ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

Last updated date: July 11, 2019

DWYM Score
8.5

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We looked at the top 1 Sous Vide Machines and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including CNET, Trusted Reviews, BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Sous Vide Guy, Serious Eats, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Sous Vide Machine you should buy.

Overall Take

This smart home ready sous vide machine is lightweight and powerful. It heats water up to six minutes faster than other models. We loved this compact sous vide machine overall. In our analysis of 66 expert reviews, the ChefSteps ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide placed 3rd when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Sous Vide Machine for a detailed review of all the top sous vide machines.

Expert Summarized Score
8.3
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
1,575 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Joule also works with Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant, to help connect your cooking to the rest of your smart home.
- CNET
December 1, 2016 | Full review
ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide is operated by an app via Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi.
- Trusted Reviews
October 21, 2018 | Full review
Weighs only 1.2 lbs. and you don't have to sacrifice any counter space to store it.
- BestReviews
The Joule is also more powerful, with a 1,110 W heating element. In our tests, it heated water a full six minutes faster than the Anova Nano, raising the temperature from 69 °F to 135 °F in only 15 minutes.
- New York Times Wirecutter
The bottom of the Joule has a strong magnet which can secure the device to stainless steel pots.
- Sous Vide Guy
January 2, 2017 | Full review
The Joule is the only model on the market that's fully waterproof, which means that even if you accidentally drop it into your water bath, it's no big deal. Just fish it out and keep going.
- Serious Eats
If you happen to have an Amazon Alexa device, you can voice control the unit or check the current temperature, which is nice when your hands are busy preparing other dishes or when you're doing other activities.
- Top Ten Reviews
May 18, 2018 | Full review
Despite its smaller size, the Joule was just as efficient at heating up a pot of water as the Anova was. That's because the Joule cranks out 1,100 watts, as opposed to the Anova's 900 watts.
- Tom's Guide
November 8, 2017 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The lack of controls on the body of the Joule could be irritating if you want to just glance at the immersion circulator to get an update on its status. The integration with Alexa still has some kinks to work out.
- CNET
December 1, 2016 | Full review
The app isn't always as helpful as it could be and many of the recipes we tried didn't produce particularly good results.
- Trusted Reviews
October 21, 2018 | Full review
You can only operate it with a smartphone or tablet.
- BestReviews
The downside to the app is that it’s the only way to control the Joule. Other than the top cap, which you can use to stop the cooking, the Joule has no buttons or displays.
- New York Times Wirecutter
The only thing keeping this from a perfect 10 out of 10 is because we personally are hesitant of only being able to control the machine with your phone. While it’s cool to be able to make the most out of smart technologies, sometimes you need something “touchable” to be sure you can always use cook with it, regardless of your other gadgets.
- Sous Vide Guy
January 2, 2017 | Full review
The Joule has no display other than a single glowing LED, and no on-board controls other than the "off" button on top. In other words, it must be controlled by an app running on a separate device.
- Serious Eats
This unit does not have a display or manual interface. Aside from a small indication light on the top, it's controlled solely by an app.
- Top Ten Reviews
May 18, 2018 | Full review
However, during my time using the Joule, there was one thing I really missed. Whereas the Anova has a temperature knob, a display and a start/stop button, the Joule lacks these features; you can control the Joule only through its app.
- Tom's Guide
November 8, 2017 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Joule is the smallest, most powerful sous vide tool available. It heats water faster than any other immersion circulator or precision cooker and holds the temperature with absolute accuracy to ensure perfect results every time. Controlled exclusively by a groundbreaking app that empowers sous vide veterans and novices alike, Joule gives you the freedom to cook from anywhere. Maximum water temperature - 208 degree fahrenheit.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 7
2. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
3. ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 5
5. Wancle Sous Vide Cooker
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 5
7. Kitchen Gizmo Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 7
8. Monoprice Sous Vide Immersion Cooker
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 3
9. Nomiku WiFi Sous Vide
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Sous Vide Machines

When you run across the words “sous vide” in a cookbook, it might seem like a complex term that’s only used with elaborate French dishes. In reality, it’s a simple way to get a perfect cook on your favorite proteins, like steak, chicken and pork. Buying a sous vide machine can make this French tradition an everyday classic in your kitchen.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Sous vide is a fancy term for placing your food in a vacuum-sealed bag, then cooking it in temperature-controlled water. (You can also use glass jars instead of bags, and eggs can be cooked in their shells.) There are a number of benefits to cooking your food sous vide. It offers more precise control over your cooking temperature, so it’s better for cooking tricky proteins, like fish. You’ll also notice a more even cook throughout meats like steak and pork loin.  

