The FoodSaver

The Food Saver, and other appliances like it, allow you to vacuum seal food in a plastic bag. While the bags are somewhat expensive, any Food Saver owner will tell you that the cost is more than made up by the food it saves. Leftovers like lasagna and casserole will no longer become freezer burned, even if left in the freezer indefinitely. If you have dry goods that you are not intending to use anytime soon, such as baking cocoa, spices, or raisins, then you can seal them in a Food Saver bag and keep them in a cupboard.

For shoppers who like to buy in bulk, a Food Saver is a must. It allows you to buy foods that come in a large package and then repackage them yourself so that they will keep well. This idea works with anything from meat and poultry to dry goods like rice and flour. Bulk purchases are only a good value if you can use and enjoy your entire purchase. The Food Saver makes that possible.

Because Food Saver bags are both airtight and watertight, they provide an excellent way to pack snacks like granola, candy, or jerky to take on outdoor excursions. Even if your backpack gets drenched, your food will be perfectly dry and fresh.

The Food Saver can cost over $200, and replacement bags can cost roughly $0.50/foot. However, there are several other vacuum sealers on the market.

The Oliso FF-500 Frisper Freshkeeper Vacuum Sealer with Reusable Bags retails around $80. Reusable bags cost a little over a dollar each, but can be washed and reused many times. According to reviews on Amazon.com, some users found this device difficult to operate, but overall, most customers are happy with their purchase. For budget-minded consumers who don't mind washing bags, the Oliso is a frugal choice in food saving technology.

Priced at around $70, the Rival VS107 Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Food Sealer is another popular choice. This machine can use Food Saver brand bags, or you can buy the Rival brand, which are slightly less expensive. These bags are not resealable. Most Amazon.com users were happy with their purchase of the Rival Seal-a-Meal.

Another low-cost choice is the Deni 1830S Freshlock Turbo II Vacuum Sealer, which you can get for around $40. Deni brand bags are slightly less expensive than their competitors. However, the vacuum pump on this device is simply not as powerful as that on the Food Saver and Rival models. It will not remove as much air from the bags, which means it will not preserve food as well. If you only plan to store food a short period of time, this may not be a problem. However, for truly extending shelf life and preventing freezer burn, it is better to pay up for a more efficient model.

For those on a very limited budget, the Reynolds Handi-Vac, which retails for under $20, is a possibility. The bags for the Handi-Vac are resealable and are comparable in price to the non-resealable bags for the Food Saver. Amazon users rated the product an average of 3.5 stars. Do keep in mind that this product in not intended to do everything that the Food Saver and its competitors do.

Storage of moist foods is difficult with the Handi-Vac, and bags will not keep their seal indefinitely. This device is not the best choice for long-term storage. Another concern with the Handi-Vac is the fact that it uses batteries which will need to be periodically replaced.