For centuries mankind has faced one enduring problem, how to preserve the food we eat. Humans found early in our development, that spoiled foods like meat not only will spoil, but they can make us very ill if we try to eat them in that state. Even before we knew that bacteria existed, humans had realized that food resources had a shelf-life, and so we began experimenting with ways to keep it safe for consumption. We put food in cool spots in our homes, hung it in outbuildings and eventually found that salting meat kept it fresh for long periods of time.
With the advent of science and the discovery of microbes, we were better able to seek out new ways of not only keeping our food safe, but making it last far longer than ever before. Enter vacuum food sealers. The first vacuum sealers began being used by industry in the 1940’s during World War II, but in 1963, a German inventor named Karl Busch made the first units to be marketed to the public. Consumers have watched with joy and participated in finding great uses for them ever since. But which vacuum sealer is the best one on the market today? What are the different factors to consider when deciding to purchase one?
The first factor to consider is your reason for wanting to vacuum seal your food.
There are many purposes people have for vacuum sealing their food. One of the biggest is to save money. Whether you have a large family or live alone, have a summer garden, own berry bushes, or hunt, vacuum sealing your prizes can be an important way to enhance your food budget. Some who prefer to buy their groceries in bulk also enjoy the benefits of using a food sealing system. It allows them to save space in their freezer or pantry and avoid freezer burn.
Another use for a vacuum sealing system that is much less known, is its use for hunters or fishermen to preserve game.
Not only can outdoorsmen protect the toils of their labors from freezer burn and certain spoilage, they can also do many other things. For one, they can preserve bait for next use. By vacuum sealing it, the bait will retain its smell and texture enhancing the chances of making another big catch and saving money. Two more ways hunters find benefits in using a vacuum sealer is in keeping vital equipment safe from moisture and in the ease of transport of their meat. No one wants to need a fresh set of flashlight batteries only to find they have gotten wet from your last trip and are now rusty and no good. Preserving them in a vacuum bag, as well as other must haves for a hunting expedition, keeps them dry and easy to recognize through the clear plastic bags. When transporting fresh fish or game, placing it into vacuum sealed bags means no smell and no mess.
Why are vacuum savers so effective in preserving food? The answer is in what is needed by the pathogens need to grow. Vacuum sealers evacuate the air necessary for bacteria that is on and in the food that you are preserving to grow. Take away the oxygen from the bacteria and its growth is extremely curtailed. Vacuum sealers cannot keep food fresh indefinitely, but it is a great way to slow down its spoilage extensively.
There are many vacuum sealers on the market today, but two stand out as being the best food vacuum sealers in both value and popularity. Foodsaver and Seal-A-Meal. While choosing between which of these two models will meet your needs, there are some important criteria to consider:
- The cost of the unit
- The bag sizes and accessories available
- Do you want the choice to preserve not only in bags, but in other containers as well?
- Consumer rating of the product
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealers
According to the FoodSaver official website, this type of vacuum sealer:
“keeps food fresh up to 5x longer and saves up to $2700 per year based on buying in bulk, on sale and preventing waste” and have an “easy-to-use manual operation to preserve a variety of foods.”
There are many different models of FoodSaver products depending on your needs in usage and price point. There is the basic model, the FoodSaver FM2000 Vacuum Sealing System for $79.99, and the FoodSaver® 5800 Series 2-In-1 Automatic Bag-Making Vacuum Sealing System for $299.99 which can be purchased either on the FoodSaver official website or in retail stores around the country. These models are ideal for use by either families or single persons in the preserving of their food.
It is important to note that these prices are only the high and low-end versions available of the products offered by FoodSaver. There are some listed on their website that are priced in between what’s been listed above.
FoodSaver vacuum sealers are compact and are easily manually operated. It is reported by consumers that there is less bag wastage because it seals almost every time on the first try. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty and has many accessories available that can seal not only bags, but bottles and jars. It has an accessory port and hose to seal canisters and to marinate food in minutes.
FoodSaver® offers many different sizes of bags at reasonable prices. They come in many sizes and prices, a few of which are listed below:
11 x 16 Inch regular bags at $27.99 for a three-roll pack
- 11 x 18 Inch GameSaver bags at $49.99 for a six-roll pack
8 x 20 inch regular bags at $27.99 for a three-roll pack
Gallon sealer bags at $22.99 for a 30-ct. box
Pint at $10.99 for a 28-ct. box
- Quart at $7.69 for a 12-ct. Box
There are many other combinations not listed above of sizes available on the FoodSaver® website.
The bags are specially made to withstand the rigors of staying for long periods in the freezer, as well as going from your freezer straight into boiling water or your microwave. Also, the variety of sizes makes them helpful to anyone, no matter what your need or purpose.
Looking at the consumer ratings given online FoodSaver rates a 4.8 out of 5 for buyers enjoyment of its convenience, ease of use, and enormous long-term cost savings.
Seal-A-Meal Vacuum Sealers
According to the official Seal-A-Meal website, their product is designed to, “Keep food fresh longer than traditional food storage methods.”
Seal-A-Meal offers one model priced at $49.99. The unit is described as utilizing a press/hold release system, a patented removable drip tray, having hands-free indicator lights and having a compact design. Seal-A-Meal offers a one-year limited warranty.
The Seal-A-Meal bags are available in 8-inch, 11-inch, quart and gallon sizes in bags and rolls. They do not offer accessories.
Seal-A-Meal rates a 3 out of five in consumer satisfaction. The reasons for the low rating are that you must use it primarily for sealing solid food, and you cannot use it in a heavy-duty manner such as preserving large amounts at one time. Consumers also did not like the lack of available accessories. However, they loved the low cost of the unit and the ease they had in using it.
Comparing FoodSaver to Seal-A-Meal
FoodSaver offers a much greater range of both models and accessories, which makes it very attractive to people who need a system that allows them to seal in bulk. However, the cost of all but the basic models can be prohibitive to people who are not wishing to buy and preserve large quantities of food. For instance, a bachelor who wants to preserve his leftovers for a few days will not need nor desire having such the possible expenses involved with a FoodSaver product.
The Seal-A-Meal system only has one model of sealer to choose from, but this choice costs $30 less. If you want to have the choice to save money at the beginning of your preservation conquests, then Seal-A-Meal is the product for you. Customers who needed a low cost and didn’t wish to preserve in bulk reported enjoying this product very much.
While both systems have their pros and cons, choosing a vacuum sealer system is mainly based on personal need and desired outcome. Both systems offer the same great benefit, stopping food from quickly spoiling. Using a food preservation system such as FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal can save you money and time while keeping your pantry and freezer neatly stocked with groceries to feed yourself and your family. Utilizing a vacuum seal product can mean many years of peace of mind that the food products bought by your hard-earned paycheck is being protected and utilized to its full potential.