Vacuum sealers can be useful for conserving this year’s crop of fresh strawberries from the garden or saving last night’s stroganoff for another dinner. Vacuum sealers function by sucking the air out of the storage bag and sealing it before it can breathe again. This minimises the likelihood of aerobic bacteria (bacteria that need oxygen to exist) surviving in the food, as well as oxidation. Vacuum sealed foods can be safely stored for a long period when combined with refrigeration or freezing.
However, picking the best vacuum sealer might be difficult. There are numerous brands to pick from, as well as multiple models within each brand. This post will not attempt to review the various brands and models, but it will give you a general notion of what to look for and how to figure out which collection of features is best for you.
Width of Sealer Bar
The sealer bar melts the two sides of a vacuum storage bag together to create an airtight closure. It also defines the largest bag that the sealer is capable of using. If a sealer’s sealer bar is 12 inches wide, you can only use bags that are 12 inches wide at maximum. To ensure a tight seal all the way across the bag, use bags narrower than the sealer bar for optimal results.
Consider what you might wish to seal before you go shopping for a vacuum sealer. Bag width is not a key concern for many people who store common foods. Others, on the other hand, may be storing larger goods such as meat chunks, full veggies, or essential documents (vacuum sealing can help preserve documents as well). These individuals may wish to consider a larger sealer bar to ensure that the machine can seal bags large enough to hold their things. Consider that, while a bag may be 12″ wide, some of the internal space is taken up by bag seams, resulting in a 12″ internal storage space that may not be fully utilised.
Modes: Automatic and Manual
The majority of vacuum sealers have an automatic mode. This mode does the majority of the work for you by testing the air pressure and shutting off when a particular pressure is reached, then initiating the sealing (and sometimes bag cutting) procedure automatically. This is great for most casual users and takes a lot of the guesswork out of vacuum sealing meals.
However, not all foods behave in the same way. For example, dry pasta is far easier to seal than fresh spaghetti sauce. If there is too much suction, the sauce may be sucked out of the bag, causing a mess. Some machines provide a manual mode for more experienced users or for more delicate usage. For more accurate control, the user can then observe the process themselves.
While most models only deliver a single vacuum pressure, other types allow the user to control the amount of pressure. Again, depending on how you want to use your vacuum sealer, this is more or less critical. To avoid damage, more fragile goods may require more mild pressure (some models boast the ability to crush aluminium cans, after all). Finding a unit with variable pressure may be vital to you if the condition of the thing being sealed is important.
Multiple Wires for Sealing
Most variants close the bags by melting the bag sides together with heated wires. With more than one sealing wire, the risk of microscopic holes in the seal allowing air back into the bag is greatly reduced. To provide a tighter seal, most versions will feature two wires or a considerably wider heating bar. There will be three or more cables on some versions. Because how well a bag is sealed has as much to do with the operator as it does with the unit, this aspect may or may not be as important.
Some variants have the option of producing many sealed pouches in a row. A user could, for example, seal pasta, meatballs, and sauce in three separate pouches but keep all three tied together as a single package. Most versions only allow for one seal per pouch, however some allow you to seal many pouches without having to cut between them. This is a useful function, however it may be less so for some users.