(*) Last updated by Abigail on Oct 17th, 2018.
I love barbecued back ribs – all juicy and tender that it melts in the mouth.
But my first barbecued ribs were burnt, tight and dry. Years later, I discovered the secret of extremely succulent ribs – SOUS VIDE cooking.
Table of Contents
- Why Do We Need Best Vacuum Sealers For Sous Vide?
- How We Picked And Tested
- What Is The Best Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer For You?
- How To Vacuum-Seal Sous Vide Bags Correctly?
- When Can We Skip The Vacuum Sealer?
- Recommended Sous Vide Tools
Why Do We Need Best Vacuum Sealers For Sous Vide?
First, we need to know about the superiority of sous vide compared to traditional cooking:
- Sous vide is a method of cooking with water, using water as a heat transfer medium.
- Sous vide is a proactive cooking method, which means that we pre-set the cooking temperature and time and we can predict the results.
- That is a precise cooking method, where you can completely control the cooking process as you wish.
- Sous vide is also a leisurely cooking method (no stress, no fuss), extremely convenient for planning your family’s meals or BBQ parties.
- And above all, with sous vide we get the perfect taste, excellent textures, and full nutrition similar to the dishes of luxury restaurants.
We all should try sous vide at home!
Yeah, there is a pretty common question:
Do we need a vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking?
Maybe no, but:
- You will never achieve fantastic results in the cooking.
- You will have a lot of trouble, even risking your food when using only ziplock bags.
The limitations of ziplock bags:
- You cannot completely remove the air out of this bags. That will reduce the sous vide efficiency and doneness of foods.
- The air inside bags causes the bags to float in the water bath, and our food is not cooked evenly.
- The ziplock bag has a loose seal, which is highly likely to break down when cooked at high temperatures (above around 160°F or 70°C.)
- Also, the ziplock-style bag is not recommended for long sous vide (about more than 4-6 hours) because it is not reliable and often leaked.
- Those mean that you cannot sous vide the fantastic vegetables or well-done steaks.
- And because ziplock bags still have oxygen inside, so you cannot preserve your cooked meats for long-term using without freezer burns.
TOP 3 sous vide vacuum sealers for home cooks:
You will get countless benefits from the useful kitchen appliance!
Benefits of vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking
- This units suck the air out of food bags and create airtight seals.
- The airtight seals help to lock the flavors, moisture, and nutrients inside the plastic bags to get super tenderness pieces of steaks, pork chops or chicken breasts.
- The decent seals ensure you can try all sous vide recipes at different levels from rare to well-done.
- Packing by high-quality bags with airtight seals, you don’t have trouble sous vide at high temperatures for long periods of time.
- This means that you can achieve the fantastic veggies you have ever tried.
- Vacuum-sealing enhances the effectiveness of meat marinating, help push the seasonings into the flesh deeper.
- Without air, sous vide bags are kept under water, so your food is cooked evenly and consistently.
- The vacuum sealer keeps food safety! Without oxygen, bacteria cannot thrive. Without bacteria, food does not quickly spoil.
- With vacuum sealed bags you can extend the life of sous vide meals about five times more than not vacuum sealed.
- Also, the machine helps you batch cook easily, a great way to save time and money.
- Plus, the combination of vacuum-sealing and sous vide makes your kitchen always neat and clean.
As home cooks, you SHOULD invest in the vacuum sealer!
It will be a super guard in your kitchen…
How We Picked And Tested
The right choice is always the balance between the two KEY factors: budget and needs.
We have picked the top 3 models listed above after carefully considering many aspects when applied to cook sous vide.
They all fit our criteria:
- Good performance
- Simple to use
- Easy to clean
- Reasonable size
- “Sous vide-friendly” features
Important is that it does not break your budget.
Vacuum sealers for sous vide at home cost between a few dozens and several hundred dollars.
Of course, the better the model, the higher the price.
We found that…
- Models in the $100 to $200 range had a great balance between cost and quality.
- Models that cost less than $100 are often less powerful and lack the useful features.
