April 2, 2021

Last Updated: January 15, 2024



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VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Models for Home Users

By trk

Last Updated: January 15, 2024

chamber vac, vacmaster, vacuum sealer

ARY VacMaster vacuum sealers (vacmasterfresh.com) are known for their quality commercial-grade chamber vacuum sealers, but they make a few edge sealers, too. They've changed their  product lineup, so there are some new options to consider.  

Are VacMaster vacuum sealers worth the premium price? If you preserve a lot of food or cook sous vide, we think they are. Vacuum-sealed food stays fresh longer and can save the average American family hundreds of dollars a year in less wasted food. If you have a big freezer, you can take advantage of sales and bulk prices, too.  

Here we take a detailed look at the best VacMaster vacuum sealers for the home (and small business) market so you can decide if it's the right choice for you. 


Table Of Contents (click to expand)

VacMaster Vacuum Sealers at a Glance

These are the VacMaster vacuum sealers best for home and small business users. VacMaster makes more vacuum sealers, but they are heavy, expensive, and overkill for most users. (The largest sealer listed here weighs 185 pounds, and they just get bigger from there--though the bigger ones are on wheels, so if you're interested, see them at vacmasterfresh.com.)

An asterisk (*) indicates a model we recommend. The asterisked models have detailed reviews below.

We list these VacMaster sealers in order of cost, from low to high. Prices can vary, so check both sites to get the best price.

All VacMaster vacuum sealers have a 1 year limited manufacturer warranty. 

NOTE: Table may not be visible in mobile view. Prices may change without notice.

VacMaster Vacuum Sealer

Features

-App. price $300

-16" seal bar

-Total size: 22.25x20x20"

-16 lbs

-Pulse button (great feature!)

-Accessory port

-Dual piston pump (for continuous sealing)

-Cooling fan

-Bag storage holds 20 ft. roll

VacMaster VP95

-App. price $620

-Seal bar 9.25"

-Chamber size: 9.5x10.5x3.25"

-Max bag size: 9x12"

-Total size: 11x16x9"

-42.5 lbs

-Power: 1/4hp (186W)

-Vacuum: 26-29.5 "Hg

-Single piston oil pump (oil changes req.)

-Marinate cycle

-Accessory port (hose included)

*VacMaster VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

VacMaster VP210 chamber sealer

-App price $970

-10.25" seal bar w/double seal wire

-Chamber size: 11.25x15.25x5"

-Max bag size:

-Total size: 14x20x15"

-72 lbs

-Power: 462W

-Vacuum: 27-29"Hg

-Adjustable cycle time 20-60 sec.

-Dry piston maintenance-free pump

-No marinate cycle or accessory port.

VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

VacMaster VP215 chamber sealer

-App. price $1000

-Seal bar: 10.25" w/double seal wire

-Chamber size: 11.25x14x5 in.

-Max Bag Size: 10x14 in.

-Total size: 14x20x15 in.

-84 lbs

-Power: 462W (standard US 120V/60Hz)

-Vacuum: 27"Hg to 29.5"Hg

-Adjustable cycle time 20-40 sec.

-Rotary oil pump (oil changes req.)

-No marinate cycle or accessory port.

*VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

-App. price $1100

-12.25" seal bar w/double seal wire

-Chamber size: 12.5x15x5”

-Max bag size: 12x15"

-Total size: 15.5x19x15.75”

-82 lbs

-Power: 462W

-Vacuum: Up to 29.5 "Hg

-Dry piston maintenance-free pump

-Adjustable cycle time 20-99 seconds

VacMaster VP230 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

VacMaster VP230 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

-App. price $1200

-12.25" seal bar w/double seal wire

-Chamber size: 12.5x15x5”

-Max bag size: 12x15"

-Total size: 15.5x19x15.75”

-89 lbs

-Power: 1/2 hp (372W) 

-Vacuum: Up to 29.5 "Hg

-Rotary oil pump (oil changes req.)

-Adjustable cycle time 20-99 seconds.

VacMaster VP320 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

VacMaster VP320 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

-App. price $2000

-16" seal bar w/double seal wire

-Chamber size: 16.75x18x7"

-Max bag size: 16x18"

-Total size: 22.25x20x20"

-185 lbs

-Power: 1.5 hp (930W)

-Vacuum: Up to 29.75 "Hg

-1.5 hp rotary oil pump (oil changes req.)

-Adjustable cycle time 20-40 seconds.

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About VacMaster

VacMaster is a subdivision of ARY, a company established in 1992 with headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, USA. They're a small, privately-owned company that makes commercial grade vacuum sealers geared primarily to the small business and home user market.

From VacMaster's "About Us" page:

VacMaster® was founded in Kansas City by a team of experts from the meat processing industry. We saw a market for a smaller, more affordable vacuum packaging machine that could be used throughout the foodservice, restaurant and home markets.

VacMaster also sells huge, industrial-grade vacuum sealers that we do not review here, plus vacuum bags, commercial-grade sous vide immersion circulators, and some other restaurant supply equipment. You can check out the ARY VacMaster website for more information.

All VacMaster products are made in China. The quality of their established products is excellent (for example, their best-selling VP210 and VP215 chamber sealers). There are some reviewer complaints about poor customer service, but Fakespot gives most VacMaster vacuum sealers an "A" rating (meaning no deceptive reviews); VacMaster the company gets a "B" rating overall for "mixed customer reviews."

We like and recommend VacMaster vacuum sealers, and have had good experiences with them--but this may depend very much on which product you buy. The best policy is probably to buy one of VacMaster's older, established sealers with all the bugs worked out of the design.

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Do You Really Need a Vacuum Sealer?

If you want to save money on food and waste less of it, then, yes, you need a vacuum sealer. Americans waste up to 40% of all the food they buy, and one-third of all food produced globally today goes to waste. 

