Did you know a vacuum sealer can save you thousands of dollars per year?
It's true. Because vacuum-sealed food lasts longer (whether in the fridge, freezer, or pantry), you save two ways:
1) By buying in bulk, and
2) By keeping produce, meat, bakery goods, pantry staples and leftovers fresher for longer.
This can add up to a few thousand a year in savings--maybe more if you have a large family (and/or a large freezer).
Look at these tables showing how much longer vacuum-sealed food can last (info taken from the FoodSaver website):
Freezer Shelf Life
Beef, Poultry, Fish
Soups and Stews
Refrigerator Shelf Life
up to 2 weeks
4-8 months (hard cheeses)
up to 1 month (soft cheeses)
Fresh meats and seafood
Pantry Shelf Life
Flour and Sugar
Rice and Pasta
Cookies and crackers
6 months or more
Pretty impressive, isn't it!? And honestly, a lot of these times could be longer. I've heard of people using flour that had been vacuum-sealed for more than 10 years and couldn't detect a difference in flavor from fresh. Meat can keep in the freezer for that long, too! (Although it probably won't taste very good if it's that old.)
But now comes the million dollar question (or at least the hundred-or-so dollar question): How do you pick out a vacuum sealer?
The vacuum sealer market offers hundreds of options. The FoodSaver brand alone offers dozens of options, from less than $50 to more than $200.
So if you've been trying to pick out a sealer, chances are, you could be feeling a little overwhelmed.
Despite the huge range of choices, there are really only a few things to think about. Read on to find out everything you need to know to get the vacuum sealer of your dreams--or at least, to get the best vacuum sealer for your needs and budget.
This article, How to Pick the Best Vacuum Sealer in Every Price Range, was last updated August, 2018.
The Best Vacuum Sealers At a Glance
If you don't want to read the whole article, here are the picks in every price range:
Best Sealer Under $50:
-Removable drip tray
-Open/Cancel button to control vacuum
A TRK pick!
Best Sealer Under $100:
-Uses 40% less bag to seal
-5 yr. warranty
-Commercial grade durability
Best Sealer under $200 (Extra Features):
-Handheld nozzle sealer included
-Bag storage and cutter
-5 yr. warranty
A TRK pick!
-15-in. sealing bar
A TRK pick!
-600W maintenance free pump
-12in. seal bar
-Works under upper cupboards
*At this price point, all sealers are pretty much "throw-away items and the quality level is going to be about the same. We like the Seal-a-Meal because because it's a known brand with a good reputation.
Why Does a Vacuum Sealer Keep Food Fresher for Longer?
How a Vacuum Sealer Works
A vacuum sealer removes air from a specially designed bag, then heat-seals the bag to keep air out. Because microbes need air to survive (most microbes, anyway), there is very little opportunity for them to get at vacuum-sealed food. The result: food lasts longer.
The same is true for freezer burn and staleness. Removing most of the air from the bag prevents freezer burn and wards off staleness, both of which require air to work their nasty magic on food.
Even vacuum-sealed food that's been in a freezer for several years will be free from freezer burn.
Can't You Just Push Air Out of a Bag and Get the Same Results?
Can you get these results with a zip top bag? Nope. Even if you use the water displacement method (pushing the bag under water to force air out of the top of the bag), you can't remove anywhere near as much air as a vacuum pump does. Furthermore, zip top bags aren't designed for long-term storage, and they will eventually leak.
The water displacement method has become popular for sous vide, but it's less than ideal, especially for long sous vide cooks (more than 6 or so hours). Zip top bags are not designed for immersion in hot water, and they soften and deteriorate after just a few hours.
With all the other advantages there are to owning a vacuum sealer, it's really a no-brainer to have one for sous vide.
(Video courtesy of Christina Wylie)
What Are the "Specially Designed" Bags?
Each type of vacuum sealer requires its own type of bag to work properly. (See below to read about the 3 types of vacuum sealers.)
