You have to buy a vacuum sealer.
We can’t keep track of how many friends have told us we need a vacuum sealer to preserve our leftovers.
The two brands that always come up: NutriChef and FoodSaver.
There is nothing better at the end of the day than a home-cooked meal. Cooking at home lets you choose exactly the ingredients you want, control the portion sizes, and, let’s face it, home cooking usually tastes better too!
Yet, home cooking also risks your food going bad in the fridge, or flavorless with freezer burn. Vacuum Sealers can help by extending the life of your food at it’s best flavor and texture.
How do vacuum sealers work?
Most vacuum sealers for residential use function in pretty much the same way. They have a specific bag designed to hold up under sealing, and that also heat seals easily.
Some will come with pre-made and sized bags, but most vacuum sealers have a roll version of their bag material that you can cut to your preferred size.
The sealer will pull all the air out of the bag and will create a heat seal on the open side of the bag. The whole process usually takes a couple minutes, but you can prep another bag or clean up from cooking while it’s working. Presto, sealed food.
This article looks at two specific vacuum sealers, the NutriChef Starter Kit and the FoodSaver V2244 Starter Kit to help you pick the best vacuum sealer for beginners.
Let’s get started!
Features to Consider Between NutriChef and FoodSaver
Table of Contents
We’ve looked at:
- Options and indicators
- What kind of foods can you protect? What foods aren’t suitable for this vacuum sealer?
- Kit quality
- What extras does this vacuum sealer come with and how useful are they?
Size/Kitchen Counter Footprint
Size may not seem like a big consideration for a new kitchen appliance, after all, the most important feature is its functionality, right?
The problem is that even the most functional devices will gather dust if you don’t have the space you need to use them appropriately.
You may not need to take it out every day if you only plan on using it to freeze meat after that big CostCo run once a month. On the other hand, if you want to extend the life of your produce and leftovers going in the fridge you should plan on the vacuum sealer finding a permanent place on your counter.
This food saver is the lighter of these two vacuum sealers, weighing in at only 1 lb. That lightweight design means it’s easy to take it in and out of cupboards or even overhead storage areas.
However, it is just a touch larger than the NutriChef. Its dimensions are 5.9” by 10.5” by 17.7”. Now, that’s still compact for a vacuum sealer, and it really is a difference of only a few inches as you’ll see in a moment.
The NutriChef is a bit heavier than the lightweight FoodSaver.
At 2.9lbs this is still a maneuverable, storable option.
It wins on floor space though; at 6″ by 14.1″ by 3″ this vacuum sealer will fit comfortably on the counter full time.
At the end of the day, these two come out at about equal in size. The FoodSaver is the lighter option, making up for its slightly larger dimensions by being more storable. The NutriChef is heavier, but more counter friendly, potentially making it the better option for everyday use. This one comes to a tie.
Options and Indicators
Especially for bulk food buyers, its important to know when your vacuum sealer is finished. Not only can a rushed seal break and let air and moisture back into your bag, but knowing when one bag is finished is key to quickly preserving food for storage.
Once you’re looking at more than one or two bags, efficiency is the difference between a quick easy chore and hair-pulling frustration.
Variety is the spice of life, and, of course, you’re going to include some variety in the foods you eat. When it comes to vacuum sealing, having some options can mean the difference between a perfect filet of fish and wonderfully preserved veggies and squishing your food and altering its texture.
Fortunately, all vacuum sealers have some indication for when they’re finished, and most have some options for the best seal on your food.
How do the NutriChef and FoodSaver stack up?
The FoodSaver leaves the flashy stuff behind. With only two indicator lights, one for a full vacuum and seal cycle and one for a seal cycle by itself, the display on this vacuum sealer is pretty minimal.
It’s also a little different in that, rather than having a light come on to indicate that the process is finished both of those LED lights come on to indicate that the machine is working, and turn off when they’re done.
The full vacuum and seal process is easy. You line the bag up with the heat strip and press Vac/Seal. The Vacuum light will turn on green while it’s working (it’s also pretty loud so you’ll always know when it’s using that function) and then the orange seal light will turn on automatically once all the air is removed. Both lights turn off when the whole process is finished.
The biggest downside to this system isn’t the indicators, they work well for what they are designed to do. However, there isn’t a good way to interrupt the vacuum and seal process for more delicate foods like salmon filets. That two-button and indicator design is easy to use, but also may mean that some of your softer foods get slightly squished in the process.
The NutriChef’s display is definitely more involved than the FoodSaver.
For one thing, it has several more options before you even get to sealing your food.
For the vacuuming portion, you have two options: regular and gentle. You can also choose between moist and dry foods, which tells the sealer whether to expect some wetness (which can interfere with getting a good bag seal) or whether it’s totally dry.
Both of these choices have their own indicator lights so you can easily switch between the settings as you’re sealing multiple food options. The NutriChef vacuum sealer also has a top indicator where the light moves back and forth as the sealer works, turning off if it’s not currently working on a bag.
A big bonus to the display and options on this sealer is the stop button. While it doesn’t have a specific liquids mode for sealing food with marinades and other liquids like some vacuum sealers, that stop button means you can seal liquids with some care. Just stop the vacuum process once it’s pulled all the air, but before it starts pulling the liquids into the seal line.
When it comes to indicators, the NutriChef comes out on top.
The FoodSaver is a quality machine, but it’s hyper-focused on a single operation, which means it just isn’t the best option if you want to save lots of fish or wet foods.
WINNER: NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
Versatility can be hard to determine between these two products. There isn’t a clear winner in this category, however, both products have strengths and weaknesses in what they can and can’t do, so it’s important to think about the kinds of food you like to eat and how you will use your vacuum sealer.
