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Before we begin: if you just want our quick answer as to which suction vacuum sealer is the best, we’ve picked the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer as our #1 option for standard home sous vide use.
There comes a point on your sous vide journey when you realize that the water displacement method, while effective for most uses, just isn’t quite good enough for you anymore. It gets rid of most of the air, but not all, potentially leaving bubbles in your bag or even causing your food to float unless you use weights or clips to hold it down.
That’s when a vacuum sealer comes into play. These devices, of course, use a vacuum to remove air from your bags instead of just the external pressure of water. This results in a more airproof result. Plus the bags are airtight and more secure, so you’re less likely to encounter the (rare) issue of Ziploc bags coming open during a sous vide bath. And you can use these machines to vacuum-pack foods for storage, too, so they’re not only for sous vide! Read on for our list of the best vacuum sealers.
Note: this list is specifically about suction vacuum sealers. If you want to seal bags with liquid inside, you’ll probably be better off looking at our list of the best chamber vacuum sealers instead.
The Top 6 Best Vacuum Sealers for Sous Vide
Best for: Standard Home Sous Vide Use
We love Anova’s products in general, and their Precision Vacuum Sealer is no exception! It’s purpose-built for sous vide, so they took into account all of the common sous vide requirements and constructed this vacuum sealer accordingly. The company aims for “faster, stronger, smaller,” and they’ve achieved all three with this machine. And before you get worried (since quality usually comes at a price), this device is surprisingly affordable.
The Anova Precision vacuum sealer impressed us with its simple interface and three straightforward buttons. And if you’re just planning to seal relatively dry and durable foods, you’ll probably only need to use one of them! However, if you want to seal bags with delicate or moist foods, you can use the “Pulse” button to achieve greater control over how much air you extract (so you don’t crush these foods or suck out liquids). You’ll then press “Seal” when you’re satisfied with the state of your bag. However, we definitely recommend a chamber vacuum sealer instead if you’re planning to deal with liquids frequently.
If you wanted a vacuum sealer because you’re an avid bulk food prepper who would use it for hours every week, you might not mind it taking up much counter space. But most users who focus on sous vide will use their vacuum sealer relatively little in comparison. This means that it shouldn’t take up more space than it can justify, and the Anova Precision vacuum sealer succeeds here too. Its compact design means that you’ll be able to tuck it away easily between uses.
Best for: An Affordable, Reliable Machine
Suction vacuum sealers struggle with handling wet foods in general, and we always recommend chamber vacuum sealers instead for that purpose. But if you only want to handle moist foods occasionally, a suction vacuum sealer designed for the task may be all you need. The GERYON Vacuum Sealer does its best to fill this need, letting you choose between “Moist” or “Dry” food options.
While the GERYON’s design is fairly sleek, it lacks the astonishingly simple and user-friendly controls that we love on the Anova option. Instead of just three buttons, it has six, with two of them having two modes. It’s definitely not overly complicated, but we prefer simplicity whenever possible. Fortunately, the slight added complexity has a good reason, and a nice bonus feature! This vacuum sealer works with external compatible containers, like vacuum canisters or jars.
You can find some slightly cheaper options than the GERYON, but this one is still definitely budget-friendly. And it’s worth spending the few extra dollars on this one for the extra flexibility that it offers, including its option to choose between “Gentle” and “Normal” operation in case you’re packaging delicate food.
Best for: Hunters and Fishermen
If you’re a hunter, fisherman, or butcher, you know exactly how much work goes into getting high-quality meat, and how well it deserves to be taken care of. (Maybe that’s even why you want to sous vide it—so it will be every bit as delicious as it deserves to be!)
The FoodSaver GameSaver Big Game Sealing System is specifically designed to handle large quantities of meat either at home or on the go. This lets you seal your vacuum bags as soon as possible, ensuring the best possible results when it’s time to sous vide. This grab-and-go functionality also means that the GameSaver is designed to be rugged and durable.
