Vacuum packaging is a technique that basically involves keeping a food inside a bag free of air, in order to preserve better the product and the handling of products with liquids. By getting a best vacuum sealer machine, you will be able to preserve food for longer, reserving its properties.
In the days of yore, people would eat and drink the things they’ve managed to pick from the ground or hunt pretty much straight away.
Actually, scratch that.
While this is mostly true, it is also true that our ancestors figured out that saving food for the rainy days makes as much sense as consuming it right away!
That’s right! Preserving food goes back millennia.
As centuries went by, the techniques people used to pack and store food for the winter (for example) changed and evolved.
Initially, the preservation process amounted to simply digging a hole in the ground and then sticking the leftover vegetables and meat in it. Then came pickling processes, and then canisters, and then fridges.
Nowadays, we’ve got all of these techniques at our disposal + another, fairly new one on top of that! It’s got to do with vacuum-sealing food and it can be a great way to not only preserve your leftovers but also treat them in a way that will maintain their freshness and tastiness for the next time you decide to unpack them!
In this article, we’ll talk about vacuum sealers – a brilliant invention that enables you to vacuum-treat your food supply the way they do in factories – in the comfort of your home! We’ve got a buying guide, we’ll be pointing out important features to pay attention to, and we’ll also explain briefly how to use one of these mean machines.
Oh, and yes – we’ve also assembled the top 10 best products in this particular category so that you can see which one you like the best. Nothing but top tier products here, so whichever model you opt for, you won’t make a mistake – you can rest assured.
Right then, without further ado, here’s the deal with vacuum sealers.
Vacuum Sealers – A Buyer’s Guide
Vacuum sealers have been around for a while.
This means that there are some already well-established brands out there.
More often than not, a famous vacuum sealer brand will manufacture high-quality products with plenty of unique features – something that lower cost or cheaply-built utensils don’t really have.
For example, niceties such as automatic bag detection or automatic moisture detection, or indeed, a hefty and generous warranty all indicate that the brand behind the product is a solid one.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should shun lesser known brands. (Even Coca Cola was once a rookie on the market!) But if you want to play it safe, getting a vacuum sealer from a well-known manufacturer can be a major asset, indeed!
This category is somewhat similar to the one above.
Vacuum sealers come in all shapes and sizes, so you can expect to see a number of different products out there on the market. The reason we’re mentioning this is that the cost of these kitchen utensils is directly linked to two main factors:
- The brand in question, and
- The number of features each individual device possesses.
These often go hand in hand, of course. Better-known and more established brands offer products with more interesting features. For example, a simple vacuum sealer with only the ‘bare bones’ structure will have a lower price, while an elaborate spaceship-like model might cost an arm and a leg! (But be well-worth it otherwise.)
A mighty-looking’ vacuum sealer with all the bells ‘n’ whistles is worth naught if it can’t survive the many vacuuming and packaging tasks you lay ahead of it.
Whether it’s due to an effort to save money on expensive materials or just general inexperience with the craft, some manufacturers of these illustrious kitchen appliances seem to offer less than great when it comes to durability of their ware.
There are a couple of red flags that can point out to a faulty construction that won’t cut it past the warranty. Plenty of cheap-looking plastic parts, for example. Or a series of bad reviews on a seller webpage. Also, a lack of a warranty should raise some eyebrows!
Automatic vs. Manual Machine
Perhaps a bit confusingly, the automatic vacuum sealing machines aren’t really more advanced than the manual ones.
In fact, the automatic vacuum sealers are made to be automatic precisely for the purpose of making them simpler. This also means fewer options for the user.
With an automatic vacuum sealer, the deal is straightforward. You start the machine, stick a bag with some vegetables in it (just the edge, of course), and press a button – the rest is magic.
As far as the manual ones go, the idea is that more experienced users have more vacuuming options to choose from. So, if you want a more complex system of packaging food and are willing to learn how it works in detail, by all means, go for a manual model.
Indicative of faulty ware when it’s not there, and reassuring and confidence-inducing when it is, a warranty is the best advertisement for a machine manufacturer.
When buying a vacuum sealer, (but also any machine, in general), make sure to take a look at their warranty policy or if they have one in the first place!
(If they do, you might want to probe further because not all warranties cover the 100% of the product.)
