Sous vide is one of the most delicious and safe ways to cook meats, fish, and vegetables. But cooking meals by the sous vide method – which literally translates to “under vacuum” – requires first vacuum-sealing your favorite foods into an airtight bag. For that, you need a vacuum sealer that will not only keep your food safe and prevent unwanted spillage during the cooking process but also enhance the marinating process ahead of the sous vide cooking.
n searching for the best vacuum sealer for sous vide among the numerous vacuum sealers currently on the market, we considered a number of features. First, the vacuum sealer has to support bags and rolls that are safe to use under the high temperatures of sous vide cooking. Second, the vacuum sealer has to have the strength to close packages of varying sizes quickly. We also looked at the dimensions and weight of the vacuum sealers since these appliances will simply be taking up space in your kitchen when they are not in use. The inclusion of a manufacturer’s warranty was also a consideration since you want to know that the vacuum sealer you invest in will last for years to come. After spending tens of hours reading through technical specifications and customer reviews of the most popular vacuum sealers for sous vide, we identified 9 of the best vacuum sealers with the FoodSaver FM2435 as our Editor’s Choice.
More features: extra-wide sealing strip, durable construction
Users can’t say enough good things about this model from FoodSaver, which is more compact than the V4440 while offering much of the same vacuuming power and an extra-wide sealing strip that can fit bags wider than 16 inches. Although this unit is manual – meaning you need to activate a latch for the sealer to clamp down on your bag – it is extremely easy to use and has only a few buttons to choose from on the top of the unit to allow you to control the vacuum suction power. Another welcome feature to this vacuum sealer is a dishwasher-safe drip tray, which makes it easy to clean up in case there is any spillage when sealing marinated foods. As expected, the sealer also has a hose attachment port so that it can be used to seal canisters and save half-finished wine bottles.
FoodSaver also includes an excellent starter kit with this vacuum sealer, complete with numerous large-sized bags and a 10-foot roll so you will not need to purchase additional bags for some time. FoodSaver only provides a one-year limited warranty, and it is worth noting that some customers report issues with calling in the warranty when encountering faulty units.
More features: built-in handheld sealer
This vacuum sealer from FoodSaver is perfect for those who like to cook in bulk and then store individual meals since it is specifically designed to work well with rolls. First, the sealer has internal roll storage that is open to view so that you can quickly tell when your roll is running low and it is time to reorder. Second, the sealer uses a unique roll-sealing and cutting design that makes it extremely fast to measure how much roll depth you need for a specific food item and then to cut and seal your own bag. Specifically, the sealer automatically seals one bag end and then cuts it after you measure, so that you can then turn around and seal the other end after you have filled the bag.
The 17-inch width allows you to use relatively wide bags, while FoodSaver also provides you with a wealth of bags and a 10-foot roll to get you started with this unit. The dishwasher-safe drip tray is an bonus for cleaning up after marinated foods, while the sealer also offers an accessory port for attaching a vacuum hose. FoodSaver offers a two-year limited warranty, although users did not report any common issues with this sealer.
More features: double line sealing, BPA-free materials
This moderately priced vacuum sealer from Nesco is a direct competitor to the offerings from FoodSaver, but its users have no regrets about going with a lesser-known brand. The sealer accommodates rolls of up to 11.8 inches wide without being overly bulky and heavy. This is especially impressive given that the sealer is able to store bags internally and comes with a cutter to make using the roll extremely fast and easy. The sealer also incorporates a double-lined sealing to ensure that your bags will stay closed until time comes to cut them open.
The LED screen is extremely easy to use and the sealer has multiple options for controlling the vacuum, including the ability to set whether the food is wet or dry. Importantly, the sealer also has a vacuum pulse function to enable you to seal delicate foods like bread or pastries without crushing them. All of the bags that the unit comes with and the replacement bags sold by Nesco are BPA-free, so you can feel safe when heating the bags and cooking sous vide afterward. Nesco does not specify the details of their warranty, although users have not reported issues with the durability of this sealer.
