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What’s the Distinction Between Handheld and Countertop Vacuum Sealers?

The vacuum sealer is a slightly ingenious system that sucks the air out of a plastic bag earlier than sealing it shut, preserving meals and holding moisture out. Do you tire of compressing air out of zipper-lock baggage for sous vide? Do you discover that you just’re always throwing away freezer-burned meals and off snacks? A vacuum sealer could also be best for you!

The vacuum sealers in the marketplace at the moment usually fall into two classes: handheld and countertop (we’ll introduce a 3rd, rarer possibility shortly). The previous requires particular baggage with zip-top enclosures that work nicely for short-term storage, however might fail underneath sure situations (like months within the freezer or lengthy hours in a heat sous vide water tub). Countertop sealers are bigger and seal the bag shut by melting the 2 sides collectively, a characteristic that makes the seal last more. There’s additionally *technically* a 3rd model of vacuum sealer, the chamber sealer, that’s most frequently utilized in industrial purposes (although we did evaluation one marketed in the direction of residence cooks—the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer—and appreciated it). However which sort of vacuum sealer is best for you? Right here, we targeted on countertop and handheld vacuum sealers, diving into their variations so you’ll be able to select which is finest in your wants.

Countertop Vacuum Sealers


Amazon


Anova Culinary Precision Vacuum Sealer Pro

Amazon


Mueller Austria Vacuum Sealer Machine

Amazon


Anova Culinary Precision Vacuum Sealer

Amazon


Countertop vacuum sealers are typically known as channel sealers or edge sealers and have a bar that heats up and melts the 2 sides of the plastic bag shut after eradicating the air. One of these sealer can be utilized with pre-cut baggage or rolls that may be minimize and sealed to a customized measurement. It is nice for freezing, sous vide cooking, and even simply holding pantry objects more energizing for longer.

The Professionals

Critical Eats / Russell Kilgore


Countertop fashions help you set and overlook in the case of sealing. Many fashions have the know-how to detect exactly when the suction ought to finish with regard to the kind of meals, eliminating the guesswork. In our testing, our favorites had been moderately priced, had easy controls, and reliably produced sturdy seals that held as much as every kind of assessments. Some, just like the Nesco Deluxe Food VS-12 sealer, had been sturdy sufficient to take away all of the air from irregular meals like a bone-in pork chop with out breaking the plastic, but in addition delicate and “good” sufficient to not crush Chex cereal. Most of the higher fashions, just like the Anova Pro, include built-in storage for luggage and a useful cutter. This mannequin additionally helps you to seal moist objects, like rooster in a marinade, with out sucking liquid up by the seal throughout the vacuum course of.

The opposite good factor about many countertop sealers is that you just don’t want brand-specific baggage, which are sometimes dearer. As a substitute, you’ll be able to buy bags from third-party distributors for lower than $1 a foot.

The Cons

The largest cons with countertop vacuum sealers are that they’re massive and costly. In the event you solely vacuum seal sporadically, a giant sealer won’t be definitely worth the money and space for storing. Other than that, one minor quibble is that the baggage for countertop vacuum sealers aren’t actually meant to be reused, whereas the baggage that include handheld sealer are designed (in idea) for use repeatedly.

Handheld Vacuum Sealers

FoodSaver Handheld Vacuum Food Sealer Machine Cordless

Amazon


Anova Culinary Precision Port Handheld Vacuum Sealer,BLACK

Amazon


In contrast to their bulkier countertop cousins, handheld vacuum sealers are small, light-weight gadgets meant to slot in one hand. Some run on batteries (both disposable or rechargeable), and others make use of a guide pump to take away air. Each sorts use particular baggage fitted with a one-way valve that attaches to the sealer. The baggage are sealed with a zipper on the prime that permits for simple opening and shutting.

The Professionals

Critical Eats / Russell Kilgore


The baggage for a handheld vacuum sealer may be reused so long as the plastic isn’t punctured, and a few have attachments to suit onto meals storage containers and mason jars, which is one thing most countertop sealers can’t do. Handheld sealers additionally are usually a lot smaller, lighter, and cheaper. These attributes make such a sealer a sensible choice for these with much less space for storing or who may solely vacuum seal sporadically.

