Preparing food has always presented somewhat of a playing field for gourmands and food artisans across the world.
Whether it’s using a special kind of pottery or a large pot and a simple camp fire or chucking the ingredients into a pre-heated oven, cooking can be performed in a wide variety of ways.
One of the most interesting approaches to preparing a dish, however, has to be the so-called sous-vide method– a way of cooking food which includes a specialized container, a bowl of heated water, and also possibly a precise thermometer for checks and balances.
The main idea behind this rather curious approach is to cook the food longer and at a lower temperature than usual. As a result, the prepared dish will be more evenly cooked, without overdone edges, and still maintaining a desirable degree of moisture.
In one word- it will come out pretty delicious!
Now, in order to prepare your meals in this way, you’ll have to obtain some tools first. Namely, we’re talking about vacuum sealers– the main ‘weapon of choice’ for any sous-vide-based dish.
Editor’s Recommendation: 5 best vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking
In this article, we’ll list the top 5 best vacuum sealers for sous-vide type of cooking. These are tough and durable containers that will make your food well-made and mellow, so it must be worthwhile getting a couple of these before you delve into the sous-vide art any further.
Here are 10 best vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking
Featuring a design that makes it look sort of like a Wi-Fi router, this vacuum sealer from NutriChef is a clever little device that can vacuum seal your food in a variety of ways. (Well, a couple of ways, really, nothing too crazy.)
Despite its advanced modes and a range of back-lit buttons, the NutriChef’s automatic vacuum sealer is pretty easy to operate, as it was built to be rookie-friendly. All you need to do is plug it in and then push the button for the type of vacuuming you want to perform! (That’s what it says in the manual, at least.)
Here are some of its features in more detail:
Comes with two sealing modes – If you plan to cook a wide variety of dishes a la sous-vide style (Which we expect you might want to.), you’ll be glad to hear that this device comes with two separate ways of sealing food.
The first sealing method is for dry or solid food items, while the second one is meant for moist food or dishes that are swimming in some sort of sauce or gravy!
Extensively lab tested – According to the folks at NutriChef, their automatic vacuum sealer can preserve your food up to five times longer than other non-vacuumed containers. To prove this point, they claim to have done extensive lab tests to ensure the food they’ve sealed with their device is good to use after the designated period.
2. Micho – Sous-Vide Vacuum Sealer Machine
Similarly to the product, we described above, the Micho sous-vide vacuum sealer also has two modes of functioning, as well as a couple of buttons on top of it that makes it look really smart.
That being said, this food preservation machine does have quite a few aces up its electronic sleeve. What’s more, for all of its features, it doesn’t require a degree in engineering to operate. Quite right! Even a complete rookie can handle it pretty much right off the bat. (Unless you’ve been living somewhere where there aren’t any electronic devices or something.) Let’s see some of its features, shall we?
Multipurpose design – One of the things that set this device apart from the competition is the fact that it will seal not only meat and vegetables- it will also comfortable vacuum up photos, important documents, precious items, and other things you don’t want to damage! So, whether it’s a beef steak with gravy or your ole nun’s earrings, the Micho sous-vide has got you well covered! (Just remember not to cook the earrings or photos or whatever on Earth you plan to vacuum with it.)
3. Marigold – Food Vacuum Sealer Machine
Here we’ve got a cheeky little contraption with the looks of a chunky Walkman and the utility of a, well, food preservation device. Quite a combo, huh?
Aside from its looks, this plucky apparatus has quite a few other qualities, such as two modes of vacuuming and a specialized breed of plastic bags that are also branded with the Marigold stamp. Clever thinking on the part of Marigold crew, indeed. (For the record, you can use regular, non-Marigold sealing bags, it’s just that their work better with their machine, according to them.) Anyway, here are some other properties of this curious contraption:
Two separate vacuuming modes – The Marigold food vacuum sealer machine features two different types of suction. The first one is for regular objects and solid food items, while the other one is dedicated to more of a squishy kind of food- such as steamed, simmered, or otherwise moisturized dishes or ingredients!
Comes with a starter kit – Other than the device itself, if you opt to purchase this Marigold vacuum sealer, you’ll also get 10 Marigold bags for vacuuming, one suction hose, two foam gaskets, as well as a wine stopper.
4. Impeccable Culinary Objects (ICO) – Upright Vacuum Sealer
If you’re on the lookout for an object that looks like a laser printer but doesn’t malfunction when you need it the most and actually preserves your food, we’ve got just the thing for you! The name’s upright vacuum sealer and it comes from a company with a rather bold name of ‘Impeccable Culinary Objects’.
