The Nesco VS-12 is undoubtedly one of the best vacuum sealers you can find for your money. Not only does it deliver strong sealing performance, but it also boasts a robust build and a range of built-in features, including a convenient internal bag holding compartment and an integrated cutter. Despite its control panel looking somewhat complex with numerous functions and buttons, it's surprisingly user-friendly.
These factors are precisely why the Nesco VS-12 has secured the number one spot on our list of the best vacuum sealers!
Things We Like
- Strong performance in both dry and moist food tests
- Well-built design
- Intuitive control panel with an LCD screen for progress tracking
- Comes with a bag roll compartment and bag cutter
Things We Don’t Like
- Doesn’t come with a chime
At a brief glance, the elaborate control panel and the hefty size of the Nesco VS-12 alone are already indicative of its potential. So when we put it to the test in the lab, we weren’t very surprised when the Nesco VS-12 excelled in virtually all categories, from performance to design and usability.
For a comprehensive overview, feel free to explore our complete test report in this article!
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Compared to Other Vacuum Sealers
The Nesco VS-12 achieved one of the highest performance ratings in our vacuum sealer tests. It consistently scored no lower than 8.0 in both dry and moist tests. The result is an impressive overall performance score of 8.5/10.
8.8 Dry Food Test
As of November 2023, there’s no other vacuum sealer in our database able to achieve higher suction than the Nesco VS-12 in the dry food test. Our vacuum gauge recorded a peak suction between 78 to 80 kPA through two separate tests. Working time is relatively long, lasting from 27 to 29 seconds from session-to-session, but the high performance of the sealer means you’ll always get tightly-packed food every single time.
8.0 Moist Food Test
Even when set to the "Gentle" suction mode, the Nesco VS-12 consistently outperformed the majority of other models we've evaluated in our moist food test. During two separate test sessions, each lasting 38 and 36 seconds respectively, the VS-12 achieved peak suctions of 52 and 70 kPA.
Remarkably, even with the significantly stronger suction in the second test, the fresh mango slices we used were not crushed to the point where their juice was squeezed out. Needless to say, the sealer was able to extract almost all air from the bags.
The Nesco VS-12 stands out thanks to its sturdy design, which earned it high praise from our reviewers. Every other aspect, from the control panel to the lid and the included extras like the cutter and plastic bag roll holder, is exceptionally well-crafted and has received top marks from our reviewers. As a result, the unit achieved an impressive score of 9.0/10 in this category.
In the Box
The Nesco VS-12 food vacuum sealer comes with the following
- Rolls of pre-cut plastic bags
- Instruction manual and warranty cards
The Nesco VS-12 sets itself apart from other models in our database due to its size and weight. While this gives it a solid and durable feel, it may pose challenges in terms of storage, especially if you prefer to stow it away when not in use. The Nesco VS-12 is built more to become a permanent fixture on your countertop.
10 Build Quality
The Nesco VS-12 boasts outstanding build quality, earning a perfect score in this assessment from our reviewers. Its housing is mostly crafted from lightweight black plastic, but the sealer featured metallic plating on the top lid and front section—areas most susceptible to impacts and physical damage. This design choice gives us quite a lot of confidence in the Nesco VS-12's long-term durability.
Inside, the sealer is built from sturdy plastic. Near the front is the heat bar, responsible for sealing the bags. It performs well and has a high-visibility orange sticker strung across as a safety precaution.
10 Control Panel
The control panel on the Nesco VS-12 stands out as the most user-friendly and feature-packed among all the models we've tried. It's designed with simplicity in mind, featuring just six buttons and a small LED strip that you can use to track the sealer’s working progress.
When it comes to sealing your food, this machine gives you the flexibility you need. You can select the "Sealing" mode based on the type of food you're packaging, whether it's dry or moist. For an extra-strong seal, there's even a "Double" option that creates two sealing marks for added security.
For foods with different textures, you have the choice of "Normal" or "Gentle" pressure modes, ensuring that even delicate items are sealed with care.
To the right of the control panel, you have the power to decide how the sealer operates. You can opt for automatic vacuum-and-seal, making the process effortless, or you can choose to manually seal your items for more control.
Furthermore, if you have unique sealing needs, such as sealing through an accessory air hose or sealing with marinades, this machine has dedicated buttons to cater to those specific requirements. It's truly a versatile and user-friendly sealing solution for all your food storage needs.
The Nesco VS-12's lid is solid and easy to use. There's a handle at the front that you lift to unlock and open the lid, and when it's time to seal, simply bring the lid down and push it to lock it securely in place. This handle lock feature makes using the sealer one-handed a breeze.
We've tested the hinges thoroughly, and they're strong. The lid stays firmly in place and doesn't wobble even when shaken. You can trust the Nesco VS-12 for stable and reliable sealing.
9.0 Extra Features
The Nesco VS-12 has a roomy compartment inside for storing a roll of plastic bags. It's equipped with a built-in cutter for convenient bag cutting. Additionally, it includes a pair of bag hooks that simplify the process of inserting and aligning new plastic bags with the vacuum channel.
Despite its advanced control system, the Nesco VS-12 vacuum sealer remains user-friendly with clearly labeled buttons and an LED progress panel. Safety is not an issue with this unit, with warning stickers for hot spots, and its noise level matches competitors with even weaker performance. Bright indicator lights are visible in various lighting conditions.
9.5 Ease of Use
Our team noted the Nesco VS-12 for its user-friendliness despite having a fairly elaborate control panel. All the buttons are clearly labeled and intuitively indicate their functions. If you've used a vacuum sealer before, you won't need to look at the user guide and can use it immediately without any confusion. And if you're new to vacuum sealers, you'll quickly get the hang of it in just a few minutes.
The handle lock mechanism, in particular, makes it effortless to operate the sealer, even if you have one hand occupied.
Our only concern with the Nesco VS-12 is its tall frame, which can cause a filled plastic bag to hang down the front and be a bit challenging to align properly. Thankfully, the sealer includes bag hooks to help with alignment, although it still requires a bit of effort.
Because of these factors, our reviewers gave the Nesco VS-12 an outstanding score in this regard.
10 Safety & Noise
Safety is a top priority with the Nesco VS-12. The heating bar, which can get quite hot after a few cycles, is covered by a bright orange sticker for clear visibility, serving as a warning to users. Moreover, there's a "Hot Surface" label on the front of the machine for added caution.
In terms of noise, it registers at 83.4 dBA during the dry food test. While it's on the louder side compared to other models in our database, it's still within the normal range.
9.5 Indicator Lights and Chime
Excluding the LED screen used for tracking sealing progress, there are a total of nine indicator lights on the control panel of the Nesco VS-12. These lights are bright and remain clearly visible even in a studio with harsh lighting.
While the Nesco VS-12 doesn't have a traditional audible chime, it does produce a subtle hissing sound once the sealing process is finished, which can serve as a charming alternative "chime."
Behind the review
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.
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.
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.