Updated Aug 10, 2022 3:32 AM
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 1/3 of available food in the U.S. goes uneaten every year. The average family of four wastes $1,500 on uneaten food. Much of this food waste stems from purchasing more food than can be consumed in a timely manner, which results in spoilage.
Using a vacuum sealer, which wraps food in plastic and removes air from inside the packaging, can help keep food from spoiling so it can be safely stored for longer. Sealing your food, rather than simply wrapping it, limits exposure to oxygen, which causes most food to start breaking down. We found the best vacuum sealers that preserve food longer, with features that will make the process as easy as possible.
- Best overall: FoodSaver VS2150 Vacuum Sealing System
- Best budget: Geryon Vacuum Sealer
- Best for heavy use: FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer
- Best for sous vide: Anova Precision ANVS01-USOO
- Best with food saver settings: Nesco VS-12 Deluxe
- Best handheld: Zwilling Fresh & Save
How we picked the best vacuum sealers
As a freelance journalist for over 10 years, I’ve reviewed home and tech products for publications including CNN Underscored, NBC News Select, Popular Mechanics, Architectural Digest, Tom’s Guide, The Daily Beast, USA Today’s Reviewed, Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, and Bob Vila. These recommendations are based on personal testing, extensive research, recommendations from fellow critics, and user impressions.
What to consider when buying the best vacuum sealers
“When choosing the best vacuum sealers, I find that you really need to know what you’re going to be using it for,” said Crystal Reinwald, a personal chef in Greenwich, Conn. Although vacuum sealers can help cut down or, hopefully, eliminate food waste, some savvy consumers use them to prep and store food items in bulk.
And if, for example, if you plan on sealing a lot of liquids or wet items with marinades, she recommends splurging on a chamber machine (we found some starting at $300 and also some over $1,000—but are not including them in this article). “They are best for sealing liquids—definitely more expensive, but you can sometimes find them second-hand.”
For the average household chef, who probably doesn’t need to seal hundreds of liquid items at a time, a home model should suffice. So what should you look for in a vacuum sealer? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Automatic or handheld vacuum sealers
“It can be difficult enough figuring out what you can and can’t seal, and when you need to seal it, you don’t want to worry about all of the ins and outs of how to seal it too,” said Christina Russo, creative director and chef at The Kitchen Community. She said the most important feature to her is automatic sealing, which makes activating the device a one-button process.
However, some people may enjoy the level of control offered by handheld models, which require you to use the pump to take the air out yourself. Handheld vacuum sealers also tend to be less expensive.
If you can’t choose, some companies make a combo vacuum sealer that includes both automatic and handheld sealing.
A vacuum sealer with built-in bag storage will cost extra, but Russo said it’s worth every single cent. “It makes life infinitely easier, and you can just pull a bag off the roll, cut it to whatever size you need, and you’re ready to start sealing.”
Many sealers also feature a cutter, which automatically slices the bag for you. While it sounds convenient, it’s not a huge loss if you get a model without one. “It’s OK but not necessary,” Reinwald said. “I buy rolls of bags so that I can have whichever size that I’d like, but it’s just as easy to cut it with scissors.”
Vacuum sealing can get messy, so you want something that is quick and easy. To cut down on spills, leaks, and mess, Russo recommends a vacuum machine with a removable drip tray so you can easily transport all of the mess to the sink.
“When you’ve finished sealing whatever you need, or want to, just remove the tray, pour out or empty the contents, wipe it down, and you’re ready to start sealing again,” Russo said.
“Nobody likes cleaning, it isn’t therapeutic, it isn’t good for the soul, and it won’t make you a better person,” Russo said. And I certainly agree with everything she said!
Some vacuum sealers come with accessories, such as a jar attachment that lets you create an airtight seal on the jar. Not every accessory is especially useful, but it’s always a good idea to check whether the manufacturer sells accessories separately, and make sure the sealer has an accessory port.
Is it easy to use?
They may seem intimidating, but most vacuum sealers aren’t especially complicated devices. That said, Reinwald noted that vacuum sealers have a small learning curve for new users.
“It does take a little bit of practice and can be frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said.
To give you a sense of the process, here’s an overview of the process with an automatic sealer. It takes a few button presses to create a bag, vacuum it and seal it. Handheld sealers require a little more work. Typically, you select your mode, connect the hose from the sealer to the bag, then select “vac,” and the sealer will suck the air out.
Keep in mind that these are general examples to explain the process. The actual instructions for each individual vacuum sealer may vary, so you should always consult the owner’s manual.