A vacuum sealer won't save all of it, but it can do a great job keeping food fresher for longer so you waste less. This is true for your fridge and pantry as well as your freezer: most foods benefit from an airtight seal.

For more information, see our article Why Every Kitchen Needs a Food Vacuum Sealer.

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How Does a Vacuum Sealer Work?

Avid Armor AVS7900 Edge Vacuum Sealer

Edge ("suction") vacuum sealer at work.

Vacuum sealers work by removing air from the food storage container. Most food pathogens require air to survive, so the more air you can remove from a storage bag or container, the longer your food will stay fresh.

In the freezer, removing air also eliminates the dreaded freezer burn that causes meat to turn white and lose its texture and flavor.

The removal of air is what allows vacuum-sealed food to stay fresh for about 5 times longer than food stored other ways; in the freezer, vacuum-sealed food can stay fresh for years.

VacMaster VP215 Open

Open chamber sealer showing the chamber. 

There are two types of vacuum sealers:

1) Edge (also called suction or channel) sealers, which pull air out of an externally-placed bag, 

2) Chamber sealers, in which air is removed from an internal chamber (including the vacuum bag or other container). 

Why Are Chamber Vacuum Sealers So Expensive? 

Edge sealers are the most popular type of vacuum sealer. They're smaller, lighter, and less expensive than chamber vacuum sealers. You can find an edge sealer for less than $50 on Amazon, and even the most expensive, commercial-grade edge sealer will probably cost less than the cheapest chamber vacuum sealer. This remains true even though there are some affordable chamber vacuum sealers on the market now. 

Here's why chamber sealers are more expensive than edge sealers. 

Better Build Quality

Overall, chamber sealers are more durable than edge sealers.

Pulling air out of a chamber requires a lot of mechanical energy, so chamber vac design is inherently sturdier. They're built with stainless steel bodies and thick glass or polycarbonate lids.

And chamber sealers have traditionally been made for the commercial market, so they tend to be designed for heavy use and continuous operation. 

Not all edge sealers are inferior in build quality to chamber sealers. Many edge sealers are built to commercial specifications (such as the VacMaster Pro 360 above). But edge sealers sold to the consumer market--those that cost less than $150 or so--are mostly plastic on the outside and the inside; they are not built to last more than a few years, and cannot do more than a few seals without needing a cool down period. 

There are some new chamber sealers on the market today built for the consumer market. Some of them weigh under 20 pounds (compare this to a VacMaster VP210, one of our recommended sealers below, which weighs 72 pounds). 

Will these lighter, less robust chamber sealers last? We don't know yet. But we think that for the home market, they're probably a great choice (more on this in a minute).

Better Vacuum Strength

VacMaster Rotary Oil Pump

A chamber vac rotary pump.

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Motor

Vacuum pump found in consumer-grade sealers.

Chamber vacuums have more durable vacuum pumps than edge sealers. (You can read more about vacuum pumps below.) This means longer life and stronger vacuum.

Here's what you need to know about vacuum strength.

Vacuum strength is typically given in "inches of Mercury," or "Hg. This is the unit of pressure most often associated with vacuum sealers. You may also see bar, kiloPascals ("kPa"), or even psi--but most often, you will see "Hg as the unit of vacuum strength. (If you want to convert other pressure units to "Hg or vice versa, you can simply ask Google to do the conversion for you.)

Perfect vacuum is -29.92 "Hg. This is the number against which all vacuum strength is measured. (Though vacuum is negative pressure, the minus sign is usually understood.)

So what's a good vacuum strength for a vacuum sealer? The best chamber sealers can remove up to 29.75 "Hg from a bag.

Even the best commercial-grade edge sealers can remove about 28 "Hg. This is very good, but you have to buy a commercial grade edge sealer to get this amount of suction. Most consumer grade edge sealers (like FoodSaver) pull 20 "Hg or less. This means that a chamber sealer can remove up to 30% more air from a bag than most consumer-grade edge sealers.

This is a significantly more amount of air removed. The result is longer storage, less spoilage, and better sous vide results.

Continuous Operation

Chamber vacuum pumps are air-cooled, so they can perform many times more seals in a row without a cool down period than most edge sealers.

Chamber sealers with rotary oil pumps (as on the VacMaster VP215) can run continuously with no cool downs needed at all. Dry piston pumps (as on the VacMaster VP210) can seal dozens of bags in a row (maybe more) before needing a cool down. You can read more about these two types of chamber vac pumps below.

If you've ever tried to do a large sealing project with an inexpensive edge sealer, you know what a great feature continuous sealing can be--it can save you hours on a bulk sealing project.

Most commercial-grade edge sealers also have an air-cooled pump and can also perform many seals in a row without a cool down. But typically, not as many as a chamber sealer with a rotary oil pump.

They Can Seal Liquids

Chamber vacs can seal liquids--in a vacuum bag

For many people, this makes a chamber sealer worth the extra cost.

No more weak vacuum pressure! No more freezing soups and stocks before sealing! 

A chamber vac can seal liquids with just as much vacuum pressure as for solid foods. This is because air is removed from the entire chamber and not just the bag: air pressure is equalized throughout the chamber, so the liquid stays put. 

You shouldn't seal warm liquids, however, because they can "boil" out of the bag at low pressures and cause a mess. But as long as liquids are room temperature or cooler, chamber vacs really do seal them as well as they seal solid foods. 

Chamber Vac Bags Cost Less

Edge vacuum sealer bags

Edge sealer bag roll: see the texture?

Chamber vacuum sealer bags

Chamber vac bags: smooth.

Edge sealer bags are textured on the inside to help "push" air out of the bags; a smooth bag won't work on an edge sealer. 

Because chamber sealers evacuate air from an entire chamber, texturing is not needed. So chamber vacuum bags are smooth inside and out, are only one layer of plastic, and are less expensive than edge sealer bags.