10 Best Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide
1. FoodSaver – 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine
If you’re on a lookout for a kitchen appliance that looks like it’s fallen straight out of a high-tech lab, this FoodSaver 2-in-1 vacuum sealer might be the thing to check out. Equipped with an automatic bag detection technology and some LED light indicators to help you see what you’re vacuuming, this mean machine from FoodSaver is a must for a food preservation-savvy family.
Other than the LED lights that help you NOT vacuum your fingers while puttering with the bags, the FoodSaver 2-in-1 vacuum sealer machine also features some built-in roll storage and a cutter. These will help you create bags pretty much on the spot, without needing to prearrange anything, really.
Another automated part of the vacuuming and packaging process with this particular device would be the moisture recognition technology. It works like this – as soon as you try to vacuum something that’s got leftover liquid in it, the aforementioned detector will pick it up and adapt the vacuuming process accordingly.
- Automatic moisture detection
- LED lights
- Integrated cutter
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Automatic bag detection
- Some customers have complained about customer support
- Doesn’t work well if there’s a lot of moisture in the bag
2. FoodSaver – 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System
If it looks like a printer, sort of works similar to a printer, and there’s food involved – it’s FoodSaver’s 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System! With one of these babies on top of your merry kitchen counter, you’ll get such niceties as an air-tight heat seal, a retractable handheld sealer, a PulseVac, and even Rapid Marinade mode for …. Ehm, rapid marinading … probably.
And that’s not all, folks! There’s plenty of other high-tech, tough-to-pronounce features to list here.
For example – a control panel, fully automatic operation, a wine stopper, and a pullout drip tray. The control panel thing is perhaps the most interesting here. All the matters pertaining to the vacuuming task at hand you can arrange and set using this control panel, so acquainting yourself with its secrets can be the start of a wonderful human-kitchen appliance relationship! If such a thing even exists.
- A Special marinade mode
- Wine Stopper
- Roll Storage
- Automatic Operation
- Retractable Handheld Sealer
- Control Panel
- A bit pricey
- Some customers reported troubles with their initial shipment (the customer service is good, mercifully)
3. VACMASTER – Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Featuring the appearance of a car battery but the technology and the utility of a purely-bred vacuum sealer, this VACMASTER chamber vacuum sealer is a piece of technology you don’t want to miss out on.
With this particular model, the folks at VACMASTER decided to concentrate on the size of the vacuuming bags, so they’ve installed in this model a might ¼ horsepower rotary oil pump that can take care of larger packages. That’s like having a quarter of a horse working to seal your bags with celery and cauliflower! Or like a big well-fed badger maybe. No, two big badgers working at the bags.
Anyway, thanks to its quiet operation and a simple design, this model can be a perfect solution for professional chefs. Its large capacity can be best utilized on a larger scale, so to speak, so giving this device to a cook that needs to get some packages vacuumed pronto will save him or her a lot of effort, for sure!
- ¼ horsepower rotary oil pump
- Double-seals each bag
- Perfect for restaurants, catering services, or hunters and farm owners
- Capable of packaging liquids and liquid-rich foods
- Too big for home use
- Quite heavy
4. FoodSaver – 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine with Automatic Bag Detection
Another product on this list coming from the FoodSaver folks comes in the shape of this vacuum sealer machine with automatic bag detection. 2-in-1, no less! As the name itself suggests, this mean machine is capable of automatic bag detection, allowing you to work quickly and vacuum your bags easily.
Similarly to the product above, this FoodSaver model also comes with the inbuilt cutter which allows you to quickly set the size of the vacuum bag. The LED lights are there to lead you as you’re inserting the bag into the sealer.
As you can see, actually sealing bags with this contraption is simple and user-friendly, even if the user is a complete and utter rookie in the kitchen. The only thing to remember is to remove the drip tray every once in a while because if too much water is accumulated there, it can start overflowing which is not a pretty sight.
- Automatic moisture detection
- ETL and UL-certified
- Comes with a quick Marinator
- Built-in cutter
- Built-in storage rolls
- The heater can overheat if you don’t make pauses between vacuuming sessions
- The mechanism tends to use more of the bag than needed
5. FoodSaver – 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealer Machine with Express Bag Maker
Another printer-looking gadget over here. Although to be fair, all of them more or less look like either a printer or a car battery. But there’s more to these machines than just their resemblance to other machines!
According to the folks at FoodSaver, this particular product of theirs is capable of preserving your food for up to three years! (It does need to be in the freezer, of course, but still!)
