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CALOTO Vacuum Sealer AP-12X In-depth Review

The CALOTO AP-12X is favored by many consumers for its affordability and compact design that saves countertop space. However, our testing showed that its low price is reflected in its subpar sealing performance.

By , , and ·Published
Tested Using Methodology v1.0
The hinges of the CALOTO AP-12X are quite sturdy and don’t creak when we lift or lower the lid.

Overall Verdict

We don’t consider the CALOTO AP-12X to be a good buy. Whether you took note of this sealer for its affordable price or its compact form factor, there are models on the market that can check both of these boxes while having better performance. Worse, the warranty information for this sealer is very unclear.

Nevertheless, the CALOTO AP-12X still has some highlights. It’s exceptionally quiet and includes safety features like a high-visibility sticker on the heating bar, a detail missing in many higher-priced models.

Things We Like

  • Relatively affordable
  • Quiet operation (76.1 dBA)
  • Very compact form factor (3.2 inches in width)
  • Excellent safety features

Things We Don’t Like

  • Very mediocre performance
  • Dim and hard-to-view indicator lights
  • The lid is stiff and difficult to lock with one hand
  • Warranty details are very vague

Our team picked up a CALOTO AP-12X unit for review on account of it being one of the more popular sealers out there. However, it has a number of troubling red flags. One of the most troubling was how it completely lacked warranty information, which was reported by past customers and confirmed by our team. As such, you’d take on quite some risks by getting this product.

However, if you did decide to take the plunge, what would you get for your money? Here's what we discovered after a week of testing the CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer in our lab.

Where to Buy

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Compared to Other Vacuum Sealers


Analysis and Test Results

4.7 Performance

The CALOTO AP-12X's performance is quite disappointing. In our tests with both dry and moist foods, this sealer had trouble removing air from the bags, especially with moist items. Although it works reasonably fast, it can't make up for the weak suction. Since the AP-12X leaves more air in the bags, it could affect how well your food stays fresh.

Additionally, after looking at many customer reviews, it's clear to us that this unit's inconsistent suction is a common issue, which is quite alarming.

4.9 Dry Food Test

The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer during its first dry food test session where we used it to vacuum-pack dry rice grains. It achieved a peak suction of 40 kPA during a 23-second working cycle.
The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer during its first dry food test session where we used it to vacuum-pack dry rice grains. It achieved a peak suction of 40 kPA during a 23-second working cycle.
The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer reached a higher peak suction in the second test, with our vacuum gauge recording a 43 kPA peak during a 21-second working cycle.

Our vacuum gauge recorded a suction of 18 kPA and 44 kPA respectively across two dry food test sessions. Both are below-average compared to most vacuum sealers on the market, which typically go way above 45 kPA (as an example, the Mueller MV-1100, which is in the same price range as the AP-12X, has peak suctions of 46 and 47 kPA across two similar test sessions.)

Fortunately, the AP-12X performs admirably when it comes to working speed. It only took 23 and 21 seconds, respectively, to complete each working cycle in our two test sessions. While these quick times did improve the AP-12X's overall score somewhat, it still falls short of receiving a passing grade in this category.

4.5 Moist Food Test

The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer during the first moist food test session where we used it to vacuum-pack fresh mango slices. It hit a peak suction of 18 kPA during a 33-second working cycle.
The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer during the first moist food test session where we used it to vacuum-pack fresh mango slices. It hit a peak suction of 18 kPA during a 33-second working cycle.
The CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer is seen here vacuum-packing fresh mango slices for the second moist food test. It hit a peak suction of 20 kPA during a 33-second working cycle.

After a disappointing dry food test, we didn't have high hopes for the AP-12X in the moist food test, and our expectations were unfortunately met. It recorded a lackluster peak suction of only 11 kPA in the first test and an even weaker 10 kPA in the second test. This level of suction is barely effective, as there were still visible air pockets inside the bags.

