We spent over 50 hours in the kitchen with six of the top vacuum sealers, sealing over a hundred bags with myriad food samples, to crown the Crenova – VS100 as the best vacuum sealer. We sealed a wide range of foods from dry beans to moisture-rich foods like chicken and pork chops. We also put food packs through extreme conditions, such as the bottom of the ocean and the middle of the desert, to compare sealing quality and accelerate effects of remaining air pockets.
The ease of use and versatility bundled with its convenience features made the Crenova – VS100 the clear choice when sealing food for storage or sous vide cooking. Its size allowed for a permanent place on the countertop, which was fine by us as we quickly became enamored with sealing everything even remotely perishable.
Top Pick: Crenova - VS100
Allowing you to quickly and easily vacuum seal your food with minimal footprint, the Crenova was a clear winner in our tests.
If you’re looking to add one to your kitchen repertoire, or just learning about them, vacuum sealers are a worthwhile purchase that’s been saving chefs and home cooks money for decades. They quickly earn their place on the counter by extending the shelf life of your perishable food.
Nearly 40% of the food made in America is never eaten. Most of this waste comes from food going bad. One of the best ways to prevent such waste in the average household is to use a food vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealed food can last up to five times longer than food in traditional storage.
Table of Contents
- How we selected products to test
- The six best vacuum sealers
- Important features to consider
- How we tested
- The best vacuum sealer: Crenova – VS100
- Best multi-purpose pick: Foodsaver – v4840
- Other finalists
- The bottom line
- How long does your vacuum sealed food last?
How we selected products to test
With plenty of vacuum sealers available on Amazon, it was no easy feat narrowing down the list to six for testing. We started by talking to chef, Draper Donely, who’s spent the last three years with Submariner as Director of Franchise Operations. He helped us learn which qualities were essential for food safety in vacuum sealed foods. We also discussed with him the necessities of sous vide cooking.
While researching further in the subreddit /r/frugal, we learned there is a wide range of use for vacuum sealers that will place more importance on some features than other use cases. For example, game hunters that will be spending several hours vacuum sealing in one session need a machine that can stand up to repeated and heavy use, but aren’t too concerned about how big the machines are.
This led us to looking at some commercial-grade sealers such as the Weston Pro – 2300 and Cabela’s 12 inch commercial sealer. And while these are amazing devices that are well-loved by hunters and chefs, they do come at a hefty price. For your average kitchen, we looked at what consumers thought were important qualities from Amazon reviews, Reddit and YouTube. We looked at reliability reports and warranties and pitted that against companies with solid reputations. No vacuum sealer scored a perfect review, as each had their own minor grievances, but we were able to discern which vacuum sealers were worth considering.
The six best vacuum sealers
|1. Crenova - VS100S||$$||11 inches||1 year|
|2. FoodSaver - v4840||$$$$$||11 inches||5 years|
|3. Geryon - E2800-C||$||12 inches||1 year|
|4. FoodSaver - FM2000||$$||11 inches||5 years|
|5. NutriChef - PKVS18BK||$$||11 inches||N/A|
|6. Nesco - VS-02||$$||11 inches||1 year|
Who needs a vacuum sealer
Food vacuum sealers are a great addition to the busy household looking to save time and money. They’re especially great for people with memberships to bulk retailers like Costco and Sam’s club. For anyone trying to save money and eliminate food waste, preservation is the key to success. Food sealers are great for extending shelf life, which will help keep foods preserved up to five times longer in both the refrigerator and the freezer, according to the FDA.
Vacuum sealers not only save money and help eliminate waste, they also save you time. Busy families have tight schedules and being able to bulk shop, vacuum seal and freeze helps reduce shopping trips. Leftovers will also last longer which will help eliminate cooking a few meals, adding more to your time saved.
Food vacuum sealers are incredible machines that pull as much oxygen out of the storage bag as they can, before heat sealing the bag. Oxygen is the enemy of freshness and is what accelerates spoilage in food. These sealers are able to extend shelf life by eliminating most of the oxygen in the bag. That being said, it’s important to remember that food will eventually go bad over long enough period of time, even if it’s been vacuum sealed.
Important features to consider
Width of sealer: The size of the food you want to vacuum seal will determine what size bag you will need. Most food vacuum sealers are around 11 inches wide, which will accommodate most food items. Hunters will typically need a vacuum sealer at least 12 inches wide to vacuum seal larger portions of meat.
