Best Overall: PolyScience 300 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
PolyScience makes some of the best commercial sous vide cooking machines around, so It makes sense that they also make one of the best commercial vacuum sealers.
A commercial vacuum sealer needs to be able to handle heavy use, day after day. This model will get the job done in a professional setting, but it also has some features that make a solid choice for home use as well.
Many commercial vacuum sealers rely on rotary pumps that require maintenance and periodic oil changes. The PolyScience model utilizes a dry piston pump that is virtually maintenance-free.
That’s one less thing to worry about if you’re running a busy restaurant or organizing a busy household.
While the dry piston vacuum pump is great as a low-maintenance option, it does have its downsides. These models are not as fast as rotary oil pump models and they tend to be a bit louder.
For most people, these are minor inconveniences, but if you do a lot of back-to-back-to-back vacuum sealing, the extra time and noise can really add up.
My other favorite feature of the PolyScience 300 is the three presets that can be programmed with your most frequently used settings.
This is a great feature that saves time and ensures consistent results. Something that’s especially important if you have multiple employees or family members using the machine.
The low maintenance and ease of use are excellent, and the 12-inch sealing bar is big enough for most tasks. So, depending on how you look at it, the PolyScience 300 is either an entry-level professional vacuum sealer or a top-of-the-line home unit.
What we like
- Virtually maintenance-free
- Customizable presets save time and add consistency
- External vacuum port for canister vacuuming
What We don’t
- Louder than much of the competition
- Slower than many other options
Best Value: YIYIBYUS Z-260C Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Finding a commercial vacuum sealer for less than $1000 is no easy task. So, the YIYIBYUS Z-206C at less than $500 is an absolute steal. Plus, it has a name that just rolls off the tongue.
Like many of the best commercial vacuum sealers, the YIYIBYUS is built with a rotary oil pump. That means it can handle heavy, back-to-back use, and vacuum times are very fast.
It also means that there is some maintenance involved, with periodic oil changes required.
This option is the smallest on my list, but can still accommodate vacuum bags up to 10-inches wide and 13-inches long. Making it a useful size for smaller operations and kitchens.
You do get some customization when it comes to the vacuum and sealing time, but there’s no way to save multiple presets for future use. A small sacrifice that for many folks will be worth the hundreds of dollars in savings.
Overall, this is a great way to get a commercial vacuum sealer at a bargain. But, in some regards, you really do get what you pay for.
The fit and finish of the YIYIBYUS do leave something to be desired and are not on par with the more expensive, name-brand options. Many owners found sharp edges and metal shavings in their units, and the owner’s manual isn’t very user-friendly, especially for beginners.
But, if you’re on a budget, this option still provides great power and sealing capabilities, even if it is a little rough around the edges.
What we like
- Very inexpensive
- Strong vacuum
- Consistent, air-tight seals
What We don’t
- Fit and finish is not on par with the more expensive options
- The instruction manual is less than useful
Best Upgrade: Vacmaster VP321 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Vacmaster is one of the most highly regarded brands when it comes to commercial vacuum sealers. Peak into many of the best restaurants around the world and you’re likely to find one of their tabletop chamber vacuums.
I recently picked the smaller Vacmaster VP215 as one of the best vacuum sealers for cooking sous vide at home. But, for a true commercial kitchen workhorse, the VP321 is what you want.
This is another rotary oil pump machine, but this model has a beefed-up and incredibly powerful 1.5-horsepower motor. That means you can use this machine nonstop without breaking a sweat, and it will never let you down.
I used this same vacuum chamber on a daily basis for three years in a very busy restaurant. It worked flawlessly every time, and was never out of commission. I moved on to a new restaurant, but I know for a fact that the same machine is still in use, going on nine years now.
Like other rotary pump vacuum sealers, this one does require routine oil changes. How often will depend on how heavily the machines are used.
The consistency and reliability are unbeatable, but there are two other important features that make this the best option for high volume use.
The heat sealing bars on this model are 17.25-inches wide, which can be used with large vacuum bags up to 16-inches wide and 18-inches long. And if that weren’t enough, there are two sets of them, one on each side of the machine.
