We’ve spent more than 80 hours researching 13 different vacuum food sealers, collecting information from manufacturers, watching user videos and checking consumer reviews. Several of our researchers have vacuum sealers at home, and we’ve used a couple while testing other small kitchen appliances in our test kitchen, such as sous vide machines. We found models to help hunters and fishers, home gardeners and anyone who wants to save many by preserving the freshness and quality of bulk or sale food items through long-term storage.
Best for Fish & Game
Best for Fish & Game: Weston Pro 2300
Our favorite choice for preserving game meats and fish is the Weston Pro 2300 Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer, a durable commercial quality vacuum food sealer that works very well in home kitchens. Avid hunters and fishermen will find this is a powerful machine that can handle storage bags that are 15 inches wide, which accommodates good-sized cuts of meat. In addition, you get both automatic and manual sealing modes so you can control the vacuum pressure and make sure delicate items do not get crushed. You also get a see-through acrylic lid that helps you make sure bags are lined up correctly. This Weston Pro food sealer comes with a two-year warranty.
Best for Liquids
Best for Liquids: VacMaster VP210
Our best pick for liquids is the VacMaster VP210. It is a chamber vacuum sealer, which means you put the bag with the food inside the device and air is sucked out of the chamber itself, producing a strong seal. If you preserve any kind of liquids – sauces, soups or foods with plenty of liquid such as fresh meats – the VacMaster VP210 helps keep liquid nicely sealed inside. This food saver also works well with dry foods. Because of the nature of how this machine works, foods sealed with this VacMaster tend to stay fresh five times longer compared to other vacuum food sealers. However, these perks do come at a cost. The VacMaster VP210 is much bigger and bulkier than most food sealers we compared, and has a price tag that is nearly 15 times more than many sealers on our lineup.
Best for Delicate Foods
Best for Delicate Foods: FoodSaver V2244
If you love to bake and want to store home baked goods, or stock up on cereals, fresh berries, trout fillets or other foods that might get crushed in a second-rate vacuum food saver, try our top choice for that category, the FoodSaver V2244. This is an easy-to-use vacuum food sealer that features a “crush free” function that helps protect soft foods so nothing goes to waste. With this vacuum sealer, you can bake and protect scores of muffins or preserve those garden-fresh strawberries with no trouble, and you can still use the machine for sturdier items like beef jerky or dried beans.
Best for Easy Use
Best for Easy Use: FoodSaver V4400
TheFoodSaver 4400 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System is so simple to use and so versatile, you’ll find it indispensable if you preserve food a lot. From the start, it’s easy to get all the storage bags you need ready since the material to make them is stored on a roll inside the machine. All the controls are easily accessible and you can seal and preserve large quantities of food in little time. You also get a handheld sealer mounted on the machine with a retractable hose to suck the air out of canisters.
What to Look For
Before you buy, it’s good to figure out what you’ll be using your vacuum food sealer for since there are different types and sizes. A few things you’ll want to consider are what type would work best for you, what accessories you might need, and how to care for your vacuum food saver.
Generally, vacuum sealers sold for home use are countertop models that use electricity. You can find quite large commercial grade models if you plan to preserve a great deal of food, but these are pricey. You can also buy battery-operated models and even hand-pump models, but these often are less powerful than the electrical ones.
Handheld electric models or countertop versions with a handheld accessory work quite well if you do a lot of food preservation using canisters or glass jars (called “dry canning”). This protects foods nicely and you are spared the steam, hassle and mess of canning foods, which is a fine way to preserve food but is a great deal of work.
As for countertop vacuum food savers, there are external vacuum sealers, which are more commonly found in home kitchens and chamber sealers. With external sealers, you slide the open end of a bag filled with food into the sealing section of the machine and it pulls air from the inside of the bag.
With chamber sealers, you put the food-filled bag into the machine, which then extracts all air from the chamber itself. Once the bag is safely sealed, air is allowed to return to the chamber and you remove your bag of food. It sounds complicated but typically takes less than a minute. Chamber food savers often are marketed to professional food handlers and tend to be more expensive than external food sealers. However, they are great choices for such things as preserving liquids and large cuts of meat.
Vacuum food sealers can help you save meats for as long as two or three years, and such things as vegetables can last that long as well. Coffee stays in great shape if it’s vacuum sealed.
If you like to bake, vacuum sealing will keep staples such as flour, sugar, spices and other pantry items fresh much longer than other types of storage, often as long as a year or two. Things like dried beans stay good for a long time even if they simply remain in the package from the grocery store, but you can extend their life even more if you vacuum seal them into an airtight bag or canister.
You might also be pleasantly surprised at the other things you can do with your vacuum sealer besides just preserving meats and vegetables. Among other things, you can save leftover wine, vinegar and oil in the original bottles using special stoppers you purchase separately along with another, optional tool to attach to certain brands of vacuum food savers. You can marinate meats quickly since the vacuum pressure infuses marinade liquid very fast. You can also combine foods for ready-made meals in little time.
If you enjoy using the sous vide method of cooking, a vacuum food sealer can help you get foods ready in their vacuum-sealed pouches before they are immersed into a water bath for the long, slow heating process. Many food lovers enjoy this cooking style since it lets them control the temperature exactly so they get consistent results, and this approach also yields moist and tasty dishes.
You’ll need food storage bags for any vacuum food sealer, and you typically will need to buy bags that work with the type of machine you have, which often are sold by the same manufacturer. Some models use heat to seal off the bags and require heat-safe bags and equipment. You also might like to buy hoses for sealing canisters or jars, as well as extra storage containers for your vacuum sealed bags.
Care & Maintenance
Vacuum sealers need to be cleaned regularly, usually with warm water and antibacterial soap. To be completely safe, you probably should clean your vacuum sealer after each use since bacteria can easily build up. Your user manual will have more specific advice on how to clean your particular vacuum food sealer. If your machine includes gaskets, you probably should clean them every three to six months and replace them annually.
Vacuum food sealers are a great way to keep fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish and much more in great shape for long periods of time, which avoids waste and saves money on groceries. It’s always reassuring to know you’ve got a good supply of safely preserved food on hand no matter what the circumstances, and vacuum food sealers go a long way in helping to make that happen.
Contributing Reviewer: Linda Thomson