The Cons 

Handheld sealers require you to watch the suction course of, and you must resolve when to cease the system (in contrast to countertop sealers, which let you press a button and stroll away). They use disposable or rechargeable batteries, and a few may be operated manually (pump it!), however these are inclined to stink (sorry). In our take a look at of vacuum sealers, we evaluated 4 handheld choices, and two had been surprisingly okay: the FoodSaver Handheld Cordless Vacuum Sealer and the Anova Precision Port Handheld Vacuum Sealer. Each had been fairly simple to make use of, did a good job suctioning and sealing, and had been small and simple to stash away. The opposite two examined had some points, with seals that failed to remain tight throughout varied assessments (if you wish to seal something in a marinade with them, good luck!). Total, their energy and seal high quality simply weren’t pretty much as good as a countertop sealer. Additionally, handheld sealers require you to purchase the baggage from the producer, as solely these may have a valve appropriate with the sealer. Plus, countertop sealers typically have built-in bag slicing, which is a pleasant perk.

Handheld vs. Countertop Vacuum Sealers: Which Ought to I Purchase?

Each handheld and countertop vacuum sealers have the identical aim (vacuum suctioning and sealing), however selecting which is finest in your wants comes right down to how typically you plan to make use of it, amongst different issues. Let’s check out among the key variations:

Handheld vs. Countertop Vacuum Sealers
Components  Handheld  Countertop
Vary of Options Restricted, largely simply suction  Suction, sealing, bag slicing
Cordless? Sure No
Value Vary $20-$70 $40-$200+
Measurement Compact, might slot in a drawer Ranges extensively, although compact fashions do exist
Model-specific baggage? Sure No

A small disadvantage of countertop sealers is that, as you open and shut the bag, you must minimize the perimeters the place it was sealed, and if you wish to re-seal it, nicely, your bag simply acquired smaller. Whereas this is not a dealbreaker for us (you could possibly simply use a brand new bag), countertop sealers do are usually dearer and slightly massive in comparison with extra petite handheld choices.

On the flip facet, countertop sealers can produce an especially sturdy seal that received’t fail. In our testing, we positioned sealed baggage right into a water tub (at 200°F) for 36 hours, and the perfect ones didn’t budge or leak. This turns out to be useful for those who plan to topic one bundle of meals to a variety of environments, equivalent to marinating a minimize of beef earlier than freezing it, then utilizing sous vide to cook dinner it later. In case your seal fails throughout cooking, all that work will find yourself as wasted (and waterlogged) meals.

The Takeaway

Critical Eats / Russell Kilgore


Typically, we suggest countertop vacuum sealers (our favorites had been from Nesco and Anova) as a result of they provide a a lot wider vary of capabilities and infrequently seal higher than their handheld counterparts. Plus, the upper price of the baggage for handheld sealers can add up shortly.

FAQs

What’s a vacuum sealer good for?

A vacuum sealer is sweet for extending the shelf-life of meals, which may cut back waste. Past edible objects, vacuum sealers can even assist protect necessary objects and preserve them protected from moisture and air.

Do I want a vacuum sealer?

Virtually anybody can use a vacuum sealer for one challenge or one other, however if you wish to profit from bulk purchasing or are concerned with making an attempt sous vide cooking, you undoubtedly want one. Even for those who simply have to freeze meat or greens sometimes, a vacuum sealer is nice at stopping freezer burn.

Are countertop vacuum sealers price it? 

Countertop vacuum sealers are higher for batch sealing initiatives and may be operated hands-free. One of these sealer usually has a extra highly effective motor and comes with a sealing bar, which is much less vulnerable to leakage than a zip-top bag. The worth of a countertop vacuum sealer will differ from individual to individual, relying on life-style.

Are handheld vacuum sealers price it?

Handheld vacuum sealers could also be price it for these which can be concerned with meal prep or small-scale preservation, however received’t use it typically sufficient to justify the fee (and countertop area) of a countertop mannequin. 

Are you able to vacuum seal and not using a machine?

You possibly can take away a lot of the air from a Ziploc bag with a simple technique, which may serve in a pinch. Keep in mind that this technique is “practically air-free,” and you might discover some variations between these outcomes and utilizing a correct vacuum sealer.

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