Oliso Sous Vide Smart Hub Review
We’ve been using sous vide as part of our weekly cooking methods for the past 7 years, starting with the Sous Vide Supreme (reviewed in 2009), then graduating to adopt each new sous vide newcomer since – Anova Sous Vide and Nomiku Sous Vide.
Our latest sous vide testing is Oliso Sous Vide System and Vacuum Sealer.
Prior to Oliso contacting me for a possible review, I was actually very familiar with their brand and their very first product, the Smart Iron. I purchased the Smart Iron when it first came out, and also purchased one for my Mother in Law. It’s a very popular iron for quilters, because just touching the handle lowers the iron, letting go raises the iron on feet. There’s no tilting the iron head to rest. The Smart Iron won Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2006.”
Oliso’s second and third products are the Smart Vacuum Sealer and the Sous Vide Hub. These products work independently of each other, but the entire system is what will make sous vide fit easily in your kitchen repertoire.
Let’s start with the Oliso Sous Vide fist, then move onto the Vacuum Sealer.
Oliso Sous Vide Smart Hub Review
The Oliso Sous Vide Smart Hub is 2 parts:
-Sous Vide “Pot”
You can use the Induction cooktop by itself as a portable stovetop (just use any induction friendly cookware.) When you put their Sous Vide “Pot” – or what they call the “SmartTop” on top of the induction cooktop, there are sensors that automatically detect the device. The sensors communicate and manage water temperature.
It’s a big appliance, taking about 1 cubic foot of space on my counter top.
The lid is glass with a thick rubber edge around it – which keeps the water from evaporating.
Included is a removeable rack, to help with even cooking if you have several bags of food. It keeps the water circulating evenly.
The Induction cooktop (what they call the Induction SmartHub) is the fanciest portable induction cooktop I’ve ever seen! According to Oliso, “The induction burner is capable of delivering up to 1500W for extremely fast heating, but can also maintain temperatures with as few as 2W.”
I like having a portable induction cooktop – sometimes I want precision cooking or fast heat. Plus, it’s energy efficient. The portable cooktop can be used anywhere – we like putting it in the middle of our dining table for Japanese shabu shabu, Chinese hot pot or Korean BBQ – all “cook yourself” type of meals.
The Oliso Sous Vide is simple to use – very intuitive. Fill it with water.
Set it on top of the SmartHub, add in your food.
Set desired temperature and cook time.
What I like about the Oliso Sous Vide
- It’s fast, because of the induction. Much faster than the immersion circulators like Nomiku or Anova.
- Because of the large induction heating element – the temperature is more precise than immersion circulators.
- It’s a well-used appliance.For our family, we sous vide a lot. It gives me freedom of time, knowing that whatever I sous vide, it will come out at the perfect temperature and consistency. We’ve been leaving the machine out on our countertop, right next to the KitchenAid mixer. In fact, I use the Oliso Sous Vide 5x more often than the mixer. So, it rightfully deserves a place on the counter.
- Because the heating element is seperate, the SmartTop (the pot) is really just a pot. You can fill it with any kind of liquid, not just water. That means you can sous vide without a bag (and use broth instead of water). This isn’t a feature I personally use, I’ve always sous vide using bags and water. But I guess it’s still a benefit.
- You can make steamed egg custards, yogurts, or any delicate foods that require precision simmering. Again, because the heating element is separate and on the bottom, you can fill the SmartTop with minimum amount of water for steaming.
- Easy open glass lid with rubber edge. No banging or clanging of the lid. Minimal evaporation – which means I can sous vide overnight without having to worry about too much water evaporating. I can see through the glass and check on my food.
Some of the Cons
- It’s expensive. Current price is $499 for the SmartHub and SmartTop. Include the vacuum sealer, and the price is $599. For beginner sous viders and dabblers, it’s quite an investment. I would instead recommend the Nomiku or Anova first (those link to my in depth reviews). The current price of the Anova is $199, though I’ve seen Amazon feature flash sales of the Anova the past few weeks. The Nomiku is also $199.
- There is supposedly an app that connects to the system, but I can’t seem to find it on their website or in the app store.
- The SmartTop pot is big, bulky and when filled with water, very heavy. Since we sous vide so much, we leave the water in the appliances, dumping it out and refilling once a week or so. But it does involve my husband doing it, not me.
- It’s big. Do you have room to store it or room on your kitchen counter? At least the pot and top separate and so you can store those separately. When using a Nomiku or Anova, I just grab an existing pot and insert in the circulator – so I’m only storing a small appliances, bigger than a stick blender, but small enough to stick in a drawer.
