Vacuum Sealer Reviews: 7 Critical Things You Need to Look at Before Buying
Don’t regret your purchase later. These vacuum sealer reviews will tell you what you need to know, so you can make the right choice the first time. Find out the good and uncover the bad, so you know exactly what you’re buying.
Each vacuum sealer reviewed on this website is rated using a criteria that really defines a good vacuum sealer for us home users. Consider each of them and you’ll be able to tell if something is bad, or not. I cover the criteria in detail below, so you know exactly what I looked for when reviewing each item.
For each criterion, I have two winners that I felt really stands out compared to the other vacuum sealers for that specific criterion (one being the best for your money and the other being the second best for those on a tighter budget). And if that isn’t enough to help you decide, I’ve also chosen my overall top picks; the two that I feel is the best value for your money (as well as mine). They’re ones I decided to buy for myself after having looked through so many of them.
What Makes a Good Food Vacuum Sealer?
Each vacuum sealer covered here is reviewed and rated using a specific set of criteria that has been carefully chosen. How did I choose them? They were chosen after:
- Many hours of research reading through almost over a thousand buyer reviews (last I counted it was 1,143, or somewhere close to that).
- A lot more time spent reading through other people’s questions on the internet.
- Personally looking through many of the popular vacuum sealers available on the market right now.
After all the research, I felt the criteria below are what really define a good vacuum sealer that is worth buying. Each criterion is rated from 1 to 10 —1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. The overall score is the average of all the scores for each criterion combined.
The most important thing we have to look for is the cost. While we would love to be able to get the most expensive one that we can find, the reality is we all have a budget we need to work with. So the price of the vacuum sealer needs to be in a price range that you can afford and are willing to pay for.
When considering costs many people make the mistake of not considering the cost of bags. Make sure you don’t make that mistake, or it’ll cost you in the long run. Bags can get very expensive if you aren’t careful when selecting your vacuum sealer.
The most important thing to consider when looking at bags is to check if it’ll work with generic or non-manufacturer bags. It is a very big plus if it’ll work well with these third-party bags. Why? The main reason is because they’re usually cheaper than the bags offered by the vacuum sealer manufacturers.
You’ll also want to take a look at the cost of manufacture bags as well. This is especially important if the vacuum sealer does work very well with generic bags. Make sure they are affordable. There’s no point in buying vacuum sealer for $40 and then having to pay $20 for a bag roll because it’s the bags that you have to buy over and over again.
Let’s take a look at the example of a $40 unit. You buy the unit for $40, but buy three rolls of bags for $20 each. That comes out to $60 for bags alone. That’s already a brand new vacuum sealer plus a bag roll. As you can see they quickly add up to a ridiculous amount over time.
The most affordable vacuum sealer is the Seal A Meal by Rival.
- Most affordable, yet still reliable.
- Gets job done for occasional users.
- No fancy features.
- Can’t handle moisture/liquids.
This is about as basic as it gets for a food vacuum sealer, but if that’s all you need then it’s a fine choice. If you’re trying to save as much money as possible, yet still be able to vacuum seal a few items once in a while then the Seal a Meal is perfect for you. You can often find it for a pretty good price on Amazon.
Better but Still Affordable
If you’re looking for something a little better, but you still don’t want to break the bank then the FoodSaver v2244 is a great choice.
- Still very affordable
- Stronger vacuum
- Hose accessory port
- Still doesn’t handle moisture & liquids very well.
The FoodSaver v2244 should be the basic starting point for most average home users if you ask me. While the Seal a Meal is much cheaper, it just isn’t good enough for most people who would use it at least a few times a month. The FoodSaver can provide everything you would need for just a bit more than the Seal a Meal. If you’d like to save a little more then buy it from Amazon.
The next thing you need to look for is how much power it has. You want the most power you can afford. More power means it’s built with a stronger motor that’s capable of producing the extra power.
The purpose of a vacuum sealer is to protect your food from the air that causes it to go bad rapidly. So having a strong and capable motor to draw out more air means your food stays good longer. Buying a vacuum sealer with adequate power could mean the difference between getting only 2-3 months shelf life for your food and getting over 12 months shelf life.
