How To Use a Vacuum Sealer Handheld External Chamber

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you have all these great meal prep ideas, excitedly drive to the grocery store, get all the items on your list (with full intention of getting your life together and having a great meal plan all throughout the week), only to get too lazy or busy to make them and the majority be left to spoil. If I had a dollar for everytime that has happened to me, I would have enough money to replace all of my spoiled food! You don’t have to live a hectic life and make food with random ingredients in your fridge, or make several trips to the store, because you can’t keep up with a schedule. There is an easier and longer lasting way to store food thanks to the vacuum sealer. If you’re someone looking to store food and make proper meal preparations then this is the perfect article for you, as we will be going over helpful information and tips how to use a foodsaver vacuum sealer.

What is a Vacuum Sealer?

Before we go into the exciting tips for this product, it’s important we understand how a vacuum sealer works and specifically what it is. The basic gist of this product is a medium sized machine that sucks the air out of bags in order to tightly seal the product inside. Even food that easily spoils such as meat can be stored in the freezer for about six months with this product. Special baggies must be purchased in order for this product to work, and don’t worry, we’ll go over exactly how to use vacuum sealer bags.

There are three main types:

Hand-Held Vacuum Sealers:

The simplest of the three and the cheapest as well. This sealer costs around $15-20 and works pretty well, especially if you only intend on using it every so often and aren’t wanting to seal up anything too heavy duty. The bags are also quite small so this item isn’t going to work for those wanting to meal prep, it’s made more for storing some meat or a bit of fruit ect.

External Vacuum Sealers:

The cheaper of the two, external vacuum sealers are small enough to fit on your countertop and are a great addition to your kitchen appliances. They usually retail anywhere from $30 to $200, but a $100 one in the middle should be perfect for the average joe. These products are normally rectangular and rather sleek, but can be square and larger as well. Although they are quite simple to use, it’s important you know exactly how to use them in order for all the air to be successfully removed and the food to be preserved.

Chamber Vacuum Sealers:

If you’re looking for a professional, serious sealer, then a chamber sealer would be more appropriate for you. These are much costlier, ranging anywhere from $400-$800 so this might be a good purchase only if you intend on using the sealer regularly and/or in large batches What’s the difference between the two? First of all, these sealers are much larger than external ones. They are more commonly boxed shape and allows for bigger bags than some external/ hand held sealers. These sealers also allow for liquids to be sealed.

Some vacuum sealers work better than others, read our reviews of vacuum sealers to find out more.

How Does a Vacuum Sealer Work?

Now for the reason you’re here! How do you use a vacuum sealer? Well we will brief each main sealer and their individual instructions so that regardless of which sealer you decide is the best fit for you, you’ll be well equipped with the knowledge how to use all of them.

Hand-Held Sealer:

How to use a handheld vacuum sealer is easy. Simply place the food into the bag, connect the handheld device to the small circular part on the bags. Turn the device on and wait for all the air to be sucked out. It’s important to note that special bags must be used for this device and that rolls are not able to be used for this product.

External Sealer:

External vacuum sealers are a little tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be sealing up food in no time. With a flat model the lid is a pull up whereas the bulkier stand up models tend to open up outwards. There will be a seal strip which will heat the end of the bag and seal it until you decide to open it up, and this can be found at the end of the machine (under the lid, of course). If you’re working with a newer model, however, it is possible that no lid is available, and with these types of machines you simply feed the bag into the slit at the side of the machine and pressing a nifty button that will hold the bag in place and begin the suction process.

Newer, easier models aside, those of us working with lid type models will want to know how to use the vacuum sealer bags correctly. Simply align your bag with the grooves, allowing a big of the plastic to go over the line, place your arm on the bag to flatten it out as much as possible at the top of it, and then place the lid firmly back down. Depending on the model, you can work with different sizes of bags and even use rolls. How to use vacuum sealer rolls are a little different and a little trickier than bags but are cheaper.

To make bags out of rolls, first take out the amount of material needed to ensure the food you are preserving is fully covered, but make sure to leave several inches on the top of the plastic to ensure enough room to seal the roll. Insert one side of the roll into the sealer and press
“Seal” which will heat seal that end. Put the food into the bag, using the already sealed end as the bottom, then place the other side into the entrance. Vacuum seal and then heat seal the product. Voila!

Chamber Sealer:

The most basic way to use a chamber sealer is to open the top portion, putting your bag in with the intended food to be sealed inside, and aligning it with the grooves. Like the external sealer, make sure that there is several inches of room where you will be sealing the top of the bag.

Close the lid, seal the food, and then heat seal the end.

