In the past, internal or chamber styled vacuum sealers featured predominantly as a commercial appliance. However, all that changed with the introduction of compact variants of these high-efficiency machines (99.9% air removal) into the main-stream consumer market. For those who can afford these pricy appliances (the cheapest being $700), this guide outlines the different technologies and purchase considerations associated with modern chamber style vacuum sealing machines.
Some discerning aspects between different compact chamber models:
- Chamber Cover: Most models feature two small pneumatic bars on either side of the lid that pops its open. Yet, there are other models with sliding arms that slides the lid into place atop the chamber. The advantage here is that the lid locks on automatically as opposed to keeping it pressed against the rubber seal until the vacuuming starts.
- Chamber size: In terms of width, this value generally ranges from 8″ to 13″. So, the larger the surface area of the chamber, the bigger the bag it will accept. The chamber depth also varies widely. With deeper chambers, you should look for removable pressure plates for dynamic depth adjustment, whereas if the chamber is small or shallow, then look for a machine with a domed cover.
- Angled Side: Most chambers have straight edges, which makes packaging of liquids a tricky prospect. However, in some machines, the chamber has a slight gradient towards the seal bar side, thus allowing the bag to sit an angle. So, as long as the soup, gravy or juice remains well below the bag’s neck, this angular orientation will ensure against spilling.
- Hose Attachment: Some models feature an external vacuum port to which you can connect a hose attachment. This can then be used with other standard vacuum systems available in the market to vacuum seal canisters, mason jars and glass jars.
- Gassing Attachment: Certain models feature an extra gas control button on the control panel. This van be used by installing a nitrogen gassing kit into the appliance. What this does is puffs the package with nitrogen gas after removing all the oxygen. This is ideal for storing chips and other fragile matter.
There’s no real limitation on the type of vacuum-able bags you can use with these appliances. However, if you plan to use the packages for purposes other than storage like marinating or ‘sous vide’ cooking, then you’ll need to look at special bags. By that , we mean dual lined pouches with specific boilable barrier ratings.