Discovering the Best Vacuum Sealer (Foodsaver)
For most people, food storage to avoid spoilage is always a problem. The usual solutions include plastic wraps, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, and Tupperware containers. While they can work, they only do so for a very short period of time.
Many people are already realizing that the conventional solutions are at best half-measures, so they’re turning to vacuum sealers instead. With the best vacuum sealer, you can preserve your food for a longer period of time. For some of these gadgets, that’s just the start of their usefulness.
A vacuum sealer is a device that removes the air and the moisture out of the food storage container, which can be a pouch or a jar. It then seals the opening shut, so nothing else goes in and out.
Benefits of a Vacuum Sealer
If you get the best vacuum sealer you can afford, you can at least be assured that the air and moisture is effectively removed around the food, and that the food container is actually sealed in properly. When that’s the case, you can enjoy the following advantages:
- With the vacuum around the food and the opening sealed shut, you won’t have to worry about microbes and insect infestation. There’s no anxiety about mold or mildew.
- While the traditional storage options can preserve the food for a couple of days, the vacuum sealer is so effective that your food can last up to 5 times longer. Put these containers in a freezer, and the shelf life can be extended to several months.
- You also don’t have to fret over freezer burn. This is what you call the leathery spots on frozen food which appear grayish brown. These spots appear when you don’t use airtight containers for frozen food. The oxygen molecules in the air reach the food can cause the freezer burn. While the affected food may still be safe to eat, the taste and the texture won’t be too appealing at all.
- In some cases, using these vacuum sealers can offer more effective and faster marinating.
- Vacuum sealers allow you to buy more food in bulk and still preserve them for a very long time. This means you can enjoy considerable discounts.
- You can bring food to long journeys, camping trips, and hunting adventures. And if you hunt, a portable vacuum sealer can help you preserve the game on the way back home.
- In fact, you can use these gadgets to wrap important equipment for your trips so they’re better protected. You can use them on journeys for cosmetics, toiletries, and medicine bottles. You can also use them for matches, maps, and electronic gadgets even for kayaking adventures.
- You can practice sous vide (pronounced “soo veed”) cooking, which essentially means cooking the food while it’s still inside the vacuum pouch.
- These pouches can also be used to protect various other items besides food. You can protect various metal items like expensive watches, tools, and cutlery. You can keep first edition books and rare comics from yellowing and mold. CDs are better protected from humidity, dust, and air compared to just storing them in their cases. You can also better protect your important documents with a vacuum pouch than just by laminating them. You’ll be able to tell if someone tried to tamper with these documents, since the seal will have to be cut first before anyone can access the document inside.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Vacuum Sealer
There are two types of vacuum sealers, depending on how they work. You have the external vacuum sealers that get rid of the air from inside the container. These things are okay for home use, although some of the better ones can be used for small commercial applications.
Then you have the chamber vacuum sealers, which remove the air from the chamber and not just from the bag. These are generally much more expensive, which is why they’re mainly for commercial and professional use.
Before you buy one, here are some questions you first need to ask. The answers you get will narrow down your list of options, so you can get the best vacuum sealer for the money.
- How much do they cost? For home users, this is a crucial factor to consider. If you have a tight budget, you’re probably limited to picking one from the external vacuum sealers.
- How well does it work? It doesn’t matter if a sealer is cheap if they don’t really offer an effective vacuum and a proper seal. These are the two most crucial features in a sealer. If a model fares poorly with these functions, then they’re hardly worth buying. It’s great if you have variable settings for the suction so you can adjust it to different sealing requirements. But in general, you want strong suction, as you use up less time to remove the air from the container. Other units may need a longer time to provide a reliable seal, or they may even need to put in double seals to make sure the container is airtight.
- How long will they last? Some people don’t mind paying more, especially if the sealer can last for several years.
- How easy is it to use? Excellent features aren’t of much use when they’re too convoluted to get it to work. But many come with detailed instructions and tips for lots of “what if” emergencies and situations. Some models also offer one-step or even hands-free use.
- Can you bring it with you? If you’re planning to use this on the road or during your camping trips, then they better be easy to bring along. However, portable units aren’t nearly as efficient as their countertop counterparts. But even among the countertop models, you should think about size too. For chamber vacuum sealers, a large size for the chamber means you can use a bigger bag, into which you can more in less time. But using it for smaller bags may require some modifications.