In fact, they are quite a bit less expensive: even brand name chamber vac bags are cheaper than generic edge sealer bag rolls (rolls are the cheapest way to buy edge sealer bags). 

So over time, you can save a lot of money with a chamber sealer because bags are so much cheaper.

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What About the New Generation of Chamber Vacuum Sealers? Are They Any Good?

VacMaster VP200 in use

The 25 lb VacMaster VP200: sadly, discontinued.

Yes. If you're thinking about spending more than about $400 on a vacuum sealer, you should definitely look at some of the new, lightweight chamber sealers.

In the past few years, there's been a slew of what we're calling "new generation" chamber sealers on the market. Makers like Avid Armor, Waring, Nutrichef, and VacMaster are making chamber vacs that weigh less than 40 pounds; some of them even weigh less than 20 pounds.

This makes them easier to use than the traditional 70+ pound commercial grade behemoths, and appealing to home users (because who wants a 70 pound appliance taking up counter space?).

But the million dollar question is, are these lightweight chamber vacs good quality?

While long-term it's too early to say, we can tell you that these small, lightweight chamber vacs are quality where it counts: they have the same robust vacuum pumps as the heavier machines and can pull similar vacuum, so in that sense they're just as good.

The housings aren't as sturdy, but they are sturdy enough to be safe and provide good performance, especially for the home user who doesn't need continuous operation. (Although some of these chamber vacs, like the VacMaster VP95, do have a rotary oil pump that will run continuously.)

One of our biggest issues with the new chamber vacuum sealers marketed to home users is that the chambers tend to be small: can you even seal a rump roast or whole chicken in a chamber that's only 3 inches tall? 

Be sure to check the chamber size--especially height--before you buy. The VacMaster VP95 (reviewed here) has a chamber height of just 3.25 inches, so it's more than an inch shorter than other VacMasters. 

One "new generation" sealer we've found with a tall chamber is the NutriChef chamber vac--plus, it has an 11-inch seal bar. Unfortunately, the reviews aren't the best, with a lot of complaints about malfunctioning.

The upshot: Are you taking a risk buying one of the lightweight models? Maybe. But we think a few of them are a good bet, and a great option for home users who want the power and features of a chamber vac in a smaller, lighter package (check out our Avid Armor review for more information.)

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Pros and Cons of a Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster VP210

If you're reading this, you're probably trying to decide if a chamber vacuum sealer is worth the extra cost. Here's a summary of the pros and cons of a chamber sealer to help you decide.

Pros
  • More powerful vacuum (meaning longer food storage and better sous vide-ing)
  • Durable build quality
  • Can seal liquids
  • Can seal jars (if chamber is large/tall enough)
  • Continuous or near continuous operation
  • Cheaper bags
  • Repairable (not a throwaway product).
Cons
  • Heavy and bulky (though some new models weigh less than 30 lbs)
  • Most are more expensive than edge sealers
  • Chamber size limits the amount you can seal (a minor issue unless the chamber is unusually small).

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So, Is a Chamber Sealer Worth It? 

Our overall recommendation is that a chamber vacuum sealer is worth the investment for most people.

Here's some math: if a vacuum sealer helps you save $500 a year in less wasted food--which is a conservative estimate--and also helps you save money by buying in bulk and freezing, then even if you spend as much as $1500 on a chamber vacuum, you will recoup the expense in 2-3 years.

But you don't have to spend anywhere near $1500 now to get a good chamber vac.

And remember that chamber vacuum bags cost less, so you save money in the long run on bags, too.

If you're trying to decide which type of vacuum sealer to buy, we encourage you to go with a chamber vacuum sealer. A commercial-grade edge sealer is also a smart investment. 

If you have the budget and the space for a chamber vacuum, you won't regret the purchase.

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Do You Need a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide?

Sous Vide Circulators at work: VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Models for Home Use

Sous vide circulators at work.

No--you do not need a vacuum sealer for sous vide. Which is a little odd, considering that "sous vide" literally means "under vacuum" in French. 

The original sous viders in the 1960s and 1970s vacuum-sealed all their food before putting it in a sous vide bath (likely where the name came from). But in recent years, makers of immersion circulators in the interest of increasing sales, have devised ways to sous vide that do not require a vacuum sealer. The most popular one is called the water displacement method, in which you basically let the water pressure push air out of the bag as you lower it into the water, then seal the bag for the cook. 

This works, but it is not ideal, because you can remove a lot more air with a vacuum sealer, and the more air you can remove from a bag, the more even your cook will be. 

Furthermore, vacuum bags--both edge and chamber--are more durable than the zip-top storage bags you'd use with the water displacement method (even those made for the freezer). So they're safer for sous-viding, especially for long cooks (over 6 hours or so), because they're less likely to fail during the cook.

Both great points. But we think the best reason to buy a vacuum sealer for use with your sous vide circulator is because of the huge number of other uses you'll have for it in your kitchen.

You'll waste less food. You'll save money buying in bulk. You can keep dry goods longer in your pantry. You can keep leftovers fresher in the fridge. You can eliminate freezer burn.

You can also use a sous vide bath for thawing frozen food and reheating leftovers--and nothing makes this easier than vacuum-sealed bags, which you can just pop into the sous vide bath straight from the freezer. A pound of hamburger or chicken breasts will thaw in less than half an hour--with no cooked spots from microwaving.

For more info, see our article How to Save Time, Money and Food with Your Sous Vide + Vacuum Sealer.

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About Vacuum Sealer Bags

VacMaster vacuum sealer bags

VacMaster chamber vac bags are cheaper than edge sealer bags.

Bags are going to be your biggest long-term expense, so you should know what you're getting into before you buy a vacuum sealer.

Do I Need Special Bags for an Edge Sealer or a Chamber Sealer?