Adding to the disappointment, the AP-12X took an excessively long time to complete its working cycles. In the first test, it took a lengthy 49 seconds, and the second session was only marginally quicker at 47 seconds.

In summary, if you're specifically looking for a vacuum sealer to handle marinades or moist foods, there are better options available on the market that can do a far superior job. Consider alternatives like the Nutrichef PKVS18BK or even the Mueller MV-1100, which falls within the same price range as the AP-12X.

6.1 Design

One of the standout features of the CALOTO AP-12X is its compact size. It won’t take up much counter space at all. The sealer is lightweight, as well, being made mostly from plastic (though in return, the flimsy plastic makes it far less sturdy.) The control panel is user-friendly despite looking a bit cheap, and the button labels aren’t very clear. Closing the lid requires even and firm pressure on both sides of the lid simultaneously, which can be inconvenient for one-handed use.

In the Box

The content of the CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer’s shipping box. It includes a detachable power cord, air hose and adapter, sheets of pre-cut plastic bags, and an instruction manual.

The CALOTO AP-12X doesn’t come with much in the box. Besides the sealer itself, you’ll get:

  • Detachable power cord
  • Sheets of plastic bags
  • Air hose and adapter
  • User manual

Dimensions

The dimensions oft he CALOTO AP-12X. Its length is 14.9 inches, its width is 3.2 inches, and its height is 2.1 inches.
Weight
2.2 lbs (1.0 kg)
Length
14.9" (37.8 cm)
Width
3.2" (8.1 cm)
Height
2.1" (5.3 cm)

The CALOTO AP-12X is exceptionally lightweight at 2.2 pounds, similar to other compact vacuum sealers like the Megawise VS6621 and the Inkbird Plus INK-VS01. Our reviewers also like its compact design, which definitely won’t clutter the countertop.

7.0 Build Quality

The build quality of the CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer is fairly decent, though its lightness and full-plastic detailing can make it seem slightly cheap.
The build quality of the CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer is fairly decent, though its lightness and full-plastic detailing can make it seem slightly cheap.
The CALOTO AP-12X sealer comes with a removable power cord for easier storage.
Anti-slip feet at the bottom of the CALOTO AP-12X vacuum sealer.
In the back, you’ll find the port for the modular power cord.

The CALOTO AP-12X has a decent build quality. We didn't find any major issues in its design or how it's put together. The top lid, even though it's made of plastic, has a nice textured surface. In the middle of the lid, there's a glossy centerpiece that adds a bit of style to the sealer (this shiny part is there for looks and isn't a button).

But because they used lightweight plastic to make it lighter, the sealer can seem a bit flimsy, especially when you pick it up and feel just how light it is. As such, unlike more expensive models like the Anova Precision Pro or the Nesco VS-12, the CALOTO AP-12X might not be built durably enough to survive a fall from your countertop unscathed.

Instead of building a cord grommet or a cord storage compartment, the CALOTO AP-12X comes with a detachable power cord. This makes stowing away the sealer when it’s not in use a lot more convenient.

Last but not least, as expected, there are four anti-slip feet. They work well enough and provide enough traction that the sealer doesn’t slip and slide around on a wet countertop.

5.0 Control Panel

The control panel has four buttons with embossed labels. They’re somewhat hard to read because the embossings blend quite well into the black rubber buttons.
Button Type
Physical
Number of Buttons
4
Number of Modes
2

The control panel has four sturdy rubber buttons, each with raised labels. But because these labels blend seamlessly with the black buttons, it can be a bit tricky to read them, especially in dim lighting.

Now, let's talk about the AP-12X sealer. It offers two food modes, "Dry" and "Wet," but there's a unique feature. Unlike most models, it doesn't have straightforward "Dry" or "Wet" buttons. Instead, you use the "Temp" button to choose a number from 1 to 5 on the control panel. Numbers 1 to 3 mean you're in "Dry" mode, while numbers 4 to 5 indicate "Wet" mode. These numbers likely control the heat levels for the sealing bar, which is what seals the plastic bag after removing all the air. The "Wet" mode uses higher temperatures for a stronger seal, which works great for wet foods.

