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Best Food Savers And Sealers

jars of herbs and spices

 

Vacuum sealers are one of many solutions to food storage. Here we’re going to take a look at several types of food savers that might fit your needs. Practical food storage takes advantage of your available space, saves you time, minimizes waste, extends freshness, and might even save you some money.

If you like to prep meals ahead of time, maybe a week or even a month in advance, vacuum sealers are an excellent way to keep proteins, sauces, herbs, and vegetables from spoiling or losing freshness.

For shorter time frames, a vacuum sealer likely isn’t necessary. However, there are a ton of other options for food storage containers and ways to seal food that doesn’t involve a vacuum pump. Keeping a 20 to 80 pound machine in your cabinet or closet isn’t practical for everyone’s kitchen.

That’s ok! There’s still hope.

Most of the products we’re going to look at for food storage employ reusable silicone (instead of plastic), and provide a unique way to store a variety of foods.

Environmental sustainability and health hazards are also an important topic to discuss when talking about plastics and food storage. If you’re interested, we discuss sustainability in more detail just below these product category summaries.

You can skip to whichever section piques your interest:

Reusable Silicone Food Savers

Reusable Food Sealers

There are a ton of products in this category that might interest you. These products emphasize reusability and are BPA free. They’re also extremely practical. Here are some of our top picks:

 

Bag Sealing Machine Heat Seal

Heat Sealers

These heat sealers are designed to close up plastic bags or plastic wrap. There are handheld (battery powered) options as well as plug-in models. The battery powered models are generally clunky and unreliable, so our top picks are plug-in type. If you cut open a container that isn’t resealable there’s no need to swap the contents to another sealable bag, just use one of these on the original container. Here are some top picks:

Foodsaver V4400 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine

Vacuum Sealers

Here are some top picks for vacuum sealers. If you’re looking for a simple, affordable sealer then the NutriChef is a great option. However the FoodSaver has a retractable handheld sealer for sealing containers, canisters, zipper bags, and more. The Weston Pro-2300 is a serious vacuum sealer and is priced accordingly. Click “Continue Reading” below for in-depth reviews on these sealers and general vacuum sealing tips.


Health and Sustainability Concerns

We believe it’s important to talk about food safety and environmental sustainability because this is such a serious issue and food storage is one of the biggest sources of plastic usage.

Silicone has some major advantages over plastic. Many of these reusable food sealers we’re going to look at are made from silicone.

Silicone Vs. Plastic Food Storage Products

There are two problems that we’d like to discuss here and that’s the environmental impact as well as the health and safety concerns of using these products in the kitchen.

Single-use plastic is not sustainable and can be avoided by making simple choices every day.

Do you have to get a plastic fork with your Chinese take-out? Nope.

Do you really need a straw to drink out of a cup? Nope.

Can you buy canned soda instead of bottled? Yes.

Being proactive can make this process easier. It just takes a small adjustment in your routine for a serious payoff. Bring your own bags for groceries and avoid adding hundreds of plastic bags per year to a landfill.

Environmental Impact

Plastic pollution is a growing problem primarily because we engineered plastics so well that they essentially last forever. They don’t biodegrade, but only break down into smaller and smaller pieces.

These small pieces of plastic make their way into groundwater and flow into lakes and rivers. Ingestion and habitat disruption occurs from plastics ending up in the environment all the way up the food chain.

This results in chemicals leached from plastics being detectable in the blood and tissue of humans. Exposure to these chemicals is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, and other medical conditions.

This is an important problem that we as individuals have to take responsibility for. That means making the choice every day to not purchase items packaged in plastic as much as you possibly can. Simple examples include drinking straws, plastic utensils, to-go containers, bottles, and bags. Glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic, and bamboo are preferred over plastic. Buy canned soda instead of bottled!

Now, what about silicone?

There are no notable harmful effects on organisms and the environment. Most silicones biodegrade readily, which can be accelerated by including clays in their construction.

