Those other Ziploc vacuum sealer reviews only take a brief look at one or two models. This report aims to look at the complete line of food vacuum sealers from Ziploc. We both know and trust Ziploc bags; Mom uses them, Grandma uses them, and we use them. Their bags are great, but how are these vacuum sealers of theirs? Are they worth buying? Can we trust them to keep our food fresh? Find out as we take an in-depth look at all the options Ziploc offers.
Some of the things we’ll look at are:
- Are they worth anything to you? Should you pay more for a particular function?
- What’s good about the product?
- What’s bad about the item?
- Common complaints and problems previous users and buyers have experienced.
What Ziploc Offers
Before we look at a particular vacuum sealer in depth, let’s take a quick look at Ziploc’s vacuum sealer system; the different models they offer in their line of vacuum sealers.
When you break things down to just the basics, there are 3 different vacuum sealers and a hand pump.
- V100 series
- V200 series
- V300 series
- Hand Pump. A hand-powered vacuum sealer when used with exclusive Ziploc bags.
Each series will have few different models. Each model will include the series and the model number. For example, for the V200 series, you can find model numbers V203, V204, and V205.
What are the differences between the varying Ziploc vacuum sealer models? Remember above when I said it all breaks down to 3 vacuum sealers? That’s because even though there are three different “models,” the only difference between the different models in a series is the color. There are only significant differences when you go to a different set (like a V100 series vs. a V200 series).
Ziploc Hand Pump & Bags
Can’t justify paying for a vacuum sealer? You won’t use it enough for it to be worthwhile? No problem. Ziploc has a hand pump that works well enough. It’s quick and simple to use.
- Just use the exclusive Ziploc bags and put your food in there.
- Close the bag and leave a small opening. Then push out the air in the bag without crushing the food.
- Quickly close the bag all the way.
- Take the hand pump and place it over the unique vacuum valve on the bag.
- Pull the pump to vacuum the remaining air from the bag. Repeat if necessary to remove more air.
- Label with date and store the bag.
The hand pump, which comes as a kit that includes 5 bags, is affordable. Ziploc’s website sells it for under $20, and Amazon often has a good deal going on. The initial cost is the best thing about this system. There’s also no need to plug anything into an electrical outlet—because it’s all hand powered. It’s super easy to use and hard to get it wrong.
The bags are great for items you don’t intend to store away in the freezer long term. It’s effortless to open the bag, get a portion what’s inside, then close and vacuum the bag again. Being so easy to open again and again make this hand pump system great for items like herbs, and vegetables. You can save a lot of time by pre-cutting veggies for the week.
There’s nothing wrong with the hand pump. It’s a simple device, and it works as intended. That doesn’t mean the whole system is perfect though. Most of the problem with this simple system lies in the bags. I know, I know, I just said the bags were great above; and they are, but they’re not perfect. There are a few issues with the bags. I’d be lying to you if I said the bags didn’t have any problems.
The bags slowly leak over time. It’s because of the unique vacuum port where the air is sucked out. They work well for a few days, but eventually, some air slowly makes its way back in. The valve isn’t sealed completely, so keeping out 100% of the air long-term is impossible. Some bags keep the air out longer, and others will need to be vacuumed again within the week.
What does this slow leak mean? It means these bags aren’t good for long-term storage in the freezer. Nothing is stopping you from doing so, but you might end up being disappointed at one point or another.
Another problem with this system, in particular, is the cost of the bags; they’re a little pricey. Well, they’re more expensive than the standard Ziploc freezer bags, as well as the other vacuum sealer bags. It gets even pricier if you only use the bags one time and then toss them out (which is what’s recommended). Some people wash their bags over and over again, but I’m not a fan of that idea.
Final Thoughts on The Ziploc Hand Pump Vacuum System
Don’t let the fact that you read more cons than pros deter you from this neat little device. It’s not because the cons far out weight the pros; there were just a lot more details to cover.
I think this system is best used to keep items fresh longer in your fridge. It’s best for food items you intend to eat within the week. It’s excellent for keeping herbs and vegetables fresh longer. It’s an excellent time saver for preparing things ahead of time and keeping it fresh during the busy work week.
If you’re trying to keep food in the freezer, I highly recommend getting a real vacuum sealer instead. For those of you who were considering these for sous vide cooking, you will also want to stick to a real vacuum sealer. If not, then you save a lot of money just using regular freezer bags.
If you’re considering buying this system because you think it’s the cheapest option, you need to consider the overall cost of the bags. Plus, there are some severe limitations to what you can fit in the bags compared to a roll.
