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Buying Chest Freezers Made Simple

Chest Freezer

While buying in bulk is the cheapest way to shop for food, storing it all can sometimes be a problem.  Most fridge freezer combinations just don’t have enough freezer space to allow you to keep a large number of items, or ones that happen to be bigger in size.  A chest freezer is more often than not the best solution.

What Is A Chest Freezer?

A chest freezer is a stand alone unit that functions only as freezer.  As opposed to the freezer section of your refrigerator which opens outwards these open from upwards like a chest. They come in various sizes and capacities to fit your space and food storage requirements.

Advantages Of Using A Chest Freezer    

Buy in Bulk And Save $$$

With the best deals today available when you buy in bulk you really need to have the storage space to benefit from doing so.  And chest freezers can store a lot of food which can add up to serious savings over time, particularly for people with quite a few members in their family.  But, they can also work just as well for students and people living alone helping them get in on the savings as well.

Inexpensive For What They Provide

For the size and storage capacity and you get for your money, chest freezers are a relatively inexpensive investment that will help you to save more money on food.

Chest Freezer

Save Time

Savings can be measured in more than cash.  Time is the one thing we all have a limited amount of and not having to shop on a weekly basis or run out of the house to purchase ingredients at the last minute will save you a ton of it.  Add in the time and stress wasted sitting in traffic, getting to the supermarket itself, and actually finding parking, and it becomes crystal clear why being able to buy large quantities at a time is a smarter idea.  For people who live far away from where they shopping buying in bulk lets them save on gasoline as well since they won’t have to go nearly as often.

Extra Convenient

Since they are much bigger than standard fridge freezer boxes or upright freezers they are also more convenient.  You won’t have worry about not being able to fit very large items like meats or oddly shaped ones inside. Having no vertical shelving units lets you organize your foods much more easily and you can place them right on top of one another to save space. There are also many sizes too choose from which let even people who live in small spaces enjoy big savings or those who have the space for a larger freezer to save even more. And of course there are a wide array helpful features and options too.

Chest Freezer

 

Choosing The Best Chest Freezer

Considering a few things first will help to make the process of choosing the best chest freezer for your needs easy.  Such as:

Size And Capacity

How much food you will be using your freezer to store is probably the most important consideration of all since this will be the main function of your appliance and help you to determine which size to choose.  The more food you will be keeping the larger the freezer you will need.

Where you will be keeping the unit may influence the size you choose as well.  Someone who will be keeping their chest freezer in an attached garage for example will most likely be able to purchase a larger unit than someone living in a dorm or studio apartment.  So be aware of any space restraints you may have.

Chest Freezer

Be sure to measure your space before you buy so you know just how much room you have to work with.  Your chest freezer will also need to be placed a few inches away from the wall on all sides for the best air clearance so take that into consideration as well. And remember because the lid opens upwards, it would be a smart idea to know the height of the unit you are considering plus the height of the lid when fully opened, if you do have any overhead space restrictions.

So What Are Common Chest Freezer Sizes?

These appliances can really range in size.   Their size is determined by how many cubic feet of storage they can hold. Typically that means anywhere from about 3.5 up to 24 cubic feet at the largest.  Small narrow chest freezers generally are from 3.5 to 6 cubic feet.  They are ideal for singles, college students, or anyone living in an apartment or smaller space. A small chest freezer could also work for two people if they don’t need too much storage and is a great way to keep extra items that are too big to fit in the fridge freezer.   On average expect to pay somewhere around $250 for one of these.

Chest Freezer

Medium chest freezers run from about 7 to 14 cubic feet and are considered big enough to serve two or three people. However they could be great for larger families also, if they are buying in bulk and restocking every month or so.  While these are bigger many are still light enough to move around without a hassle.  Medium size units cost about $400.

Large chest freezers range from 15 to 24 cubic feet and will be able to store everything a family of four to a family of six needs.  For outdoorsmen who are storing a large quantity of meat and fish they are a must-have item.  Since chest freezer prices are relative to their size you’ll have to pay more for one, somewhere around $700 depending on the brand, features, etc.

Common Chest Freezer Features

Some consumers prefer their chest freezer to have certain features the more features you have the more the unit will usually cost.  Depending on what you are using it for and personal preferences certain features may or may not be important to you.  Having a lock for example will keep other family members from getting their hands on your favorite ice cream.  Chest freezer locks are also a smart idea for safety reasons if you have children, grandchildren, or will be having guests that do.