For these reasons, we prefer silicone over plastic products. But most of all we want reusability. If you have plastic containers, then use those instead of disposable bags.

Health & Safety

Our food is constantly exposed to plastics. At every stage in the lifecycle of most food we consume, from production to preparation, it is touching plastic. We know that small pieces of plastic end up in our food, a process called “leaching” or “migration”, and it’s essentially unavoidable. Our understanding of the long term implications of this is poor due to a lack of data.

Heating up plastic containers increases the amount of leaching that occurs. For this reason, it is best to heat food up on a plate and avoid exposing plastic containers to high heat.

Silicone is used in bandages, breast implants, testicle implants, pectoral implants, contact lenses, and many other medical uses. Silicone is no stranger to the human body and is known to be non-toxic.


Reusable Food Sealers

We’re going to go through a few of the best products in this category, but there are a ton of highly specialized products available that we think are completely unnecessary. Having another single-use tool in your kitchen is something we try to avoid unless it just removes a ton of work from cooking or prepping.

But those are rare cases.

Food Huggers

Keeping partially used fruits and vegetables fresh doesn’t have to involve a plastic bag. Onions, limes, lemons, oranges, and any other round fruit or vegetable is going to be ideal for these. Tomatoes are quite soft so they are sometimes too tight if you’ve got a large tomato.

This 4-pack from Farberware is made from food-safe, BPA-free silicone.

Sale
Farberware Food Huggers Reusable Silicone Food Savers, Set of 4, Fresh Greens
  • USE ON A VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: The Farberware Food Huggers fit perfectly on a variety of fruits and vegetables like lemons, onions, tomato's, cucumbers, and many more
  • USE THEM ON HARD GOODS: These food huggers can be used to reseal open jars in cans; Never worry about using up Tupperware because of a misplaced lid
  • EXTEND THE LIFE OF UNUSED FRUIT & VEGETABLES: The Farberware Food Huggers are made to help extend the life of your unused fruits and vegetables; These are reusable making them a fantastic solution to avoid using wasteful plastic wrap
  • SET OF 4 HUGGERS: This set of food savers includes (1) 1.75 inch, (1) 2.25 inch, (1) 2.5 inch and (1)3 inch food hugger
  • DISHWASHER SAFE & BPA FREE: These food savers are made from food safe, BPA free silicone; All huggers are dishwasher safe, making clean up quick and easy

The Food Huggers can also be used to seal cans. It seems often we end up cracking open a can of tomato sauce or curry paste and have to either use a plastic bag, plastic wrap, or another container to seal it up. That works, but ends up being a waste of plastic or more dirty dishes. Just putting one of these food huggers on the top is so much easier.

Silicone Stretch Lids

These Silicone Stretch Lids are specifically made for sealing up bowls, cups, pots, cans, and just about anything that doesn’t normally have a lid. They stretch and stay tight really well.

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Silicone Stretch Lids Huggers Covers reusable for food with IMPROVED GRIP SEALER BPA free, 6 Pack of Various Sizes with Ebook by ExcelGadgets
  • MAKES YOUR BUSY LIFE EASIER: Time has arrived to forget cling / saran wrap, aluminum foil, baggies, and lid hunting. Our Silicone lids are stackable and see through so storing and finding food has never been this easy.
  • VERSATILE: 6 sizes will fit COVERS CONTAINERS 3"-10" SIZES: such as a bowl, cups, glassware, pyrex, jar, food can, instant pot, crockpots. FRUITS and VEGETABLES: watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, lemon, onions or other fruits and vegetables.
  • PREMIUM AND PERFECT SEAL: All Silicone stretch lids food and bowl covers are not the same, our covers uses PREMIUM material and got THICKER GROVES on the edges providing a maximum seal. These are smooth, tough and stretchy enough to snuggle over odd-shaped containers to prevent spills while keeping food fresh.
  • SAFETY: FDA Approved, nontoxic, BPA free, 100% Phthalate Free, Lead Free, Plastic Free, BPA free. dishwasher safe, Microwave safe, NO discoloration & heat resistant up to 450 F. Simply cover your food and heat in microwave or freeze. So it is healthy for adult and Baby food storage.
  • DURABILITY: made with high-quality premium silicone, our stretch lids are tested for durability. GUARANTEED lids will not tear, clean in a dishwasher, place in freezer or microwave, it will be same as you first saw it. INCLUDES: E-Book on ways to save food waste.

