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We put 9 of the best vacuum sealers to the test after extensively researching available models. Vacuum sealers are handy appliances designed to keep your food as fresh as possible. Our expert kitchen testers sealed all kinds of foods of various textures and consistency, ranging from berries and sandwich bread, to dry rice and meats. We compared each model's individual food sealing performance, as well as measured their vacuum strength, assessed their ease of use, and took note of overall operational convenience. Our review highlights models that scored awards like best overall, best for delicate foods, best for heavy-duty use, and more, all so you can be sure to find the best sealer for your food storage needs.
A vacuum sealer can be an excellent addition to any home kitchen and can be especially useful for those who like to buy in bulk and plan meals ahead of time. You can pack individual berry servings for your morning smoothie, pack up chopped produce, and seal up meat and veggies to prep for sous vide cooking. These machines can also come in handy for hunters who come home with a big haul that they need to pack and process. Sealing meat keeps it fresher for slow cooked meals later down the road.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 15th, 2022, to include greater detail on our extensive vacuum sealer testing and rating process. We also made updates to each individual gear review.
Measured Average Seal Time: 9 seconds | Measured Seal Thickness: 3mm
REASONS TO BUY
Built-in bag roller/cutter system
Prolonged operation time
Air suction hose
Great with delicate foods
REASONS TO AVOID
No removable tray
Below average suction power
The Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer is inexpensive, easy to use, effective, and lightweight at just 3.1 pounds. Our testing revealed that the suction and sealing process is gentle on delicate food. This feature is partly due to how easy it is to "pulse" the motor on and off during the final air purge, allowing one to get the package sealed just right. We also really like that both the package roll and cutter are incorporated into the unit, so you'll never be looking around for other tools and materials. Moreover, the built-in auxiliary pump allows users the flexibility to suck the air out of standard resealable bags as well.
While there is a lot to like about the Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer, it is not without faults. For example, the vacuum pump can only produce a vacuum pressure of 14.5 in. HG, which is significantly below the average of our tested models. The unit is on the slower side when it comes to sucking/sealing time and also lacks a removable cleaning tray that, in competitive models, makes clean-up much more manageable. That said, this sealer has a broad suction zone, and it can seal 30 bags in a row before requiring a cooldown period. As such, we feel confident that this unit will more than satisfy the needs of all but the most demanding users.
Measured Average Seal Time: 6 seconds | Measured Seal Thickness: 2mm
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive suction power
No bleed-off when sealing
The best with soft foods
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited operation time
Harder to clean
The Mueller vacuum sealer produces incredibly strong vacuum pressure. The motor's power is even more impressive when one considers that the unit weighs just 2.7 pounds and its dimensions are modest. Also worth noting is the gentle touch of the Mueller when sealing up fragile foods. This model has a unique gentle sealing setting that ensures that delicate morsels won't get an unnecessary tenderizing treatment. This performance on soft foods is aided by the sensitive "seal" button that allows for quick on/off pulses.
While the Mueller is undoubtedly a powerful sealer, it is more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner. Case in point, the unit struggled to maintain sealing effectiveness after nine bags, while the average for units tested was ten bags. Consider those similarly priced units that can process 30 bags before requiring a break if this concerns you. Another frustration we encountered with this sealer is that the touch screen is quite sensitive. This feature made it easy to activate unwanted functions accidentally. However, even with the aforementioned shortcomings, this machine belongs at the top of the list of models to consider as it is affordable and quite effective, especially for delicate foods.
Measured Average Seal Time: 13 seconds | Measured Seal Thickness: 2mm
REASONS TO BUY
Great for prolonged use
Removable drip tray
REASONS TO AVOID
Relatively rough on food
The FoodSaver V4400 is a partially automated sealing machine with the convenience of a built-in bag roll and cutter, so you only need to get the machine out, plug it in, and you're ready to go. The unit has a robust motor capable of sealing 30 or more bags in a row without overheating to keep things rolling. The unit is easy to clean up when the sealing is complete due to its removable drip tray that catches liquids extracted from the bags. We were also impressed by the retractable suction hose that allows one to seal a wide variety of kitchen containers.
