With the increasing interest in minimizing food waste, vacuum sealers are becoming a mainstay in the food preservation arsenal. What this tool does is simple and straightforward: At the touch of a button, it removes oxygen from food storage bags or containers to prevent the development of mold on dried goods or freezer burn on anything in your cooler.
A good vacuum sealer can double (or even triple) the shelf life of so many ingredients, such as chicken legs that would have formed ice crystals after a few months in the freezer or homemade trail mix that may have developed mold when stored at room temperature in a loose, plastic box. . Keep in mind that vacuum sealing is not a completely perfect solution for food preservation. It can prevent mold or freezer burn, but certain types of bacteria, such as those known to cause botulism, actually thrive in oxygen-free environments.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure safety when vacuum sealing, according to the USDA. First, always store perishable, vacuum-packed foods at or below 40 degrees F, and eat all refrigerated perishables within the recommended expiration date (usually a few days). Always prepare food for vacuum sealing by sanitizing all tools, washing ingredients as needed (such as fruits and vegetables), and avoiding cross-contamination by thoroughly washing and drying your cooking surfaces and tools after each job.
While it’s undeniable that a vacuum sealer is an ideal companion for anyone interested in food preservation, it’s also great for a number of other surprising tasks. “From sealing to-go food in the cooler for camping trips, making popsicles at home in the freezer, to sealing wine bottles and glass jars for dry goods, the possibilities are endless,” said Lauren King, brand director at food saver. Besides, she says. they’re great for making homemade freezer pops, which are tastier and – because you can reuse the plastic containers – also a more environmentally conscious option.
In addition, vacuum sealers are equipped with several additional features that go beyond the most basic vacuum sealer. These include cooking food for sous vide, removing just enough air from a bag for an ideal marinating environment, or a pulse mode for gently packaging more delicate ingredients, such as freeze-dried strawberries or shortbread.
What features make the best vacuum sealers?
Every vacuum sealer is slightly different, but these are the main features you can expect from the range of options.
- Size and Style:: Vacuum sealers are sold in one of two styles: handheld or countertop. Handheld options work through a hose that attaches to a specially designed silicone bag. For countertop options, place a cut plastic bag in the machine, close it, and press a button to remove oxygen. There isn’t a huge range of styles, but vacuum sealer sizes vary widely. You’ll even see options large enough to take up an entire counter and can handle just as much food to boot. In general, home cooks will benefit most from small to medium-sized options that are lightweight and easy to handle. The big commercial options are probably not necessary for home use, especially when they take up so much counter space.
- Starter bags: While not all vacuum sealers are sold with starter bags, the ones that do will make your life a lot easier. These bags are either pre-cut plastic or silicone bags or a roll of bags that you can cut as needed.
- Storage space for bags: Some vacuum sealers are not only sold with starter bags, but are also equipped with discreet storage for the bags, as well as a device that cuts them automatically. All you normally need to do is gently pull the bag to the desired size and press a button to get a nice even cut.
- Multiple modes: While many vacuum sealers have multiple modes, such as pulse, sous vide, and marinade, not all of them have. While not necessary, especially for basic vacuum sealing purposes, these modes will make certain culinary tasks a lot less arduous.
- Easy to use: Whether you need a vacuum sealer for freezing leftovers, preserving dry foods or cooking sous-vide, you want it to work quickly and efficiently, with little to no fuss. The best food vacuum machines are beginner-friendly and intuitive.
- suction power: Last but certainly not least, a vacuum sealer’s suction capabilities determine how well it performs. In general, higher wattage machines (100 watts and above) will remove air quickly, and those with less wattage will take a little longer to do the same job (but will usually give you similarly reliable results).
We took all these factors into account and researched numerous vacuum sealers to find the six best options for different applications. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced vacuum sealer, there’s something for everyone on this list.
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Audrey is a freelance writer based in rural France. She writes on all things lifestyle, including topics such as nutrition, fitness, culture, cooking, gardening and travel, and her work has appeared in publications such as SELF, Glamour, DominoAFAR, enjoy your dinnerand New York Magazine.