In conclusion, if you LOVE sous vide and see it as part of your weekly cooking, absolutely I would recommend this!!! Having the Oliso Sous Vide has streamlined the way we cook. Since it’s already set up, water is already inside, All I have to do is pull something from my freezer, place it inside the Oliso and set the machine. Hands on: about 2 minutes. Perfect dinner: whenever desired dinnertime is.
As I mentioned, for dabblers and beginners, start with the cheaper immersion circulators. Make sure you enjoy sous vide (though I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t!) before investing in this appliance.
Also, remember for the price of the Oliso (currently $499), you are getting the sous vide capability AND you’re also getting a very good quality portable induction cooktop.
Okay, so that was the Oliso Sous Vide. Here’s my review of the Oliso Vacuum Sealer.
Oliso Vacuum Sealer Review
After testing 7 different brands of consumer vacuum sealers, this one by far is my favorite. The vacuum sealers that we’ve been used to seeing and using are the FoodSaver machines, some as big as a a laser printer (who’s got room for that monster??) All of them have one thing in common: a wide vacuum and sealing strip that you lay your bag flat against.
The problem with these sealers:
- LOUD. Like an airplane taking off in your kitchen.
- Messy. Especially if you have liquids in your bag.
- Difficult to clean – raw meat juices can accumulate in the narrow chamber.
- Large, wide bag means 10″ of area to seal
- If your bag isn’t absolutely flat, difficult to seal – which makes sealing bulky items hard.
- Bags reusable, but the bags get smaller and smaller as you use them
Oliso uses a special re-usable bag that has a zip-top (no more cutting open the bag). There are 3 parts to the system. The machine, the bag and the disc-shaped sealer.
Place your meat inside the bag. We’ve got sea bass, miso sauce and butter in ours – to make Miso Sea Bass (based on our Miso Salmon recipe) and use the disc thing to seal the bag.
I chose “Moist” setting, so that the machine doesn’t suck up the liquid.
See how the bags are numbered on the side? (Also, take note that I was careful to keep sauce away from the #1, but see how #2 and #3 have saucy-sauce? I’ll talk more about this later.)
Each bag can be reused up to 10 times. Line up the number into the machine. This is the spot where the machine will punch a hole, suck up the air and seal the hole back up. The hole is tiny!
The Oliso Vacuum Sealer will automatically detect the bag and begin the process.
Within a few seconds, it’s done.
What I like about the Oliso Vacuum Sealer
- Compact. Fits in any of my kitchen drawers. It’s the smallest vacuum sealer I’ve seen, apart from those hand-pump things.
- Easy to use. No lining up the bag, making sure all parts of the edge sits flat and perfect.
- Quieter…still loud, but quieter than other machines Works more quickly, as well.
- No cutting bags open. Just unzip the bag.
- Reusable bags, up to 10 times. The bags are really sturdy – I’ve used one bag 6 times already. Since you don’t cut the bag open, the bag is the same size each time. I can seal several items into one bag, freeze. Then take out exactly what I need by opening the bag and then resealing it.
- Moist setting that really works. No more “meat juice” getting sucked into the vacuum sealer chamber.
What I don’t like about the Oliso Vacuum Sealer
- Expensive – $149 for the vacuum sealer starter kit (Amazon)
You can get a no-frills FoodSaver for half the price.
- You have to buy Oliso bags – though to be fair, each bag can be reused, so I don’t see needing to purchase refills for a while. But I buy bulk, third party vacuum bags from Amazon for super-cheap – those bags work for FoodSaver, but won’t work for Oliso.
- Twice now, liquid gets trapped right at the spot where the vacuum sealer punches hole and seals. You have to add your ingredients to the bag and be careful not to get any of the meat or sauce near the number you’re using. You certainly don’t want to trap any bacterial in these bags.
- I’m afraid of losing the disc-thingy. I wish there was way to easily seal the zip-top without using the disc-thingy. You could just use your hands, but the sealer ensures a secure seal
- I usually write the contents of the bag, directly on the bag with a Sharpie. It’s not a problem on the FoodSaver type bags, because I cut across the top anyways. But with the Oliso bags, there’s no easy way to label the bags. I’d hate to do it with a Sharpie – which would result in messy crossing out each and every time I reuse the bag.
- Only 2 bag sizes: quart and gallon. I can’t make my own bag sizes.
Despite these cons, I still love this Oliso Vacuum Sealer system. Because we buy in bulk and take advantage of sales, we vacuum seal A LOT. Would I pay full price for this? Well, I hate paying full price on anything. Costco has it for $20 cheaper than Amazon.
In case you’re curious, we made Chinese 5-Spice Pork Belly Lettuce Cups – absolutely amazing. We’ll post a recipe soon.
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Oliso Sous Vide Smart Hub Giveaway
Oliso provided a unit for an honest review & one for a giveaway.