by jean-francois on Aug.22, 2011, under
Sous vide equipment manufacturers or distributors are always presenting their products in the best way, emphasizing on advantages but never on drawbacks.
This section of Sousvidecooking.org blog is dedicated to reviews and tests of the most popular equipment used by professionals and sous vide enthusiasts in general.
For each piece of sous vide equipment I made a review (I). Each product is also compared in different pages with all the other products of the market (II). A summary of all products is also available (III). Comparison between two products is not an easy thing. Therefore, I have selected objective criteria that will be the same for all tests:
- Size: if you are an individual the place taken by your sous vide equipment is an issue, especially if you have a small kitchen. Will your sous vide appliance enter in one of your kitchen drawers?
- Weight: can you manage with a 5 Kg machine? If you are a professional, and you need carrying immersion circulators for demos, weight is important for you.
- Power: the more powerful your appliance is the faster it will heat the water contained in your water bath.
- Max. tank/vessel capacity: if you are a professional and doing catering, 50 litres capacity could be important for you. If you are an individual, 20 litres capacity is totally sufficient.
- Safety: cooking sous vide can take very long, from some minutes (fish) to days (special cuts of meat). Even at 50°C water evaporates. For food safety reasons a pouch must always be immersed in water. This is a reason why a float switch system is the best way to warn cooks about a low water level in a water bath.
- Stability: cooking sous vide is precise, 1.5°C temperature variation can lead to different results.
- Maintenance, cleaning of the sous vide equipment : key point if you are an intensive user or a professional.
I hope these pages will help you to choose the best equipment according to your needs.
I.1. Immersion Circulator
I.2. Non stirred water bath
- Sousvidesupreme (coming soon)
I.3. PID Controller
- Freshmealssolution : Sousvidemagic (coming soon)
II. Sous vide equipment comparison (detailled)
- Addelice swid Vs Julabo Pearl
- Vac-star SV Chef Vs Polyscience SV Professional
- Addelice swid Vs Polyscience Sous Vide Professional (coming soon)
- Addelice Swid Vs Sousvidesupreme (coming soon)
- Addelice Swid Vs Sousvidemagic (coming soon)
- Julabo Pearl Vs Polyscience Sous vide Professional (coming soon)
- Julabo Pearl Vs Sousvidesupreme (coming soon)
- Julabo Pearl Vs Sousvidemagic (coming soon)
- Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Vs Sousvidesupreme (coming soon)
- Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Vs Sousvidemagic (coming soon)
- Sousvidemagic Vs Sousvidesupreme (coming soon)
III. Sous vide equipment comparison (summary) : clic on the image below to download the Pdf doc
Coming soon a review of the most representative sous vide equipment of the market (from the left to the right) on this page :
- SousVide Professional of Polyscience (Immersion Circulator)
- Sous Vide Chef of Vac-Star (Immersion Cirdulator) Swid by Addélice (Immersion Circulator)
- Pearl by Julabo (Immersion Circulator)
- SousVideMagic by FreshMealsSolutions + Bubbler (PID Controler SVM-FMM1500D)
- SousVide Supreme (Unstired PID controlled water bath)
- Sous Vide Chef of Vac-Star (Immersion Circulator)
In June 2009 I purchased the SousVideMagic 1500B and my review was globally very positive.
In August 2009 FreshMealsSolutions spread the information about a new product, a “Bubbler” called FreshMealsMagic (FMM). Prior to the launch of the FMM, this new device has been commented in this post.
I also have to admit that I was doubting on the capability of the FMM to stabilize in an accurate way a waterbath.
The core product of FreshMealsSolutions is the SousVideMagic PID controller (now the 1500D version). In my opinion, the main improvement of this PID controller version is the 2nd digital screen (green screen on the above picture). Setting the temperature and the cooking time becomes easier and “readable”. A second screen indicating the cooking time is a function that is strangely not implemented on most Immersion Circulators.
