Pros / This vacuum food sealer preserves wet and juicy foods.
Cons / You have to hold down the lid during the sealing process.
Verdict / Because it isn’t overly complicated to use, tightly seals foods and comes with both a canning tube and pre-made bags, the Seal-a-Meal is a good vacuum sealer for beginners.
The Seal-a-Meal vacuum food sealer is a good machine if you are just beginning, because it is easy to figure out how to use even without reading the instructions first (though we certainly suggest you do, because there is good info and a lot of hints in there). It does a really good job of sealing all sorts of foods, even wet and juicy ones, without a problem.
During our test of the best vacuum sealers, Seal-a-Meal pulled the bags tightly against the foods we were preserving, and even the pineapple rings were perfectly sealed. Hardly any juice was extracted during the vacuum process, and the bag was sealed without a problem. This is important because most of the vacuum food sealers we tested didn’t seal during our pineapple ring tests. We also noticed that meats were properly sealed with no discoloration, even after several days. Discoloration would indicate air bubbles. There also weren’t any issues with ice crystals forming on the sealed meats in the freezer.
Seal-a-Meal only has one setting, which isn’t the best if you have delicate foods that tend to need a slower vacuum speed to keep them from being crushed. However, it is good if you’re just learning how to vacuum seal, because you don’t have to worry about adjusting controls.
This machine doesn’t have a locking lid. Instead you have to hold the lid down long enough for the Hands-Free indicator light to turn on. Most of the time, during our tests, we ended up holding the lid down for most of the vacuum and sealing process. Most other vacuum sealers we tested have a locking lid that helps free up your hands for a few minutes during the vacuum process. The Hamilton Beach NutriFresh 78220 has both a locking lid and a hand-held option.
The Seal-a-Meal vacuum sealer has a removable drip tray, which makes it easy to clean up after use. It also comes with four pre-made bags. These bags are textured on both the inside and outside, which helps draw air out more efficiently, but it also makes it hard to write on if you want to mark the date your food was sealed. Other sealer bags are textured only on the inside.
It doesn’t come with a roll of plastic to make more bags, so you will have to purchase these separately. When we ran out of bags during our tests we used a generic brand of vacuum sealing bag plastic and made more without a problem. We didn’t see any difference between the pre-made bags and the ones we made in terms of how well they helped preserve food. The Seal-a-Meal also comes with a canning pipe.
This vacuum sealer isn’t very expensive, retailing for around $50. And it comes with an industry standard, one-year warranty.
Overall the Seal-a-Meal is a good beginner vacuum food sealer. It doesn’t cost a lot and is simple to figure out how to use. It comes with a canning tube and four pre-made bags and does a nice job of sealing wet and juicy foods. You have to hold down the lid through most of the sealing process because the lid to this sealer doesn’t lock.