ChefSteps Joule Review
Quality - 100%
Features - 100%
Price - 97%
Personal Experience - 100%
Value - 100%
Definitely spend some time reading the details of my testing session with ChefSteps Joule. It's a one of a kind immersion circulator. ChefSteps is basically the Apple of sous vide. In my review I'll show you how the app works, and why I really enjoyed testing this device. There are lots of pros, and a couple cons to go through, so let's get started!
Update: They now offer a completely white version, which looks pretty awesome. The white one sells for a discount because the bottom is not stainless steel, like the one you see in the title Image. Click the link to check the current price.
Joule Review: The Apple of Sous Vide
Simply the best of the bunch. After testing 11 different immersion circulators over the course of a month (that’s a lot of steak, yum!), there was one device that stood out. Not just because it looks different (but it does), but because it performed the best.
The incredibly fun and user-friendly app also helped. This is the perfect starter device for someone brand new to sous vide, but it’s also an elegant kitchen appliance experienced chefs out there as well.
Being able to interact with your cooking devices through your smartphone or with your voice is the way of the future, and Chefsteps Joule is leading the pack.
Get more information about why I liked this sous vide immersion circulator so much in my detailed review of Joule below.
No device is perfect though, so also check out some comparisons to other really good circulators you should consider if this one isn’t right for you.
Basic Immersion Circulator Features
Let’s talk about what the Joule does that you can expect from most immersion circulators. It’s basic job is to heat a vessel of water and keep it stable to cook your food to an exact temperature over a longer period of time.
By cooking with this method, you get perfectly done food that’s safe to eat. You retain all of the natural flavors because you’re cooking inside a sealed bag. With meats, you can still get a great seared flavor by finishing in a hot pan for just a few seconds, getting the best of both worlds!
The Joule holds the temperature to an accuracy of 0.2 degrees F (0.1 C), which is pretty common among immersion circulators. It comes equipped with a clip on the side so you can attach it to almost any style of water vessel, including regular cooking pots and polycarobonate plastic containers (what I use).
The clip is a bit tight though, and would probably not work with thicker walled containers like coolers, which some people use to sous vide large amounts of food. Though the Joule can heat, circulate, and keep temperature stable up to 10 gallons of water, for larger jobs you may want to consider the Sansaire immersion circulator which can circulate 3 gallons per minute and is much taller/wider.
Beyond these basics, the Joule really starts to shine with extra features you simply won’t find with any other sous vide device.
Unique Features For Sous Vide
There’s so much to discuss here, I’ll have to organize it in list format so you don’t get lost.
What really solidified the Joule experience to create a very unique product was the awesome app they have. Actually, as I was testing the 11 other immersion circulators, I found myself using the Joule App to decide what temperature and time to cook my meats.
It’s very simple to use, and for a newbie, it’s perfect because it’s very visual. For example, when you want to cook a steak or some poached eggs, you can watch a delicious-looking video and swipe left or right to select the doneness of your food. With meats, you then select a thickness of the cut, and then press START.
There are also recipes included in the app, but those take a bit more time to sort through and read. For those that want to get started and just cook some awesome chicken, steak, pork, etc it’s super easy. Actually, the whole setup process of the app is really interesting.
Once your device is connected to wifi and you’ve turned on notifications, you can watch a few short videos about basic sous vide, or just skip to the cooking part. It really is easy to navigate to your device in the app, which was one of my main complaints about another wifi-enabled immersion circulator, namely the Anova Precision Cooker.
Everything is done inside the app. I think this is awesome, and adds to the fun of cooking, though if you don’t have a smartphone, it means you can’t really use the Joule. If that’s the case, then you don’t need a wifi-enabled device, and I recommend you get a super basic immersion circulator.
This is an image of the notifications you’ll receive while cooking. After you start the Joule, you’ll get a buzz when the water reaches its target cooking temp, and when its done cooking. You can monitor the time progress, change temperatures, and start/stop the Joule from inside the app.
Did you know you can actually interact with your Joule using Amazon’s Alexa? That’s freakin’ awesome. What a world we live in where we can talk to our kitchen appliances.
