More and more people are beginning to realize the advantages of making their own food in one way or another. And by making, we do not mean cooking. No, we are referring to growing your greens and vegetables, stuffing your own sausages, preparing pasta from scratch, etc. For an increasing number of people, this kind of activities has become a daily preoccupation due to the fact that the quality of store bought food is questionable at best and largely compromised at worst. Making your own ingredients as well as your meals is the best way to ensure that you know what goes into your body.
Once you get going, you will probably be amazed to find out how easy it is to make/grow most of your ingredients yourself. You will also find out that there are certain economies of scale when it comes to growing and making your own food – in general, your output will be large and at periodic intervals – you will not be casing a home-made sausage every day, rather you will probably make a number of sausages ahead of time. And that is where food preservation comes into play.
Preserving different kinds of food can be rather troublesome, though. Actually, one of the main issues related to the quality of store bought food has to do with food preservation. The trick is to be able to preserve food effectively without needing to add chemicals that will then have to be ingested along with the food. Freezing food is one way to preserve food effectively with no chemicals added, but it can sometimes affect the taste and consistency of food as it is frozen and then thawed.
A vacuum sealer is one tool that can help you preserve and freeze food without compromising on its taste and structure. The purpose of a vacuum sealer is to protect food from the effects of oxygen, freezing, physical contaminants (like dirt) etc. That is why today we are presenting the best vacuum sealer along with two great alternatives. We will tell you about how each of them works, what it can do and some other details that might be important for making the optimal purchasing decision.
The Best Vacuum Sealer: Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer
The best vacuum sealer for the money that we could find is the 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer made by Weston.
It is a standard counter top vacuum sealer that can help preserve food freshness for 5 to 6 times longer, compared to keeping it in a non-sealable container where oxygen is present.
Here are the basic characteristics of this vacuum sealer. Its dimensions are 15.3 x 23 x 9 inches. It weighs 14.4 pounds. It costs about $470 full price, but we were able to find it for almost $100 less.
The Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer comes with a variety of features that make it easy to use and quite effective. For one, it has two operating modes – a single-touch mode where the seal is automatic and a manual mode for a custom seal. The manual mode is particularly useful for soft food. For everything else, the automatic mode will do just fine. Thus, this vacuum sealer is quite versatile.
In terms of the size of the packages, it can seal bags that are up to 15 inches wide. That is about the largest size any other vacuum sealer could work with. The indicator lights are LED (and they indicate the different stages of the sealing process), the vacuum pump is a double-piston pump and this vacuum sealer also comes with a transparent lid, cord storage and a fan-cooled motor. The motor power is 935 watts. The fan cooler ensures that you can use the vacuum sealer repetitively without the risk of overheating it.
Thus, the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer certainly has all the essentials of a great vacuum sealer plus a few extra ones that make it a real bargain. The warranty is only a year, which is not that long for kitchen appliances in general. However, a lot of the small parts in the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer are actually pretty easy to replace, so even if something were to happen, your investment would still keep a lot of its value. With other brands, it is not as easy to find replacement parts, so when one or two go, the whole device becomes useless. That is certainly something to keep in mind.
On the other hand, one of the biggest disadvantages of this vacuum sealer is that it does not come with a built in bag cutter and there are no edge hash marks on the Weston sealing bags to guide cutting with scissors. Needless to say, some other vacuum sealers do have built in bag cutters and we find that feature to be very convenient. Still, this is the one downside of the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer and it is offset by a lot of upsides, thus, it remains our #1 pick for the best vacuum sealer out there.
Second Pick: FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer
Our runner-up for best vacuum sealer is the FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer. FoodSaver is a rather well known maker of food sealers, so those of you who have used such a product before have probably already heard of it.
This one is a countertop vacuum sealer as well. It is more compact than our top pick – its dimensions are 11 x 20 x 12 inches and it weighs only 10 pounds.
For such a compact size, it is really amazing what this device can do. The listing price of the FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System is about $250. On discount, you might be able to get for $150-$170.
The FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer is an amazing product because it is a well made vacuum sealer that comes at a very reasonable price and with a few extra features included for free. Thus, it makes a great starter pack for novice users of vacuum sealers. Included in the package, in addition to the sealer itself, is a starter kit that includes one 11 x 10 inch roll, 3 qt heat-seal bags, 2 gal heat-seal bags, 3 qt zipper bags and 2 gal zipper bags. Thus, you have everything you need to get you going. The device itself comes fully assembled too!
Some of the built in features of the FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System are a bag cutter, a roll storage, a removable dip tray and a retractable handheld sealer.The handheld sealer gives pretty much the same result as the manual mode on the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer.
All of these features add to the convenience of using this device – it is obvious that the folks at FoodSaver tried to think about everything and they did a pretty good job in our opinion. In addition to all that, there are two different settings for the automatic seal – one for dry foods and one for moist food.
One possible drawback of this vacuum sealer compared to the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer is that it can only work with bags up to 14 inches in width. Obviously, this is not a huge issue and the choice between these two vacuum sealers is not at all easy to make. We felt like the suction power of the Weston 65-0201 Pro-2300 Vacuum Sealer was simply stronger, and that is one of the main reasons why it is out top choice.
Good Cheaper Alternative: FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit
The last product we really wanted to present to you in the category of best vacuum sealers is another one made by FoodSaver – the FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit.
It is the most budget friendly option of our top three picks. This vacuum sealer is slightly bulkier than the other FoodSaver with dimensions of 9.1 x 10.7 x 18.6 inches and weight of 10.8 inches.
The listing price is about $140, while on discount you will probably be able to get it for about $100.
In terms of the features, it shares a few with the more expensive FoodSaver version, such as the dry/moist food sealing settings, the convenient roll holder, the removable drip tray and the bag cutter. The starter kit included with this model is somewhat smaller; it includes 1 11×10 inch roll, 3 qt heat-seal bags and 2 gal heat-seal bags. The operation of this vacuum sealer is manual, not automated, and there are two sealing speeds to choose from. There is no retractable handheld sealer. There is, however, a CrushFree Instant Seal mode that is there to protect delicate foods during the sealing process.
All in all, it is a very decent vacuum sealer and the price is more than good. The savings from not wasting leftovers and/or buying in bulk will surpass the purchase price many times over within just one year. That is, of course, if you put your vacuum sealer to proper use. And why wouldn’t you, when both Weston and FoodSaver make it so easy?