The Best Sous Vide Machine (Based on Guidelines from America’s Test Kitchen)

America’s Test Kitchen has been around since 1993. Given this experience, it’s clear the group is established as a proven knowledge-haver of cooking. This knowledge also expands to selecting the best sous vide immersion circulator. 

This article takes inspiration from the selection criteria behind their sous vide. Still, the selection of the best overall product is made by Perfect for Home. Below, we’ll take a close look at this choice: The Breville CS20001 Joule. 

The Breville CS20001 Joule Sous Vide, White Polycarbonate

The Breville CS20001 is about 11 inches high and just about one pound. It is made using white polycarbonate plastic, making it durable and heat resistant. The small machine is powerful despite its limited stature. 

It is easy for you to slip into almost any size drawer. This makes it less clunky than larger immersion circulators. 

The power behind it is at 1100 watts, making it incredibly quick to heat up. Typical 12-quart sous vide containers take around seven to eight minutes. This device only works with 120-volt outlets. Choosing to ignore the voltage limits will void your warranty. 

The Joule app integrates with the sous vide cooker, enabling you for easy programming of cooking times. This allows you to efficiently use your prepared water bath to reach a perfect temperature. 

Breville is a company known for cooking precision, resulting in perfect doneness almost every time. The application works as a cooking school, bringing you through the steps with relative ease. 

The CS20001 Joule has both WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. As a result, it works anywhere with your smartphone, regardless of where you are in the home. 

The sleek design is appealing, as there are no recognizable tools or displays available. It isn’t suitable for traditional cooking with sous vide, as you need a smartphone app to use it. 

The real reason that this is on this list comes from Breville’s high standards of precision cooking. This, combined with an easy-to-use app interface, makes this at the level for any professional chef or home kitchen. 

ProsCons
11” tall, 1.85” wide, 1.3 lbs.Works with 120 V outlets only.
208°F (98°C) max. temperature.Frequency 50 to 60 Hz, single phase.
8” maximum water depth.
Best Sous Vide Machine Reviews

What You Need To Know About Sous Vide Machines

According to America’s Test Kitchen, what you need to know includes the following areas:

What is an Immersion Circulator?

A sous vide immersion circulator is a stick-like tool used to heat a water bath container to a precise temperature. This differs from sous vide pots which resemble crock pots. Instead, you must have a pre-existing pot to use an immersion circulator. 

An immersion pot, by comparison, does not require any extra tools. However, a pot specifically for sous vide limits you by size. With immersion circulators, the pot size is only limited by the size of your immersion circulators. 

The capacity of Brevile’s Joule is above 10 gallons, which is suitable for most meals. 

How To Determine The Accuracy of Your Sous Vide Machine

When choosing an immersion circulator, the most important stat to test is temperature accuracy. Because sous vide cooking involves reaching a precise temperature, going outside of that temperature might change the state of your food. 

To determine the accuracy of your sous vide cooking device, you will want to acquire another water thermometer. A good water thermometer needs a long probe, preventing you from burning your hands while running any test. 

You want to confirm the thermometer’s accuracy using other tests that already have established temperatures. For example, if you already know the accuracy of your oven, water thermometers and meat thermometers are typically in the same package. 

If you can account for the temperature is off, you can respond to that. Consistent temperature readings can be more important than accurate temperatures if you already know about the corrections needed. 

The Power & Speed of a Good Immersion Circulator

Many of the most popular immersion cookers have wattage levels of around 750. While 750 isn’t necessarily bad, it can be somewhat frustrating having to add minutes to your recipes. 

When making poached or hard-boiled eggs, you can reduce those recipes down to short times. Higher power, or wattage, leads to a must faster cooking time. 

Power also refers to the ability of your circulator to move water throughout the pot. For evenly cooked food, circulation is essential. 

Circulation also works better with a sous vide rack. You can purchase a rack by itself, but be sure to measure the space in your chosen pots before making this purchase. 

To ensure that your rack fits your chosen container, you can also buy them as a set. Check out our article on the best sous vide containers for advice.  

Simple Controls & an Easy Display

Bad sous vide containers require you to perform a double-take every time you look at them. Complicated controls can delay your decision-making capacity, potentially causing you to overcook your food. 

Simple controls come in one of two forms:

  • Smartphone controls
  • On-device controls

The Breville Joule focuses entirely on smartphone controls, taking complicated features out of the equation. This feature alienates an audience that doesn’t prefer smartphones but simplifies the process for everyone else.   

Anova excels at providing this, combined with a simple digital display. However, Anova’s most popular device is 750 watts, making it far weaker than the Breville option. 

A Simple and Flexible Attachment Method

Immersion circulators typically have a clip or screw-on method of attachment. Either option is essential, and it should be easy to use and adjust as needed.

This feature is vital to ensure you are using the right amount of sous vide cooking. If your device is only suitable for 16-gallon tanks, it won’t be great for more little family needs. You also can’t use an 8-quart tank for larger parties. 

Flexibility, especially for the adjustable height, is essential to ensure your sous vide cooker can handle multiple sizes. You’ll find the best results come with magnetic connections, enabling your immersion cooker additional strength when standing upright in non-sous vide pots. 

