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Sous Vide Lids

Published April 2019

How we tested

We always recommend covering your water bath when you're cooking sous vide. This helps the water heat faster, slows evaporation so you won't need to add water over long cooking projects, and prevents things from accidentally falling into the bath. We usually use plastic wrap to cover ours, since we have it on hand in the kitchen and it fits any container. But plastic wrap is single-use, can become less adhesive with exposure to steam, and often bunches or tears when we remove it to check on food midway through cooking.

We've seen a number of reusable lids for sous vide cooking and wondered if any were as effective as—or easier to use than—plastic wrap. To find out, we tested five models made by two manufacturers, priced from about $10.00 to just under $25.00 per lid (all lids were BPA-free). We focused on lids that were designed specifically to work with either the Joule or the Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI, our top-rated immersion circulators.

A Versatile Lid That Fits Most Cookware

First up was the Joule Flip Top. It's made by ChefSteps, the manufacturer of the Joule, and is molded to fit that circulator. The design is very simple: just a circular sheet of flexible silicone with a Joule-size cutout. We found that it easily covered any container less than 12.5 inches wide, including our winning and Best Buy 7-quart Dutch ovens, our favorite 12-quart stockpot, and 6- and 8-quart Cambro and Rubbermaid containers. It was too small to cover the wider openings of 12-, 18-, or 22-quart Cambro and Rubbermaid containers; however, we rarely use the sous vide cooking method in containers that big. We liked that it was effortless to put on and take off, could be used with the pots that we most frequently employ for sous vide cooking, washes easily in the dishwasher, and rolls up compactly to stow away in a drawer. We also tried the Flip Top with the Anova circulator (even though it's meant to be used only with the Joule) and found that it actually does fit, albeit with a little bit of bunching around the circulator cutout.

Four Lids Meant for Bigger Containers

Next, we tried four rectangular lids made by Everie, all sold separately and priced at about $10.00 per lid. Each has the same basic design: a hard plastic lid that is hinged in the middle (so you can open it to check on food) and a hole for the circulator. Each lid is tailored to fit a specific immersion circulator and brand of container. We tested the lids that fit either the Joule or Anova circulators on Rubbermaid or Cambro containers.

Fitwise, these lids picked up where the Flip Top left off: All four fit the 12-, 18-, and 22-quart sizes of the Cambro and Rubbermaid containers that the Flip Top couldn't cover. We liked the hinge feature; however, these lids were too big for the vessels we most often use for sous vide cooking, such as smaller food storage containers, Dutch ovens, and stockpots.

Methodology

We tested five lids made by two manufacturers, each meant to replace plastic wrap for covering a sous vide water bath. The models we tried were designed to fit either the Joule or the Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI, our two top-rated immersion circulators. We tested the fit of the lids on a variety of vessels we often use for sous vide cooking: a 4-quart saucepan, a 7-quart Dutch oven, a 12-quart stockpot, and 6-, 8-, 12-, 18-, and 22-quart plastic storage containers. We tracked how well the lids minimized water evaporation over 6 hours, how easy they were to use compared to plastic wrap, and how easy they were to wash and store. Products appear below in order of preference, and prices shown were paid online.

Rating Criteria

Versatility: We gave top scores to the lids that fit snugly on a range of different containers that we commonly use for sous vide cooking.

Fit: We evaluated how well the lids accommodated the immersion circulator, docking points if they left any large gaps where steam could escape, and awarding points if they minimized water loss when compared to plastic wrap.

Cleaning: Our favorite products cleaned up easily in the dishwasher and did not show signs of wear.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*