared to the Caso SousVide Center ($500) and the SousVide Supreme ($430).