- Conversely, models with big price tags possess capabilities that are not practical for home cooks.
2- Good performance
- Our vacuum sealers must have strong vacuuming-suction which means they can draw the air out of plastic bags, glass jars or others containers.
- Machines with powers of between 110 watts and 130 watts are the right choices for sous vide.
- They also can seal effectively, which means they provide airtight and reliable seals.
- That is important because it ensures that our sous vide bags do not break down when cooking at high temperatures.
- Of course, the vacuum sealers must also be of good quality.
3- Simple to use
We appreciate user-friendly vacuum sealers, they should have:
- Visual design
- Manual controls
- Sensitive buttons
- Arrange appropriately
- Progress indicator lights
We especially like advanced models with bag auto-detecting sensor, included useful add-ons and accessories like retractable sealer, built-in rolls holder and cutter…
These utilities make your work faster and more convenient than ever. No stress, no discomfort!
We’ve got rid of hard-to-use models no matter how good they are.
4- Easy to clean
We also pay attention to this aspect.
We have noticed that it is essential because it is related to our food hygiene and kitchen.
Besides, an easy-to-clean model helps us to extend its lifespan.
We prefer the vacuum sealers…
- Finished with stainless steel because they are durable, beautiful and easy to clean.
- Have removable drip tray to catch liquids when sealing sous vide bags.
5- Reasonable size
In general, models with a length of approx. 11 inches sealing strip are sufficient for the needs of most households.
We do not usually sous vide large pieces of meat at home, right?
Also, we do not need giants like chamber vacuum sealers in our kitchens.
The external vacuum sealers are sized to fit our countertops and kitchen cabinets.
As compact as possible!
6- “Sous vide-friendly” features
How do you cook sous vide?
What foods do you usually use for sous vide?…
We love sous vide recipes with…
- Fresh meat (pieces of meat contain lots of juices) like steak, pork chop, brisket or rib.
- Moist and delicate food items like ground beef, fillet salmon, chicken breast.
- Liquid-rich food like marinated meat with spices and sauces.
- Make silky desserts like crème brûlée, flan or liver pâté in mason jars…
Also, we always add cooking oil such as olive oil, canola oil into sous vide bags for our food to be more flexible.
From there, we prefer to choose vacuum sealers with “sous vide-friendly” features:
- Manual control function when sealing delicate foods allows you to stop the air suction before they are crushed.
- A cancel button help you stop the vacuum or sealing process at any time you want.
- The progress lights also help you to predict what is going on. No need to grope!
- Moist mode is useful for prolonging the sealing time thereby enhancing the certainty for your seals when sous vide cooking.
- An attached handheld sealer is a BIG bonus for users. It helps you to seal many glass jars quickly for large batches of great desserts and long-term preservation.
- The handheld sealer is also particularly useful to speed up your meat marinating process.
- Sous vide bags mostly contain liquids, so the right models need to have removable trays to absorb the juices are drawn out.
What Is The Best Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer For You?
As mentioned, we’ve recommended the following top 3 vacuum sealers for you.
Let’s check it out…
All models are high quality with outstanding features. They met the selection criteria we indicated above.
They have also passed our hard tests such as the well-done testing sous vide brisket.
- The results were super tender briskets with perfect taste and texture.
- Besides that, the seals were not broken by the high temperature and long cooking time.
We have also placed vacuum-sealed food bags in the freezer. After about a month, our meats still have had the same quality as the first day without any freezer burn.
So which model is best for you?
Which model should you pick?
Let’s go into the detailed evaluation of each model based on unbiased opinions from our sous vide experts to make the final decision.
Reviews on vacuum sealers for sous vide
First is a resourceful guy…
It is a trusted unit that comes from the famous Foodsaver brand with a sleek design and high quality.
Let’s check what it has…
Why we love the vacuum sealer?
The Foodsaver model works automatically
- Its automatic bag detection sensor is an advanced feature, and it has helped us perform the vacuum sealing quickly and easily.