Despite the utility and versatility of the V4400, its design isn't perfect. For instance, the machine is a heavy 7.8 pounds and bulky compared to the competition. Also, while the automated clamp, seal, and release functions remove guesswork, the process takes longer than if the operation was performed manually. The automation also makes pulsing the motor to prevent squishing delicate foods impossible. Finally, the V4400's suction strength is just average for the class, and its seal is on the narrow side at 2mm. Despite these limitations, we think that this machine's automated ease of use features make it an appropriate choice if you're planning on sealing bulk food items.
Our testing of vacuum sealers is divided across four rating metrics:
Sealing Performance tests (40% of overall score weighting)
Convenience tests (30% of overall score weighting)
Delicate Foods tests (20% of overall score weighting)
Suction Power tests (10% of overall score weighting)
As part of this rigorous side-by-side evaluation of vacuum sealers, we used a wide variety of food items, including berries, ground beef, sausages, and dried goods. We also spent many hours comparing the ease of sealing these different foods and the overall convenience of using each machine. Finally, we used a custom-built negative pressure gauge to objectively measure which models had the greatest suction.
The vacuum sealers in this review undergo more than 17 individual tests, and each result is parsed out according to the categories listed above. The highest-ranking metric is the Sealing Performance score, which has a 40% influence on the overall result and comprises eight different tests. These include results from personal in-use experience and subjective lab tests such as seal thickness and endurance. Each additional metric has its own corresponding tests, and on top of all this, we perform extensive research on each product before laying hands on it.
Analysis and Test Results
We conducted extensive research on the vacuum sealer market combed through reviews and manufacturers' websites to pick the models with the greatest promise to perform at a high level. We then bought the leading models for in-house comparative testing. The following provides details on the testing process and can help you select the products that will fit your needs.
We define value as the sweet spot between price and performance. High-value products offer excellent performance without breaking the bank, and this review has some great options that are perfect illustrations of this ratio.
The Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer and Mueller sealers earned top marks in our evaluation and offered excellent value due to below-average pricing for the group. The NutriChef PKVS18BK didn't score quite as high overall but still offers solid performance for a very good price. Conversely, the FoodSaver V4400 costs significantly more than most of our tested models. However, it is a heavy-duty product that is far more suitable for someone who hunts and fishes for food and needs a sturdy machine to preserve their take. Likewise, folks who like to shop in bulk may find this product's bulk-sealing capability worth the cost.
The sealing metric is 40% of the overall score, and it is measured through a few different tests. First, we time each machine to see how fast it can evacuate the air from a bag and seal it off. We ran this basic test with four different food items — bread, dry rice, ground beef, and sausage. We also scored each product on how many bags can be vacuumed and sealed in a row without needing a break or showing a drop in output. Finally, we awarded points to each unit based on the thickness of the heat seal, with a thicker seal being favored.
Claiming leading spots in the line-up are the Weston Pro 2300, Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer, and FoodSaver V4400. All three of these sealers merited above-average scores for their overall sealing performances. However, the latter two models didn't get off to the best of starts in the first set of tests focused on sealing duration. In this series of tests, we timed how long it took a machine to seal four different food items: four slices of white bread, one cup of dried rice, one pound of ground beef, and four sausage links. While the Amazon Basics and FoodSaver V4400 aren't the fastest, they can handle a lot of sealing before needing to stop to cool off.
The Mueller and Nesco VS-02 were leaders in the time to seal sub metric. So, if you're in a hurry, these machines won't leave you twiddling your thumbs. But then again, these models fell off in subsequent sealing evaluations, including vacuum strength and the number of bags they could continuously seal before needing a break. In these two evaluations, the overall sealing performance leaders pulled ahead. Specifically, the Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer and FoodSaver V4400 are true workhorses as they can seal 30+ bags in a row before they require a cool-off period. The next closest competitor was the Weston Pro at just 15 consecutively sealed bags to put this achievement into perspective.
As far as seal strength is concerned, one can't do better than the standard-setting 5.25mm heat-sealed seam of the Weston Pro. The Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer came in a distant second place with 3mm seams. The NutriChef PKVS18 picked up the remaining podium position with a 2.5mm seam, the average width for all our tested machines.