This is an incredibly helpful feature that allows you to vacuum and seal several bags at the same time. For instance, sealing 8, 4-inch bags (4 on each side) at the same time can be a huge time saver.
The Vacmaster VP321 is clearly a commercial machine. When it comes to high-volume scenarios, this model can tackle anything you can throw at it and makes light work of even the most demanding storage tasks. But, for home use, this is definitely overkill.
What we like
- Two sets of large, 17.25-inch sealing bars
- Powerful and reliable 1.5-HP vacuum pump
- Fully adjustable time, seal, and pressure settings
What We don’t
- Very expensive
- Weighs over 200 pounds
Runners Up: Inexpensive And Easy To Use
My top three picks are all chamber vacuum sealers, which are the best option for heavy use and high volume. But, if your needs are on a smaller scale, an edge vacuum sealer might be a good fit. They’re smaller, less expensive, and very easy to use.
For Large, Long Bags: Weston Pro-2300 Edge Vacuum Sealer
The Weston Pro-2300 is another commercial vacuum sealer that can handle heavy use. It has a large, fan-cooled vacuum pump that won’t overheat, even with continuous use. And, the clear, plexiglass lid lets you see what you’re doing for more consistently sealed bags.
The big difference here is that the vacuum bags sit on the outside of the machine. That’s great when it comes to sealing large and very long bags. But, an edge-style vacuum sealer is not a good choice for storing liquids and liquid-rich foods.
Another Affordable Option: LEM 1253 MaxVac Edge Vacuum Sealer
The LEM 1253 is another edge vacuum sealer with a similar design to the Weston Pro. It has a large, 14-inch sealing bar, and a vacuum pump that can handle 450 consecutive seales without overheating. The LEM also has a built-in bag roll dispenser that’s convenient and helps keep you organized.
The LEM is very inexpensive and offers great value. But, while the motor can handle some heavy use, it’s not as powerful as the Weston Pro. Also, the vacuum tray cover is not see-through, which makes it a little more difficult to use.
Buyers Guide: Choosing The Best Commercial Vacuum Sealer
Chamber vs. Edge Vacuum Sealer: Price and Performance
There are two types of commercial vacuum sealers, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. I’ll quickly break down the key differences so you can decide which is best for you.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Chamber vacuum sealers, as you may have guessed, have an enclosed chamber where vacuum bags are placed and all the magic happens.
The air in the bags is removed by changing the atmospheric pressure in the chamber. It’s a fast and efficient process that happens in the chamber so it’s completely hands-free.
One of the key features of chamber vacuum sealers is that they can be used with bags that are full of liquid. Something that’s difficult to do well with an edge sealer.
This option is generally more durable, more consistent, and also much more expensive. Plan on spending at least $1000 for commercial units, but easily several thousand on larger, more powerful options.
Chamber vacuum sealers are often overkill for home use. But, they are often the best choice for busy, commercial applications.
Edge Vacuum Sealer
Edge vacuum sealers are usually smaller units, and everything is done on the outside of the machine. The open end of the vacuum bag is placed in a vacuum tray, where the air is then sucked out with a simple vacuum pump.
This method does a great job removing most of the air in the bag, but it doesn’t work well with liquids and liquid-rich foods.
One advantage to an edge vacuum sealer is that you can use very large bags, whereas with a chamber model you are limited to the size of the chamber. But, with an edge vacuum sealer, you do have to use special bags that have small air channels. These are easy to source but they tend to be more expensive.
While the bags may be more expensive, the vacuum sealers themselves are much more affordable. Both of my top picks for this style machine are actually under $500.
This is a great, heavy-duty option for home use, but not always the ideal choice for commercial applications.
Vacuum Strength: Save Time With More Power
The strength of the vacuum motor will determine how fast a vacuum cycle takes.
Even low-powered options will get the job done, but it can be a slower process. Adding more power will enable you to tackle larger projects faster.
Most entry-level chamber vacuum sealers have ¼-horsepower motors. My Vacmaster pick is a big step up with a 1.5-horsepower vacuum pump. If you’ll be doing a lot of consecutive bagging, consider the upgrade.
