The best food sealers on the market

The best food sealers on the market
The FoodSaver Advanced Design V2860 Kit proved to be the best sealer in the group.
With food prices on the rise, saving leftovers is a simple way to keep more cash in your pocket. But those leftovers are only good if they're kept fresh.

When it comes to locking in the freshness, fancy food savers aren't always better than common freezer bags. The folks at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute wanted to see how food sealers stack up.

"In our tests we found that they do help keep out air and moisture and protect food better than ordinary storage bags and wraps," said Sharon Franke, the institute's kitchen appliances director.

The Good Housekeeping pros filled the sealers' bags and canisters with beads that change color when there's moisture present.

"So if they turn pink, it's an indication that the bags aren't keeping a tight seal," Franke said. "We also put chicken breast and hamburgers in the freezer to see if ice crystals were forming."

The FoodSaver Advanced Design V2860 Kit ($230) - available at www.foodsaver.com - proved to be the best sealer in the group.

"This is the Rolls Royce of vacuum sealers. It kept the crystals bright blue," Franke said. "And It has lots of bells and whistles, including one that prevents potato chips from being crushed, and a built-in bag cutter. It works with pre-cut bags, bags that you customize yourself and also different-sized containers."

The compact and less expensive FoodSaver V2240 ($120) also performed well, but it doesn't have the built-in bag cutter.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Reynolds Handi-Vac ($10). Its small. It's handheld. It's battery-operated. It works by placing the suction cup against a valve on the bag and pressing a button.

And what about Sharper Image's Bean Vac ($40) for keeping coffee fresh?

"We found that it doesn't keep a tight seal," said Franke. "When you close it, it immediately begins to vacuum seal and you do hear it working. But when we checked the crystals, they turned pink pretty quickly."

Good Housekeeping says the vacuum food sealers tend to work better at keeping food fresh in the freezer than in hot, humid conditions.