Straight to the Point
The Anova Precision Cooker 3.0 wowed us with incredibly fast heating times and a super intuitive, versatile user interface.
Sous vide cooking wasn’t invented so much as it morphed into being. It originated in the 1960s, arising to improve food preparation consistency, and entered the fine-dining realm in the mid-1970s, where it slowly gained traction. Then, in the early 2000s, it earned widespread acceptance because of chefs like Thomas Keller, who used this new way of cooking to heighten their dishes. The idea is fairly straightforward: you place food in a vacuum-sealed bag and cook it in a water bath at controlled temperatures for a certain amount of time. The yielded product is more tender and consistent than, say, roasting or braising. The prohibitive factor that kept sous vide out of reach of home cooks was that the immersion circulator, the machinery responsible for maintaining the water bath at a consistent temperature, was expensive.
But about 10 years ago, companies like Anova broke down that entry barrier with immersion circulators for home use. Anova has been an innovator in the circulator field ever since, leading the pack in our reviews. In our previous testing, we named the Anova Precisions Sous Vide 2.0 one of our winners because its app-integrated controls made monitoring time and temperature easy. At the same time, its onboard display ensured that setup and calibration were not app-dependent, allowing someone with messy hands to avoid using their phone to complete the task. So when Anova announced the latest model of the Precision Cooker, we wanted to put it to the test to see how it stood up to previous iterations.
- Water Bath Test: We started with a gallon of cold water (54°F) and timed how long it took to reach 190°F, a typical temperature for cooking vegetables sous vide. We then held it at 190°F and monitored it every 10 minutes for an hour to ensure it kept a steady temperature. To verify its accuracy, we compared the temperature reported by the circulator with an instant-read thermometer.
- Cooking Chicken Breast Tests: We added two gallons of tap-temperature water to a cambro (in my case, 85°F; I live in Florida, okay?) and timed how long it took the device to reach 150°F. After it reached the target temperature (verified by an instant-read thermometer), we added a vacuum-sealed 10-ounce chicken breast. We cooked it for one hour and then checked the internal temperature. We performed this test twice, once utilizing the onboard controls and once via the app, to ensure the results were the same.
- Vessel Versatility Test: We attached the Anova to various vessels; a Cambro, a 5.5-quart Dutch oven, and a 12-quart stock pot to examine how easily it adhered.
- Usability Tests: Throughout the testing, we collected general observations that included ease of setup, clarity of instructions, and app functionality.
What We Learned
It Was Intuitive to Set Up and Use
The directions were largely pictographs that detailed the features of the cooker. With that, the setup was quite simple; attach the cooker to the vessel, add water, and then set your time and temperature. The new dual-line display was a nice touch, allowing you to view both time and temperature during the process rather than switching between them, like the older models required.
The app was equally easy to set up and walked you through the process of connecting to Wi-Fi. Another new feature was dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, which uses the different speeds on your router, increasing the strength of your connection. From there, you can set the cooking time and temperature and monitor the process from your phone. The app also had many presets and recipes like steak, chicken, pork chops, and potatoes, as well as some other niceties.
It Heated Up Quickly and Maintained Temperatures Well
Another new feature is an upgrade to 1100 watts of power, which heated water faster than the previous model. In our last review, the Anova Precision Cooker 2.0 took 60 minutes to heat up to 190°F, while this model cut that time nearly in half, heating the water bath in about 33 minutes. In our chicken breast test, we compared the results of the 3.0 and the previous model, both of which we used to heat two gallons of tap-temperature water in a Cambro to 150°F. Starting at 85 degrees (Florida room temperature water), the 3.0 achieved the target temperature a full five minutes faster than the previous model, clocking in at about 23.5 minutes. And it only took the 3.0 about nine minutes longer to go from 54°F to 190°F in our water bath test. During our initial water bath test, the Anova 3.0 maintained its temperature within 0.6 degrees of 190°F for an hour—quite impressive. For our chicken breast test, the internal temperature of the meat after an hour of cooking fell just two degrees short of the target of 150°F, but we can attribute that variation to the size of the breast and possible cooling before testing the temperature.
|The Anova 2.0 vs. 3.0|
|Model||Wattage||Time to Heat 57°F Water to 190°F|
|Anova Precision Cooker 2.0||1000||60 minutes|
|Anova Precision Cooker 3.0||1100||33 minutes|
It Was Versatile When It Came to Vessels
The 3.0 attached easily to Anova-designed Cambros, but it also did so with a 5.5-quart Dutch oven and 12-quart stock pot. One drawback is the length of the cooker (which clocks in just shy of 13 inches long), which requires a greater amount of water in larger vessels since the minimum fill line sits three inches below the clamp at the cooker’s lowest position.
The Anova is very easy to use, and we liked having the option of using the app or onboard controls. It also heated faster than previous versions and held temperatures over time with minimal temperature variation. It functioned well outside of a perfect-world environment, allowing you to use a variety of vessels for cooking.
There was very little we didn’t like about the 3.0. If we had to find a gripe, the unit’s length required more water to reach the minimum fill line.
- Dimensions: 3.07 x 5.43 x 12.8 inches
- Weight: 1.98 pounds
- Temperature Range: 32˚F-197˚F (0.2° accuracy)
- Warranty: 2 years
- Power: 1100 watts
- Price at Time of Publish: $199
What’s different about the latest Anova Precision Sous Vide?
The Anova Precision Cooker 3.0 is upgraded to 1100 watts of heating power (the previous iteration was 1000 watts), allowing it to heat faster and hold temperature better. The dual-line display enables you to view time and temperature simultaneously. Finally, Wi-Fi connections are updated, allowing it to take advantage of a router’s dual-band capabilities.
Do you need to vacuum seal to sous vide?
Sous vide translates to “under vacuum,” so cooking your food in the absence of air is a requirement. That doesn’t mean you need a vacuum sealer to accomplish that, though. The water displacement method, where you place your food in a zip-top storage bag and submerge it, forcing the air out of the top, and then sealing the bag is an effective method when you don’t have a vacuum sealer.