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SideKIC: Cheap sous vide circulator.

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207 replies to this topic

#1 cbread

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:05 AM

I fell across this just now:

SideKIC Kitchen Immersion Circulator

I have never heard of them and I'm wondering if anyone has any knowledge of them? There is almost no data on wattage, capacities, how tight the temperature control is, thermal protection? All a mystery. No surprise given the low price.

#2 Chris Hennes

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:38 AM

They claim accuracy to within half a degree (but don't say if that's °F or °C), and list 10 quarts as the maximum water volume (they don't state under what assumptions). Just looking at the construction it's clearly not intended for commercial use, and I wouldn't expect it to hold up long even if it works as advertised. But at $170...

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#3 gfweb

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Yes, quality is the worry.Heating elements live forever, but not temp probes or motors. And this unit looks like the motor must be tiny. But at $169....

#4 ScottyBoy

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:07 AM

Perfect for me to take and reheat product at a client's house? Hmmmm.......

Wonder if there's a warranty.

Edited by ScottyBoy, 02 February 2012 - 11:10 AM.

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#5 gfweb

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:15 AM

Perfect for me to take and reheat product at a client's house? Hmmmm.......

Wonder if there's a warranty.



If it lasted you for five or six jobs you could bury the cost in a slight increase in fees.

Of course the job that it died during would have a problem. And ghetto sous vide is fine for warming stuff.

Edited by gfweb, 02 February 2012 - 11:16 AM.


#6 cbread

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:11 PM

Everyone's listed all the same concerns I have. It's so darn cheap. I'm tempted to buy it just to try it out even if it may turn out to be disappointing. But then, unhappy memories of earlier "value priced" tool purchases sneak up on me, and I think maybe I should wait till I can justify a professional grade tool.

#7 jrshaul

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:50 PM

For those who are handy, it's possible to buy a water heater pump, PID controller, and SSR for less than that. Of course, the size issue is significant.

#8 weinoo

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 03:35 PM

It looks like it's made by this company,ICA Kitchen, LLC, based in San Francisco, CA.

From their web site:

The SideKIC came about because we were experimenting with sous-vide cooking, and realized there wasn’t a simple, easy to use, and (especially) inexpensive sous-vide machine for home cooks.


It's a great web site, listing, in an off-the-cuff sort of way, both the pros and cons of the unit as well as sous vide cooking. And lots more.

This is a great idea if it does everything claimed and it's made to last.
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#9 OliverB

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:14 PM

interesting as a secondary unit for sure, but I'll wait for reviews :-)

The over 1k price for most others is just silly IMO, somebody's getting a nice margin there I think...
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#10 Blues_Cookin

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 08:01 PM

Ordered one today, will report back
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#11 cbread

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 11:47 PM

It looks like it's made by this company,ICA Kitchen, LLC, based in San Francisco, CA ...

Thanks for digging that out!

#12 cbread

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:12 AM

I'm pleasantly surprised by their web site. At their product's price, the website could have been really cheesy, but they answered the questions most people would be asking quite well.

Now I really have to think about taking the plunge with this.

#13 ScoopKW

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 01:31 AM


It looks like it's made by this company,ICA Kitchen, LLC, based in San Francisco, CA ...

Thanks for digging that out!


That is a refreshingly-honest product website.

My big red flag is the tiny little heating element and circulator. It doesn't look nearly beefy enough to withstand what I would do with it, even for home use.

I still don't have a sous vide setup. And I'll likely go the DIY route. But products like this show me that it's going mainstream. And someday soon we might have the killer product that everyone puts on their holiday shopping list.
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#14 weinoo

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:34 AM

Ordered one today, will report back.

We will be waiting for your thoughts on what could be a nice surprise!
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#15 tikidoc

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:29 AM

I'd be interested to hear what everyone who ordered one writes, but at almost $180 (with shipping), it seems like a better idea to go up to the SVM/FMM kit for $330 shipped. It has a ton of favorable reviews on this site and others, and it is built to last. It is not as easy to transport as the setup above, but you could fit the controller and hear element in the plastic container it comes with for transport, and if you need to use a bigger pot, it is more than capable. It seems that for the difference in price, I would much prefer the flexibility that the SVM/FMM offers.

Edited by tikidoc, 04 February 2012 - 06:30 AM.


#16 Chris Hennes

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:22 AM

The difference between $180 and $330 is pretty significant! It's clearly designed for small-scale applications, but if you're planning on using it for a few chicken breasts, maybe some fish, the occasional steak, it might be perfect. The only way to find out is for some brave souls to give it a shot. Thanks for stepping to the plate, Blues_Cookin.

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#17 mgaretz

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:15 AM



It looks like it's made by this company,ICA Kitchen, LLC, based in San Francisco, CA ...

Thanks for digging that out!


That is a refreshingly-honest product website.

My big red flag is the tiny little heating element and circulator. It doesn't look nearly beefy enough to withstand what I would do with it, even for home use.

I still don't have a sous vide setup. And I'll likely go the DIY route. But products like this show me that it's going mainstream. And someday soon we might have the killer product that everyone puts on their holiday shopping list.


I agree that the heater may be its biggest issue. By their own admission it takes some time to come up to temp. The circulator is probably fine. My SVS has none and it works great.

I also agree that it will go mainstream and you'll see fully integrated units for under $100 (bath, heater, controller, circulator) from the major appliance brands like Cuisinart.