Chest Freezer

Of course a chest freezer basket for ice and other small lightweight items can be very helpful as can compartment dividers for easy organizing.  Some units particularly the larger ones, may offer a light inside to help you see the contents, which may be a nice extra if you are keeping it in a dimly lit room or looking for something very deep down.

Another feature which many consumers often like is a freezer alarm, also sometimes called a temperature alarm.  These are set to automatically trigger an audible alarm to let you know if the temperature in your freezer is above a certain amount of degrees which could mean food spoilage if not corrected.  These can also be bought separately if your unit does not come with one.

A “power on” indicator light will let you know just by taking a quick glance at your unit that it is on, without having to open it up and check.  Adjustable legs will help to keep it level on an uneven floor and can help with air circulation too.  Having casters (wheels) will help to move your freezer with minimal effort although many, but not all, chest freezers are fairly light in weight for their size. Some even have two adjustable legs while the other two are casters, it depends on the model.

Chest Freezer

Many consumers actually ask about frost free chest freezers after having owned a frost free refrigerator.  The frost free feature simply means that the unit will defrost itself.  Frost free chest freezers are more expensive, use more energy, and cause more freezer burn. For these reasons the   the vast majority of chest freezers are “manual” units which means they will eventually have be defrosted manually.  Defrosting is not a big deal and does not have to be done often. It simply means thawing the unit out, cleaning it, removing the excess water, and re-adding your food to be frozen.  Having a unit that has a plug and drain will make this process a snap.

Energy Consumption

Picking a freezer which uses less energy will add up to savings on your electric bill that can be quite substantial on a yearly basis.  Buying a cheap chest freezer that is expensive to run will cost you more over time.  Many of the best options are Energy Star certified which means they work voluntarily in conjunction with the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) and DOE ‘s (Department of Energy) energy efficiency program.  If they are certified they will have a yellow sticker telling you the estimated cost of their annual electricity usage. While this is a program in the United States since it has saved so much money and energy, many other countries use the same system, such as: Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union.  Homeowners who have a solar panel setup already, are interested in living “off the grid,” or live in very rural areas, may choose to use a solar powered chest freezer like the one shown below.

Chest Freezer

Color

Color can be an important factor for some people since they may be looking for their appliance to brighten up a dull room or match their fridge, microwave, or oven. However with these you won’t find a ton of bright and bold color options like with compact refrigerators or some other appliances.  Other than white, there is not too much to choose from.  Black chest freezers can be an attractive option that’s a little different from the norm.  If you have other black appliances or even a black kitchen sink or countertop choosing one can be a great idea.   Most stainless steel chest freezers units are actually made for commercial use.  However for those who love the look of silver or have stainless steel appliances, some manufacturers offer white freezers with a stainless steel silver top.  Or you may even be able to find a silver chest freezer; these usually have a body which is silver or platinum colored and a matching stainless steel top as well.

Should You Buy A New Or Used Chest Freezer?

Buying New

This depends on your budget and again personal preference.  When buying new you often have the advantage a warranty on both the freezer itself and the compressor.  Many times this can be for up to two years depending on the manufacturer.  Locally you can wait for a chest freezer sale or simply buy online.

Chest Freezer

Purchasing online is usually the best choice since you’ll have much more to choose from and the majority of the time better deals.  A bonus is that free shipping is usually standard for heavier items and appliances like freezers.  Most sites that sell them will also have chest freezer reviews from consumers who have already purchased the exact model so you can quickly find out its pro’s and con’s.  The majority of the time prices on the internet for new units are actually often actually cheaper than buying second hand privately.

Buying Used

If you do decide to buy a second hand chest freezer the best option is first to ask around. You never know you may get lucky and have friends or family members who own a barely used unit they’ll give you for a very fair price. Checking the local newspaper for a “chest freezer for sale,” advertisement is also a smart idea as is checking ads online.  A local restaurant that is going out of business might be an opportunity for a steal.

And of course homeowners who are moving many times will give larger appliances away for pennies on the dollar which could be mean phenomenal chest freezer deal particularly if they will be relocating far away or to a smaller place of living and can’t bring it with them.  However these may be rare opportunities and you may need to hire someone to both pick it up and deliver it to your home.