Slim, Light, & Quiet:
This is actually the smallest and lightest immersion circulator out there. Gourmia makes some pretty slim devices, and they weigh in at about 3 lbs. Others can weigh about six pounds.
The Joule weights only 1.3 pounds. It’s noticeably slimmer than any other device on the market, and has a very unique, sexy look. Most sous vide cookers stick to the basic black and stainless steel look, although the Gourmia GSV140 has some fun colors to choose from.
Something you’ll notice right away is that the Joule is a lot quieter than other brands. I don’t really understand how the motor differs, and I’m sure you’re not that interested to get into the mechanics of it. But since this thing will be cooking for anywhere between 1 and 72 hours, having a whir instead of a bubbling cauldron can make a big difference!
Magnetic, Flat Base:
Something I didn’t notice until later is that the base of the Joule is flat, and it’s magnetic. What this means is that you can put your device in the center of a metal pot and not have it fall over. Many devices clip on the side of the pot.
With a large enough vessel, this could cause uneven water flow (it would have to be a large vessel), but for me, I noticed that many circulators spit water out of all sides, and the side that rests against the side of the pot makes the most noise. It also means that if you can’t clip it to the side of the pot for whatever reason you can just set it down in the center.
It probably won’t be a deciding factor whether you buy it or not, but it’s a neat little feature worth mentioning.
Cooking Experience With Joule
I cooked a lot of different foods with my Joule, and will continue to cook more so I can get more familiar with the app. I’ll update this review to add insights as I continue to use this device.
So far, it’s my #1 choice of all the 11 different immersion circulators I tried, so I want to really become a pro at using it! Here’s a photo of me cooking a “king’s cut” pork chop in my polycarbonate container. It’s quite big when cooking for one, but it works!
Something interesting about the Joule is that it has a 1.5 inch minimum water depth. That’s tiny! What it means is that you can cook very small amounts of food in just a little bit of water.
Your water will heat faster, there will be less waste, and it will take up less kitchen space. In the photo below you can see that the water-exit port spits out the water to move it around. The water is sucked in through the bottom and heated inside the device.
Being able to cook in smaller vessels makes this a great choice for individuals, and a perfect fit for someone living in a small apartment. It’s 4 inches short, half the width, and 4.5 times lighter than the Sansaire!
Other people agree with me. The ChefSteps circulator was just released and already has almost 200 five star reviews. The only negative comments so far is something that I mentioned above, that you have to interact with the device via your phone, and it only works with iOS and Android.
Technical Stuff About The Device
- Unit Size Size: 11.0 x 1.85 inches, 1.3 lbs
- Temperature Range & Precision: +/- 0.2 Fº (0.1 Cº)
- Power: 1100 Watts
- Pump Circulation: Unknown GPM, up to 10 gallons capacity
What does all this mean? I kind of covered it all in other areas of this review, but basically it means that this is a very slim, lightweight device that can move a lot of water, but doesn’t make a lot of noise. You can see from the image above how it compares to a few other of the most popular immersion cookers out there.
Comparing Joule To Other Immersion Circulators
The other is the Gourmia GSV150, which is brand new from the Gourmia Brand. It costs significantly less than the Joule, selling at about 60% of the cost. That’s almost half the price! But the app is seriously lacking in usability. It works, for sure, and you can operate your device remotely, but that’s about it.
So if you’re looking for cheap wifi accessibility, check out the Gourmia device. If you’re looking for the best, you can’t beat Joule
What about power? At 1100 watts, again, Joule is right there in the top three choices. Gourmia beats them by 100 watts. All of their models rock a powerful 1200 watt heater which heats up water very fast. My favorite model from them is the GSV140.
However, it’s quite a bit noisier, so keep that in mind. The Sansaire rolls in at 1000 watts. The Sansaire was a popular kickstarter project that got funded a while back and people are really like it so far. It’s also quite cheap now since it’s 2nd-generation and they’ve since released the third generation.