The Stretch Lids are a huge help if you often mix up food in a bowl or want to marinate meat without having to use a plastic bag. You can just add your meat and marinade to the bowl and seal it up. Less things to clean and less waste.

There are 6 sizes in total ranging from a maximum stretched diameter of 3.5″ to 10″. The small 2.6″ lid will stretch to 3.5″ and largest 8.3″ lid will stretch to 10″. That just about covers everything from cans, wine glasses, and soup bowls to large mixing bowls and salad bowls.

Herb Saver Pods

Keeping herbs fresh requires a little bit of effort and these Herb Saver Pods make it a bit easier. These containers are also BPA free. You can keep herbs like cilantro fresh for up to 3 weeks if you trim the stems and change the water every 3-5 days. These pods make it easy to change the water and store the herbs in the fridge without getting crushed or making a mess.

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Prepara Herb Savor Pod 2.0, Set of 3
  • Triple the life of your fresh herbs our BPA-free containers are designed to prolong the life of your fresh herbs, while being easy to use and fit into any fridge door. The advantage of our design is the clear windowed, hard Shell protect leaves from being crushed by other items in the fridge and they let you see what’s inside, while letting them breath at optimum hydration levels. Now that’s better than wrapping them in a damp cloth!
  • It's so simple- rinse and pat dry your basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme, dill or even your asparagus. Place them into the pod and add some fresh water through the tethered filler cap. Remember to empty the old water and refill every 3 to 5 days and the herbs will be happy for up to 3 weeks!
  • Designed in the USA by a very prolific team, famous for many household ‘must-have’ tools and gadgets. We invented the herb savor to maximize the life of your tasty herbs and greens keeping them fresh and crisp. We love food and it’s especially good when you use fresh herbs to enliven your dish.
  • Our herb saver Line is extensive and they beautifully fit any kitchen décor. Oprah Winfrey famously selected The Prepare herb savor product as one of her ultimate favorite things; Oprah says she was in an herb tizzy. "I was asking everybody, 'how do you keep herbs fresh?' including Martha Stewart herself, " she says. "But then I discovered this. " the Prepare herb savor keeps herbs fresh for up to three weeks, depending on the herb, by submerging the stems in water. "It's a basil saver, " Oprah says.
  • Awarded the ‘kitchen Hero’ tag by readers Digest magazine, featured on the show the doctors, Oh yes, herbs are good for your health and also appearing in Cucina Italian a magazine because herbs enhance the flavors of any dish.

Glass Containers

Going with glass instead of plastic or silicone is even better. This 18-piece set of Pyrex bakeware and storage containers has BPA-free lids.  This isn’t a 100% plastic-free solution, but it’s an improvement.  You could get a lifetime of use from these containers and moving away from single-use plastics is a great start.

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Pyrex Meal Prep Simply Store Glass Rectangular and Round Food Container Set, 18-Piece, Multicolored
  • Pyrex simply store 18Piece container set Includes 1 cup round container, 6 cup rectangular container, and 7 cup round container, with two (2) each of 2 cup round container, 4 cup round container, and 3 cup rectangular container; Lids Included for each dish
  • Each container is Made from Pyrex glass which is microwave, dishwasher, preheated oven, and Freezer safe; lids are BPA Free, and Top rack dishwasher, and Microwave Safe
  • Glass containers are non porous so they won’t absorb food odors, flavors, or stains
  • Air tight lids are Designed to keep Your food Fresher longer
  • Containers are easily stackable to save space; Clear glass allows for Easy viewing of contents

All of these are easy and affordable options that can be permanent additions to your kitchen tools that greatly reduce the need for disposable plastics.