Should you buy it? Only if you’re planning to use it for what I talked about above—short-term storage. For long-term freezer storage, it’s not reliable enough to justify the costs. Read the rest of the review because the other options are better for that.
V151 and the V100 Series
If you’re looking for a vacuum sealer from Ziploc, the Ziploc V151 from the V100 series is an excellent place to start in the Ziploc vacuum sealer system.
- Seal Only Allowing you to seal a bag without vacuuming; letting you add an extra seal to make sure if the first seal fails, you’re still safe.
- Pulse function. Giving you precise manual control of when to vacuum and when to stop vacuuming.
- Accessory port. Allowing you to connect a special host for vacuum sealing containers, etc.
In short, the good things about the Ziploc V100 series vacuum sealers are:
- Low cost, being darn affordable.
- Pulse function, giving you precise manual control.
- The accessory port that is nice to have.
- Slim profile doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it’s easy to store.
The low cost is one of the best things about this particular series; it costs a fraction of the other fancier vacuum sealers. This unit is basic, yet it still has all the features you would need in a vacuum sealer. There are no automatic features that can fail or break—which is a good thing.
The pulse function is probably where this unit (and the others in the same series) shines. Cheaper vacuum sealers around this price range don’t typically include a pulse function. Most are just vacuum and seal; where you don’t get to choose when to stop vacuuming.
Why would you want to do manual vacuuming? You can stop vacuuming before it’s too late. This precise control over the vacuum process is excellent for foods that have more liquid. You can stop vacuuming right before the liquid comes up too far and causes a bad seal. It’s also great for more fragile food like bread and the likes. You can stop vacuuming right before it starts crushing the food. Once you end the process, you can just push the seal button, and it will make a seal.
The accessory port is nice to have. Although, it’s not necessary for a vacuum sealer and I don’t see myself using it too often. It’s a good thing because you don’t’ have to move up to a higher model and pay extra for it.
The V100 series’ slim profile is also a big plus—it doesn’t take up much space. It measures 19 inches long, 7.5 inches deep and only 4.5 inches high. Storing it away is easy, and you can comfortably fit wherever. Choosing to just leave it out on the counter still gives plenty of space for other things.
The most prominent complaints found in Ziploc vacuum sealer reviews about the Ziploc V151 and the other Ziploc vacuum sealer models in the V100 series is the lack of some fancy features. These features include a built-in bag cutter, a built-in bag holder, automatic sensing of the bag, automatic vacuuming, etc.
Those are all pointless features if you ask me. They don’t affect the reliability of the vacuum sealer at all. In fact, I think automatic features are more problem than they are worth—because it’s just one more thing that can fail and they do fail often. The V151 and the likes are basic vacuum sealers that get the job done; it’s a little unreasonable to expect it to have fancy features meant for higher models. At this price point, you won’t find those features with any other vacuum sealer anyways.
Another complaint I see people complain about often (in reviews, etc.) is the seal. The seal doesn’t hold and fails shortly after storage, or it doesn’t seal correctly right from the beginning. This common complaint is often not because the product is faulty. This problem is usually more of a user error. Many people don’t know how to vacuum and seal a bag properly
Some people vacuum seal food with too much liquid—which causes a bad seal. You’re not supposed to get the part of the bag that is going to be sealed wet at all. People unknowingly vacuum the liquid past that sweet spot, attempt to seal it and it doesn’t seal well, or it doesn’t seal at all. That area needs to be dry at all times to seal correctly.
The instructions also say to leave at least 2 inches of room for the bag to seal correctly. That means no food in the last 2 inches of the bag—and it needs to be dry. When you have food right up to where the seal is, the bag doesn’t stay flat, and it won’t seal properly. That also allows the food to push up on the seal, which will eventually weaken and break the seal.
There are some things you can do to help minimize these inconveniences including:
- Using the handy Pulse feature. Stop the vacuum process before liquids move up the bag too far.
- Pre-freeze food items with excess liquid Freeze for a couple of hours until the liquid is stable enough not to run. Then vacuum seal it.
- Double seal. With the Seal only feature, add another seal just to be on the safe side.
Final Thoughts on the V151 and V100 series
If you want a vacuum sealer that will get the job done but is quite affordable, then this is a good product. If you’re looking for a basic vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking, then it’s a good choice if you’re trying to save some money.
If you’re looking for heavy use, it’s not a great choice nor is it even close to being a decent choice. The cheaper, more affordable options are not meant for heavy users. That’s like trying to use a Band-Aid to cover a cut that needs stitches (it’s just not the right tool for the job). If you’re looking for fancy features, you’ll want to skip this one as well.