The advantage of Sansaire over the Joule is that it’s larger and has a stronger pump. Though the GPM is not listed for the Joule, the Sansaire has a 3 gallon per minute pump which can circulate a large amount of water quickly.
However, Sansaire lists a max water capacity of six gallons, but the Joule lists a 10 gallon max. Hm. That’s a bit confusing…I’ll have to get back to you on that. But you may find that having a larger device like the Sansaire fits better with large coolers, if that’s what you cook with.
Honestly, other than the GSV140, GSV150, Anova Bluetooth, and Sansaire, you really don’t need to compare any others to the Joule.
What about price? Well the Joule is up there, but it’s certainly not the most expensive. It’s currently selling for two hundred dollars. The cheapest circulators you can find are about $80, but as you can see in my list of premium immersion circulators, they can cost over $700 for some brands!
Who Is ChefStep’s Joule Best For?
If you love sous vide, the Joule is a great buy. It makes delicious Asian sous vide meals, desserts, and even vegetarian dishes. There’s nothing else like it. If you are brand new to sous vide but are intrigued by the idea, this is a perfect introduction. Using the ChefSteps app will make your learning process much easier.
The only reason you really wouldn’t want it would be if you really wanted to go as cheap as possible and don’t care about remote access to your device, which case I recommend the GSV140 which is linked earlier in the review.
If I came off like a fanboy in this review, so be it. After testing 11 of these things it was pretty obvious which one was best. I just wish I didn’t have to spend $1500 to find out. LOL. I’ll probably resell the other ones and keep the Joule and the GSV140 for myself now that my reviews are done.
Pros/Cons About Joule
- Sleek, Unique, Beautiful Design
- Easy To Use For Newbies
- Incredibly Awesome App
- Works With Alexa For Voice Controls
- Accurate Temperature
- Light Weight
- 1100 Watts of Power is More Than Most Circulators
- Heats Up To 10 Gallons Of Water
- Phone Notification When Target Temperature Reached
- Phone Notification When Food Is Done Cooking
- Strong Clip That Fits Most Pots & Vessels
- Magnetic Base Allows It To Sit In Center Of Pots
- Excellent Customer Support
- Removable Bottom For Easy Clean
- Holds Temperature After Cook Time Finished
- Only Works With iPhone or Android
- Clamp Doesn’t Fit Thick-Walled Vessels
- No Manual Interface
- Side Clamp Tough To To Open
Opening the Joule is kind of like opening an Apple product. It’s a very pleasant experience! Everything is packaged nicely and looks very sleek.
I love the soft white cord. Attention to detail is one thing that makes the Joule such a nice appliance.
Here’s a zoomed in picture of the back, clamped onto my polycarbonate cooking vessel.
The light indicates if the Joule is ON, OFF, or working. It changes color and blinks.
Settings for the app to figure how how long you’ll need to cook your food for.
Videos: Joule Reviews
This video is from a quirky tech channel, so it may focus more on technical aspects. “Gaben” is the name of a creator of a famous video game. There are a few more inside jokes within the video, but it’s still worth watching if you aren’t convinced yet!
Here’s another one which is also worth watching. Normally I don’t do two videos because you’ve probably had enough by now, but this is a pretty popular device to review so a lot of tech and cooking channels have covered it.
Nice review on joule. I was excited reading about this machine. I was entirely disillusioned when I found it could only be controlled through its application but unfortunately which will not load on my BlackBerry Z30. My smartphone still does everything very well and is a long way from being ready to retire, so I will have to return the Joule I ordered on it. Appreciate your article though.
Food For Net
I didn’t know there were still people using Blackberries! I guess yeah, you might have a hard time working this device unless you have an Android or Apple smartphone. If that’s the case, then try the Anova!
I had heard of sous vide cooking but I have to admit that I had to do a bit of research to find out exactly what it is; But after reading about it, I was impressed. It is healthy cooking because the flavor is locked-in and enhanced so not a lot of fat or salt needs to be added. Also due to the vacuum sealing, vitamins and minerals are not steamed or boiled away.
Thank you for making us aware of this healthier and more delicious method of cooking, as well as reviewing a great tool to make it all come out perfectly. I will definitely be looking into the Joule!
