ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
An impressive machine for a launch product. Can’t wait to see where they go from here.
Design and Styling9
Ease of Use8.5
Value for Money8
- Lightweight and Powerful
- Compact Size – Half as big as other circulators
- Great recipes and customer support
- Cannot be used without a phone
- No onboard controls
Heard a lot about the sous vide method of cooking, lately?
Well, if you’ve decided it’s time to try it in your own kitchen, ChefSteps is one brand you’ll definitely hear plenty about. Their Joule sous vide immersion circulator has received quite a bit of attention due to its post-modern looks and high-tech simplicity.
But … does it really deserve all the hype?
Keep reading, our unbiased review will help you decide if the ChefSteps Joule is the best sous vide machine for you.
ChefSteps Joule Review / Rating
Founded in 2012, this Seattle-based company, is into two things – food and technology. According to its mission statement, the company is “dedicated to putting the kitchen back in the heart of the home.”
Previously focused on online education, recipes, tips and techniques, ChefSteps branched out into kitchen hardware with Joule.
Sous vide cooking involves sealing plastic bags (traditionally vacuum-sealed) and cooking it in water that is held at a precise and constant temperature. Since the temperature of the food cannot rise above the temperature of the water, there is no danger of overcooking it.
Sous vide machines come in two types: immersion circulators – like Joule; and all-in-one water ovens. The method can be used for a wide variety of foods, including meat, vegetables, fish, eggs and desserts.
Meat cooked via sous vide may be quickly pan-seared to add a delicious and attractive crust after cooking.
The cylindrical ChefSteps Joule is 11 inches tall, 1.85 inches across and weighs 1.3 pounds. It has a power rating of 1100 watts and should only be used with 120-volt outlets. Joule is able to hold a steady temperature to within 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The device’s magnetic base and integrated side clip allows you to easily attached it to the pots and containers you already have in your kitchen. Plus, the Joule Big Clamp accessory (available from ChefSteps’ website) makes it easier to clip Joule onto big containers like coolers.
There’s no need to also purchase a vacuum sealer, since Joule can be used with any ziplock-style plastic freezer bag. What you will need is a smartphone and the free app that lets you interact with Joule.
This sous vide circulator is both durable and waterproof, made with stainless steel parts in a seamless design.
You can use Joule in water depths of just 1.5 inches and it will also retain its functionality in up to 8 inches or 10 gallons of water.
What we really liked
Joule’s app has you covered if you are new to sous vide. It includes attractive pictures and lively videos that go with the numerous recipes and guides available.
Joule can also be voice-controlled using the Amazon Alexa digital assistant – making the device virtually hands-free.
It’s reliance on other technology for its operation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is convenient that it functions through your phone or smart home assistant, but on the other hand those are the only ways to fire up this device. Should you break your phone earlier in the day and still want to use your Joule at night for cooking – you will be out of luck.
The popular Anova WiFi Precision Cooker falls within Joule’s price range. Power-wise, the Anova’s maximum output is 900 watts, that’s 200 watts below Joule.
In terms of size, the Anova is bigger at almost 15 inches tall and nearly 3 inches across. Its 2.5-pound weight makes it heavier than Joule by over one pound.
Like Joule, it too has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and iOS or Android app connectivity. Unlike Joule, however, it has an LED display screen and onboard controls – which means “no phone … no problem!”
If you are okay with the fact that Joule has no onboard displays or controls, then this is certainly the sous vide immersion circulator you should be getting.