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.
Commercial Chamber Type Vacuum Sealers
These are much bigger and bulkier, and are ideally suited for mass production applications i.e. more than 500 bags a batch. The controls are pretty much the same as seen in compact variants. In order to control parameters like vacuum cycle, seal time, gas time, dwell time etc, newer models feature digital controls whereas the slightly older ones have knobs for the same.
The vacuum pumps used here are way powerful and capable of removing up to 99.98% of oxygen from the bag. The more expensive versions come fitted with Venturi vacuum pumps, which have no moving parts and therefore less susceptible to general wear and tear.
Typically, the choice here boils down to how much packaging you need done in a given period of time. In that respect, a single chamber, commercial vacuum packer can pump out 160 bags (10″x10″) in an hour. For even higher productivity figures, you can either choose between a dual chamber machine with a sliding top, or a single chamber featuring two seal bars on either side.