Inbuilt in its bowels, there is a clever system for dispensing vacuuming bags – you only need to put in a set number of bags in the beginning and then the machine will do every next bag for you. Until it runs out of bags, then just repeat the process.
To ensure that whatever you’ve decided to seal within a vacuum bag remains seal for good, the folks at FoodSaver have also made their vacuum sealer work with dual sealing strips.
- Elegant design
- Easy to use
- Comes with LED navigating indicators
- Automatic moisture detection
- Roll storage
- Dual heat sealing strips
- Some users have reported problems with the pump
- Fairly pricey
6. NutriChef – Vacuum Sealer
Correction! In one of the entries above, we mentioned that every vacuum sealer looks either like a printer or something else or the other, can’t be bothered to scroll up. Well, this model looks like a rooter! (Pretty sure that device, in particular, didn’t pop up as a comparison point.)
Well, other than possessing an appearance reminiscent of a rooter, this plucky contraption is also easy to operate, offers two sealing modes, and it has been extensively lab tested. The operation is fully automatic. All you need to do to set this device on its merry vacuuming path would be to plug it in!
Once the lights begin coming to life, you’ll see that you can carry out a wide variety of actions using the control panel on top of this device. Simply press the button for the corresponding action and then watch it unfold before your very eyes!
- Extensively lab tested
- Features two sealing modes
- Automatic electric plug
- Easy-to-use control panel
- LED indicator lights
- Poor customer support
- Some users have reported certain stability issues (It tends to tip on one side when used.)
7. SEAL-A-MEAL – Manual Vacuum Sealer System
Coming from a company with quite a cheeky and clever name, this manual vacuum sealer system represents a simple vacuum sealing device that will allow you to stick some food in a bag and then seal it shut for good. (Well, until you do decide to open it, of course.)
Using this contraption is probably the easiest thing in the world. After you’ve plugged this one in the power outlet on the wall, all you need to do to make it do its magic is simply press down on it mightily and wait for the signal to go off.
This is the so-called hands-off signal indicating that the vacuuming and sealing process is completed and that you can take your hands off the device. This offer also comes with a user manual and a 1-year warranty.
- Easy operation
- Comes with BPA-free bags
- The drip tray is dishwasher safe
- 1-year warranty
- No automatic bag detection
- No automatic moisture detection
8. Nesco – VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer
For those in need of a solid and reliable piece of vacuuming machinery, so to speak, this deluxe vacuum sealer from Nesco is surely a product worth taking into consideration. It offers a sleek design and a smooth operation. In fact, the manufacturers made sure that this particular model incorporates the so-called hands-free sealing thanks to the inclusion of a locked handle.
Out of the ways you can use this sealer, there are three separate options to choose from: 1) dry, 2) moist, and 3) double. Each of these roughly corresponds to various types of food, so you can use dry for dry meat or fresh vegetables. You can try moist with a steak ‘n’ gravy or a stew, for example.
Similarly to some products from above, this model also works on the double seal principle which reinforces the bags and makes them bulletproof. (Not literally, of course.)
- Comes with double seal technology for additional strength
- Works with the double vacuum pump
- Three sealing choices: dry, moist, and double
- Two settings: regular and gentle
- Hands-free operation
- Locked handles
- A bit noisy
- Some users have reported inconsistent operation
9. Hamilton Beach – Vacuum Sealer Machine with Bag Cutter
Looks simple, works in a simple way – that’s what this vacuum sealer from Hamilton Beach is all about. In order to make the operation as simple and user-friendly as possible, the folks at Hamilton Beach have ensured that their sealing machine has an extra-wide vacuum chamber. (This means you won’t have to insert the bags into this apparatus with surgical precision.)
When it comes to the size of the bag you’ll be using, you don’t have to worry about it in the sense that you’ll have to measure it yourself. This is because this particular device has got a built-in cutter that automatically cuts the bag at the size suitable for the amount of food in it. This way, you won’t be wasting any bag material and will always get a close fit.
- Comes with a built-in cutter
- Adjustable high and low levels of vacuuming
- Roll storage
- Compatible with FoodSaver bags
- 5 vacuuming and sealing controls
- Some users have reported occasional problems with factory bags
- This unit doesn’t have a drip tray
10. Crenova – VS100S Vacuum Sealer
Boasting the looks of a Mundharmonika with some buttons on top of it, this Crenova vacuum sealer is a simple and efficient kitchen utensil perfect for home use or perhaps some other small-scale users. Despite its minute size, this device is actually made out of high-quality stainless steel, so you can rest assured that this unit will endure some rough vacuuming tasks.