Because the sealing is done standing up, it’s possible to seal liquids something you can’t do with some external and all hand held sealer. It’s also easy to figure out how to use a vacuum sealer with liquid. Simply pour the soup, stew, chowder, ect, and place it carefully into the vacuum sealer like you would with any other product.

Because this is a more expensive product, more options are available to you in terms of how much pressure you can apply to the bag and subsequently the food. There is of course, the most basic form of sealing, which gets rid of 99.9% of the air, but this can cause your food to be very dry when you unseal it. For some things this may not be a problem, but if you’re wanting to keep the juiciness of an item intact, keep fragile food from being crushed or crumbled, then you’re going to want to soft air package it.

Soft air packaging isn’t too hard but it also isn’t too cheap. Most chamber sealers and even some external ones offer a “gas” option, this is where you can buy a little kit that has food safe nitrogen or carbon dioxide and connect it to your sealer. Why do you need these gases? Well they make preservation possible while still allowing food to stay less compact and thus more intact the way they originally were. The kit entails some fitting apparatus, gas nozzle, regulator, and of course the gas tank. This costs an additional $250 on average but if you’re serious about your sealing or if perhaps you’re in the restaurant business, this is an essential tool for you.  

This product is usually able to use both the rolls and normal bags, but ones that are specifically made for this type of sealer are 80% cheaper. This means that if you intend on using the sealer often and in bulk, you may well actually save money with the chamber sealer rather than the hand-held or external.

How Can I Use My Vacuum Sealer?

Now It’s understandable that most of us can only dream about getting a chamber sealer because of the exorbitant cost, but for the modern man and woman, a handheld/external vacuum sealer is a must have. From convenient storage, to perfect meal planning, here are some of the many ways that a vacuum sealer could be useful to you:

  • Buy items in bulk them seal most of them up for later. Big savings!
  • Meals in a bag. Ready made food can be sealed so that after a long day’s work, you can have a nice meal simply by heating it up!
  • Seasonal fruits. Buy seasonal fruits in bulk then freeze them for later!
  • Reseal opened bags for preserved freshness.
  • Seal up lotions, toothpaste, ect for travel to make sure no accidents occur in transit!
  • Clothing. Take out all the extra air so you can make room for storage or in your suitcase for traveling.
  • Store and freeze broths and soups for much longer than normal.
  • Preserve your own spices from your garden.
  • Preserve seeds for your garden!
  • Seal up photos to ensure safe keeping.
  • Keep your own marinades and sauces in bulk. Reseal for another use!
  • Homemade ice packs.

In Conclusion:

As you can see it isn’t that difficult to figure out how to use a vacuum sealer, the hard part is picking which one and what to do first with all the different options you have! For those looking to try this neat invention out with little commitment and little money, try a hand-held sealer first. You can seal up deli meats and small items. If you’re wanting something more heavy duty and versatile but can’t dish out serious cash (or doesn’t want to) then the external vacuum sealer is a great addition to your kitchen. It’s small enough to fit on your counter, but can seal up an array of different bags. You can also use roll sealers too to save money. If you’re really serious about sealing then you can shell out for a chamber vacuum sealer. These bad boys are heavy duty and range in their pressure and intensity. They can seal up a large variety of products either in large bulk or in smaller doses. The packaging used to seal is cheaper so if you plan on using this product often it may be a good investment.

The best part of this product is that with a little effort and a little planning you can make the rest of your life a lot simpler and more organized. Not only that, you save a lot of money by resealing and saving your food. You can buy in bulk and keep food a lot longer than normally possible. Plus this naturally leads to less waste and a better environment. Less food going to the dump! Less money down the drain. What more can you ask for?

Also Read:

Foodsaver vs Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealers

Here are a few suggestions for each type of sealer that you can find on Amazon if you’re interested in starting today!

Hand-Held Sealer:

FoodSaver FSFRSH0051, White : $21.90

Handheld Vacuum Sealer, Handy Vacuum Sealing, Household Vacuum Equipment, Small Kitchen Appliance for Food Preservation: $22.99

Dapai Automatic Cordless Mini Vacuum Sealer Kit: $19.99

Vacuum Sealer By NutriChef: $59.99

Vacuum Sealer by Mooka : $79.99

Weston 65-0501-W Professional Advantage Vacuum Sealer: $170.25

VacMaster DUO550: $399.95

VacMaster VP210 : $749.95

PolyScience 300 Series Chamber Vacuum Sealer: $851.38

External Sealer:

Chamber Sealer:

We hope you now feel confident in how a vacuum sealer works and have a good starting place to go shopping for your very own, or how to use the one you already have!

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