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If you tend to buy cuts of meat and other perishable groceries in bulk, then you’ve likely wondered if there’s a way to prolong the life of these often-costly goods. Luckily, the invention of the vacuum sealer makes it possible to keep your warehouse store haul airtight and in excellent shape for an extended period of time.
Of course, when mulling over which vacuum sealer best fits your kitchen needs, it might seem difficult to narrow down all the options out there. To help, we put our favorite models and a few other picks through a month of testing in our Lab. We vacuum sealed delicate fruits like strawberries and raspberries, and those that can be crushed under pressure—we're looking at you, oh-so-delicate pretzels. Since vacuum sealers are also indispensable for both freezing meat long-term and our beloved sous vide cooking, we sealed up a bunch of meat to assess freezer burn, and then dropped a few sealed pork chops into a water bath to see if any water got in.
Afterward, we sat down and compared which sealer tested well, and which didn't deserve a spot on our list. Spoiler: The FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealing Machine came out on top.
Here are the best vacuum sealers for food, each put to the test, ranging from beginner models to high-performing choices for professional chefs.
Best Overall: FoodSaver VS0150 PowerVac Compact Vacuum Sealing Machine
What We Love: Powerful, easy cleanup, straightforward interface
What We Don't Love: Lid can be tricky to lock into place
The Foodsaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealing Machine is clear proof that a powerful vacuum sealer doesn’t need to be of a professional-grade size to impress. This model has all the features we hope for in a fantastic vacuum sealer, its pulse control options for one, handled our delicate items, like Life cereal and raspberries, with finesse.
During testing, we noticed the model's useful start and stop setting while vacuum sealing, which allowed us to manually control when our bagged ingredients were ready to seal. Plus, there is no time delay on this machine like some other touchscreen models. We did experience the lid can be finicky at first to firmly lock into place, but once we figured out how it was a non-issue.
But what sold us on this Foodsaver is that it is extremely low maintenance for cleanup. When Food and Drink Review Editor Collier Sutter tested for cleanup, she found the dishwasher-safe removable drip tray to be a lifesaver after vacuum-sealing messy raw meat and raw pork, which is a standout feature from its competitors. If you want to find a vacuum sealer that’s effective enough to work across varying food groups with minimal cleanup time, the Foodsaver VS0150 is the perfect model for you.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16 x 6.2 x 2.7 inches | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Maximum Bag Width: 11 inches | Bag Roll Storage/Cutter: No
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer
What We Love: Powerful suction, built-in bag storage and cutter, multiple pressure modes
What We Don't Love: Larger, louder, heavier than some competitors
The Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer is a winner in our books because of its highly reliable and efficient features. When our editors tested pulse control, they found the VS-12 outperformed nearly every other model, by leaving the raspberries uncrushed in its gentle setting. It also had great suction power, successfully vacuum sealing all other tested foods, with no air bubbles or leakage.
This machine offers two different pressure options that scored consistently. One is used for more solid and hardy foods, while the "gentle" is intended for more delicate items. While the machine is a bit louder and bulkier than other models, it was certainly not make-or-break. Plus, it includes a double-heat seal option, which strengthens the closure and keeps the bag’s contents secure.
"I love The Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer, it was one of the only times during testing where our raspberries, the most fragile foods we tested, were left entirely uncrushed, while the model was still strong enough to tightly vacuum seal meat, too." — Collier Sutter, Food and Drink Review Editor
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.75 x 8 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 6 pounds | Maximum Bag Width: 11.8 inches | Bag Roll Storage/Cutter: Yes
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Best Budget: Geryon E2900-MS Multi-Use Vacuum Sealing Food Preservation System
What We Love: Pre-programmed setting buttons, comes with bags and a vacuum tube
What We Don't Love: Not great with delicate food
This slim and affordable model allows you to seal food in a fast, user-friendly way. Overall, the GERYON has an easy setup process, though its touchscreen pad was a bit sensitive. During our tests, we did notice that its gentle mode was misleading as it still crushed all of our delicate foods, but it had impressive suction power when vacuum sealing our ground beef and pork.
