Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator (Black)
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Anova is the award-winning sous vide immersion circulator for the home chef. It features a 360° directional pump for maximum circulation, an easy-to-use touch screen display, and stainless steel parts. It is easy to dissemble and has a dishwasher-safe steel skirt.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I got a Coleman "Excursion 16 Quart" cooler to use as a water bath. Cut off the hinge pins, and made a corner cut-out for the Anova - it is a perfect fit, and big enough to do small roasts and birds. Because it is insulated, it cuts the power use to next to nothing, and the tight fitting lid, in spite of the cut-out, reduces evaporation to near zero.
I also got a cheap camping grille and cut it down to make two holding grids to keep the food in place. Works like a charm.
Great results, highly recommended.
My unit maintains the temperature within a 0.5F band (water in open air metal container, 70F ambient) consuming on average 165 watts once it has reached steady state. I repeated the same experiment in a closed polystyrene container (Styrofoam) and steady state power consumption was cut to approximately 75 watts. Without the Styrofoam cover, steady state consumption was around 145 watts so I guess it pays to keep the container covered.
The 200 watts difference between this model and the new model is only going to make a difference during the initial temperature ramp up and even at that, I think it should at most be a few minutes difference. Both units should perform the same once steady state is reached.
I like the unit but give it only four stars. Half a point off for not having the adjustable clip of the newer model, and half a point off for not having capability to start the timer countdown once the temperature set point is reached and for the funky on/off button in the back that sometimes takes several presses to switch on or off.
Photo shows the different UI that can be cycled by touching the upper portion of the screen while the unit is running.
Faced with a big dinner to prepare, we bought a Sansaire unit locally. Our comparison differs somewhat from the general online consensus...though we're just a single point of comparison, we did actually test both units side-by-side and one objectively outperformed the other, so it seems odd that so many online reviews lean towards this Anova unit.
Anova unit LOOKS like the better-made unit because it uses a metal sheath over the heating element and a metal impeller, but the Sansaire unit PERFORMS better. In reality, the Anova has a smaller heating coil and from an engineering standpoint, integrated plastic may be the better choice here because the metal has to be seated "just so" or it rattles against the impeller (loud and causes unnecessary wear and tear). The Sansaire unit has a more powerful heating coil, plastic sheath, and an impeller that directs water flow tangentially around the container. In the several containers we tested, the Sansaire reached target temperature faster and circulated water more evenly than the Anova. After removing from water, the Anova leaked all over (via slats in the metal sheath) whereas the Sansaire leaks through the drain holes on the bottom, which is easier to contain simply by propping it on a towel. Both were calibrated within expected temps vs. Thermapen. The Anova attaches somewhat more securely to the water container, but the Sansaire is faster and more accommodating of the various containers (i.e., the Sansaire can attach securely to pots/bins where the Anova cannot). Required water levels are similar for both.
The controls on the Anova are clearly more sophisticated than the Sansaire. When making the "buy" decision, I thought this was an advantage, but in practice, simplicity rules. The Anova uses a touchpad display where the Sansaire uses a large lighted array. This means I can look across the kitchen (even in the dark) to see the temperature on the Sansaire, but with Anova I have to walk over, stand above, and push buttons. Also, the Anova has an auto-shutoff timer, which tripped us on the first run....the whole point of a sous vide controller is "set it and forget it" functionality. The Anova shutoff timer activated when we were away, terminating the cycle and deactivating the heat, so the protein sat below safe temps for a couple hours---why not have the timer raise the alert but maintain state for a while?
For a fully functional device, I'd give the Anova 3.5 stars. Since our unit was defective, it gets 2.