Heat Sealers

Majority of vaccum sealers have a built-in heat sealer, but it can be awkward trying to seal bags or other items that don’t easily fit into the sealing area. For that you can you a standalone heat sealer. These heat sealers come in either a handheld (battery powered) or larger countertop (plug in) versions.

Here we’re going to compare the Metronic Impulse Sealer, which is a large plug-in type sealer, with the
plug-in handheld sealer sold by HotJaw
.

Both of these sealers are wide enough to seal just about any bag with one or two presses. Many people get frustrated with handhelds because you have to learn how quickly you can move the sealer and still get a good quality seal. With the HotJaw that isn’t an issue.

The larger sealers like the Metronic can seal thicker bags as well. Materials that it works with include: Kel-F, Mylar, Polyflex, PVA, Pliofilm, Tivac, Saran, and any other heat sealable bag.

The Metronic model comes with 2 replacement heating elements and you can buy more easily. Having these be user-replacable is a nice bonus.

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If you’re looking for something a bit more compact, then the 6″ HotJaw sealer is fast and effective. The smaller handheld sealers end up being a real pain to deal with because they only seal a very small area at once and you have to slide them across the bag just right to get a good seal. They work, but being able to just clamp down on the entire bag is much more effective.

6" Portable Hand Held Heat Sealer (Model KF-150CST) For Mylar Bags For Long Term Food Storage
  • 6" Serrated Teflon Coated Jaw Heat Sealer
  • Best Way to Seal Mylar Bags For Food Storage
  • Ideal for sealing Cellophane, Mylar, Kraft Paper, other Thick Materials
  • Durable and Portable
  • Fast and Effective sealer

Vacuum sealers generally come with a built-in heat sealer, but unless you keep it plugged in and on your counter all the time it might be inconvenient to pull it out whenever you just need to seal a bag.


Vacuum Sealers

The two major uses for vacuum sealers are saving food and sous-vide cooking.

Have you tossed a normal plastic bag of food into the freezer only to find it covered in ice a week later and the reheated food is dried out? Storing food for a long time in a freezer does not always keep the food as fresh as possible; when you can vacuum seal your food, it will last much longer.

Why is that?

Bad things happen when food is left exposed to air. The water inside the food will move to the surface and water in the air that comes in contact with the food will condense, eventually forming ice on the surface. That is true for vegetables, fruits, and meat. Cutting portion sizes of meat and sealing each portion is an excellent use of food sealers, but there are many other applications for fruits and vegetables that you may not have thought of.

Vacuum sealing any food will help increase its shelf life, but here are a few examples of foods you probably cook with regularly.

  • Potatoes – like making hashbrowns? Pre-chop your potatoes and seal them to avoid discoloration and spoilage.
  • Guacamole – Avocados are delicious, but if you leave them exposed to air, even in the refrigerator, they turn an ugly brown color. Guacamole isn’t very appetizing brown, as I’m just getting used to the green!
  • Onions – Only need half an onion? Just putting the other half in a bag in the refrigerator leaves it shriveled up as moisture is removed.
  • Green Peppers – Freezer burn will ruin the crispiness and dry out your green peppers. If storing for long periods (9-14 months), these should be blanched!
  • Bread – Freezer burn dries out bread to the point it is completely inedible. If you like keeping bread around, then a vacuum sealer is perfect for you.
  • Coffee Beans – whether it’s whole beans or ground you can get more storage life out of your coffee by vacuum sealing it.
  • Meat – You can store meat for over a year frozen in a vacuum bag. Buying in bulk from wholesalers is a lot more attractive when you can store meat for a couple of years.