How can you tell how much power it has? The manufacturer doesn’t always make this valuable piece of information clear, but there are a few ways you can kind of get an idea of it.
One way is the cost. Obviously, if it costs more then it usually means it’s got more quality parts; which usually means it’s got a better motor. Another and more reliable way is to look through buyer reviews for the actual unit itself. Many of them will tell you how much power it has based on having actually used the unit itself.
Reading through a bunch of reviews usually means a lot of work, but not this time. I’ve already taken care of that time consuming process. I’ve already read through a bunch of those customer reviews and dug out the information that you need.
For home users like ourselves who are just not quite ready for a chamber vacuum sealer yet, the Weston Pro 2300 gets my pick as the “most powerful”.
- Powerful dual piston pump
- Fan cooled motor for continuous use
- Strongest vacuum (28″ Hg vacuum strength)
- Longest storage life
- High cost
If you’re a heavy home user and you need to be able to vacuum seal large amounts at a time then the Weston Pro 2300 is the perfect choice. Not only does it have the strongest vacuum, it also creates better seals. You can also keep on vacuum sealing without having to wait for it to cool down. If you need the best suction vacuum sealer for home use, buy the Weston Pro 2300. Check Amazon to see if there’s any deals.
If you’d like a little more power, but you just can’t justify the price of the Weston, then the next best choice is the FoodSaver V3240.
- Enough power for those on a budget
- Strong enough to crush an empty soda can
- Adjustable speeds
- Dry/moist settings
- Still has problems handling excess moisture.
The v3240 is no where near the Weston, but it’ll have to do if you’re budget just can’t allow for the Weston. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad vacuum sealer. In fact, I think it’s the best if you remove the Weston out of the picture. Not only is it still very affordable for many, it’s performance is hard to beat when compared to any other vacuum sealer in its class. I’ve seen some pretty good deals on Amazon before, so you’ll want to check Amazon for prices before buying it from somewhere else.
While I’m listing seal after power, it doesn’t make it any less important. I actually feel it’s just as important as power when shopping for a food vacuum sealer. You want to get the best seal possible (one that doesn’t fail early). A seal that fails will completely destroy the shelf life of the food you worked so hard and paid so much to preserve.
Some things you want to look for include:
- a large sealing bar
- multiple sealing wires
- a stronger seal bar
A large sealing bar makes a larger and therefore much stronger seal. Having a better seal will reduce the chances of it failing before you’re ready to take it out. This helps you avoid having to throw away food that got freezer burned because the seal failed and the bag opened up.
Multiple sealing wires are also something to look for. A vacuum sealer that is built with multiple sealing wires will make multiple seals at once. If a unit had two sealing wires then it actually makes two seals on a bag each time you seal it. Having two seals is great because if one fails, you still have the other to keep your food vacuumed and sealed.
Getting a reliable seal becomes much easier when the seal bar is able to heat up quickly; allowing it to quickly seal through bag wrinkles and tiny bits of food/moisture without issues (common causes of seal failures). This is what makes a seal bar stronger.
The Best Seals
If we’re talking about the best seals, the Weston Pro 2300 wins hands down.
- Extra wide 5mm seal bar
- Seals right through moisture
- Strongest & most reliable seal that hold
I’ll be honest. This thing just completely dominates in all of these because it really is that good. For the price they are asking for this vacuum sealer, it better be darn good–and it is. Nothing is worse than taking something out of the freezer months later to only find out the seal broken and the food is ruined. By paying more for the best seal, you help reduce this risk drastically. Buy it from Amazon if you’d like to get the best price possible (because it helps at this price range).
Reliable Seals but More Affordable
Coming in second for most reliable seals is the FoodSaver V3240.
- Still get reliable seals for less
- Widest sealing strip compared to others in its price range
Not everyone can afford/justify the asking price for the Weston, but fortunately for us, we still have the FoodSaver V3240 to turn to for a vacuum sealer that is still affordable, but will give us some pretty reliable seals that won’t break on us. Even better, we can usually find deals on Amazon for it, so remember to check there.