Chest Freezer

Checking that the freezer and all of its components are in good working order before purchasing a used unit, is a must.  Be sure to check for rust and leaks which could be a sign of problems to come or an already existing one.  Ask for any paperwork that came with freezer so you’ll know how old it really is, the exact model, and any other relevant information.  Don’t just go for any deal you find though, it has to be one which still fits in your space and has the capacity you need.  You may have to pass on some of the features and color you prefer as well, since finding a used chest freezer that fits your criteria exactly could be a challenge.

Best Chest Freezer Brands

Like with every appliance purchase it is always smart to purchase from a reputable and well-known manufacturer.  Luckily this is one type of appliance that has many excellent brands to choose from.  That’s because most of them also are top manufacturers of refrigerators, fridge freezers,  air conditioners, and even other appliance like washing machines.  Midea, GE, and Frigidaire chest freezers are all top rated and excellent quality.  Igloo, Haeir, and Danby chest freezers also make a fantastic buy.  And don’t overlook Kelvinator and Norfrost either.  For solar powered units Sundanzer is a winner.

Chest Freezer

Be sure to keep the above tips and information in mind when purchasing a chest freezer.  If you do, you’ll be sure to end up with a unit that fits your space, needs, and will save you cash.  And of course don’t forget to read the extra tips below to save more space, energy, money, and the flavor of your food!

Extra Tips

Organizing Your Chest Freezer Like A Pro

While organizing a chest freezer is much easier than with other types of freezers there are a few tricks many people use to do so.  While, none of these are a “must,” they may make your life easier.

 Bins For Order

A very simple yet helpful method of organizing is to use bins.  Stackable recycling bins to be exact, like the ones shown in the image below.  And if possible use ones that have handles for easy lifting.  These can really make finding items you need quickly a cinch, particularly ones which may be located on the bottom of the freezer. All you need to do is purchase a few bins that can easily fit in your freezer and separate your foods into types depending on what you’ve got.  For example you could use “poultry,” “red meat,” “fish” and “vegetables”.   Label each bin with one type.  Place each item into the appropriate bin, stack the bins inside your freezer and you’re done! Just make sure you leave a little space in-between the edge of your freezer walls and the baskets, and place heavier foods on the bottom such as meats.

Chest Freezer

 

Color Coded Containers

For keeping smaller items organized many people use plastic containers.  And instead of labeling they go with a simple color coded system. So meats could be red while seafood is pink, it’s up to you!   Of course you could also use containers in conjunction with bins.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Another easy way to go is to use an item many people wouldn’t think to use in a freezer. Reusable shopping bags can work too. And since they have long handles for carrying they are easy to pull out from even the deepest part of your chest freezer.  While they might not be as attractive as bins or containers, they are dirt cheap.

 Making Food Last Longer and Taste Better

A little pre-freezing preparation can often go a long way when trying to preserve your food for the longest amount of time possible. There are two tools that greatly increase both the shelf life of the items you are planning to freeze but also the taste, freshness, and texture.   A vacuum sealer lets you store your foods without any oxygen in the bag which can allow for many foods to be kept up to five times longer when frozen.  Since vacuum sealed foods are neatly packaged and less bulky they also save a lot of space in the freezer.  A blast freezer can also be used to blast freeze foods(freeze very quickly at very low temperatures) stopping bacteria in its tracks, and sealing in the flavor, natural juices, and allow it to be keep its nutritional value.  Using one or both of these before placing food in your chest cooler will make a huge difference.Chest Freezer

Use Less Energy

By adding a few used milk, juice, or water jugs filled with frozen water to your chest freezer you will help to keep your unit at a level temperature.  This will equal your appliance needing less energy to maintain that temperature. This can also help to keep the temperature cool inside your freezer if your lose electricity for an extended period of time. Freezers that are full of frozen items will also help to keep the temperature constant and require less energy to regulate.  Many people don’t realize that an empty chest freezer will use more electricity than a full one because of this.

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The Ultimate Vacuum Sealer Resource Guide

Vacuum Sealer

A vacuum sealer is a fantastic tool for preserving food.   While there are a few different kinds that accomplish this in a variety of ways, the basic principle is that they remove the oxygen from a plastic bag or pouch containing food, and then seal that food inside.  So why would you want to use one instead of more standard options? There are many good reasons to invest in one of the most useful appliances available for the kitchen and home today.

