Longer shelf life. Improved product quality. Better appearance. 

These are some of the most common reasons why people consider investing in a vacuum packer.

It’s no secret that our air is the perfect environment to allow bacteria to grow. When our food comes into contact with this bacteria, it can cause our food to spoil and go bad. Vacuum packers draw air away from the food product, which leaves no air for the bacteria to feed on. Ultimately, vacuum packing prevents our food from spoiling. 

But once you’ve decided that vacuum packers are the way to go, how do you choose the right vacuum packer for you and your business? Here we take a look at the differences between two of the main types of vacuum packers – the chamber vacuum packer and the suction vacuum sealer.

What Are Chamber Vacuum Packers?

When using a chamber vacuum packer, the entire vacuum bag and its contents are placed inside a chamber. Air is removed from the whole chamber, which removes the air from the inside of the bag and away from your product. 

How Do They Function?

There are three easy steps to use a chamber vacuum food sealer, and an optional fourth step, depending on the model you own. These are:

1. Evacuate the Air

Start by filling your chosen vacuum bag with your food product, then pop the bag inside your vacuum sealer’s chamber. Place the open edge of your bag over the sealing bar and close the lid. 

Once the lid is closed, the chamber vacuum sealer starts up the vacuum pump, which draws air out of the chamber, the bag, and ultimately, your food product. An important distinction between a chamber vacuum sealer and a suction vacuum sealer is that air is not sucked out of the chamber. Instead, the air is pumped out by adjusting the air pressure within the chamber. 

2. Apply Gas Flushing or Modified Air Packaging (MAP) – OPTIONAL

Whether you apply this step or not depends upon the machine model. For many chamber vacuum sealers, you have the option of an add-on MAP function. This allows you to fill the chamber and your vacuum bags with protective gas that further improves the shelf life of your product. 

3. Seal the Vacuum Bag

Once all the air has been removed from the chamber, the sealing bar is pressed against the counter pressure bar. An electric impulse is sent through the sealing wires, which causes them to heat up. The sides of the bag in contact with the sealing bar melt together, which closes the bag, sealing it airtight. 

At this point, if your chamber vacuum sealer has been fitted with an optional cut-off wire, then the edge of the vacuum bag is trimmed to the right length. Overall, your final product is fully sealed and presentable. 

4. Ventilate the Chamber

Now that the bag has been completely sealed, the chamber vacuum sealer allows air to flow back inside the chamber. This process readjusts the air pressure inside the chamber until it’s balanced with the external air pressure. When the machine is ready, the chamber lid should open automatically, revealing your perfectly vacuum-sealed food product. 

What Are the Advantages?

One of the most useful advantages of a chamber vacuum sealer is that it can seal liquids. Since chamber vacuum sealers don’t use suction to remove the air from the vacuum bag, there is no risk of the liquid being sucked out of the bag and getting caught up in the sealer’s motor. 

Chamber vacuum sealers can also work with just about any vacuum sealing bag. It doesn’t require a special mesh bag, unlike the traditional suction vacuum sealer. Non-textured vacuum sealing bags tend to be cheaper than the mesh or textured bags required by suction vacuum sealers. 

What Are the Best Applications?

Chamber vacuum sealers work well with solid food products, but their biggest advantage over suction vacuum sealers is the ability to safely seal liquids. Some of the best uses of chamber vacuum sealers include sealing soups, stews, and marinades, which enables you to keep them for longer in the refrigerator or even freeze them. 

What Are Suction Vacuum Sealers?

Home users are likely to be more familiar with suction vacuum sealers. These are the more traditional type of vacuum packaging machines and are often known as external vacuum sealers, as the vacuum bag remains on the outside of the machine. 

How Do They Function?

You start by attaching the filled bag to the sealer of the suction vacuum packer. This is one of the main differences between a suction vacuum packer and a chamber vacuum sealer – only the open edge of your vacuum bag is processed inside the machine. The rest of the bag stays outside the vacuum sealer. 

When you turn the machine on, it sucks the air out of the open edge of the bag, through small channels on the surface of the bag. Once all of the air has been removed, the machine seals the edge of the bag, making it completely airtight. For a suction vacuum sealer to work, you need to use special mesh-lined or textured vacuum bags.

What Are the Advantages?

A suction vacuum sealer tends to be smaller and more compact than a chamber vacuum sealer. It also tends to be more affordable, which makes it a good option for home use and for small items for packaging. 

What Are the Best Applications?

Suction vacuum sealers work well with solid or frozen foods, such as dried goods, leftovers, coffee grounds, or meat. 

When factoring in the higher cost of mesh vacuum sealing bags, the suction vacuum sealer works better with smaller quantities on a relatively infrequent basis, which may be more typical in a home environment rather than commercial use. 

How Do You Choose Between Chamber Vacuum Packers and Suction Sealers?

Making a decision between a chamber vacuum packer and a suction sealer comes down to what you’re planning to seal. If you’re going to need to seal liquid food products on a regular basis, such as marinades, then you’ll need to opt for a chamber vacuum packer. 

If liquid sealing is not the deciding factor, then cost-effectiveness will be worth considering. The initial cost of a chamber vacuum packer will likely be higher than the cost of a suction vacuum sealer. However, if you add in the long-term cost of the vacuum bags, then the chamber vacuum packer tends to be better value for money as it doesn’t require the more expensive, mesh vacuum sealing bags.  

Explore Our Range of Quality Vacuum Packers

At First Food Machinery, we have decades of experience serving the food trade and a wide range of quality vacuum packers. If you’re interested in exploring the vacuum packer options available to you, then get in touch with our experienced and friendly team to discuss your requirements.