Edge sealer bags have ridges inside that help "push" air out. You seal the top edge of the bag and cut it open when you're ready to eat the food inside. They're intended for one use, but you can wash them out and re-use them; a lot of people do. Just be careful about sealing and cutting open so as to leave enough bag for another use.
Nozzle sealer bags (see them on Amazon) have resealable tops (most of them, anyway) and a hole through which air is pumped out. They are the most expensive type of bag, but they are re-usable, so the cost could end up being less than edge sealer bags depending on how many uses you get out of them.
Most nozzle sealer bags are dishwasher safe and will last for ten uses or more. They're great for leftovers in the fridge, but not as great for freezing and sous vide because nozzle sealers have weak vacuums and tend to leave a lot of air inside the bags.
Chamber sealer bags (see them on Amazon) are made of heavy gauge plastic designed to hold up well in freezer and sous vide conditions. Chamber sealer bags are the cheapest type of vacuum bag. You can get them for about 3 cents a piece if you buy a large quantity.
Chamber sealer bags are not designed for re-use, and are so cheap that you don't really need to. However, you can wash them out and re-use them if you're particularly frugal or concerned about plastic waste.
I re-use chamber bags if I have leftovers in them and just want to re-seal the bag, and also if the bag is easy to wash out (for example, if it had only dry pasta in it). Other than that, I toss them.
If you want to re-seal a bag, be careful not to get food or moisture in the sealing area. (You can accomplish this by folding the edges down before adding or removing food.)
What About Using Other Bags?
Can you use other bags in vacuum sealers? You can experiment with using other bags with your edge or chamber sealer. Some people have had success with zip top bags in edge sealers (watch a video on how to do this), and many sealers work great with mylar bags (used for longer-term storage, primarily of dry goods).
Types of Vacuum Sealers
Vacuum sealers come in 3 types: edge sealers, nozzle sealers, and chamber sealers. Edge and nozzle sealers are both what are known as external sealers. Chamber sealers are internal sealers.
"Internal" and "External" describe how the vacuum process is done.
With an edge sealer--also called an external sealer or a channel sealer--you insert the top edge of the bag into the sealer. It removes air from the bag, then heat-seals it.
With some edge sealers, you have to push and/or hold a switch throughout the process; with others, the process starts automatically as soon as the sealer detects a bag in the channel.
Edge sealers are the most popular type of sealer, outselling the other two by far. This is because they're more effective than nozzle sealers and less expensive than chamber sealers.
An inexpensive edge sealer is the best vacuum sealer if you're new to vacuum sealing and want to try it out.
Here's an example of an edge sealer at work:
You need to use bags designed for an edge sealer in order for the pump to evacuate air properly and form a tight seal--see the discussion above about bags.
A nozzle sealer is a small, often handheld, sealer that pulls air out through a hole in a specially designed bag. Here's a handheld nozzle sealer at work:
Some nozzle sealers aren't handheld, like the Oliso Pro (see it on Amazon):
Nozzle sealers are the best vacuum sealer for leftovers because the bags are designed for re-use (most of them have zip-type seals in addition to the vacuum port and don't need to be cut open). Nozzle sealers are also small, so they're easier to store than an edge or chamber sealer.
However, nozzle sealers tend to have weak pumps, so they can have trouble creating a heavy duty, long-term seal.
Few models on Amazon get very good reviews. They're also fairly new to the market, so perhaps the technology just isn't quite there yet.
Some edge sealers, like the v4440 FoodSaver model (see it on Amazon) come with a built-in nozzle sealer. This is a really nice extra because it gives you another option for keeping food fresh. However, you will need to keep two types of bags on hand (and both edge sealer bags and nozzle sealer bags are pretty spendy).
Internal: Chamber Sealer
Chamber sealers create a vacuum inside an entire chamber, equalizing the pressure both inside and outside the bag while sealing. The advantage to this is that you can seal liquids.
This is a FABULOUS advantage. And, we think, worth every penny, because you can seal liquids like soups, stews, and marinades right in the bags without issue.
