/ sous vide

Nomiku v Anova

For a couple of years I've had a Nomiku, which I use for sous vide cooking.

I've produced chocolate, steak, short ribs - even rib roasts. It's great.


Sous Vide Steak, 53°C for 1 hour


Sous Vide Ribs, it takes three days to get them like this

Sadly, at the end of last year it made a loud popping noise, and went dead.

...and it wasn't just the fuse :-(

It was well out of warranty, and I had some short ribs which needed finishing, so I ordered a Wi-Fi Anova - mainly because (1) I'd heard good things about it and (2) it ships from the UK and I could have one in a day or two.

Given the opportunity, I thought I'd compare them.

These are both sticks containing heaters and pumps which you clip to a bit pot of water. They keep the water at a temperature you specify. You the put your food in a vacuum sealed plastic bag in the water, and it cooks perfectly.

First Impressions

While the Anova box is half the size of the box that the Nomiku comes in, the device itself is noticeably bigger and heavier. Part of that might be that the transformer is inside the 'stick' of the Anova, whereas the Nomiku has an external power supply. Both these devices work by attaching them to a large pot full of water. That's simple with the Nomiku - you can see the big rubber clip on the device in the picture above. Just attach it like a clothes peg.

The Anova has a clunkier approach. In the box is a large plastic collar. That gets attached to the pot, then the Anova slides into it. It doesn't feel as secure as the Nomiku, and definitely takes up more space outside the pot.

In Use

Switching On

The Anova turns on when you give it power. For the Nomiku, just tap the screen.

Temperature Setting

Firstly, the water in the pot needs to be between the minimum and maximum marks on the immersion circulator. Here the Anova wins - there's about a 10 cm range, compared to 5 or 6 on the Nomiku. That means it keeps working longer as the water evaporates.

Each device needs to be set to a target temperature. For the Anova that involves spinning a rather fiddly little wheel, set under the 'chin' of the device - it's blue in the picture above. You can set a temperature accurate to 0.5°C. The Nomiku is much better here - there's a huge green knob, the temperature can be set accurate to 0.1°C, and the knob changes it's response depending how fast you spin it.

I must admit to being very disappointed with the Anova system here - there's a big silver ring, why isn't that used to set the temperature rather than the silly blue wheel?

Set it going

The Nomiku is already going - given an temperature and enough water, it sets off.

On the Anova you need to press a play/pause button. It usually responds, but sometimes needs more than one touch.

In use

The Anova has less power than the Nomiku - which means it takes a bit longer to heat water to a desired temperature, and is less able to cope with having more water added to the pot (to counteract evaporation for instance). That's offset to an extent by having a greater acceptable range of water depth - you can use less water (assuming your food fits in the shallower water bath).

The cooking results are indistinguishable - after all a 53°C water bath is going to produce a perfect medium rare steak regardless of how you keep the water at the temperature.

The one exception is if you need more precision in your temperature choice than the 0.5°C that the Anova can offer. If your perfect poached egg is done at 61.7°C the Anova will disappoint you - it can't be set to that temperature.

The other noticeable difference as they run is the noise. The Nomiku is virtually silent. The Anova... not so much. It gurgles, hums, and vibrates - possibly due to that clunky mounting system. It's noticeable - when I was using it to do short ribs (63°C for 3 days) it was very noticeable, and mildly irritating.

WiFi

One thing the Anova does that my classic Nomiku doesn't, is connect to your wifi network. That allows monitoring and controlling the device from your mobile phone. I used this, but really it's rather a gimmick. I don't view it as a plus at all. After the first few days it's a feature I never used.

It's also very picky about the sort of wifi it'll connect to. I have 2.4 and 5GHz networks combined with the same SSD. I had to turn off that arrangement to get the Anova to connect as it was a configuration it couldn't cope with - unlike every other wifi device in my house.

The Upshot

I got a reply to my initial tweet.

And after a couple of weeks, they've offered to send me a replacement classic Nomiku and I'm taking them up on it. [1]

I won't be keeping the Anova.

If you're looking to get an immersion circulator I can certainly recommend the classic Nomiku - unfortunately if you're on a 120V power system you can't get them any more. There is a limited stock of the 240V version.

Alternatively there's a new wifi version - were I buying now I think I'd try that over the Anova.


  1. I've not received any incentive from anyone to write this piece. I actually received this offer from Nomiku while I was half way through - and the Nomiku people have no idea I'm writing this. ↩︎