Another great feature of this Crenova vacuum sealer is the fact that it comes with an option to treat both dry and moist food, so you can vacuum seal some marinated beef, for example, just as easily as you would some vegetables!
Other than this, the Crenova folks issue a one-year warranty on this product and offer lifetime support for its customers. Also, there’s a 24/7 e-mail customer service where you can contact the manufacturer in case you have any questions.
- Made out of high-quality stainless steel
- Simple, one-touch operation
- Special CANCEL button
- One-year warranty
- Lifetime support
- 24/7 customer support
- Too small for larger households
- Some users have reported problems with sealing (Some air gets in every now and again.)
Important Features to Look For when Buying Food Vacuum Sealer
Determining the efficiency and speed with which a vacuum sealer can seal a couple of vegetables, power of the vacuum sealer’s motor is the essential parameter for assessing the device in question as a whole.
Although quite new to the world market, vacuum sealers already come in all shapes and sizes. And purposes, as well. What this effectively means is that you’ll have a number of different models each ranging in their power output according to their purpose.
For example, a professional chef might need a powerful vacuum sealer that operates quickly. So, expect an industrial-sized sealing contraption to be both more powerful and bigger than a conventional one.
The Sealing Process Itself
Vacuum-sealing your food is a preservation process that consists of two different processes.
It’s quite self-explanatory, really.
One part of the machine sucks in the excess air from the bag while the other one seals the now vacuumed bag for good. This is where sealing bars come into play.
A sealing bar is the heated piece of metal that stamps onto the bag to create a seal. The stronger and larger this bar is, the stronger the seal will be. Of course, if the seal bar is too large for whatever weird purpose, you may be wasting bags for no reason, so pay attention to this.
Ease of Use
Even though the vacuum sealing process itself isn’t really nuclear science per se, a complete novice may have a tough time figuring out how to operate a manual sealer, for example.
If you suspect you may fall into the group of people who aren’t really tech-savvy, or indeed, are just impatient, purchasing a vacuum sealer with plenty of bells ‘n’ whistles might be a good idea.
For example, many modern vacuum sealer manufacturers offer automated pulse controls, timers, automatic shut-offs, as well as other sorts of features which can help you do less and end up with more!
This may not be the most important thing to look for but if you can find it, then great.
You see, some vacuum sealer manufacturers make their machines in a way that they can accept only one sort of vacuuming bags. (Usually their own brand, as well.)
Well, if you can find a model that allows you to use other kinds of bags on their sealer as well, this can be a great way to save some money! (In case you already have some bags you can use.) Also, this will broaden the number of different packaging bags you can work with.
Automatic Bag Detection
A vacuum sealer with an automatic bag detection feature onboard can save you a lot of effort initially when you first start using the device.
If you’re sort of clumsy and tend to have a hard time aligning the bag perfectly every time, a vacuum sealer with automatic bag detection will do this for you!
(Note, however, that models that have this feature will usually be more expensive than the ordinary vacuum sealers.)
How to Use a Vacuum Sealer
While every individual vacuum sealing machine will have its own unique way of operating, there’s still a pretty clear consensus in the vacuuming community on how to operate one of these useful contraptions. The three-step procedure in question is as follows:
- Fill the Bag Up – with ingredients or prepared meals of your choice. This can include fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. The only thing you need to pay attention to here is the moisture. Some vacuum sealers deal well with moisture and can even vacuum seal marinated foods and stews.
The other models, without this feature, can fail to seal foods with plenty of moisture and even break down in the process! To be on the safe side, read the instruction sheets that come with your product carefully and follow the step-by-step guide. (If there is one.)
- Turn on the Machine – and attach the edge of the bag, now filled with food, to the bar of the sealer. Once the heater is ready, the machine will either do this for you, or you’ll have to press a button or two.
- Remove the Bag – Once the heater’s done its job, remove the prepared bag from the machine. At this point, you may want to check for leaks or some other imperfections. If everything’s okay, you can store the food and go on your merry way!
So, that’d be it, folks! Vacuum sealers represent an integral part of the modern kitchen and can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Preserving food never goes out of fashion, so get yourself a vacuum sealer if you haven’t got one already! We hope you found this article helpful and wish you a hassle-free purchase!