The Best Vacuum Sealer of 2020
Best Overall Vacuum Sealer
Delivering one of the best overall performances that we have seen and at a relatively low price point, the NutriChef PKVS18BK is one of our all-time favorite vacuum sealers. It has above-average suction power and has enough finesse to seal foods that are easily squashed. Plus, it is quite easy and convenient to use.
Unfortunately, the PKVS18BK lacks endurance. We were only able to seal five bags in succession before we had to give a brief break to cool down. This makes it a poor choice for sealing large amounts of food. However, it should be more than adequate for smaller batches and if you are shopping on a budget this should be the first model you consider.
Read Full Review: NutriChef PKVS18BK
Best for Tight Budgets
The Geryon E2900-MS is a great choice if you want a vacuum sealer on the cheap. This product does a solid job with foods that are easier to vacuum seal and is intuitive and easy to operate. The Geryon even has a pump attachment that can be used to vacuum seal food in special containers or even a bottle of wine. This product also finished in the middle of the group in our suction power test.
However, there are several notable drawbacks, and it can't compete head-to-head with the top-tier sealers. We would only recommend the Geryon if you prioritize low cost over everything else. It can be a bit hard to seal delicate foods without either leaving residual air in the bag or completely crushing the contents. It also takes longer to seal things like ground turkey or beef because of the trapped air. The Geryon might not be for everyone but it's our top recommendation if you want to spend the absolute minimum to get your hands on a vacuum sealer.
Read Full Review: Geryon E2900-MS
Best for Heavy-Duty Food Storage
Weston Pro 2300
If you're an avid hunter, fisher, or someone else who routinely needs to vacuum seal large quantities of food, then check out the Weston Pro 2300. This massive appliance can seal bags that are almost twice as wide as its competitors and it can handle significantly more bags in quick succession than the lighter-duty models. The interface is intuitive and easy to operate and this heavy-duty model has superior suction.
Unfortunately, it also costs significantly more than every other model in this test — and roughly the same as a more sophisticated vacuum chamber, which also offers you the ability to vacuum seal liquid without freezing it. This makes it a hard choice between the Weston and a chamber model, but the Weston is great if you know you will be primarily preserving large quantities of meat. This machine is probably too much for the average person, but among the best for a hunter who needs to store a whole animals.
Read Full Review: Weston Pro 2300
Why You Should Trust Us
Over the years, our evaluation team of Austin Palmer and David Wise, have comprehensively tested and reviewed over 75 different kitchen appliances for GearLab, ranging from juicers to bread machines. In addition, both frequently use similar products at home — Austin is something of a BBQ master and David is an avid home baker who loves to sous vide. GearLab purchases all of the vacuum sealers that we test. We won't ever accept free products.
We sealed hundreds of food items such as berries, ground beef, sausages, and dried goods as part of rigorous side-by-side tests to evaluate performance. We also spent tons of time comparing the ease of sealing different types of food — both wet and dry — as well as the overall convenience of using each machine. Finally, we used a custom-built apparatus to objectively measure which model had the strongest suction.
Related: How We Tested Vacuum Sealers
Analysis and Test Results
We conducted extensive research, combing through customer reviews and manufacturers' websites to pick the models that had the highest potential to win an award. We then bought the most promising models to test side-by-side.
Related: Buying Advice for Vacuum Sealers
The NutriChef PKVS18BK not only delivered one of the top performances but is also a great value, having one of the lower price tags of the group. While it didn't do quite as well as the NutriChef PKVS18BK, the Geryon is another attractive option if you are shopping on a budget. The Weston Pro costs a few hundred dollars more than the rest. It is a heavy-duty product, far more suitable for someone who hunts or fishes and needs to preserve a large quantity of their take or for someone who needs to store a larger quantity of much bigger portions.
This metric is responsible for 40 percent of each sealer's score, or almost half the total. We first measured how fast each one could evacuate the air from a bag and seal it, using four different food items. We also scored each product on the number of bags that could be vacuumed and sealed in a row without the machine needing a break or a noticeable drop in performance. Finally, we also awarded points based on the thickness of the heat seal.
Claiming the top spots, the Weston Pro 2300 merited a 7 out of 10 for its overall sealing performance. However, it didn't get off to the best start in our speed tests. We timed how long it took to seal four slices of standard white bread, one cup of dried rice, a pound of ground beef shaped into a square patty, and four premade sausages.
The Weston was above average at vacuum sealing the sausages, rice, and the bread, and the average time to seal the ground beef. It did the relative best with the bread: 29 seconds to evacuate all the air and seal the bag, 6 seconds faster than the group average. It also did quite well when it came to volume, able to seal 15 bags in a row before it needed a break. However, it was in our seal strength metric where the Weston truly shined, with its heat-sealed area measuring 5 mm in width — almost twice that of other products.
The FoodSaver FM5200 and the NutriChef PKVS18BK came next, each earning a 6 out of 10 for above-average sealing. The NutriChef PKVS18BK is reasonably speedy at sealing, putting up faster than average times in our rice, ground beef, and sausage tests and an average time with slices of bread.
The FM5200 is on the slower side in all four tests, but it still took less than a minute to complete each one. Neither the FoodSaver FM5200 or the NutriChef PKVS18BK can match the Weston when it comes to sealing multiple bags, as they are only able to seal 4-5 before needing a break.
