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will use it until it dies, but won't get another
on August 20, 2016
This is my first sous vide device, and a deliberate purchase--I didn't want a fancy unit with bluetooth recipe download capability that you had to use in your own uninsulated pot. I've used this about a dozen times since purchasing it a little over a month ago. I've cooked chicken breasts, pork roasts, steak, duck breasts, and even did a 36 hour "barbecue" of ribs and brisket.
I like the size of the unit (doesn't take much room on the counter, but was big enough to hold a split rack of ribs), the simplicity of the interface, and the fact that it's fairly low wattage and coolish on the outside. BUT there are two problems already noticeable:
1) the temperature differential is horrible--it''ll usually overshoot by 15 degrees on warmup and will be +/- 5 degrees in use. I set it for 130F this morning for steak. When it beeped I swirled the water, and the temp jumped to 141F, and I had to add ice cubes to it.
I don't think it's because of the thermostat or computer---instead, as far as I can tell, this thing doesn't circulate water. There's a small thermal sensor near the bottom front of the basin. If it thinks it's too cold, the heating unit elsewhere in the basin continues to warm up.Standard feedback loop arrangement, but the passive convection currents that form from the temperature differential aren't really enough to eliminate hotspots, even if you use the included rack. Swirling the water manually helps, but doesn't eliminate the problem, and you shouldn't have to do it on an otherwise "hands off" method.
2) As with other reviewers, I'm starting to question the longevity of the unit. No leaks yet, but the teflon has already peeled off in a few spots, despite the utmost care in cleaning and use (i haven't even used the rack most of the time, since it doesn't seem to help), and the exposed metal in the basin is starting to look tarnished.
In all fairness, all the food has been really good, sous vide will certainly change the way I cook, and I have this device to thank for that. But sous vide is about precision, and the difference between a few degrees is the difference between rare and medium and well, or overcooked versus soggy. If I wanted that uncertainty, I'd grill!
So I'll use it as long as it works (Which may not be much longer if my unit is about to go the rusty way of other reviewers' units), but I'll spring for something more accurate and robust when it's time to replace it.