I never saw much need for a vacuum sealer in my kitchen. Sure, hand-squeezing as much air as possible out of a zipper bag isn’t ideal and I’ve had leftovers fall victim to freezer burn a few more times than I’d like, but is a vacuum sealer worth the extra money and storage space? After hearing about the ease of use, savings, and in many cases, small footprint of modern vacuum sealers from experts, I’m convinced the answer is a resounding “yes.”
I spoke with eight home cooks, chefs, recipe developers, and cookbook authors who couldn’t stop talking about their favorite vacuum sealers. They’re incredibly effective in keeping food fresh longer and compacting items into a more storage-friendly size, though many other benefits abound. Marinating, pickling, and sous vide cooking are all easier with the right vacuum sealer, making your time and effort spent in the kitchen more efficient. Worried about storage space for yet another kitchen gadget? Vacuum sealer machines come in all shapes and sizes from rechargeable handheld varieties to larger models that are even suited for use in a small commercial kitchen.
Here are some of five best vacuum sealer machines recommended by pros who have put them to the test.
1. ZWILLING Fresh & Save Food Vacuum Sealer Set, $14.99+
The cordless and compact Zwilling Fresh & Save vacuum sealer system was recommended by three of our experts for its convenient size, reusable bags, and glass containers that perfect for marinades. “It’s compact, easy to charge, and comes with containers that are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes,” says food writer and author of The Flavor Equation Nik Sharma, who had partnered with brand last year.
Baker and recipe developer Alex Roberts also finds the size of this vacuum sealer compelling. “It’s the most approachable version of vacuum packing in my opinion with a handheld, rechargeable pump,” he says. “It also doesn’t take up any counter space, unlike other vacuum sealers.” Chef and content creator Jon Kung also recommended the Fresh & Save, noting that the dishwasher-safe bags can reduce the long-term cost of buying new ones as well as the amount of plastic waste in landfills.
Available in various sets with reusable plastic bags or lidded glass containers, if you’re looking for a vacuum sealing system that’s versatile and easy to store, this could be a great fit.
2. Mueller Vacuum Sealer Machine, $69.97
The second most popular pick among our experts, Mueller’s vacuum sealer was recommended by recipe developer and creator of Midwest Foodie Kylie Lato, and chef and creator of Just Add Hot Sauce Alex Hill.
Lato uses her vacuum sealer to store food she buys in bulk, ensuring a longer shelf life while avoiding dreaded freezer burn. “It’s also a cost effective solution to keeping your leftovers neatly organized while maximizing fridge and freezer space!” Hill credits the vacuum sealer for saving money and avoiding food waste as well, adding, “[It’s] super easy to use and locks in moisture pretty well for the price point, which is the biggest thing if I’m sous vide cooking or preserving.”
The vacuum sealer is corded and comes with five medium pre-cut vacuum sealer bags and one extra-long bag, all of which are reusable and easy to clean. It also has two modes for wet and dry sealing, ensuring you can vacuum seal nearly anything you need.
3. Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer, $349.99
If you have a bit more counter space and are constantly sealing liquids, consider a chamber vacuum sealer like this one from Anova. Unlike most systems that remove air from the bags, chamber vacuum sealers remove air from the chamber itself, making them a great choice for soups, purées, marinades, and other liquids that would otherwise spill out of the bags.
Chef and restaurant owner Rohani Foulkes highly recommends Anova’s entire vacuum sealer product line, especially its chamber vacuum sealer. “The line is easy to use for the at-home cook and also proficient as a small tool in a commercial kitchen setting like ours at Folk. I like the chamber sealer, but there are various options depending on need,” she writes. “Bonus, Anova makes clean, streamlined looking products so they look good, too.” The chamber vacuum sealer doesn’t come with any bags, so be sure to add some if you choose to invest.
4. Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Precision Vacuum Sealer,
Anova also makes a more counter top-friendly vacuum sealer that comes recommended by food writer and recipe developer Arlyn Osborne. “When I was originally shopping for one, I thought this version looked the least intimidating,” she writes. “It’s super basic, has only three buttons, and is incredibly user-friendly. I love how slim and compact it is, and store it in my kitchen drawer with my plastic bags and aluminum foil.” The vacuum sealer comes with 10 pre-cut bags so you can start vacuum sealing right away, however the bags aren’t reusable. It’s also recommended that this vacuum sealer is used only for dry foods, especially with a sous vide.
5. FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine, $249.99
Ah, FoodSaver—the iconic brand that’s been making some of the most popular vacuum sealers since 1987. FoodSaver’s 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine has wet and dry food settings, a countertop machine and retractable handheld attachment, and works with various attachments to vacuum seal mason jars and wine bottles for major versatility. “I really like my trusty Food Saver as it works well for both dry and wet food,” writes cookbook author Namiko Hirasawa Chen of Just One Cookbook. “I often use it to infuse flavors, like marinating chashu pork belly in a savory sauce overnight. I also use it for sous vide steak and other proteins.”
How do you use a vacuum sealer?
For most countertop machines, place the food in a pre-cut vacuum sealer bag, slip the open end of the bag into the sealer, and press the appropriate buttons. Similarly, for handheld models, place your food in a vacuum sealer bag or container, attach the vacuum sealer to the port, and begin the process at the touch of a button. It’s as simple as that.
Can I use my vacuum sealer for wet and dry food?
Depends on the model! Many have both a “wet” and a “dry” setting, allowing you to use it for either purpose. Some also come with extra bags or containers that better suited for sealing wet or dry food while others are only capable of sealing dry food, which may be totally fine for how you intend to use your vacuum sealer. For the best seal with wet ingredients, check out a chamber vacuum sealer like the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer, which seals without suction.
Do you have a favorite vacuum sealer? What do you use it for?
This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.