There was a time when vacuum sealers were only found in commercial kitchens, where waste severely impacted the company’s bottom line. Today, home cooks can access a wider variety of ingredients than ever, and saving money is just one thing they can do with a vacuum sealer in their home kitchen.
During our research, we discovered how many powerful and versatile vacuum sealers that are currently on the market. Our findings also revealed how many creative uses there are for these handy machines. For instance, did you know vacuum sealing prevents the adhesive on bandages from breaking down? And that it can prevent sterling silver from tarnishing?
So, if you intend to become the world’s best sous-vide cook, are driven to maximize every penny of your grocery budget, or would like to step up your emergency-preparedness game, there is a perfect vacuum sealer for you. We’re here to help you decide which one to choose.
At a glance:
- Best overall — Geryon Vacuum Sealer Machine E2900-MS
- Best hand-held — FoodSaver 31161370 Cordless Handheld Food Vacuum Sealer
- Best for hunting and fishing — FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer GM2050-000 GameSaver Outdoorsman Sealing System
- Best deluxe non-chamber — Caso Design 11392-2-KIT VC.300 All-in-One Sealer KIT with Soft Vacuum System
- Best commercial-grade — VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Who should buy this:
- People who want to store bulk meat and produce purchases.
- People with a mid-range budget.
- People who prefer to store their machine away from the kitchen countertop.
The Geryon Vacuum Sealer Machine E2900-MS is a versatile, midrange machine that comes in both black and silver colors, sports a compact design, and includes a generous starter kit. This machine accommodates specially designed vacuum bags and vacuum sealer rolls for greater flexibility. The starter kit includes a vacuum hose for use with larger vacuum jars and non-food-storage bags, five 7.8 x 11.8-inch heat-sealed bags, and one 7.8 x 7.8-inch bag roll.
With two settings for sealing dry and moist items, the machine has user-friendly soft-touch button controls and an easy-to-clean construction. The manufacturer designed the machine with a seal-only choice as well. This vacuum sealer works quickly and efficiently and is suitable for sous-vide applications. Weighing in at just two pounds, it won’t strain your back and stores easily in a cabinet or on a shelf.
Who should buy this:
- People who want the convenience of a small cordless unit.
- People with a small budget.
- People wishing to use a sealer on dry items.
This rechargeable cordless sealer has a streamlined design that takes up a tiny footprint on your kitchen counter or workbench. Made for sealing the reusable FoodSaver zipper bags, jar sealers, and marinators, and weighing in at just one pound, this versatile unit can seal 60 bags on one 24-hour charge. This small machine doesn’t heat-seal the bags; it works with compatible bags that have a special area designated for vacuum sealing.
This machine is not made for use with wet ingredients or liquids, as it will intake the liquids and stop it from working properly.
Who should buy this:
- People with a midrange budget.
- People who need to store game and fish quickly.
- People who want to preserve fish and meats while camping.
- People who wish to seal 40-60 consecutive items.
The FoodSaver GameSaver Outdoorsman Vacuum Sealing System is designed for hunters and fishers who want to process their catches quickly and efficiently. FoodSaver created two models of this unit: A 40- and a 60-consecutive seal. Processing 120 or 180 pounds of meat or fish has never been easier and vacuum sealing will prevent spoilage and freezer burn so that your efforts will stay fresh for years.
The unit sports an outdoorsman-friendly design and the starter kit includes one 11 x 10-inch and 8 x 10-inch heat seal roll, five each of 1-quart and 1-gallon heat seal bags, and a vacuum accessory hose.
Who should buy this:
- People with a larger budget (up to $200).
- People who want German engineering.
- People who want extra control of their food storage.
The Caso Design 11392-2-KIT VC.300 All-in-One Sealer KIT with Soft Vacuum System is a sleek and modern-looking stainless-steel unit. The soft-touch control buttons offer options for seal-only, vacuum and seal, adjustable vacuum, and a dry and moist setting for food sealing. The starter kit includes a vacuum hose for food containers, two starter food rolls (one 8 inches and one 11 inches), a pack of vacuum bags with fifty 8 x 11-inch food bags, four 8 x 240-inch food rolls and two 11 x 240-inch food rolls. That’s a lot of storage.
Out of all of the machines we reviewed, this is the only machine that comes with a food manager app, compatible with both iOS and Android phones. The app works with your phones’ camera to generate shelf life data, help you keep track of the location of your stored products, and allows you to enter expiration dates. It even makes grocery suggestions based on your sealed and vacuumed inventory. Used with Caso’s QR stickers, you can completely nerd out on your food storage and maximize your savings.
Who should buy this:
- People who want commercial-grade vacuum sealing.
- People with a large budget (up to $1,000).
- People who need to vacuum seal liquids and liquid-rich foods.
- Small restaurants or caterers.
Chamber vacuum sealers are the Cadillac of vacuum sealers, and we wanted to include one just in case the less expensive units didn’t do the trick for our readers. These machines work by keeping the air pressure around the vacuum package equal to the pressure inside it, thus forming a perfectly even seal. These are not lightweight units (this one is about 85 pounds) and have a larger footprint than the non-chamber units.
This machine runs on a quiet oil pump, so it needs no cool-down time between items. The chamber size is 11.25 x 15.25 x 5 inches, and the starter kit includes 25 each of 6 x 10-inch, 8 x 12 inch, and 10 x 13-inch bags. This unit will also re-seal open jars and containers, mylar bags, and FoodSaver bags. This is a commercial-grade machine that home users swear by once they have used it.
What is the best vacuum sealer?