Many suction vacuums aren’t designed for long stretches of continuous use, because typical home users (especially for sous vide) will more likely do only a few bags at a time. The GameSaver, on the other hand, can seal up to 80 bags in a row before it needs to take a break to cool off. This is invaluable if you’re processing large quantities of meat but don’t want to invest in an oil pump chamber vacuum sealer.
All of this durability and toughness comes at a price, of course. This is one of the more expensive suction vacuum sealers, but if you need the extra functionality that it provides, it’s definitely worth the cost.
Best for: Occasional, Light Use at an Amazing Price
Let’s be honest: if you’re a typical home user, the previous vacuum sealer that we just discussed for hunters and fishermen is probably (or definitely) overkill. If you’re just looking for a vacuum sealer to use for a sous vide project once or twice a week, you absolutely don’t need anything that big or expensive.
In fact, you may not even need a countertop vacuum sealer at all. FoodSaver has come up with a brilliant alternative for relatively light or infrequent users. The Handheld Cordless Food Vacuum Sealer is wonderfully compact, taking up dramatically less drawer space than a typical vacuum sealer. It can seal up to 60 one-quart bags on a full charge—although we recommend getting a more heavy-duty option if you actually plan to seal this many bags at a time. And it’s simple and straightforward to use, with no finicky settings to mess around with. You simply line it up with the valve on a compatible bag or container, press the device’s button, and wait for all the air to be removed. That’s it!
As with any device, of course, there are tradeoffs. The wonderfully unique and clever design of this vacuum sealer means that you need to use it with compatible bags or containers from FoodSaver. It won’t work with other vacuum bags or standard Ziploc bags. And since it’s cordless, you’ll need to remember to keep it charged so that you don’t run out of power mid-project
Best for: Frequent, Heavier Use
If you’re going to be cooking sous vide meals for multiple people frequently, or want to use a vacuum sealer both for sous vide and bulk food storage, you’ll want to get a machine that’s up to the task. The FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer definitely fits the bill, and we recommend it for home users who plan to use it frequently.
This 2-in-1 vacuum sealer functions excellently as a traditional countertop vacuum sealer, making your life simpler whenever possible. It automatically detects when a bag has been inserted, and does the rest of the work for you. (It even has an automatic moisture detection system, but we recommend using the “Moist” mode when relevant just to be safe.) It even includes a cutter and vacuum seal roll storage.
But it’s not only a countertop vacuum sealer, as the “2-in-1” name suggests. In fact, if you were eyeing the FoodSaver Handheld Cordless Food Vacuum Sealer but thought it wouldn’t be quite enough for what you need, you’re in luck here. The FoodSaver 2-in-1 comes with an included retractable handheld sealer that functions very similarly to the company’s handheld cordless option. It’s not cordless, of course, but it gives you some of that great handheld convenience when you just want to do a few simple bags.
So what’s the downside? First, this machine is one of the larger options on our list of recommendations, so it’s best if you have a spacious kitchen or a designated place to store it when it’s not in use. While we appreciate its automatic features, sometimes simple is better, and you’ll likely find yourself using manual settings anyway. And finally, you
Best for: Light Users on a Tight Budget
One of the most affordable options out there for a decent traditional suction vacuum sealer, the SLAOUWO Automatic Food Saver Machine manages to pack in an incredible amount of quality for its low price. It has many of the extras that you’d expect from a higher priced machine, and manages to work well and reliably too. While it’s not our absolute top pick, it’s definitely fantastic value for the price, and we recommend it for anyone who wants a vacuum sealer on a tight budget.
Despite its low price, the SLAOUWO includes an external hose that you can use with compatible canisters and other containers, expanding your vacuum-sealing options beyond just bags. Like some of the pricier options, it also has a “Moist” setting that you can use for wetter foods (but again, look into a chamber vacuum sealer instead if you want to seal liquids or very wet foods, because no suction vacuum sealer will handle this perfectly).
