The Breville Joule Sous Vide cooker is a great, high-tech immersion circulator that’s set itself apart from the other cookers to be a bestseller. It’s small and sleek, unlike its large and bulky competition. The size of it is super convenient and I don’t always need large pots or containers.
The Joule is one of my favorite sous vide cookers. It’s small, but packs a punch with its 1100 Watts of power. The clean, modern design also fits with the overall look and feel of my house too. But there is one drawback, it can only be controlled through the mobile app. There’re no physical buttons or touchscreen.
I’ll go through the details of the Joule in this review. We’ll look at its various features and benefits, as well as where it falls short. Also, the Joule used to be under the ChefSteps brand before Breville acquired ChefSteps. That’s why you’ll see ChefSteps sometimes, but know that it’s the same Joule.
Breville Joule Specifications
Let’s first take a look at the nuts and bolts of the Joule Sous Vide Cooker:
- Product Dimension: 11 x 1.9 x 1.9 inches
- Item Weight: 1.28 Pounds
- Manufacturer: Breville
- Heating Power: 1100 Watt
- Wireless Technology: Bluetooth Smart 4.0 and Wi-Fi
- Mobile App Platforms: iOS and Android.
- Max. Water Volume: 40 Liters (~10.5 gallons)
- Min. Water Depth: 3.8 cm
- Max. Water Depth: 20.3 cm
- Max. Temperature: 98º C (208º F)
Features and Benefits
In terms of operation, the essential task of any sous vide cooker is to heat the water at a precise temperature and maintain that temperature for a precise amount of time. And unless you’re a professional chef working in a restaurant, most of the time, you won’t need to cook at a low temperature for more than 6 people.
All the best sous vide home machines we have tried do that, but there might be occasional temperature variances. You don’t want temperatures to vary, because that will affect the cooking and your food might be undercooked or overcooked. If you see sous vide cookers that’re $20-30, just run away. It’s not worth looking into because they’re not going to be made well-enough for sous vide cooking.
Enough about that, let’s look at the Joule’s features and benefits!
Compact and Beautiful
The Joule reminds me of, dare I say it, Apple products. Beautiful, sleek, compact, and well made. The design is simple and sleek, a departure from the other immersion circulators.
Take a look at this photo in a pot with three other top sous vide cookers. Joule somehow puts so much power and features into a little package (like Apple):
The minimalistic design, small size, and design are my favorite features. The Joule is small enough to store in a kitchen drawer. The Anova Precision Cooker Nano is also small enough, but for me the design is a better fit for the kitchen’s design aesthetic.
The Joule is only 27 cm/~11 inches tall and just over 5 cm/2 inches in diameter. There are two versions of the Joule, a stainless steel one and an All White one. Take a look, which one do you think is more elegant and/or modern?
Lots of Power
The Joule brings the heat with its 1100 Watts of power. That allows you to heat up to 20 liters of water in an open pot, or 40 liters / ~10 gallons of water in a closed sous vide container with lid.
Why does 1100 watts of power matter that much? Fast heating to your target temperature for the hot water you need.
The Joule can heat the water to your desired temperature more quickly, so you’re able to get cooking faster. It won’t bring down your cooking time as sous vide is cooking at low temperatures for long periods of time, but you’re waiting around for a lot less time for your water to heat up.
The Joule’s maximum temperature is 208º F, which is good. But, in reality you won’t need to go to such high temperatures with sous vide cooking. It’s also precise to 0.2°F / 0.1°C, so you don’t need to worry about temperatures going off.
Most sous vide cookers need to hook onto a sous vide container or pot, like in the image above of the various immersion circulators. Most of them have a clamp or clip to attach the devices to the walls of the water bath containers. But the Joule brings something unique, a magnetic foot covered in rubber silicone.
The Joule cooker’s magnetic base means there’s no need for any clips or clamps. It uses the strong magnet to hold the device steady as it cooks the food in your stainless steel or cast iron pot (as long as it’s magnetic).
This new way of fixing is not only more aesthetically pleasing, but it makes it easier to use. Instead of fighting with the clip or trying to discover how to keep the Joule in an upright position, you put it in the middle of the pot and forget it.
Being able to place the Joule in the middle of a pot is great if you have a big pot. It helps to keep the water temperature even throughout the pot.
The downside to this is you must use a metal pot or the magnetic base won’t work. Most of us use polycarbonate containers, which means magnets won’t work with these plastic containers. But don’t worry, it still comes with a clip that will allow you to hook it on to the side of the container. It just won’t be able to use one of its best design features and look as cool freestanding in the middle of a pot.