 Superior Food Storage

Removing the oxygen before sealing significantly inhibits the growth of bacteria and allows food to be kept for much longer. It also eliminates freezer burn which can severely affect the taste and quality of food.  In many cases using a vacuum sealer can allow foods to be stored for four to five times longer than their average shelf-life particularly with goods that are frozen afterwards. Vacuum sealing locks in freshness so well that many frozen meats can be eaten up to three years after sealing.  Using foil, zipper bags, or plastic containers can’t even come close to this. Being able to keep food longer also means less waste and more money saved.

Vacuum Sealer

 

They Pay For Themselves

Vacuum sealers often pay for themselves often within the first month or two through the savings they provide. The average family throws out a huge portion of the food it purchases each month due to spoilage and rot which can quickly add up to a lot of money over time.  Having an efficient way to store your food for longer gets you your money’s worth since you’ll have much more time to eat and enjoy it.

And with the best deals today often available when you buy in bulk especially with the popularity of places like Costco vacuum sealers help save even more cash for the consumer by letting you buy in large quantities and not have to worry about food going bad.  You’ll also be able to take advantage of sales and discounts when they come up by simply sealing your purchases for future use and you can keep leftovers for much longer.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Save Time

Unfortunately we all don’t have the time we need to spend with our families; however we still need to provide them with high quality foods.  And by keeping that food vacuum sealed not only  does that mean you’ll have portions of different types of foods and ingredients ready to go at any time for the family to cook or heat up but you can also marinate in advance, and cook many foods without having to take them out of their bag( sous vide style).  Many busy parents will cook meals and then vacuum seal them for the entire week in advance which can save hours of time.

Neat and Controlled Portions

Having portions which are already divided is not only convenient for faster preparation but means much less temptation for people who are dieting or trying to control their eating.  Because everything is neatly packaged and sealed it also makes organizing your fridge and freezer a cinch leaving you with no mess, spills, bad smells, or sticky residue.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Benefits For Everyone

Since they can be used with so many types of food just about everyone can benefit from owning a sealer.  Of course, they are a huge money saver for families but also let singles and couples without children enjoy the full savings of bulk buying and sales as well.  They are an outdoorsman’s dream since you can quickly and easily store huge portions of meat and fish to last you throughout the year or much longer. Because they will be neatly packaged it makes sharing wild game meat and fish with friends and family simple.

Anyone who cooks a lot or bakes can obviously not only seal what they make but their ingredients too. Vacuum sealing sugar, flour, spices, and herbs is very common.  If you are someone who is interested in sous vide cooking a vacuum sealer is a must have item. And for businesses owners in the food and restaurant industry commercial sealers are an appliance that ensures freshness for customers and clients.   An added bonus is that you can also use a vacuum sealer for many other items which aren’t food.

Vacuum Sealer

 

So What Can You Seal Other Than Food?

There are many items that can be sealed for protection against air and water or just need a protective barrier.  People who enjoy the outdoors and go boating, fishing, camping, or hunting often seal valuables inside a vacuum sealer bag along with anything that shouldn’t get wet like phones.   You can also seal items before going to the beach or pool to keep them dry and safe.

Jewelry and valuables which are easily scratched or tarnished can be stored away without having to worry about damage. Passports, important documents, along with photos can be protected when at home and on trips. Toiletries can also be vacuum sealed to prevent unwanted spills inside your luggage when on vacation or travelling.  You can even use your home vacuum sealer to make ice packs in a hurry by placing iced cubes inside a bag and sealing it; these can of course be refrozen and reused.

Of all the non-food uses for a vacuum sealer clothing is probably the most common.  This is because it reduces its bulk but also keeps it dry and protected.  This can help with storage, saving space when packing clothes for trips, and of course keeping clothing dry when in the outdoors.  They are also ideal for hunting outfits that will be worn in the field since they can be sealed and kept scent-free until it’s time to hit the woods.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Different Types Of Vacuum Sealers

There are actually a few different types of sealers to choose from, each with their own advantages and methods of vacuum sealing both for home and commercial use.  Fortunately for the average consumer, the huge rise in the popularity of these units particularly for home use has led manufacturers to come up with some very inexpensive and user friendly options.   But for the more serious home chef, someone who will do a large quantity of sealing, and commercial users there are  many excellent choices to help make preserving food easy too.

