A vacuum sealer is an incredibly useful product that can be used when you’re freezing meat or other food. We tested several different vacuum sealers and consider the Foodsaver Flow as our best in test. It provides excellent sealing quality for food, has a high capacity and is also super easy to clean.
We carried out our tests ourselves and tested all the vacuum sealers as they are intended to be used. In our tests, the machines were used in everyday life to attempt to pack all types of foods with different characteristics, either soft, hard, moist, large and small. We checked everything from machines for wet foods, vacuum sealers for coffee beans, cuts of meat and even freshly baked rolls were included in testing. To assess the different machines and be able to choose a test winner, we examined them using following parameters.
Vacuum & seal quality: How good is the machine at sucking the air out of the bag? Are there still air bubbles? Does the machine produce a durable weld seam? Does it create one or more weld seams?
Size: How much space does the machine occupy? Can you keep it out on the kitchen counter?
Capacity: How quick is the machine at sucking the air out of the bag? How many bags in a row can be packed without the machine overheating?
Ease of use: Is the machine easy to use? How noisy is it? Are there extra functions and accessories that make it possible to pack wet food, or to marinate food quickly? How easy is it to clean the machine?
During the tests, we have assumed that the machine is for home use. There are other models which are better suited for use in a commercial or industrial kitchen, restaurant or similar. The machines below are intended for use in a kitchen, and should not be confused with the type of appliance used with a vacuum cleaner for clothes, pillows and duvet packing. Our score and review are based on the overall experience of the product in relation to its price.
Intelligently designed vacuum sealer with high capacity for sealing several bags in succession
Width: 41.2 cm Depth: 24 cm Height: 18.8 cm Weight: 3.4 kg Power: 125 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 3 x 0.94 L bags, 2 x 3.78 L bags, 3 x FoodSaver zip bags, 1 x vacuum seal roll 28 cm x 3 m
The Foodsaver Flow is an innovative vacuum sealer both in terms of design and capacity. Vacuum sealers are traditionally designed to be low and flat. The Foodsaver Flow is tall and narrow instead of flat and deep. This means it takes up less space on the kitchen worktop.
Hunters, anglers, berry pickers and other people who need to seal lots of bags in succession often have problems with the machine overheating at the seal mechanism. In other words, where the bags are welded together and sealed. And when this happens, you can’t do anything until the machine has cooled down a little. On the Flow, the manufacturer has tried to get around this by having separate mechanisms for sealing vacuum seal roll, to create a bag, and another mechanism for sealing the bag after the machine has removed the air. The overheating problem isn’t completely resolved, but compared to machines that only have one mechanism, the capacity has been increased significantly.
The Foodsaver Flow also has a small retractable nozzle intended for use with special boxes or zip bags. These accessories are quite expensive but work well. Foods like sliced salad stayed fresh much longer when they're stored in a container that’s had the air removed.
The only real weakness of this machine is when it comes to sealing moist foods. If the bag is damp or bloody (meat!), the machine struggles to seal it correctly, and you may need to add an extra seal so the vacuum doesn’t leak after it’s been in the fridge for some time. Overall, the Foodsaver Flow is ideal for anyone who needs a home machine with high capacity. The sealing quality is excellent and it’s very easy to operate once you've got used to it.
User-friendly, quick and strong
Dimensions (WxDxH): 48 x 30 x 11 cm Weight: 3.4 kg Power: 105 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 10 bags, 1 plastic roll, 1 suction tube and a vacuum box
The Foodsaver V2860 delivers excellent packing quality and there are rarely air pockets left in the bags. Other machines have problems with pieces of meat, but the Foodsaver handles these with panache. The included container, which is intended for packing soft or brittle products, works very well. Freshly baked rolls can be packed without being crushed, which means that they stay soft for longer. It’s also very effective at speeding up the marinating process of meat or fish for the barbecue. The Foodsaver V2860 has both an integrated cutting function and built-in storage for a plastic roll. It has three different speed settings, an option to control the pump completely manually, and even an automatic wet mode. Sealing is done with a good weld seam and you have the option to manually add an extra weld seam to the pack if you want. Of course, this requires a slightly more complicated operation, but it's a useful function, especially if the item being packed is damp or in liquid as the sealing process becomes more secure with less risk of leakage.
