This is a thorough examination of the Nomiku, a low-cost immersion circulator that was initially funded by an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
When connected to a suitable container, this circulator will provide an excellent water bath for sous vide cooking.
If you want to get started with sous vide cooking, this review will provide you with all of the information you need to determine if the Nomiku is the right immersion circulator for you.
Nomiku Sous Vide Immersion Circulator and 2 Alternatives
ABOUT SOUS VIDE COOKING
Long before top chefs in the United States began using sous vide cooking in their high-end restaurants, it was a staple of the international culinary scene.
Many fast-food restaurants, including Chipotle and Panera Bread, now use sous vide cooking methods.
One of the most significant advantages of sous vide is the ability to keep perfectly cooked food for a longer period of time before serving without drying out or overcooking.
Sous vide cooking is quickly becoming ingrained as a basic home cooking technique option, thanks to today’s simple-to-use, low-cost machines.
It only takes a little knowledge to debunk and comprehend the differences between sous vide and traditional cooking equipment and concepts.
BASIC NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR SPECIFICATIONS
Nomiku’s basic specifications are listed in the chart below. Please refer back to this as I highlight some of the specifications.
SIZE OF THE NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR
The small size of the unit, which makes it easier to use and store, is frequently mentioned in Nomiku marketing literature.
It is true that the heating unit itself is small and simple to operate.
Unfortunately, you have a power box that is 4.25″ x 4.25″ x 1.63″ (10.80 x 10.80 x 4.13 cm) and weighs approximately 9 ounces (255 g) tethered to this unit with a thick power cord, and because this also needs to be manipulated and stored, I find that the Nomiku has no real size advantage over most other immersion circulators.
NOMIKU MINIMUM/MAXIMUM WATER LEVEL SPACING
The Nomiku, like all immersion circulators, has a minimum level indicator that requires the water in the bath to be higher than it and a maximum level indicator that requires the water to be lower.
Each of these levels has a sensor that will shut down the unit if the water level is not between the two sensors.
Although most people don’t pay much attention to where these indicators are located, they can have a significant impact on the circulator’s usability.
Furthermore, the distance between the two indicators is possibly the most important factor.
Typically, the spacing between these two levels on most circulators is around 3.5″ (8.89 cm), but on the Nomiku, the spacing is only 1.25″. (3.18 cm).
This necessitates the user paying close attention to the water level during the cooking process.
For example, during a long sous vide cook in a medium-sized water bath, the level could easily fall below the minimum level several times.
This would necessitate the user monitoring the water level on a regular basis and adding water as needed.
Another issue could arise at the start of a cook when you have filled the water bath to the minimum level and heated the water to the target temperature.
Then, if you add a large number of items to the bath to be cooked, the water level may rise above the maximum level.
Clearly, this is not a show-stopper, but it does necessitate a closer monitoring of the water level because there is much less margin for error than with other circulators.
NOMIKU CLAMPING MECHANISM
The Nomiku employs a strong spring-loaded clip with a silicone grip.
The clamp’s main advantage is that it is very simple and quick to attach the unit to the side of the water bath. It can also be used on a wide range of water bath containers.
The clamp does not open as wide as most other circulators, which may preclude it from being used on a container with a thick side, such as an ice chest.
I’ve also heard from users on occasion that the clamp slides down the side of the container during cooking, which can obviously cause issues.
HOW MUCH DOES THE NOMIKU CIRCULATOR COST?
The popularity of sous vide cooking has grown significantly in recent years. This is largely due to the widespread availability of low-cost, high-quality immersion circulators.
Fortunately for sous vide enthusiasts like us, the market has become extremely competitive.
Anova and Sansaire, in addition to the Nomiku circulator, have introduced low-cost immersion circulators to the market.
Sous Vide Supreme and Caso, on the other hand, provide a dedicated water bath. In this expanding movement, all of these companies are competing for market share.
The immersion circulator was initially priced at $300, which was $100 more than the competition. They recently reduced the price to $200, making them more competitive in terms of pricing.
The newly released Anova Precision Cooker, on the other hand, is $20 less expensive at $180.
All of the immersion circulators’ prices will likely be reduced over time as they compete for market share and reduce manufacturing costs.
A NOMIKU DIFFERENTIATOR – SAFETY
ONE FACTOR THAT DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE BASIC
- Specifications table but may be critical to some buyers is safety. This is one way in which Nomiku distinguishes itself from its competitors. The Nomiku has several safety features, which are detailed below.
TESTING AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE
- The Nomiku immersion circulator is ETL certified and meets UL STD 1026. This indicates that the device has been tested and certified in accordance with published industry safety standards by two different independent testing organizations. This is a time-consuming and costly process that no other immersion circulator manufacturer has undertaken. These certifications are not legally required, but if you are concerned about safety, you may want to factor this into your purchasing decision.
POWER LOSS WARNING
- If the power goes out during a sous vide cook, the Nomiku will resume at the temperature that was set before the power went out. Furthermore, the “Power Loss” icon, a lightning bolt with a line through it (see image below), will alert you that the food may have been below the target temperature during that time.
- This could be critical information, especially if the bath’s temperature dropped into the “danger zone” for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what may have happened in your absence if you have been away from the water bath for an extended period of time. As a result, the only option is to assume the worst and abandon the dish.
BACTERIA GROWTH ZONE WARNING
- When you adjust the temperature on the Nomiku to reach your desired temperature, a warning icon appears and the readout turns orange (see image above), indicating that you are in the FDA danger zone of 40 – 126°F (4.44 – 52.22°C). This is a great visual reminder to keep the temperature above the critical zone.
- The Nomiku immersion circulator is the only one that employs a separate “Power Box” rather than incorporating the electronics into the immersion unit itself. The designers claim they did this to keep the high-voltage components away from the water bath. As a result, they would argue that the Nomiku is a safer circulator to work with.
- However, I’m not convinced that the power box approach is any safer. Consider that the heavy power cord from the immersion unit to the power box is 20″ (50.8 cm) long, and the point at which it emerges from the immersion unit is typically 12″ (30.48 cm) above the countertop. That means the “Power Brick” is typically located on the counter approximately 6″ (15.24 cm) from the water bath container. In my experience, water frequently spills onto this area when: filling the water container, removing a Ziploc bag from the water bath, and taking the lid off the water bath.
SEMICONDUCTOR HEATING ELEMENT
- The heating element on the Nomiku has been designed in an unusual manner by the Nomiku designers. It is a powerful 1150 w element that is said to “never burn out.”
- If you place a high value on safety, you should carefully consider the features available on the Nomiku immersion circulator.
NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR PERFORMANCE
A sous vide water bath’s primary function is to maintain a precise low temperature for the duration of the cooking cycle, which could be minutes or days.
A variety of factors influence how well the Nomiku Immersion Circulator performs this function. As you read through this section, please refer to the chart below as needed.
The performance of the Nomiku is comparable to that of other immersion circulators. It works well in water bath containers up to 5 gallons (20 L).
The pump is slightly less powerful than the competition, but the heating element on the Nomiku, at 1150 watts, leads the field of low-cost circulators.
The Nomiku is a little noisier than other immersion circulators I’ve tested. One minor annoyance is that as soon as you plug in the unit, the fan in the power box kicks on, producing a low hum.
This noise is present even when the circulator is not turned on. When you turn on the circulator, the sound of the impeller pumping the water adds to the device’s noise level.
Because all of the immersion circulators are sold on Amazon, it is a valuable resource for determining what other users think of the unit they purchased.
Regrettably, the Nomiku is rated one star lower than the other immersion circulators. I read through the reviews and noticed two issues that were mentioned several times.
The most frequently mentioned problem was a lack of dependability. Frequently, the unit would break in some way not long after it was put to use.