The main purpose of this device is sous-vide cooking but it can also be used for food preservation since the vacuuming process is pretty much the same. It’s fairly easy to use and it’s got some other interesting perks related to the health and safety angle of the food preservation story, so to speak. So, let’s see what we have here:
Saves space – If you’ve got an overcrowded kitchen and don’t really have space for another bulky apparatus, this ICO model can be the right vacuum sealer for you. Thanks to its upright design, this devices takes up to 30% less space than the models you’ve seen previously on this list! (Of course, dimensions may vary from product to product, so make sure to check the exact numbers if you want to learn the details.)
BPA-free bags – The ICO crew takes great pride in their BPA-free and phthalate-free vacuum sealable bags. That’s why they decided to include them as a standard part of their vacuum sealers, and this model is no exception. To be exact, if you choose this model, you’ll get five bags, as well as one roll.
5. Oliso – PRO Smart Vacuum Sealer
Following through with the trend of comparing vacuum sealers to other objects in terms of their looks, let’s say that this one looks like a dinosaur’s head. (The clamping part conveniently being the jaws.)
It’s relatively easy to use and it allows for two different modes of vacuuming- pretty much the same as some of the models we described above. The great thing about this model is that it comes with reusable bags, so you won’t have to buy a new batch every week or so. (You do need to clean the old ones thoroughly if you plan to reuse them, though.) Here’s the deal:
Automatic start – Managing a bag and pushing buttons can get messy at times. (Not that it’s a massive problem, but still.) The Oliso PRO Smart Vacuum Sealer, however, has an automated system for starting the vacuuming process. As soon as you slide the bag into the slot, it will start sucking the air out of it! No mess, no button pushin’.
Reusable bags – Chucking away the bags you used can be not only a sad sight but also a costly one. (At least in the long run.) Luckily for all of you folks who don’t plan to spend a fortune on new bags, you can just wash up the old ones and use them again! Oliso PRO Smart won’t care- it just sucks the air out of things.
6. Vacuum sealer machine with bonus handheld sealer, bags, and rolls by FoodSaver
Vacuum sealers are very good for prepping and storing food. However, one thing that can turn away a potential buyer is that the vacuum sealer that they want may not have enough accessories to begin using right away. Nobody wants to jump through the additional hoops of buying accessories after buying something.
FoodSaver’s vacuum sealer comes with everything you need to begin vacuum sealing food right away. It comes with quart seal bags, gallon seal bags, and even vacuum seal roll that can prevent unnecessary air from entering food.
It isn’t incredibly bulky, either. FoodSaver’s vacuum sealer only weighs about 7 pounds and is not too wide in diameter either. This gives it great portability, and it will not take up a lot of space either.
A major concern that some have when it comes to vacuum sealers is consistency. This is especially true when it comes to vacuum sealed bags, and FoodSaver’s sealer does have problems with consistency in that sometimes it will completely seal what is in the bag and sometimes it will not. While this inconsistency is to be expected, it is a recurring issue with FoodSaver’s sealer, which is unfortunate. If it was not so inconsistent, it would be perfect.
Another thing that FoodSaver’s sealer does is that sometimes it can crush the food that is placed inside when it comes to vacuuming. While the vacuum and sealing process can be stopped with the push of a button, the fact that you need to “babysit” the machine to make sure it does not crush any food inside of it is troublesome.
7. 2-in-1 Automatic vacuum sealer machine with express bag maker by FoodSaver
FoodSaver never fails in delivering all the necessities for a vacuum sealer. Their 2-in-1 is no exception, as it comes with seal roll as well as vacuum and zipper bags. A retractable accessory can be purchased separately and works as a “mini vacuum” or sorts for any food item that is not completely sealed.
The 2-in-1 also has a neat feature that automatically seals one end of the bag, this way you will have a pre-sealed bag handy. If you are intending to store food in bulk, this is very useful, as it will eliminate a lot of busy work in the storing process. Because a lot of the sealing with these machines is done manually, roll waste is an issue. Fortunately, the FoodSaver 2-in-1 contains a view window for the vacuum, letting your see how far you are getting in the sealing process. This solves a lot of roll waste issues.
The FoodSaver 2-in-1 is not truly automatic, unfortunately. Get ready to stare into that view window every time you attempt to vacuum and seal food in this machine, because you are going to want to time everything properly when creating vacuum sealed bags.Creating a good seal with the 2-in-1 will also take practice. It is recommended that before you attempt to seal any food, work with the slide cutter to see if you can create bags of the same size.