There are two main groups that all sealers belong: external or chamber sealers.  Most external choices are considered “home style” units while the chamber variety are thought of as more for commercial use. However smaller single chamber sealers can work wonders in the home kitchen as well.  Here’s what you can expect from each type:

Vacuum Sealer

 

 

External Vacuum Sealers

These are the most popular type of food vacuum sealers for the average kitchen since they are inexpensive and small in size. They are called “external,”sealers because the food does not have to be placed inside of the unit to be sealed.   External food vacuum sealers can be classified as either “handheld,” or “clamp type,” sealers.

-Handheld Vacuum Sealers

The smallest and least expensive are handheld units. These can be a few different shapes and have different grips. Some are made to fit in the palm of your hand and require you to press a button, while others have a pistol grip where you pull the trigger for it to work.  Handheld units function differently than other types by extracting air from a nozzle tip, and because of this require special bags that have a valve.

Vacuum Sealer

Small Is Space Saving

Unlike with other methods the bags do not require any heat sealing.  Because the unit itself only takes the oxygen out of the bag and doesn’t seal it, it allows it be small in size.  Most can be stored away in a utensil drawer or cabinet or placed on the counter where they will hardly take up any room at all.

How They Function

So how do they work?  It’s pretty simple: food is placed in the bag, which is either zip sealed by hand or using a simple zip tool that comes with the machine.   The nozzle of the sealer is placed on the valve of the bag and when you press the button or pull the trigger depending on the model you have the air is vacuumed out and you’re done.  Handheld vacuum sealers are typically cordless and use a rechargeable battery.

Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum Sealer Bags For Handheld Units

While some bags normally come with the unit, manufacturers make their own that you can purchase separately in different sizes and amounts to suite your needs.  Most brands offer bags which are reusable and dishwasher safe in addition to being able to be used in the microwave, kept in the fridge, frozen, or boiled in water.  Some brands such as Foodsaver, also sell plastic containers with a valve on top so you have the convenient option of using bags, containers, or both to store your food.

You’re In Control

Many people like using a handheld unit with delicate foods like berries or cereals because you manually control how much air is taken out.  It’s up to you if you want to take it all out or stop slightly before which prevents them from being damaged.  They are also ideal for using with foods that are used in the fridge or the freezer on a regular basis since the seal of their bag can be unzipped and does not have to be cut like they do when sealed with other types of machines. Cold cuts, cheese, coffee, and bread are all very popular foods used with handheld vacuum sealers.

Vacuum Sealer

 

-Clamp Type Vacuum Sealers

These are the most common type of food vacuum sealer seen in the home kitchen.  While they are bigger than hand held units these rectangular shaped sealers are still are quite compact which makes them ideal for countertop or table use.   They are also usually very lightweight and can accommodate larger food items.  This type also has a stronger vacuum pump yet can be very inexpensive.  Their price can range from around $50 for a basic model to up to about $500 depending on their features.

Vacuum Sealer

Manual  Vs. Automatic

Clamp type vacuum sealers don’t use a nozzle and valve instead the edge of the bag is placed in the mouth of the machine which then removes the air and heat seals the bag. There are two varieties: manual and automatic.  Manual operation units require you to place the open end of the bag in the machine and then close the clamp on the bag which is then vacuumed and sealed. With the automatic variety you simply place the open end of the bag in the mouth of the machine and a sensor starts and completes the process on its own with no clamping involved. Manual variety is normally less expensive.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Vacuum Sealer Bags For Clamp Type Models

With both types you have the option of using two different kinds of bags.  You can use zip style vacuum sealer bags or bags from a roll.  Zip style bags are typically sold in pint, quart, or gallon sizes and will fit most portions of food easily.  The other option is to use a roll of bags which comes can come in rolls of up to fifty feet and are usually  eight or eleven inches wide.  These are the best choice for very large or odd sized amounts of food.  Since you cut the bag yourself, you can customize to your needs, just be sure to cut so the bag is a few inches larger than the food itself ideally three to four.  Sometimes these can sometimes save you some cash too. However unlike zip style bags you will need to seal both ends.  Both types are reusable and can be used in the freezer, fridge, are boil-able, and microwave and dishwasher safe.

