The Nesco VS-02 finished almost at the very back of the entire group. While it is fairly convenient to use and pulls quite a strong vacuum, its downsides far outweigh its merits. It does an absolutely abysmal job with delicate types of food, almost always crushing them far more than you would desire, has a heat seal that is undesirably thin, and can only do a few bags at a time before needing a break. This vacuum sealer is also a bit on the pricey side for its less than stellar performance, thoroughly precluding it from winning an award.
Nesco VS-02 Review
Pros: Solid suction power
Cons: Terrible with delicate foods, sealing performance results could be a bit better
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This product tied with the Gourmia for the second lowest score of all and only outperformed the Hamilton Beach NutriFresh. Both the Nesco and the NutriFresh have very similar price tags and both do terribly with delicate food items. The Gourmia usually retails for quite a bit less and does significantly better with easily squashed food items, but doesn't have as strong of a vacuum as the Nesco and isn't as easy or convenient to use.
In our quest to find the best possible vacuum sealer that is currently on the market, we conducted a wide survey of all the available models, then picked out which ones we thought showed the most potential and bought them all to see how good they really are. We split our tests up into four groups, with the Nesco's results outlined in the sections below.
The set of tests that comprise our sealing performance metric account for 40% of the Nesco's final score. We compared the thickness and the corresponding strength of the heat seal created by each product, the speed at which it seals different types of food, the number of bags it could seal in a row, and if the internal bag pressure changed when you manually triggered the machine to start sealing the bag, rather than waiting for it to automatically do it. The Nesco did slightly below average, meriting a 4 out of 10.
The Nesco actually got off to a strong start in the speed tests for this metric, delivering one of the fastest set of times out of the entire group in our speed tests. We used four different types of food as our sample items — ground meat, precooked sausages, dried rice, and slices of standard white bread — with the Nesco delivering a faster than average time in all four of them, being particularly speedy when it came to vacuum sealing bread.
Unfortunately, the Nesco didn't do very in the remaining tests in this metric. It could only seal six bags in a row before it needed a break and it had one of the thinnest heat seals of the entire group, only measuring 1.5 mm across.
The vacuum pump also doesn't stop if you hit the "Seal" button early, with it continuing to draw air out, with our vacuum gauge measuring a change of five inches of mercury before the bag actually sealed.
Our next round of evaluations for these kitchen appliances focused on how easy each one is to use, which accounts for 30% of the final score. We looked at how easy it is to clean each product, if there is an easy way to store extra quilted vacuum bags, the overall size and weight of each product, how responsive the controls are, and if there is a locking lid, as well as if there are any extra accessory pump attachments for sealing things besides bags. The Nesco did a little better than the average product, receiving a 6 out of 10 for its efforts.
The Nesco did earn some bonus points by having a convenient location to both store bags and an integrated cutter.
Unfortunately, it lacks a tray that you can take out for easy cleanup and it is a little bit larger and heavier than the average vacuum sealer. It doesn't include any accessory attachments, but there is a port for ones that can be purchased separately to seal other types of containers.
The interface is quite responsive and the push buttons provide a good tactile feel, making it hard to inadvertently hit one. We also awarded the Nesco some points for the lid locking into the down position while it is sealing, so you don't have to hold it in place.
For our third round of vacuum sealing evaluations, we analyzed how well each product did with foods that would be totally crushed with a normal vacuum. We scored each one on how easy it is to finely control the amount of vacuum and how well you could vacuum seal two slices of bread without crushing them. The Nesco did terribly in this metric, which is worth 20% of the final score, earning a 2 out of 10.
While it is fairly easy to pulse the operation of the Nesco, it either lets in a ton of air or continues the vacuum pump for quite a while, meaning you either end up totally crushing the bread or sealing a ton of air in the bag with it. We tried a handful of times and never even got close to an ideal amount of air sucked out of the bag and it sealed properly.
The Nesco finished out our testing process with a solid showing in our last metric, which constitutes one-tenth of its overall score. For this metric, we measured the overall suction power of each appliance using a dial vacuum gauge, with the Nesco pulling a strong enough vacuum to merit a 7 out of 10.
The group average was a vacuum that measured 16.8 inches of mercury, with the Nesco pulling a slightly stronger vacuum that registered 18.8 inches of mercury.
This product isn't a great value, as it scored much worse than products that cost a lot less.
While the Nesco does have a few interesting features, its drawbacks thoroughly outweigh them and we don't really recommend it.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer