How the test was made
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. In our tests of vacuum sealers, the machines have been used in everyday life to attempt to pack all types of foods, with different characteristics. Soft, hard, moist, large and small. Everything from a range of cuts of meat to freshly baked rolls. To assess the different machines and be able to choose a test winner, we examined the following parameters.
Vacuum & seal quality: How good is the machine at sucking the air out of the bag? Are there still air bubbles? Does the machine produce a durable weld seam? Does it create one or more weld seams?
Size: How much space does the machine occupy? Can you keep it out on the kitchen counter?
Capacity: How quick is the machine at sucking the air out of the bag? How many bags in a row can be packed without the machine overheating?
Ease of use: Is the machine easy to use? How noisy is it? Are there extra functions and accessories that make it possible to pack wet food, or to marinate food quickly? How easy is it to clean the machine?
During the tests, we have assumed that the machine is for home use. There are others which are better suited for use in a commercial kitchen, restaurant or industry. These are machines which are intended for use in a kitchen, and should not be confused with the type of appliance used with a vacuum cleaner to pack clothes, pillows and duvets. The score is based on the overall experience of the product in relation to its price.
The Foodsaver V2860 deliver excellent packing quality and there are rarely air pockets left in the bags. Other machines have problems with pieces of meat, but the Foodsaver handles these with panache. The included container, which is intended for packing soft or brittle products, works very well. Freshly baked rolls can be packed without being crushed, which means that they stay soft for longer. It’s also very effective at speeding up marination of meat or fish for the barbecue. The Foodsaver V2860 has both an integrated cutting function and built-in storage for a plastic roll. It has three different speed settings, an option to control the pump completely manually, and even an automatic wet mode. Sealing is done with a good weld seam and you have the option to manually add an extra weld seam to the pack if you want. Of course this requires a slightly more complicated operation, but it's a useful function, above all if the item being packed is damp or in liquid, as the sealing process is then more secure with less risk of leakage.
One really nice detail on the Foodsaver V2860 is the handle on the right-hand side, which is used for controlling the lid and makes closing it much easier. This is something that must be done with a certain amount of force so that the lid locks, which is necessary before the machine will start. There aren’t many buttons on the vacuum sealer and you’ll quickly learn what they are. However, the buttons are only marked with symbols – text would have made it more user-friendly. The lamps by each button show which setting you have chosen, and a red button shows clearly when the machine has finished the packing process. Cleaning is easy as the machine has a drip tray that can be removed and washed. One of the few weaknesses of this machine is that it tends to overheat if you pack a number of bags in a row. This quickly becomes a problem if you're packing large quantities of meat after a successful hunt, or freezing the day's harvest of berries. When the machine overheats, an alarm shows in the form of a flashing lamp, and you can’t restart it before it has cooled. On the whole, the Foodsaver V2860 is still a very good value for money, functional and user-friendly machine.
OBH Nordica’s Supreme Food Sealer is a very good value for money machine which is easy to use and delivers good packing quality – one of the best in the test. It effectively empties the bags of air and rarely leaves air pockets. The machine is relatively quick. It sucks the air out and seals the bag in a highly acceptable time. The noise level is normal compared to other machines in the test. The built-in storage for the plastic roll and the integrated knife work extremely well. Sealing is done with a single weld seam which holds well. To reduce the risk of leakage, of course you can always manually add an extra weld seam. The strength of the vacuum can be set to gentle or normal, with the gentle mode intended for soft, more sensitive products. There is also a wet mode for packing wet or moist products. Unfortunately there’s no pulse function, where the pump can be controlled manually, which is a shame as this facility makes packing easier in many situations.
The machine has few buttons and is easy to use. The buttons have texts in English. The lid must be shut with quite a lot of force for it to lock on both sides, which can be difficult if the user is older or doesn’t have full strength in their arms and hands. Another disadvantage with this machine is that it doesn't have a drip tray that you can remove and wash. If meat or fish is packed, it's almost unavoidable that the liquid will get into the machine, which is why it's useful if the drip tray can be removed. Unfortunately there's no function that gives an overheating warning. Instead, a clear sign that the machine has become too hot is that the bags are sealed prematurely. However, if you follow the instructions and wait for one minute before sealing each bag, then you can pack lots of bags without problems. Overall, the OBH Nordica Supreme Food Sealer is a very good value for money and efficient machine, with only minor shortcomings.
The Foodsaver V3840 is a vacuum sealer with a design that stands out. The machine stands on edge, including while you use it, which naturally takes up less space on the kitchen worktop than machines that “lie down”. Another different function in the V3840 is the automatic handsfree function. To start the packing process, you insert the end of the bag into a slot on the front of the machine. The bag is automatically held in place, the air is removed and the bag is sealed. This is a function that we don’t see any advantages with – in fact it's more often irritating as it's sometimes difficult to get the bag in correctly. The Foodsaver V3840 has built-in storage for one plastic roll together with an integrated cutting function that works very well. The vacuum sealer has few buttons and is easy to use with the help of the instruction manual. The packing quality is good, sealing is done with a broad weld seam and the machine effectively empties the bags of air.
Like its sibling, the V2860, this model also has different speed settings for the vacuum pump, and even an automatic wet mode. Unfortunately there’s no option for controlling the pump manually. This function is very useful when packing wet or soft products. Even when the machine is set on wet mode, liquid is quite often sucked into the drip tray and the weld seam isn’t tight. Cleaning is easy as the Foodsaver V3840 has a drip tray that can be removed and washed. Like a number of other machines in the test, the V3840 also overheats if you pack a number of bags in a row, even if you wait between the bags as stated in the instructions. On the whole, this is a good value for money, functional and user-friendly machine. The vertical design with the handsfree function leads to a number of disadvantages from a purely functional viewpoint, but if you prefer a machine that takes up less space on the kitchen worktop than traditional machines, you should definitely take a closer look at the Foodsaver V3840.
OBH Nordica’s Chef Food Sealer is a small, straightforward machine. It will fit without problems in a normal kitchen drawer, which makes storage easier. Despite its small size, the packing quality is extremely good, if not quite as good as the best machines in the test. Sealing is done with a single weld seam which holds well. The machine is easy to use, with few buttons and few operations. The button text is in English. Just like OBH Nordica’s larger model, Supreme Food Sealer, closing the lid requires quite a lot of force to make it lock on both sides. For an older user or someone without full strength in their arms and hands, this can be tough. You can’t store the plastic roll inside the machine, but instead the manufacturer supplies a small bag knife used for cutting bags to the right size. It’s a bit tricky to get a straight, even edge, which you need for the bag to work.
OBH Nordica’s Chef Food Sealer has a wet function, together with the option to choose between two different vacuum strengths. These functions are intended for use when packing wet or soft/sensitive products. Cleaning is a bit fiddly as the machine has no drip tray that can be removed and washed. Like the majority of vacuum sealers, the machine can overheat. This can be seen when the bags start to be sealed prematurely, before all of the air has been sucked out. Unfortunately there’s no other indicator to warn you of overheating. Overall, this is an easy-to-use machine that delivers good vacuum packing. It lacks something of the power and rapidity of the larger machines in the test. But the neat size combined with a good capacity and a low price still mean that OBH Nordica’s Chef Food Sealer is an interesting alternative for those looking for a cheap vacuum sealer that’s easy to store.
The Caso VC300, which is the big brother of the Caso VC100, is a scaled-down model of a vacuum sealer, with few buttons and which is easy to use. The buttons and functions are logical and there is no problem using the machine despite the fact that the text beside the buttons is in German. There are primarily two differences between the two Caso models. One is the possibility of using plastic rolls where you decide the size of the bag yourself. The other is that the VC300 has an automatic wet mode for packaging wet or soft products. But the packaging quality is exactly the same as its little brother – in other words one of the worst in the test. On several occasions it doesn’t completely empty the bags of air. Uniform or harder products such as frozen berries or cheese work OK, but uneven pieces of meat are a challenge. Sealing is carried out with double weld seams which work very well and this also reduce the risk of leakage.
The rather noisy VC300 is unfortunately also a relatively slow machine. One practical function when packing soft or wet products is the option to manually adjust the strength of the suction on the machine. You can even run the pump entirely manually if the products are very wet or soft. The removable holder for the plastic roll and the cutting function make it easy to decide the length of the bags. However, the position of the holder is unfortunate as it is difficult to use and the plastic covers the buttons as it rolls out. To see the buttons and use the machine, the plastic must first be rolled into the holder. Cleaning is very easy and the drip tray can be cleaned in a dishwasher. The primary advantages with the Caso VC300 are the double weld seams that make a secure seal and the option to use bags on a roll. However, just like the VC 100, the VC 300 doesn’t really live up to its price, with a number of shortcomings that reduce the overall score.
This simple and scaled-down model from Caso has few buttons and is easy to use. Unfortunately the text on the buttons is in German, which reduces the user-friendliness somewhat. However, with the help of the instruction manual and a few attempts, it’s not difficult to learn how the vacuum sealer works. The VC 100 is intended to be used with ready-made bags and not bags on a roll where you choose the size yourself. The machine is one of the poorer ones in the test when it comes to packaging quality. Air pockets remain in the bags quite often, which reduces the lifetime of the food. Air pockets primarily occur when uneven pieces of meat are packaged, as you need some force to remove the last air pockets. Uniform and hard products, such as frozen berries, work better but still not entirely satisfactorily. However, the double weld joints mean that the bags are very well sealed and also reduce the risk of leakage. Other than this, the machine is unfortunately both slow and noisy, which doesn’t contribute to a positive experience.
It’s possible to run the vacuum pump entirely manually, which is good if the goods to be packed are wet or soft. It’s a bit of a fiddly process that requires timing and there are a number of buttons to press, unlike some of the more advanced machines which have fully automatic wet/soft modes and better manual functions. The Caso VC100 is very easy to clean and you can put the drip tray in the dishwasher. Another advantage of this machine is the size. It’s so small that it’s easy to store in a normal kitchen drawer. However, the overall impression is that it’s a plasticky and cheap machine with several obvious shortcomings that reduce its score.