One really nice detail on the Foodsaver V2860 is the handle on the right-hand side, which is used for controlling the lid and makes closing it much easier. This is something that must be done with a certain amount of force so that the lid locks, which is necessary before the machine will start. There aren’t many buttons on the vacuum sealer and you’ll quickly learn what they are. However, the buttons are only marked with symbols. Some text may have made it more user-friendly. The lamps by each button show which setting you have chosen, and a red button shows clearly when the machine has finished the packing process. Cleaning is easy as the machine has a drip tray that can be removed and washed. One of the few weaknesses of this machine is that it tends to overheat if you pack a number of bags in a row. This quickly becomes a problem if you're packing large quantities of meat after a successful hunt - or freezing the day's berry harvest. When the machine overheats, an alarm shows in the form of a flashing lamp, and you can’t restart it before it has cooled. On the whole, the Foodsaver V2860 is still good value for money, functional and a user-friendly machine for food storage.
Innovative design and easy-to-use vacuum sealer with good sealing quality
Width: 47 cm Depth: 16 cm Height: 15 cm Weight: 1.15 kg Power: 110 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 2 x vacuum seal rolls 28 cm x 3 m, 3 x 0.94 L bags and 3 x FoodSaver zip bags
Just like the Foodsaver Flow, the Foodsaver Stream is an innovatively-designed vacuum sealer. The Stream is designed so that it’s tall rather than low and deep. This means it takes up less space on the kitchen worktop and we assume the idea is that it should be kept out between uses rather than hidden away. The sealing quality is as good as you’d expect from a machine for home use. The bags are emptied of air fast and effectively.
There are rarely air pockets left over. There’s a wet mode, for use if what you're sealing is moist, but we’d recommend that you run the pump manually instead. Just like the other machines in the test, the Stream is sensitive to moisture on the plastic when you’re trying to seal it. The seals are good, though, with a reasonable width.
The Stream has an integrated holder for plastic rolls and an excellent cutting function. There’s also a pull-out nozzle intended for use with Foodsaver accessories. The nozzle is compatible with all the older Foodsaver accessories, which is a positive aspect as most of the accessories are quite expensive. The Foodsaver Stream has few marked buttons, and even these only have symbols. Text would have made things easier, but it's still quite easy to learn to use the machine.
Cleaning it is straightforward, with a drip cup that’s easy to remove and wash. Unfortunately, the Foodsaver Stream has a tendency to overheat if you seal a number of bags in a row, and you have to let it cool down for a bit before you can use it again. If you've got a heap of meat or mushrooms to seal and freeze, this makes it rather irritating. But on the whole, the Foodsaver Stream is a very good value for money, functional and versatile machine that we recommend.
Very good value for money with good packing quality
Dimensions (WxDxH): 43.5 x 26.5 x 12.8 cm Weight: 3.0 kg Power: 130 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 2 plastic rolls, adapter hose for vacuum boxes (not included)
OBH Nordica’s Supreme Food Sealer is an excellent value-for-money machine which is easy to use and delivers good packing quality – one of the best in the test. It effectively empties the bags of air and rarely leaves air pockets. The machine is relatively quick too. It sucks the air out and seals the bag swiftly. The noise level is normal compared to the other machines in our test. The built-in storage for the plastic roll and the integrated knife work extremely well. Sealing is done with a single weld seam which holds well. To reduce the risk of leakage, you can always manually add an extra weld seam. The strength of the vacuum can be set to gentle or normal, with the gentle mode intended for soft, more sensitive products. There is also a wet mode for packing wet or moist products. Unfortunately, there’s no pulse function, where the pump can be controlled manually, which is a shame as this facility makes packing easier in many situations.
The machine has few buttons and is easy to use. The buttons have labels in English. The lid must be shut with quite a lot of force for it to lock on both sides, which can be difficult if the user is older or doesn’t have full strength in their arms and hands. Another disadvantage with this machine is that it doesn't have a drip tray that you can remove and wash. If meat or fish is packed, it's almost unavoidable that the liquid will get into the machine, which is why it's useful if the drip tray can be removed. Unfortunately there's no function that gives an overheating warning. Instead, a clear sign that the machine has become too hot is that the bags are sealed prematurely. However, if you follow the instructions for the machine and wait for one minute before sealing each bag, then you can pack lots of bags without problems. Overall, the OBH Nordica Supreme Food Sealer is good value for money and efficient with only minor shortcomings, i.e. not the bets for liquids or really moist food.
