Gadget Price

Are vacuum sealers worth their price?

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.

I hate wasting groceries almost as much as I love saving money. So anything that can help me save money AND food is a good idea in my book.

Since these are the main advantages of vacuum sealers, you know that I will find the most cost-effective ways to use them.

A vacuum food sealer is basically a small device, usually about the size of two aluminum foil boxes side by side, that literally sucks the air out of the bag of food you’re trying to save.

Air is a major player in food spoilage. So the more you can remove from your packaging, the longer the food will last.

Can you really save money? Yes, but you must consider your grocery shopping and cooking habits to determine how much.

Make bulk purchases last longer and save

FoodSaver vacuum sealer
Food Saver/Amazon

For example, my family has a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but at $4.50 a pound or more, it can get expensive.

That’s why I only buy them on sale at $1.99 a pound or less. The catch? To get the deal I have to buy them in the big jumbo packs.

I take a packet or two and vacuum seal and freeze each breast individually. Since we’re consuming an average of 2 pounds a week, that’s a savings of about $364 a year.

No more food waste

Beef, chicken and salmon in vacuum plastic bags
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Also, I usually need two to four breasts for a meal, but chicken breasts are packed in threes. No need to cook extra which could go to waste.

Another bonus, if you like smoothing your breasts before cooking, you can do so in the sealed bag and prevent poultry juice from splattering around your kitchen.

It’s the same with minced meat. I can buy the large sizes from warehouses like Sam’s Club or Costco and then seal and freeze the beef in 1 pound or half pound bags.

This technique works for any other cut of meat, poultry, or seafood. Buy in bulk, seal and freeze in quantity for your family to use. These savings are worth the price of the sealer.

Prevent freezer burn from ruining your hard work

Frozen Food
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Even if you don’t buy in bulk, you can still save if you cook in bulk.

To save time, I sometimes make two casseroles, meatloafs, or pies—one for dinner and one to freeze for another night. There’s nothing worse than pulling a bag of Sloppy Joe filling or a bag of macaroni and cheese out of the freezer to find it covered in frost and freezer burn.

Vacuum sealers can keep your dinners airtight and delicious, so they end up on your family’s table and not in the trash can.

Keep fridge items fresher for longer

Vacuum Sealed Vegetables, Tomato, Cheese, Meat, Lemon, Apple
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Hate opening a half-used block of cheese or a bag of shredded cheese to find it covered in mold? At nearly $6 a pound, you’re wasting $2 every time you do this.

Vacuum-packed cheese lasts for weeks in the fridge, so no more money in the trash.

My newest, best food to vacuum seal? Salad.

I have to give this tip to my mother’s credit. She last had a three pack of romaine in a vacuum sealed ziplock bag for over two weeks without browning or wilting. Simply wash, cut and seal well and you can prepare a fresh salad every day.

On the practical side, there are two general types of vacuum sealers: benchtop and handheld. Each serves slightly different purposes.

Sealers for countertops

Foodsaver vacuums food
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Countertop sealers can be expensive, numbering in the hundreds depending on equipment, brand, etc.

But a higher price doesn’t necessarily correlate with a better product. You can find a good, medium quality sealer that will get the job done.

What should you look out for when buying a worktop seal?

Sealers for countertops features

Women Checklist
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Some only seal bags, while others have attachments to also seal bottles and canisters.

Before you automatically buy one with all the bells and whistles, think about how you intend to use your sealer.

Countertop Sealing Size/Space

Using a countertop vacuum sealing machine (packaging machine) to pack meat in plastic bags.
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Where will you store and use your seal? Some need to be kept flat while others can be stored on their side and take up much less space on your counter.

Countertop Sealing Bag Price

Woman shops online
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Most bags can be washed and reused to some extent, but if you’re going to use them for raw meat, you won’t want to reuse them.

So think about how much you will pay for bags. Remember, you are not limited to bags of the same brand as your sealer; You just want to make sure the size and style are the same.

For example, here’s 100 bags, while a branded pack costs about the same for just 44 bags.

Countertop Sealers: Check the reviews

Woman hesitating to buy something
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In today’s internet-driven world, you can get great insight into devices thanks to other consumers like you. A simple search online can tell you about other people’s experiences with different sealants.

Countertop sealers are intended for one-time use. While you can reuse the bags, you’ll have to keep cutting them open, making them smaller and smaller each time.

Also, if your sealer isn’t kept on the counter, it can be a hassle to pull it out every time you want to use it.

hand sealers

Electric sealing device (food preservation) for sealing the opening of plastic bags.
Choun JC / Shutterstock.com

Hand sealers, on the other hand, are ideal for food that you want to keep airtight and fresh but still use regularly, such as: B. Delicatessen, cheese, cut vegetables and more.

They use special zippered pockets so you can open and close them over and over again. Eventually the bags will need to be replaced, but they last quite a while.

In addition, handheld sealers are much cheaper. What should you look out for when buying a hand sealer?

Hand seal: power source

Rechargeable batteries
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Will you be replacing the batteries every week or is it rechargeable?

hand seal pouch

Sealable plastic bags
Zevei Wenhui / Shutterstock.com

Where do you buy them and how much do they cost?

Although the bags are reusable, they will eventually need to be replaced. If you can’t find replacement bags, your fun new gadget will eventually become useless.

Handheld Sealer: Check the reviews

happy man looking at the phone
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Look for information on whether the bags are difficult to close or lose their seal. Food does not stay fresh without a good and durable seal.

Quick tip: These sealing devices often work best when the bag to be sealed is placed on a tea towel or placemat rather than a hard counter.

Common brands

5 star rating
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Food Saver was one of the first branded food sealers. The company has been around for years, has excellent reviews and a variety of styles and types of seals.

Additionally, sealers can be purchased through the company’s website, Amazon, QVC, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and more. Other brands include Rival, Seal-a-Meal and Weston.

Portable food savers are made by Food Saver, Ziploc and Reynolds to name a few. Many of these are sold individually or as a starter kit with a few bags. Be sure to check the details before purchasing so you know what you’re getting.

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