More features: cord length: 24 inches, compact size with manual operation
The FM2000 is the least expensive vacuum sealer from FoodSaver that we reviewed. While this sealer provides all you need to seal food, note that it does lack the advanced and useful features found on the more expensive FoodSaver sealers. For example, there is no roll storage in this food sealer and no cutter, so that if you are working with rolls you will need to cut the roll yourself with scissors. Users also note that the unit does not have a moist food mode and can be problematic for sealing foods that have a liquid marinade – in this case, you may need to use multiple bags to create a seal without spilling. Like other vacuum sealers, this unit has an accessory port for attaching a hose to seal canisters.
Compared to other FoodSaver vacuum sealers, this unit is highly compact and lightweight for easy storage while still fitting bags up to 14 inches in width. Also, this vacuum sealer had one of the best warranties we found among any vacuum sealers, lasting five years. Note that the sealer does not come with many bags when you purchase it, so expect to invest additional money in bags and rolls.
More features: gentle and normal; moist and dry food settings; included air suction hose (17.7″)
Don’t let the modest price point of this vacuum sealer from SARKI fool you – this sealer packs in all the features you need to seal any food you can think of. The sealer has options for both vacuum speed and for dry versus moist foods, which allows you to closely control how much power the vacuum is exerting on your food to keep it intact and help avoid fills. In addition, the LED lights on the large touch buttons make this sealer extremely user-friendly, while the locking latch on the side of the unit is large and easy to grab.
The sealer is compact and lightweight, at just over three pounds, which makes it extremely easy to store in a small kitchen. However, note that the unit is only 16 inches wide and is thus somewhat limited in the width of bags it can handle. Although it does not come with many bags, SARKI does provide a 1.5-foot suction hose to allow you to get started with sealing canisters. In addition, SARKI offers a one-year replacement warranty and three years service with this vacuum sealer that users appreciated for the peace of mind this provides.
More features: rapid marinate mode, jar sealing function, automatic bag detection
FoodSaver is one of the most respected brands when it comes to vacuum sealers and users rave about the V4440. This vacuum sealer is somewhat bulky, but the reason is that it is able to fit up to 20-foot rolls of 8-inch or 11-inch widths inside it so you can quickly make and seal your bags. However, note that the unit weighs 12 pounds – more than five times what the NutriChef sealer weighs – which can be a problem if you need to move it around frequently or store it in a high place in your kitchen.
This sealer comes packed with helpful features, including dry and moist food modes, a hose for sealing jars, and automatic bag detection to make it even faster and easier to seal bags. The sealer also has a rapid marinate mode, which can be extremely useful if you want to prepare and cook sous vide food in rapid succession rather than store it in the fridge overnight.
Although the vacuum sealer comes with an excellent kit including a number of bags and one roll to get you started, note that FoodSaver only offers a one-year limited warranty – surprisingly short given the price of this sealer.
More features: fully automatic operation, airtight seal, quick marinator
This vacuum sealer from FoodSaver is extremely similar to their 4440 model, with a few design upgrades that account for the increased cost. The main difference is that the housing of the sealer is constructed with stainless steel parts in many places where the 4440 has plastic ones. In addition, FoodSaver upgraded the warranty on this unit up to five years as opposed to one year for the 4440. Like the 4440, this vacuum sealer is fully automatic and uses proprietary technology to automatically identify the width of the bags you are putting into it. The sealer features only a few buttons to allow you to control the strength of the vacuum, but also comes with a quick marinator feature that users appreciated for preparing meals quickly rather than waiting overnight.
Users note that although the bags provided with the sealer are 11 7/16-inches in width, 11 ¼-inch bags are much more reasonable to use given the width of the sealing port. The internal storage compartment on the sealer is able to store up to 20-foot rolls to make your own bags quickly and easily. One issue with this unit, like many of the sealers with internal roll storage, is that it is relatively heavy and bulky to store in small kitchen spaces.
This inexpensive vacuum sealer from well-known kitchen brand NutriChef keeps its design relatively simple but offers everything you need in a sealer for cooking sous vide. The sealer is extremely simple to use thanks to the limited number of one-touch buttons on the top of the unit and the LED lights that indicate what options you have selected. The sealer also offers separate modes for sealing fully dry and moist food like steamed or marinated foods, which can make it easier to use this sealer for a wider variety of meals. The sealer is only 14.1 inches wide, so note that you will be somewhat limited in the width of the bags that you can seal, although the sealer also works for rolls.