Out of the many manufacturers of vacuum sealers out there, there are two that are very recognizable: FoodSaver and Geryon. Both companies make outstanding products that suit a variety of consumer needs. In our research, we saw that most people budget less than $100 for a machine like this, so our choice for the best overall vacuum sealer is the Geryon Vacuum Sealer Machine E2900-MS.
We recognized that vacuum sealers are not just for food. However, some are better designed to accommodate food sealing than others, for instance, easy-clean models, and dual-speed action that prevents moisture from spraying out of the bag. So, the first thing to do when deciding to buy a vacuum sealer is to know what you’re going to use it for.
Food storage and cooking uses
Most people decide to purchase a vacuum sealer for their kitchen and end up using it for other things as well. There are many compelling reasons to use a vacuum sealer for food, so let’s look at some of them:
Buying in bulk
One very effective way to save money is to buy groceries in bulk. Meats, cheese, vegetables, and even herbs all can be stored in vacuum bags that extend their shelf life from weeks to years. Everyone has stored bulk proteins in their freezer only to find them covered with frost after a few weeks. Vacuum sealing prevents ice and freezer burn from forming on stored items and preserves freshness and flavor for literally years.
The reason food goes bad is due to oxidation, which causes mold. Vacuum sealing cheese extends its shelf life from weeks to months.
Do you buy parsley or chives and end up throwing half of them away, only to have to buy more the following week? Vacuum sealing them keeps them fresh and reusable for weeks.
Some people like to skip the plastic altogether and store cereals, granola, and other dry good in vacuum-sealed jars. When the jar is opened and re-closed, the vacuum hose attachment removes the air to keep the contents fresh.
To keep wine from going bad, you can purchase wine stoppers that work with vacuum sealer hoses to prevent oxidation.
Snack food preservation
Re-sealing or vacuuming chip bags keeps snack foods fresh and prevents air and moisture from getting and spoiling these items.
Sous vide cooking
It’s important to note here that a vacuum sealer is not essential to sous vide cooking. For lower heats (below 180 degrees), heavy-duty zipper-lock bags work fine. When temperatures go higher than that, the bag can soften, and the seal can break, ruining your ingredients and making a mess. Even with vacuum sealing, use only heavy-grade bags or rolls suited for high temperatures.
Consumers use vacuum sealing for more than food. The protective properties of vacuum sealing help preserve many household items from moisture, dirt, insects, and bacteria. Here are some non-food uses for these machines:
Vacuum sealing protects non-precious and precious metals from corrosion and oxidation. As long as the items are wrapped in paper or soft cloth to protect the bag from puncture before sealing, they will stay bright and rust-free.
Emergency preparedness kits
We mentioned adhesive bandages earlier in the article. For first-aid kits and emergency preparedness, vacuum sealing is a great way to make sure that your emergency supplies stay safe and dry. Even candles will hold their shape when they get hot if they are vacuum-sealed.
Although lighters and other liquid flammables may not be sealed, matches can be preserved for emergency use.
Important documents and photographs stay protected with vacuum sealing. Having copies of passports, birth certificates, auto titles, and other hard-to-replace items can make life a lot easier if disaster hits.
Keep sweaters and linens moth and dust-free by using large vacuum bags with a hose attachment from one of these sealers.
Organize sewing notions or crafting items to make them easier to see and find when you need them.
What to look for in a vacuum sealer
Vacuum sealers come in automatic, semi-automatic, and hand-held models. Most sealers aside from the hand-held models can be used with a roll of bag material: Pulling the roll through allows you to create your own bag by sealing one end first. This flexibility enables the consumer to use less plastic and avoid plastic waste. Most machines also work with varying bag widths for even more customization.
Most models we reviewed are starter kits with bags, bag rolls, and vacuum hose included. Replacement rolls and bags can be purchased in bulk, but it’s important to check the material compatibility with your machine.
Automatic sealing machines sense the bag and automatically vacuum and seal the contents. Semi-automatic units are built like a clamshell so that the user opens the top, inserts the bag, and tells it to start.
Another feature that some of these machines have is the ability to seal only, which we think is very important. Some also have what’s called a pulse vacuum, so that the user can control how much vacuum is enough. This feature is convenient when sealing softer foods such as fish or cooked vegetables.
Because vacuum sealers utilize intense heat to melt and seal the bags, they need a cooling-off period of a few seconds between uses. This pause is normally not an issue, but sometimes users need fast bagging and sealing, which is why we included a model that seals 40 consecutive items before requiring a cool-off period.
Are vacuum sealers worth it?
Many people remark in reviews that they didn’t know that they needed one of these machines until they had one available, and then found them indispensable. So the short answer is, yes — especially when you can choose from a wide variety of prices and models.
What should you not vacuum seal?
Raw mushrooms, garlic, and hot cooked vegetables do not fare well being vacuum-sealed. Depending on the model of sealer you purchase, liquids should be sealed with caution.
Can you use zipper storage bags in these machines?
Yes, the unit will create a better seal and remove the air from these bags.
Do you have to blanch vegetables before vacuum sealing?
If you are storing fresh vegetables in the freezer, blanching them first is imperative, or they will not freeze correctly.
How long does vacuum-sealed raw meat last in the freezer?
Vacuum sealing raw meat extends the shelf life to two to three years. It also prevents frost and freezer burn so that when it is defrosted, it is as fresh-tasting as the day you bought it.
Can I defrost my vacuum-sealed fish in its packaging?
No. There is a bacterium that can thrive in low-oxygen environments called clostridium botulinum. This microbe can cause botulism. Always remove items from their packaging to thaw them.
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