The bubbler (FMM) can be summarized as a heater element together with a probe and a hose expulsing air. The FMM replaces the usual ricecooker plugged to the SousVideMagic. Therefore the FMM offers the possibility to use pots of any size. Potentially the FMM and the SVM become highly versatile.
The Bubbler solution (contrary to immersion circulators that are using a circulation pump) needs a new device to pulse the air: a small air pump (see on the 2 above pictures). For non American users, the input power cord and an adaptor for the pump should be purchased in you own country (approx. EUR 20 alltogether).
I tested the temperature accuracy of the FFM together with the SousVideMagic controller. As from now I made a technical test without cooking food stuff. For that purpose I used my Thermoworks K type thermometer. The test was conclusive. I tried to find cold spots (once again this test was done without any plastic pouches) and globally the temperature was almost the same everywhere.
Regarding temperature stability: I filled the container with 12 liters of water at 35°C (starting temperature). I set the PID controller to 56°C. The SVM 1500D is 2,000 W and therefore reached the target temperature quickly. I haven’t tuned the SVM and the stability of the temperature was nevertheless very good (in the range from (55.9°C to 56.3°C).
To sum up:
- This new sous vide kit makes FreshMealsSolutions entering in the world of the versatile sous vide equipments.
- Temperature accuracy is very good (I have not especially insulated the container at the occasion of this review).
- Temperature stability seems good but I should do futher tests cooking some food.
- I like the possibility to check the temperature and the cooking time at the same time!
- Main drawback: this sous vide piece of equipemnt is composed of 3 devices and 7 cables…what a mess!
Cost of the SousVideMagic 1500D (PID Controller) + FreshMealsMagic (Bubbler):
- SousVideMagic 1500D: USD 160
- FreashMealsMagic: USD 140
- Sending costs to Europe: USD 110
- Custom duties (Europe): EUR 50
- Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 20.
Grant total (1 EUR = 1.25 USD): approx. EUR 372 (USD 446).
Today Polyscience made the demonstration that a non stired water bath cannot be as efficient as an immersion circulator. It is funny to see that Polyscience directly mentions Sousvidesupreme in the TAG of the article.
Polyscience video indicates clearely that a non stired water bath has a longer response time to reach the desired core temperature. Therefore, it is obvious that Douglas Baldwin cooking tables sould be used with care. Douglas Baldwin indicates in the Pratical Guide to Sous Vide “With all these digital controllers, I highly recommend setting the temperature offset (measured near the temperature at which you wish to cook) using a high quality digital thermometer. Indeed, at the default settings the thermistors used in the above controllers can easily be off 2–4°F (1–2°C)”.
Freshmealsolutions mentions clearely in the user manual of the SousVideMagic : “If you don’t have a proper food core temperature sensor probe, always cook at desired core temperature settings for the duration as specified by reliable recipes with an additional safety factor of at least 25% longer…”
In addition the manual indicates “The default settings are designed to overshoot 1 or 2 degree higher for safety reasons. You can reduce the overshoot by making your own PID adjustments. See the document “PID Tuning”.”
Remember end August Fresh Meals Solutions announced the launch (end 2009) of the FreshMealsMagic.
In the meantime Frank Hsu (you secretive thing!) has put up the SousVideMagic 1500D for sale.
What is new with the SousVideMagic 1500D compared to the 1500 B/C versions?
- The power capacity has been raised from 2,000 W to 3,000 W
- 2 digit screens are now available (one for the temperature and one for the timer)
- Possibility to control the temperature of a large pot, up to 35 L
The price of te SousVideMagic 1500D is still very competitive USD 159!
For your information the global cost for the SousVideMagic 1500D to be sent to Europe should be around:
- SousVideMagic 1500D: USD 159 + USD 25 = USD 184 incl. sending to Europe
- Custom duties: EUR 35
- Basic rice cooker: EUR 45
- Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 16.
Grant total (1 EUR = 1.5 USD): EUR 218
Frank, what about the FreshMealsMagic Bubbler? When will you launch it?