A good vacuum sealer is a key component to your sous vide process. The problem is many vacuum sealers can be unreliable, and there can be problems with things like getting a good seal or having enough suction to do what it’s supposed to do. Some will perform well for a time and then suddenly stop working after not much of a lifespan. So to save you some of that hassle, let’s look at the best sous vide vacuum sealers.
We’ve put together a list of 5 of our top picks, in a range of prices. We decided to include one chamber vacuum sealer at the high end of the spectrum just so you can weight the benefits vs the other sealers out there.
5 Best Vacuum Sealers for Sous Vide
What Does a Vacuum Sealer Do?
A vacuum sealer removes the air from your packed bags of food, and it places a seal on the bag for you.
Some sealers place a double seal on the bag.
For sous vide, having a good seal is extremely important since you don’t want any water to get into the bag.
Vacuum sealer units have varying levels of suction, depending on how powerful a machine you buy.
If you have air left in the bag and you’re sous vide’ing your food, the bag will float at the top of the water bath, which is not what you want.
Why Do You Need a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide?
While it is possible to sous vide without a vacuum sealer, using one will make your sous vide cooking easier. Your bags will be vacuum packaged much better than you can do without a machine. (You would have to use the water immersion technique to get the air out of your bags.)
In addition, you’ll have bags that are more durable and can withstand longer cook times and higher temperatures than alternatives like Ziplocs for sous vide.
Other Uses for Vacuum Sealers
A vacuum sealer is great to have in your kitchen for plenty of other uses besides sous vide. I like to buy bulk packs of meat at Costco and use the vacuum sealer to portion them for storage in the freezer. My spouse is always vacuum sealing fish.
And sometimes if we have a large bag of some kind of snacks, nuts, dried fruit etc. we will break down portions and vacuum seal them so they don’t get stale, since it takes a long time to go through a giant bag of Chex mix in my house.
But let’s talk about sous vide only right now and which vacuum sealer works best. I mention other uses because it may help you decide which one to buy. For example a chamber vacuum sealer is better for sealing fragile foods as well as liquids like soups and stews.
Types of Vacuum Sealers
There are two types of vacuum sealers: external sealers and chamber sealers. External suction vacuum sealers are the ones you probably think of first.
They are long, narrow, and short, and they have a sealing bar where you place the top of the bag, and the bag is outside of the machine.
With a chamber vacuum sealer, you place the bag of food inside the machine and close the lid. The air is removed from the bag and the vacuum chamber at the same time.
It’s a process that allows the foods to be sealed more gently, so as I mentioned above if you’re sealing something fragile you don’t have to worry about the food getting broken or smashed.
It’s also better for liquids since you don’t have to lay the bag down on the sealing bar and try to keep the liquid from spilling out of being sucked out during the vacuum sealing process.
External Suction Vacuum Sealer Advantages
The advantages include more models to choose from, they’re smaller so they’re easier to find space for, and they are available in a wide range of prices starting well below $100. A chamber vacuum sealer is more of an investment, with units in the $800-1000 range.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer Advantages
Chamber sealers are generally more powerful and you can seal up anything without worrying about liquids escaping. The bags are also less expensive, which is a savings that can add up quickly if you use a vacuum sealer on a regular basis.
5 Best Vacuum Sealers for Sous Vide Buying Guide
These are our top picks for sous vide vacuum sealers. We tried to present a range of price ranges so there’s a great vacuum sealer here for you no matter what your budget dictates.
Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer with Bag Starter Kit and Viewing Lid
- Double Line Seals for Added Strength
- Hands-Free Sealing with Locked Handle
- Variable Settings: Regular or Gentle
The Nesco VS-12 vacuum sealer is a great choice at this price point. It gives you a choice of regular or gentle sealing cycles, so you can adapt the process for the type of food you’re sealing. It has a double pump which packs a lot of suction power in, especially for a less-expensive model.
We talked about the fact that the quality of your seal is crucial for sous vide, and this machine gives you the choice of dry, moist, or double seal.
With this deal, you’ll get two rolls of bags to start out with: one roll of 8.6 x 9.85-inch bags and one roll of 11.8 x 9.85-inch bags.