Using a vacuum-sealed bag prevents moisture and nutrient loss, so your meals come out tastier and healthier. Sous vide cooking also helps your proteins soak up more marinade and enhances your meat’s natural flavor, so you won’t have to use additional salt or oils.

The sous vide method used to be a fine dining-only approach, but the rise of affordable home sous-vide machines have taken this French technique from fine dining to easy weeknight dinners. The two types of at-home sous vide machines are water ovens and immersion circulators, but all of our top picks are immersion circulators.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Thermal immersion circulators are electrically powered devices that move and heat water at an accurate, stable temperature. They hook onto the side of your cooking pot, then they heat up the water and circulate it. Once your water has reached the right temperature, you can drop your bagged meal into the pot, sit back and let the immersion circulator do the work.

New handheld immersion circulators, like the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano, come with digital displays that make it easier than ever to keep that perfect temperature.

 

Digital displays aren’t the only technology that’s making sous vide the next big thing. Models like the ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide are Bluetooth-enabled, so you can control them remotely. This sous vide also has an accompanying app for iPhone or Android, with a special visual doneness feature. It shows you exactly how your food will turn out before you even turn on your stove.

Immersion circulators are also great for anyone with a small kitchen who wants the sous vide experience. The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is about the size of a champagne bottle, and the ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide fits easily into your cutlery drawer.

Sous vide circulators come in different wattages. More watts help your water heat more quickly, and if you need to add cold food during cooking, it will help the water’s temperature rebound faster. The Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano uses 750 watts of cooking power (about the strength of a small or medium microwave). The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator heats up liquids with an impressive 1,100 watts (which is a similar amount of power to a large microwave).

If you don’t know how to get started with your sous vide machine, several of our top picks come with recipe books. The ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide has more than 100 cooking guides in its app, and both Anova models come with more than 1,000 recipes for every skill level.

Once you’re ready to dive into sous vide cooking, take a look at our Tips & Advice to figure out which sous vide machine is right for you.

DYWM Fun Fact

Cooking is a marriage of art and science, and sous vide machines are a great example of that. In the late 1960s, French and American engineers mastered food-grade plastic films and vacuum packing. Since sous vide machines could keep packaged foods in a water bath at a consistent temperature, they were perfect for sealing and pasteurizing industrially prepared foods for a longer shelf life.

Sous vide finally broke into restaurants in 1974, when French chefs Pierre Troisgros and Georges Pralus started using the machines to cook foie gras while losing as little fat as possible. The delicious results made sous vide machines a staple in commercial and household kitchens alike.

The Sous Vide Machine Buying Guide

  • How often do you plan on using your sous vide machine? If you want a few steaks for occasional dinner parties, a budget pick like the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano will work just fine. For regular sous vide experiences, you may want to pony up for an investment model, like the ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide.
  • How much power do you want from your immersion cooker? Higher-wattage cookers, like the 1,100-watt ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide, will help you cook faster by heating up your water more quickly. However, it’s easier to trip a circuit breaker if your kitchen is old or not wired for that much juice. The 750-watt Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano might take a bit longer to get going, but it won’t leave you poking around your fuse box with a flashlight.
  • What types of containers will you use for your sous vide cooking? The immersion circulator has to clamp onto the side of your pot, so you’ll want to measure the pot’s thickness and make sure your sous vide machine has a large enough clamp for a firm grip on the side. The Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker can be shifted up or down on your pot to adjust the height, and you can adjust the screw in the back for a tighter fit. The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator’s clamp is large and hooks up in seconds, but it’s not as adjustable.
  • New moms can benefit from sous vide cookers, too. The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator can heat milk or formula to a perfect 98.6 degrees every time.
  • Sous vide machines don’t get very dirty, but they’ll need a quick cleaning if you start noticing mineral buildup from water. To rinse the buildup away, just dilute equal parts water and vinegar in a small pot and place your cooker inside. Set the cooker’s temperature to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and let your cooker heat the liquid. Then remove the cooker once it’s reached the right temperature. The cooker’s display can be cleaned with a damp microfiber cloth.