As the entrepreneur's adage goes, find a problem and sell a solution. More often than not, these problems and their proposed solutions focus on convenience. As such, we evaluated how easy it was to get these sealers to do their job — namely, prolonging food storage times. We favored products with built-in storage for a roll of bags as well as an integrated bag cutter. We also advanced products with removable cleaning trays that captured spills as well as those with integrated attachments for sealing containers such as zip-lock bags and wine bottles. The interface, the locking mechanism, and the size and weight were also factors. The sum of these tests accounts for 30% of a product's overall score.
The FoodSaver V4400 stood out above the rest for this metric. It has both a bag cutter and storage for a roll of bags, making it easy to make square cuts quickly. Additionally, its removable tray makes cleaning a breeze if any liquid leaks out during the sealing process. It also has an accessory port for sealing zipper bags or other containers. If not for its bulky dimensions and considerable weight (7.8 pounds), this machine would have scored even higher. As a final consideration, we found that the models with analog "push" buttons were less touchy and thus more reliable than the models with digital touch-screens. To its benefit, the V4400 is equipped with classic push buttons.
Following the FoodSaver V4400, the Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer and the FoodSaver FM5200 tied for second. These models have onboard bag rolls, cutters, pushbuttons, and auxiliary suction pumps. However, the Basics was held back by the lack of a removable tray to expedite clean up, whereas the FM5200's standings were limited by its relatively hefty 7.1 pounds. That said, the FM5200 seems relatively lean when compared to the gargantuan Weston Pro, which tips the scales at 22.3 pounds.
The Weston Pro finished at the tail end of the group due to its aforementioned weight and lack of bag storage, cleaning tray, and auxiliary pump. Moreover, while its interface is reasonably responsive, one must press and hold the lid down when using it. This last feature becomes increasingly annoying over time. However, if you are looking for a semi-industrial model with serious suction power, these convenience shortcomings may not be dealbreakers, and this model may be worth a gander.
We assessed each machine in the delicate foods metric on how well it preserved squishable or otherwise fragile foods when hermetically sealing them. More specifically, we were interested in the sealers' ability to control the amount of vacuum pressure within the bag as it was being closed. While some products have a "gentle" setting that slows the suction process, most require an on/off pulsing of the motor to achieve a softer touch. As such, we used two slices of bread in our test bag and aimed to remove as much air as possible with the on/off pulse method. The outcome of this test accounted for 20% of a product's overall score.
Receiving an unprecedented 10 out of 10 points for its performance, the Mueller outperformed the competition by preserving a bread crumb. One tester described the outcome as "pretty amazing." While one must alternate between vacuum and stop (i.e., pulse) at the end of the process, the gentle mode setting sucks out air slowly, making it quite easy to get the level just right. The buttons are very responsive, and unlike much of the competition, the Mueller doesn't appear to let any air in when cycling off.
A close second to the Mueller is the Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer. This machine required a bit more effort as it lacks a dedicated "gentle setting," though the "moist mode" appears to slow the suction down and certainly helped with the pulsing effort at the close of the procedure. The main difference between the two devices in practice is that the Basics has just a hint of a delay after pressing the on/off button. Aside from that, the outcome was nearly on par with its higher-ranked counterpart.
As the name suggests, the suction power metric evaluates just how much negative pressure each sealer can bring to bear. We measured the vacuum using a gauge we mounted into a standard vacuum bag. Those models exerting the most negative pressure received the highest score. This metric accounts for the last 10% of a product's overall score.
The Weston, Mueller, and Nesco earned the highest scores here, pulling a 20, 19, and 18.8 inches of mercury (in. Hg) respectively. You may be wondering why these leaders, or at least the Weston, did not receive a score of 10. Well, when we consider that true vacuum is 29.92 in. Hg, we felt that there was room for improvement. That said, these measurements are impressive, but we believe that they can be improved upon.
After performing test after test, and using these machines day in and day out, we feel confident in our findings and present a ranked list for you to choose from. We hope our comprehensive review of vacuum sealers, and fresh test data, will help you decide which one of the year's leading models is best for you. Our hands-on testing covered suction power, control sensitivity, convenience features, and the quality of the final product. So, whether you're looking for an industrial-grade machine for heavy-duty use, a model with a soft touch for preserving delicate foods, or a budget unit that won't empty your wallet, there's a quality machine in our review that will seal the deal.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.