Speed/convenience/suction power: All of the vacuum sealers work exactly the same way, but each one will have different combinations of features for speed and convenience. Larger units will often include a bag roll storage and cutter, a great convenience, but one that comes with the cost of a larger unit. Other units will sacrifice vacuum control for a more powerful pump that reduces the time to remove oxygen, which can lead to crushing softer foods.
Versatility: If you also want to be able to seal jars and extra large bags, a hose attachment is great feature that will add versatility to your unit.
Noise: No food vacuum sealer is going to have an absolutely silent motor, but some are built with noise reduction in mind.
Size / weight: The importance of the size and weight will largely depend on the size of your kitchen. Assess your available counter space and your predicted frequency of use. Larger units will often have storage for bag rolls and come with a few other convenience features that offer a compelling reason to make permanent room on your counter. But if space is an issue, choose one of the lightweight vacuum sealers that’s easy to store.
Liquids / oily foods: It’s important for the vacuum sealer to be able to detect liquids and oils entering the vacuum chamber quickly and shut off the motor before they enter the main housing. Lower quality machines can break down quickly if they fail to shut off in time. Packaging will reflect whether or not this feature is present.
Warranty: With heavy use, even the best vacuum sealers may quit on you before you know it. Getting at least a one year warranty will help ease your mind, should you use your vacuum sealer often.
Performance over long sessions: The average household won’t need to consider this often, but if you’re prepping for winter by sealing and storing in the freezer, it’s helpful to have a vacuum sealer that can maintain performance speed and quality over longer sessions. This is especially true for hunters that may need to seal large quantities of meat.
How we tested
The first thing we wanted to know was how easy it was to get up and running with each of the vacuum sealers. Most of the units we tested were pretty straightforward: plug it into the wall, place food in provided bag, place open end in vacuum chamber, secure and press the vacuum button. The FoodSaver – V4840 was the only one that had an automated process, which took reading the directions beforehand to operate correctly. The directions are also on the machine itself and weren’t difficult to follow. The Geryon, NutriChef – Automatic Vacuum Air Sealer and Crenova – VS100 were the most intuitive and easiest to get started using.
The size and weight of the FoodSaver – V4840 made it the biggest vacuum sealer by far. It’s definitely meant to stay where you put it, so moving it around for storage will likely not be convenient. And while the Nesco – VS-02 was light in comparison, the dimensions were big enough to make it inconvenient to move around and store when not in use. The Greyon was by far the most portable food vacuum sealer.
We looked at each vacuum sealer’s listed wattage and performed our own test to determine the suction power of each machine. We measured out six portions of six ounces of kidney beans, one portion for each sealer. We used the provided bags for each machine as they were all very similar in construction. We timed the process as well to further determine the convenience of each unit. To make the process as fair as possible, we eliminated as much air as possible by hand for each bag before beginning.
For our visual assessment, we looked closely to see how much air had been removed. The bags with the most air removed sealed most tightly to the beans. Vacuum sealing dry kidney beans is a pretty easy task for all six of our chosen vacuum sealers. The Crenova – VS100 had the quickest time and only the FoodSaver – FM2000 had a subpar vacuum seal with a time of almost ten seconds more than the best time recorded.
To further test our sealers on suction power and their ability to handle moisture-rich foods, we did another round of testing with pork chops and fish. The fish, being softer and more easily crushed to produce more moisture, was great for testing how good each unit was in shutting off before pulling too much moisture into the vacuum chamber.
A note on how to get the most air removed from bags containing moisture-rich foods:
Take a sheet or two of paper towels and fold them horizontally until they are three inches tall. Place the folded up paper towel(s) in the top of the bag (make sure you’ll still have plenty of room for the machine to seal without touching the towel(s)) and away from the food. The paper towel will soak up the moisture being pulled from the food, saving it from entering and damaging the vacuum sealer. It’s not recommended to use this method for sous vide cooking. The paper towel trick will collect residual moisture and remain in the top portion of the bag.
The FoodSaver – V4840 and the NutriChef – Automatic Vacuum Air Sealer are the only vacuum sealers to have specific dry and moist food modes. In the case of the FoodSaver – V4840, this slowed down the process. This allowed the machine to remove more air before having to shut off. The slow process prevented moisture from entering the vacuum chamber. The moist mode on the NutriChef – Automatic Vacuum Air Sealer had no discernible effect. We used it with the mode on and off with the same foods and had negligible difference in both time and results.
The moisture-rich fish helped further separate the quality of the suction achieved by each machine. The smaller units did very well. The Geryon – Vacuum Sealer Machine and Crenova – VS100 both shut off during appropriate times to ensure too much moisture didn’t enter the vacuum chamber. The Geryon barely edged out the FoodSave – FM2000 in our visual assessment of the pork chops, with a barely noticeable difference in the amount of air removed.
A note on vacuum sealing raw chicken:
When vacuum sealing raw chicken, make sure to thoroughly clean the vacuum chamber after each use. Salmonella is always a risk factor when working with raw chicken in the kitchen. It’s important to clean the vacuum chamber after any liquid or juices from raw meat enter it to ensure food safety.
To test the performance of our six vacuum sealers we specifically wanted to look at longevity, strength of the seal and how well it does with soft foods.
High volume testing
For our high volume test, we measured out 30 portions of kidney beans weighing six ounces each. We then vacuum sealed each one to see how many each unit could vacuum seal at 100% efficacy, meaning we did repeated vacuum sealing until each unit could no longer remove air to the same degree as the first bag sealed. We also checked to see how much rest each unit needed after failure before being able to use it again at 100% efficacy.
The FoodSaver – V4840 was a real champion at sealing bags consecutively. It made it to 25 bags before getting too hot to get a 100% vacuum on the next bag. This is because the bags would start to seal from the heat, which would not allow the machine to pull out air to create the vacuum. The cool down time was also the longest, but we’ll forgive that due to the much higher bag count. We noticed that units that were made of mostly plastic had quicker recovery times. The Nesco wasn’t able to last as long but it cooled down and was able to get back to work faster than all, but the Geryon.
Strength of seal
We tested the strength of the seal through a variety of means, both normal and extreme. Our normal involved using a sous vide cooking machine. Sous vide cooking utilizes vacuum sealed food to achieve a very thorough and even cooking that results in marvelously tasty meals. We used each unit to vacuum seal an eight oz. cut of beef chuck for our sous vide cooking.
Sous vide cooking takes an extremely long time compared to other methods, but is actually very easy and yields wonderful results. Our beef chuck was an excellent choice to use as it is a very inexpensive cut of beef that highlighted the benefits of using a sous vide cooker.
We sealed each portion with seasoning, thyme and rosemary before cooking. In this test, there was no clear winner as each performed admirably with equal results. Each portion was cooked perfectly throughout the entire portion.
For our first extreme test we sealed six slices of apple and took these to the desert and left them in the sun while we rock climbed. This helped us check for oxidation which helped us determine just how good the vacuum and the seal were. A pleasant surprise greeted us when we opened the bags; the apples were completely baked and tasted superb. The only bag to show signs up oxidation was the bag vacuum-sealed by the Nesco – VS-02, meaning it failed to achieve a high level vacuum seal.
Our second extreme test involved sealing paper towels and taking them freediving with us to a depth of 60 feet. While it’s unlikely anyone will need to take vacuum sealed food 60 feet underwater, we thought it would be a fun way to test how well the seal did under pressure. And not surprisingly, not a single bag leaked.
In the end, the only machine to underperform was the Nesco and only in terms of vacuum. Each unit performed admirably in regards to the strength of the seal.
To check how well each food vacuum sealer dealt with vacuum sealing soft foods, we used the softest food we could think of: sliced bread. We placed two slices of bread into a bag, vacuum sealed it and compared our results.
This allowed us to test how quickly the stop function worked on all the vacuum sealers. If you let any of them go automatically, they will each crush the bread into almost nothing. Every unit we tested stopped immediately after pressing the stop button, but the Nesco would allow a little bit of air to return to the chamber before sealing.
The Crenova – VS100 has a wonderful feature that allows you to remove a little more air in small bursts through a pulse button. This came in handy throughout our time with the unit.
As mentioned above, the Crenova – VS100 has a pulse button that allows for quick bursts of suction to remove as much air as possible. This was especially useful for soft foods, but came in handy during other uses as well.
The FoodSaver – V4840 4840 and Nesco – VS-02 both come with storage for a bag roll. This is a fantastic feature that makes it easy to keep track of everything and create custom-sized bags. Both also have a slicer integrated into the machine to make cutting effortless and precise.
The FoodSaver – V4840 4840 is the only one we tested that came with an included canister pump that is attached to the machine. While this feature is not as commonly used, it’s a nice addition.
Food vacuum sealers are going to get dirty. It’s a fact of life for almost every kitchen appliance. And keeping these machines clean, especially the rubber seal of the vacuum chamber, is crucial to keeping them functioning properly and lasting for years instead of months. In our testing, we found that all but the FoodSaver – V4840 4840 were very easy to clean. The FoodSaver – V4840 4840 sliding tray made it difficult to thoroughly clean the device if too much liquid was pulled during suction. While not an impossible task, it was nowhere near as easy as with the other units.
The Geryon – Vacuum Sealer Machine was perhaps the easiest to clean in these situations, being constructed almost entirely of heavy duty plastic and having a removable inner tray.
The best vacuum sealer: Crenova – VS100
Of the six vacuum sealers we tested, the Crenova – VS100 sucked the most, which in this case is the best. When used to vacuum seal pork chops and fish, it performed admirably and was easy to put away after sealing anything. While it isn’t the smallest unit, it’s relatively close in size to the Geryon — the smallest unit — and is still easily storable. The Crenova was also the quickest machine and was only outperformed in longevity by the two FoodSavers. This made our consecutive sealing test easier to perform in comparison to the other models. The simplicity of its design also lent it a nice aesthetic while in use in our kitchen.
Crenova - VS100
A simple design, the fastest performance, and a unique pulse button made the Crenova a tough one to beat.
We also appreciated how easy it was to use in comparison to the larger FoodSaver – V4840 4840 while still having similar features. The vacuum chamber was large, making it easy to place the open end of the bag into the machine. Pushing down on the machine to lock it into place took the least amount of guesswork due to the design. The Crenova hinge for the lid is very close to the front of the machine, giving it enough weight towards the back to balance the machine while pressing down the lid to lock.
The Crenova also featured a pulse button, a welcome and unique feature to the unit. The pulse button allowed us to maximize our vacuum and remove as much air as possible past the point of the machine’s automatic pump. This was extremely helpful when sealing moisture-rich foods with our papel towel trick.
With 79% of its users on Amazon giving it five stars, we aren’t surprised it was our top pick as well. The negative reviews reported the unit quit after less than 20 uses. We put it through the paces and never had an issue. Many of the negative reviews did mention that the company replaced defective units promptly and with no hassle.
If you’re looking to save money and time with an excellent vacuum sealer that isn’t going to break the bank or eat up your counter space, then you’ll appreciate the simple and easy to use Crenova – VS100.
- Our top vacuum sealer, the Crenova – VS100, not only performed better than the other six food vacuum sealers, it featured a unique pulse button to get the best vacuum seal possible.
- Small and lightweight, the Crenova is easy to pack up and store or hang out on the counter without taking up too much space.
- The manufacturer warranty is good and the company treats customers well.
Best multi-purpose pick: Foodsaver – v4840
The FoodSaver – v4840 almost wins by default because as its name implies, it has a built-in handheld pump. This is a nice addition if you want to seal very large objects with compatible zipper bags. It also doubles as storage for your sealing bags roll and has a built-in slicer to cut custom-sized bags. This tried and true brand takes what’s good about the smaller FoodSaver – FM2000 and increases the power and improves the overall performance while adding plenty of additional features.
Although it's a larger product, you get a handheld pump for sealing large items, as well as better high-volume performance.
The size of the v4840 will pretty much assure it a permanent place on your kitchen counter. If you have the room, it’s definitely worth it. Having a bag roll storage and slicer built-into the unit makes it so that you won’t have to potentially hunt around your kitchen for bags.
The FoodSaver was also the only one on our picks to feature an automatic start. To begin suction, you feed the end of the bag into the bottom tray and the unit will begin the process once it detects the bag. The unit also has instructions and tips printed inside the storage container which are definitely helpful. The key to getting it to work quickly is to orient the bag so that the curve of the bag faces down.
