Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacuum Sealer

A good vacuum sealer will help you preserve meats, vegetables, and just about any other perishable items.

Geryon Vacuum sealer
Some vacuum sealers do more than just create air-tight seal around plastic bags.Geryon

The power of a vacuum sealer’s suction relates directly to how well it performs. If it doesn’t suck all the air and moisture out of the bag when it seals it, your food will still be subject to freezer burn and spoilage. Most companies that make and market vacuum sealers use inches of mercury (inHG) to describe the strength or power. The higher the number, the stronger the suction will be and, consequently, the better the sealer will be at removing all of the air before sealing. Most vacuum sealers range from about 12 to 25 inHG. Vacuum sealers are very simple to use. Simply put food in the bag, place the open mouth of the bag in the sealing channel, shut and lock the sealer, then push the appropriate button. The vacuum sealer will do the rest. While vacuum sealers are great for many items, you shouldn’t use them for cruciferous vegetables like arugula, choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Vacuum sealing mushrooms, garlic, and soft cheeses like blue cheese is also not recommended.

Power

FoodSaver Machine for Food Preservation with Bags and Rolls Starter Kit
Meat sealed with a vacuum sealer like this one will stay good in the freezer for up to three years without freezer burn.FoodSaver

The power of a vacuum sealer’s suction relates directly to how well it performs. If it doesn’t suck all the air and moisture out of the bag when it seals it, your food will still be subject to freezer burn and spoilage. Most companies that make and market vacuum sealers use inches of mercury (inHG) to describe the strength or power. The higher the number, the stronger the suction will be and, consequently, the better the sealer will be at removing all of the air before sealing. Most vacuum sealers range from about 12 to 25 inHG. Vacuum sealers are very simple to use. Simply put food in the bag, place the open mouth of the bag in the sealing channel, shut and lock the sealer, then push the appropriate button. The vacuum sealer will do the rest. While vacuum sealers are great for many items, you shouldn’t use them for cruciferous vegetables like arugula, choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Vacuum sealing mushrooms, garlic, and soft cheeses like blue cheese is also not recommended.

Sealing Modes

GERYON Vacuum Sealer Machine
This compact vacuum sealer won’t take up much storage space when not in use.GERYON

Vacuum sealer size is important for more reasons than the obvious. If you are going to use your vacuum sealer quite often, you might want a countertop model that is larger and resides on the counter full time. If you are only going to use it occasionally for small jobs like putting up a few steaks or a couple of pounds of ground meat, a small one that is lightweight, easy to carry, and easy to store would likely be better for your needs. Beware very small ones that won’t use some of the larger bags available, as bags are quite expensive, and you don’t want to buy some that you can’t use. If you’re only going to use your vacuum sealer a couple of times a year but for a very large job, you might think a small, easy to store one would be just the ticket. But since you’re likely to be using the unit hard for hours, a flimsy, cheap model won’t serve you well.

Sealing Modes

Vacuum Sealer By NutriChef
Some vacuum sealers do more than just create air-tight seal around plastic bags.NutriChef

Several other considerations also factor into making a good decision about a vacuum sealer. Some offer different modes, which can be quite useful. Some models offer moist and dry modes, with the moist mode extending the sealing time to ensure a secure closure. Many offer a pulse mode, which is used when sealing delicate foods to avoid damaging the food during the process. Some have a cancel button that can let you stop the sealing cycle early if you think the vacuum has already done a sufficient job. Also, some vacuum sealers come with a variety of attachments that make them more versatile. For instance, a jar attachment can be used for sealing wide-mouthed jars, and a bottle-stopper attachment can be used for removing air out of open wind bottles to ensure the remaining wine stays good for another day.