Keep in mind that the sealing process requires a fair amount of counter space. Unlike self-contained appliances like coffee makers and toasters, a vacuum sealer will usually require at least an additional foot of space for the items you’re sealing, bags, etc. You probably won’t have room to have a permanent sealing station.
The best vacuum sealers: Reviews & Recommendations
The best vacuum sealers come in different shapes and sizes that cater to different people, depending on why they want to seal up their food. Whether you’re using it for long-term storage or cooking, we’ve got you covered.
Best vacuum sealer overall: FoodSaver VS2150 Vacuum Sealing System
Why it made the cut: The FoodSaver VS2150 has the best mix of features to make it the right choice for most people.
- Weight: 6.7 lb
- Dimensions: 17.7 x 9.8 x 7.5 inches
- Automatic: Yes
- Built-in roller storage
- Cutter bar
- Removable drip tray
- Accessory hose
The FoodSaver BS2150 has all the tools you need in a vacuum sealer. It’s easy to operate, with both wet and dry modes for meats, veggies, beans, nuts, and bakery items. You can also use it for sous vide cooking and to seal non-food items. Its built-in bag roll and cutter make it easy to make custom bags for each sealing. The removable, dishwasher-safe drip tray makes cleaning incredibly easy. There’s even a hose attachment to remove the air from canning jars or vacuum containers.
The FoodSaver BS2150 comes in black, white/silver, and black/silver. With the starter kit, you get some useful supplies, including an 11 x 8-inch vacuum seal roll, two quart-sized vacuum-seal bags, and 2 gallon-sized vacuum seal bags.
Best budget vacuum sealer: Geryon Vacuum Sealer
Why it made the cut: This lightweight vacuum sealer lets you go automatic on a budget.
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 2.56 x 5.5 x 14.4 inches
- Automatic: Yes
- Starter kit comes with bags
- Not as much suction as higher-priced models
The Geryon Vacuum Sealer shows that you don’t have to break the bank to get a good vacuum sealer. It’s fully automated and easy to use, with intuitive digital buttons and LED lights. The vacuum sealer can be used for both moist and dry foods, making it ideal for meats and fish, fruits, veggies, and cookies. It can also be used for sous vide cooking.
At only 2.6 pounds and is 14 inches long, the Geyron is easy to store when you aren’t using it. It’s also convenient to clean thanks to a removable base. The machine includes a starter kit with a suction hose, five 7.8 x 11.8-inch heat seal bags, and one 7.8 x 78-inch roll of sealing plastic. It may take a little longer to finish sealing, but that’s an acceptable trade-off for a sealer that costs less than $50.
Best vacuum sealer for heavy use: FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer
Why it made the cut: The FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 is big.
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 9.5 x 10.6 inches
- Automatic: yes
- Combo: handheld and standard
- Generous starter kit
- Pull out drip tray
If you plan on vacuum sealing a lot of food on a regular basis, the FoodSaver V4840 is durable enough to easily handle all of your needs. It has a one-button automatic process that makes wet and dry sealing incredibly easy. You can also seal food in sous vide mode for cooking. It features a machine-washable drip tray, making cleaning easy as well.
There’s also a retractable handheld sealer stored conveniently in a pocket on the side, which you can pair with an optional FoodSaver Jar Sealing kit accessory to seal mason jars with homemade sauces or jams.
The Foodsaver V4840 includes a generous starter kit with one 11 x 10-inch vacuum seal roll, three 1 quart vacuum seal bags, two 1 gallon vacuum seal bags, three 1 quart vacuum zipper bags, and two 1 gallon zipper bags.
As the more heavy-duty option, however, the FoodSaver V4840 may have some drawbacks for new users. It’s a large, heavy countertop model, which may be problematic if you aren’t prepared to make room and keep it out all the time. Second, it costs $239.99, considerably more than most of the other models on our list. It’s a great option if you already use a vacuum sealer and need something ready to go at all times, but may not be a great fit for beginners.
Best vacuum sealer for sous vide: Anova Precision ANVS01-USOO
Why this made the cut: The Anova Precision ANVS01-USOO’s pulse vacuum setting makes it an especially good choice for chefs who want a sealer specifically for sous vide cooking.
- Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 16.73 x 4.8 x 3.14 inches
- Automatic: Yes
- Pulse vacuum setting
- Anova app
- Starter kit
- No drip tray
- No separate wet and dry sealing options
If you’re interested in using a vacuum sealer to prepare food for sous vide cooking using a water circulator, you’ve probably heard of Anova. The company is well known for making some of the best sous vide cooking machines, so it makes sense that it also makes vacuum sealers, as they’re often used together. The Anova Precision ANVS01-USOO is fully automatic with a one-touch vacuum and seal button. It also has a pulse vacuum option for liquids and delicate foods, which makes it a great choice for both sealing and sous vide cooking.
Though it doesn’t really impact the sealer, Anova also has a cooking app that serves as a hub for sous vide cooking. The app comes with over 1,000 free sous vide recipes for cooks at every skill level.
Best vacuum sealer with food saver settings: Nesco VS-12 Deluxe
Why this made the cut: The Nesco Vacuum Sealer lets you choose the best settings for small and large food items.
- Weight: 6 pounds
- Dimensions: 15.75 x 8 x 4.5 inches
- Automatic: Yes
- Bag cutter
- Various settings
- Countdown timer
Some people just want to press a button and start sealing, but some of us would prefer to have a wider range of options. The Nesco VS-12 Deluxe provides a range of settings—including dry, moist, and double-heat seals—which is handy for when there will be a lot of liquid in the bag. There are also canister and marinate settings. You can even choose between either normal or gentle vacuum pressure, which helps keep soft foods intact.
It offers built-in bag storage so you can keep your materials with the sealer, and it has a cutter so you can easily make custom sealer bags. It also has a viewing lid, which lets you check in on the process while the bag seals. The starter pack includes two rolls of sealing plastic.
Best handheld vacuum sealer: Zwilling Fresh & Save
Why it made the cut: Avoid the learning curve with this simple, handheld vacuum sealer.
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 13.3” x 9.25” x 5.67”
- Automatic: No
- Easy to use
- BPA Free Glass
- Reusable containers
- Not automatic
- Can only seal items when you have free containers
The Zwilling Fresh & Save Vacuum Sealer is extremely easy to use, especially for a handheld vacuum sealer. Rather than using sealing plastic, the Fresh & Save works with reusable sealing bags and storage containers with a locking mechanism that connects to the sealer. While that means you’ll only be able to seal things when you have free containers (or buy extras), that means you don’t need to worry about cutting bags or throwing out tons of plastic.
The BPA glass containers are also oven proof and the bags can go from the freezer to the microwave to the dishwasher. And there’s even a Zwilling Culinary World app to help you track your food storage and determine when it will spoil. This 6-piece starter set includes one large glass container, two medium zip-seal vacuum bags, and 2 small zip-seal vacuum bags. (There are versions with plastic containers instead of glass, if you prefer.)
Q: Is vacuum sealing food safe?
Yes, vacuum sealing food is safe, so long as you handle your food safely. Make sure to wash your hands before handling food, keep perishable foods refrigerated or frozen before sealing, and thaw frozen food in the fridge instead of on the counter. And, of course, make sure your food is still fresh before sealing it. (That sounds obvious, but vacuum-sealed food isn’t always easily identifiable as spoiled.)
Q: Will vacuum-sealing vegetables make them last longer?
Yes, The University of Minnesota confirmed that removing air from a food package does indeed increase the storage time. All vacuum sealers should make vegetables–as well as meats and other food–last longer.
Q: Are vacuum food sealers worth the money?
That’s a question that only you can answer. Most vacuum sealer manufacturers claim that the process keeps food fresh up to 5 times longer. If you like to purchase food in bulk, a vacuum sealer can keep fruits, veggies, meats, poultry, grains, and other foods from deteriorating as rapidly, likely reducing food waste. With frozen food, vacuum sealing mitigates freezer burn, maintaining freshness for longer, in addition to keeping it from spoiling.
Final thoughts on the best vacuum sealers
A vacuum sealer can be a game-changer if you find yourself frequently cleaning rotten food out of the fridge. Companies claim that vacuum sealing can preserve food for up to 5 times longer. Even if these claims are exaggerations, the ability to preserve food even 2-3 times longer can cut down food waste dramatically.
If you don’t already seal food or use sous vide, the most important question to ask yourself before buying a vacuum sealer is whether you will actually use it. Even the best vacuum sealer won’t make a difference if it collects dust in a kitchen drawer or cabinet. The FoodSaver VS2150 is easy to use, making it an ideal choice for the average person. However, if you don’t want to keep up with purchasing and disposing of bags, the Zwilling Fresh & Save eliminates both.