The problem with some vacuum sealers is that they often just have one setting: Dry. This makes sense, because the entire point of vacuum sealing anything is to remove excess air. However, this can be a turn off for anybody who wants to use vacuum sealers for rich foods, since they require a bit of moisture in order to retain their flavor.
Nesco’s vacuum sealer has four settings: Dry, moist, and a “double” setting for any food item that needs stronger sealing. This is great for food items that are rich but do not necessarily require a lot of moisture to retain flavor. It also has a “pulse” setting for sealing food items that are delicate, such as pastries.
Nesco certainly thought of all possibilities when designing their vacuum sealer. It also comes with a starter kit that contains a bag roll storage compartment as well as a cutter.Expect to do some cleaning after using Nesco’s vacuum sealer. Timing is an issue with most all vacuum sealers, but even more so with Nesco’s for the simple fact that there are so many settings with this machine. Before you begin sealing food, do all you can to make sure that you know exactly how big your vacuum sealed bags need to be and how moist your food is.
As per usual with FoodSaver vacuum sealer, this 2-in-1 machine comes with a fully stocked starter kit that provides everything you need to seal whatever you need. This is standard for FoodSaver and is an example that other vacuum sealer manufacturers should follow.
For anybody who is not confident in getting the timing right to create vacuum sealed bags, the FoodSaver 2-in-1 automatic is for you. True to its name, it has automatic bag detection, meaning that unless you want to, you do not need to determine how big or small you think your vacuum sealed bag is in order to seal something. The machine will do this for you.
Because of this, no attachments are necessary either. With FoodSaver’s 2-in-1 automatic, sealing food is as easy as putting your food into any bag you create with the sealer and feeding it into the vacuum chamber. You’ll get a perfect seal every time.
The automated sealing feature of the 2-in-1 automatic is met with a couple of sacrifices. The first of these is size. This vacuum sealer is a bit bigger than most, weighing 10 pounds and measuring about 2 feet across. You’ll need to dedicate some space in your kitchen if you wish to get FoodSaver’s 2-in-1 automatic. There are not too many options when it comes to the 2-in-1 automatic, either. There is a moist and dry setting, but those are really the only settings on the machine, which obviously take away from its versatility.
Anybody who wants a smaller vacuum sealer that does not take up a lot of space will want to consider FoodSaver’s FM2000 vacuum sealer. Weighing only 5 or so pounds and being only a little under 2 feet long, it can fit practically anywhere. If you have a small kitchen and want a vacuum sealer, the FoodSaver FM2000 should be your first choice.
It is a given that any vacuum sealer has drip trays. Most of these drip trays are questionable in their function, being very complicated to remove or not being placed in a position to where it actually will catch any liquids. The drip tray in the FoodSaver FM2000 is located right under the sealing compartment and is very easy to remove.
FoodSaver’s FM2000 model makes it easy to seal bags. But creating bags is a different story. It does not come with a cutter, meaning that cutting a bag must be done manually, with a pair of scissors. This is something that would have made the machine perfect, seeing as it is much smaller than other vacuum sealers and generally does anything else that is expected from a vacuum sealer.
Another thing that the FM2000 lacks is options and settings. It doesn’t even have a dry/moist option, which is very unusual (and unfortunate), seeing that most all other vacuum sealers at least have this setting.
The Perks of Sous-Vide Way of Cooking
As we mentioned above, cooking food at a lower temperature than that you’d usually set your oven to has been proven to have a multitude of benefits.
When you cook or roast your meat, for example, in an oven, it gets exposed to some quite high temperatures which can damage the outer layers of the food. (Remember the black edges of an overly roasted beef steak?) At the same time, the inside part of the meat won’t get treated to the exact same temperature, which can often result in an undercooked dish.
With sous-vide method, the food is placed in a specialized container and then placed in another container with water that’s been pre-heated to a certain temperature. This temperature is then carefully maintained throughout the cooking process so that the food inside is cooked gently and evenly.
About the only downside to this method would be the preparation time, which can stretch to hours and hours on end.
Otherwise, it seems pretty clever, doesn’t it?
All in all, sous-vide is an interesting form of cooking that can not only make the food preparation more fun but also make the food have a more rich flavor. With a good vacuum sealer, you can make your favorite dishes easily and not worry about any potential bacterial contamination. We hope you found this article helpful and wish you merry sous-vide cooking and plenty of tasty dishes!