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
While the interface through the app is very convenient and easy to use, we did find it to be a bit disappointing that there aren't controls on the Joule itself. This can be a bit of a hassle if multiple people are using the Joule and don't have the app installed or the registered account login info or even if you don't feel like pulling out your phone just to set the temperature or add a bit more time. This isn't too much of a pain but it is something to keep in mind if you are considering the Joule.
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 based on 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 up to 147°F, and how quickly it recovered temperature after cold food was added to the bath. The Joule overall did quite well, earning a 7 out of 10.
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 up water, only taking 36 minutes to heat up 48°F to 147°F. It also recovers very 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.
The Joule 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 being only 0.33°F above the desired setpoint when the Breville Joule was set for 147°F. Temperature was measured in 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, earning it an 8 out of 10.
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 faster 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, earning an 8 out of 10.
The Joule is intuitive and simple to use though the app, which offers a full 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 did occasionally have some connectivity issues where we had to reset the WiFi on our phones or restart the app.
As mentioned above, we did find it mildly irritating to only be able to control the sous vide through a smart device. The Joule has a clip to attach the side of a vessel or a magnetic base to keep it upright in metal containers.
Unfortunately, the Breville Joule isn't necessarily the best value option out there. It is one of the more expensive models and there are significantly less expensive models that can serve you almost as well.
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 have liked to see just a tiny bit more accuracy out of it to match the performance of the top-tier products. It is one of our top recommendations if you place a priority on appearance and don't mind paying for it.
— Michelle Powell and David Wise