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Best vacuum food sealers 2020: Preserve fresh produce and sous vide with the ultimate food savers

Best vacuum food sealers 2020: Preserve fresh produce and sous vide with the ultimate food savers
(Image credit: Getty)

The best vacuum food sealers have been in common use in top kitchens and among cooking professionals for years, but these handy food preservers are making their way into mainstream kitchen usage thanks to their compatibility with the best sous vide machines and ability to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. If you’re concerned about preserving fresh food such as meat and fish, as well as more delicate items such as fruit and vegetables, we’ve reviewed the best vacuum food sealers from top brands like FoodSaver and Sous Vide to help you find the right one for you.

Vacuum food sealers work by creating an airtight seal around your food. This prevents any compounds which could speed up the process of food spoiling from entering the plastic bag your food is placed in. A vacuum food sealer also allows you to place food in a plastic bag and suction any air away. This is a technique that is often used by chefs to intensify the flavor profile of a cut of meat. For example, vacuuming some salmon with a slice of lemon can make an infusion far stronger. This also extends the shelf life of your food, which is why much of the food you can buy at the grocery store can be found vacuum-sealed to preserve freshness.

The best vacuum food sealers are also designed to reduce freezer burn by trapping in moisture. That means you can wave goodbye to gritty chicken or browned steak, and cut back on your food waste in the process. 


1. FoodSaver V4400: Best vacuum food sealer overall

FoodSaver V4400

(Image credit: Amazon)

FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Automatic

The best vacuum food sealer you can buy

Easy to use
Super versatile
Two closure seals
Great warranty
On the bulky side

The FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Automatic vacuum food sealer is a mid-price and high-performing sealer which will save vast quantities of food in any home kitchen. We were impressed that this food vacuum sealer provides two closure seals to ensure freshness, and it can handle delicate items with care. 

You get a removable drip tray with his vacuum food saver, which can be removed and placed in a dishwasher to spare you any spills of meat or fruit juices. It has a hand-held hose which can work on additional extras including a marinade attachment or jar sealer, which makes this a versatile food sealer for all kinds of uses. We were also very impressed by the five-year warranty which comes with this food sealer, which is way above the industry standard. 

Read our FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Automatic Review


2. Hamilton Beach NutriFresh: Best budget vacuum food sealer

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Hamilton Beach NutriFresh

This Hamilton Beach model seals food well, is easy to use and won't break the bank

Extra-wide vacuum chamber
Normal and extended seal
Built-in bag cutter
Loud

We love the Hamilton Beach NutriFresh because of how well it seals, and its ease of use. The suction was good in our tests; the sealer bags formed tightly against the food we preserved, and even the pineapple rings got a snug seal despite the juice in the bag.

The NutriFresh boasts a 15-inch wide vacuum chamber which will work for large items and bags, and it has multi-functional settings including a ‘Vacuum and Seal’ button and the option to either vacuum or seal independently, which can make it easier to vacuum seal fruits and fragile foods or to create a seal on new bags before filling them. 

There are two speeds on this machine. Hamilton Beach suggests using the Extended setting for moist foods and the Normal for dry. On top of all its great features, the Hamilton Beach NutriFresh also has an inbuilt bag dispenser which makes it easy to cut new bags for vacuuming. 

Read our Hamilton Beach NutriFresh Review


3. FoodSaver V2244: Best compact vacuum food sealer

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FoodSaver V2244

Easy to use, fast-performing and affordable, this FoodSaver gets our seal of approval

Easy to use
Good value
Compact
No built-in bag dispenser

FoodSaver is likely the brand you associate with the best vacuum food sealers, and for good reason. When we reviewed the FoodSaver V3240, which has now been sadly discontinued, it was incredibly powerful and impressive value for money. The FoodSaver V2244 is a little smaller and less expensive, but it’s still got all the great features you’d expect from a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. Users love the updated functions in this sealer, including the option to adjust the vacuum level you use, which can prevent any delicate items such as fruit from being crushed and also apply maximum pressure on a cut of meat or fish. 

One user even compared it to their old FoodSaver, saying the FoodSaver V2244 is “quicker, quieter, and takes up less counter space.” Given that our main gripe with the V3240 was its bulky design and noisy vacuuming, this sounds like a great arrangement to us. 

The FoodSaver V2244 claims it can extend the life of your food to three years when vacuum packed and placed in the freezer, and it comes with a patented removable drip tray which prevents unnecessary mess when vacuuming liquids or wet items. This vacuum food sealer works in three simple steps: you place the bag, filled with your food, into the sealing channel. Then, simply lock the lid and press the seal button to extend the life of your food. 

The main complaint users have with the FoodSaver V2244 is its lack of built-in bag roll storage. This means you have to cut, fill, and seal your food storage bag separately which could cause some inconvenience. 

Read our FoodSaver V2244 Review


4. SousVide Supreme VS3000: Best food vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking

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SousVide VS3000

Easy to lock and unlock, this is a good option for sous vide enthusiasts

Good for sous vide cooking
Lid easy to lock and release
Has a gentle cycle
Power cord isn’t attached to the unit

The SousVide VS3000 is really easy to use and seals foods, both wet and dry, without a problem. We’ve used this, and other sealers, as part of our testing of the best sous vide machines. The SousVide VS3000’s seal is thick and holds well, so we can recommend using it with any sous vide device you have.