- All you have to do is keep the edge of the food bag flat and clean before placing it in the heat sealing strip.
- And this unit will automatically clip the bag and vacuum-seal it for you.
- It is effortless to use. No need to lock, to press and no trouble!
A good performance vacuum sealer
- The Foodsaver unit was a powerful machine with approximately 127 watts of power.
- Its vacuum strength is enough for you to get rid of all the air from any containers such as food bags or glass jars.
- Also, with the sealer, we can make several seals continuously without overheating. Those seals are very good, never defective.
Did you know?
The model has that ability! Its seals are airtight, durable even with cooking at high temperatures for long periods of time.
Great 2-in-1 combination
I really like the 2-in-1 Foodsaver model.
For sous vide cooking, it not only works well but it is also very flexible.
This Foodsaver unit is an excellent combination of a countertop sealer with a handheld sealer.
The handy sealer is very worthwhile because it can be used with a wide variety of accessories.
Useful accessories help us optimize the usability as well as expand the utility of the vacuum sealer for sous vide and preserving food.
- We usually use its handheld sealer to marinate a few ribs or steaks quickly. The meats will be more delicious!
- With its marinade mode and a dedicated marinating container, you can speed up your meat marinating in just a dozen minutes.
- If you love sous vide custard or pâtés in mason jars, especially for large batches, the handheld sealer becomes extremely useful when you need to preserve the cooked jars for future use.
Friendly add-ons for sous vide
We appreciated the friendliness of the Foodsaver vacuum sealer.
- Especially the built-in roll storage and cutter, they help to customize the food-bag size easily according to the size of the food.
- The Moist mode is also necessary for sous vide. It enhances the certainty of our heat seals.
- The set of Seal, Cancel buttons, and progress lights give us good control of the vacuum-sealing process to avoid sucking liquids out or crushing soft food like fish, chicken.
- If unfortunately some of the liquid is sucked out, it will fall into a drip tray. This tray is easily removable and dishwasher-friendly.
- Plus with Full tray warning lights, we can forget the worries of sealing foods rich in liquid.
What’s more, the Foodsaver unit has a five-year warranty, and spare parts are always available from the Foodsaver brand.
The opposite side…
Some limitations of this model
– You fret a bit about its price tag but remember you get what you pay for!
Besides including a value startup kit, you also get a 5-year warranty for this model from Foodsaver. It is a guarantee of the future that was included in the initial cost.
– Automatic bag detection – while very convenient – also used a bit more bag material because it automatically puts about 2.5 to 3 inches from the top.
We think it will be comprehensive if manual pressure mode is available.
– The retracting and pulling out of the handheld sealer is quite annoying. This will require a bit of magic 😉
– Also, the Foodsaver unit is quite picky! It usually does not accept cheap bags. So to avoid the risks of sous vide cooking, you should use high-quality
Overall, we have been delighted with the vacuum sealer since buying it.
We noticed that it is the best Foodsaver model not only for sous vide but also for general food preservation.
- It is beautiful, sturdy, and powerful.
- It is convenient to use, easy to clean.
- It has high reliability and versatile functions.
In a nutshell, purchasing the Foodsaver V4840 is a wise purchase.
A great addition to the kitchen!
The next position is also a Foodsaver model.
It has a stylish and innovative design compared to the Foodsaver V4840 above.
Let’s check what it has…
As you can see, the Foodsaver FM5200 is also an automatic 2-in-1 vacuum sealer like the V4840 model.
Overall, our two Foodsaver models have similar functions and features.
So in this reviews, we’ll show the most significant differences between them to help you better understand.
As well as the reasons that we have chosen it for sous vide.
Why we pick it?
Super convenient for making bags from rolls
The Foodsaver FM5200 model owns two sealing bars, in which the lower sealing bar along with the attached cutter acts as an express bag maker.
Keep the latch unlocked; we only need to pull the bag from the roll holder to the desired length, then turn the latch on the SEAL mode to seal the mouth of our pack.
