Economical High-Temperature Water Bath Control and Monitoring

In the fanciful land of scientific suppliers, a temperature controlled water bath can run you hundreds to upwards of a thousand dollars. These devices are not particularly accurate in their temperature read out, and…  you know what we could complain about these buckets of filth for paragraphs, but let’s just provide you with an alternative.

In the land of home cuisine, you can buy a sous-vide setup for under $100. Sous-vide is a method of cooking in which food is in a water bath at an accurately regulated temperature, to carefully control the cooking process. Our favorite sous-vide gadgets are those where you can bring your own water bath to the party, and the sous vide part just clips on. Thomas Rybolt and Robert Mebane have published an article testing one of these devices and checking on it’s temperature accuracy. They find that it has a deviation of ±0.2 °C near 0 °C and ±0.5 °C near 100 °C, which is vastly better than the water bath in our lab which has a sticky note on it that says it’s temperature is 5 °C lower at 37 °C than it should be.

We just bought one of these, so we will update this post letting you know our impressions after several experiments.