- Are they flat or vertical? Flat sealers may be able to let you use bags with different sealing widths. With a wider mouth, a vac-sealer can seal larger bags, or you can seal 2 bags at once to save time. On the other hand, the vertical units work well when you’re sealing in liquid products, and this orientation allows for special attachments that let you use suction plugins and seal canning jars.
- How do you program the sealing? Some models start sealing the container after a set amount of time. That works well when you’re sealing in liquids or you’re using bags. But if you’re using glass containers, this option may cause the glass to implode when there’s too much pressure. So instead, you should get a sealer that senses the pressure level in the containment package before it starts sealing in the container.
- How easy is it to clean? Some units aren’t all that hard to clean because they have features that catch liquid overflow right away. They may also have dishwasher-safe parts.
- Can it handle fragile items? Some food items can be very fragile, so you need some nitrogen air inside the container to protect the item inside. This is why you have lots of air in your packets of chips. Some sealers can feature a gassing nozzle to do this.
- Are there any useful bonus features? Some of these devices can provide advantages that you may not be able to get from other vacuum sealers. For example, you may find one that’s able to let you create bags in custom sizes, instead of using precut bags in standard sizes.
External Vacuum Sealer Reviews
These things are more affordable, they take up less space on your countertop, and they’re quite easy to use. They can also vac-seal food items so that they can last 5 times longer. Here are some vacuum sealer reviews for this category:
- VacuPack Elite. The VacuPack brand is renowned for its reliable and durable machines, as it has a 25-year history in manufacturing. The warranty it offers for this unit is amazing. There’s a 2-year warranty for any type of defect, and the service warranty lasts for 5 years.
It uses a big crimping heat bar that allows you to use vacuum bags of different types and sizes, and you can even it for jars and canisters. It’s versatile enough for both wet and dry contents, and you can use it to marinate and for sous vide cooking. It’s easy enough to use that you can probably seal in 50 bags in an hour.
However, it’s not exactly portable because it’s bulky and heavy at 12 pounds, plus you need AC power all the time. Also, after about 40 bags it will get too hot and you’ll need to cool it down for about 10 minutes. But after that, you can just wipe the bar and remove any liquid deposits, and you can resume the process.
It’s the closest thing to commercial grade without actually being commercial grade, and that’s why many think that despite the expense it’s still the best vacuum sealer for the money.
- FoodSaver V3460. This is a fairly cheap model. But the quality isn’t cheap at all. It works perfectly and for many types of operations, although it’s ideal only for those who use it for just a few bags at a time.
It’s small enough that it doesn’t take up much space with its upright design. It’s very light too, although it’s not quite portable because you need to plug it in. This can be used for precut bags as well as for bag rolls. Its built-in holder can take in bag rolls measuring 8 or 11 inches wide, and its cutter can then customize the length of the bag you want.
It can also seal in bottle stoppers, deli boxes, canisters, and mason jars. It’s actually quite easy to use because of its automatic sensors. There’s even a marinade function. Just press the button, and you marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
It’s no trouble to clean as well. There’s a removable drip tray for any liquid overflow, and its dishwasher safe. You can also remove and clean the gasket around the vacuum port every 3 months, and every year you’ll need to replace this gasket with a new one.
The main problem here is that sealing a bag can take a while, and after 2 or 3 bags you’re going to need to cool down the machine for 15 minutes. That’s why this is only ideal for people who need to seal in a few pouches at a time. It’s definitely not for a business.
- FoodSaver V3860. This costs about double the V34660, but then again it’s more advanced with its numerous automatic functions. You can start sealing almost immediately, as you can seal wet and dry items, in bags, jars and canisters. Just feed the roll head in, wait until the seal us complete, and then cut off the extra roll. You can also just press a button to stop the process if you’re sealing in some delicate foodstuffs so they don’t get crushed.
The catch is that it is much better at sealing in dry stuff than the wet items. With wet items, you can pretty much expect some spills, so you’ll need some space to make the subsequent cleanup much easier.
With this model, you get dual sealing levels, a wider sealing strip for a stronger seal, roll storage and a roll cutter, and a marinade function. It can be durable, as long as you don’t overuse it in a commercial capacity.
- Waring Pro PVS1000 Pistol Vac Professional Vacuum Sealer System. This is a completely different style of sealing, and for some it works like a charm. First of all, it’s not meant to lie on a countertop. You hold it like a hairdryer instead, so you can use while pouch is on top of a table or countertop.
It’s also exclusively used only with its own Waring vacuum bags. That’s because the unit doesn’t use heat to seal the container. Instead, it seals the bags mechanically, as these bags are designed with Ziploc-like mechanism to seal in the food. Because of this feature, these bags are reusable and they already come with your purchase.
