Average American families spend thousands of dollars annually on perishables. No matter the source, typically perishable foods like meat and vegetables that enter the home are not eaten immediately. In fact, 40 percent of food in the United States alone goes completely uneaten. A significant percentage of this is grocery purchases that expire in the home and are thrown away without a second look.
This waste makes the proper storage of these perishable foods a requirement. This rings especially true for food preparation methods such as sous vide, which involves almost exclusively perishables such as steak, chicken, asparagus, eggs and more.
But how to effectively store these foods in preparation for the sous vide machine, especially when buying perishables in bulk for future cooking? This is where vacuum sealers for sous vide come into play.
Why use a vacuum sealer for sous vide?
Some of the best vacuum sealers for sous vide are ideal for keeping foods such as fish, meat, game, and vegetables fresh well past their standard shelf life. Regardless of the experience and skill level of the machine owner, a sous vide sealer is a perfect option to ensure no expired food is cooked and consumed.
Below are five of the best vacuum food sealers for sous vide we have reviewed. Please note that these sealers have been reviewed to work flawlessly with food that is sealed in both standard zip-lock bags as well as our recommended sous vide bags. These truly are the best vacuum sealers for 2019.
|#1 – FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1||99%|
|#2 – INLIFE K9||96%|
|#3 – FoodSaver V2244||93%|
|#4 – Nesco VS-02||91%|
|#5 – Gourmia GVS435||88%|
What are some of the benefits of a sous vide vacuum sealer?
Fun fact: the primary cause of spoilage of perishable food is exposure to oxygen. This silent and invisible “food killer” sucks the life out of your perishables, affecting factors such as color, flavor, texture, and nutrient density.
Whether you are vacuum sealing steaks to cook and eat later in the week, or sealing up some Mahi to freeze for an extended period in a chest freezer, a sous vide vacuum sealer allows owners to retain the full nutrient value and flavor of their food for far longer than standard zip-lock freezer bags.
Using these sealers to prevent oxygen from entering your food space and degrading your perishables helps to extend flavor, shelf life, and freshness. Users enjoy far more flavorful meals and additional cost savings associated with reduced disposal of food that has gone bad.
Do you ever see the small weather systems made from bagged food condensation? The droplets that form at the top of Styrofoam takeout containers? Improper sealing and air left in storage bags for food is the cause of this condensation and is the main factor in how and why food gets freezer burned. Vacuum sealing perishables cuts down on the space and moisture present in the package, preventing food damage, eating spoiled meat and vegetables, and wasting money.
Flavor retention with vacuum sealers
In addition to the above, if you are a sous vide user who utilizes flavorings and spices in your food consistently, your first step should be to vacuum seal the food after adding these. This enhances the flavor by providing compression to the meat or vegetables, giving spices and rubs the chance to seep into nooks and crannies, and heightening flavor profiles in the process. This is how you can get incredible recipes like Japanese Wafu Steak, or Beef Short Ribs made at home with minimal effort or skill required.
Additionally, when this vacuum sealed food is popped into your heated water bath, flavors remain, and water is prevented from entering the bag, leaving the food undiluted.
Food bags that are filled with air and have not been properly vacuumed float on water. This can lead to uneven cooking and a subpar final product. One of the most important aspects of sous vide is ensuring that the food is entirely submerged in the heated water. Otherwise, whatever portion of food is above the water will be undercooked or uncooked completely. Vacuum sealing food in bags causes them to sink far better.
This next one can be surprising to many. Vegetables that have been sealed and cooked properly will have gone through the pasteurization process. This means they can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks before going bad and can be frozen without needing to worry about the possibility of freezer burn.
Air is terrible at conducting heat
It’s true. To test this out, pop your hand into an oven with a temperature of 350 degrees. Not too bad for a few seconds, right? Now, imagine putting that same hand into water that is half that temperature. That’s a good way to end up with some serious burns!
