VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker Review
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, strong circulation performance
Cons: Accuracy wasn’t amazing in our tests, attachment clip is far from our favorite
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Our Analysis and Test Results
One of our main complaints about this product is its so-so performance in our temperature accuracy tests. This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker but definitely something you should be aware of, especially if you are cooking steaks or other proteins close to the lower end of the acceptable temperature. We would suggest double-checking the temperature of your water bath with another thermometer if you are unsure or bumping up the temperature a few degrees if you think your sous vide might be heating up the water less than it shows.
We started by rating and ranking the thermal characteristics of this sous vide machine. We looked at how accurate each appliance is, how quickly they recovered to the set temperature after cold food was added, how stable the set temperature is maintained, and the time to initially heat. The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker overall did a little better than average, doing well in 3 out of 4 of our tests.
We like that this model is one of the faster to heat up, raising our test volume of water — approximately 9.5 quarts — from 48°F to 147°F in 39 minutes. This was one of the fastest times of the group, narrowly missing out on the fastest time by only a couple of minutes. It also did exceptionally well in our temperature stability assessment. We used digital thermochrons called iButtons vacuum-sealed in a bag to record the temperature of the water bath every minute for an hour, awarding points based on the amount of variability that was present. The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker did a phenomenal job, maintaining the temperature within 0.1°F for the entire hour without any thermal swings.
This sous vide immersion circulator did about average in the rebound test, failing to take a significant amount of time to regain the set temperature after we dropped in three frozen hamburger patties. However, it was in our accuracy test where we were the most disappointed with the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker. We found this appliance was an average of 1.03°F under the set temperature of 135°F and 1.32°F under when set for 147°F. We measured this by using a lab-grade thermometer to measure the temperature at 6 different locations, averaged our readings, and then compared them to the setpoint.
Next, we compared well this immersion circulator moved water around the container compared to its counterparts. We did this by injecting a small amount of diluted food dye into one part of the container, then timing how long it took the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker to circulate the dye to the point where the color was tinted a uniform color. This machine did very well, tying for the top spot overall.
This model took a mere 14 seconds or so to evenly distribute the dye — much faster than the three or more minutes it took some of the slower models.
Ease of Use
Our last round of tests looked at the user-friendliness and ease of operation of each sous vide machine. We looked at the interface and how easy it is to attach each sous vide to different containers. The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker delivered some middle-of-the-road results, earning it a spot in the middle of the pack.
While we really like the controls on this product, it was the clip that dropped it back in the rankings in our minds. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, with most of us feeling that we could set times and temperatures immediately without consulting the manual.
Unfortunately, we did not like the clip on this appliance at all. It does come on and off the machine but the fixed plastic clip can make it hard to attach to containers — particularly those with a lip.
While this appliance isn't without flaws, we think these can easily be overlooked when you consider the typically lower price of this product and think it's a great bargain for anyone looking to get started with sous vide cooking on a tight budget.
Overall, we think the VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker does a decent job overall. We aren't huge fans of its poor performance in our accuracy test but this can be compensated for if you are careful. The clip also limits your choice of containers but it's more than a passable starting point in our minds, offering plenty of bang for the buck.
— Michelle Powell and David Wise