Pulse button for complete control
No onboard bag storage
No adjustment for sealing dry/moist foods
No accessory port for containers
We purchased the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Vacuum sealers are great at keeping fresh foods fresh for an extended amount of time. They work by sucking out all of the oxygen in the bag around the food, thus helping to prevent mold from growing, dehydration, and freezer burn. They're also great for sous vide cooking. There are plenty of vacuum sealers on the market with varying degrees of features. One simple vacuum sealer that's well-regarded is the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer. Anova is known for its sous vide equipment, so I had high expectations when it came to the performance of this machine. To prepare, I gathered all the fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses that I wanted to freeze or store. I also set aside some time for sous vide cooking, testing the ability to create leak-proof seals. Read on for my honest thoughts.
Design: Small and sleek
If I had to come up with one word to design this appliance, it would be petite. It’s thin, narrow, and not very tall. It’s small enough to fit into a drawer or tuck neatly into a cabinet. Even in the smallest of kitchens, there’s likely to be a place where it will fit. And since vacuum-sealed foods take less space in the freezer than if they’re wrapped and bagged, or stored in containers, it will save food storage space as well.
Nearly all black, except for the white lettering, this will fit in well with the décor of just about any kitchen. But that may not be a consideration—it won’t need to live on the counter except when there’s a lot of food to be packed and frozen, and then it can be tucked back into its storage space.
There are only three buttons on top of the sealer: Vacuum & Seal, Seal, and Pulse Vacuum. While there’s no button for any kind of gentle vacuuming, the pulse vacuum takes care of that while offering complete control of how much vacuum is applied, so it’s possible to package everything from dense meat to fluffy pastry with those three simple buttons.
Although it includes 10 pre-made 8 by 12-inch bags, this doesn’t include onboard storage for bags, which is part of the reason it’s so compact. While I like the convenience of onboard storage, I also like the small size of this machine. There is also no onboard bag cutter, so when I made bags from my own roll, I had to cut the material with scissors. That’s not a deal-breaker—I have plenty of scissors—but my freehand cutting isn’t quite as straight as I’ve achieved with vacuum sealers with integrated cutters. Fortunately, the bags don’t have to be perfectly straight in order to seal. A slightly wavy cut or a bit of an angle doesn’t make any difference at all. As long as the end fits into the trough that does the vacuuming, it will work.
Setup Process: Couldn’t be simpler
The sealer is easy to operate, and the options are so obvious there’s no need to read the manual to figure it out. The open end of the bag goes into the machine with the opening over the vacuum trough. Then, the lid closes and snaps down securely onto the bag. It takes a little pressure to get it to snap closed, but it’s not difficult. The audible snap makes it easy to hear that the lid is secured on each side, which also holds the bag tightly in place. Then, it’s time to choose a button.
Features: Just what’s necessary
There are just three options with this sealer. First is Vacuum & Seal, which does exactly what it says. It vacuums the air out of the bag, then creates the seal. I used this most often as I used and tested the machine, and it’s likely that this is what most people would choose for everyday food storage as well as sous vide cooking.
The second option is Seal, which seals without vacuuming. This is what’s used for making bags from rolls of bag material. It can also be pressed at any time during the vacuuming process to stop the vacuum and seal the bag immediately. Also, this is used with the third option, Pulse Vacuum.
This doesn’t include onboard storage for bags, which is part of the reason it’s so compact.
Pulse Vacuum gives the user nearly total control of how tight the vacuum will be in the bag. While this might not be needed very often, it’s handy to have the option so that soft, fluffy, and delicate foods can be vacuumed just enough and then sealed. It can also be used with wet foods to keep the vacuum from sucking in liquids. When the desired vacuum is achieved, pressing the Seal button completes the process.
This does not have an accessory port, which would have been appreciated. There are plenty of canisters and other accessories that can be used with vacuum sealers, and the ability to use them would have made this simple machine much more versatile. However, if someone doesn’t already own accessory containers, the port won’t be missed.