Air removed from inside a food bag before cooking sous vide assists to conduct heat far better than if pockets of air surrounded the food. The result is food that is cooked evenly and far quicker.
What types of food can I vacuum seal?
A ridiculous array of foods can be vacuum sealed. However, there are a couple of exceptions of foods that you might be surprised are not supposed to be sealed in this fashion.
Vacuum sealing is wonderful on all meats, from beef to fish, from chicken to pork and more. Any meat that can be cooked sous vide can be run through a vacuum sealer and preserved for an extended timeframe. Almost all vegetables and fruits can be vacuum sealed, except for broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces and other cruciferous veggies, as they will crush very easily.
Additionally, users of sous vide need to be wary not to vacuum seal things such as mushrooms, garlic, soft breads, and softer cheeses. Again, they are easily crushed and contain a high percentage of moisture in them by default.
What are the steps to seal my food with a vacuum sealer?
To use a vacuum sealer, you first place your perishable food items into a specialized sous vide bag. Please note that some of the best vacuum sealers for sous vide work with standard zip-lock bags as well. However, there are strong benefits to utilizing the compatible bags, including prevention of leaks and air bubbles.
There are typically two options for bag types: Pre-cut bags and roll-cut bags.
It needs to be said that the roll-style sous vide vacuum sealer bags can get tricky, and usually will require two hands to maneuver. For this reason, most either look for pre-cut bags or a machine that provides a roll and cutter straight in the unit (such as the FoodSaver Sous Vide V4840 and Nesco VS-02 options in this guide).
Once the roll-style bag has been cut, or the food is placed into a standard bag, users place one end of the vacuum bag into the sealer roll, and either activate the sealing process manually or allow the machine to sense the bag and start the sealing process on its own.
Both FoodSaver sous vide style vacuum sealers on our list have automated features for sealing based on sensors in the machine itself. Alternatively, the Nesco and Inlife models feature a push button to start the process.
Some vacuum sealers have clamps and clips that need to be set before the sealing process begins. None of the reviewed sealers in our Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer Buying Guide require this, though.
These machines likely have different buttons for standard seal, and for vacuum and seal. Standard seal closes the bag shut. Vacuum and seal removes excess air from the bag and then seals, essentially shrink-wrapping your food to maintain freshness far longer than when exposed to oxygen. Please note that some models of sous vide vacuum sealer will have mode adjustments based on food type, and others will have adjustments for if the food is dry or wet.
More about vacuum sealer bags requirements
Most manufacturers require the purchase of their specific bags for vacuum sealing purposes. The reasoning behind this is that each machine will seal at a slightly different temperature. If you pop a standard zip-lock bag in a vacuum sealer, and that sealer has a high sealing temperature, you could be looking at melted plastic all in the mechanism. This can cause permanent damage to the machine, damage that will certainly void any warranty offered.
However, if you have a vacuum sealer with an accessory hose, this can typically be utilized to remove air from zip-lock bags instead of placing the bags directly into the machine.
On our list of the best vacuum sealers for sous vide, the FoodSaver V2244 features this accessory port, as well as a hose, allowing for safe zip-lock bag sealing and vacuuming of air straight out of the box.
Factors to consider before making a vacuum sealer purchase
When researching the best vacuum sealers for sous video, it is important to check out multiple factors to make the most informed decision. This will help you not only get the best bang for your buck but also to ensure that your final choice has the features that you will need for your sous vide processes. You don’t want a vacuum sealer that doesn’t work well with marinated foods if you’re going to be sealing a lot of marinated foods, right?
Some of the most important factors to put into consideration when determining the ideal vacuum sealer are use volume capacity, storage and portability, and controls and customization.
Use Volume Capacity
Most commercial level vacuum sealing machines are developed with a plan to have a 100 percent duty cycle, meaning they can run constantly and not overheat. Conversely, some models, like a few of our reviewed offerings such as the Gourmia GVS435, require a short downtime interval to cool the machine down when performing high volume sealing.