Size, Weight, And Portability
Portability isn’t normally a big consideration for commercial vacuum sealers. Durable and reliable options tend to be large and heavy. The more powerful your vacuum sealer the bigger and heavier it’s going to be.
The Vacmaster VP321 on the other hand weighs over 200-pounds, so once you find a good place for it, it’s likely going to stay put.
If you’ll be using a vacuum sealer on a food truck or other mobile events, you may consider an edge vacuum sealer. Commercial units often weigh around 20-pounds and are easier to tuck away to save valuable workspace.
Whether you go with an edge or chamber vacuum sealer, you’ll want one that’s built from stainless steel with a plexiglass top.
Stainless steel is durable, non-reactive, and easy to clean and sanitize. Plexiglass is the ideal material for the lid because you can see through it and it will never crack or shatter like glass.
Operation Modes And Use: It’s Worth Reading The Manual
Edge vacuum sealers are incredibly easy to use. Since you can visually see the air being sucked out of the bag, it’s easy to know when to stop the machine if it doesn’t do it automatically.
Chamber vacuum sealers on the other hand are a little more complicated. Since these models work by changing the air pressure in the chamber, you can’t tell how much air is being removed out until the cycle is complete. This can turn into a messy situation, especially when dealing with liquids.
That’s why it can be really beneficial to read the manuals so you understand what settings are best for various types of food.
If you’ve ever used a small air compressor then you probably have an idea of what most vacuum sealers will sound like. A vacuum sealer is likely not going to be the loudest thing in a commercial kitchen, but when you’re the one operating it, a quiet model will be appreciated.
Edge vacuum sealers tend to be louder and the vacuum cycle tends to take longer. Not the best combination when you’re sealing bag after bag.
Oil pump chamber vacuums are the quietest of the bunch, with the noise level increasing as you get into larger and more powerful machines.
Care And Maintenance: Keep It Running Like A Well Oil Machine
Edge vacuum sealers (as well as dry piston chamber vacs like the PolyScience 300) are basically maintenance-free. Keep them clean, and they should give you years of worry-free use.
Most commercial chamber vacuums, on the other hand, have small motors that require oil to operate. After a certain number of use-hours, that oil has to be changed. It’s a simple enough process and it can save you money if you learn to do it without hiring a technician every single time.
Most vacuum sealers come with a one or two-year warranty. Almost all of these cover manufacturers’ defects, but some of the best brands will even cover parts and labor for at least a portion of that time.
And, even if your machine is not under warranty, commercial models can almost always be serviced by appliance technicians.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Go For A Commercial Vacuum Sealer?
Commercial vacuum sealers are the best option for heavy, continuous use. They rarely, if ever, overheat. They remove more air, and create consistent, air-tight seals.
While commercial sealers can be an expensive investment upfront, they make up for that by providing unmatched storage efficiency and extending the shelf life of most products.
What Sealer Is The Quietest?
Oil pump vacuum chambers are the quietest and fastest option. But, as you get into larger, more powerful vacuum pumps, the noise level will also increase.
What Sealer Should I Use For Liquids?
The best commercial vacuum sealers for use with liquids are chamber-style units. Since they don’t physically suck the air out, you don’t have to worry about liquids overflowing or being sucked into the machine.
What Considerations Are Required For Sharp, Soft, or Delicate Items?
Soft and delicate items should be used with a shorter vacuum cycle. While this won’t remove as much oxygen, it will protect the delicate items from being crushed from a full-strength vacuum cycle.
Bones and other sharp objects have a tendency to puncture vacuum bags. This allows air to enter and renders the bag useless. The simplest solution is to use a bone guard. This is a simple protective sheet that can be placed over any sharp points before they are placed in the vacuum bag.
If you’re a home cook looking for a professional-level vacuum sealer, stick to the PolyScience 300. It has commercial-grade components and performance, but doesn’t require any maintenance. Plus, the customizable presets mean you don’t have to fiddle with the settings every time you use it.
The Vacmaster VP321 is probably way more than any home cook needs. But, for commercial use, this is the model that you want. It’s incredibly durable and reliable, plus, the dual 17-inch seal bars make light work of even the biggest projects.