Yes, you need special bags for both types of sealers. As we said above, chamber sealer bags are cheaper than edge sealer bags because of the texture on edge sealer bags. 

So even though a chamber vacuum sealer is a bigger initial expense, you'll save money in the long run because the bags are substantially cheaper. 

Do I Need to Buy the Same Brand of Vacuum Bags as My Vacuum Sealer?

No. Any edge sealer bags (or bag rolls) will work with any edge sealer, and any chamber vac bags will work with any chamber vac.

This means you are free to buy the cheapest bags you can find--as long as they're the right type for the sealer you own.

You may find that some of the cheapest bags don't work as well: they may fail more often in sous vide cooking, or not hold a seal in the freezer. But we still encourage you to try the cheapest bags you can find, because if they do work, you can save a lot over time.

See our article The Best Food Vacuum Sealer Bags (for the Best Price) for more information.

Are Vacuum Bags Foolproof? 

Unfortunately, no. There is some percentage of failure with all vacuum sealer bags. That is, occasionally you will get a bag that leaks or doesn't hold a seal. This is disappointing--and in the case of sous vide, sometimes disastrous--but the truth is that all vacuum bags, no matter which type or brand, are going to have a small percentage of failure. 

This may be an argument for buying brand-name vacuum bags, but we haven't tested this theory, so we can't say for sure.

As disappointing as this may be, the truth is that there is a percentage of failure with all food storage containers. No system is foolproof--and vacuum bags are better than most.

If you're having a lot of failures--more than about 2-3 in 100--you may have other issues. You may have a problem with your sealer--such as a too-hot seal setting, which melts the bag--or you may not be creating a tight fit when sealing (which can be especially tricky with some edge sealers).

You could also have a bad batch of bags, or, if your food has sharp objects (such as bones), they may be poking through the bag and creating tiny holes during freezer storage (which makes the bag more brittle) or sous-viding (which makes the bag softer). 

Bags can also get punctured in the freezer if they're placed next to anything with sharp edges.

For any bag failure, make sure it's not your error before blaming the bag--but know you will have a small percentage of failures with your vacuum bags.

Do Vacuum Sealer Bags Contain BPA?

No: vacuum sealer bags made by reputable makers do not contain BPA.

Don't take this for granted, though, especially with off-brand bags. If the maker doesn't specifically state that their bags are free of BPA, you should probably pass on them.

We're all for using the cheapest vacuum bags you can find, but make sure they're safe to use before you buy. 

Are Vacuum Sealer Bags Reusable?

Technically, vacuum bags are not reusable. Most makers of vacuum bags will tell you that you should not reuse their bags.

However, we've found that in some instances, you can reuse vacuum bags.

If you're sealing dry goods--brown sugar or pasta, for example--then you can cut open the bag and re-seal it for storage as long as there's enough bag left to be re-sealed.

And if you can wash and dry a bag thoroughly, you can safely reuse it for another purpose.

We don't recommend reusing bags that had raw meat or other foods with high bacteria levels. But in many cases, it's safe to reuse vacuum bags. 

Probably the biggest problem with washing vacuum bags is that it's a just a pain to do, and probably more worth it for edge sealer bags, which are more expensive than chamber bags. Chamber bags are so cheap, washing and reusing them is often more trouble than it's worth. 

Are Vacuum Sealer Bags Recyclable?

Recycling Symbol

Yes--probably. But you can't just throw them in with your standard plastic items. They need to go in with your plastic shopping bags--and you need to make sure they'll be taken before you do.

The biggest issue with recycling vacuum bags is that they need to be thoroughly rinsed out first. A dirty vacuum bag is gross, and you can't in good conscience toss it in with other recyclables as-is. And rinsing out the bags, like washing for reuse, is a bit of a pain. It's certainly easier to toss them in the trash.

But if you want to recycle vacuum bags, you can. Just be sure to find out where to put them so they can be recycled.

This article has more information about recycling vacuum sealer bags.

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Important Features in an Edge Vacuum Sealer 

Here are the most important features to consider when buying an edge sealer.

Build Quality

VacMaster Pro 350 edge sealer

VacMaster commercial grade Pro 350 edge sealer: stainless steel.

FoodSaver V4440 vacuum sealer

FoodSaver V4440 consumer grade sealer: mostly plastic.

Build quality basically answers the question "Is it mostly plastic or mostly steel?"

The biggest advantage of a plastic--or consumer grade edge sealer--are that it's inexpensive. You can probably buy 3-4 of them before you've spent as much as you would on a commercial grade edge sealer.

The disadvantage is that you probably will have to buy 2-3 of them within about 5 years' time, because they don't last.

In fact, another way to phrase this question is "Do you want a vacuum sealer you can repair, or a vacuum sealer you have to replace?" 

We prefer a vacuum sealer we can repair (it's better for the world's landfills). But if you're going to be an occasional user (a couple of times a week or less), an inexpensive consumer-grade edge sealer might be the right choice.

Vacuum Strength

Better build quality also means better vacuum strength. 

As we said above, a commercial-grade edge sealer can pull considerably more vacuum than a consumer-grade one: up to about 30% more. This means longer food storage without spoilage, staleness, or freezer burn.

Furthermore, a commercial-grade edge sealer will keep its vacuum strength over time, while a consumer grade one will lose its pull over time.

This is because the mostly plastic pump in a cheaper sealer will stretch out of shape. Eventually, it won't work at all (and is why it's a throwaway product rather than a repairable one).

Ease of Use 

In this category, all edge sealers can be problematic: that is, it can be tricky to get the hang of using them. They often require pressure on both sides of the lid in order to lock it and seal properly. 

This can be true for sealers that boast of having "automatic" or "one-touch" sealing.The sealer may sense when there's a bag in the channel and start to pump air out of it, which is great, but you still have to make sure the lid is locked down. 