For users looking to vacuum seal at lower volumes, this is a non-issue. However, if you have a large quantity of meat to seal, or a thriving, larger garden, you are going to want a vacuum sealer that can run consistently, not just the best budget vacuum sealer for sous vide.
Storage and Portability
Before pulling the trigger on a vacuum sealer, you should consider the size of the sealer, and a location to store between uses. Keep in mind that, when using this in tandem with sous vide, water ovens such as the SousVide Supreme Demi will take up counter and cabinet space on top of any vacuum sealer.
Some units store both horizontally and vertically for space saving. Most units, including all in our buying guide, feature cord wrapping and accessory compartmentalization for enhanced portability and storage.
Controls and Customization
Technological advancements in food sealing have created some wonderful new control features and ease of use in operations for some of the best vacuum sealers for sous vide. Some of these controls include the use of a wet mode and marinade mode, and a pulse mode, that works like a blood pressure cuff to gently remove air from food in small spurts versus a quick removal.
Other vacuum sealers provide manual controls to override what is automatic, allowing for customized levels of sealing. Furthermore, some provide the option to seal only, and not to remove the oxygen from the bags. Customizations in control features are very important when cooking sous vide.
Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer Review Center 2019
Below are in-depth reviews of five of the highest-quality, most effective vacuum sealers we tested for sous vide cooking. We took all the above factors and more into consideration when comparing these sealers against alternatives, and contrasting them against one another to derive our overall score.
Remember, vacuum sealing is one of many steps in proper, delicious sous vide cooking. You still need to season your food, and then cook it properly with methods that can be found in one of many sous vide cookbooks. Additionally, some foods (like crème brulee or pork tenderloin) require searing with one of many sous vide torches or a fast sear in a pre-heated pan.
Whether you are hunting for the best FoodSaver for sous vide, or a solid Gourmia vacuum sealer for sous vide, we have you covered! Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the product reviews!
#1 – FoodSaver v4840 2-in-1 Food Sealer
We chose the FoodSaver v4840 as the best overall pick for several reasons, but one of them was the price versus what you get. Not only does it automatically seal canisters, baggies and custom storage containers of any shape and size with an included roll of plastic, it also marinates. Let’s check out the features.
You might think that you would hardly ever use a sous vide vacuum sealer but you would be surprised how often you’ll be pulling it out once you have it.
Every time you buy hamburger, you’ll want to parcel it out into vacuum sealed sous vide bags, and you’ll even find yourself vacu-packing things that don’t really need to be – like your child’s lunch – just because you can. Go ahead and get the FoodSaver v4840. You won’t regret it.
So, there are lots of advantages to the FoodSaver v4840. You get an entire roll of plastic measuring 11-inches by 10-inches so you can make up as many packages as you want. You get an entire starter kit with the FoodSaver v4840, and it’s a huge gift package that will make you think Christmas has come early. But in case you are in a hurry, you also get five heat-seal bags, three of them with a quart capacity and two that hold an entire gallon.
You also get five zipper bags, again three quart bags and two gallon-sized bags. But that’s really just the beginning when it comes to advantages. This unit is so easy to use. It automatically feeds the baggies or plastic and seals them quickly. You can retract it and use it while it is in your hand, plus it cuts your plastic easily when you are ready to seal.
The only disadvantage with this product is that some customers have complained that they can’t make a train of packages to seal all at once like they could with other FoodSaver vacuum sealers that they had. However, most people were extremely happy with this appliance.
If you want a great food vacuum sealer for sous vide, this is our definitely our overall pick. Not only is the FoodSaver v4840 automatic, with plenty of great features, but it is also a very durable unit that is going to last for a long time. FoodSaver is a great brand that has definitely earned customer loyalty with their kitchen products and this is definitely the vac-seal appliance that we recommend. You can get yours here right now. When you have a FoodSaver, you’ll be able to freeze food items for long periods of time, which means that you can save money on bulk shopping, and you’ll never worry about freezer burn again. You can check the lowest price on the FoodSaver right here.
