We had such high hopes with the Instant Pot Accu Slim given our past experiences with their all-in-one pressure cookers, but we were thoroughly let down. This sous vide machine delivered one of the least impressive performances we have seen to date in our circulation tests and we found it to be far from the most user-friendly model we have tested to date. It did do a very good job of maintaining temperature in our evaluation but was far from the most accurate or the fastest to heat compared to the other models we tested.Editor's Note: This review received an update on February 14, 2022, with new information on the products we prefer.
Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator Review
Pros: Maintains very stable temperature, recovers quickly when food is added
Cons: Below average performance in our circulation attempt, so-so interface
Manufacturer: Instant Pot
Our Analysis and Test Results
Overall, the Accu Slim's temperature stability and speed at recovering the set temperature once the food was added impressed us the most. To score stability performance, we sealed a temperature logger in a bag and had it measure the temperature of the water bath 60 times over an hour. Points were awarded based on the amount of time each sous vide wavered from the steady-state temperature, with the Instant Pot Accu Slim maintaining a temperature within 0.1°F throughout the entire hour.
The Accu Slim also bounced back quickly once cold food was added, only taking a minute to regain the set temperature of 135°F in its 9.5-quart water bath once three frozen hamburger patties were added in a vacuum-sealed package. This sous vide was only about average in temperature accuracy, displaying an average error of 0.27°F under the set temperature of 135°F and 0.72°F under the set temperature of 147°F in our assessments. This was measured in six places throughout the container with a lab-grade calibrated digital thermometer.
The Instant Pot didn't do all that well in our circulation or ease of use tests, as well as the remainder of the temperature tests. This sous vide machine took a bit more time to initially heat the water than some of the other products, with close to an hour elapsing before the Accu Slim could heat 9.5 quarts of cold tap water to 147°F — something the top models did in less than 40 minutes.
In our circulation tests, it also fared fairly poorly, moving the water around in the container much slower than the top-tier models. We added a small amount of diluted food coloring in a corner of the container then timed how long it took each product to achieve a uniform hue. The Accu Slim was one of the slowest products in our tests, taking three minutes and 16 seconds, whereas the fastest models did this in 15 seconds or less.
We also weren't huge fans of the interface on this product, finding it to be one of the least intuitive of the group. You need to hit the "Play" button to start heating and then hit it again once the water is at temperature to begin heating. The screw on the clamp mount also doesn't spin super freely, so it can take a bit more time to get it mounted to the side of a container.
Should You Buy the Instant Pot Accu Slim?
The Instant Pot Accu Slim scored much lower than average for the sous vide group, and we have a hard time identifying a particular reason why you should purchase it. We've made plenty of great meals with this product, but so many other products scored significantly better, and a handful of those cost quite a bit less. The Accu Slim isn't the best value since it was easily outperformed by other models that cost quite a bit less, making it one we wouldn't add to our kitchen countertop.
What Other Sous Vide Machine Should You Consider?
The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker offered better performance in every testing metric in our review. We think no matter what your goals, you are better off spending a little more to get a better performing machine that will result in less frustration. The VPCOK Sous Vide Cooker offers similar temperature results with a much better result in our circulation tests. If you can find it on sale, the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano is also one to consider with impressive test results across the board and one of the highest overall scores in the group.
— Michelle Powell and David Wise
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