Interestingly, the user manual doesn't mention if these temperature settings affect the suction power, but our tests showed that they don't.

In addition to the "Temp" button for food modes, you'll find other handy buttons: "Seal" for sealing the bag without vacuuming, "Vac" for vacuuming without sealing, and "Vac Seal" for a complete cycle that vacuums and seals the bag.

8.0 Lid

The hinges of the CALOTO AP-12X are quite sturdy and don’t creak when we lift or lower the lid.
The hinges of the CALOTO AP-12X are quite sturdy and don’t creak when we lift or lower the lid.
To unlock the lid after it's locked, simply press the buttons on both sides of the sealer, and this will release the latches.
Lid Lock
Latch lock

The lid stands out as one of the notable features of this model. It opens smoothly, and the hinges are sturdy enough to prevent any wobbling when you open or close it forcefully from side to side. However, similar to most sealers in this price range, the CALOTO AP-12X has latch locks that need you to press down on the lid to secure it shut.

Our reviewers observed that the lid is somewhat stiff and requires even pressure on both sides to close properly. This might pose a challenge if you plan to operate the sealer with just one hand, as it can be quite tricky to close the lid while also keeping the bag aligned with the vacuum channel.

0.0 Extra Features

Bag Cutter
No
Bag Holder
No
Bag Hooks
No
Removable Drip Tray
No

The BonsenKitchen VS2100 doesn’t come with any extra features of note.

7.5 Usability

The CALOTO AP-12X is fairly user-friendly with an easy-to-use control panel, although the lid can be slightly tricky. Safety features include a prominent orange strip on the hot heating bar, and noise levels are reasonable. However, the dim control panel indicators and the lack of an audible signal for cycle completion can be inconvenient.

8.0 Ease of Use

You need to press down on the lid with two hands for the lid to click close properly. One-handed operation is very difficult.

Our only concern with the AP-12X is its lid, which requires two-handed operation to securely close. This can be challenging for one-handed use, especially when trying to align the plastic bag with the vacuum channel. Aside from this minor issue, the sealer is generally straightforward to operate, leaving little else to discuss in this section.

10 Safety & Noise

During a dry food test session, our noise level meter recorded the peak loudness of the motor to be around 74.8 dBA.
Maximum Noise Level
74.8 dBA

CALOTO does a pretty decent job at giving the sealer a safe-to-use design with a strip of high-vis sticker across the heating bar to caution the user from touching it. However, we’d appreciate a proper warning sticker on the inside of the sealer to further instruct new users on what to avoid doing.

Noise-wise, the AP-12X is fairly quiet with a peak loudness of just 74.8 dBA. It’s not whisper-quiet, but the noise is still manageable.

3.0 Indicator Lights and Chime

The indicator lights for the CALOTO AP-12X are small and aren’t bright. It’s very hard to monitor the sealer’s progress, especially under harsh lighting conditions.
Number of Indicators
8
Progress Bar
No
Chime
No

The indicator lights on the CALOTO AP-12X have terrible visibility. Aside from being not very bright, they’re set deep within the frame. This means that you need to look directly down on the control panel to see which light is on.

This, along with the fact that the sealer doesn't have a progress bar or a chime, can make it quite frustrating to use.

Behind the review

Headshot of Matthew Lee
Matthew LeeReviewer

Matthew Lee is a writer and editor for HealthyKitchen101. With over 8 years working for various outlets and agencies, specializing in tech review and other subjects of note, such as current affairs.

Headshot of Lap Vo
Lap VoTest Lead

Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.

Headshot of Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen NtkVisual Specialist

Nguyen Ntk is a graphic designer, photographer, and videographer whose philosophy centers around respecting and celebrating the beauty of reality. Through his lenses, Nguyen strives to capture the true essence of objects and events, showcasing and highlighting authentic features without distortion or exaggeration.