Oddly, this machine also lacks a Stop or Cancel button. I checked the manual and then did a bit of experimenting. I found that pressing the Pulse Vacuum button stopped the vacuuming. While that was logical, it wasn’t totally obvious, but at least there’s a way to stop vacuuming in the midst of the process. While that shouldn’t be needed often, there have been times when I’ve decided to add something to a bag that I’ve already started vacuuming. It’s preferable to pause the vacuum (rather than let it finish sealing) and then cut the bag open to add in my forgotten thyme.
Performance: Simple but effective
I had high hopes for this vacuum sealer since it’s made by the same company that’s so popular for its sous vide equipment. While I was surprised at how simple the machine was—only three buttons!—I found that it worked very well. The bag seals were consistently good, although I’ve made a habit of double-sealing bags for long-term storage or for sous vide use, just to make sure.
I sealed ground beef in bags I made as well as one of the bags included with the machine. While some of the moisture from the meat traveled up the bag, it didn’t affect the seal. I also used it to seal half of a small wheel of hard cheese. The bag snugged up against the cheese tightly, readying it for longer storage in the refrigerator.
As I continued vacuum sealing different foods, I was quite surprised how quiet the machine was. I could hear it running, but the sound was minimal, so it’s possible to hold a normal conversation in the kitchen while working on packing and vacuuming foods.
Just for the fun of it, I vacuumed-sealed some cookies using the Pulse Vacuum mode. It worked well, and I sealed the bag before I moved on to crushing my treats.
I also sealed some pork that I cooked using sous vide. The bags stayed sealed with no leaks at all during cooking, which is exactly what I hoped for. When I was done cooking, I chilled then refrigerated the meat to finish it the next day. The seals remained intact until it was time to open the bags.
The sealer is easy to operate, and the options are so obvious there’s no need to read the manual to figure it out.
When I vacuumed and sealed an avocado half, I was pleased to see that there was absolutely no browning after storage in the refrigerator. While sealing a single avocado half might be wasteful in terms of bag use, it would be great to seal a larger quantity of avocado for use over several days, cutting the bag and resealing it at a shorter length each time.
I also sealed some fresh pecans in 1-cup and 2-cup portions for use in recipes. Tossed in the freezer, I’ll have them to use for months to come.
The sealer did not include instructions on how long to let the machine pause between sealing, but it does note that if the bag melts rather than sealing, it should rest for a few minutes to cool off. I don’t expect that to be much of an issue in normal home use where one person is tucking food into a bag and then sealing it. Even when a lot of food needs to be sealed, I’ve found there are usually pauses as I label bags or move them to long-term storage in the freezer.
This retails around $80. While it's not the least expensive sealer on the market, it is still very affordable, and it will save money in the long run if frozen foods don’t get freezer burn. There are plenty of other vacuum sealers that are much more expensive and probably have more features. While this machine is very basic, the five-year warranty makes it quite appealing.
Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer vs. FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine
FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine: FoodSaver is a well-known brand when it comes to vacuum sealers, and the FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine is highly rated among users. It has automatic bag detection, among other upscale features. It also has a higher price tag, and it is a significantly larger machine. For folks who need those features—and particularly the ability to vacuum-seal canisters—I like this FoodSaver sealer. But for users who only want to seal bags and don’t need any extras, I can’t find fault with the petite Anova machine. It stores easily and does its job without a fuss. Plus, if something goes wrong, it has a solid 5-year warranty to protect it.
A simple and efficient vacuum sealer.
While the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it does what's necessary, and it does it well. I love that it's small enough to store easily, and the 5-year warranty is a plus.
- Product Name Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer
- Product Brand Anova
- UPC 851607006724
- Price $80
- Weight 2.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 16.73 x 3.14 x 4.8 in.
- Color Black
- Power 120 volts/80 watts/13 inHg
- Warranty 5 years; limited warranty
- Includes 10 Precision Vacuum Sealer Bags