Easy-to-use vacuum sealer and space saving!
Dimensions (WxDxH): 43 x 16 x 28 cm Weight: 3.4 kg Power: 105 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 10 bags, 1 plastic roll, 1 suction tube and a vacuum box.
The Foodsaver V3840 is a vacuum sealer with a design that stands out. The machine stands on edge, including while you use it, which naturally takes up less space on the kitchen worktop than machines that “lie down”. Another different capability in the V3840 is the automatic handsfree function. To start the packing process, you insert the end of the bag into a slot on the front of the machine. The bag is automatically held in place, the air is removed, and the bag is sealed. This is a function that we don’t see many advantages with. Some could even argue that it’s irritating as it's sometimes difficult to get the bag in correctly. The Foodsaver V3840 has built-in storage for one plastic roll together with an integrated cutting function that works very well. The vacuum sealer has few buttons and is easy to use with the help of the instruction manual. The packing quality is good, sealing is done with a broad weld seam and the machine effectively empties the bags of air.
Like its sibling, the V2860, this model also has different speed settings for the vacuum pump, and even an automatic wet mode. Unfortunately, there’s no option for controlling the pump manually. This function is very useful when packing wet or soft products. Even when the machine is set on wet mode, liquid is quite often sucked into the drip tray and the weld seam isn’t tight. Cleaning is easy because the Foodsaver V3840 has a drip tray that can be removed and washed. Like a number of other machines in the test, the V3840 also overheats if you pack a large number of bags in a row, even if you wait between the bags as stated in the instructions. On the whole, this product is good value for money, functional and a user-friendly machine. The vertical design with the handsfree function leads to a number of disadvantages from a purely functional viewpoint, but if you prefer a machine that takes up less space on the kitchen worktop than traditional machines, you should definitely take a closer look at the Foodsaver V3840.
Good double weld seams which really stay sealed!
Dimensions (WxDxH): 38.5 x 8.5 x 24.5 cm Weight: 1.9 kg Power: 120 W Bags on roll: Yes Accessories included: 2 bag rolls, hose for vacuum container (Container not included)
The Caso VC300, which is the big brother of the Caso VC100, is a scaled-down model of a vacuum sealer, with few buttons and which is easy to use. The buttons and functions are logical and there is no problem using the machine despite the fact that the text beside the buttons is in German. There are primarily two differences between the two Caso models. One is the possibility of using plastic rolls where you decide the size of the bag yourself. The other is that the VC300 has an automatic wet mode for packaging wet or soft products. But the packaging quality is exactly the same as its little brother. Or as our testers would say, one of the worst in the test. On several occasions it didn’t completely empty the bags of air. Uniform or harder products such as frozen berries or cheese will be packed fine, but uneven pieces of meat are a challenge. Yet, sealing is carried out with double weld seams which do work well and reduce the risk of leakage.
The rather noisy VC300 is unfortunately a slow machine. One practical function when packing soft or wet products is the option to manually adjust the strength of the suction on the device. You can even run the pump 100% manually if the products are very wet or soft. The removable holder for the plastic roll and the cutting function make it easy to decide the length of the bags. However, the position of the holder is unfortunate as it is difficult to use, and the plastic covers the buttons as it rolls out. To see the buttons and use the machine, the plastic must first be rolled into the holder. Cleaning is very easy; the drip tray can be cleaned in a dishwasher. The primary advantages with the Caso VC300 are the double weld seams that make a secure seal and the option to use bags on a roll. However, just like the VC 100, the VC 300 doesn’t really live up to its price tag due to a number of shortcomings, which also reduced our overall score and review.
Compact and straightforward vacuum sealer that’s simple to use!
Dimensions (WxDxH): 38 x 9 x 17 cm Weight: 1.8 kg Power: 120 W Bags on roll: No Accessories included: 10 bags, hose for vacuum container (Container not included)
This simple and scaled-down model from Caso has few buttons and is easy to use. Unfortunately, the text on the buttons is in German, which reduces the user-friendliness somewhat. However, with the help of the instruction manual and a few attempts, it’s not difficult to learn how this handheld vacuum sealer works. The VC 100 is intended to be used with ready-made bags and not bags on a roll where you choose the size yourself. The machine was one of the poorer ones in the test when it came to packaging quality. Air pockets remain in the bags quite often, which reduces the lifetime of the food. Air pockets primarily occur when uneven pieces of meat are packaged, as you need some force to remove the last air pockets. Uniform and hard products, such as frozen berries, work better but still not entirely satisfactorily. However, the double weld joints mean that the bags are very well sealed and reduce the risk of leakage. Other than this, the machine is unfortunately both slow and noisy.