In other words, it’s a great and affordable option for the average home user that only needs to vacuum pack food here and there.
Ziploc’s V200 Series Vacuum Sealer Machines
Ziploc’s vacuum sealer system for the V203 and the V200 series comes in 3 different models: v203 (white), v204(black) and V205(red). Beyond the colors, there are no differences between the various models. The V200 series are basic, entry-level vacuum sealers aimed at the home user only.
- Locking lid. Just push the cover down to lock it in place.
- Vacuum and Seal only (no pulse). Push 1 button and the entire vacuum sealing process is taken care of.
- Cancel button
- Seal button for adding extra seals.
- Accessory port for jars and marinating containers.
- Cheap and affordable
- Easy to use
- Accessory port
The best thing about the V200 series is the low cost. If you do some searching, you can sometimes find it for less than $50 from various brick and mortar retailers, as well as online retailers. Anyone searching for an affordable starter vacuum sealer, but don’t want to settle for a Seal-a-Meal should consider the Ziploc V200 series. Sure, the Ziploc costs just a bit more, but it’s a little nicer (and it has an accessory port).
Another great thing about this series is how easy it is to use. A long time ago, I had a cheap, entry-level vacuum sealer. To use it, I had to push down on the lid and hold it down for a good 10 seconds or so before I could let go. That was a such a hassle; and sometimes, I would ease the pressure a little bit, and things would go south. I’m glad the V200 vacuum sealers have a locking lid, so no one else has to relive that nightmare. So, a big plus for a more positive experience with the locking lid.
The accessory port that comes with this series is also a good thing. Sure, many of us won’t use it too often, but should we ever need it, it’s nice to have it already. Those containers made for use with these are a little pricey, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that they are reusable. I still don’t see much use for them though.
The one thing that makes the V200 series fail to compare with the V100 series is the lack of a pulse function. Anyone that has been using vacuum sealers for a while, and uses it more heavily than some other people will know how helpful a pulse feature is.
Not being able to control precisely how much to vacuum leaves more room for problems when I’m trying to vacuum seal food with excess liquid. Fragile food like bread will be a little hard to vacuum pack too because they’re likely going to get squished.
Aside from the lack of a pulse feature, there isn’t much else to complain about when you consider the price for this thing. Some people might complain about the lack of fancy features like built-in bag cutters, but again, you won’t find them with any other vacuum sealer at this price point. If I were looking for those elements, I’d move up to a fancier model.
Other complaints I’ve seen regarding the V200 series in many Ziploc vacuum sealer reviews (from users, buyers, are the same as with the V100 series—failing to seal and being unable to find vacuum sealer bags. We’ll talk about the bags issue first since it’s a little quicker to cover.
Despite what Ziploc and any other seller might tell you, if it comes down to where you can’t find the official Ziploc bags for their vacuum sealers, you do have options. Just about any vacuum sealer bag (or roll) designed for this type of vacuum sealers will work. The FoodSaver bags and rolls will work just fine. Just look at the bag and make sure it has the two channels on the inside of the bag. These allow air to be drawn from the bag correctly. Regular bags without these inside channels will not work.
Now, as for the complaints about the unit not sealing correctly on the first try (or at all), the problem usually lies in the user. These things were made for entry-level users—people who happen to have little experience with vacuum sealing. Combine the lack of knowledge and experience with many limitations, and you have problems.
Many users of these entry-level vacuum sealers don’t know what to do and what not to do. They try to vacuum seal food that has too much liquid. The automatic vacuum and seal function makes this even worse. The unit will end up drawing the fluid up to where the seal is going to be. Then it tries to seal a wet bag. The seal either fails right from the start, or it fails not too long after because a good seal was never made.
One great example of this problem was when a user who had attempted to vacuum seal chicken stock. When you fill a bag full of chicken stock and then try to vacuum the bag–full of liquid–and seal it…it just isn’t going to turn out well.
Now, for that scenario, things would’ve been perfect had the user known about the limitations and correct steps to take. The stock should’ve been frozen for a few hours first; removing the problems with liquids. Some will argue that defeats the whole purpose, but it doesn’t. The taste and quality of the stock will not be affected by just a couple of hours in the freezer. After placing the frozen stock into the bag, the opening to the bag should’ve been wiped dry with a clean paper towel. If these steps had been followed, the user would’ve been singing praises of how wonderfully amazing things were.