The sealer comes as a starter kit with five small bags and one large 79-inch roll to get you started sealing. In addition, the unit comes with an air suction hose and wine stopper cork so you can seal canisters or store unfinished bottles of wine. NutriChef also offers a one-year limited warranty, although users reported that this sealer lasts longer than most other models they have tested.
Although the shape of this vacuum sealer from Gourmia is immediately noticeable for its deviation from other sealers, users loved the ability to store bags within the sealer while pushing it against a kitchen wall and out of the way. However, note that you will need access to the controls on the top of the sealer in order to operate it and lock the sealer, so make sure that the nearly eight-inch height will be compatible with the setup of your kitchen. The controls on the top of the unit can appear daunting at first, but users found that the sealer is extremely intuitive to use and appreciated having a wide variety of sealing methods. In particular, this sealer is one of the best for sealing canisters and even has a pickling function to help with that task in addition to vacuum sealing for sous vide. Users also loved that the sealer has a cutter built in to make it easy to use the internal rolls to make custom bags.
Note that this vacuum sealer comes with only one bag and a small roll, so you will need to invest in additional bags to get started with sous vide cooking. Although Gourmia does not specify a warranty length on this sealer, users reported good experience with the company’s customer service when dealing with faulty units.
Now that you have learned more about our nine favorite vacuum sealers for sous vide, how do you choose among them to find the vacuum sealer that is right for your kitchen needs? Our buying guide will cover everything you need to know about choosing a vacuum sealer, from why you need one and how to use it to the important features that you need to consider before purchasing a vacuum sealer for sous vide. In addition, we’ve included some quick tips on how to make your sous vide food especially delicious once you have your new vacuum sealer all ready to go. Our frequently asked questions section will dive back into some of the most common questions that chefs new to vacuum sealers and sous vide ask to help you understand what vacuum sealer is best for you.
There is a number of benefits to having a vacuum sealer in your kitchen – both for food preparation in general and for sous vide in particular.
The most common and important reason that people use vacuum sealers to contain food and to cook sous vide is to prevent spoilage. Sealing food like meat, fish, and vegetables in a vacuum bag is an excellent means of food preservation, much like canning, that does not require adding sugar, salt, or other additives that would alter the taste of your food. Using a vacuum sealer can allow you to store fresh food for long periods of time or to pack away leftovers safely, without worrying about developing mold or bacteria that could cause foodborne illness later.
Having a vacuum sealer can also be a great way to portion out your food and to plan meals. With a vacuum sealer, it is possible to simply prepare meals in bulk and then subdivide them into long-term vacuum sealed packages that can be opened individually. In the long run, this saves tons of time and money on food preparation.
For sous vide in particular, one of the best advantages of having a vacuum sealer is that you can flavor your foods with delicious marinades. When placing your food and a marinade in a Ziploc bag will suffice for some foods, vacuum sealing the marinade against the food creates a delicious mix of flavors and allows the marinade to fully percolate into your food. This rich flavoring effect is amplified even further during the sous vide cooking process, as the food opens up and allows more of the marinade in.
There are two main types of vacuum sealers, each of which operates slightly differently.
Bar sealers are extremely simple suction devices into which you place the open end of the bag. The bar sealer will suck all of the air out of the bag, then use heat and pressure to seal the two flaps of plastic together with your food inside. Importantly, bar sealers will suck out any liquid along with the air from your bag, so this type of vacuum sealer can only be used with dry foods.
Canister sealers are more complex but are able to handle liquids as well as dry foods. Canister sealers work by using sealed canisters rather than bags, and typically suck the air out of the top of the canister so that any liquid in the lower half of the canister will not be pulled out. These sealers are less common, although some bar sealers come with a hose to support canister sealing.
Another consideration when using a food sealer is whether you want to use bags or rolls. Bags are the easiest to use, since they look much like typical Ziploc bags – already sealed on three sides, with an opening to put food, which you are going to seal, into it. However, bags come in pre-determined sizes, which can limit your flexibility. Rolls, on the other hand, have a defined width but allow you to cut them according to the necessary bag length. When using rolls, you need to cut out your desired length and then seal one side (two sides come pre-sealed) to make your own bag before adding food.