Its main drawback is its fully automatic function. While this is definitely convenient and easy, it’s also a significant limitation when you want more control. This is the main reason that we’d suggest a different option if you can afford it.
What Is a Vacuum Sealer? And Why You Need One
A vacuum sealer uses a vacuum to remove nearly all of the air from your bag, before sealing it with an airtight seal. This ensures excellent contact between the bagged food and the sous vide water bath, contributing to an even cook and better food safety. While the water displacement method is a great place to start and will remove most of the air, a vacuum sealer gets out more.
A vacuum sealer can also be used for other purposes, like vacuum sealing dry goods for pantry storage or perishable foods before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer. You’ll find that vacuum-sealed foods last longer, maintain their quality better, and (when frozen) have dramatically reduced freezer burn issues.
The Different Types of Vacuum Sealer
There are two main types of vacuum sealers: chamber vacuum sealers and suction vacuum sealers.
A chamber vacuum sealer has a fully enclosed, airtight chamber into which you put the bag. It then regulates the pressure inside the chamber, creating a vacuum both inside and outside the bag. Finally, it seals the bag before letting the air back in, leaving you with perfectly vacuum-packed food.
A suction vacuum sealer, on the other hand, uses suction to remove the air from the bag. It’s a different process, and one that has some limitations. Because of the suction, it’s difficult to use these machines with significantly moist foods, and almost impossible with liquids such as soups, sauces, or marinades. However, suction vacuum sealers tend to be smaller, less expensive, and better suited to casual use.
Whether you choose a suction vacuum sealer or a chamber vacuum sealer is completely a matter of preference. In general, a suction vacuum sealer (like the ones we review in this list) is adequate for standard home use, as long as you don’t intend to seal anything too wet.
If you’re serious about your sous vide though, or see yourself getting into fancy preparations like vacuum-compressed or infused foods, you might want to skip the suction vacuum sealer and go for a chamber vacuum sealer instead. If you want to learn more, check out our recommendations for the best chamber vacuum sealers!
The Benefits of Using a Vacuum Sealer
- Removes more air from your sous vide bags than the water displacement methods typically allows
- Ensures a more even cook on your food due to lack of air bubbles
- Promotes food safety by removing more air and lessening the chance of cool patches or floating bags
- Keeps foods fresher for longer in storage
- Reduces or eliminates freezer burn
- Reduces or eliminates unwanted food drying/dehydration
- Vacuum-sealed sous vide bags are airtight and less likely to open during prolonged cooking times
What to Look For in a Good Suction Vacuum Sealer
Finding the right suction vacuum sealer for you depends completely on what you need, so it’s hard to pick out just one as the best option for everyone. With that said, here are some things that we suggest you keep in mind or consider as you decide on which one you should buy.
- Do you need an external hose to also vacuum-seal compatible canisters, jars, etc.? Many, but not all, of our picks have a hose.
- Do you want to have a designated “Moist” setting to allow for easier sealing of moist foods?
- Some machines take more manual input, while others are automatic. Neither is inherently better, but you might prefer one over the other.
- How big is your kitchen? If you don’t have a lot of storage or counter space, size may need to be your first consideration.
- Will you realistically use your vacuum sealer occasionally for a few bags at a time, or frequently for lots of bags (as you meal prep, for example)? If you need to use your machine often or heavily, make sure it’s one that will stand up to the task.
- If you think you’ll want to vacuum-seal very moist or wet foods—like a steak in a marinade or sauce, or a bag of soup or stew—you may not want a suction vacuum sealer at all, since they can’t handle these tasks due to the suction. For wet foods like this, you’ll want to go for a chamber vacuum sealer instead.
A suction vacuum sealer will let you pack food in an (almost) airtight bag, removing more air than you realistically can with the water displacement method. This can lead to better results, not to mention food safety, with sous vide cooking. Which machine is right for you depends very much on your specific preferences and needs, because there are some great options out there! For standard home use, though, we recommend the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer as our top pick.