Chamber sealers are large and heavy, and most are designed for commercial use. Some weigh close to 100 lbs.
However, because of their commercial-grade build quality, you can use chamber sealers repeatedly without a cool-down period between seals--another great advantage over inexpensive edge and nozzle sealers.
And because pressure is equalized inside the chamber, no special ridges are required on the bags to push air out, so the bags are cheaper than edge sealer bags.
Chamber sealers are more expensive up front, but they're durable, will last for years, and the bags are less than half the cost of edge sealer bags. They are our number one choice for a vacuum sealer. If you can afford it and have room for it, a chamber sealer is the best vacuum sealer to get.
What Do I Look For in a Vacuum Sealer?
To find the best vacuum sealer, you have to look at:
- Durability factors like the motor build and the vacuum strength
- The size that works best in your kitchen
- The extra features you want and are willing to pay for.
Some of these specs are hard to find, even on higher-end sealers like VacMaster chamber sealers. (In brands like FoodSaver, they simply aren't available--FoodSaver considers these a proprietary secret). But even if you can't find the exact specs on a sealer, it's good to know, even in general, what you're getting at all the different price levels.
Interestingly, many motor and vacuum specs are hard to find, even on higher-end sealers. But even if you can't find the exact specs, it's good to know what you're getting at the different price levels--that there really IS a difference.
The motor (aka vacuum pump) is the most important part of a vacuum sealer. In fact, the price of a vacuum sealer is largely dependent on the quality of the motor.
Inexpensive vacuum sealers (this includes most sealers under $200) have cheaply made motors. The motor itself is not very durable and can even have plastic parts.
This has a number of ramifications:
- It makes vacuum sealers inexpensive (many less than $50).
- Cheap sealers typically don't have cooling fans, so the vacuum pumps overheat easily and need a cooling down period between seals. This can be a huge pain if you have a bulk sealing project (e.g., a side of beef or your fall harvest vegetables).
- They're designed for limited use and generally are considered "throw-away" appliances; if they break down, they can't be repaired.
- These motors almost never give specifications like how much vacuum they actually pull, so it's hard to know what you're actually paying for.
An inexpensive motor isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on how you're going to use the sealer. It could be the best vacuum sealer for your needs. If you plan on light use (say a few times per week just a few seals at a time--no bulk sealing), a sealer like this could last you several years.
Unfortunately, you're going to have a hard time finding this information--the motor build, that is. You're going to have to assume from the price point how durable the motor is. Suffice to say that if the info isn't given, it's probably a plastic motor; if motor information is given, however, you can assume the motor is of higher quality.
If you can't find specifications or data about a vacuum sealer's pump/motor, you can assume it's an inexpensive motor, not made for heavy or long-term use.
High Quality Motors
When you start getting into higher prices--around $200 and above--the vacuum pump quality goes up. These motors are durable and repairable, and they're designed for heavy usage without cool down periods.
High quality vacuum sealer motors come in two types: dry piston pump and oil piston pump. The dry piston type is maintenance free but not quite as durable as the oil piston type.
The oil piston pump is the most durable motor you can get, and also the most expensive. It requires periodic oil changes, depending on how often you use it.
Any vacuum sealer with a good, high-quality motor will have specifications listed, so you know exactly what you're paying for.
Another factor to consider is the power of a motor/pump. Again, this is not always given, but where it is, it tells you not only how strong the vacuum will be, but how fast it will be able to pull that vacuum.
The greater the wattage, the more powerful and faster the pump will work. What's a good number? Weston sealers have 200W, 700W, and 900W motors (from least to most expensive). VacMaster chamber sealers start at around 600W. These are all pretty powerful machines.
In comparison, the FoodSaver FM2000 motor has 120W.
Can you start to see where the price differences come from?
Vacuum is typically measured in inches of mercury pulled, or "Hg. (Other units you might see are Pascals (Pa) and bar. But usually when the vacuum capacity is given, it's in "Hg" units.)