You’ll find the best results will depend on your preferences. However, less screwing on your devices will save you time and hassle. 

A Sous Vide with Internet and Bluetooth 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a modern concept that indicates modern appliances should have an internet connection. For example, microwaves, toasters, and coffee makers. 

Sous Vide machines are another example of what you might expect as part of the IoT. The Breville Joule is one such example of a machine that takes full advantage of this feature. 

WiFi connectivity is from a signal producer inside of the device. Your phone will usually have an application that connects to this device, enabling you to access an interface to secure your internet and the sous vide machine. 

In many cases, this starts with Bluetooth connectivity. Some machines solely use Bluetooth, which is typical when looking at Anova products. 

The addition of WiFi needs more power, so the Breville has higher wattage than most other sous vide machines. WiFi enables the user to connect to the device from anywhere the WiFi signal extends. WiFi almost always has a farther reach than Bluetooth. 

A Good Sous Vide Application

A user-friendly application is necessary for that easy-to-use display to be consistent. Given that the Breville Joule does not have any physical controls, an excellent digital application is essential. 

When looking for good apps, you should easily program them to specific times and temperatures. This feature enables manual control, allowing users to apply recipes they find on third-party sites easily. 

Other good application features include direct connections to programmable settings. Those settings are ideally linked to recipes you can find on their application or website. It is essential for sous vide machine manufacturers to make their instructions simplistic. 

Taking A Closer Look at Breville 

Looking closely at Breville, you’ll see that they are an Australian-based company founded in Sydney. The name comes from the combination of their two founders: Bill O’Brien and Charles Henry Norville. 

During the time, they created products for the war: radios and mine detectors mainly. After WW2, Breville specialized in small appliances and the precedent line of television sets. 

After selling the television part of their business off, Breville continued with a robust research and development platform. One of its most notable commercial successes was the Breville Snack ‘n Sandwich toaster, invading over 10% of Australian households in the 1970s

Since this time, Breville has spread to over 70 countries with more than 100 patents. Breville is known for making contact grills, kettles, microwaves, pressure cookers, coffee makers, and all manner of kitchen appliances. 

Sous Vide FAQs

Do You Need A Vacuum Sealer to Sous Vide?

Sous vide cooking does not need a vacuum sealer. By removing air from food-grade plastic bags, you can fulfill similar needs.

Regardless of what sort of food-grade bag you use, be sure it can withstand temperatures put out by your sous vide machine. Some weaker plastic bags are known to rip at the seams due to their inability to be exposed to higher temperatures for extended periods. 

Because vacuum sealing food is good to preserve, you can still buy a vacuum sealer regardless. One example is the FoodSaver VS0150 Sealer PowerVac

You can also choose to purchase hand pump vacuums. 

Why Do Some People Say Sous Vide is Bad for You?

Like food smoking, sous vide cooking is known for low and slow practices. As a result, some people say sous vide is bad for you because it tends to work near the USDA temperature danger zone.

Temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit are unsafe, leading to greater potential exposure to bacteria. However, people who cook using sous vide forget a few essential things.

First, the vacuum-sealed bags used for sous vide keep any potential bacteria out. This is why you can typically store sous vide bags in your fridge for more extended periods. 

Do You Need To Cover Your Sous Vide Container While Cooking?

A lid or cover is not required to cover your sous vide container while it cooks. However, it can help you with long-time sous vide cooking over four hours. Covers help to reduce evaporation.

Many good sous vide immersion circulators have water alarms to warn you when water levels are too low. The Breville Joule will send you a notification to your app when your water level runs low. 

If your sous vide container doesn’t come with a lid, you can use heat-resistant plastic wrap. Be sure to cut a few small slits in the plastic wrap, as the pressure buildup can cause your plastic wrap to explode. 

Can You Leave a Sous Vide Machine Alone / Overnight? 

Some home chefs are concerned about leaving them alone for long periods when it comes to heated water baths. However, when you consider sous vide machines to be like crockpots, you’ll find yourself getting over that. So you can leave a sous vide machine alone, but you’ll want to be careful with overnight. 

Leaving it overnight can sometimes turn your food to mush. However, this is less likely if you have incredibly thick steaks. Any stake with more than a few inches (four or more) is likely going to be safer. 

If you plan on cooking steaks through sous vide, always be sure to sear them after. The pan-seared ends are what brings a sous vide steak together, sealing in the flavor. 

Final Thoughts 

The Breville CS20001 is a powerful 1100 watt tool. The powerful tool is quick heating and suited for containers of all sizes. Its power ensures short cooking times with no risk of overcooking due to tracking features available via WiFi and Bluetooth. 

If you prefer other forms of sous vide machine, check out our sister list of professional devices for aspiring home chefs. Some people do not like the Breville CS20001 due to its lack of on-tool controls. Anova is usually the second choice for people seeking a solid sous vide machine. 

Please consider clicking our affiliate links if you like the Breville sous vide machine (or any of the tools featured on this or other lists). As an Amazon Affiliate, we make a commission with most links you click on this site. Thank you for reading. 

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