Types of Vacuum Food Sealers

To help you decide which vacuum sealer is right for you, let’s look at the different types that are available. There are handheld versions that you can consider for small jobs, but if you plan to frequently vacuum seal food, then there are two main types to consider:

  • Chamber Vacuum Sealers – These are larger devices that are traditionally seen in professional kitchens; but if you have a busy home or like buying in bulk, they might make sense for you! They will cost a bit more to purchase, but they are heavy-duty machines. Instead of removing air at the edge of the bag, the bag is placed in a chamber in which the air is removed and then the bag is sealed. Once the chamber is brought back to atmospheric pressure, the bag collapses on to the contents.
  • External Vacuum Sealers – These are the common, smaller option, which makes them perfect for home use. Food is put into a bag and air is removed from the open end and sealed by a heat sealer. The suction occurs at the edge of the bag. They are the ideal size for a countertop and aren’t a huge investment.

Price might be one of your first considerations. Chamber vacuum sealers are generally 2 to 5 times more expensive than a standard external vacuum sealer. The cost of bags is significantly lower for chamber sealers since external sealers often need special bags to function correctly.

How much cheaper?

Well, chamber vacuum bags will cost between $0.03 to $0.08 per bag, whereas external vacuum bags will cost around $0.30 to $0.50 per bag. We’ll go into detail about this below the video.

It might be difficult to imagine how a chamber vacuum sealer works, so here’s a video demonstration.

Bags

This is just one example to illustrate the difference in bag costs between chamber and external vacuum sealers. You might be able to find a better deal, but these are the popular packs most people buy with the FoodSaver and VacMaster sealers.

The FoodSaver (external sealer) bags come as a roll. This particular pack is a pack of 5 rolls with 3 of them being 11 in. x 16 ft and the other 2 rolls are 8 in. x 20 ft.

Since the FoodSaver bags are in a roll, which you can custom cut, we will need to make an assumption as to what the size of a typical bag will be. When you are preparing a bag the first thing you must do is seal one side then cut the bag (easily done with the onboard cutter), add your food, and then you have to leave enough room to reach the vacuum and get a good seal from the heat sealer.

We’re going to assume 10 inches of length is used on average for the calculation below. That means you will have about 1 inch on each side of the food for the seal. If you’re planning on sealing a lot of meat then 10 inches likely won’t be enough, so expect a higher total cost.

FoodSaver Vacuum Seal Rolls Multipack

BPA-free Material

For the 11″ x 16′ Rolls: Divide the 16 feet length into 10 inch segments and you get 19.2 bags per roll. This pack comes with 3 rolls this size, so that’s 57.6 bags.

For the 8″ x 20′ Rolls: Divide the 20 feet length into 10 inch segments and you get 24 bags per roll. This pack comes with 2 rolls this size, so that’s 48 bags.

That’s a total of 105 bags assuming a little waste.


VacMaster 3-Mil (8″ x 10″) – 500 Pack

These bags are pre-cut so it’s very straight forward to figure costs. There are many different sizes and thicknesses available, but this pack is the post popular size. There’s nothing preventing you from buying a roll and custom cutting your bags, but these are the bags sold by VacMaster and they take a bit of the work out of dealing with bags.

As you can see you can get quite a few more bags from the VacMaster pack. If you plan on doing serious long-term vacuum sealing then the cost of bags for a chamber sealer will quickly make back the money you spent on the sealer itself. Chamber sealers also generally have more heavy duty pumps, so getting a longer life out of them is another bonus.

Vacuum Sealing Liquids Are A Problem

The chamber vacuum sealer handles liquids with ease. Liquids are a real problem for external vacuum sealers because they can’t suck the air out of the bag without also pulling the liquid out at the same time.

The way to handle liquids if you have a standard vacuum sealer is to freeze them first. This works fine, but requires more time and effort than a chamber vacuum sealer.

If you’re wanting to season and marinate a steak and vacuum seal it you will need to put it in the vacuum bag, freeze it, and then use your vacuum sealer. You’ll want to be sure no liquid leaks out in your freezer, which can be accomplished by keeping any liquid-containing bags in a bowl while they freeze.

So that means chamber vacuum sealers are better, right?