It's surprising how infrequently this spec can be found, given that the amount of vacuum is the primary feature of a vacuum sealer. YouTube is full of videos of people testing vacuum on FoodSaver machines (like this one), trying to figure out just how much vacuum it actually pulls.
A lot of consumers probably don't think in terms of vacuum pulled. Unless they're kitchen geeks like us here at Rational Kitchen. But knowing this spec can be helpful in deciding which vacuum sealer to buy.
What's a good number? Well, 30 "Hg is perfect vacuum, which isn't attainable with even the most powerful vacuum sealer. So, a decent vacuum ranges from
20 "Hg up to about 29 "Hg.
Again, you're going to get stronger vacuum with a more powerful (higher wattage) motor.
What does this mean? Well, stronger vacuum means that more air is removed, which means food will stay fresh longer. But in practical terms, the difference between 22 "Hg and 29 "Hg is actually fairly small.
The more important factor is that if a motor pulls a bigger vacuum, it's probably a better motor--meaning that it's going to be faster, pull more vacuum, and last longer than cheaper motors.
If you can't find specifications or data about the amount of vacuum pulled, you can look for it on YouTube--or you can assume that cheap edge sealers are going to be around 22 "Hg and more expensive ones are going to be around 26-29 "Hg.
Wherever we've been able to find vacuum specs, we've included them in the reviews.
Here we're referring to the housing, tray, buttons, user interface, and any extras (like roll and bag cutter) the sealer has.
The vast majority of inexpensive sealers are plastic, plastic, plastic. Some are a mix of plastic and stainless or plastic and aluminum. It's not until you get up into the hundreds-of-dollars price point that you start to see stainless housings, durable sealing channels, and heavy-duty interfaces.
Plastic isn't necessarily a drawback. These sealers are lighter and less bulky, easier to store, and they're fine for casual use (for example, several times a week, one or two bags per session). But their buttons and sealing channel parts tend to wear out rather quickly. In fact, it's common for switches, hinges, and other hardware to wear out on inexpensive sealers before the pump does.
You also can't use inexpensive sealers for bulk sealing jobs because they overheat quickly and require frequent cool-down periods in between seals. So if you're thinking of getting a vacuum sealer so you can save money by buying in bulk, do yourself a favor and get a sealer with a build quality designed for bulk sealing.
To summarize: if you're looking for a durable sealer that will do bulk sealing projects and last many years, you're going to have to pay for the stainless housing and better all-around build quality.
A good build quality will be primarily stainless and/or aluminum rather than plastic. External build quality doesn't necessarily mean better internal parts--you have to do your homework--but it is one indication.
The sealing bar is important because it limits the size bag you can use. For example, an 11-inch sealing bar means the biggest bag you can use has an 11-inch opening.
Most vacuum sealers have an 11-inch sealing bar. 10-inch and 12-inch bars also common. Some, like the Weston Pro-2300 (see it on Amazon), have 15-inch sealing bars.
You might think you want the longer sealing bar--why not get the longest sealing bar available so you have the most options for bags, right?
Well, bigger bags are nice for big roasts and chickens, that's for sure. However, they're also more expensive. You may find yourself reluctant to use the bigger bags because of this, preferring instead to cut the food in half and use two bags. So if you want the longer sealing bar, go for it--just make sure you'll use it.
Sealing bars also come in various widths. Most seal with a 2mm heat strip while others have a 4- or 5-mm heat strip.
The wider heat strip will no doubt make a stronger seal, but unless you've had issues with leakage, it's not a major selling point in our opinion.
The length of the sealing bar limits the size bag you can use. Most sealing bars are 11 inches, which is plenty big for most sealing jobs. You can get sealing bars up to 15 inches, though, if you want to use extra large bags--but larger bags are also more expensive, so you may not use this feature as often as you think you will.
And now we come to one of the biggest choices you'll have to make: Do you want extra features, or do you want a heavy-duty sealer?