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NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
although this vacuum sealer may not cost much, but it works just as well (if not better) than expensive alternatives. Reviewers like it because it’s lightweight and small in size, so it’s easy to pick up and move around as needed and no inconvenience to keep on the counter if you want to. With modes for both dry and wet food, it seals both to perfection with just the touch of a button – no need to worry about overflow when packing steak into a container. marinade. One obstacle to watch out for: It won’t vacuum seal unless the bag is placed in the exact right spot. Fortunately, this is not a problem after the first or second attempt.
- Space-saving and lightweight (about the size of a carton of eggs, according to one reviewer)
- Includes air intake hose attachment
- Equipped with two automatic closing modes (for dry and wet food)
- Touch sensitive buttons
- Can be difficult to use if bag is not positioned correctly
- Automatic bag cutter not included
10 x 3 x 2 inches
Bosen Kitchen Food Sealer Machine
This food vacuum sealer practically pays for itself after a few uses. Unlike automatic vacuum sealers, this one requires you to press the button repeatedly for the machine to work. Fortunately, a powerful 120-watt motor ensures that you don’t sweat for a moment. Sold with pre-cut vacuum bags:, you have everything you need to put it to work the moment it arrives. However, users note that it is better for casual use than heavy use as the sealing tape can wear out over time.
- Extra strong suction power
- Detachable vacuum hose included
- Easy to use
- heavy and big
- Operates manually instead of automatically
- Sealing tape can be damaged by intensive use
15.3 x 5.7 x 3.54 inches
Anova Culinary Precision Vacuum Sealer Pro
Best Deluxe Vacuum Sealer
This one versatile, heavy duty vacuum sealer is worth the splurge because there is practically no function that makes it not Involving. Yes, it’s a bit heavy and hard to move around randomly, but you won’t mind with you counter once you realize what it can do – like not sucking up liquid when sealing a marinade and store discreetly plastic bags and cut them on command. Overflow still occurs from time to time, so the brand suggests leaving a few inches of space between the top of the bag and the contents to prevent anything from going wrong.
- Equipped with discreet storage for plastic bags and sliding bag cutter
- Can be manually or automatically sealed depending on your needs
- Features two settings for wet and dry ingredients
- Not lightweight or easy to move
- Not intuitive for new users
- Drip tray is difficult to clean and remove
- Wet sealing is not perfect and overflow may occur
14.75 x 7 x 4.3 in
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer
Best for small spaces
This vacuum sealer is small but powerful and functions just as well as the larger options. Only 10cm wide and less than half a pound in weight, it can be easily moved for quick use and won’t take up much space on your counter or in your closet. However, because it runs on batteries, its suction capabilities are not as consistently reliable as electric alternatives. As long as you use this tool for small amounts of food, you will not experience any problems.
- Wireless, lightweight and space-saving
- Sold with four device-customized reusable vacuum bags to get you started
- Includes rechargeable battery and charging station
- Doesn’t work as fast as electrically powered alternatives
- Requires brand specific vacuum bags and cartons
- Does not always produce a perfect seal
4.33 x 6.5 x 11.42 inches
Works on batteries
Nesco USA Food Starter Kit
Best for beginners
this kitchen gadget is ideal for beginners who want to dip their toes in vacuum sealing. It is sold with a vacuum bag roll to get you started, and from there everything is intuitive. All you need to do is make sure your bag is positioned correctly and press a few buttons. You don’t even need to be present while the action is taking place as the machine will shut down automatically. A disadvantage for beginners is that this machine is quite heavy and large, which may put off those who are not super committed to the idea of vacuum sealing.
- Automatically turns off when bag is sealed
- Includes vacuum bag roll and is equipped with a built-in bag cutter and storage
- Features seal-only switch to avoid crushing delicate food
- Heavy and difficult to move
18.31 x 5.06 x 11.81 in