Sous vide cooking involves immersing food pouches into a water bath, at low temperature, over a fairly long period of time. Sous vide cooking relies on food pouches being properly sealed. Having a vacuum sealed bag (known as a food pouch), means your food will cook evenly. So that means having a vacuum sealer is handy. To learn more about what to look for in a vacuum sealer head over to our more detailed article, What to look for in a vacuum sealer. As a side note, some sous viders prefer to use zip lock bags as their food pouches. This is because they are less expensive and a little more straight forward to use. But when sous vide cooking gets you hooked (and we can assure you that happens VERY soon after you taste your first sous vide meal), many sous viders seriously consider buying a vacuum sealer system.
To learn more about the pros and cons of using vacuum sealer bags rather than zip lock bags for your sous vide cooking, head over to our Zip Lock versus vacuum sealer bags for sous vide cooking article.
If you feel as though your sous vide cooking experience would be more improved with a vacuum sealer, then read on. We’ve rounded up the 4 best vacuum sealers for sous vide cooking at the cheaper end of the vacuum sealer market.
Our top vacuum sealer picks if you are on a budget
Vacuum Sealer by NutriChef
This vacuum sealer comes with dry and moist food modes which is great if you are including some sort of marinade in your food pouch before you commence your sous vide cook. It also comes with an accessory pack. This is a really compact unit which won’t compete for a lot of counter space. You do need to give this model a short break between seals (some report up to 40 seconds being required).
Gourmia offers a range of sous vide immersion circulators. The key difference between these models is their power. Gourmia also offer a range of vacuum sealers at different price points. They have 3 models that usually fall at the budget end of the market. These include:
The Gourmia GSV435 is the most popular option of the 3 models for those on a limited budget. One reviewer vacuum sealed an entire butchered deer with this machine without fault! That’s a decent sign that it can hold up to a reasonable level of demand in a home kitchen.
We are not convinced that budget vacuum sealers are the most reliable option for sous viders
We must admit that we found researching budget vacuum sealers for sous vide cooking a little difficult. Whilst there are a handful of other brands that could offer reliable, affordable options, we simply could not glean enough customer reviewer feedback to recommend any other products. There is no doubt that there are many more vacuum sealer options at a higher price bracket. The majority of feedback is positive for many of the Foodsaver vacuum sealers. However we also recognize that these options are a little expensive for many sous viders to justify for their own kitchen.
The potential issues with inexpensive vacuum sealers
There is significant positive feedback about each of the vacuum sealers mentioned above. But the lower price point for vacuum sealers in this category does come with some gripes. Here are the main areas of concern:
Cheaper vacuum sealers sometimes struggle with high volume vacuum sealing. Vacuum sealers in this range typically suit those who use them intermittently in a home kitchen. It is unlikely that vacuum sealers at this price point will be able to cope with the demands of a commercial kitchen.
Air pocket alert – a minority of reviewers have reported that air pockets can sometimes form when they are using sealers in this price range. This means that the food in your food pouch is not fully vacuum sealed. In turn, this can lead to a poorer quality sous vide cook.
If you see some of the more expensive brands on sale, then you might be able to grab a bargain. Our Deals page carries a range of sous vide products that are currently discounted.
Quick tip – open your vacuum sealer and test it out as soon as you get it
It is really common for sous viders to order vacuum sealers (and other sous vide products) and then leave them in the cupboard until they get around to their sous vide cooking. Whilst it is rare, there can sometimes be faults with sous vide products that you buy. We get it. Life sometimes gets really busy. But here is our tip. Open the products you buy straight away to test them out. If you open them too far into the future you may well find the warranty or satisfaction guarantee lapses. This means if you have any quality issues with your vacuum sealer, you may not be able to return or exchange the product. And that can mean money down the drain.
Have you used any of the vacuum sealers we’ve mentioned in this article? We’d love to hear how you have found them. Better yet, we’d love to hear if you have any further product suggestions that our sous vide community should consider. Feel free to leave comments below.