#18 tikidoc

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:24 AM

The difference between $180 and $330 is pretty significant! It's clearly designed for small-scale applications, but if you're planning on using it for a few chicken breasts, maybe some fish, the occasional steak, it might be perfect. The only way to find out is for some brave souls to give it a shot. Thanks for stepping to the plate, Blues_Cookin.


I agree the difference is significant. And if this thing is decently made, it might be perfect for an occasional user or as a secondary device. But at this point, it is certainly a risk, since there is not an established track record. In addition, it does not have the flexibility to do more when needed. I would rather spend $330 on something that I know has a good track record and has the capability of doing as much as I will ever need, than spend $180 on something that may or may not hold up, and has significant limitations, regardless of durability.

#19 ScottyBoy

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:31 AM

Since I'm just 20 minutes away from them I emailed and asked if I could come over and check it out. Hope they'r up for it!
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#20 Duncan Werner

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

Hi,

I started this company; let me address some of your questions. Just for the record, I'm clearly non-objective here. (I would have jumped in sooner but I had to sign up).

Regarding technical specs: the heater is 300 Watts, it's a fairly standard electric immersion heater. The pump is roughly 3.5 L/min (it's spec'ed at 4.0 L/min, but we run slightly under the nominal voltage). Both are rated a minimum of 10,000 hours; if you ran it non-stop, 24 hours a day that would be about 14 months. We expect that it should last 2 1/2 years in normal use. The housing is a tough thermoplastic (ABS/PC composite).

We try to be pretty upfront on the website: the biggest drawback is the heater, because it can take some time to heat up the water. That's the reason we list the water size as max 10 quarts. It can actually hold temperature well at larger sizes; recently we ran a test in 16 quarts of water and it held within .1 degree F for 24 hours. However it took more than an hour to initially heat up from 85F to 134F.

---

As far as our track record, and reviews (or lack thereof), frankly, we're new. We've been selling the machine for just about two weeks now, and we didn't send out review units beforehand. Naturally I think it's a good product, but I've been able to use it. I expect that user reviews will start to filter out in time, hopefully people will like it. However if you're not comfortable because it's an unknown quantity, then by all means wait - I'd rather have people know what they're getting than order it and be disappointed.

Similarly, if you'd rather DIY, then by all means go ahead. That's how I started - I built a cooker out of random parts. That's the kind of thing I like to do, but it's not for everybody. I designed the SideKIC as something my mother could use (and she likes it too, but again, not objective).

Thanks for your interest, let me know if there's anything else I can tell you!
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#21 weinoo

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

Hi Duncan,

First off, welcome to eGullet and the forums. Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond and I'm sure that before long, people will start posting about their experiences with the unit.

As you can see, sous vide is a pretty hot topic around here, and we (hopefully) look forward to your continued participation both in this topic and any others where you feel so inclined.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? Are you a culinary professional, hobbyist or perhaps just a mad scientist?!
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#22 pep.

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

The SideKIC looks nice as a SV-to-go solution. Personally, I'm not too fond of using ghetto SV for reheating purposes and for longer distances, taking bagged & cooked food with you is often not possible due to cooling issues (dry ice is not readily available in Europe). I know it's probably a bit early, but have you got any plans for a 230 V/50 Hz version?

#23 Duncan Werner

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 01:08 PM

Thanks! My pro experience is limited to dishwashing and prep when I was a kid. I've been a pretty serious amateur cook for some time, though. My background is in engineering and technology and I like to tinker; so I'm always experimenting with ways to improve techniques. For example, I used to do a lot of baking so in addition to experimenting with starters and yeast cultures, I built a steam injector for my oven (another good DIY project).

I can't recall when I got interested in sous vide, but I spent a lot of time studying up on the science and the theory - here, among other places, although I've always just lurked. I look forward to pitching in in the future!
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#24 Chris Hennes

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 01:16 PM

Alright, on the strength of Duncan sticking his neck out here I went ahead and ordered one, too. I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces.

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#25 tikidoc

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:46 PM

I want to hear more about the steam injector!!!

#26 Duncan Werner

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:01 PM

The SideKIC looks nice as a SV-to-go solution. Personally, I'm not too fond of using ghetto SV for reheating purposes and for longer distances, taking bagged & cooked food with you is often not possible due to cooling issues (dry ice is not readily available in Europe). I know it's probably a bit early, but have you got any plans for a 230 V/50 Hz version?


Plans, yes, but not in production yet. (Sorry about that). Actually there's not a lot we have to change, but unfortunately we can't do everything at once. If the US version goes well, we're definitely going to put together an EU version.
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#27 Duncan Werner

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

I want to hear more about the steam injector!!!


Excellent, this was a great kitchen hack. It probably should be in a different thread, though. I'll write up a post about it.
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#28 kayb

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the answers, Duncan! And welcome to the forums. I'm looking forward to ordering my SideKic, in week or so (mid-month is for discretionary purchases, first-of-month is for bills!).
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#29 nickrey

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:32 PM

For those who are considering this and worried about the heating up time, just run your tap water until it is a few degrees hotter than target (to allow for the drop in temperature when you add the food). Then fill your cooking vessel, inset sous vide setup and you're off and running - problem gone in one easy step.

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#30 Chris Hennes

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:00 PM

I agree, Nick: I very rarely allow my current "ghetto" sous vide rig to heat tap water from room temp all the way to cooking temperatures. Especially for high-temperature vegetable cooking, I nearly always preheat the water.

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