In the $200-ish price range, that's the choice you'll have to make.
FoodSaver makes dozens of models in a huge price range. As the price increases, it's generally because you're getting more extra features, from automation to bag cutters to the retractable handheld sealer included with the edge sealer.
What you're probably not getting is a more powerful motor, better vacuum, or a more durable sealer. (Well, maybe a more durable housing in some cases.)
So at the $200-ish price point, you have to decide: Do I want extra features, or do I want a durable sealer with a more powerful vacuum?
There's no wrong answer here. You just have to decide what's important to you and buy accordingly.
Here are some of the extra features you can find in a FoodSaver edge sealer:
- Full automatic operation--just pop a bag into the sealer and let it go
- Roll storage--room for a roll of bags right on the sealer (remember, rolls are cheaper than boxes)
- Bag cutter--no scissors required for rolls
- Nozzle sealer included
- Accessory port for sealing mason jars, marinade containers, wine bottles, and more (this is a common feature, and is available even on some sealers under $100).
While extra features are nice, we prefer the heavier duty motor, vacuum power, and durability. And, you can find commercial-grade sealers with accessory ports (like the Weston Pro Advantage and the PolyScience 300 Series) if this is an important feature for you.
And if you want a nozzle sealer for leftovers, you can always just buy one. :)
Don't buy a sealer without a warranty of at least one year (and longer is better)! If you buy from Amazon, consider spending a few extra dollars on the Buyer Protection Plan. It's money well spent if something goes wrong.
Be sure to get a sealer with a warranty of at least one year. If buying through Amazon or another third party, it's wise to spend a few extra dollars on a buyer protection program if one is offered.
How Do I Choose the Best Vacuum Sealer For Me?
Answering these questions will help you figure out the best sealer for your needs:
What will I use it for?
Are you going to use it primarily for bulk freezing? For sous vide? Will you be sealing a lot of liquids?
Remember: chamber sealers or expensive edge sealers can seal many bags in a row without needing a cooling down period between sealings.
About sous vide: Don't be fooled by tricky marketing jargon--ANY vacuum sealer will work for sous vide. You don't need a special type of "sous vide sealer." If you're buying a sealer primarily for sous vide, you're better off thinking about how ELSE you'll use the sealer. For example, if you're only going to be sealing food for sous vide a few times a week, any cheap sealer will serve your needs. But if you're also going to be buying in bulk and using the sealer for leftovers and longer term storage, you might want a heavier-duty machine.
How often will I use it?
This is a bit of a rehash of the previous question, but it warrants repeating: If you're going to use your sealer casually--just a couple of times a week, and don't buy in bulk very often--then you can get by with a lower-priced sealer. Some FoodSavers (like the FM2000 recommended here) have a 5-year warranty, which makes them hard to beat for the casual user.
If you're going to use your sealer often and/or for different jobs--say, several times a week for bulk sealing, sous vide, and storing leftovers--then you probably want to get a sealer on the heavy duty/commercial end of the spectrum. It will perform better, last longer, and make quicker work of big projects because you don't have to wait for the motor to cool down in-between seals (like you do with lower cost sealers).
Will I be doing a lot of bulk sealing jobs?
Again, a bit of a rehash, but it's important to think about. Even if you don't buy in bulk now, having a vacuum sealer could change your life. You can save SO much money by buying in bulk. If you own a vacuum sealer (and a decent-sized freezer), there's no reason in the world NOT to buy in bulk.
Do I want to seal liquids?
If you want the convenience of sealing liquids easily and not having to do workarounds like freezing first, a chamber sealer should be a serious contender.
How much room do I have (countertop and/or storage)?
Room is also a big consideration. If you have room to leave a sealer out on your countertop, then the sky's the limit as far as options go. However, if you have limited space, you'll probably want to go with a small, portable edge sealer or maybe even a nozzle sealer.
How much do I want to spend?
If money isn't a concern for you, then you can focus on answering all of the above questions. However, if you're on a tight budget or want to get an "entry-level" sealer to find out if you'll really use it or not, then get one of the lower-priced models recommended here.