It has just one lid lock release instead of two on either side of the lid like most other sealers. This makes it easier to open after you’re done sealing your food – and easier to lock the lid in the first place – compared to other machines that took a lot of effort and muscle to latch. 

It comes with some bags, but the bag length that required to feed into the sealer meant there wasn’t a lot of room left to space out more than one hamburger patty, chicken breast, or pineapple ring. This limited the space around each item and caused some air to become trapped between them. 

But this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re using this sealer for sous vide cooking since it is recommended that you only seal one food item at a time. 

Note that the SousVide VS3000 lights up red during the sealing process and changes to green when it’s done. This is different from all the other machines we tested; they show red when they’re done.

Read our SousVide VS3000 Review


5. Seal-a-Meal: Best vacuum sealer for wet foods

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Seal-a-Meal

This unit seals juicier foods without squeezing too much out of them

Seals wet and juicy foods well
Removable catch tray
Reasonably priced
Lid doesn’t lock

Seal-a-Meal is the best vacuum sealer for juicier foods and liquids. When we tested this machine with four pineapple rings, it quickly vacuumed and sealed the food while extracting only 0.25 ounces of juice. Most other vacuum sealers extracted four times that much. 

Plus, the seal was firm and the bag compacted against each ring so there wasn’t a lot of air left around the food. Even after a few days, the pineapple still remained tightly sealed. The little bit of juice that fell onto the catch tray was easy to clean up because the tray is removable. 

But this vacuum food sealer does have its issues. The biggest is that Seal-a-Meal doesn’t have a lock. Instead you have to hold down the lid as the sealing process begins and keep holding it until the Hands-Free indicator light comes one. 

We found that we generally ended up holding the lid tightly during most of the process, which caused our hands to become sore pretty fast.

Read our Seal-a-Meal Review


6. Weston Pro 2300: Best professional vacuum food sealer

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Weston Pro 2300

A great option for professional use and large quantities of fresh food

Commercial sealer appropriate for home use
Great for those who hunt or fish
Heavy
Super expensive

Our favorite choice for preserving large chunks of meat, including big game and fish, is the Weston Pro 2300. While this is a commercial-quality vacuum sealer, it works well in home kitchens, too. 

It handles storage bags that are 15 inches wide, which accommodates good-size cuts of meat. Also, you get both automatic and manual sealing modes that give you some control over the vacuum pressure. 

The see-through acrylic lid lets you see into the machine to make sure the bags are lined up correctly, and it comes with a two-year warranty. 

This vacuum seal is pretty heavy at 22 pounds, which makes it inconvenient to pull out for a quick seal.


How we tested vacuum food sealers

We’ve been evaluating food vacuum sealers for over four years, and we’ve spent even more years testing and researching other small appliances like food processors and turkey fryers. 

We also use vacuum sealers in testing other small kitchen appliances like sous vide machines, so we have a pretty good idea of how they work and what to look for. 

Still, we made sure to chat with other users, read consumer reports to learn of any safety recalls and check in with several associations, like the FoodSave.org and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to get more information on how to properly store food using a sealer and how long certain foods can be stored before spoiling.

We spent three days vacuum sealing hamburger patties, chicken breasts, cereal, slices of bread and pineapple rings. Each of these foods let us see just how much air is pulled by the sealer and how tight the bag gets around the food. The pineapple rings let us observe how well each machine seals wet foods and how much juice is extracted in the process.

After each food was sealed, we lined them up side by side to see the differences between each vacuum food sealer. We looked for any air bubbles, checked whether the seal was complete, noted how well the sealed bags laid flat and checked if the seal stayed secure. A few items initially seemed tightly sealed, but after resting for a bit we could see they had much more air surrounding the food than we first thought.

We placed the meats in our lab’s freezer and watched over several days to see if there was any discoloring of the food, air bubbles, freezer burn or ice crystals that form inside the sealed bags.

As part of our information gathering and evaluation process, we talked to several people who use vacuum food sealers at home for both short-term and long-term storage. They offered useful insights and a real-world perspective.

Because overall value is also a big consideration for consumers purchasing a food vacuum sealer, we looked at how much each machine costs, what is included with the purchase price, and the warranty included.

What to keep in mind when considering a vacuum sealer

How much does a vacuum food sealer cost?

For a decent vacuum food sealer you can expect to pay at least $125. There are less expensive machines, but they are usually less functional. Big game hunters could easily spend between $600 and $1,000 for a vacuum sealer. But for most home projects, you can get a good sealer for much less.

Can I use ziploc bags in a vacuum sealer?

No!

While this may be tempting and more convenient, and maybe cheaper, zipper-style and sandwich bags are not made to withstand the pressure and heat from vacuum food sealers. Vacuum sealer bags are textured on the inside. This helps draw air out of the bag and fit it more closely to your food during the vacuum and seal process. Vacuum sealer bags are also designed to be reusable.

Most of the vacuum sealers we tested come with sealer bags designed for that machine. But you can also purchase a roll of sealer bags designed to work well with all the machines we tested.