How to Pick the Best Vacuum Sealer in Every Price Range

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 a large freezer). 

So even if you spend $1000 on a chamber vacuum sealer, it's going to pay for itself in about a year. 

Look at these tables showing how much longer vacuum-sealed food can last (from the FoodSaver website):

Freezer Shelf Life

Non-Vacuum Sealed

Vacuum-Sealed

Beef, Poultry, Fish

6 months

2-3 years

Soups and Stews

3-6 months

1-2 years

Bread

6-12 months

1-3 years

Vegetables

8 months

2-3 years

Coffee Beans

6-9 months

2-3 years

Refrigerator Shelf Life

Non-Vacuum Sealed

Vacuum-Sealed

 Berries

1-6 days

1-2 weeks

Lettuce

3-6 days

up to 2 weeks

Cheese

1-2 weeks

4-8 months (hard cheeses)

up to 1 month (soft cheeses)​

Fresh meats and seafood

1-3 days

1-2 weeks

Leftovers

4-7 days

2-3 weeks

Pantry Shelf Life

Non-Vacuum Sealed

Vacuum-Sealed

Flour and Sugar

6 months

1-2 years

Rice and Pasta

6 months

1-2 years

Cookies and crackers

2 weeks

6 months or more

Dry cereals

4 months

1-2 years

Pretty impressive, isn't it!? And honestly, a lot of these times could be longer. People have used 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 you should probably use it in soup or stew by that point.)

We're not advocating keeping any food for years past its peak flavor and freshness. But it happens: something gets lost in the back of your pantry or freezer, and you forget about it. Vacuum-sealed food can rescue this food from the trash--and save you some money in the process.

But now comes the million dollar question (or at least the hundred-or-so dollar question): How do you pick out a vacuum sealer?

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The vacuum sealer market offers hundreds of options. The FoodSaver brand alone offers dozens of models, 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.

But here's the good news: 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. 

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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. The rating is based on a combination of our own testing and the Amazon reviews:

Category/Model
(click to see on Amazon)

Features

Best Sealer Under $50:
Seal-a-Meal Manual Sealer*

SealAMeal_150px

-No frills entry level price

-Removable drip tray

​-Open/Cancel button to control vacuum

A TRK pick!

Best Sealer Under $100:
FoodSaver FM2000

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-Uses 40% less bag to seal

-Accessory port

-5 yr. warranty​

Best Sealer under $200 (Durability): 
Weston Pro Advantage
(see the review)

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-210W motor

-Accessory port​

-Commercial grade durability​

Best Sealer under $200 (Extra Features): 
FoodSaver V4440

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-Handheld nozzle sealer included

-Bag storage and cutter

-Fully automated

-5 yr. warranty​

A TRK pick!

Best Sealer under $500 (Edge): 
Weston Pro 2300

(see the review)​

WestonPro2300_150px

-15-in. sealing bar

-935W motor

-2yr. warranty​

A TRK pick!

Best Sealer under $1000 (Chamber):
VacMaster VP210

-400W maintenance free pump

-10in. seal bar

-Continuous operation

-Seals liquids

-Uses cheaper bags than edge sealers

*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. Also check out The Best Vacuum Sealers Under $100 on Amazon for more options.

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Why Does a Vacuum Sealer Keep Food Fresher?

The quick answer is that it removes air, and most microbes need air to survive--no air, no microbes to spoil your food. 

How a Vacuum Sealer Works

How to Pick the Best Vacuum Sealer in Every Price Range

Basically, a vacuum sealer pumps the air out of 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 and spoil it.

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 dark magic on food.

Even vacuum-sealed food that's been in a freezer for several years will be free from freezer burn. ​

You can read more about the science behind edge sealing at the FoodSaver website.

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. Not even close. 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 can remove.

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. They soften and can rip at the seams 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. (The water displacement method isn't going to save you hundreds per year on your food bill.) 

(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, as you can see here:

EdgeSealerBagCloseup_350px

You seal the top edge of the bag and cut it open when you're ready to use the food inside. These bags are 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 room to use again.

These are the second most expensive type of vacuum bag, at about 17 cents apiece if you buy rolls (see them on Amazon); more than that if you buy boxes (see them on Amazon). 

If you want to re-use edge sealer bags, be careful to seal and cut open the bag as close to the seal as possible. Wash and dry thoroughly to avoid cross contamination.

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 intended for use with the brand of nozzle sealer you have, and may not work with other brands.


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 fair amount of air inside the bags. 

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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.

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Chamber sealer bags are not designed for re-use, and are so cheap that you don't really need to try to reuse them. However, you can wash them out and re-use them if you're particularly frugal or concerned about plastic waste. 