However, you’re not limited to the Waring bags if you the optional canister vacuum system with a vacuum hose. With this, you can remove the air from mason jars and other containers.
Finally, it’s portable as you can power it with batteries. Take it with you when you go on a picnic or a hunting trip. Heck, you can take it with you to a restaurant if you want. This can be a very nifty gadget for road trips.
- Weston Pro 2300. On the plus side, this vac-sealer works very well with bags, and especially for dry sealing. In fact, the quality of the seal for dry stuff can match the capability of any other external vac-sealer. It’s meant for heavy duty work, and it is very large. You only need a few seconds to seal in up to 30 pounds of steak. If you have the power outlet available for this 935-watt double-piston pump machine, you can seal in every piece of meat you can get from your hunting trips, and you won’t ever need a break.
It’s very easy to use. There’s one button for automatic mode, and the other is for manual mode so you can stop whenever you want.
Unfortunately, it’s not much use for anything else. You can’t seal in canisters and jars. And you also have to use the special Weston bags.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer Reviews
What if you want to use a vacuum sealer for your small business, or you just want the very best for your home? If that’s the case and if you have the budget, then chamber vac-sealers are the ones you need. They’re generally very bulky, and their weight prevents you from moving them easily. But their vacuum efficiency can reach up to 99.6% or higher, so you’re assured of the quality you need. And they can also seal 40 bags an hour without the need to cool down too frequently.
- VacMaster VP210C. First of all, you’re going to spend a lot for this monster. It’s huge and you need a lot of countertop area to accommodate its 13 by 19 by 15 inches of space. It also weighs in at 90 pounds.
The way it works is simple. You put the bag inside the chamber, and it adjusts the pressure inside the bag and inside the chamber too. Since it removes the air from the chamber, the seal you get for your bags will be just about perfect each time. Your meat and fish can last for months.
You have lots of controls and options here, so you can use it for dry and wet items without damaging the food inside the container. You can also seal in stew, soup, and marinades with no problem. You can seal in jars, cans, and canisters too, as long as you can make it fit in the chamber. You can also use any type of bag.
You may have to practice using it at first, since its instructions aren’t all that clear. In the beginning, you may end up with burned bags due to a longer heat time, crushed food because the vacuum setting is too high, and a poor seal because the heat time was too short or the vacuum setting was too low. But after that, you can seal 50 or even 70 bags an hour depending on the size. You can even double that rate if you can fit two bags inside the chamber.
This is constructed with stainless steel, the pump and the motor are reliable for heavy duty action, and it can last for years without any trouble. If you’re rich or you need it for your business, this is chamber vacuum sealer to get.
- VacMaster VP112. This is the “portable” version of the VP210C, although it’s still not quite portable at 50 pounds. Still, it does take up less space so it will fit better on your countertop. Plus you save about significantly, compared to the VP210C. It’s perfect for home use.
Again, you have a reliable pump and motor. It’s just as versatile as the VP210C, as you can also use it for marinating and for sous vide cooking. You can use any bag as long as it can fit. It even comes with an accessory port and a cable, so you can seal jars, cans, and canisters even if they don’t fit inside the chamber.
It’s also much easier to use than its big brother. The instructions are a bit unclear, but you’ll find it much easier to learn how to use this. For maintenance, you only need to periodically replace the Ni-Cad wires and these are very affordable. For some, this is a much better alternative for the most expensive external vacuum sealers.
- SealerSales TC-280F. This is very expensive, and probably too large and too heavy for most homes. But you can get this one if you’re heavily into packaging in your business.
With this, just about any type of vacuum sealing task can be accomplished quickly and reliably. It is extremely easy to learn to use, and using it is child’s play. You can enter the setting parameters for the first seal, and then afterwards it will remember the setting you used previously.
It doesn’t require much maintenance, aside from cleaning the heating bar and the inside of the chamber every now and then. It’s made to comply with industrial standards, so nothing much can go wrong with it. The customer support is excellent, as you can just place a call or chat online to discuss any question or problem. In some areas, a technician will even come by to look it over and fix it, and it’s covered by the 1-year warranty.
So at least now you know you have options. Buy food in bulk, and these things aren’t really expenses. They’re investments. You’ll be able to save more than the cost of a vacuum sealer when you use the best vacuum sealers, just by buying food in bulk and then storing them in your freezer in these vacuum-sealed containers.