I’ve used all 3 of Avid Armors vacuum sealers. The a3100 model (least expensive) is perfect for the average home cook. It’s got all the bells and whistles you need, and a great price. The a100 model was probably my favorite sealer I’ve ever had the pleasure to use (until they released this chamber sealer). It was high quality, had a nice wide seal, and could perform consecutive seals time after time (I’ve done as many as 75 bags in a row without ever waiting for it to cool).
That brings me to this bad boy, the USV32 Chamber Vacuum Sealer:
Differences between chamber sealers (USV32) and traditional sealers (a100)- Traditional vacuum sealers work by sucking the air out of the bag, and then sealing it to prevent air from getting back in. Chamber sealers create a vacuum inside the bag, but also the chamber around it so there is no suction created in the bag itself (the pressure inside the bag, and in the surrounding chamber is the same), it then seals the bag and allows the chamber to re-pressurize. Since the pressure inside the bag was lower, and it’s sealed now it collapses around the food inside creating a perfectly sealed package.
There are pros and cons of each type. The biggest pro of a traditional sealer is they are usually smaller, and the size of the item being sealed is only limited by the bag. This means it’s great for roasts or long items like tomohawk ribeyes. Traditional sealers struggle with things like liquid, because they pull air out of the bag, they tend to pull juices along with it. This makes it hard to do wet foods such as fish, but also hard to get all the air out of liquids like soups etc.
The chamber sealer surpasses traditional sealers in almost every other way. They excel at wet foods and liquids because the air is removed from the bag and the chamber, liquids stay put. They also create a much tighter vacuum on odd shaped items. The bags are significant less expensive (they don’t have to use a textured side to slow down liquids, so are less costly to produce). They also allow for a marinate cycle, which infused meat or whatever else you’re marinating by cycling through vacuum stages without sealing. This drives the marinade into your food without having to let it sit for hours in the fridge. This also allows you to infuse things like fruit, cold pickle items, or infuse liquors like lemoncello (so good).
This USV32 chamber sealer was extremely high quality. It has to weigh close to, or more than 25 pounds. The lid is a very nice thick glass and the sides are full stainless steel. The front has very nice soft touch buttons and the entire thing just FEELS premium. It’s a nice change of pace after handling food saver sealers...
I’ve run almost 100 bags through this machine in the time I’ve had it, and haven’t had a single bad seal, or failed vacuum. The seal bar creates a DOUBLE seal, so even if one fails or you have a piece of food stuck in it you’ve got backup. They also go the extra mile and send a spare seal bar- yes you can actually REPLACE parts without having to buy a new machine, unlike many popular brands.
I’ve had questions over the time that I’ve had my avid armor products and contacted customer service via email. They are always very prompt, polite and super knowledgeable. In addition to the extremely high quality of their products, their CS team is another big plus.
Bottom Line: if you use a lot of bags, and seal liquids or wet foods often... this is the machine for you. If you like science (if you’ve never seen water “boil” at room temp go watch a video of someone sealing water in a chamber sealer) and impressing your friends at a dinner party... this is the machine for you! You likely will make up the difference in cost between a traditional sealer in the cost of bags, and gain all the additional features like marinade mode and ability to seal wet and liquid items. If you’re a more casual user, or don’t seal liquids then take a look at the Avid Armor a100, it’s the best traditional style vacuum sealer out there. Either way you’re going to end up with a vacuum sealer that will last longer and perform better than anything else you’ve used.