These both have some of the larger seal sizes of the group, with the NutriChef measuring 3 mm and the FoodSaver FM5200 2.5 mm. This pair had great showings in our last test, with each maintaining vacuum perfectly when we manually sealed a bag.
Next, the Koios VS2233 earned a 5 for its middle-of-the-road sealing performance. The Koios is one of the slowest vacuum sealers of the entire group. However, it did fairly well in our volume test, able to seal about 14 bags in a row before the vacuum weakened. It had a slightly skinnier than the average seal of 2 mm in width, and let in a tiny bit of air when manually sealing, losing about 1 inch of mercury before the bag was closed off.
The Geryon E2900 and the Nesco VS-02 followed, both with 4 out of 10 for below-average sealing skills. The Nesco seals surprisingly fast, but it only sealed about 6 bags before performance dropped and has a seal on the thin side: 1.5 mm.
The Geryon is about average in speed, although it took a long time to seal the pound of ground beef. It was able to seal 11 consecutive bags before showing signs of a struggle. It has a thinner seal — 2 mm — and lets in a ton of air with the manual seal function, making this a poor choice for delicate food items. The Nesco does the opposite, continuing to evacuate air when you initiate a manual seal.
We evaluated how easy each product is to use. We awarded points if products offer built-in storage for a roll of bags or an integrated bag cutter. We noted things like removable cleaning trays or any integrated attachments for sealing other types of containers. The interface, the locking mechanism, and their overall size and weight are also factored into the convenience score. Altogether, these tests are responsible for 30% of a product's overall score.
When it comes to convenience, the FoodSaver FM5200 stood out above the rest, earning a 7 out of 10. It has both a bag cutter and storage for a roll of bags, making it super easy to evenly cut a lot of bags quickly. Its removable tray makes cleaning a breeze if any liquid leaks out during the sealing process. It also has an accessory port for specific zipper bags or other containers.
The lid locks in place and the push-button interface is fairly easy to use and navigate. Unfortunately, this vacuum sealer is also one of the larger models, making it more difficult to store.
Following the FoodSaver FM5200, the Geryon, the Nesco, and the NutriChef all earn a 6 out of 10. In this tier, only the Nesco has built-in bag storage and an integrated bag cutter. None of them have a removable tray for easy cleaning. The NutriChef and the Geryon are both average size units and have an included pump attachment for other storage containers. The Nesco is quite a bit larger and only has an accessory port.
The Nesco has a push-button interface that we favor over the touch buttons on the NutriChef and the Geryon. We like that all of these products have a lid that locks in place while vacuuming and sealing.
Following this group, the Koios merited a 5 out of 10 for its average level of convenience. It doesn't have any bag storage options or a removable cleaning tray, but it is relatively compact and has a locking lid.
The Koios does have an attachment for containers with special valves and has a very easy to use push-button interface.
Finishing in the back of the group, the Weston Pro scored a 3 out of 10. It lacks any sort of bag storage or cleaning tray, as well as a pump attachment. It has a fairly responsive interface but you have to press and hold the lid down when using it. It is also gigantic compared to its rivals, weighing almost 10 times as much as some of the other models.
We score each on how it handled squishable food items — that is, how easy it is to control the amount of vacuum pressure in order to avoid pulverizing more delicate food items. These tests account for 20 percent of the overall score.
The NutriChef claimed the top spot, earning an 8 of 10. It was very easy to manually control how much air was evacuated from the bag by alternating between the "Vac/Seal" and "Cancel" buttons. It's a responsive machine, allowing you to pulse the vacuum and creep up to the perfect seal with delicate foods: evacuating as much air as possible without smashing the food.
Next, the Koios merited a 7 out of 10. It does let in a bit of air with each pulse, making it more frustrating to use. The Koios also occasionally isn't very responsive to the "Cancel" button, which can result in thoroughly smash delicate food items.
The Geryon came next with 6 of 10. It's very easy to manually control the vacuum and the machine is very responsive, but it lets in a bit of air with each pulse cycle. The Geryon lets in quite a bit more air, making sealing delicate foods a frustrating two steps forward, one step back kind of process.
The Weston Pro followed with 4 out of 10 for below-average performance. It doesn't stop or start immediately when you press the buttons and it lets in a significant amount of air with each pulse cycle, making it a pain to seal delicate foods.
The remaining vacuum sealers — the FoodSaver FM5200 and the Nesco all earned a 2 out of 10. The FoodSaver and the Nesco all continue vacuuming when you try and pulse, leading to some very squished bread.
Here, we measure the maximum vacuum each appliance could pull by using a gauge we mounted into a standard vacuum bag. This metric accounts for the last 10 percent of the score.
Earning a 7 out of 10, the Weston and the Nesco tied for the top score, pulling a vacuum that measured 20 and 18 inches of mercury (inHg), respectively.
The Geryon, the Koios, and the NutriChef came next at 6 out of 10 with measurements between 16 inHg and 18 inHg. The FoodSaver FM5200 earned a 5 out of 10 for pulling a vacuum of around 16 inHg.
Whether you're looking for an industrial-grade model for heavy-duty use, a top-tier model for sous vide cooking, or a budget model that won't break the bank, there's an awesome sealer out there that can meet your needs. Hopefully, this has been helpful in your quest to find the perfect vacuum sealer to add to your kitchen. Happy sealing!
— Austin Palmer and David Wise