Yes, that’s a lot of steps to take, but there are trade-offs for a more affordable price; and the extra work is one those trade-offs. For this example, the problem wasn’t so much because the device was a low end, entry-level device. The problem was with the vacuum sealing technology. You can’t put soup into the bag and then try to suck out the air from the opening and not draw out the liquid as well.
Final Thought on the V200 Series
The V200 series from the Ziploc vacuum sealer line of products is an excellent unit to start off with if you’re on a tight budget. If cost is more important to you, then the V201 is an excellent choice for you. Just be realistic and don’t expect high-end performance. Know that you will be buying a very basic vacuum sealer.
Also, if you’re looking at vacuum sealers of this style and especially of this price point, you need to understand that there are going to be some limitations. You also need to know how to vacuum seal properly; working to manage these restrictions. If you do so, you’ll have a much better experience. If you don’t, then you will likely join the ranks of those complaining about the seals.
These common limitations are completely removed when you move up to a chamber vacuum sealer, but even then, those have their flaws that come up. The point is, nothing will be perfect, and there will always be limitations. You need to be aware of them and work around these limitations.
Ziploc’s V300 Series Vacuum Sealer System
The Ziploc V357 and the V300 series is what I would call “the fancy version” in Ziploc’s line of vacuum sealer system. It has some of the fancy features that are popular with many people such as a bag holder and cutter. There are three models in this series: V355 (white), V357(black), and V366(stainless steel).
- A bag cutter so you don’t have to find a scissor or reach for a knife. Also makes nice, and reasonably straight cuts.
- Bag roll storage, a convenient feature. You don’t have to search for the bags because they’re with the vacuum sealer. Also helps save on storage space.
- Automatically vacuum, seal, and You just stick the end of the bag into the machine, and it does everything for you.
- Pulse mode option for precise manual control.
- Seal only button for adding an extra seal.
The bag cutter and bag holder is are nice features that the V300 series has. The cuts are a lot straighter compared to using a knife. I also like the built-in bag holder. You know exactly where the bag is and there is no need to dig through the kitchen for the bags.
These two features are nice, and they’re usually only found in fancier models of home vacuum sealers. In the case of Ziploc’s line of vacuum sealers, the V300 is the fancy model. Some people seem to favor and want these two features. I think they’re nice, but I don’t believe they are a deal breaker. If your budget is tight, don’t put too much weight on these things.
The automatic feature, along with the pulse mode is a plus. The ease of the automatic vacuum and seal is great for vacuum sealing food that is trouble-free. But when you need to pack something that isn’t suitable for the automatic option, the pulse mode is there to save the day.
Another good thing about the V300 series is they’re a little sleeker looking—they look kind of cool. Although, that’s entirely based on my personal preference. If I were going to leave a vacuum sealer out on the countertop at all times, I would choose the 300 series just because it looks a little more pleasant to look at.
The worst thing about the V300 series is the cost. It does cost a bit more than the other vacuum sealers offered by Ziploc. To me, it feels like I’m paying extra just for a fancier look and the built-in bag holder. In terms of performance, you aren’t getting any better performance by spending more.
Another thing you could nitpick about the V300 series is the height of the machine. Measuring at 9 inches high, it’s almost double the height of the V100 series. Being taller, it does appear to look bigger. Although, the truth is the length (16.75 inches) and depth (6 inches) are relatively close to the others.
Common problems you’ll hear about this series will include the common complaints about the seal not holding, etc. By now, you and I both know that problem is often a user error and can be fixed by learning the limitations and how to use the device properly. If you skipped your way and missed that part, just go back to the V100 or V200 series. I covered all of that in detail above in those two sections.
Final Thoughts on the V300 Series
The vacuum sealers in this series are certainly more beautiful, and they have a few conveniences features. However, they do cost more, and it feels like you’ll be paying for looks only. You don’t get better performance by upgrading.
If looks are important to you, then you consider buying the V300 series for a little more money. But if you’d like to spend a little less then I would recommend the V100 series instead. It doesn’t look as nice, and it doesn’t have a bag holder, but it works just as well.
Which One Should You Buy?
This Ziploc vacuum sealer reviews the hand pump option, as well the different models available in the V100, V200, and V300 series vacuum sealer machines. After having looked at all the features, pros and cons, the question you need to answer is, “which one should you buy?”
If you want a nicer looking vacuum sealer, then V300 series is a good choice. That’s assuming your budget is open for it’s higher price. If you’re on a tighter budget, and you want to get the most out of your money, then the V151 in the V100 series is the best choice.