A vacuum sealer is a basic tool any prepper should have. Dried goods last a lot longer and have extra protection from bugs and insects. There are a lot of vacuum sealers on the market today so picking one can seem a bit hard. The good news is that over the years with so many different brands becoming available, the price has gone down substantially.
I know the first one I bought cost nearly $200 and actually didn’t last that long. Part of this was our fault for using it to seal a lot of salty pork products and things containing substantial amounts of brine. Not saying don’t do that, but it is a lot easier to say that when you can get a good food sealer for under $60.
In this article, we’ll talk about why you should own a vacuum sealer, review the best vacuum food sealers out there, as well as some tips on how to make the most of them.
Why Use a Vacuum Sealer
Counter space is limited, so it’s understandable if you’re hesitant about buying new appliances, but vacuum sealers are well worth the trade-off. These are just a few reasons why vacuum sealers are worth it.
They Protect Your Food From the Freezer
When it comes to food preservation, a vacuum sealer is your friend, even more so if you plan on freezing foodstuffs. Frozen foods last up to 7 times longer, but that doesn’t help you if all you’re left with is ruined food.
By vacuum sealing your foodstuffs before freezing, you can protect them, while keeping them preserved. That means no more freezer burned meats after only a few months. If you think about it, vacuum sealers save you money by reducing waste.
You Can Take Advantage Of Food Sales
Sometimes you can catch some major bargains or buy foods in bulk but then you are left with the problem of how do you preserve them for long-term use. With a food sealer, you can store meats in your freezer or buy flour, rice, and other grains in larger bags than normal.
Flour is cheaper if you buy it in a 20-50 lb bag, but if you only use 5 lbs a month then it has a lot of opportunities to get contaminated with moisture or bugs without being stored properly. Bulk buys make prepping a lot more realistic and affordable.
Affordable Food Preservation
Using food sealers for some foods can be a very economical way to preserve foods especially if you combine this with dehydration. Fruits and vegetables that are dried and vacuum sealed with moisture absorbers can keep for years all for pennies per freezer bag.
I love to can foods in mason jars and reusing jars cuts the cost over time but when you add in lids, the cost of jars and replacements over the years, and how much space they take up in the home pantry, it becomes easy to see why some people might be better off drying and vacuum sealing more foods than canning them up.
Drying or freezing some foods preserves the nutrients better than any type of canning is able to achieve so there is that to consider. Finally, it is pretty obvious when a vacuum seal bag becomes unsealed so it is simple to check food integrity.
Best Vacuum Food Sealers
By now, you should be sold on vacuum sealers and their usefulness for anyone interested in the prepper lifestyle so let’s dive into our top picks so that you can get one for yourself.
Razoori Vacuum Sealer
This sealer is basic but has all the features you really need for reliable food storage. I like that it has a gentle mode for when you want to seal up foods without the shape being distorted too much. For example, if you were sealing cakes or something like that then you would choose the gentle mode to avoid squishing it.
It takes longer to seal, no doubt about that but it will offer you results that are much better than having mangled but delicious foods. Moist and dry modes allow for foolproof storage of succulent steaks or making sure rice is good for the long term.
Ten Gen Vaccum Sealer
While the price seems too good to be true, this is a solid unit with good reviews. At this price, you can get two and have one for a backup. Seeing this made me think about prepper gifts for the holidays.
This lightweight vacuum sealer comes with 15-quart size bags to get you started. You can use any food sealer bags up to 11.7 inches wide with this unit. Any generic or standard bags will work as well as the classic Food Saver Line.
Food Saver 2 In 1 Sealer With Retractable Sealer Attachment
While this is one of the more expensive sealers on our list, it is fast and convenient. The retractable sealer means you don’t have to buy extra attachments to vacuum seal various containers like jars so the price is more justified if you were planning sealing things besides just the standard bags.
This is a larger sealer with a strong motor so you are not left worrying about how fast you are going to get your job done. I like that this unit has a built-in bag roller for easy dispensing and sealing.
The last vacuum sealer I owned required you to cut the bags yourself or use the pre-made pint, quart, or gallon sizes. This sealer allows for a custom bag size without the hassle of having to cut them to shape.
Gourmia Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer
Stainless Steel has some major advantages in the kitchen. For starters, it holds up to salty foods and it is simple to sanitize. If you are a bit clumsy in the kitchen the casing can take more of an impact than standard plastic casings.
Also, for those that want a contemporary and modern look in the kitchen, it is also an acceptable choice. With so much competition in the food sealer business, you no longer have to pay over a hundred for stainless steel.