One of the major considerations when choosing a vacuum sealer is what type of bags and rolls it will accept. A large number of vacuum sealers are designed to only accept bags and rolls from the company that manufactures the vacuum sealer itself. However, this is not true on all vacuum sealers – some units will accept nearly any bags or rolls, while others will accept bags or rolls only from a subset of manufacturers. The more freedom you have in choosing which bags and rolls you can use, the more you will be able to shop around for the best prices when it’s time to buy new bags.
In addition, the maximum width of bags and rolls that your vacuum sealer can work with is an important point. If you find yourself sealing large chunks of food, for example, if you are preparing food for the entire family, then having a vacuum sealer that is capable of accepting bags that are 12” or more in width – like the SARKI sealer – can make a big difference in your food preparation time.
Not all vacuum sealers are created equally – some vacuums have a stronger suction than others, which can make a large difference in how long it takes to suck all the air out of a large bag. If you are preparing a lot of food with your vacuum sealer, the time spent waiting on a weak vacuum can add up. However, most manufacturers do not report the strength of their vacuums. Therefore, you have to rely largely on customer reviews and personal experience with specific brands in order to determine whether a particular vacuum sealer has the strength you need.
The size and weight of your vacuum sealer matters because you will likely be moving this appliance around your kitchen and potentially storing it in a cupboard when you are not in the middle of food preparation. With these considerations in mind, you might think that a smaller and lighter vacuum sealer is the best choice. However, the size and weight of the sealer is typically reflective of the size of the suction unit that is built into it. In addition, a vacuum sealer can only seal bags as wide as the bar, so you may need a particularly wide vacuum sealer if you work with large volumes of food and wide bags.
Ease of use is one of the most important considerations when choosing a vacuum sealer because you won’t use your vacuum sealer if it is painful to seal bags. Many vacuum sealers offer one-button activation steps, so that there is minimal work needed on your part to go from food preparation to sealed bags. Although more complicated, some vacuum sealers like the SARKI also allow you to toggle the suction mode so that you can account for whether there is a marinade in your bag (that you do not want the vacuum to suck out or for whether you want the vacuum to work gently on) whatever food you are trying to seal. While not strictly necessary, extra features such as an LED display can be nice to have if you use your vacuum sealer very frequently.
Most people purchasing a vacuum sealer expect that it will work for years to come, so having a warranty can be important in the case that anything goes wrong on the part of the manufacturer. Most, but not all, manufacturers offer warranties on the vacuum sealers that they sell, although these warranties can range in length from one year to as much as five years like for the FoodSaver FM2000.
How can you use your vacuum sealer to make your sous vide food even more delicious than it will already be? The answer lies in the marinade.
Although it can be tempting, do not overdo the marinade! You only need to add enough marinade to your bag to coat the outside of your food, not to leave the food swimming in marinade. This will also make the sealing process go more smoothly since there is less liquid to cause issues.
The next step of the marinade, letting the food rest, is also critical. Whenever possible, prepare your food a day or two in advance and let it sit sealed in the refrigerator until it is time to cook. This will give the marinade time to soak into the food, helped by the pressure of the vacuum seal.
When sealing, it is also important to ensure that you leave as few wrinkles and gaps between the food and the bag as possible. This will ensure that the food cooks more evenly when it is placed into the water bath.
Our overall favorite vacuum sealers for sous vide were the FM2435 and FM5200-000 from FoodSaver together with the model from Nesco. All three of these vacuum sealers provided excellent suction power without being overly loud. The FM5200-000 offers internal roll storage and a cutter so that you can quickly and easily make your own bags cut to size, while FM2435 an excellent starter kit with this vacuum sealer, complete with numerous large-sized bags and a 10-foot roll so you will not need to purchase additional bags for some time. The sealer from Nesco in particular accommodates rolls of up to 11.8 inches wide without being overly bulky and heavy. This is especially impressive given that the sealer is able to store bags internally and comes with a cutter to make using the roll extremely fast and easy.