The Breville Joule is a great sous vide machine that did well across most of our tests. It has a powerful heater that can get your water up to temperature much faster than many other models. This product has a sleek and stylish design that will look fantastic in most kitchens, and it is quite accurate and stable when it comes to maintaining temperature. It has a handy smartphone companion app to set the time and duration for different recipes and is overall user-friendly and easy to use.Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 14, 2022, to include new sections on the products we recommend.
Breville Joule 1100W Review
Pros: Heats very quickly, tons of circulation, can be used in very little water
Cons: No display, can only be controlled through the app
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Temperature is our most significant testing metric, which accounts for 40% of the final score for each metric. We based scores on how accurate each sous vide is and how it compared to a lab-grade thermometer, how stable it was at maintaining a temperature over an hour, how long it took to heat a container of cold tap water to 147°F, and how quickly it recovered temperature after cold food was added to the bath.
We used 12-quart containers for each of these tests, filled with 9.5 quarts of water. The Joule is one of the fastest models to heat water, only taking 36 minutes to heat up 48°F to 147°F. It also recovers quickly when food is added, taking a mere two minutes to regain its set temperature after three frozen hamburger patties in a vacuum-sealed bag were added. This was measured using iButton temperature loggers sealed in sous vide bags.
It also did very well in our stability test, only wavering from its steady-state temperature for 10% or six minutes of the hour-long assessment. Even then, it was only an average of 0.09°F off of the stable temperature. Finally, we compared the temperature shown on the Joule's app to our calibrated lab-grade thermometer. The Joule displayed an average temperature variance of 0.45°F above the set temperature of 135°F. This average error decreased to only 0.33°F above the desired setpoint when the Joule was set for 147°F. The temperature was measured at multiple points throughout the bath.
Next, we scored the circulating abilities of each of these immersion circulators, which is responsible for 30% of the final score for the Joule. To compare this side-by-side, we used a custom testing apparatus to inject 15 mL of food dye into the furthest corner of the container from the Joule, then timed how long it took for the color to become uniform. The Joule has one of the most powerful circulators of the group.
The Joule only took 21 seconds to completely incorporate the blue dye, just a bit slower than the 14 seconds or so of the fastest time and considerably quicker than the 3+ minutes of the slowest.
Ease of Use
Our third metric — ease of use — accounts for the remaining 30% of the final score for each product. We compared and scored each product on how user-friendly the interface of each machine is, how easy it is to attach to various containers if there is a companion smartphone app, and how the display looks. The Joule finished with a strong showing.
This product is intuitive and simple to use through the app, which offers an entire library of presets to choose from, as well as a full history of your uses. You can start and stop the Joule remotely, but we occasionally had some connectivity issues where we had to reset the WiFi on our phones or restart the app.
We did find it mildly irritating to only control the sous vide through a smart device. It has a clip to attach the side of a vessel or a magnetic base to keep it upright in metal containers.
Should You Buy the Breville Joule?
The Breville Joule is an all-around excellent sous vide but might not be the best option for everyone due to its reliance on smart devices. It has a powerful heater and circulator, but we would like to see a bit more accuracy to match the performance of the top-tier products. It is one of our top recommendations if you prioritize appearance and don't mind paying for it. While the interface through the app is very convenient and easy to use, we found it was a bit disappointing that there aren't controls on the Joule itself. This can be a bit of a hassle if multiple people use the Joule and don't have the app installed or the registered account login info, or if you don't feel like pulling out your phone to set the temperature or add more time. Unfortunately, the Breville Joule isn't necessarily the best value option for most kitchens. It is one of the more expensive models, and there are significantly less expensive models that can serve you almost as well.
What Other Sous Vide Machine Should You Consider?
If you are unsure about only having controls via your cell phone, but like the app-enabled idea, the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Nano and the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker AN500-US00 are high-ranking options that provide online connection to recipes and controls. We like the idea of making this kind of cooking easier for newbies.
— Michelle Powell and David Wise
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