The easiest way to re-use chamber vac bags is for leftovers: Make sure you seal as close to the top of the bag as possible, then cut open just below the seal, leaving enough bag to re-seal what's left. It's possible to re-use a bag several times this way.

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). ​

Most manufacturers advise against using other brands of bags, but you can ignore that advice: any brand will work as long as it's made for your particular type of vacuum sealer (e.g., edge, nozzle, or chamber). You can experiment with different brands until you find one you like. 

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A mylar bag. They work with some sealers,  but not all sealers.

Types of Vacuum Sealers

Just like the bags, 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.​

Edge Sealer

With an edge sealer--also called an external, suction, or channel sealer--you insert the top edge of the bag into the sealer. It removes air from the bag, then heat-seals it to hold in the vacuum.

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. Some edge sealers can be quirky to use, but once you figure out your sealer, you should be fine.

Edge sealers are the most popular type of sealer, outselling the other two by far. This is because they're more effective and more versatile than nozzle sealers, and much less expensive than chamber sealers.

An inexpensive edge sealer is the best vacuum sealer if you're new to vacuum sealing and looking to try it out.

FoodSaverFM2435ECRwMeat_500px

Again: 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.

An inexpensive edge sealer is the best vacuum sealer to buy if you're new to vacuum sealing and want to try it out.

Nozzle Sealer

​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:

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Some nozzle sealers aren't handheld, like the Oliso Pro (see it on Amazon):

OlisoVacuumSealer_500px


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--thus, reusable). Most nozzle bags are also dishwasher safe.

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 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 to take advantage of this (and both edge sealer bags and nozzle sealer bags are pretty spendy).

How to Pick the Best Vacuum Sealer in Every Price Range

The FoodSaver V4440 edge sealer with built-in nozzle sealer.

​Internal: Chamber Sealer

The principle is the same as an external sealer--air is forcibly removed from the container--but the physics work a little bit differently. You place a container in a chamber, which is then sealed and air is removed from the entire chamber. Because the vacuum pressure is equalized within the entire chamber--both inside and outside of the container--all the contents will stay inside it rather than get sucked up into the pump. This makes it possible to seal liquids without workarounds like freezing them first.

Also because of the equalized pressure, you don't need special bags to help "push" air out, so chamber sealer bags are considerably less expensive than edge sealer bags, meaning that while a chamber sealer is a bigger expense up front, you will save money in the long run. (More on bags below.)

You can read more about the science behind chamber sealing at the ChefSteps website.

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The VacMaster VP112S chamber sealer: you can seal liquids in it!

Chamber sealers are large and heavy, primarily designed for commercial use. Many 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. (Although you can also find edge sealers that will work continuously, like the Weston Pro 2300 reviewed below.)

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.

THREE POINTERS TO SUCCESS FOR SEALING LIQUIDS IN A CHAMBER SEALER:
  • Make sure liquids are room temperature or cooler because the low pressure in the chamber can cause hot liquids to "boil" and it will make a mess.
  • Don't fill a bag up to the top--leave head space to allow for the boiling effect that occurs under high pressure.
  • If the sealer has spacer plates, remove them so the sealing bar is above the liquid. Gravity will help reduce potential issues from the boiling effect.

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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. 

Sometimes vacuum and motor specs are hard to find, especially on consumer-grade vacuum sealers. (In fact, FoodSaver considers this proprietary information and it simple isn't available). 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 the different price levels.

Interestingly, motor and vacuum specs can be hard to find, especially on consumer-grade sealers. But even if you can't find the exact specs, you can figure out roughly the quality of the vacuum sealer by looking at other factors like price and build quality.

Motor (Vacuum Pump)

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 its vacuum pump. 

Why is vacuum strength important? Because the stronger the vacuum, the more that gets removed from the bag or container. And the more air that gets removed, the longer the food will stay fresh. 

So, yeah, vacuum strength is a big deal.

Inexpensive Motors​

Inexpensive vacuum sealers (this includes sealers under about $200) have inexpensive 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 motors can 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 garden harvest).
  • They're designed for limited use and generally are considered "throw-away" appliances; if they break down, it costs as much to repair them as it does to buy a new vacuum sealer.
  • 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 (although that itself is a clue that it's probably not the greatest vacuum strength).

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. 

How to Pick the Best Vacuum Sealer in Every Price Range

A motor similar to a FoodSaver motor (from alibaba.com): note the plastic parts.

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 vacuum sealer's price point how durable the motor is. Suffice to say that if the info isn't given, it's probably a cheap motor. 

How much do you have to pay to get a better quality motor? As we said, probably upwards of $200, but it can depend. FoodSaver uses the same basic motor in all of their sealers, and a higher price tag usually means more automated features, but not more vacuum strength. However, the Weston Pro Advantage, which is about the same price as an automated FoodSaver, has a better motor. So in the $200-or-so price range, you have to decide what you want to pay for and really do your research. 

