The FoodSaver FM5200 is a solid vacuum sealer that stands out from the rest of the group by being exceptionally convenient and easy to use — the best of the entire group. It also has a solid amount of suction power and delivered an above average performance in our sealing performance testing metric. However, this large vacuum sealer does an absolutely abysmal job with delicate foods and is one of the more expensive typical consumer models that we have tested out.
FoodSaver FM5200 Review
Pros: Extremely convenient, alright sealing performance
Cons: Exceptionally large, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This product finished just ahead of the Geryon E2900-MS and just behind the Koios VS2233. The FoodSaver FM5200 is the worst of this group when it comes to delicate foods and is the most expensive, but it is also the most convenient of the group to operate. The FM5200 also did a bit better in our sealing tests, but it didn't quite have the suction power that the Geryon and the Koios have.
To pick out which vacuum sealers are worthy of our recommendations, we bought all the best and most popular models, then pitted them against each other in a series of side-by-side tests to pick our winners. We graded each product in four categories, with the FoodSaver FM5200's results discussed below.
For our first metric, we looked at the sealing performance of each vacuum sealer. We graded each one on the strength of its seal (judged by its thickness), its speed with different food items, if it maintained vacuum when sealing manually, and on the number of bags that you can seal in a row without a break or a noticeable drop in performance. The FoodSaver merited a 6 out of 10 in this metric, which is the most important of the group and accounts for 40% of the final score for each product.
The FoodSaver does make one of the thicker heat seals of the group, measuring 3 mm across. We also liked that this model did an excellent job at maintaining pressure when you stopped it mid-cycle and initiated a seal manually.
However, this product could only seal four bags in a row before it needed a break — quite a bit less than many of the other products that could easily seal bags into the double digits before there was a noticeable drop in quality or they ceased to operate. The FM5200 is also a bit on the slower side, taking than longer than average to vacuum and seal in all four of our speed tests: one pound of dry rice, a pound of ground beef, four sausages, and four slices of bread.
Moving on to our next rating metric, the FoodSaver FM5200 did exceptionally well, earning a 7 out of 10 — one of the best scores out of the entire group. We looked at how easy and intuitive the interface on each machine is to use, its size, weight, and ease of cleaning, as well as if it has any accessory features and if there was onboard storage for bags and a way to cut them. Overall, these tests are responsible for 30% of the FoodSaver's overall score.
While this vacuum sealer lost a few points by being one of the larger and heavier models, weighing in at 7.1 lbs. compared to the average 3 lbs. — it does have a built-in storage location for a roll of bags and an integrated cutter so you get a perfectly straight cut every single time without any hassle.
The lid locks down, negating the need to hold it down while it is sealing, and the push-button interface is quite easy to use and very responsive.
This product has an accessory vacuum pump that you can use for zipper bags or for some types of canisters with the proper attachment.
We also really liked that the FM5200 has a tray that you can remove to make cleanup easier if you accidentally suck any liquid out of the bag into the machine.
Following its stellar performance in our group of convenience evaluations, the FoodSaver delivered one of the worst showings out of the entire group in our delicate foods test. We graded it on how fine of control you had over the amount of vacuum it pulled and how close to perfectly sealed we could get two slices of bread without smashing them. The FM5200 earned a 2 out of 10 in this metric, which is responsible for 20% of the total score.
It's almost impossible to pulse the vacuum on this machine, so we either ended up squishing the bread beyond recognition or leaving a ton of air in the bag every single time. You might be able to get it down with a ton of practice, but it still would be a huge hassle.
For the final 10% of the score for each vacuum sealer, we compared and scored the actual suction power as measured by a dial gauge sealed into a standard quilted bag. The FoodSaver FM5200 did fairly well, meriting a 5 out of 10. It pulled a vacuum that measured 16.2 inches of mercury — right on par with the average 16.8 inches of mercury.
The FoodSaver FM5200 is a pretty terrible value, as it is quite pricey and there are other models that are much less expensive that outperformed it.
Overall, the FM5200 is easy to use, but its high price tag and subpar delicate foods performance outweigh its extreme convenience and make it hard to recommend.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer