Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer Review
Straight to the Point
The Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer was easy to use and produced decent results; vacuum-sealed pork loin and salmon cooked perfectly via sous vide, with no broken seals. However, it is a somewhat bulky machine, and moist items often had small air pockets after vacuum-sealing.
After receiving a reader’s comment saying that the Anova Chamber Sealer does have a gentle suction option, we reached out to Anova to confirm. Per the company’s representative, “Regarding the gentle function, for both our normal and strong settings, by holding down the vacuum selector button, it’ll display up and down arrows so you can adjust how long that setting runs; by selecting a lower number it’ll run the pump less and thus be gentler.”
We love sous vide cooking—it allows you to set and forget whatever you’re making and still be guaranteed perfectly-cooked results. And a good vacuum sealer is integral to this process; if the seal isn’t tight, water can get inside and ruin dinner. Vacuum sealers are also great for food storage since they remove the air from the bag, keeping food fresher for longer. This makes them a good option for freezing foods, like ground meat, since it helps prevent freezer burn.
While we have winning picks for both sous vide machines and vacuum sealers, we were intrigued by a new chamber-style sealer offered by Anova (the maker of one of our winning vacuum sealer picks): the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer. To test it, we used the chamber sealer for more than a month, vacuum-sealing pork loins and salmon for sous vide, and using it to vacuum-seal Chex cereal, ground turkey, and potatoes cut into fries. We also tested one of the machine’s special functions, using it to make quick dill pickles and daikon kimchi.
- Pork Loin Test: We used the machine to vacuum seal a lightly seasoned pork loin, which we then cooked sous vide per these instructions.
- Stuffed Pork Loin Test: We sealed stuffed pork loin to see if the bag could contain something messier during sealing without leaking into the chamber.
- Chex Cereal Test: We sealed two cups of Chex in a bag using the normal setting and normal seal, then we sealed another two cups of Chex using the stronger setting and stronger seal. This was to examine how the machine handled vacuum sealing delicate items.
- Ground Turkey Test: We used the chamber to seal one pound of ground turkey, which we then froze for two weeks to see if any ice crystals formed.
- Salmon Test: We vacuum-sealed a portioned filet of salmon, noting any gaps in the seal.
- French Fry Test: We sealed two cups of potatoes cut into french fries and froze them to see if ice crystals formed.
- Quick Compressed Pickle Test: We used the compress feature to make quick dill pickles in a jar and daikon kimchi in a bag.
- Usability Tests: We noted how easy the machine was to use—trying various sealing settings—and wipe clean. We also tried to use a plastic bag in the machine, to see if you could get away with not using proprietary sealing bags.
What is a Chamber Vacuum Sealer, and How is It Different From a Standard Vacuum Sealer?
Chamber sealers are often quite large and only used in industrial applications; they can also cost upwards of $1000. The Anova Precision Chamber Sealer is designed for the home cook to be a more bite-size and affordable offering, coming in around eight inches tall, 13.5 inches long, and 10.25 inches wide, and costing $350.
A chamber sealer works a bit differently than a standard vacuum sealer, which simply sucks the air out and seals the bag. Instead, the chamber relies on pressure; the container is pressurized (and the bag is concurrently sealed by the heated sealing bar), which removes all the air inside the chamber. Then, the pressure is released, collapsing the bag around the food. This pressurization also acts as a tool to force liquids into whatever you’re sealing. For example, the Anova Precision Chamber Sealer offers a compression/pickle function, which raises the pressure in the chamber, forcing the pickling liquid into your produce.
What We Learned
It Was Easy to Use (and the Added Features Were Fun)
The chamber sealer was easy and intuitive to use. Just plug it in, press the power switch, and use the touchscreen display panel to adjust your vacuum and seal settings (the machine offers strong seal and strong vacuum, and normal seal and normal vacuum options). It also does more than just vacuum-sealing; there are some fun functions for kitchen experimentation: infuse/extract, compress/pickle, and dry/cool. We used the compress/pickle feature to make a half-pint jar of quick dill pickle chips, as well as a bag of kimchi daikon, which both turned out quite tasty and only took three rounds of compressing to finish (which took mere minutes). It was also cool to see the pickles get stained with the pickling liquid as the liquid was forced into them. Anova offers other fun recipes using these functions, including quick gin, vanilla extract, chili oil, and more—so you can get creative.