It’s possible to run the vacuum pump entirely manually, which is good if the goods to be packed are wet or soft. It’s a bit of a fiddly process that requires timing and there are a number of buttons to press, unlike some of the more advanced machines which have fully automatic wet/soft modes and better manual functions. The Caso VC100 is very easy to clean and you can put the drip tray in the dishwasher. Another advantage of this machine is the size. It’s so small that it’s easy to store in a normal kitchen drawer. However, our overall impression is that it’s a plasticky and cheap machine with several obvious shortcomings that reduce its review score.
Vacuum packaging is a fantastic way of storing all types of food. A longer lifetime, better hygiene and packaging that takes up less room are the biggest advantages compared to traditional freezer bags. Vacuum-packed bags for food also look much more attractive and neater, and you mustn’t underestimate that!
Once upon a time, it was perhaps mostly hunters back from a successful chase who wanted to package large amounts of game for freezing, but in recent years, more people have realised the advantages of using a vacuum sealer for a range of food products. In addition to the ability to pack food into bags, most machines have a variety of accessories that mean you can suck the air from different cans and containers to store soft items such as rolls, or to speed up the marinating of meats. When the meat is marinated in a vacuum, the process occurs much quicker.
It’s most common to package meat, fish, berries or vegetables that you intend to freeze, but you can also use the method for pantry and refrigerated items if you want to store them for longer. It’s incredibly satisfying to pack frozen goods so it's easy to see what’s in the bag – and to have them in perfect condition when you thaw them. Berries look like they were frozen the day before, even if they were picked a couple of years earlier, and meat is always in perfect condition without any sign of freezer burn.
The name “vacuum sealer” is a little misleading, as the bags used don’t really contain a vacuum. The principle is that the machine sucks the air out with a pump and then seals the bag with a welded seam. Removing air is crucial because air is usually the problem when packaged food– and even frozen goods – go bad. For example, if frozen meat comes in contact with air, it results in freezer burns in the form of dehydration and also ultimately leads to the fat in the meat becoming rancid. Vacuum sealers use thick plastic bags and some even come with reusable bags. Almost all of the air is sucked out and the weld seam that closes the bag ensures that no leakage occurs. This is what gives vacuum packed food a significantly longer lifetime compared to food packaged in traditional plastic and freezer bags.
The bags used are significantly thicker than normal freezer bags. You can buy these ready-made in different sizes or as bags on a roll where you choose the length of the bag before cutting and sealing it. Ready-made bags are easy, but rolls have the advantage that you can change the size of the bag according to the size of the foods you need to store.
In the majority of cases, the bags allow the food to be cooked in the bag. Either in the oven at low temperature or in a water bath – what’s known as “sous-vide” cooking. Sous-vide cooking means that you use a special sous-vide circulator to heat up a water bath to a selected temperature, and then cook meat, fish or vegetables by placing the vacuum-sealed bag into the water. The results are perfect every time. The majority of bags are also microwave oven safe. You will need to check if your model is suitable for food sous vide cooking.
If you want to pack softer foods, such as cakes, it’s easiest to use the containers that come as accessories with the majority of machines. These containers are also great to use for bread, vegetables or salad. They keep fresh for much longer than if they were stored in a normal bag. Vacuum packing berries also works very well, but make sure you freeze them first otherwise they may end up crushed. Damp or saturated products are a challenge as the fluid can easily be sucked into machine and make it impossible to seal the bag. However, many machines come with moist setting or function for packaging moist foods, which makes things a tad easier. Others come with marinade settings too. But it’s still best if there’s a manual function so that you can stop the process and seal the bag in time. Another tip is to fold a bit of kitchen roll and place it as a moisture barrier at the opening of the bag to stop any liquid from being sucked into the machine. But if you don’t want to mess around like this, simply opt for one of the models for liquids, especially if you want to store wine.
And of course, you can also package things other than foods. For example, jewellery or cutlery that tarnishes in the air may benefit from being stored in vacuum bags for added protection.
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