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--especially at the $200 or so price point.

​High Quality Motors

When you start getting into higher prices--above $200--the vacuum pump quality goes up. These motors are durable, repairable, and designed for heavy usage without cool down periods. 

Higher 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. Almost all edge sealers have dry piston pumps, with some being better quality than others. 

The oil piston pump is the most durable motor you can get, and also the most expensive. It requires periodic oil changes. usually about every 60 hours of use. (This can mean anywhere from twice a year to once every 5 years, depending on how much you use your sealer--you just have to keep an eye on the oil and change it when it gets low or looks cloudy.)

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A VacMaster Oil Piston Pump--it looks heavy duty, doesn't it?

A vacuum sealer with a high-quality vacuum pump will have specifications listed so you know exactly what you're paying for. Look for inches of Mercury ( in-Hg or "Hg)--a good number being above 26"Hg--and wattage--the higher the wattage, the more powerful the motor is and the faster it will pull vacuum.

​Motor Power

Another factor to consider is the power of a motor/pump in wattage. 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 400W. These are all pretty powerful machines.

In comparison, the FoodSaver FM2000 motor has 120W, and most other inexpensive edge sealers are right in this range, too.

Can you start to see where the price differences come from?

It doesn't automatically mean that more power is better. If you just want a sealer for occasional use, the motor power doesn't matter all that much. But if you plan on using it for big jobs, a powerful motor can make it a dream, while a weaker motor can make it a nightmare.

Vacuum Pulled

Vacuum is typically measured in inches of mercury pulled: inHg or "Hg.  (Other units you might see are Pascals (Pa) and bar. But vacuum strength is usually given in "Hg.)

Space

Perfect vacuum is only possible in space.

It's surprising how infrequently you can find this spec, given that the amount of vacuum it's capable of pulling 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 may not think in terms of vacuum pulled, unless they're kitchen geeks like we are here at Rational Kitchen. But knowing this spec can be helpful in deciding which vacuum sealer to buy.

What's a good number? Well, 29.92 "Hg is considered perfect vacuum, but it isn't attainable with even the most powerful vacuum sealer. Vacuum strength specs on vacuum sealers range from around 22 "Hg up to almost 29 "Hg. Anything above 26 "Hg is a pretty powerful vacuum.

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 pull around 22 "Hg and more expensive ones are going to pull 26-29 "Hg.
Wherever we've been able to find vacuum specs, we've included them in the reviews. 

Build Quality

Here we're referring to the housing, tray, buttons, user interface, and any extras (like roll and bag cutter) the sealer has. 

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The VP112S Control Panel.

The vast majority of inexpensive sealers are plastic, plastic, plastic. Some are a mix of plastic and stainless or plastic and aluminum. The more you spend, the better the sealer should be built, including stainless housings and durable control panels.

Plastic isn't necessarily a drawback. These sealers are lighter, less bulky, easier to store, and they're fine for casual use. But their control panel 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 can replace some of these parts, but many you can not. 

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, stronger pump, and better all-around build quality. 

A good build quality will be primarily stainless 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.

Sealing Bar

WestonProAdvantage

The Weston Pro-2300 is one of the rare sealers with a 15-inch sealing bar.

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 edge 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 smaller 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.

Extra Features

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.

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The FoodSaver V4440 has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want, except for stronger vacuum.

FoodSaver makes dozens of models in a huge price range. As the price increases, it's generally because you're getting more automation and other features, like an included nozzle sealer.

What you're probably not getting is a more powerful motor and better vacuum.

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 hand cutting 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, stronger vacuum, and durability. And, you can find good quality sealers with accessory ports (like the Weston Pro Advantage and the PolyScience 300 Series) if this is an important feature for you. Several Weston sealers also have bag storage (but this isn't necessarily an advantage because these sealers are large and heavy to begin with, and space for rolls adds even more bulk to the sealer).

And if you want a nozzle sealer for leftovers, you can always just buy one. 

You have to decide whether you want to spend money on extra features like automation and bag cutting, or on durable, heavy-duty components. This is particularly true in the $200-ish range: Less than that, and you get what you get. More than that, and the components will almost certainly be heavy duty.

Warranty

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.

All of the sealers we recommend have at least a one-year warranty.

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? Do you want to seal liquids (like soups, stews, and marinades)?

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 other things, 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 mind. 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. 

Meat_400px

If you're going to do a lot of bulk sealing, a heavy duty sealer is the best vacuum sealer for you.

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. (But remember, using nozzle sealer bags for freezer storage kind of defeats the reusability of nozzle bags--they are primarily designed for leftovers in the fridge.)