Well, not necessarily. The best vacuum sealer is the one you can actually use. The problem with chamber vacuum sealers, as you might have noticed in the video above, is that they are pretty big. It’s not something you can just keep on your counter next to the coffee pot. That means the inconveniences that come along with an external vacuum sealer are something you have to just deal with because the alternative isn’t reasonable.

This is especially true if you have a small kitchen or live in an apartment. Space is already a problem if you enjoy cooking at home, so adding another large appliance isn’t really an option.

Vacuum Sealing Best Practices

  • Freeze liquids before attempting to use an edge-style vacuum sealer.
  • Blanch vegetables before vacuum sealing to prolong their storage life.
  • Seal food in meal-ready portion sizes.
  • You can freeze food into shapes that are easy for storage and stacking.
  • Only vacuum seal food that you don’t expect to be able to eat before it spoils.
  • Use the “Seal Only” option on most vacuum sealers to seal up other types of plastic bags.
  • If using a bag roll, try to use as little as possible for the amount of food you’re sealing to avoid waste.

Shape is something to think about if you are trying to optimize your freezer space. Freezing foods into shapes that stack well will help you store as much food as possible in your freezer. For example, ground beef can be flattened into a rectangular shape and easily stacked.

There are some foods that don’t handle vacuum sealing very well. This covers most of them:

  • Soft Cheeses
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard Greens
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnip
  • Watercress

These are mostly cruciferous vegetables. They emit gasses when stored which means the vacuum bag will expand the longer they are stored. The gas will cause these vegetables to spoil quickly. You can mitigate this by blanching these vegetables before storage.


Our Favorite External Vacuum Sealers

Weston Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer

Top Pick

Weston Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer

  • 2-year Manufacturer Warranty
  • Fan-cooled motor prevents overheating and delivers consistent heating
  • Dimensions: 23″ L x 15.3″ W x 9″ H
  • Max Bag Width: 15″
  • Weight: 22 lbs

If you’re looking for an external vacuum sealer and want a more heavy-duty model, then the Weston is for you. It is quite a bit larger than the FoodSaver. You can seal bags up to 15 inches wide.

Large cuts of beef, fish, game meat, and whole chickens will require larger bags than the FoodSaver can handle, so the extra-wide vacuum sealing area is a must for more hardcore users.

FoodSaver V4840

Budget Pick

FoodSaver V4840

  • Dimensions: 20″ L x 11″ W x 12″ H
  • Max Bag Width: 11.25″
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Built-in roll storage and cutter for making custom-sized bags
  • Retractable Handheld Sealer
  • 5-year Limited Warranty

The FoodSaver V4840 is one of the most popular machines available. It’s not too big and has all the features you need for a smooth vacuum sealing experience. It’s also affordably priced.

The onboard handheld sealer lets you vacuum zipper bags, canisters, and other containers. The drip tray helps catch any liquids from moist foods to keep your machine clean. The maximum bag width is about 11.25 inches.


Our Favorite Chamber Vacuum Sealers

VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Heavy Use

VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Exterior Dimensions: 20″ L x 14″ W x 15″ H

Chamber Dimensions: 15.25″ L x 11.25″ W x 5″ H

Max Bag Size: 10″ W x 13″ L

Weight: 84 lbs

Got a lot of sealing to do? The VP215 is a workhorse.

This is the heavier of the two-chamber models and is much heavier than the external vacuum sealers. The VP215 uses an oil rotary pump that is fit for continuous use but requires the oil to be changed periodically. This pump is stronger and should last longer, with regular oil changes, than the dry piston pump given the same workload.

The seal bar is 10″ wide and double seals. The cycle time is between 20 and 40 seconds. Alternatively, the VP210 model is maintenance-free. The difference is that the VP215 can handle continuous, heavy use better than the VP210 model, but requires a little extra work with changing the oil.


FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System

FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System

The FoodSaver V4840 is a full-featured external vacuum sealer. The Starter Kit comes with an 11″ x 10″ bag roll, three 1-quart heat-seal bags, two 1-gallon heat-seal bags, three 1-quart zipper bags, and two 1-gallon zipper bags. Features include onboard bag storage, retractable handheld sealer, pull-out drip tray, rapid marinate mode, and seals delicate foods such as muffins, cookies, or strawberries.