Cooking frozen meats sous vide is just as healthy as cooking fresh meats. In fact, it’s probably even healthier, since there is a zero-to-little chance of cross-contamination, which can occur when defrosting meat in the sink. I love the features that can just easily navigate around. So beautiful that I will have to do everything on my phone ,this will be best for a baby sitting mum as it will definitely reduce her work in. Thanks for the amazing post, really learnt a lot from your beautiful post.
Works with Alexa!?! This WiFi world is getting out of hand – but, this looks like a great device. I have never needed a sous vide but after reading this, I want one!
Did you try any of the recipes packaged in the app with this? And if so, what and how were they?
Food For Net
I stick to just steak, chicken, and pork. They work awesome. I mostly do steak. Seasoning really is simply, just salt, pepper, butter, garlic, and rosemary to finish.
There are lots of fancy recipes on the app but I never seem to have the time to research and buy ingredients for them. I just like perfectly-cooked meats!
When you talk about remembering your wifi code, do you have to enter it every time you use the product or just the first time?
And, can you do a whole roast leg of lamb? I imagine that might take several hours…..
Food For Net
You can sous vide anything. Depending on the thickness of the lamb, and whether it’s frozen/fresh it may take several hours. That is the nature of sous vide. Low and slow!
Food For Net
you do not need to enter your wifi code every time
I have been a cook for over 20 years and I have never heard of this before. I am amazed.
I did some research while reading your review because I was still a bit confused as to how you would cook a steak in boiling water without it tasting like a roast, but with the bag and proper seasoning I could see how this would work.
I am still not 100% convinced about the crispy looking fried chicken, I just don’t see how that is possible.
I could see where this could be a very handy device for a person like me however. I am a cook for a living and the last thing I want to do is stand over a stove and cook when I get home, but I have to feed my daughter.
The crock pot delivers a similar flavor with each dish, so you get sick of eating cock pot dinners, no matter how convenient they are.
Thanks for this review, I am going to do a bit more research, I will most likely be back to get my Joule from you. I like your honesty and your way with words.
Food For Net
For sous vide fried chicken, you’d need to bread and fry it after. It would be flash-fry, just to cook the outside though!
Thank you for an amazing review on Joule. I have never tried sous vide cooking method before, for the youtube video answered my question. I have to say that cooking has come a long way. My only concern is that the only way to operate Joule is through smart phone. What if the phone is broken? How are their warranty and customer service? This will be a great tool to add to my kitchen. I love medium rare steak so much that I can eat it every day. However, my hood isn’t that great and my studio apartment will smell like smoke for 2 days. Will check Joule out.
Wow, I’ve never thought that you can cook food with such a small kitchen appliance like Joule. That is amazing! I liked the fact that it is lighter and it can work faster than if you were using an electric stove to cook food. I may be wrong but people might use this method of cooking in the near future. Maybe I should do more research about and who knows? I might purchase one for my own use. Thank you for the great information!
Thanks so much for this post. Its a very good review on joule. I had heard about the sous vide cooking from a friend who is a chef. But I couldn’t decipher anything from what he told me so I engaged in research to find out and that led me to your site. The information I got here is an eye opening and informative. I realised that its a very healthy cooking. I like the fact that the vitamins nor the minerals are boiled away due to steaming. Overall, I like the post. Thank you.
Wow, this App is very interesting. I love cooking, but I am still not good at making American foods since I am originally from Asia. Here in the US, I need to do a lot of baking from cake to meat, but I am confused about setting the right temperature for certain kinds of food. Having this App would be helpful for a newbie like me. I like it when you said the app includes recipes and the setup process is easy. I am absolutely interested in this app. Very nice information and explanations.
Thank you for sharing it.
Well my partner has been looking into these immersion circulators for a number of months now and I have to admit that I really didn’t know that much about them until I read your article – what an exciting way to cook meat and keep all the flavours together!
The app seems like a great selling point for me, as I wouldn’t know where to start. Does the app come free with the item or is there a separate fee to subscribe to it?
Food For Net
The app is free~