Should I Buy: A Circulator

To preface this article, I am both a very average guy and very average cook
Yes I can make a decent dinner, but I have no training and more than half the time have no idea what I’m doing. However, thanks to a magical device known as a circulator, you would never know that unless I told you.

A circulator is a device used for the cooking method known as “sous vide.” Don’t let the fancy name freak you out, sous vide simply means “under vacuum” in French and refers to the process of sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. The circulator is the specific device used to heat the water to that food’s optimal cooking temperature and kinda looks like a fleshlight.

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So, should I buy it?

Yes, you should absolutely buy a circulator. You will never cook a steak as good as one from a circulator. Now I know what you’re thinking, I’m supposed to take a nice steak, stick it in a baggie, and cook it in a pot of water? Yeah that’s exactly what I’m saying. Before you tell me to fuck off and close this article, hear me out.

Think about it for a minute
You’re taking this piece of meat, putting it in a bag with some butter, herbs, spices, or whatever other tasty shit you want to throw on it. Then you’re cooking it to an exact temperature (129ºF is a nice medium rare for example) and it cooks in its own juices while not losing any of its flavors or moisture. You’re sure as hell are not pulling off that feat of culinary competence on a grill. Once that piece of tasty meat is a beautiful pink from edge to edge, you pop it on a hot pan or grill for a quick sear and vualá, you’re putting out restaurant quality food and impressing everyone you know.

This thing doesn’t only turn out killer steaks
Now you can actually make a delicious piece of chicken, replacing those dry ass chicken breasts you’ve been eating all summer trying to get beach ready. Circulators also cooks amazing vegetables and foolproof fish so you can keep your obnoxious pescatarian girlfriend happy too. Still not convinced? Here is a good old fashioned Pros/Cons list to help:


  • It will turn you from a below average, to a pretty damn good cook, with minimal effort.
  • It makes you sound fancy and cultured knowing how to cook something “sous vide”
  • You can throw in your food after work, head out to the gym, and come home to a hot and ready meal.
  • It’s nearly impossible to under or over cook something.
  • Chicks love a guy who can cook.
  • Cooking for a girl is exponentially cheaper than taking her out to a fancy dinner. Plus it looks like you’re cooking to impress her, rather than saving half your paycheck.
  • Clean-up is a breeze.
  • You can do tons of cool shit with this thing, like infusing alcohol in hours, rather than days.
  • Your favorite steak house cooks their steaks this way.


  • They range from $120-$200.
  • Most food takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook so this isn’t ideal for a last minute meal.
  • Since most foods cook at different temperatures, you can only cook one thing at a time.

If you’re still not convinced after all that, you probably think Olive Garden is a good Italian restaurant
and you’re a lost cause. But even so, buy it anyway. This thing makes a great gift for your mom or girlfriend. It’s thoughtful, cool, fairly cheap, and you might get some good meals out of it when they fire it up. For this article we bought and tested two types of circulators. The Anova ($120) and Joule ($199). After we finish nerding out, we will let you know which one we like better and why.

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