Sous vide
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Review: PolyScience Professional Creative Sous Vide Immersion Circulator


FCC Notice: PolyScience Culinary gave me a Sous Vide immersion circulator to use in my blog posts and for this review.


PolyScience is the godfather of culinary sous vide circulators. They introduced their first immersion circulator, the Model 73, back in 1973. Did PolyScience know about sous vide cooking back in the ’70s? No. PolyScience makes laboratory equipment with precise temperature controls; the 73 was invented for lab use.

In 2007, PolyScience was contacted by professional chefs – Mathias Merges and Wylie Dufrense – asking about their immersion circulators, and if they could be used in a professional kitchen. Philip Preston, president of PolyScience, is a enthusiastic hobbyist cook and immediately saw the possibilities. Soon after that, PolyScience started selling their first immersion circulator designed specifically for cooking – now known as the PolyScience Sous Vide Professional Classic, which costs about $1100.

This is the first sous vide unit I was aware of, and I lusted after one for years – but oh, that price. It is designed for hard use in a professional kitchen, and I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money.

PolyScience was paying attention to people like me, enthusiastic hobbyist cooks. (Sound familiar?) They designed new immersion circulators for home use, with prices to match. PolyScience Culinary sent me a PolyScience Professional Creative Series immersion circulator for testing and review. I’ve used it for the last month, and here’s what I’ve learned.

Built like a tank, with performance to match

I own a few sous vide units. The moment I picked up the PolyScience, I could tell it is a solid piece of equipment. The build quality is obvious from the weight alone, and the case is thick, durable plastic. The performance is even more impressive. My other sous vide units fluctuate around the target temperature by degree or two Fahrenheit; the PolyScience stays within 0.1°F of the target temperature. And it is powerful; its strong circulator heats up to 20 liters of water, and keeps the water moving to heat it evenly. PolyScience’s background in precise laboratory equipment shows.

The best accessory – a polycarbonate tank with a custom cut lid

I love the polycarbonate tank and custom cut lid that PolyScience makes for their immersion circulators almost as much as I like the circulator itself. One of my problems with immersion circulators is evaporation. When I cook sous vide overnight, or for two or three days, I lose a lot of water; I have to top up the tank to keep up with evaporation. The PolyScience immersion circulator fits perfectly through the custom cut lid, and all the water stays in the polycarbonate tank. (This is also more energy efficient – the heat is trapped in the tank.) I also love the size of the tank – 20 liters of water is a lot of space for sous vide.

A caveat

I like the display on the unit – the large numbers are easy to read from across the room. But, the controls are a little touchy. I have to hunt around my target temperature to get it set properly; I always overshoot a few times before I get the temperature I want. The other thing I didn’t like is the countdown timer. Once the PolyScience is running, it swaps back and forth between the current temp and the countdown timer. I rarely set the built in timer, so this this is just distracting – it bothers my OCD tendencies to have the timer flashing at me, like an old VCR that doesn’t have its clock set. But, really, these are both quibbles. I’m willing to live with these minor annoyances for the performance of this circulator.

Price

This is a premium piece of cooking equipment – and it is priced as such. The PolyScience Professional Creative Series lists for $399, and the polycarbonate tank and custom cut lid start at $65 for a 10 liter tank. That’s a lot when compared to $199 sous vide units, but this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for. If you want the best – and this is the best – it is worth the extra cost.

Conclusion

I love the PolyScience Professional Creative circulator – it’s the first unit I grab from my sous vide shelf when it is time to cook. (That’s right, I have a shelf of sous vide units now.) I cook Sous Vide at least once a week; it is so convenient to walk in the door from a day at work, grab a vacuum sealed bag of frozen meat, and toss it in the sous vide water. Then, I’m done with dinner’s main course – in an hour and a half all I have to do is sear it and serve.

PolyScience gave me this unit for free; now that I’ve used it, I would pay to buy it again. In fact, I’m considering buying another one, to replace the SousVide Supreme Demi that is now my backup. When I’m cooking for a crowd, a backup Sous Vide unit is essential – it gives me a second precise temperature that I can cook to, for side dishes or people who like different degrees of doneness. I am definitely buying the smaller polycarbonate tank with the custom cut lid – they gave me the 18L, and I like the flexibility having the 10L will give me with the PolyScience Creative.

But, enough about me, and my gadget buying tendencies. Should *you* buy the PolyScience Professional Creative?

  • Are you are an enthusiastic Sous Vide cook?
  • Do you Sous Vide for large groups, and like the idea of a 20L water bath?
  • Do you have the money to buy the best, knowing it will last?

Then, absolutely, you should get one. Highly Recommended.




Thank you to PolyScience Culinary for giving me a Professional Creative immersion circulator for my own use, and for this review.


Reviewed

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