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How to choose a vacuum sealer

If you’re in the market for a vacuum sealer, you may be asking yourself.. Do I really need a chamber sealer? What’s the different between dry pumps and oil pumps? What sort of vacuum bags do I need? What features are important? We’ll break it all down for you here..


Edge Sealers v.s. Chamber Sealers

Vacuum sealers fall into two main categories – edge sealers and chamber sealers. Edge sealers can be a great choice for beginners who want to vacuum seal at home. They are simple to use and more affordable than a chamber sealer. Be aware however, that while the upfront cost is significantly less than a chamber vacuum sealer, these units require special bags with air channels that are more expensive than chamber bags. It is not is not possible to use chamber vacuum bags with an edge sealer. The air channels serve to allow the sealer to pull air out around the bag, essentially “squeezing” the air out. The challenge is that this action squeezes out liquids in the bag as well as any surface moisture on your food. This can make for a poor seal. The best practice to avoid this is to use a bag that is longer than you think you need to give the moisture some extra room and ensure a good seal.

Chamber sealers come in many shapes and sizes, fit all sorts of use cases, and are priced across a wide range of price points. When considering a chamber vacuum sealer it is most important to choose the pump type that is right for you. Chamber vacuum sealers with a dry piston pump are an excellent choice for the weekend warrior. If you’re vacuum sealing moist foods and liquids with some frequency, but aren’t ready for the regular maintenance tasks involved with owning an oil pump, this is the unit that’s right for you. If you’re a professional or find yourself sealing multiple packages back to back (sausage makers, hunters, bulk buyers), then an oil-based system is right for you. An oil pump offers faster vacuum cycles (getting the job done almost 50% faster), quieter operation, enhanced vacuum capabilities (soft air return, infusion, extraction, marination), and greater longevity of the appliance with routine maintenance.


Vacuum Sealer Maintenance

This is where edge sealers and dry pump chambers really shine. They require almost no regular maintenance except a surface level cleaning after use. Occasionally you may wear out a gasket or burn through your seal bar tape. With PolyScience dry pump vacuum sealers these consumables are easily replaced without the need for tools. Simply swap the new part for the old part and you’re good to go.

Oil pumps require regular oil changes to flush out any contaminants that may have been sucked into the pump while vacuuming. This will also remove the moisture that has accumulated in the pump over time. You can see our video on this process HERE. As the pressure in the vacuum chamber falls, so does the boiling point of any liquids in the chamber, even surface moisture. You can see our video on this HERE. This moisture will evaporate and re-condense in your pump. Since oil floats on water, the moisture will collect in the bottom of the pump and eventually corrode it. The MX2 vacuum infusion chamber features a unique pump that has been internally coated to resist corrosion. It also has an auto-sensing oil health system that will prompt the user to run a regular cleansing cycle and alert them when an oil change is necessary. This will evaporate off the moisture in the pump, greatly extending the life of the oil. If your unit does not have this feature, we recommend changing the oil on a monthly basis and the oil filter every 6 months. Oil pumps usually have a sight glass that allow you to see the condition of the oil. Whenever it looks murky or cloudy, be sure to change it. The number one failure of oil pump vacuum sealers is due to insufficient oil maintenance.

The seal bar of a chamber vacuum sealer is comprised of a number of consumables including seal wire, possibly trimming wire, and heat resistant teflon tape. It is necessary to replace the wire when it has become dark or discolored or seal performance declines. If your seal bar timing is set too high you can burn through the tape. The wires and tape will wear over time with use and should be replaced as necessary. To replace the wire on the PolyScience 400 Series, simply cut a length of wire, remove the old teflon tape, loosen the hex nuts holding the old wire in place and replace it with the new wire. Put new teflon tape over the wires when you’re done. If one of your wires is worn, but the other is not, it’s best practice to replace both. This will save on teflon tape in the long run, but also ensure consistent performance of the seal bar. The MX2 features a “plug & play” seal bar. Remove the old bar by lifting it out and dropping in a new one. The MX2 also uses a unique “curing” method to seal the bags rather than extended heating of the seal wires, nearly doubling their life span.


Special Features

While many vacuum sealers operate in much the same way, some units have special features that enhance their performance, reliability, and usability. Consider your needs and usage. Some special features may benefit you.

HACCP data logging of sous vide cooks and vacuum processing

Direct temperature logging of Sous Vide cooking cycles is supported via dual K-Type thermocouple probe ports.

Access to HACCP Portal allows you to prepare HACCP plans for vacuum sealing, sous vide cooking, and other Reduced Oxygen Packaging processes with ease.

Manager and Operator passcodes assist in control over log data and functionality. Programmable for specific vacuum levels across a wide range of foods

Dual pressure sensors allow true millibar reading for extreme repeatability in vacuum packing

Dual humidity sensors eliminate boil over

Comes with a water resistant keyboard and pouch label printer.

Full color touch screen