Finally, it’s easy, slide the bag cutter to get a pre-sealed bag.
We appreciate the Express Bag Maker, it is useful:
- It helps us create pre-sealed bags quickly and conveniently with custom sizes.
- With the model, you probably do not need to buy Foodsaver pre-cut bags.
- The feature is even better when you need to create multiple bags to preserve many portions of food for sous vide.
It can be said that it is the best Foodsaver model for heat-seal rolls.
“Optimized” design for sealing sous vide bags
We particularly like its vertical design with a vacuum & seal slot on high.
- When vacuum-sealing, our bag edge is placed higher than other models. The food bag is almost standing upright.
- Gravity pulls all the things in the bag down to the bottom. Of course, including liquids.
- That means liquids will not be easy to escape from the plastic bag while vacuuming.
As you know, our sous vide bags usually contain fresh meats rich in juices or marinated with spices and sauces.
Also, the ergonomic sealing angle design + transparent vacuum window allow us to control and hold food bags during vacuum sealing more easily.
Besides the two most prominent features, as well as the Foodsaver V4840 model, it enjoys five years warranty and excellent after-sales service from the reputable Foodsaver manufacturer.
What are its cons?
Yes, it seems to be over-designed. We think so 🙁
– Placing the vacuum & seal slot on high accidentally made our sealing more difficult than other Foodsaver models.
- We need to hold or lift our food bags constantly, especially the heavy bags.
- This may affect the tightness of the seals if the bags are stretched down.
- Its automatic bag detection sensor seems to require higher regarding straightness and flatness of the bag edge than the V4840 model.
If you are not careful, the seals may fail!
– Its vacuum suction is not as strong as the V4840 due to its power is smaller than about 10%.
– Lack of full tray warning light also creates some risk of dirt or even damaging your model from overflowing liquids.
We’ve rated the Foodsaver FM5200 as a top vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking:
- It owns an impressive design and high-quality finishing.
- The express bag maker is extremely handy and fun.
- It also does not take up much space, and you can use it as a decorative object for your kitchen.
However, it requires relatively high vacuum-sealing skills that can make it difficult for newbies.
But it is strongly recommended for proficient users 🙂
Great choice for experts!
The last position in our list of top models for sous vide cooking is a little guy.
It does not belong to the advanced product line like the above Foodsaver models, but it is an affordable vacuum sealer.
3- NutriChef Vacuum Sealer [Affordable]
Who is the guy?
|Features + Specs|
Why is it picked?
First, through our tests, we have noticed that its vacuum capacity and the seals that it produced are acceptable. It works pretty well!
The Nutrichef model is enough for the needs of homemade sous vide.
Second, the Nutrichef stands out from other models in these two points:
- It is affordable so that anyone can afford it.
- Very compact, it is suitable for small spaces.
And thirdly, the machine has quite a lot of functions to control the vacuum-sealing process like food, pressure, stop modes.
Also, it is quite eye-catching (glossy, beautiful) with sensor buttons attached LEDs.
This is logical because the cost we spend is low and we cannot ask much from it 🙂
Limitations of the Nutrichef sealer
About how it works
- It is a manual vacuum sealer without the automatic sensor.
- That is, we need to open the lid, place the bag, lock the lid and press the buttons.
- Convenience for the user is far less than the Foodsaver V4840.
- Also, talk about locking up before activating the model, you need to push its lid down with your hands until you hear two “CLICKS”
- You should also check again to make sure the model is locked before you press the button.
The machine lacks a lot of add-ons
We think designers have sacrificed useful add-ons for its compact size.
- The Nutrichef unit has no integrated roll holder and bag cutter.
- This is a significant disadvantage for any vacuum sealer because it reduces the convenience of bag making.
- Perhaps with the Nutrichef, using pre-made bags is the best option for us.
- It also does not have a retractable handheld sealer as two Foodsaver models above on which only attach an accessory hose.
- The location of its accessory port is not convenient for users when they need to can mason jars to sous vide excellent desserts.