NESCO VS-02, Food Vacuum Sealing System with Bag Starter Kit
- Vacuum Sealing System eliminates freezer burn, reduces spoilage and food waste
- One touch vacuum sealer operation and turns off automatically
- Roll storage compartment with bag cutter and sealing tray that fits up to 11.8” wide roll bag material
Lower-priced than the VS-12, this is our pick for budget model vacuum sealer. This unit comes with bags to start with, including two rolls 8.66” x 9.8′, five flat 8.66” x 11.8” and five flat 11” x 11.8” bags. It has a single piston pump, so less power than the Vs-12.
It’s better-rated than others in a similar price range, which is why it’s our pick for budget model; however, vacuum performance is not as strong as the VS-12.
VacMaster PRO380 Suction Vacuum Sealer with Extended 16″ Seal Bar
- Extend your food freshness up to five times longer than traditional storage systems.
- A longer 16" seal bar allows you to vacuum package wider bags or even two bags at once!
- Convenient roll cutter and storage built into the machine.
The VacMaster Pro380 is a beautiful, restaurant-quality machine that will also look great on your kitchen counter. It has a 16-inch seal bar and a dual piston pump. The built-in cooling fan will allow you to do a lot of sealing at a time without worrying about having a machine overheat on you.
It has a flat control panel for a slick look and easy cleaning, and the lid is clear so you can easily line up your bags and see what’s happening. This unit has a pulse mode that allows for more delicate vacuum sealing.
Weston Pro-2300 Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer (65-0201), Double Piston Pump
- Powerful, pro-performance; Heavy duty construction and 935 watts of power make this vacuum sealer powerful
- Quick and easy; Just press start; Double piston pump seal bar finishes the job fast; It’s the perfect tool for preserving your prized...
- Seals through moisture; Extra wide, 5 millimeters seal bar creates a solid, dependable seal every time; Seal wild game, fish and more
This unit is a step-up from the VacMaster PRO380 in that it comes with a two-year warranty and a more commercial-grade build quality. Like the PRO380, it has a double piston pump that will give you a lot of suction power at 28” HG vacuum strength.
The 15-inch seal bar gives you plenty of room to seal larger bags. And for delicate foods, there is a manual setting that allows you to set the pressure for more delicate sealing jobs. Like the PRO380, this unit has a fan-cooled motor so you can seal for longer sessions without needing a cool-down period.
VacMaster VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
- Dry maintenance-free machine pump.
- Keeps food fresh up to five times longer.
- A double seal on each bag ensures a complete and lasting seal.
A chamber vacuum sealer is a good choice if you do a lot of sealing, if you seal a lot of liquids or very moist foods, and if you seal a lot of delicate items. Chamber vacuum sealers cost around twice as much as a good commercial-grade external style sealer, but if you will be using it in the manner described above then it could be a wise investment. You can also save some money on the cost of bags with a chamber sealer.
I mentioned my spouse sealing fish regularly (fishing enthusiast) and a VacMaster chamber unit is the preferred sealer, he says it’s the best vacuum sealer for fish because it’s less messy.
The VP210 puts a double seal on each bag for you, which I like for sous vide cooking since of course keeping water out is critical and sometimes seals fail. (When external sealers start sucking liquids out of bags during the sealing process, this can contribute to seal failure.)
The sealing bar is 10 1/4 inches. Some chamber vacuum sealer have oil pumps that require you to check and change oil from time to time, but the VP210 has a dry motor that doesn’t need maintenance.
The chamber size is 11 1/4 inches wide, 15 1/4 inches deep, and 5 inches in height.
The Best Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide: Conclusion
Vacuum sealers are a key part of the sous vide cooking process. While you can sous vide without a vacuum sealer, if you’re using a vacuum sealer you definitely want one that will perform well and put sturdy seals on your food pouches.
Unfortunately, some of the best-known brands have less-than-stellar vacuum sealers out there on the market. Common issues include short lifespans, poor vacuum suction power, and unreliable sealing. We’ve put this list together in order to save you the frustration and hassle that can be involved in trying to use inferior sealers.