Remember, however, that for the average American family, a vacuum sealer that costs even $1,000 will pay for itself in less than a year in food savings (primarily from buying in bulk and less waste).
So any vacuum sealer you choose has the potential to be a life-changing purchase.
The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $50: Seal-a-Meal
The Seal-a-Meal Manual Vacuum Sealer is your basic, entry level sealer. At this price point, it's probably the best vacuum sealer you can get. It isn't intended for heavy-duty use, for use with liquids, or for bulk sealing jobs. However, if used properly, it will serve you well for many years.
It's a bare bones sealer, but simple to use, small enough to store away easily, and has a patented removable drip tray for easy cleaning. It will pull good-enough vacuum on solid foods and is great if your primary use will be freezer storage or sous vide. As with all edge sealers (regardless of price), the Seal-a-Meal is not a good option for moist foods or liquids (although there are workarounds you can use such as freezing liquids and stopping the vacuum process before soft food gets crushed or liquid gets sucked into the vacuum tube).
The Seal-a-Meal vacuum sealer does not have an accessory port/hose option.
Seal-a-Meal has been around for awhile and it has more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon. People love this sealer. It is an excellent option at the entry level price point.
Color: Black and white
Size: 17.1 x 9.3 x 6.2 inches
Weight: 4.2 lbs.
Max bag width: 11-in.
Use with these bag sizes: 8-in., 11-in., quart, and gallon
Storage space for bags? No
Accessory Port? No
Roll cutter? No
Warranty: 1-year limited.
(4) 1-quart bags.
Note: This is not a lot of bags! If you buy this sealer, be sure to get bags, too! (See bags on Amazon)
Buy the Seal-a-Meal if you're looking for a no-frills, entry level sealer for low to moderate use.
GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE SEAL-A-MEAL ON AMAZON NOW:
The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $100: FoodSaver FM2000
See it on Amazon (a TRK favorite!)
The FoodSaver FM2000-FFP Vacuum Sealer has new technology that requires 40% less bag for sealing. (Well, maybe not so new anymore, but it's still a standout among the FoodSaver options.) It also has an accessory port (hose included). It doesn't have bag storage or a cutter, so you'll have to do all of that manually. However, this saves counter space and makes the sealer lighter and easier to move and store.
It also has a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty, which is hard to beat on any model (especially at this price point).
The FM2000 has hundreds of reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4 stars.
Size: 17.6x5.9x10.6 in.
Weight: 5.3 lb/5.9 lb shipping wt.
Max Bag Width: 11 in.
Edge Sealing without Vacuum Capability? Yes (Seal button)
Accessory Port? Yes (hose included)
Storage space for bags? No
Roll Cutter? No
Warranty: 5 year limited.
Starter bag kit, which includes:
- (2) 1-gallon bags
- (3) 1-quart bags
- (1) 11-in. x 10-ft. roll.
Buy the FM2000 if you're looking for an inexpensive sealer with a fabulous warranty, an accessory port, and the ability to use less plastic than other sealers. Don't forget to shop for extras like marinade containers and mason jar vacuum lids!
GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE FOODSAVER FM2000 ON AMAZON NOW:
The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $200 (Durability): Weston Pro Advantage (65-0501-W)
The Weston Professional Advantage Vacuum Sealer is Weston's lowest priced sealer, and a great sealer for anyone who wants a commercial grade product at a competitive price.
Although not as powerful as some other commercial-grade sealers, it's powerful enough for most home cooks. It also has features that many home cooks desire such as an accessory port. It is small enough, at about 7 lbs, for easy storage if you don't want to leave it out on your counter.
(The hose and canister are sold separately, but if you have old FoodSaver accessories, they'll work with it, as it's a universal port.)
The Weston Professional Advantage has over 100 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 3.5 stars and an "A" grade from Fakespot.com.
