The Best Vacuum Sealers We Tested for Easy Food Preservation
Finding ways to extend the shelf life of groceries is a great way to cut down on food waste at home. Most people spend a lot of time, money, and effort grocery shopping, and there's nothing worse than reaching for a certain ingredient and realizing it's spoiled before you've even had the chance to use it. One of the easiest ways to keep food fresher for longer is by investing in a high-quality vacuum sealer.
These handy tools work by removing air from the bags or containers that food is stored in, which prevents bacteria or mold from growing and protects food from freezer burn. Vacuum sealers are useful in a variety of ways, but they're particularly helpful if you prefer to buy products in bulk, meal prep, or if you're trying to preserve food that you've grown or caught yourself.
In order to find the best vacuum sealer, we put a few leading models to the test by sealing some of the most delicate foods we could find, to assess their ability to effectively preserve food without crushing it. Overall, our testers were most impressed by the Nesco VS 12, thanks to the complete power control it offers. It excelled in our tests and was the only machine that was able to preserve raspberries without crushing them.
Our Top Picks
For a simultaneously strong yet gentle machine that removes air without crushing food, opt for the affordable, easy-to-use Nesco VS 12. This machine excelled in all of our tests and was able to expertly extract air while keeping even the most delicate foods—raspberries and pretzels—intact.
Factors to Consider
A high-quality vacuum sealer's most basic function is to preserve food for later use. Therefore, it should be able to suck out air efficiently, without damaging the foods that are being preserved, and it should create a strong seal that helps lock in freshness and prevent bacteria from growing. When shopping for a vacuum sealer, it's important to take functionality, design, and power capabilities into consideration before purchasing one. Some sealers are more powerful than others, but crush delicate foods in the process. Power does not always equal quality, and a powerful suction without pulse control can damage the foods you wish to preserve.
When purchasing a vacuum sealer, assess the machine's ability to seal food gently, without crushing delicate or irregularly shaped items. For best results, look for a machine that offers its users a good amount of control over the amount of power being used. You'll want to look at the control options each machine offers, and make sure it has a mode that is specifically designed for more delicate foods.
Sucking out air can be challenging, especially if you are preserving foods that are irregularly shaped, which opens up the opportunity for air pockets to hide in small crevices. Throughout our tests, we assessed whether or not each machine was able to effectively remove air, or if pockets were left behind in the process.
Before assessing their functionality, we first noted how easy each machine was to handle, use, clean, and store. We set each machine up manually and assessed whether or not the interface was straightforward and easy to use. In doing so, we kept beginners and occasional users in mind to determine whether or not each machine would be a valuable option for advanced or novice users.
To test pulse control, we vacuumed and sealed two of the most delicate foods we could think of—raspberries and Life cereal. Since these two ingredients are so easy to crush, this test allowed us to determine how easily we could control the power of the machine. We aimed to preserve the integrity of the delicate food items and evaluated each machine on its ability to do so.
To test each machine's ability to effectively suck out air and create an airtight seal, we vacuum sealed irregularly shaped foods like pretzels. Pretzels have lots of nooks and crannies for air bubbles to hide around, so this test allowed us to see which machines were able to remove all air pockets and create a super tight seal.
What Didn't Make the List
For this piece, our team of product testers and editors assessed a series of vacuum sealers and reviewed each on how easy they were to use, clean, and store. We performed competitive research to develop a product set that was inclusive of different brands and price points and tested each unit to properly assess the individual characteristics of each.
The author of this piece, Rebecca Carhart, is a Senior Ecommerce Reviews Writer and Strategist whose work can be found in Travel & Leisure, InStyle, Real Simple, People, and more. Rebecca uses her home cooking experience along with competitive research to review the best gadgets for the home and kitchen.
This piece was updated by Laura Denby, a Product Reviews Food Writer and former chef. Laura uses her professional culinary experience to make informed, thoughtful recommendations for publications like Real Simple, FoodNetwork.com, Better Homes & Gardens, and Taste of Home. Laura has tested hundreds of kitchen products in search of the most functional, efficient, and versatile gadgets for home cooks.