If you read reviews, you will find this to be a common complaint for many edge sealers: they're hard to use, and can take quite a bit of practice to get the hang of.

Some sealers are easier to use than others, and it can be hard to tell if this is the case before you buy. One edge sealer we know is easy to use is the Avid Armor AVS7900, which has an easy handle lock feature that ensures the lid is closed tightly with one simple motion.

Our recommendation is that if you have strength or ergonomic issues with your hands, it's important that you buy an edge sealer that's easy to use. But if you don't have these issues, you should buy the edge sealer with the features you want, and you'll get the hang of using it.

And also, don't trust "automatic" or "one-touch" sealing to mean that a sealer will be easy to use. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes it isn't: you have to do more research to figure that out (such as reading the user reviews on Amazon, or asking the question of Amazon users--don't be afraid to ask questions; it's a great resource!).

Features and Settings

No frills edge sealers can have just a couple of settings, such as "Vac" and "Stop." 

These are enough to get good use out of a vacuum sealer, but some other settings are nice too.

Some sealers have "Dry" and "Moist" settings, and "High" and "Low" settings, which basically control the speed and amount of vacuum pulled. "Moist" will pull a lighter vacuum to avoid sucking liquid up into the vacuum pump.

Some also have a "Seal" button that lets you seal bags with no vacuum pull at all. This is great when making bags out of bag rolls and for sealing up food bags when you're finished with them (such as potato chips or raisins). 

Probably the best setting for an edge sealer to have is a "Pulse" button, which allows you to start and stop vacuum pull manually until you reach the level you want. "Pulse" offers the most control over the sealing process and is a great feature in an edge sealer. 

But you don't really need any extra settings to get the job done. Probably the most important setting is "Stop" or "Seal," which stops the vacuum pull immediately and seals the bag. All edge sealers have these basic settings, which allow you to monitor the sealing process and stop it if you're noticing liquid or food being sucked up into the sealer. 

You can even use the Stop button to seal without pulling vacuum--such as for sealing bag rolls--by starting the vacuum and pressing Stop immediately. 

Accessory Port

VacMaster VP95 Chamber Vacuum Sealer Accessory Port

An accessory port allows you to attach a hose to the sealer and pull vacuum on external containers for storage, marinating, and even on wine bottles (if you have the right accessory). 

This is a nice feature, and if you have it, you'll use it. But you don't need it to get your money's worth of use out of a chamber vacuum sealer. In fact, the bigger, more commercial-grade sealers tend to not have an accessory port, while those geared to the home user market do. 

This is changing, and it's nice to not have to choose between powerful vacuum strength and an accessory port. VacMaster has added an accessory port to their smaller chamber vacs, including the VP95 and the now-discontinued VP200. We'll be happy to see more smaller models meant for home use that have accessory ports.

Bag Storage

Weston Pro 1100 Bag Storage

Bag roll storage an a Weston edge sealer.

Many edge sealers come with space for bag roll storage.

The advantage is that you can keep the roll right with the sealer--and these typically also have a built-in bag cutter, too.

The disadvantages are that 1) the vacuum sealer is bigger and bulkier, and 2) the storage space typically only fits small (20-foot) rolls. 

Since longer rolls are cheaper, you may decide that bag storage isn't much of a perk. 

Bag Cutter

FoodSaver Bag Cutter - VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews

Bag cutter on a FoodSaver edge sealer.

A roll cutter is a great feature if you want to use rolls of bags (which are cheaper than individual edge sealer bags). This is especially true if you can't cut a straight line to save your life. Plus, you never have to look for a scissors. 

While a roll cutter is convenient, it's not a deal-breaker for us if an edge sealer doesn't have one.

Important Features in a Chamber Vacuum Sealer

We already touched on many of these features above in Why Are Chamber Vacuum Sealers So Expensive? But if you're trying to decide if you want to buy a chamber vacuum sealer or an edge sealer, here are the important features to consider.

Build Quality

Since chamber vacuum sealers are inherently sturdier than edge sealers, the question to consider here is, do I want an old-school, commercial-grade, 80+ pound chamber vac? Or do I want a new generation, consumer-market, under-40 pound chamber vac? 

There's no right or wrong answer. It's all about what works best for you.

The "new generation" consumer market chamber vacs have durable pumps, just like the old school chamber vacs. Their build quality isn't quite as robust--which is what makes them appealing to the home user who doesn't want an 80 pound giant parked permanently on the kitchen counter.

The new chamber vacs haven't been around long enough for us to guarantee they'll be as good as an older, heavier model. But we think they're worth the risk for most home users.

We do recommend buying the extended warranty through Amazon (or wherever you buy), because most of these sealers are only warrantied for one year. An extended warranty provides peace of mind and ensure that if you do have an issue with the unit, you'll be protected.

Type of Pump

VacMaster Rotary Oil Pump

Rotary oil vacuum pump.

VacMaster Dry Piston Vacuum Pump

Dry piston vacuum pump.

Chamber vacs have two types of pumps: rotary oil or dry piston.

Both types of pump are solid and well built. They each have advantages and disadvantages.

Rotary Oil Pump

The advantage of the rotary oil pump is that it can run pretty much continuously with no cool down period needed, ever

The disadvantage of the rotary oil pump is that it requires periodic oil changes. While this isn't a problem for someone who's even slightly mechanical, it can be tough to do an oil change on an 80 pound chamber vac. 

Dry Piston Pump

The advantage of a dry piston pump is that it is maintenance-free: no matter how long you own the chamber vac, the dry piston pump will never need any sort of attention or maintenance at all (and should run for at least a couple of decades).

The disadvantage of a dry piston pump is that it can't run continuously: it will need occasional cool down periods. However, it can typically perform dozens of seals or more before needing a break.