As mentioned in the previous section, the FoodSaver has one process for every seal, vacuuming until there is no air and then providing a heat seal. However, the additional accessory hose means that it can apply that process to way more containers.
Mason Jars, in particular, are a good candidate for vacuum sealing your dry goods.
Things like dried mushrooms, whole grains, and dried fruit all benefit from vacuum storage. Vacuum sealing removes the oxygen from the container, preventing the contents from oxidizing and going stale.
Especially if you like to buy dried foods or whole spices in bulk, and who doesn’t like a good deal, the FoodSaver offers some additional versatility in storage. However, it’s not a great option for fish lovers, or if you prepare a lot of delicate poached foods. These just won’t fair as well in a one-size-fits-all vacuum situation.
The NutriChef, on the other hand, requires everything to be stored in bags.
It’s not that you can save your dry goods in their bags, you absolutely can, but you don’t have as many organizational options when you go with this vacuum sealer.
On the other hand, the NutriChef can handle a wider variety of food with integrity and precision, since it gives you the power to alter its settings and to manually interrupt the vacuum process for your most delicate options.
The real question to ask yourself is what you want to preserve with a vacuum sealer. If you cook and eat dried goods a lot, the FoodSaver might be a good option because you have more choices for how you store your food (with the purchase of additional accessories).
However, if you want to save a lot of leftovers, fish, or other soft and potentially moist foods, the NutriChef gives you the flexibility to preserve the texture and taste of those foods. Its main downside is not having an accessories option for alternative storage options. That means you must use the plastic bags, and while they are re-usable they still increase your carbon footprint.
With its added versatility, the NutriChef vacuum sealer takes this one.
WINNER: NutriChef Vacuum Sealer
Both of these products are starter kits designed to give you everything you need to start saving your food the minute you open the box. Not all kits are created equal though.
This last section looks at what each kit offers so you know you’re getting exactly what you want.
The FoodSaver comes with an 11-inch bag roll that’s 10 feet long. That’s 10 feet of custom size bags to get you started.
It also comes with 5 pre-cut bags, 2 gallon-sized bags, and 3 quart bags.
The last addition to the starter kit is the accessory hose. The accessory hose allows you to use the optional attachment heads which opens up the possibilities for storage and storage containers.
It’s a basic, but well-rounded vacuum sealer kit.
The NutriChef kit is fairly similar. They offer 5 medium-sized pre-cut bags, and a similar long bag roll measuring 79 inches in length, about 6.5 feet long.
Instead of the accessory hose, the NutriChef comes with a wine stopper to help protect open bottles from oxidizing before you can finish them.
Overall the FoodSaver kit wins here simply because they offer more bags to get you started and the accessory hose is more useful with the vacuum sealer, whereas NutriChef’s wine stopper, while useful, is more of a bonus than a feature.
Real Reviews from HomeGenerosity Readers
We reached out to members of our mailing list for their own experiences with the NutriChef and FoodSaver Vacuum Sealers:
“I kind of doubted whether I needed a vacuum sealer machine, and whether it was really worth the space. I bought the NutriChef because it was so affordable. I don’t know what I was worried about! It really doesn’t take up much space in the kitchen and if I wanted to it would fit really easily in my cabinet.”
“Leftovers, leftovers, and more leftovers. With this vacuum sealer even my wife will eat my leftovers.”
“We never had a vacuum sealer and bought it because it was on sale. The package was nice and secure and it worked right out of the box. Sealed some bacon for summer…perfect!”
“Me and my husband like to buy in bulk. But we were wasting a lot of food after we became “empty nesters.” The Foodsaver is great and stops our food from getting freezer burn. A+”
“I’ve had this vacuum sealer (my first one ever) for 2 weeks. Here’s what I think:
– Suction and sealing are perfect
– Labels to write on the bags are helpful
-Bags are high quality
– Drip tray for juices is good to have
Final Verdict – The Best Vacuum Sealer
With comparable sizes and features, the NutriChef and FoodSaver are two of the best vacuum sealers for the money.
While both units get the job done, they both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Multiple preservation options
- Clear, eye-catching indicator lights
- Option to stop the vacuum process mid-seal
- Can only use plastic vacuum seal bags
- Doesn’t include as many bags in the starter kit
- Super easy to use
- Includes an attachment hose for additional flexibility
- Includes plenty of plastic bags
- No options to protect delicate food
- No stop button if the sealing process fails
So which is better?!
Overall, the NutriChef is our winner simply because of its additional flexibility in preserving your food.
The NutriChef and FoodSaver vacuum sealers both do a fantastic job, but the NutriChef tops the FoodSaver when it comes to preserving soft or moist foods, such as fish, dried goods, and marinated items.
However, both the NutriChef and FoodSaver are great starter options; so you can be confident buying whichever product best meets your family’s needs.
Benefits of a Vacuum Sealer
Still not sold on getting a vacuum sealer?
Here are a few of the top reasons for buying a vacuum sealer that will make you reconsider:
- Vacuum sealing food not only prevents it from spoiling but also preserves the flavor so your leftovers will always taste like they are fresh-cooked.
- Vacuum sealing makes it more economical to buy bulk spices because they won’t lose flavor over time.
- Vacuum sealed foods take up less storage space because there is no surrounding air to bulk up the packaging.
- Unlike freezer paper and other storage methods, vacuum-sealed bags are re-usable; just wash and dry and they are ready to use again.
- Cutting your own bags gives you the flexibility to create perfect portion sizes.
- Vacuum sealers aren’t just for food. They can protect paperwork from oxidation and spills, prevent silver jewelry and tableware from tarnishing, and even help you pack clothing into a smaller space by removing the extra air.
We hope that our comparison of these top vacuum sealers gave you a better idea of which vacuum sealer is right for you.
Interested in more ideas to save money around the house? Check out our list of the 7 best ways to save money.