Overall this in an affordable and versatile vacuum sealer that comes with a 5-year warranty. It’s a pretty good deal.

Key Features

  • Retractable Handheld Sealer for zipper bags, canisters, containers.
  • Bag Roll storage and cutter
  • Pull-out Drip Tray
  • 11.25″ Max Bag Width
  • Automatic or Manual Operation
  • 5-year warranty

The FoodSaver can be controlled manually or automatically. If you have delicate foods, such as fish or bread, you can control how much the bag shrinks around the food. Despite this model having a “Moist” food setting, you’re going to want to freeze any liquids before sealing because they will interfere with the seal. This is just an unavoidable fact of physics and the “Moist” setting doesn’t solve this problem.

You can use the “Seal” button to seal without vacuuming. This means you can seal potato chips, cereal, and other plastic bags that normally require you to put them in a separate, sealable container or just end up stale.

Bags and Accessories

If you like the idea of pre-cut bags then this 44-pack of quart size bags is a great choice. They are simmer and microwave friendly. They are about 8″ Wide x 11.5″ Length.

The retractable handheld sealer brings a lot of functionality. These bottle stoppers are a great way to keep wine or oil and vinegar infusions fresh.

Lastly, these are larger pre-cut gallon-size bags and are quite a bit more expensive. You might consider just buying rolls and cutting your own if you need these larger sizes.

A quick word on the vacuum containers. The reason we’re not listing them here is that even though they are a nice reusable alternative to disposable bags, over time the seals do not maintain a vacuum. Cracks develop in the plastic and sometimes the containers will shatter. A poor seal can result in spoiled food. They’re just not a good long term solution and are relatively expensive.

Performance

One thing I’ve noticed with this sealer is that you need to plan ahead if you’re sealing more than 6-8 bags at a time. The sealer will overheat and need about 5 minutes to cool down. This is a common issue with any non-commercial food sealer, and to help mitigate this problem you can seal bags as you fill them instead of trying to do several immediately after one another. So prep the food for a bag, seal it, and then begin prepping for the next bag.

When it comes to the overall design, FoodSaver did a great job in creating a machine that’s easy to use. The process is very automated.

Not only can you seal bags with the automatic vacuum sealer but also with a retractable handheld sealer that provides functionality for sealing zipper bags, containers, and canisters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use any type of sealer bag for this machine?

A: FoodSaver bags are made with tiny ridges on the inside of the bag that help airflow over the food during the sealing process. You can find other bags that have this same feature and you would be able to use them as long as they fit the vacuum sealer opening.

Q: Are the FoodSaver bags BPA free?

A: Yes, none of the FoodSaver branded bags, rolls, or canisters contain Bisphenol-A.

Q: Can I seal marinated meats with the FoodSaver V4840?

A: Any liquid in the bag is going to cause trouble, whether or not it’s a soup or marinated steak. You will have to freeze the liquid before sealing. Usually putting a marinated steak in the freezer for about 2 hours will be enough. Of course, this depends on the temperature of your freezer.

Q: Are these bags reliable for Sous vide cooking?

A: Yes, the FoodSaver bags are excellent for Sous vide.

Comparable Models

NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
NutriChef Vacuum Sealer

The NutriChef is a much more budget-friendly option. It does not have the retractable handheld feature, but has all the other core features that you would want in an external vacuum sealer.

FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum
FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum

This is a more budget-friendly FoodSaver model that doesn’t give up the retractable handheld.


Weston Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer

Weston Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer

The Weston Pro-2300 is larger than the FoodSaver model and is made from mostly stainless steel. You immediately get the feeling this vacuum sealer is a heavy-duty machine. The extra-large Teflon bar will seal bags up to 15 inches wide. This is one of the widest sealers available in this price range.