Our recommendation for most home users is to go with the dry piston pump. Unless you're going to be doing continuous sealing on a daily basis, you don't need the robustness of the rotary oil pump. You can do bulk sealing jobs with a dry piston pump and need few, if any, cool down periods--and no maintenance (so you don't have to figure out how to get the 80 pound chamber vac away from the wall so you can change the oil).

All of our recommended sealers have a dry piston pump. If you want a rotary oil pump, we recommend the VP215 or its bigger version (with a 12" seal bar vs. 10"), the VP230.

Chamber Size/Seal Bar Length (How Big Is Big Enough?)

Chamber size is the limiting factor of how much you can seal in a chamber sealer, so it's important to look at.

The two most important measurements are 1) seal bar length, and 2) chamber height.

Of course, overall size is important, too.

VacMaster VP215 with Seal Bar Callout

Seal bar length: The seal bar determines the maximum width of the bag you can seal in your chamber vac. The standard width is 10 inches; this is found on VacMaster's two most popular sealers, the VP210 and the VP215. (Actually, 10.25 inches, but the max bag size for a 10.25 inch seal bar is 10 inches.)

Some chamber vacs have shorter seal bars, such as the VacMaster VP95, which has a 9.25 inch seal bar. Some chamber vacs have longer seal bars, such as the next size up from the VP210 and VP215, the VP220 and VP230.

A longer seal bar is nice, but keep in mind that bags this wide are harder to find (and in fact, VacMaster does not include any bags wider than 10-inches with their bigger chamber vacs). 

So while a 12-inch seal bar does open up possibilities, you may not get a lot of use out of it. For most uses, a 10-inch seal bar is fine. You will find that you learn to divide food into portions that fit in the size bags you have without seeing it as an inconvenience.

So if you need the longer seal bar for a specific reason, get it. But if you just think it's a better option, it may not be.

Chamber height: Chamber height determines how tall an object can fit inside the chamber. 

Chamber height can vary from less than 3 inches to more than 5 inches, and can mean the difference between fitting a whole chicken inside the chamber or having to cut it into pieces before sealing.

It can also mean the difference between being able to seal jars--such as mason jars--inside the chamber or not. 

(You may not think you'll seal jars, but it's actually a great use of your chamber sealer, and just like vacuum bags, a mason jar with air removed will keep food fresh a lot longer than one you've just screwed the cap onto.)

We recommend that you pay attention to chamber height, and to not buy a chamber vac with a too-shallow height, as it can make a difference in usability. 

Overall chamber size: Pay attention to the overall chamber size, too (we list it for every VacMaster chamber sealer we discuss in this review). For example, even if two chamber vacs both have a 10-inch seal bar, they may have chambers of different sizes. Which means that the maximum bag size can be 10x13, or it can be 10x15--a fairly significant difference.

You will become accustomed to using whatever size bags your chamber sealer uses, but if all other things are equal, you should go with the chamber sealer with the bigger chamber.

Extra Features

Chamber vacuum sealers used to just mean super heavy duty build quality and a powerful vacuum. But more and more, they are available with extra features, similar to edge sealers.

The two most common features are an accessory port and a marinate setting.

Accessory port: This is the same as that on an edge sealer, used to attach a hose for sealing external containers. It's not quite as useful on a chamber vac because you can put containers in the chamber and seal them. But if you have a small chamber or want to seal exceptionally large containers, an accessory port is a good feature.

If you have old accessories laying around from an old vacuum sealer, they should fit your new chamber sealer. 

Marinate setting: The other feature becoming more common on chamber vacs is the marinate setting. This setting pulls intermittent vacuum, which causes flavors to infuse more deeply and more rapidly into your food.

You don't need a marinate setting to do this, as simply vacuum sealing will also marinate food well (and faster than other containers). But if you have the feature, you will probably use it.

Filler plates: Some chamber vacs have plates you can add for sealing smaller items. They take up room in the chamber so that it takes less time to remove the air. If a chamber vac has plates, they are usually included with purchase (even if it doesn't say so).

Plates are made to fit a specific chamber size, so they aren't interchangeable among different sealers unless they have the same chamber size (such as the VP210 and the VP215). 

Here's a filler plate at the VacMaster web site, which looks like this:

VacMaster VP210 Filler Plate

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Review: VacMaster VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster VP210 - VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Models for Home Use

See the VacMaster VP210 on Amazon

See the VacMaster VP210 at webstaurantstore.com

About $970

The VacMaster VP210 is one of VacMaster's best-selling vacuum sealers and has been around for a long time. It gets rave reviews on Amazon and Webstaurantstore. Some reviewers have had this chamber sealer for years and it is still working flawlessly for them.

The price fluctuates, but you should always be able to find the VP210 chamber sealer for under $900.

The 10-inch seal bar is pretty standard for chamber vacs, as going up in size means bigger, heavier machines. A longer seal bar might sound appealing, but it's harder to find bags wider than 10 inches, and when you do, they're more expensive. So we think a 10-inch seal bar works for most buyers, and that you'll get used to sizing your food to fit into the chamber. 

If you have a restaurant or other small business and you want to seal larger bags, then go to the next size, the VP220 (see review below). 

The VP210 is easy to use. You place the bag (or jar) in the chamber and close the lid. Vacuum starts automatically when the machine detects the closed lid. When done, the lid pops open automatically.

The sealer comes with 75 assorted vacuum bags, like other VacMaster chamber vacs. 

The VP210 lacks extras like an accessory port or marinate feature, but if you want a super heavy duty chamber sealer that pulls a powerful vacuum, is maintenance free, and is built to last, the VP210 is the one to get.

VP210 vs VP215: The difference between this chamber vac, the VP210, and the VP215 is the pump: the VP210 has a dry piston, maintenance-free pump and the VP215 has a rotary oil pump. The rotary oil pump is more robust and can do continuous sealing. However, the dry piston pump is also capable of dozens of seals in a row without a cool down. So unless you're going to be doing continuous sealing on a routine basis, go with the maintenance free VP210. It's not only less hassle, it's also less expensive--and about 12 pounds lighter, too. 

Features/Specifications

  • 10.25" seal bar w/double seal wire
  • Chamber size: 11.25x15.25x5"
  • Max bag size: 10x13"
  • Total size: 14x20x15"
  • 72 lbs
  • Dry piston maintenance-free pump
  • Power: 462W
  • Vacuum: 27-29"Hg
  • Adjustable cycle time 20-60 sec.
  • 1 year limited manufacturer warranty.

Included

-User manual

-75 assorted chamber vacuum bags:

-25 6" x 10" bags

-25 8" x 12" bags

-25 10" x 13" bags

-Filler plate.

Pros and Cons of the VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Pros
  • Maintenance free pump
  • Powerful vacuum
  • Can vacuum seal liquids
  • Adjustable cycle time
  • Rounded chamber is easy to clean (no corners)
  • 75 vacuum bags included.
Cons
  • Heavy (72 lbs)
  • No accessory port
  • No marinate function
  • Pump isn't quite as robust as the VP215 (but still very robust).

Recommendation

The VacMaster VP210 is a great chamber vacuum sealer. If you want the heavy duty build, this is the one to go with. It's a no-frills option, but it pulls incredibly strong vacuum, and the maintenance-free dry piston pump makes it easy to use and maintain. You'll get great service from this chamber vac for years to come.

VacMaster VP210 - VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Models for Home Use

buy the vp210 chamber vacuum sealer:

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Review: VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster VP22 - VacMaster Vacuum Sealer Reviews: The Best Models for Home Use

See the VacMaster VP220 on Amazon

See the VacMaster VP220 at webstaurantstore.com

About $1100

The VacMaster VP220 is the VP210's big sister: it's identical to the VP210 in every way except for its longer seal bar: 12.25 inches instead of 10.25 inches. 

This also means the chamber is larger, so you can seal larger bags. The 5-inch tall chamber will also nicely fit a number of mason jars (quart-sized jars on their side).

Operation is easy: just position the bag (or jar) and close the lid. The vacuum starts automatically when the machine detects the closed lid. 

The sealer comes with 75 assorted vacuum bags, however, this does not include any 12-inch wide bags, so to take advantage of the longer seal bar, you'll have to buy separately (like these).

12-inch wide bags are harder to find and more expensive--so be sure you need the extra length (over the 10" VP210 or VP215) and will use it before you buy. 

At only about $100 more than the VP215, we think this sealer is an excellent option if you need the larger size.

Just be sure you have a place to park it, and--again--that you need the extra seal bar length.

Features/Specifications

  • 12.25" seal bar w/double seal wire
  • Chamber size: 12.5x15x5”
  • Max bag size: 12x15"
  • Total size: 15.5x19x15.75”
  • 82 lbs
  • Power: 462W
  • Vacuum: Up to 29.5 "Hg
  • Dry piston maintenance-free pump
  • Adjustable cycle time 20-99 seconds
  • 1 year limited manufacturer warranty.

Included

-User manual

-75 assorted chamber vacuum bags:

25 6" x 10" bags

25 8" x 12" bags

25 10" x 13" bags.

Pros and Cons of the VacMaster VP220

Pros
  • 12-inch sealing bar and large chamber
  • Maintenance free pump
  • Powerful vacuum
  • Can vacuum seal liquids
  • Adjustable cycle time
  • Rounded chamber is easy to clean (no corners)
  • 75 vacuum bags included.
Cons
  • Heavy (82 lbs)
  • No accessory port
  • No marinate function.


Recommendation

The VacMaster VP220 is a great vacuum sealer. The dry piston pump is maintenance free, and its 12-inch sealing bar allows you to seal bags up to 12x15 inches. It is also surprisingly affordable at only slightly more than you'd pay for the VP215. It doesn't even weigh that much more than its smaller sister, the VP210 (82 lbs vs. 72 lbs). If you have a place to park it and you want the ability to seal larger bags, the VP220 is a great choice.

VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

buy the VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer:

Amazon buy button

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About the VacMaster Sealers We Don't Recommend

Pro360 Edge Sealer

VacMaster Pro360 Edge Sealer

See on Amazon

See at webstaurantstore.com

The Pro360 VacMaster edge vacuum sealer seems as heavy duty and powerful as their chamber sealers, but unfortunately, it doesn't get the great reviews that VacMaster chamber vacuum sealers get. This sealer has too many 1-star reviews on Amazon for us to recommend it. 

Complaints include poor performance and poor customer service. 

If you look at the Pro360 on webstaurantstore.com, they actually recommend buying this VacPak-It sealer instead, also because of poor reviews.

For these reasons, we don't recommend buying the VacMaster Pro360.

Another VacMaster edge sealer, the Pro350, gets better reviews on Amazon (though not by a lot). If you really want a commercial grade edge sealer, we recommend going with the VacPak-It recommended by Webstaurantstore, or one of our other favorites, the Weston Pro 2300 or the Avid Armor A100.

See our Weston vacuum sealer review

See our Avid Armor vacuum sealer review

VP95

VacMaster VP95 Chamber Vacuum Sealer Accessory Port

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

This is a pretty chamber vacuum sealer and at just 42 pounds it's more portable than VacMaster's commercial units. But we don't like it for a few reasons:

  • Short seal bar (9 inches) and small chamber limits sealing options
  • The rotary oil pump needs oil changes; the maintenance-free pump is a better option for most home users. 

VP215

VacMaster VP215 chamber vacuum sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

This is one of VacMaster's best selling vacuum sealers, and it's a great machine. The reason we don't recommend it is the pump: it's got a rotary oil pump that requires periodic oil changes. 

Even if you're handy and don't mind doing the maintenance, at 84 pounds, it's a beast to work with. (You have to be able to access the back to change oil.)