- Drip tray cannot be removed for washing. That also means we will spend more effort to clean it than the Foodsaver models.
- It can be said that the Nutrichef’s design is unfriendly sous vide.
Besides, it also lacks a handy power button or marinade mode.
About vacuum-sealing performance
Through our experience, to create decent seals, we need to know how to use it.
If done incorrectly, you will get the failed seals with high rates.
Also, we also noticed the quality of Nutrichef’s sealing strip was not as good as Foodsaver’s.
It usually produces heterogeneous seals, has hotter spots and cooler spots.
Furthermore, we also evaluate the customer support service of the manufacturer is poor.
You should consider this because the Nutrichef unit only has a 1-year warranty while Foodsaver is a 5-year warranty.
The Nutrichef vacuum sealer is responsive for sous vide cooking with a bit of patience from the user.
Its seal is guaranteed when you operate the machine properly!
Why do we recommend it for home cooks while it’s less convenient?
Because the Nutrichef is very affordable and we can say that it is the best sous vide vacuum sealer for the money.
Everyone can approach it easily!
And it’s compact and lightweight, especially suitable for those with tight spaces.
Sous vide vacuum sealer comparison chart
Based on our detailed reviews of each sealer and the full comparison chart above, you may have chosen a model that suits your needs and budget.
On our side, we love the Foodsaver V4840 model most!
Right, we’ve picked it as the best vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking, because of:
- The unit is the best built.
- It has the highest vacuum-sealing performance.
- The Foodsaver is the simplest operation.
- It has the most useful add-ons.
- It is also easier to clean than all.
How To Vacuum-Seal Sous Vide Bags Correctly?
Here are some tips that you should take to enhance the effectiveness of vacuum-sealing. From there, we create authoritative seals, less broken.
That is the premise that we get consistent results during sous vide cooking with excellent taste and texture.
But the first thing, you should practice vacuum-sealing many times to understand precisely how your model works.
Let’s get started…
- Clean your bag’s mouths before sealing.
- This is to ensure there are no crumbs or grease on your bag’s mouths.
- Hold the edge of bag flat while inserting it into the sealing slot.
- Should take a “safety gap” (about 2 inches) to prevent the risk of liquids being sucked out of the bag.
- The “safe gap” is also valuable when you need to re-seal.
- When sous vide over 4 hours with high temperature (above 160°F or 70°C), you should make double seals for your food bags.
- Use the moist mode for sous vide bags while sealing to increase the reliability of their seals.
- We also recommend that you place the smooth side of the bag down the sealing strip, the rugged face with ridges is at the top.
- Learn the skill of stopping vacuum at the right time for foods rich in liquids or delicate foods.
- And don’t forget to let the heat-seal cool down before throwing it into the water bath for sous vide or freezer for preservation.
>> Read more: 7 Best Ways To Vacuum-Seal Liquids
Also, there are other tips & tricks for sous vide preparation that you should know:
- Pre-sealing is the perfect method for liquid-rich bags and soft items like fish, poultry, ground beef.
- Do not make your bags too crowded.
- If you want to cook several servings at once, use sous vide rack.
- Always add a little butter or cooking oil in your pouches so that your meats are flexible.
- To resist the floating, you should add the weight to your bag before sealing it. A spoon or sous vide weight is a good idea!
- And remember to remove bones for your cuts of meat with a boning knife to keep plastic bags free of punctures.
When Can We Skip The Vacuum Sealer?
Yes, there are some cases where we may not need the model:
- Sous vide eggs because eggs have a natural protective layer.
- Sous vide ground beef for burgers because it needs a little looser to be delicious.
- When you cook sous vide at low heat for a short time like rare steaks or tender salmon fillets.
With eggs, we do not need to wrap them with anything, so vacuum-packing is not necessary.
For other dishes, we can use food-grade zipper bags instead.
Recommended Sous Vide Tools
If you want to cook sous vide, you need sous vide tools.
Check out the following items to help you craft the legendary dishes at right your kitchen, making your loved ones amazed:
Happy sous vide!