The Vacuum-Sealing Ability Was Good, but Moist Foods Had Small Air Pockets
While the Chex mix and French fries were sealed pretty tight without any air pockets, we found that meats fared differently. Both pork loins (lightly seasoned and stuffed), as well as the salmon filets, had some small air pockets in places where the protein met the plastic, and while it didn’t affect sous vide cooking, it wasn’t exactly the air-tight seal we expected. We reached out to Anova about this, and the rep told us that “the lid may not be sealing properly. The easiest thing to try is to push down on the back right corner of the lid when you start a cycle. Typically that addresses it. There’s some built-in play in the lid—part of the nature of building a product that can withstand such high vacuum pressure. Sometimes when shutting it, it just so happens that the back right corner hinge will bind.” We gave this advice a try when sealing some bone-in chicken breasts, and it seemed to help at least a little bit, though we still did find some small air pockets. We also noticed a funny thing when we sealed ground turkey for storing in the freezer: the meat juice (sorry) was extruded out of the ground meat. And, once frozen, the fluids formed ice crystals around the meat.
Delicate Foods Broke
While we don’t think people will necessarily use the chamber sealer to vacuum seal delicate cereal, we wanted to test out how gentle the process was by sealing a bag with two cups of Chex. While the air was completely sucked out of the bag and the seal was airtight, the Chex did crack once the pressure was released and the air was forced out. This happened on both settings (normal and strong), and for 30 minutes after sealing we still heard crackles and pops coming from the bags.
We later found out that the Anova does have the option to adjust the vacuum suction, creating a slightly more gentle vacuuming process. To do this, hold down the vacuum selector button until it displays up and down arrows. You can use these arrows to adjust how long the setting runs, and by lowering the time, it will run the pump less and be a bit more gentle.
The Machine Took up a Lot of Counter Space, but the Interior Was Rather Small
We found the chamber to be a little bit large whether on the counter or in storage—it’s eight inches tall, 13.5 inches long, and 10.25 inches wide, about the size of a toaster. However, the interior was actually pretty small; you might struggle to fit, say, a large broken-down chicken inside it, since it’s a mere four inches deep.
Using Vacuum Sealer-Specific Bags Produced the Best Results
When we tried to use a standard plastic storage bag to seal a piece of pork loin, we found that the machine was unable to seal the edge well. To be fair, Anova does say that while you can use a non-vacuum sealer-specific bag in the machine, it won’t seal the bag, so we recommend using their proprietary vacuum sealer bags, since these performed the best in our tests. The chamber sealer comes with 20 bags to get you started.
The Pros: Overall, the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer did a decent job extruding air and sealing; we had no issues cooking the resulting sealed, bagged food with an immersion circulator and only noticed small pockets of air with moist foods, such as pork loin and salmon. It also did a great job of sealing smaller foods like Chex and uncooked french fries—no air pockets remained (though it did crush the cereal). We also thought the extra functions, like compress/pickle, offered some fun options for kitchen experimentation.
The Cons: The biggest cons for us were size and price: since it’s cube-shaped, the machine takes quite a bit of countertop (and storage) space while simultaneously being rather small inside. We also don’t think its performance was much better than our winning standard vacuum sealer from Anova, which is $200 less. However, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer and you’re excited about the added features (perhaps you consider yourself an at-home molecular gastronomist of sorts), and if you have the counter and storage space, it could be a fun addition to your kitchen gadget collection.
Price at time of publish: $350.
- Weight: 23 lbs
- Voltage: 120 Volts
- Wattage: 1800 Watts
- Exterior dimensions: 8 x 13.5 x 10.25 inches
- Vacuum seal settings: Normal, strong
- Other functions: Infuse/extract, compress/pickle, and dry/cool
- Care: Wipe down with a damp cloth, then dry
- Warranty: 2-year limited
Did the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer do a good job?
We found that the chamber vacuum sealer sealed most items well, but struggled to remove air pockets entirely when sealing meats and moist proteins. It also didn’t have any settings for delicate foods, like cereal.
How do I clean the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer?
The best way to clean the interior and exterior of the chamber vacuum sealer is to wipe it down with non-abrasive cleaning products. Just be careful to avoid getting any product on the sealing bar, and ensure that everything is properly dried.
Is the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer worth it?
If you’re looking for a vacuum sealer that has added features (like pickling, compressing, drying, and more), does a decent job sealing, and don’t mind spending a bit more money, then the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer might be worth buying. However, we did notice that it left small air pockets when vacuum-sealing meats, and it does take up quite a bit of storage and counter space.
Does the Anova Precision Chamber Vacuum Sealer have different vacuum-seal options?
Yes, the chamber sealer has a strong seal, strong vacuum, and normal seal and normal vacuum options. It also offers a few added functions, including infuse/extract, compress/pickle, and dry/cool. However, it does not offer Wet and Dry modes or gentle modes, which the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer Pro does.