If you're buying for home use, you probably don't need the robustness of a rotary oil pump; the dry-piston pump will do dozens of seals in a row before it needs to cool down--with no maintenance, except for the occasional changing of a gasket or heat seal tape. 

If you do need the heavy duty performance of a rotary oil pump, then the VP215 is a fabulous vacuum sealer. 

VP230

VacMaster VP230 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

We don't recommend this chamber vac for home use for the same reason we don't recommend the VP215: this is the same sealer with a longer (12.25") seal bar, so it has the rotary oil pump, which most home users don't need. The dry piston pump is good enough for most home users. It can do dozens of seals in a row without a cool down.

Unless you're buying for continuous use, go with the VP220 for the longer seal bar (12") or the VP210 for the shorter one (10"). 

VP320

VacMaster VP320 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

see it on Amazon

see it at webstaurantstore.com

At 185 lbs, too heavy for home use. However, if you have a small business and will be giving a vacuum sealer continuous, daily use--and you have a spot to park this beast permanently--then it's an excellent vacuum sealer.

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VacMaster Vacuum Sealer FAQs

Here are some common questions about ARY VacMaster vacuum sealers.

Is VacMaster a Good Brand?

Yes, VacMaster is a good brand. They are a well established American owned company with manufacturing facilities in China. Their chamber vacuum sealers in particular are excellent quality. Their products were originally made for heavy duty and commercial use, but they have gained popularity among home users who want robust performance from their vacuum sealers.

Why Are Chamber Vacuum Sealers Better than Edge Sealers?

Most chamber vacuum sealers can pull more vacuum than most edge sealers, they usually have more durable pumps, and you can seal liquids with them. However, they are only better than edge sealers if you take advantage of these features. If you only use your vacuum sealer occasionally, then an inexpensive edge sealer might be a better choice.

Can You Really Seal Mason Jars in a Chamber Sealer?

Yes: if the jar fits inside the chamber, you can vacuum seal it inside a chamber sealer. You can even lay a tall jar on its side inside the chamber if it's tall to fit standing up.

Can You Really Seal Liquids in a Chamber Vacuum Sealer?

Yes, you can. Because air is evacuated from the entire chamber, liquids don't get sucked into the vacuum pump. However, liquids should be cold or at worst room temperature, because if they're warm, they can "boil" at low pressures and make a mess in the chamber.

Do You Need Special Bags for a Chamber Vacuum Sealer?

Yes, you need bags designed for vacuum sealing. You can use edge sealer bags, but there's no reason to because the texture isn't required for a chamber sealer. Chamber sealer bags are smooth inside and out and they're also cheaper than edge sealer bags. The main thing to remember is that the bag needs to be thick enough plastic that it won't melt when sealed--so zip top bags won't work, but Mylar bags will.

Are Vacuum Sealer Bags Reusable?

You can wash and re-use vacuum bags, but chamber sealer bags are inexpensive, so you may just want to throw them away, especially if they've had meat or other high-pathogen foods in them.

Are Vacuum Sealer Bags Recyclable?

Some are, and it also depends on your local recycling center. To recycle, most vacuum bags go with shopping bags, not other plastics. Check with your your recycling center to make sure they take them. Be sure to rinse bags out thoroughly before placing them in recycling.

Where Are VacMaster Vacuum Sealers Made?

All ARY VacMaster products are made in China.

What Is the Warranty on VacMaster Vacuum Sealers?

All ARY VacMaster vacuum sealers have a one year limited warranty against manufacturing defects.

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Final Thoughts on VacMaster Vacuum Sealers

VacMaster VP220 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster is an established name in chamber vacuum sealers and heavy-duty edge sealers. They have some new, lighter models geared to home users that are worth consideration, and their older models are built like tanks and are a sure choice for heavy duty vacuum sealing. 

Not all the VacMaster models are worth equal consideration, and we've given our picks here, along with detailed reviews. This should help you decide whether you want to go with a chamber vacuum sealer, and if so, which one will be best for you.

Thanks for reading!

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About the Author

The Rational Kitchen (TRK) is a collaborative effort, but the founder, editor, and writer of most of our articles is Melanie Johnson, an avid cook, kitchenware expert, and technical communications specialist for more than 20 years. Her love of cooking and the frustrating lack of good information about kitchen products led her to create The Rational Kitchen. TRK's mission is to help people make the best decisions they can when buying kitchen gear. 

When not working on product reviews, Melanie enjoys reading, playing with her dog Ruby, vintage video games, and spending time outdoors and with her family.

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  1. I have owned the VacMaser VP-215 for close to close to 10 years; it has performed flawlessly, and does all my small bag sealings.

    I just threw my Cabela's top of their line sealers in the garbage; it used to do all my wide bag sealing. Not because of the sealer motor or anything like that, but because the handle system broke something inside, and stopped performing. Tried to contact Cabela's for information on finding someone to take it apart and fix what ever broke and was rattling around inside; no luck.

    I have been so happy with my VP-215, that I am going to buy the VacMaster PRO360 Vacuum Sealer as the replacement.

    I have sealed a bags of cashews with the VP-215 over 10 years ago, and have stated breaking them out one bag a year to check on freshness; you can not tell the difference between new and the old ones. I seal my hunting under clothes in individual daily use bags to keep them dry during back woods hunting/camping trips, and they work great, and take up less space.

    Nothing but good things to say about the Vacmaster products; wish I could afford one of their top of the line units.

    1. Hi Gary, thanks for the comment. I have a VP210 that I bought USED about 10 years ago and is also a fabulous machine. I don't regret not getting the 215, although I know that is a more robust sealer. I'm not as familiar with VacMaster's edge sealers, but their reviews aren't as good as the chamber vacs. If you think of it, I'd love to hear down the road how the Pro360 works for you. Thanks again for your comment!

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