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 — among the best of the entire group. It has a solid amount of suction power and delivered a respectable performance in our sealing performance testing metric. We also appreciate its convenience features, such as built-in bag storage, a cutter, and a locking lid. However, this large vacuum sealer does an abysmal job with delicate foods and is more expensive than most people are willing to spend on a kitchen appliance.Editor's Note: The FoodSaver FM5200 review was updated on February 15th, 2022, to include more information on our recommendations and additional in-depth product comparisons.
FoodSaver FM5200 Review
Pros: Extremely convenient, alright sealing performance
Cons: Exceptionally large, expensive
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|Pros||Extremely convenient, alright sealing performance||Integrated bag roll and cutter, limited overheating issues, auxiliary suction hose, excellent price||Powerful suction pump, gentle on food, manageable size and weight, great price||Designed for heavy use, easy clean-up, decent ease of use features||Tender with delicate foods, solid value|
|Cons||Exceptionally large, expensive||No drip tray, so-so suction power||Narrow seal, overheats quickly, finicky touch screen||Bulky, a little rough on food, narrow seal||Can't seal a ton of bags successively, slow vacuuming/sealing action|
|Bottom Line||While we do like some of the extra convenience features, this product is a bit too large and expensive to recommend||This inexpensive and easy to use machine can seal bag after bag to just the right amount of suction||This relatively low-cost machine offered a consistent performance across the board and excelled in gentle sealing||If you plan to seal many bags at a go, this machine is resistant to overheating while having convenience features that speed up the process||If you are looking for a decent vacuum sealer that has a deft touch with soft foods, this is a good choice|
|Rating Categories||FoodSaver FM5200||Amazon Basics Vacuu...||Mueller Vacuum Sealer||FoodSaver V4400||NutriChef PKVS18BK|
|Sealing Performance (40%)|
|Delicate Foods (20%)|
|Suction Power (10%)|
|Specs||FoodSaver FM5200||Amazon Basics Vacuu...||Mueller Vacuum Sealer||FoodSaver V4400||NutriChef PKVS18BK|
|Measured Vacuum Strength||16.2 -inHg||14.5 -inHg||19 -inHg||16 -inHg||18 -inHg|
|Measured Weight||7.1 lbs||3.1 lbs||2.7 lbs||7.8 lbs||2.9 lbs|
|Air Suction Hose Included?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in Roll Storage?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Built-in Bag Cutter?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Measured Seal Thickness||3 mm||3 mm||2 mm||2 mm||2.5 mm|
|Measured Average Seal Time||11 seconds||9 seconds||6 seconds||13 seconds||7 seconds|
Our Analysis and Test Results
A large and expensive machine, the FoodSaver FM5200 performs terribly with delicate foods. However, it's highly convenient with some good features. Read on to see if it might be a good fit for you.
For our first metric, we looked at the sealing performance of each product. We graded each one based on multiple tests. We evaluated the strength of its seal (judged by its thickness), tracked its speed with different food items, checked for a maintained vacuum when sealing manually, and tested the number of bags that we could pack in a row without a break or a noticeable drop in performance.
The FM5200 made one of the thicker heat seals of the group, measuring 3mm across, a measurement on par with the Amazon Basics. It also did an excellent job of maintaining pressure when we stopped it mid-cycle and manually initiated a seal. However, this product could only seal four bags in a row before needing a break. Four is much less than many other products that could easily pack bags into the double digits before showing a noticeable drop in quality. The FM5200 is also a bit on the slower side, taking 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.
In our next rating metric, the FM5200 did exceptionally well, earning one of the best scores out of our entire group. We looked at how easy and intuitive the interface on each machine was to use, its size, weight, and ease of cleaning, as well as if it had any accessory features and if there was onboard storage for bags and a way to cut them.
While this vacuum sealer lost a few points by being one of the larger and heavier models — weighing 7.1 pounds compared to the average 3 pounds — it has a built-in storage location for a roll of bags and an integrated cutter. It gives you a perfectly straight cut every single time without any hassle.
The lid also locks down, negating the need to hold it down while it is sealing, and the push-button interface is relatively easy to use and very responsive.
On top of that, this product has an accessory vacuum pump that you can use for zipper bags or for some types of canisters with the proper attachment. And there is a tray that you can remove to make cleanup easier if you accidentally suck any liquid out of the bag and into the machine.
Following its stellar performance in our group of convenience evaluations, the FM5200, unfortunately, delivered one of the worst showings out of the entire group in our delicate foods test. We graded it on how fine of control we had over the amount of vacuum it pulled and how close to perfectly sealed we could get two slices of soft bread without smashing them. Sadly, 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 improve upon this with a ton of practice, but it still would be a huge hassle.
We compared and scored the actual suction power as measured by a dial gauge sealed into a standard quilted bag for the final metric. The FoodSaver FM5200 did okay, pulling a just-under-average vacuum that measured 16.2 inches of mercury.
Should You Buy the FoodSaver FM5200?
Overall, the FoodSaver 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. There are other kitchen tools we would prefer to keep in our homes.
What Other Vacuum Sealers Should You Consider?
The FM5200 is quite pricey, and other vacuum sealers are much less expensive and outperform it. We would not consider it a great value or a particularly useful machine. If you want the best of the best, know that you don't always have to spend exorbitant amounts. Our first choice is the Amazon Basics Vacuum Sealer, which also happens to be one of the most affordable models we tested. If you are after the convenience features, the FoodSaver V4400 is a sister product that scored much higher overall and earned a Top Pick award for convenience.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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