Out of all the best sous vide machines on the market, the Joule is a unique device in its design and concept. It’s the most compact sous vide cooker you can get, and continues to outperform many others with temperature accuracy, heating speed and cooking outcomes. This year, however, has seen major changes with ChefSteps, the original manufacturer, which was acquired by the high-end appliance maker Breville. As such, we take a look again at this leading smart kitchen device in our Joule Sous Vide review.
Magnetic bottom and clip
10 gal / 40 L capacity
Quality cooking guides
App functionality limited
1 year warranty only
Customer support average
Joule Sous Vide Review Summary
The Joule Sous Vide scores high for design, versatility and performance. If you’re comfortable with the tech, and looking for something stylish, compact, and convenient, then the Joule could be a good choice for you. With ongoing connectivity issues, it’s not guaranteed to offer the most trouble free experience for all.
What Makes A Good Sous Vide Cooker
The key to a good sous vide cooker is its ability to maintain an even temperature and to circulate water effectively. Because sous vide immersion circulators run for a long time, you need a device with proven durability, a good warranty and reputable customer service.
Because the Joule Sous Vide is a wholly smart device, it’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and smart app quality are crucial factors. Other considerations are the type and level of noise produced, size and bulkiness, adaptability to pot size, and ease of use and set up.
If you want to know more about sous vide cooking, see our sous vide guide.
Breville Joule Sous Vide Review: All You Need to Know
We took the Breville Joule Sous Vide to task on its merits and demerits, looking at the key points that make for a great sous vide machine. This is what we found:
The forward thinking of the Joule design removes the need for a bulky unit with controls on top, and uses a smart app to manage and operate the device. This creates a number of advantages: The device is more compact, not top-heavy, and stands upright at 11 inches high on its magnetic base. The minimal water level of 2.5 inches is much less than a device that hooks onto the side, making it more versatile to pot size and water depth.
If you need to clamp the circulator to a pot or plastic container, you can do that too. It has a clip clamp which is a lot more studier that the typical screw type clamps.
Its compact size (1.85 inches diameter), means that it can easily be stored away in a draw, and is also perfect for taking on vacation or to another location. Both the top and base caps are made from durable, corrosion resistant stainless steel. It terms of its design and smart, slender look, there is no other device that comes close to a good match.
The bottom of the unit detaches so that the element can come out for easy cleaning. One slight design flaw, however, is the top interface that flashes 13 different types and shades of light patterns to let you know what the machine is doing—but for the most part you don’t really need to know this, and the app will give you notifications anyway.
Temperature and Heating
The Joule claims a temperature accuracy of 0.2 °F / 0.1 °C, and popular tests of the device have proven this to be accurate. The Joule can heat six quarts (5 L) of water from 60 °F to 140 °F in around 15-20 minutes. This is faster than most other popular devices, but a little slower compared to more pro devices such as the Sansaire and Polyscience.
The time and temperature is set via the app on your phone or tablet, and the nice thing is you can view the timer in countdown or count up mode—which a lot of other devices don’t let you do. The Temperature range is 68‒208 ℉ (20‒97 ℃), so it can also proof yogurt, or making extra crisp vegetables.
Motor and Noise
The Joule has a 1 100 watt motor, which is not unique in the sous vide market, but it does get water up to temperature and stabilizes temperatures faster than other similar devices. It can handle up to 10 gallons (40 liters) of water, which is something the more pro version sous vides cannot manage.
A couple of observations from heavy users is that the Joule isn’t exactly a work horse. Other competitive devices, such as the Anova or Sanaire, tend to hold up better with rougher handling and heavier usage. Also, the water outlet of the Joule is only one directional and not adjustable, or with multiple 360 degree outlets, but this doesn’t seem to impact performance.
The Joule sous vide is noisier compared to its main competitors. It has a bit of a whining noise, so not so comfortable as a background or white noise.
BlueTooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
The Joule can connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and there is no choice of a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi only model. With Wi-Fi you can connect to multiple devices, and multiple users can manage and control a single device—something other smart sous vide machines, like Anova, don’t let you do. Wi-Fi can only connect via IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi compatible 2.4 Ghz devices, and it can be voice operated through Google Alexa.
Even very recent user reviews (Nov. 2019), however, still report issues with connectivity speed, temperamental connections with certain devices, frequent crashes, and inability to start the device. With this kind of technology, it’s difficult to know where the issues lie—app side, machine or user side. Most customer ratings and comments on connectivity are less than satisfactory.
The cooking guides on the app are well done, which is rare for other sous vide. The recipes are plentiful, beautifully photographed, and laid out with step-by-step visual instructions. You can select the thickness and doneness of the meat, pre-programmed settings appear, and then you press start. Each recipe includes a video which also shows a slice-through of the cooked meat, but these can be disabled to save data.
The only drawback with the app, other than connectivity issues with some devices, is that you can’t customize anything. You cannot favorite recipes or organize things to suit your own needs and preferences. There’s also no community level involvement in the app, and you can’t add your own private content.
User reviews in both Google Play and Apple App Store gave the app an average rating of only three stars, with many users rating the app an extreme of one or five stars. The most negative reviews relate to connectivity issues, but ChefSteps responds promptly to almost all concerns.
Accessories and Added Value
As one of the more popular sous vides on the market, there are quite a number of extras and third party merchandise you can buy. There are custom plastic containers with flip lids that can mount the Joule on the side or in the corner. Heat retention containers are also popular, or you can get silicone pot lid insulators. Another popular accessory is a handy case to store away your Joule or take with you.
Warranty and Support
There are not a lot of sous vide machines that come with a two year warranty. Unfortunately, for the price you pay, the Breville Joule Sous Vide only has a one year warranty. Since it’s not so long ago (July 2019) that the Joule was acquired by the high-end kitchen utility maker Breville, it remains to be seen the direction the Joule will take with development and support. So far, customer support is only via email, it takes a little time to sort issues out, which is pretty average.
Breville Joule Sous Vide Review: Verdict
The Joule Sous Vide scores high for design, versatility and performance. If you’re comfortable with the tech, and looking for something stylish, compact, and convenient, then the Joule could be a good choice for you. It’s not guaranteed to offer the most trouble free experience for all, and on top of a one-year-only warranty, we wouldn’t recommend this sous vide as a gift.
The future direction and development of the Joule is not yet known, but Breville is a top class manufacturer, and we are certainly looking forward to what the next generation Joule has to offer. We hope they can improve overall connectivity, offer a better warranty, new generation Wi-Fi connectivity, and a more customizable app.Check Latest Price on Amazon
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.