There is not a built-in bag cutter, so you will need to precut your bags if you’re using rolls. The built-in cutters do get dull over time and end up being a disappointment, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Weston isn’t going to perform any better with liquids than the FoodSaver, or any other external vacuum sealer. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty vacuum sealer that can handle liquids, you’ll need to check out the chamber vacuum sealers.

Key Features

  • 1-year Warranty
  • Seals bags up to 15″ wide
  • Durable Design – You can expect years of use.
  • Auto or Manual operation
  • Seals in the presence of moisture.
  • Fan cooled for continuous operation. It doesn’t quit until you do
  • Transparent lid so you can tell that the bag is positioned correctly.

Another great feature of the Weston is that it can be serviced by you. If a part eventually wears out or something fails after the warranty you can easily replace it yourself.

Bags and Accessories

You can use any vacuum bag that’s 15″ wide or less and has the ribbed texture inside for external vacuum sealers. For example, you could use FoodSaver bags with this Weston model, but you cannot use the VacMaster chamber vacuum bags.

Performance

You will get far more cycles out of the Weston than the FoodSaver model. If you typically seal is large batches, then this model will save you time and require less rest between seals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can the Weston seal fresh filleted fish?

A: Yes, you will need to blot dry the fish with paper towels.

Q: What is the duty cycle of this sealer?

A: This unit can run continuously for a few hours, but taking breaks and letting it cool down will reduce the stress on the pump.

Q: Does the Pro-2300 have a seal-only option?

A: Yes, you can manually operate the sealer.

Q: How long does it take to complete one vacuum seal cycle?

A: About 30 seconds. That’s including the recommended 20-second wait between cycles.

Q: Can I get replacement parts for the heat sealer or gaskets?

A: Yes, you can get them from either Amazon or Weston directly.


VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Key Features

  • 1/4 HP Rotary Oil Pump
  • Double Seals
  • Easily seals soups and other liquid-rich foods.
  • Adjustable Vacuum Settings let you vacuum seal fragile foods.
  • 1 Year Warranty

The big difference between this vacuum sealer and the others listed here is the rotary oil pump. As we’ve mentioned before, these pumps require oil changes but are designed to last a long time.

There are a few things to keep an eye on. If you notice the oil turns milky then it has become contaminated with water and needs to be changed. The longer the pump runs the hotter the oil will get and the more frequently you will need to change it. Keeping a fan running can help keep it cool during use, and this is true of any vacuum sealer.

Bags and Accessories

You can use just about any vacuum bag that will fit inside the chamber. This pack of 500 bags below is a nice size and price per bag. You don’t have to worry about the bags having the ridges inside like with external vacuum sealers. Mylar bags are not recommended.

Performance

If you need to seal a hundred bags, then this model can perform. It also double seals. Just like external vacuum sealers, you’ll need to make sure there’s no liquid in the sealing area of the bag. Like most chamber vacuums, there are plates you can stack to lift the bag up to get help make sure you get a good seal.

You want to avoid wrinkles in the bag when you’re sealing. That’s one of the most common causes of bad seals. It’s also a good idea to inspect the bags for leaks before sealing. Obviously, they’re going to be noticeable with liquids, but you’ll have to pay attention to dry foods and make sure they aren’t losing vacuum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kind of oil is used with the VP215?

A: 10w non-detergent, hydraulic oil

Q: How often should the oil be changed?

A: This depends greatly on how much vacuuming you’re doing. The first oil change should be after 25 hours of use, and then every 60 hours after the first oil change. If your oil looks milky or you notice poor vacuum performance then change the oil. Avoid vacuuming hot liquids as the water vapor can contaminate the oil. Let liquids cool to room temperature before sealing. This will greatly reduce the water vapor in the vacuumed air.

Q: What’s the biggest bag I can use with the VP215?

A: The manufacturer says that 10″ x 13″ is the largest, but you can fit a 15″ long bag. The width isn’t negotiable since the bag must fit in the sealing area.

Q: How tall is the VP215 with the lid open?

A: About 24 Inches.

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