The sealer includes setting buttons for wet food and dry food, so you get the correct seal regardless of the type of dish or ingredient you’re looking to preserve. It keeps sealed food good for two to three years in the freezer, 4 to 8 months in the fridge, and 21 to 42 days in a cabinet according to the brand. Plus, the system is designed to avoid freezer burn.
For its affordable price and ease of use, this is an easy choice machine to rely on for any hardy food from meat to pantry staples. The GERYON Vacuum Sealer includes 5 pre-cut bags and a roll of uncut bags that can be customized to your size preferences. Just note that it doesn’t include storage for bag rolls or a bag cutter.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.4 x 5.5 x 2.6 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Maximum Bag Width: 11.8 inches | Bag Roll Storage/Cutter: No
Related: The Best Sous Vide Cookers
Best for Beginners: NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
What We Love: Attractive design, clear buttons, easy to clean
What We Don't Love: No bag storage or cutter, may be hard to seal bags that aren't pre-cut
Vacuum sealers are, by nature, fairly user-friendly appliances with most models embracing a sleek design and an easy-to-understand control system. The NutriChef Vacuum Sealer particularly excels in those last two departments, thanks to its clean lines, plus the clearly marked and well-lit buttons on the top panel. During testing, we did find this machine overheated, but if you are not operating it with back-to-back seals, it's a reliable pick, and also particularly notable for its gentle control setting option.
This vacuum sealer comes in a bundle that provides first-time users which stood out from the rest. Inside is everything you need to effectively seal food: an air suction hose, a wine stopper cork, five pre-cut bags, and a long bag roll.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.3 x 14.3 x 3 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Maximum Bag Width: 11.8 inches | Bag Roll Storage/Cutter: No
Related: The Best Food Storage Container Sets
Best Portable: Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer
What We Love: Compact, lightweight, easy to program, quiet
What We Don't Love: Not as powerful, does not include bag roll storage or cutter
The Anova Precision benefits from its small silhouette. Even those who live in tiny apartments or travel often should be able to find a spot for this little machine, which weighs just over 2 pounds. During testing, we neatly tucked away into drawers in our test kitchen.
This sturdy model features just three control buttons, simplifying the vacuum sealing process: one for vacuuming and sealing, one just for sealing, and one for pulse vacuuming. So, it’s possible to package everything from dense pork to brittle Life cereal with those three simple buttons. We found it to be a bit less powerful for the vacuum-sealing meat test, but it still excelled. Perhaps most importantly, the model is extremely quiet compared to its competitors while operating.
This package includes 10 pre-cut bags, but keep in mind it doesn't include a bag cutter or storage for extra bag rolls.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.7 x 4.8 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 2.3 pounds | Maximum Bag Width: 12 inches | Bag Roll Storage/Cutter: No
The FoodSaver VS0150 PowerVac Compact Vacuum Sealing Machine (view at Amazon) is our top pick because it's both user-friendly and easy to clean. Plus, it's very powerful. Vacuum sealing delicate food often? We recommend the Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer (view at Amazon). It outperformed in its pulse control abilities to handle the most gentle ingredients with ease.
What We Made
Delicate Food Test: To put all of our vacuum sealers through their paces, we assessed how each machine handles fragile food without crushing it. We vacuum sealed raspberries and Life cereal, and, on a scale of 1 to 5, judged how well each model performed in pulse control. We noted if the machine had a "gentle" mode or if the machine was able to pause vacuuming midcycle if fragile food began to crush.
Irregularly Shaped Food Test: To measure the suction power, we sealed pretzels and strawberries in universal vacuum bags. While we took note of cracked pretzels and smashed strawberries, we primarily used this test to determine how well the model did in removing air from the bag. We looked for air pockets and recorded our results.
Sous Vide Testing: We placed boneless pork chops in vacuum-sealed bags into a water bath with an immersion circulator to see if their seals held up when heated to 190 degrees for 10 minutes. (No seals broke).