Easy to Use
The Joule doesn’t have a touchscreen, all the functionalities of the device are controlled on your mobile phone through the app. That’s fine for almost all of us, but if you don’t have a compatible smartphone (iOS or Android), then the Joule isn’t for you. There’re plenty of other great options.
Breville Joule Sous Vide App
The Joule sous vide app is impressive. You can easily program the temperature and time needed to cook through their sous vide recipes in the smartphone app.
The app includes recipes, basic concepts, and more advanced sous vide techniques. You’re able to set and follow along their recipes. You want a Medium-Rare steak or pork chops? They’ll give you pictures of how well done you want your meat, select the photo, and follow the directions.
If you’re not a professional chef, the app’s cooking guides and recipes are really useful. There’s no need to look up cooking temperatures and time guides to cook that perfect steak, because the app will give you everything.
You can also control the Joule with voice commands through Amazon Alexa. Voice control is perfect when your hands are busy chopping garlic or preparing another dish.
The Joule mobile app’s top features to make easy sous vide cooking even easier:
- Visual Doneness – allows you to choose exactly how you want your food by displaying various doneness images on the screen. Joule takes care of the time and temperature to achieve the degree of cooking chosen.
- Fresh or Frozen – it’ll set the program to know whether or not it needs to calculate in defrosting time.
- Step by Step Recipe Guides – no need to mix and match from various recipes. The app will give you recipe steps from start to finish. Another great feature is when the food is finished cooking. You may not be able to get to it right away and that’s ok, because it informs you how much longer your food can remain in the water without affecting the food.
You can set the temperature and cooking time in two different ways. Through manual control where you enter time and temperature up to 99º or directly from recipes and individual guides.
You Don’t Need a Large Volume of Water
The Joule uses a new water circulation system. The propeller-free motor drives a turbine that sucks water through an opening at the bottom and passes it through the heating element. Then it’s removed through an opening a few centimeters up the side of the cooker. What seems great to us is that the output does not need to be submerged for the sous vide to work.
As the magnet allows the immersion circulator to be fixed at the bottom of the pot, only 4 cm of water is needed to operate. Much less than any other sous vide device for cooking at low temperature and vacuum.
Sous vide cookers should all be waterproof because sous vide cooking is cooking in water after all. But sadly, that’s not the case. Luckily, the Joule is waterproof and will provide you perfect temperature controlled water baths.. One of the other brands we reviewed, the Kitchen Boss G300 and G310 sous vide cookers are also IPX7 waterproof.
Waterproof immersion circulators are great because it’s easy to clean and wash. You’re able to take it to the sink and give it a rinse if needed. More often than not, there’s not much cleaning when it comes to sous vide cooking because the cooker is only exposed to the water tub.
Breville Joule Sous Vide Cons
There’re many pros and advantages to the Chefsteps Joule, but also a potentially big con/disadvantage for some people. There are some aspects that could be improved.
User Interface for Control
Without your phone and an internet or Bluetooth connection, this sous vide machine is nothing more than a beautiful decorative object for your living room.
This is the only “but” that we put to the Joule, and this is the reason why some people do not opt for it as a purchase option: it has nothing but a LED light that shines and has no buttons other than the “on/off” button at the top.
The only way to set temperatures and times is through the mobile app on a smartphone. So if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t get the Joule.
Some people have said the Joule is loud, but I don’t think the humming sound that comes out of the Joule is louder than any other immersion circulators. Some hums can be annoying, but I don’t mind the Joule’s hum. And it’s not loud enough that I can’t have a normal conversation with people nearby at a normal voice level.
This is easily one of my top two favorite sous vide cookers, the Anova Precision Cooker is the other. If you have the budget, the 1100 Watt Joule cooker is a great option for its streamlined design, compact size, safety features, and voice controls compatibility.
Visually beautiful, small, easy to use, and has many useful features such as the Visual Doneness selection option in the app. It heats the water quickly, saving me a lot of time of waiting around for the water to boil as they say (even though the water doesn’t get to boiling in sous vide).
The essence of its manufacturing was simple: almost all modern machines and immersion circulators are based on the same technology, but Breville Chefsteps staff has decided to reinvent sous vide from scratch, incorporating state-of-the-art technologies.
If you’re not completely sure if the Joule is for you, visit the best sous vide cooker article where it’s compared to the other top sous vide cookers.