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.

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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $50: Seal-a-Meal

SealAMeal_500px

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 (not always found at this price point). 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.

Specs:

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.​

See the Seal-a-Meal reviews on Amazon

Included

(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)​

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Seal-a-Meal Bag Rolls.

Recommendation

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:​

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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $100: FoodSaver FM2000

See it on Amazon (a TRK favorite!)

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The FoodSaver FM2000-FFP Vacuum Sealer has new technology that uses 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). If you've been frustrated with how much plastic a vacuum sealer wastes to get a good seal, this just might be the sealer for you. It will also save you $$$$ in the longrun because you can use both smaller bags and fewer bags than you would need with other sealers.

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. ​

​Specifications

Color: Black

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.​

See the FoodSaver 2000 reviews on Amazon

Included

Accessory hose

Starter bag kit, which includes:

  • (2) 1-gallon bags
  • (3) 1-quart bags
  • (1) 11-in. x 10-ft. roll​.

Recommendation

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!

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GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE FOODSAVER FM2000 ON AMAZON NOW:​

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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $200 (Durability): Weston Pro Advantage (65-0501-W)

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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.

Features

  • 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.

See reviews of the Weston Pro Advantage Vacuum Sealer on Amazon

Specifications

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​.

​Included

15-1 quart (8" x 12") bags.

Note: The accessory hose is NOT included, so be sure to buy one separately! (Or if you have one from an old sealer, use that--they tend to be universal and will work on any brand of sealer.)

Recommendation

Buy the Weston Pro Advantage if you want an inexpensive sealer with an accessory port that pulls stronger vacuum than other sealers at this price point.

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GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE WESTON PRO ADVANTAGE ON AMAZON NOW:​

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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $200 (Extra Features): FoodSaver V4440

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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.​

Features​

  • 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.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​See FoodSaver V4440 reviews on Amazon

Specifications

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.​

Included

  • 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.

Recommendation

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.​

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GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE FOODSAVER 4440 ON AMAZON NOW:​

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The Best Vacuum Sealer Under $500: Weston Pro 2300 (Bonus: Extra Long Sealing Bar!)

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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.

Features

  • 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.

Check out Weston Pro 2300 vacuum sealer reviews on Amazon now

See our comprehensive WEston vacuum sealer buyer's guide

Specifications

Color: stainless

​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.​

Recommendations​

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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GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE WESTON PRO 2300 ON AMAZON NOW:​

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The Best Chamber Vacuum Sealer Under $1000 (Chamber): VacMaster VP210

The VacMaster VP210 Chamber Sealer is one of the best sealers on Amazon for anyone looking for the most durable vacuum sealer they can find. 

The VP210 has a maintenance-free, dry piston pump that sets it apart from other edge sealers that have rotary oil pumps that require periodic maintenance and oil-changes. This sealer will run forever without an ounce of TLC.

The dry piston pump is slightly less robust than the rotary pump, but for the vast majority of home users, it should be just fine, even for large, bulk-sealing projects.

Features

  • Heavy duty construction (weighs 83 lbs)
  • Adjustable vacuum time of 30-60s
  • Adjustable seal time
  • Maintenance-free, 400W 2 cylinder piston pump
  • Removable seal  bar 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
  • 1 year limited warranty.

Check out VacMaster VP210 reviews on Amazon now

Specifications

Color: Brushed stainless body, tinted polycarbonate lid

Size (WxDxH): 14 x 20 x 15 inches

Weight: 83 lbs

Chamber: Stainless steel, rounded for easy cleaning

Power: 460W (standard US 120V/60Hz outlet)

Vacuum: 27-29"Hg

Sealing Bar: 10.25 inches (10-in. width maximum)

Chamber Size (WxDxH): 15.5x11x5 inches

Maximum Bag Width: 10 in.

Maximum Bag Size: 10x13 in.

Warranty: 1 year.

Included

  • User manual
  • 75 assorted chamber bags
  • 2 filler plates (decrease vacuum time for smaller items).

Recommendation​

Buy the VacMaster VP210 if you want a top quality chamber vac designed for home use. Highly recommended.

GET THE BEST PRICE ON THE VACMASTER VP112S ON AMAZON NOW:​

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What If I Want to Spend More?

You can spend more! The VacMaster VP215 (see it on Amazon) is a great choice. Its rotary pump isn't maintenance free, but is going to provide even more robust capability. Also, the PolyScience 300 Series (see it on Amazon) offers an accessory port, which is great for sealing jars and canisters.

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.

Final Thoughts

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 VP210: maintenance free pump, super heavy duty build quality.

Do you have questions, comments, or differing opinions? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!​

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