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
Large and expensive, the FoodSaver FM5200 also 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 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 could be sealed 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. It also did an excellent job at maintaining pressure when we 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 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 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 in at 7.1 pounds compared to the average 3 pounds — 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 also 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.
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 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 ew 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.
For the final metric, we compared and scored the actual suction power as measured by a dial gauge sealed into a standard quilted bag. The FoodSaver FM5200 did okay, pulling a just-under-average vacuum that measured 16.2 inches of mercury.
The FM5200 is a pretty terrible value, as it is quite pricey and other models are much less expensive and outperform it.
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.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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