Vacuum sealers help keep your food fresh for longer, and with proper sealing and storage it can also help cut back on food waste. Finding the best vacuum sealer is handy for meal prepping, stocking up on grocery store sales, or freezing leftovers. It can also be helpful for marinating proteins and veggies and is a great tool to have on hand if you like to sous vide. How does this convenient kitchen appliance work? It uses a vacuum system to create an airtight seal around food items.
“I often batch cook and freeze soups, fruits for smoothies, cooked grains, and blanched veggies,” Pamela Salzman, a chef and cookbook author tells SELF. “Plus, I like to buy value packs of protein and create smaller portions to freeze for later use.” If you’ve been on the hunt for the best vacuum sealer, we connected with a handful of food experts for their recommendations on the best vacuum seal models.
The different types of vacuum sealers
There are three types of vacuum sealers: external, chamber, and handheld. With an external vacuum sealer (a popular choice among home cooks) the food is sealed in a bag clamped to the outside of the machine. Although an external vacuum sealer can seal wet foods, it may not work well on liquids, such as soups. Because of this, make sure to freeze liquids before vacuum sealing.
With a chamber vacuum sealer, food is placed into a storage bag and then dropped into the machine’s internal chamber. This heavy-duty vacuum sealer can easily seal liquids but is usually large, expensive, and mostly found in commercial kitchens.
Lastly, a handheld vacuum sealer is precisely what it sounds like—compact, highly portable, and ideal for sealing smaller items.
How to choose the best vacuum sealer
When shopping for the best vacuum sealer for your kitchen, Salzman recommends first figuring out how much room you have and what you’ll be using it for the most. “Make sure the size works for your space and that it has all the functionality you want,” she explains. For example, vacuum sealers often have different settings, such as moist, dry, pulse, and sous vide. If you’re planning on sealing wet foods, like raw meats, you’ll want to pick a vacuum sealer with a “moist” function. If you need to preserve cookies or other delicate baked goods, go for one with a “pulse” option. For those who need to seal pantry staples, such as cereals and grains, a machine with a “dry” setting should fit the bill.
The best vacuum sealers
Below we selected 14 expert-recommended vacuum sealers. You’ll find top picks from popular brands like FoodSaver, NutriChef, Zwilling, and Anova Culinary, from retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and others.