- 210W motor
- Fan-cooled, 23' Hg vacuum pump
- Auto and manual modes
- Hose accessory port (hose and canisters sold separately)
- 11-inch long, 3mm wide seal strip
- Quick marinate function
- Angled vacuum chamber to prevent liquid messes
- Easy-clean vacuum chamber
- Clear lid so you can observe vacuum process
- ETL certified
- 1 year warranty.
Color: Black and brushed stainless
Size: 10x18x6 inches
Weight: 7.3 lbs.
Motor: 210W (standard US 120V/60Hz outlet)
Vacuum: 23' Hg, fan-cooled
Vacuum Modes: Automatic and manual
Max bag Width: 11-in.
Storage space for bags? No
Roll cutter? No.
15-1 quart (8" x 12") bags.
Note: The accessory hose is NOT included, so be sure to buy one separately!
Buy the Weston Pro Advantage if you want a small-yet-durable, commercial-grade sealer with an accessory port at a competitive price.
GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE WESTON PRO ADVANTAGE ON AMAZON NOW:
The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $200 (Extra Features): FoodSaver V4440
The FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealer is a fully automated sealer--just pop the bag in the channel and the sealer does the rest. It also has a retractable handheld nozzle sealer (this is what makes it a "2-in-1" product).
The V440 has it all. It has bag storage, an automatic cutter, an accessory port, a marinade function--and a 5 year warranty.
It also comes with an excellent starter kit, including several sizes of bags, bags for the nozzle sealer, and even a marinade container!
There are a few V4000 models to choose from, but there is little difference between them and the V4440 is the least expensive. For a more detailed review of all the FoodSaver V4000 models, see Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Sellers on Amazon.
- Multi-functional design with built-in handheld sealer
- Automatic bag detection
- Bag storage
- Automatic bag cutter
- Removable, dishwasher safe drip tray for easy cleaning
- Marinade function
- Starter kit including heat seal bags, zipper bags, and a marinade container
- 5 year limited warranty.
Color: Black and stainless (V4440); Mostly stainless (V4840)
Size: 11 x 20 x 12 in.
Weight: 10 lbs
Max Bag Width: 11 in.
Accessory Port? Yes
Edge Sealing without Vacuum Capability? Yes
Storage Space for Bags? Yes
Roll Cutter? Yes
Warranty: 5 year limited.
- 1 - 11" x 10' roll of bags
- 1 - 8" x 10' roll of bags
- 3 - 1 Qt. heat seal bags
- 2 - 1 Gallon heat seal bags
- 3 - 1 Qt vacuum zipper bags
- 2 - 1 Gallon vacuum zipper bags
- 1 - 2.25 Qt marinade container.
Buy the V4440 (or any of the V4000 FoodSaver models) if you want the full spectrum of extra features: accessory port, bag storage and cutter, automatic operation, and an included nozzle sealer--plus a great starter kit with a ton of bags.
GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE FOODSAVER 4440 ON AMAZON NOW:
The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $500 (Edge): Weston Pro 2300 (Bonus: Extra Long Sealing Bar!)
The Weston Pro 2300 Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer is a commercial-grade sealer that will give you years of dependable use (probably decades, even). It has a 935 watt, fan-cooled pump that can pull up to "28 Hg of vacuum. It also has a 15-inch sealing bar, the largest size available in home-use vacuum sealers.
The Pro 2300 is made for serious sealing. If you want a heavy duty, commercial grade edge sealer for big bulk sealing jobs, and if you don't care about extra features besides excellent build quality (this sealer does NOT have an accessory port or any fancy automation other than bag sealing), this is the best vacuum sealer you can get.
The Weston Pro-2300 has more than 350 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 stars. Fakespot gives these reviews an "A" rating.
- 935W motor
- Double piston, 28' Hg vacuum pump
- 15-inch seal bar with 5mm wide seal bar
- Air-cooled vacuum pump
- Auto and manual modes
- Stainless steel housing
- Clear lid so you can align bags and observe vacuum process
- Detachable cord with storage space
- ETL certified
- 2 year manufacturer's warranty.