The Gourmia allows you to pick and choose 8 different modes depending on the moisture content of your foods and how much suction power you really need. There is also a canister set that can be utilized for vacuum sealing jars.
You only get a small starter roll of bags so make sure to stock up on plenty in various sizes before you get started on any major food preservation projects.
Kitchenboss Vacuum Sealer
This sealer comes in 4 different colors and has paid special attention to the problem of moisture from foods getting sucked into the sealer and causing it to malfunction and get dirtier than necessary during jobs.
There is a seal-only option too for those times when you might not want to vacuum seal or are using the inching function to suck out as much air as you might want. Chances are you will want to just use the auto vacuum and seal for a lot of things. Just stick the bag and press down on either side.
Commercial Vacuum Sealer Option
I do want to include at least this one professional-grade sealer on the list. While I know it is a bit expensive, it is also likely to be the only vacuum sealer you ever have to buy. The less expensive models I have included in this article offer a lot of performance and value but I doubt they are going to last for a very long time or hold up to extreme use.
Weston Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer
If you hunt and fish a lot or just put back a large volume of food in general there is something to be said for buying one machine that will stand the test of time.
The double piston vacuum pump delivers powerful suction in rapid time and the size of this sealer allows for the use of bags up to a whopping 15” wide. The lid is see-through so you can monitor and ensure a good seal and alignment.
How to Make the Most of Your Vacuum Sealer
Although most sealers are extremely easy to use, you can still screw it up some time. Save yourself a hassle and learn from my mistakes with the following tips.
Choose the Right Bags
Most bags can be used universally but be aware of cheaply made bags. There may be a thickness issue and you want to make sure that they are BPA-free. Some vacuum sealers do not work so well with mylar bags so it is something to be aware of.
Always Use An Oxygen & Moisture Absorber For Dry Foods
While the idea with a vacuum sealer is to take out the oxygen, that doesn’t mean that there is not some residual oxygen or moisture that can allow food to spoil sooner rather than later.
Commercial Versus Regular Usage
It goes without saying that if you plan on using a food sealer very often you may want to invest in a higher grade model. The main difference between them is speed and rate of suction. Some sealers may even be able to seal several packages at once.
At the same time with the low cost of so many, you can always have two going at once if you have some help or have a backup so when one wears out you are not stuck. Take it from me, usually when machines break it is when you are in the middle of doing something like trying to preserve 400 lbs of pork.
My advice is to think long-term and at least have that all-important backup, especially if you are going with a cheaper model. $30 is nothing compared to the hassle of having a bunch of food laid out and having to come up with a different solution.
Tips For A Good Seal
Good contact is essential
If there are bits of food or debris inside the bag where the seal is to be made or if there is anything on the gasket of your sealer it can affect the performance. If you are not getting good suction then this is something to take note of.
Having The Right Bag
While most sealers are able to handle the vast majority of bags it is best to double-check before you buy bags. If you like to use Mylar then be extra careful because these bags are so smooth that some vacuum sealers cannot grip the surface well enough to get a lot of suction.
Even if things appear to be going well, you may come back later only to discover the bag is full of air but sealed somewhat at the top.
Don’t Be Tempted to Overfill Bags
Overfilling bags is a common mistake, especially if you are new to vacuum-sealing foods. You actually cost yourself a lot of time when you try to do this. Saving a few bags here and there is not worth the hassle.
You get in a situation where the part that goes in the sealer gets food or liquid on it and makes it hard to get a good seal. This also increases the chance that liquid will enter the sealer itself and cause problems.
Allow machine to rest occasionally during big jobs
It is hard to say the exact schedule you should use for bigger vacuum sealing jobs but if your sealer seems to be getting a bit hotter than it should then give it a break.
Heavier duty sealers may be able to handle fairly continuous use for hours but just be aware that doing too many bags too fast with a lighter duty sealer may decrease its life considerably. Some sealers may have guidelines in the included instructions for how continuous you can run the machine.
Getting Started With Vacuum Sealing
Ordering an inexpensive vacuum sealer is a good way to get started with this type of food preservation. If you decide that it is not for you then you haven’t invested a lot.
If you decide to use a sealer a lot then upgrading to a heavier duty model means you can either keep the less expensive one for a backup or give it to a friend or family member to help them get started putting back food and being more prepared.
Do you have a favorite vacuum sealer? What have been the biggest challenges you have faced when putting food back this way?
Please share in the comments any hints or advice you have that can help put your fellow preppers.