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Intrigued by sous vide cooking, but don’t know where to start? A good place is, with the right vacuum sealer. It may seem complicated at first glance, but it really isn’t. It requires an extra dash of patience, but it is really worth it! Read on to find out what you stand to gain from this cooking method, and how to get the best vacuum sealer for the job. So, what is the best vacuum sealer for sous vide?
The Best Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide: The Basics?
The term (pronounced sue-veed) is of French origin, and means “under-vacuum”. In general, it works like this:
- Food is vacuum-sealed into an appropriate bag.
- Bag is brought into a pot full of water, and secured with a clamp.
- Water is kept at a specific temperature for a given amount of time until food is cooked. The temperature and time will vary depending on the food.
The method may sound unorthodox, but it has been used in restaurant and hospitals since the 1960s.
Immersion Cooker: What It Is, And Why You’ll Want One
The key to the success of sous vide cooking is maintaining temperature for a given amount of time. Nowadays, you no longer need to regulate the stove’s flame until your thermometer shows the temperature you want: an immersion cooker will keep the water circulating at exactly the level of heat you set, saving you some trouble and helping ensure optimal results. Here are a few options to fill this void in your kitchen:
800W potency, temperature range 41 – 212°F. Cooking can be paused. The included clamp is adjustable so it fits a wider variety of cooking pots. Capable of circulating 2.25 gallons of water per minute.
750W power, able to function for up to 99 hours. Operate it from the control panel, or from the app, and monitor it at longer distance from your phone via Bluetooth. The app includes free recipes.
Pretty powerful at 1100 watts, heats up quickly. WiFi and Bluetooth ready, app requires access to the internet and certain version on your phone’s OS. Due to voltage configuration, it should be used only in North America, or the warranty will be voided.
Benefits Of Sous Vide Cooking
Imagine your steak or your fish, done right to the point you want it; cooked to the same degree, edge to edge, and as thick as it was before you prepped it. Taste enhanced to the point you might altogether stop adding salt and pepper. Not only that, food nutrients are better preserved!, as shown by a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences & Nutrition. Once you try sous vide, you might never go back!
1. Cooking In Plastic
2. Bacteria In The Vacuum
Certain microorganisms are referred to as ‘anaerobic’, because they thrive in low-oxygen environments. Your ally here, is the temperature: even these bacteria will not endure the long exposition to the heat from sous vide cooking.
3. The ‘Danger Zone’
No, it’s not just a popular song. This is also the name given to a range of temperatures (40 – 140°F, specifically) that is more favorable to the proliferation of certain bacteria. However, this becomes a concern only after cooking, and it is easy to avoid: simply be sure to put the food in the freezer soon after it is done, if you won’t be eating it right away.
A good fit even for small restaurants, its rotary oil pump runs at ¼ HP, needing no break between bags; potent and all, it is still fairly quiet. The chamber allows pouches of up to 10” x 13”.
Control panel is at the front, with pressure and time display. Body is stainless steel. Includes: 45 chamber pouches of various sizes, and filler plates. Other accessories (such as canisters and multi-ring bag stand) are available separately.
When making a choice, it should be taken into account that the unit weighs over 80 pounds.
- Powerful enough to run for a while without breaks.
- Thorough seal.
- Latch might not hold the lid all the way down.
- Very heavy, hard to move around.
Small as it is, it performs adequately, even though its design is fairly basic (it does not have a cutter or the ability to hold rolls). Operation is through 3 buttons at the top: “Pulse Vacuum”, meant for liquids and delicate foods; “Seal”, for use with open ended bags or after Pulse Vacuum; and “Vacuum & Seal”, which activates the straightforward procedure of taking the air out and sealing the bag.
Unit includes 10 seal bags; replacements are available separately, both by roll and as pre-cut bags. One potential deterrent might be its price tag, which is in the upper range for its category.
- Fairly portable.
- Competent for its size.
- Incompatible with Ziploc bags.
- Its simplicity does not justify the asking price.
As long as you don’t put it to use in a more heavy duty environment—such as a restaurant—, this one will serve you well. You can configure the 3 preset buttons to the specifications (in sealing and time) required by your favorite foods, and the marinate cycle gives you some extra versatility. Piston pump is dry type, so there is no need to change any oil.
Includes bags in 3 sizes, 6 units of each, for a total of 18 bags.
- Needs less maintenance thanks to its dry piston.
- Metal interior is easy to clean.
- Not suited for heavy duty.
You might especially like this one if you’re a fan of multiple color choices: it’s available in silver, black, stainless steel and stainless steel & black. The 5 buttons at the top are touch-sensitive, and are clearly labeled. Separate modes tackle solid foods and moist —such as simmered or poached—edibles.
This might be a good choice for the initiate, as it includes bags by unit and by roll, and a wine stopper cork.
- Includes more accessories than the average offer.
- Modern, aesthetically pleasing design, with multiple colors to choose from.
- Managing the sealing modes can be a bit complicated.
You might not be wanting for capacity with this one: the largest bag it can hold is 10” x 12” x 2.1”, which amounts to 1 gallon volume. Large as it is, it weighs less than 40 pounds, which makes it slightly more manageable. The chamber is unique in that it is intended to hold the bag in a vertical position, which helps with liquids and powders; it can also work horizontally.
Unit is operated through a digital panel with a total of 8 buttons: Power, Seal, Stop, one for the Marinate Cycle, and 2 each to control sealing time and vacuum level.
- Lighter than other similar units.
- User friendly.
- No free bags included.
For Top Sous Vide: NutriChef PKVS18SL
Seriously, this might be the best vacuum sealer for sous vide out there. It’s safe to say you likely won’t go wrong with this one, especially if you’re only getting started: you get plenty of bags of different sizes, and also a cork wine stopper. Solid or moist, this unit can handle it: just choose the right mode, and your food will be properly packed.
Operation is easy thanks to its buttons and LED indicators. Aesthetically, it is a good pick. Its modern design should be a boon to your kitchen’s theme, with even the possibility of complementing your chosen palette. And remember: beyond sous vide, you can count on this little machine to help preserve your food much longer! Hopefully, by now you’ve found the best vacuum sealer for sous vide.