What Are the Other Options?
Weston Pro-2300 Commercial Grade Vacuum Sealer (view at Amazon): Our former professional-grade pick had fantastic speed and suction power during testing, our tightly sealed pretzels were not going stale anytime soon. But for this model's price tag and bulky size, we hoped for more versatile settings such as manual control. Our delicate foods were crushed without a manual stop button, and for that, we cannot justify its price in a home kitchen.
FoodSaver V4840-2 in 1 Vacuum Sealer (view at Amazon): A higher price tag, with zero pulse control abilities, and bags sealed automatically once the vacuum sealing process is paused. Though, it has a removable cleanup tray which was a plus.
What to Look for in a Vacuum Sealer
This greatly depends on your planned usage. The majority of models on the market can seal bags up to 11.8 inches wide, but if you want to seal your food in much larger parcels, then you’ll be best served by purchasing a professional-grade sealer like the Weston Pro-2300 or a handheld model like the FoodSaver Cordless.
Vacuum sealers that include storage compartments and cutters for bags do exist, but they don’t represent the bulk of the sealers on the market. If you buy a sealer that doesn’t include these, you’ll need to store your bag rolls in a drawer and use a scissor or a razor to cut the bags to your size preference. Some brands do make versions with bag compartments and cutters: On our list, the Nesco VS-12 Deluxe has both features.
Some models can take on more than one task. With an attachment, many vacuum sealers can also dry-seal jarred foods, making them a useful appliance for avid canners. Also, you can purchase bottle-stopper attachments that suck the air out of open bottles of wine.
Do vacuum sealed foods last longer in the freezer?
Yes, absolutely. According to GERYON, its sealers can keep foods fresh in the freezer for two to three years (as opposed to the conventional 12 months). By comparison, GERYON-sealed foods can last in the fridge for 4 to 8 months (rather than 7 to 14 days) and in the cabinet for 21 to 42 days (instead of 7 to 14 days).
Are there foods that should never be vacuum sealed?
While vacuum sealing is a remarkably versatile measure that can keep a wide variety of foods fresh, some edible items do not respond well to this particular procedure. The FoodSaver vacuum sealer company includes the following foods on its Do Not Vacuum Seal list:
- Soft cheeses: Cheeses like feta, Brie, and ricotta are actually more susceptible to mold after vacuuming than they are under normal conditions.
- Raw mushrooms and bananas: Like soft cheeses, these pieces of produce are prone to faster spoiling in vacuum-sealed air.
- Whole apples: Raw, unsliced apples can brown quickly in vacuumed air, but sliced apples with a squeeze of lemon juice can be vacuum sealed.
- Raw onions, garlic, cabbage, and lettuce: These vegetables produce natural gases, which can negatively affect the vacuum seal, and botulism is also a possibility.
- Freshly cooked vegetables: Vacuum sealing vegetables right after cooking or steaming will cause steam to loosen the seal. Instead, allow the veggies to cool to room temperature before vacuum sealing.
What kinds of bags should be used with vacuum sealers?
In most cases, vacuum sealing should be done only with designated vacuum seal bags. Many companies that make vacuum sealers also make bags, but most sealers will work with bags made by any manufacturer, as long as they’re designated vacuum seal bags that are properly textured.
Some models (like the Weston Pro-2300) will also vacuum seal Ziploc bags and similar products, but unless the maker of your sealer specifically tells you so, it shouldn’t be assumed.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
This article was written by Taylor Tobin, a freelance journalist who specializes in recipe testing and deep dives into popular dishes and ingredients. Having recently moved from a tiny studio apartment into a bigger place with plenty of storage, she’s excited to jump headfirst into the world of bulk groceries—so she understands the importance of a reliable and easy-to-operate vacuum sealer.
This piece contains additional reporting, editing, and text by Collier Sutter, who runs the food testing in our kitchen lab. As an avid fruit-eater, she's team Nesco VS-12 before all else, mainly to keep her favorite fruit of the month intact while vacuum sealing it for later.
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