#2 – INLIFE K9 Vacuum Sealer
Next up on the list is the K9 from INLIFE. Easily seal your favorite foods, whether they are moist or dry. This unit has several different settings so that you can choose how you want to seal a particular container and several other good features that make it a definite contender for one of the best sous vide vacuum sealers on the market.
So, why does this product have so many advantages over the other on this list, and especially over all of the other ones out there? Simple. The INLIFE K9 is high-quality and is going to last for a long time; it has multiple settings that allow you to customize your seal just about any way you want, and has the ability to marinate, seal canisters and a whole lot more. Basically, except for the overall winner listed above, this is your next best choice. It has everything you need to pack up any kinds of foods you want to store short-term or long-term. It’s easy to use and it works every time.
There really isn’t anything to list when it comes to disadvantages on this product. The K9 vacuum sealer had a rate of 94% satisfaction, four stars or higher, with only one person that had a legitimate complaint. Their unit didn’t seal, but it was an isolated incident, and they likely sent it back for a replacement. You can get yours right now by clicking here.
There are so many good things about this product that you should be thinking seriously about getting one. This is a quality product that everyone should buy. The only reason not to get this one is if you are getting the one that is right above it – the FoodSaver unit that won the “Best Overall” spot. You can seal, marinate, cook sous vide or even seal up cash and put it away for a rainy day, packed into a tiny little vacuum pack envelope that you can hide anywhere. This is a terrific buy and we definitely recommend this product, as do so many other people who have purchased it on Amazon. Check out the reviews and look at the pictures, see just how easy it is to zip-lock food in airtight packages and you’ll be convinced.
#3 – FoodSaver V2244
The FoodSaver V2244 has a compact size that allows you to hold it in your hand. It features manual operation and an easy feed so that you can take it anywhere and plug it in and go. This model was chosen because it was the best portable unit for those who want to take it with them on the road or all over the house and need to use it quickly with little or no setup.
Those who do not have a food sealer in their home are missing out on some great opportunities. You can seal all kinds of stuff that you would never be able to freeze or preserve, and with this model, you can even marinate and do canisters. This is definitely one of the better sous vide vacuum sealers out there, even among the amazing ones on this list.
The major advantage of the FoodSaver V2244 is that it is super lightweight and portable, and you can have it set up and ready to seal in seconds. This is great for sous vide, as well as any other reason you have for food sealing. The cord is long enough to plug in even if you are fairly far away, so you always have the ability to seal food and store it, even if you’re traveling.
Of course, the fact that the FoodSaver V2244 is highlighted as a portable product and you still have to plug it in will certainly disillusion some people. There are battery operated vacuum sealers for sous vide out there, but they are few and far between for two simple reasons: they don’t seal effectively 100% of the time (when the battery is low) and the batteries go really, really quick. This is the best portable unit that you can get and still have the power of a quality machine without having to constantly buy new batteries for it. Other than that, the only other disadvantage is that it doesn’t do quite as much as the overall winner and runner-up listed above.
So, the bottom line here is that this is a portable machine without all of the bells and whistles of the more expensive units. This isn’t as inexpensive as the budget options on this list, but it is pretty close, and it has everything you could want in a portable unit.
The accessory hose and the huge sheet roll and baggies that it comes with make this much more than a portable unit that you’ll be able to use in an emergency while traveling. The FoodSaver V2244 is all-in-one, doubling as your main sous vide vacuum seal machine and portable enough to take anywhere. It marinates, it seals, it vacuum packs and much more.
Click below and see what the sale price is for the FoodSaver V2244. If you get this little vac-packer, you’ll be sealing up everything within arm’s reach.
#4 – Nesco VS-02
The Nesco VS-02 is the top choice for the best budget vacuum sealer for sous vide. This is a high quality machine that still allows you to buy smart, getting all the features you need and most of the ones that you want for a very good price. Let’s check out the specifications.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but you still want a vacuum sealer that will allow you to preserve food then this is your best bet for a budget unit. It will do everything that you need, and is only missing a couple of features like the ability to marinate, seal liquids or work with canisters. This is still a terrific machine and it definitely belongs on this list.
There are numerous advantages to this model over many of the others on the market. The main advantage of the Nesco is that it is priced very low while still being of very high quality. That’s demonstrated by its place on this list of the top five. In addition, you get two different rolls of bag material so that you’ll have a lot of food to wrap up and be able to do a lot of sous vide before you have to buy any more. That’s one of the reasons that this is such a good value. It’s not only worth the price just for the unit itself, but it comes with plenty of supplies for you to freeze or preserve anything you want.
The only things that you really need to be aware of with this unit is that it lacks some of the features of the ones that are at the top of this list, as this is the budget option, and you have to press down on the edges pretty hard sometimes to get the bag to seal completely.
If you need a budget sous vide vacuum sealer, this is definitely your unit. It has a couple of things that make it a slightly better pick then the Gourmia below, although both of them would make extremely good additions to your kitchen. Whether you are doing sous vide or just parceling up your hamburger so that you don’t have to defrost 10 pounds of it next time you want to fire up the barbeque grill, this budget unit has everything you need, including two rolls of wrap that will last you for a really long time. If you like the features and the quality of the Nesco VS-02, then click below and see what the latest price is. These go on sale quite often, and if you can get one at the discounted price it will be way more than worth it.
#5 – Gourmia GVS435
The Gourmia GVS435 is another budget machine that comes in fifth on this list. It doesn’t have everything, but it has enough, and the features are numerous enough to compete with any other machine, including some that are priced much higher.
The Gourmia GVS435 is a high-quality machine that preserves food and allows you to freeze lots of stuff that you normally wouldn’t be able to preserve, allowing you to keep food five times as long and save money on groceries. This is about equal to the other budget item on the list. Then only reason this is ranked second and the other is ranked first is that the Nesco came with two rolls of wrap for about the same price as this one, which only comes with one. But if you like the Gourmia brand, then there is no reason not to get it. Click below and check out the latest price.
Let’s get into the meat of this review, which means going over the advantages that the Gourmia GVS435 has over the competition. The first thing that you need to know is that there are lots of units out there priced about the same as this that are just utter garbage. If you go to your local discount “big box” department store, like the one that almost every person reading this has within a few miles of their house these days, you’ll find food saving machines from a few different brands, starting about this price and then heading all the way up into ridiculous territory.
If you buy one of those, you are probably going to be sorry, no matter if you go with the cheapo chicken or the outrageously priced roast duck – the highest-priced sous vide vacuum sealer on the shelf, in other words. That’s because you can’t see customer reviews, you can’t check the product out from every angle in pictures and you can’t watch videos of it in action.
You can do every one of those things on Amazon, including a video demonstration from Food Network Chef Daniel Green. Plus, you get Amazon’s Gold Standard customer service, which means (as anyone who has ever had to return anything will tell you) that Amazon will treat you like the most valuable customer they have if you have a problem. In addition, you get to see answer to previous questions from customers and manufacturer reps, and you get to ask your own if you want. There is every reason to get this vacuum sealer from Amazon right now and not a single reason not to.
Other than the fact that it’s a budget machine without some of the features that our top model has, there are no disadvantages to make you aware of. Literally, almost no one had a complaint. 93% rated it at four stars and above and those who didn’t – well, as an example, the customer who gave it a one-star review did so because they had to push on the lid to get it to seal and there weren’t enough vacuum bags included, even though it lists exactly how many bags come with it.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to start vacuum sealing your food and storing items up to five times as long? Are you ready to say goodbye to freezer burn? Click below and find out how much of a discount you’ll get right now on Amazon.