Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1 Precision Cooker/Immersion Circulator Review

Anova culinary precision cookerThe Anova PCB-120US-K1 is a precision cooker (sous vide) and immersion circulator.  It was brought to production with the help of an incredibly successful kickstarter campaign. And now, it’s a pretty popular product.  Its unique design and affordability provides an opportunity for the masses to experience the Gourmet sous vide method in the comfort of their home.

Sous Vide is a method of cooking where the food is placed in a sealed bag, then in a bath of circulating heated water. This method typically takes longer than other cooking methods because the temperatures used to cook are a lot lower than when using other methods. The precision cooker heats and circulates the water. The circulation process ensures that the temperature is even. Also, more flavor and nutrients are retained when using this cooking style. 

The Anova PCB-120US-K1 has a very unique value proposition. I researched this product, and reported my findings below.

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The Most Precise Precision Cooker...?

Looks…

Take a look at the Anova PCB-120US-K1, it looks doggone good!  You can choose from three colors: black, red, and white. Its aesthetically pleasing design, look and feel certainly contributed to its success, but not entirely, it’s also smart. The Anova precision cooker is technologically up to date: it works in tandem with your smart phone.

A Smart, Bluetooth Capable Precision Cooker…

Raw, seasoned steak ready to go in the precision cooker.

Raw, seasoned steak ready to go in the precision cooker.

You can use the Anova app, but you don’t have to.  After checking around, the reviews are mixed for the Bluetooth and app.  The app certainly needs some work and will most likely be improved over time.

The purpose of using the app is to be able to automatically set your sous vide with the recipe and settings of your choosing.  It also sends you notifications when the unit is preheating, brought up to temperature, and when cooking is done. I can see how this could be useful, but feedback currently available claims the opposite.

Although, the app is getting better, Anova actually partnered with Serious Eats to produce exclusive recipes and content for their app.

Easy-to-use…

A lot of products are claimed to be easy-to-use.  And for good reason, ease-of-use is a big buying factor.  No one likes to use products that requires an advanced engineering degree to operate. If a product is difficult to use or clean, I avoid it like the plague.

But the Anova PCB-120US-K1 is actually very easy to use.  First you set it, meaning you attach it to the pot or container of your choice, then set the temperature and timer. It’s easy to attach the unit to the water container with the included clip.  It should fit on any container.  Then you prep your food by placing the ingredients in a Ziploc freezer bag(s), wait until you reach your desired temperature, then place the bags in the water.  You can then sear, broil, or grill the cooked steak to get that picture perfect finish. The video below does a great job of showing you all the steps.

Performance

In the video above, steak and scallops were cooked using the Anova sous vide.  They looked great, and I’m pretty certain that they tasted great too.  The sous vide method of cooking creates consistent great tasting results because temperatures are even and the flavor is locked inside the Ziploc bag.  Also, many customers have nothing but great things to say about the taste.

Sure, you can cook a perfectly juicy, medium rare steak in two hours, but there are things that you can do with the Anova sous vide that you might have never thought of.  For example, did you know that you can make Greek yogurt, brew beer, and even turn vodka into gin using a sous vide.

It is designed to work perfectly with 4 to 5 gallons of water.

As this is a low and slow method that doesn’t require your constant attention, it has a timer that maxes out at 99 hours. It’s nearly impossible to overcook using this method!

Warranty and Guarantee

The Anova PCB-120US-K1 comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee that starts from the day that you receive your unit.  It also comes with a 1 year warranty.  The warranty isn’t impressive, but it’s pretty standard.

Durability…

I am not certain about long-term durability.  The Anova sous vide looks good, sure, but how does it stand up to the test of time.  You certainly don’t want to own a beautiful piece of junk.

It is made out of thick, durable stainless steel and polycarbonate (fancy way of saying plastic).

So far, there is one major concern about the long-term durability of this product.  Some customers have reported rust and discoloration. The company did address the concern.  In short, according to the company, this issue is common, superficial, expected, thus there is no issue at all.

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Features/Specs.

  • Measures 14.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
  • Weighs 2.5 pounds
  • Adjustable clamp fits on any pot or container
  • Remote control capability
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe, stainless steel skirt
  • Available in three colors: red, black, white
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

Anova PCB-120US-K1 : What Do the Customers Think…?

A viral campaign definitely helped with the success of the Anova PCB-120US-K1, but it is more than just a hyped up media creation. Many of the customers whom have weighed in so far are impressed with the Anova sous vide.

The Anova precision cooker had, at the time of this writing,  a respectable number of customer reviews with many of them being very positive. It would seem that this product is top notch. There’s just one concern; long-term durability. We’ll have to see how it holds up over time.

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Summary

The Anova PCB-120US-K1 is a precision cooker that is popular and pretty-well received. It is priced very competitively considering all of the features and its abilities. But there is a risk. There just isn’t years and years of durability feedback available just yet.

However, I think that given the affordability, design, features and initial customer feedback, this is a good buy. I actually believe that you can consistently achieve restaurant quality results with very little effort using this machine. It does all of the work for you. There are many applications for it, it is perfect for people with physical disabilities, busy families, college students, etc. It is rated highly by the likes of “Gizmodo”, “Serious Eats”, “Forbes”, and “The New York Times”.

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