Wancle Sous Vide Review
With the explosion of new sous vide circulators on the market, it’s only a matter of time before they get cheaper and cheaper. Is cheaper what the sous vide community is after, though?
Not in my mind. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn sous vide and cook a meal to perfection, then you’re probably willing to invest a decent amount into your equipment. As a result, I haven’t really bothered taking a look at most of the cheap “knock offs” on the market from many of the no-name brands you may have seen on Amazon and elsewhere. I think it’s best for the sous vide community to focus most of my time on brands that have a legitimate presence in advancing the technology and growing the community of sous vide such as Chef Steps and Anova.
All that being said, the Wancle has caught my eye with its somewhat unique design and a large number of positive reviews on Amazon. Looking at their Amazon storefront page, they have received 80 ratings in the past year, all positive. So despite not having much of a web presence, it does seem that some people like this Wancle sous vide machine and the company has apparently been treating customers well, so I figured the Wancle would be worth checking out.
How does this sous vide machine compare to the rest of the products available on the market, and it is worth buying in order to save some money? Let’s jump into the review.
The Wancle came packaged in a nice looking box that encourages you to “sous vide like a chef at home”. Inside the box is simply the sous vide machine and a small user guide.
What caught my attention on this sous vide machine is the interesting top handle/grip. Underneath the grip is a “trigger” mechanism that you squeeze in order to open up the plastic clamp running along the stainless steel tube of the heating element.
One thing you’ll notice right away when pulling the trigger is that the clamp does not open particularly wide. While it may not seem like a big deal, it turned out to be a major design flaw. When I tried to attach the unit to my polycarbonate sous vide container, I couldn’t even get it beyond the first tooth of the clamp, let alone secure it!
I had to manually pry the clamp open extra-wide in order to slide the circulator down enough to secure it.
This turned out to be more than just an annoyance when I realized the reach of this sous vide machine is noticeably shorter than others – about 2 inches shorter because there’s a hard-stop on the clamp that prevents it from sliding any further. This means that with the unit clamped on to my container as far as it will go, I can’t use the sous vide machine with 6 liters of water – the water line doesn’t come up to the minimum to meet the heating element!
In the above photo you can see that the water line is still about half an inch below the minimum required.
Of course, I could simply add more water – but that would be wasteful and require more energy to heat more water than is really needed. Also, no other sous vide machine I have tested had this issue. All were able to safely run with 6 L of water in a standard polycarbonate container.
It seems this clamp was designed only with those who want to use a cooking pot in mind. This is a huge downside in my book, as I exclusively use containers.
The Wancle sous vide machine’s display is pretty straight forward and easy to read. It shows you the current temperature and has a button to toggle the second, smaller display between your set time and your desired temperature.
The play/pause button is used to start or stop the cook.
On the side of the unit, you will see a small scroll wheel. The wheel will light up blue if everything is fine, or red if you have an error or it’s not yet running.
This scroll wheel ended up being a pain point. First, it felt very cheap to use. The resistance it gave on each turn/click was noticeable different, often feeling flimsy and imprecise.
Another design feature is if you are to spin the scroll wheel fast, it will skip more degrees or minutes to let you get to your desired value faster. In theory this sounds fine, but in practice it was much too quick to jump into “hyperdrive”, often causing me to overshoot my target even when making small adjustments.
By contrast, the scroll wheel on the Gourmia sous vide machine is very reliable and feels sturdy. I wouldn’t bet on the Wancle scroll wheel lasting very long.
I already talked a bunch about the issues with this clip above in the design section but it’s worth mentioning again how disappointing it was for anyone not using a cooking pot. Other products that use more of a pressure-clamp system rather than this teeth system that the Wancle uses are much better because you can adjust them more precisely and you don’t have issues getting them on wider containers.
Heater and Circulator
The Wancle uses a 850 watt heater with a temperature range of 77-211.8ºF. The product page claims to have “3D Circulation” (huh?) which seems to mean they believe their circulator moves the water around the container in all directions at once, heating the water faster and keeping the temperature more precise.
In practice, the Wancle did seem to move a good amount of water differently than other sous vide machines, but I can’t say for sure if it was truly superior in keeping water temperature more consistent. When it comes to noise, this was definitly one of the more quiet sous vide machines I have used, but not so much so that it really stands out.
I tried to test the unit to see how the heating element worked, but shortly into my test the unit started beeping at me repeatedly, and the wheel status kept changing between blue and red. It seemed like it couldn’t decide if there was an error or not and was caught in a loop as a result. The below video captures my experience –
I wasn’t able to find anything in the manual about trouble shooting this issue. The water level was within the acceptable range at this point (I added more water), so it just seems like a faulty unit.
Wancle vs Anova
My final thoughts to wrap up this Wancle sous vide review would be to skip it and get something else. If you’re looking for something on the cheaper end, I would suggest you go with the Anova Bluetooth model. Many people ask me which of these they should get since they’re similar in price, and the answer is clearly the Anova. Here’s a few key points on why the Anova is superior –
- Established US company with great customer service and support. You can get someone from the company to actually answer your questions or fix your issues.
- Many years experience of designing sous vide machines means greater quality and reliability.
- Better features and design in the Anova when comparing based on the sous vide machine alone.
If you’re willing to invest a bit more after reading this review, then the Joule is the way to go.