- The FoodSaver – v4840 is from a trusted and well-established brand that’s been making home use vacuum sealers for over 30 years.
- The automatic start makes for a convenient operation and gives this vacuum sealer a little more ease of use, especially when vacuum sealing multiple items in one session.
- It has great versatility, from years of design experience.
- The large size accommodates bag roll storage making this ideal for those who have the counter space available and don’t mind having a permanent place for it.
Geryon – E2800-C
Geryon - E2800-C
Small, yet powerful, the Geryon is a vacuum sealer you'll love putting to work.
This little beauty, the Geryon – E2800-C was right up there with the winner. It had many of the same things going for it that we loved about our top pick. It was almost as fast, almost as powerful and was even smaller. We honestly enjoyed using it as much as the Crenova. It was extremely easy to clean and worked wonderfully.
It’s a great device for the home cook with little space in the kitchen as its small size makes it easy to move about and store. But it can also squeeze onto even the smallest amount of counter space. And its stainless steel look will complement plenty of other appliances.
Amazon users who purchased the product agreed, with 69% giving it a five-star rating. They also loved the ease of use and clean-up. Many said they appreciated how quiet the machine was during use.
FoodSaver – FM2000
Another entry from the most established brand in the market of food vacuum sealers, the Foodsaver – FM2000 unit worked well, offering a solid user experience while being much smaller than its bigger and more expensive older brother. Even though it was the loudest of the bunch we tested, it was still relatively quiet.
It doesn’t beat out our favorites, but it still performs admirably and has been well-received by daily users for years. It’s a fan favorite and is often found in the kitchens of those who love sous vide cooking.
The FM2000 finished second, after it’s bigger sibling, in how long it could be used continuously. So if you’re a hunter that will be needing longer sessions or someone who does winter storing in bulk, this is a great alternative to the very expensive commercial-grade vacuum sealers.
NutriChef – PKVS18BK
Another small and lightweight unit, the NutriChef – PKVS18BK put up very respectable numbers in all our tests. It had one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs of the bunch and would fit well in a modern-style kitchen.
The touchscreen-style buttons were a neat touch that made the device feel far more futuristic than the other units, giving it an air of sophistication. Its small size and performance make it a great all rounder as it had a very satisfying locking mechanism when we used it. This made multiple sessions easy and never left us double checking to ensure both sides were secure before sealing.
Nesco – VS-02
The Nesco – VS-02 was the only other unit we tested to feature a built-in storage for bag rolls along with a slicer to help make precise cuts. Its larger size will be more at home as a permanent resident on your countertop, but it’s light enough to be portable as well should you want to keep it in the pantry.
For those that are new to vacuum sealing their food, this is a great start to see if you’re going to be spending the time to seal and store. It won’t break the bank and it will meet all the needs of the occasional sealer.
The bottom line
When it comes to saving time and money in the kitchen, eliminating food waste is a crucial component to success. The best way to eliminate food waste is to extend shelf life, and a vacuum sealer is the best method for to so. The Crenova – VS100 comes in as our top choice for its ability to quickly and powerfully vacuum seal food, allow for pulse adjustment and doing so while occupying very little counter space. While the FoodSaver – V4840 was an excellent and versatile machine, the difference in price and the simple and easy to use and clean Crenova – VS100 made it the best choice.
Top Pick: Crenova - VS100
This was the fastest machine and great unless you need commercial-level volume. It was the only unit with a pulse button for maximum air removal control.
How long does your vacuum sealed food last?
Storage is everything when it comes to keeping your food fresh. Throughout more than 50 hours of testing vacuum sealers and discussing with food-safety experts, we also learned the length of time that popular food items last in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry. Learn more about how long your food will last if vacuum sealed and stored properly with our guideline below.
If you find yourself tossing expired food at the end of the week, investing in a vacuum sealer could save you money in the long run. Record how much food you’re throwing out without a vacuum sealer for a month — you might be surprised by how quickly it will pay for itself.
Sources: Seal a Meal | Vacuum Food Storage | Ready Nutrition | ehow: How Long Can You Keep Frozen Shrimp in a Freezer? | Still Tasty: Lobster Tails | Tasting Table: Cheese Expiration | EatByDate: How Long Do Nuts Last? | Foodsafety.gov | EatByDate: How Long Does Bread Last?