Ease of Use
Although most of these vacuum sealers aren’t very hard to use, ease of use is still something to keep in mind. You want all the controls to be easily accessible and well labeled, so you know which button does what.
You also want to make sure the unit will lock down by itself (whether immediately, or within a few seconds). Having this nifty little feature will save you from having to push down on the unit until it’s done sealing.
I had an old unit some years ago where I had to do exactly that. I would have to push down with all my weight and then hold it down for a few minutes while it vacuums the air out and seals it. It was a real major pain to use. I’m sure most vacuum sealers these days are much easier to use than that one, but you never know what you’ll run into if you don’t pay attention.
Another thing you want to look for is pulse control; specifically whether it’s automatic, manual, or both. Automatic pulse control will automatically vacuum and seal for you based on the preset settings you press. Manual control will allow you to choose exactly when to stop vacuuming and when to seal the bag.
Automatic pulse control may sound like it’s good, but it has its drawbacks. Sometimes these automatic settings may be too much, or too little for what you’re trying to vacuum seal. Not having the option of choosing when to vacuum and when to seal can result in less than ideal results for some food. A good example is bread. Bread is very fragile, so too much vacuum and you crush it; not enough and it’ll go bad faster than you’d like. If you were to use manual pulse control, you would be able to stop you vacuum sealer right before it gets crushed (getting you the best results).
Having the option of both automatic and manual control is the best. However, if you are unable to find one within your budget that features both automatic and manual pulse control then shoot for manual control. Automatic only is the worst option you can get because of the lack of control.
Whenever you buy something you want to make sure that it’s durable. Getting something that is durable and will last longer is a better use of your money. You always want the most out of the money you spend right? You don’t want to have to buy another one just months later right?
To kind of get a general idea of how durable a vacuum sealer is, just take a close look at what it’s made of. Obviously if it has all plastic parts, it won’t last as long as something that’s made from steel.
Another great way to determine an item’s durability is to dig through all the buyer reviews. You can spend hours doing this, but you don’t need to. I’ve already taken the hassle out of this process for you and searched through many of the user reviews to get you some feedback from actual users and buyers.
Warranty is something a lot of shoppers tend to forget to look at when buying. Forgetting to look at warranty can be a big mistake—especially if you’re buying a higher priced item.
Imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a vacuum sealer only to have it stop working one year and two months later. You didn’t check the warranty at all. You call up the manufacturer and you’re told the product only comes with a one year warranty. They tell you it’s out of warranty and there’s nothing that can be done about it. At this point, you’re screwed and you just wasted hundreds of dollars on a product that you assumed would have worked for years.
That scenario can be a little extreme, but it does happen and it can happen to you. That’s why the warranty is something you really need to take a close look at. It is definitely reassuring to know that the manufacturer stand by their product and offers a good warranty to cover you should it happen to you.
Other features include things like:
- built-in bag holder
- built in bag cutter
- canister port
- other features useful features that weren’t covered above
Other features such as the ones listed above are handy and can be useful sometimes, but I don’t consider them a deal breaker. They’re just nice to have—such as the bag built-in bag cutter. Don’t even bother to look for them specifically when shopping for a vacuum sealer. I just mention them if they do come with such features because I want to be as thorough as possible in my reviews.
Since the lack of these features will not really make a vacuum sealer any worse, I don’t count it against the rating if it doesn’t have any. I will however give it a few points if it does have them and I feel they may be useful to you.
My Overall Top Picks
These two are my overall top picks. They shine in every category including: power, seal, ease of use, durability and warranty. Notice I didn’t mention cost because we all have different budgets. That’s why I chose two; one for those who have a larger budget to work with and the other for those who are on a more limited budget.
The Best. Period.
Weston Pro 2300
- Still affordable at under $300
- Most power
- Best seals
The Best Affordable Vacuum Sealer
- Affordable for most
- Enough power
- Reliable seals
I’ve selected what I feel are some of the best vacuum sealers here, but they are just a few and they were not covered in-depth. Make sure you check out the many individual vacuum sealer reviews on this website to get all the details about them.