Other reviewers, to a lesser extent, complained about receiving products that were clearly not new.
It’s unfortunate that these two problems occurred more frequently than you’d expect from a high-quality product. When the unit worked properly, reviewers almost always gave it five stars.
USER INTERFACE OF THE NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR
Nomiku is extremely user-friendly. A touchscreen and a rotating knob serve as the user interface.
One of the reasons the Nomiku interface is simplified is that it lacks a timer and thus does not require the ability to set it.
To begin a sous vide cook, plug the unit into a three-pronged outlet and the Nomiku “o” will appear dimly in the display. To activate the unit, press the screen, and it will begin to circulate.
The screen will initially show the current water temperature as the large number and the set temperature as the smaller number below it. Simply tap the screen to change the display from Celsius to Fahrenheit or vice versa.
To set the target temperature, simply turn the green knob. Turn right (clockwise) to raise the temperature and left (counterclockwise) to lower it.
One feature I like about the Nomiku is that the temperature increases faster as you turn the knob faster. This allows you to reach your desired temperature quickly and precisely.
As previously stated, temperatures that fall within the bacterial growth zone or FDA “Danger Zone” will be highlighted in orange so that proper precautions can be taken.
When the target temperature is reached, the temperature unit and set temperature will vanish.
To see them again, simply tap the screen or turn the knob. When the sous vide cook is finished, you can turn off the Nomiku by pressing and holding the screen for three seconds.
SUBJECTIVE FACTORS WITH THE NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR
So far, the factors I’ve discussed have been primarily objective in nature. There are, however, a few factors that are more subjective.
In this section, I will express my thoughts on them. Because they are subjective in nature, you may completely disagree with my assessment – which is perfectly fine.
However, these are at the very least factors to consider as part of your purchasing decision.
STYLE OF THE NOMIKU CIRCULATOR
The Nomiku is a bit more fashionable than some immersion circulators, which resembled laboratory equipment.
The Nomiku has a friendly appearance due to its smaller size, smoothly curved neck, and simple green knob.
NOMIKU IMMERSION CIRCULATOR DESIGN
The power box is the Nomiku’s most distinctive design feature. They are the only manufacturer who has taken this approach to handling the immersion circulator’s electronics.
Nomiku’s marketing team portrays this as a product safety feature. Personally, I think it was the worst design decision they ever made.
It is yet another component that must be considered when using and storing the device. It is also a source of noise generated by the Nomiku.
Fortunately, the designers reconsidered their design decision and chose a more conventional one-piece unit for their follow-up product.
Unlike some immersion circulators, you cannot easily clean the submerged portions of the device. If you’ve ever had a sous vide pouch leak during a long cook, you understand the significance of this issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is the point at which you may begin to wonder if you can safely leave your sous vide machine to cook your dinner while you are away for an extended period of time. And the answer is, of course, you can. You can leave a sous vide unattended, allowing you to do other things while your food cooks.
Nomiku is still in operation, but it no longer sells on Amazon. The company now sells pre-assembled Sous Vide frozen meals, but based on customer feedback, it will take some time for them to recover from a rocky start. They decided to close the company in December of 2019.
In 2012, the company began as a Kickstarter project. Nomiku was designed to make sous-vide cooking more affordable. The company began offering home delivery of prepared meals prepared using the sous-vide method in 2017, but it ceased operations in December 2019.
ChefSteps, a sous vide manufacturer, suggests using food-grade vacuum sealing bags because they are BPA-free and made of polyethylene (we like the ones made by FoodSaver). These bags must be sealed with a vacuum-sealing system, which is also available from FoodSaver.
Nomiku is most well-known for its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. However, when they introduced their product to the market at a price that was $100 higher than the competition, their sales suffered.
Their main differentiators are safety and power, but most buyers viewed these as insignificant enough to justify the extra cost.
The Nomiku is now more reasonably priced, but it competes with the second-generation Anova, which is still less expensive and has wireless connectivity to a smartphone app.