Size: 15.3x23.9x9 inches
Weight: 14 lbs
Motor: 935W (standard US 120V/60Hz outlet)
Vacuum: 28' Hg, dual piston, fan-cooled
Vacuum Modes: Automatic and manual
Max bag width: 15-in.
Storage space for bags? No
Roll cutter? No
Warranty: 2 year limited manufacturer's warranty.
Buy the Weston Pro-2300 if you want superior quality, an extra wide 15 inch sealing bar, and fast, powerful sealing.
Don't buy the Weston Pro 2300 if you want the accessory hose option.
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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $500 (Chamber): VacMaster VP112S
The VacMaster VP112S Chamber Sealer is the new improved version of the VP112 (still available on Amazon), which had some quality issues. It came out in 2016 and is already VacMaster's best-selling chamber vacuum.
The VP112S has the same maintenance-free, dry piston pump as the VP210. However, it is much more kitchen-friendly for the home cook. At about 45 pounds, it weighs almost half as much as the bulkier VP210 and VP215 chamber sealers.
But probably its most brilliant feature is that you can park it under an upper cabinet and still have full operation. The lid doubles back on itself, sort of like a convertible car, so you have a much wider range of places to keep it.
This might be the greatest advancement in chamber sealers in...well, ever. Here's a short video (about a minute) that shows how the VP112S works:
It also has a 12-inch sealing bar, which makes it more versatile than the VP210 and VP215, which have 10-inch sealing bars.
The only thing you don't get is an accessory port. But I don't find that a drawback as the VP112S has a marinade function so you can easily marinade food right inside the chamber.
In my opinion, the VP112S is the best vacuum sealer overall on the market today. It is simply brilliant. It has all the great, heavy-duty features of a commercial chamber vac without the drawbacks.
(See a full review here.)
- Light weight (just under 50 lbs--compared to 90 lbs of other chamber vacs)
- Can open fully underneath a cupboard (see the video above for a demo of this)
- Adjustable vacuum time of 30-60s
- Adjustable seal time
- Marinade setting (pulls an intermittent vacuum for deep flavor infusion)
- Maintenance-free, 600W 2 cylinder piston pump
- 12-inch seal bar, removable for easy cleaning
- Extra-wide (4mm) seal
- Polycarbonate lid that allows for full viewing of the sealing process
- Designed for repetitive sealing (no cool down periods required)
- Easy-to-clean chamber with rounded corners and removable sealing bar
- Digital control panel.
Color: Stainless and black
Size: 16x24x9 in. (14in. high when open)
Weight: 46 lbs
Motor: 600W (standard US 120V/60Hz outlet)
Vacuum: 23.5" Hg - 29.3" Hg
Chamber Size (WxDxH): 12x11x5 in.
Maximum Bag Width: 12 in.
Maximum Bag Size: 12x14 in.
Accessory Port: No.
- 40 assorted chamber bags
- User manual
- 1 year limited manufacturer warranty.
Buy the VacMaster VP112S if you want a top quality chamber vac designed for home use. Highly recommended.
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What If I Want to Spend More?
You can spend more! The VacMaster VP210 (see it on Amazon) and VP215 (see it on Amazon) are both great choices--but almost twice as heavy as the VP112S, and with a slightly smaller chamber. Also, the PolyScience 300 Series (see it on Amazon) offers an accessory port, which is a nice feature to have on a chamber sealer.
There are also much heavier duty commercial sealers that cost into the 4-figures, but I don't have any experience with them. You really don't need to spend that much to get a high quality vacuum sealer that you can love.
So these are the best vacuum sealers at every price point, according to Rational Kitchen. To summarize:
- The best edge sealer is the Weston Pro 2300: heavy duty, extra wide sealing bar.
- The best chamber sealer is the VacMaster VP112S: maintenance free pump, can fully open under upper cabinets.
Do you have questions, comments, or differing opinions? Please share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
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