I call myself the Vacuum Sealer Geek for a reason. I love reviewing and using these devices and they’ve revolutionized the way my kitchen is run, with a huge amount of models such as the range offered by FoodSaver and other brands, it is worth me going through vacuum sealer reviews featuring some of the best vacuum sealers for sealing and saving food, cooking sous vide and the other household uses. Updated for 2016, Our guide to choosing a sealer will hopefully help you navigate what can be a confusing world.
There are, of course, different uses for these sealers, which means different people are looking for different things from their sealer. In general though, people are looking for a product which can do some (or all) of the following:
- Seal meat and fish which is either bought on bulk from butchers, wholesale clubs like costco or of course from hunting or fishing trips. There are even specific models such as the ‘gamesaver’ which is as the name suggests designed exclusively for meat.
- Cooking sous vide. The best vacuum sealer for Sous Vide is a massively important tool for many of us as this method of cooking becomes more and more popular due to its ease, convenience and the amazing results.
- Marinating – this may not be something you’ve thought of, but marinating is a hugely popular use for vacuum sealers, the way they suck out the air and provide a tight seal means food becomes marinated more quickly, and that you can do it in advance before a BBQ or other meal type and leave it in the fridge or freezer.
- Resealing and sealing meals or ingredients ready for refrigeration or freezing. This is the main use, you can seal individual portions ready for freezing, you can freeze leftovers or reseal bagged foods such as chips or cereals you’ve bought from the store.
What To Look For in a Sealer
Vacuum Sealers have a few signs of quality, and though you may be wondering whether chamber or nozzle style sealers are for you, or whether handheld or not is right for you.
- Reliability – this doesn’t take a genius to work out, you want it to work at all times and how you want it to.
- Portability – some of us need to move the sealer around from room to room for instance or just want to be able to pack it away for storage.
- BAGS – this is a massive one, most sealers use specific types of bags, and it can get expensive if they don’t have ‘compatible’ models of sealer bag. Some people do reuse the bags, but if you’re going to be doing this regularly having a cheaper version of bag can save you money.
- Value – unfortunately price comes into it for all of us, there’s no way around it! Sometimes you’ll be looking to splash out and pay top dollar for the best vacuum sealers for your own needs, but you still want something that represents good value and has all the features you could possibly want.
- Speed – you don’t want to be waiting forever, especially if you’re going to be sealing in big quantities, so making sure you’ve got a model which can quickly seal your food is key.
- Different modes – some of the food you are going to seal may well require you to be gentler so that the food doesn’t lose its shape, control over the pressure via modes can also be a helpful feature.
In case you’re still not sold on whether or not a sealer is for you, on top of the benefits above and the obvious (sealing food and preserving it for longer) there are some other benefits you may not have thought about, the main one being saving money. By being able to store your food for longer you’re obviously cutting down on waste. This isn’t the only way you can save your money in this process. You can buy on bulk safe in the knowledge that you will be able to store your food for longer, meaning it will stay fresh for longer and you can get a better rate on your food. Hunters can, of course, save their food for much longer too. As well as this, a great benefit of the vacuum sealer is that you can use it on items which aren’t food! Store valuables and important documents away from damaging floods or damp conditions, or even store a clean change of clothes in case you head to the beach and end up needing to get changed.
Recommended Model of Vacuum Sealer #1
It wouldn’t be right to not kick things off with an amazing model of sealer from probably the most prolific manufacturer of these products out there, FoodSaver!
Picking out what is the best Foodsaver sealer is tough. This sealer is a wonderful model which can seal foods without any damage and many users and consumers have reported that it has lasted them years with absolutely no issues. It has a patented drip tray for any of the messier jobs in terms of sealing and even has an option for sealing delicate foods without doing them any damage. The motor is effective but works quietly, and the product is well designed with simple storage in a cupboard optional. Items are sealed in just a few seconds and ready for storing away or cooking sous vide. The one year warranty from the company, FoodSaver, says all you need to know about it, excellent quality at a reasonable price tag from probably the best company out there for sealing food. The V2244 is a truly excellent model, and we review it in more detail here.
Handheld Sealer – Choosing the Best
It wouldn’t be right to make this list and not include a handheld sealer review, the handheld vacuum sealer has grown in popularity and has a lot of benefits for a huge amount of people. It can fit into any kitchen, is great for camping trips and for keeping in an RV and storing food whilst on the go, plus they usually look like guns and you can pretend you are Clint Eastwood (not that I have, of course). If you run a food truck or have some other business that involves food whilst you’re on the go, then of course these are hugely beneficial.
Though FoodSaver do have handheld models, my favorite is the WARING PRO PVS1000 – also known as the ‘pistol vac’ – and no, I don’t just like it for its cool name. It provides a great option in terms of design, both in the way it looks and how it feels, it really is so easy to use and fits in the hand nicely. On top of this it works really quickly and the ‘trigger’ gives a lot of control as well. It comes ready with 24 resealable bags so you can get going straight away. Of course it doesn’t take up a lot of space and is easy to store away. It is lightweight and great for the home kitchen or a commercial kitchen and of course it being so lightweight and battery powered it can be used on your hunting trips, when you’re out camping or in your RV or camper, plus it can just be a great option for the kitchen at home if you don’t have a lot of space or want a full sized sealer taking up your counter space. Waring Pro are a great kitchen brand and have really pulled it out of the bag (pun intended) here.
Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer Review
Looking at the cheaper end of the market we’re also going to recommend the seal-a-meal vacuum sealer. It is versatile, easy to use and as already mentioned provides great value for money. The fast operating, very quick button press and release system in order to start the sealing process. It is simple and although it doesn’t have the best reviews on the market (they’re certainly not bad reviews, just not as good as some of the other models) it is undeniably one of the best at their pricing point. It has a drip tray just like the Food Saver model mentioned above, and is versatile and easy to get started with, making it a really great option to get you started or if you’re just looking for something on the more affordable end of the vacuum sealing spectrum!
Chamber Vs Nozzle Vacuum Sealers
These are sometimes also called snorkel sealers, the Nozzle version of vacuum sealer is quick to use and gives control of how much you’re sucking out of the bag, allowing you to judge for yourself. You can hold the bag in place and use the vacuum cycle as most of them are used by a foot pedal or a button you can leave on, they’re often used in the storage of coffee as well as other industrial food storages but can be used in the kitchen too. Some of the best handheld sealers also use this type of method.
The chamber type is able to get a higher amount of the oxygen out of a bag which is great for longevity of storage, but they’re slower in the process of getting there, they don’t have foot pedals and some of them use sensors but in general you need to completely submerge the sealer bag in the chamber to make it work.
Check out this video explaining chamber style sealers and how they offer benefits for the consumer, as you can see, they look a bit more ‘commercial kitchen’ style.
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry about it too much! The main thing is to check that the sealer has enough to work for you and our reviews in this article and elsewhere on the vacuum sealer geek site will hopefully help you to decide on the model. If you’re looking for a kitchen product then whether it is chamber or nozzle isn’t the main thing I would look for.
Where to Buy Your Vacuum Sealer
Of course you can go into kitchen stores on the high street and find some models and occasional offers, but in general buying online will provide you with the best prices and choice of models, whether you’re buying on Amazon or elsewhere, just ensure that you know you’re buying from somewhere reputable and take into account delivery and of course any warranties provided on top of that offered by the manufacturer. With their prime delivery and excellent choice, Amazon is usually my choice when it comes to buying new kitchen goods.
Are they Worth It?
I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that a vacuum sealer can have financial benefits. As briefly mentioned before, you’re able to buy food in bigger bulk from a wholesaler or other source, or even hunting yourself, and store for a very long time in the fridge or freezer, much longer than if not sealed. In terms of the finances, they are definitely worth it, especially if any sizeable amount of food gets eaten in your home and business, but with the other benefits such as the fact you can prevent freezer burn, make meals that you can cook in bulk and keep for longer, preserve your own produce and more. For the sake of convenience as much as anything else, I definitely consider a sealer a good investment.
The Top Vacuum Sealers for Game, Hunting and Fishing
One of the uses we often see for vacuum sealers is for sealing meat after a big hunting trip or a fishing day. Finding the best vacuum sealer for deer, elk or other meat, or alternatively the top foodsaver for fishing can be a really tough decision. Fortunately, there is a model designed with you in mind. Some of our vacuum sealing reviews have focused on the models which are made specifically for this, and products like the Gamesaver, probably the best vacuum sealer for the job, have proved to be truly excellent for sealing large quantities of meat whether that means deer or game which you’ve hunted or something you’ve bought in bulk. Those fishing/hunting trips will be more fun knowing you don’t need to worry about storing everything you’ve got, and how much longer your meat can last in the fridge and freezer once being properly sealed. Of course, we only endorse ethical sourcing of meat and fish and you should only do so with permission.
The below review focuses on the Gamesaver and Outdoorsman range which, funnily enough, are great for those outdoorsy type and designed for game and meat.
One of the areas which has really served to popularize the vacuum sealer is Sous Vide cooking. A method which involves sealing food firmly before cooking submerged in water, either through a specific immersion device or just in a pan. Though many chefs have embraced this method, you don’t have to be a pro to use it. The benefits of cooking sous vide include effective marinating, convenience, health and an enhanced natural flavor as everything is sealed in. This discussion on Chowhound shows a lot of people starting to use the method and sharing their techniques.
Of course, the reason I’m mentioning this is the fact that those of you looking to cook like this will need the best vacuum sealer for sous vide. We have written a whole post covering the issue, but ultimately, most of the reliable sealers we’ve mentioned above will do a solid job.
There isn’t one standard ‘best’ model as such, just the best for your own needs which of course vary greatly from household to household, individual to individual. Checking the reviews we publish regularly here as well as checking out the above recommendations will serve you well in your quest to learn more about vacuum sealers and choose the very best out there for you, your family or for your business. A foodsaver can be useful whether you’re a hunter looking to save your meat or you’re a homemaker trying to cut down on kitchen costs and save money for the future.