 

Vacuum Sealer

Features To Look For

Some units also come with very handy features. A removable drip tray is one which is very important as it will catch liquids which are drawn towards the machine during the vacuuming process which can prevent damage and extend the life of your unit.   Being removable lets you wash it keeping it clean as well.  Having storage for rolls of plastic bags inside of the machine and a cutter while not a necessity is also of course a space saver and convenient.

Vacuum Sealer

An unbelievably helpful attachment is a retractable hand held sealer which means you get two sealers in one. Like other handheld units these are commonly used for foods which are taken out of the fridge or freezer often and then returned, smaller items, and more delicate foods.  They use the same method for removing air as other handheld units they use zip seal bags that have a valve that connects to a nozzle through which the air is extracted.

Many Sunbeam vacuum sealers have this feature and this brand has its own incredibly popular Foodsaver line. For this reason they are also marketed as Foodsaver vacuum sealers.  The Foodsaver line also has come up with a ton of fantastic accessories to go with their retractable handheld sealers as well standard handheld units such as deli containers for lunch meat storage, marinators for marinating in minutes instead of hours, and jar sealers which allow you to use your retractable unit as a Mason jar vacuum sealer that can be used with both regular and wide mouth jars.

Vacuum Sealer

Of course there are many other features too that can be really appealing.  Some units will have a “seal only,” function which is great for heat sealing all sorts of bags (without extracting the air) from open potato chips and snack bags, to cereals and bags of salad.  An angled vacuum chamber will also to help prevent liquids from getting inside the vacuum.

Semi-Commercial Clamp Type Sealers

If you are will be doing a large quantity of sealing it is definitely worth investing in clamp type semi-commercial vacuum sealer.  These work in the same way but are built to last longer, from tougher materials, and to seal many more bags in a row.   While they are more expensive, heavier and larger they can also handle larger bags and have a much stronger vacuum with a fan cooled motor. For anyone who is a hunter, fisherman, needs to seal a serious amount of groceries bought in bulk, or just wants a higher end machine they are worth it.  The Weston vacuum sealer below is a perfect example.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Chamber Vacuum Sealers

Often considered for commercial use, and they are, many smaller chamber vacuum sealers can be an excellent choice for home users who demand the highest quality and function as well.  Unlike the external variety, with chamber vacuum sealers everything takes place inside of the unit.  Foods are placed in a bag with one unsealed end.  The bag with the food is placed inside the chamber and then the lid is closed. The air is then removed, not just from the bag but from the entire chamber. These units reach higher vacuum levels and are more efficient than external options since they extract around 99.9% of the oxygen.   The bag is then sealed and the air is returned to the chamber where your vacuum sealed food awaits.

The chamber variety is larger and heavier than other types. They are also more expensive, usually at the very least somewhere around $900.  However this may be the best vacuum sealer option for you if you are going to be buying large quantities of food and sealing things on a regular basis, are an outdoorsman, or have a business that requires a high volume of items sealed.

Vacuum Sealer

 

 

The Top Choice For Sous Vide Cooking

They are also the best choice for sealing liquids, liquid rich foods, sauces, soups, and meats which are marinated. This is because of the fact that when in the chamber, the air pressure is equal both in and outside of the bag, so liquids are not pulled out with the air and cause damage to the seal which can be the case with other types of units.

Since they do work so well with liquids and liquid rich foods they are ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy cooking sous vide style.  This cooking method developed in France in the 1970’s. In fact “sous vide,” actually translates from French language to mean “under vacuum.” And that is because food cooked in this way is not removed from its sealed bag.

Vacuum Sealer

The bag is usually slow cooked in warm water and because it has no contact with oxygen it keeps much more flavor, color, and shape than if it were simply boiled in hot water. Cooking in a bag takes much less effort to prepare and that means less time as well if you are cooking for many people. It is considered much tastier than reheating food that has been cooked in advance and is actually a very common method in five star restaurants around the world.  If you are looking for a sous vide vacuum sealer going with a chamber style unit is a must.  Many consumers actually start off trying to use a hand held or clamp type unit with liquids and liquid rich foods and have problems only to end up switching to a chamber style one later.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Mason Jars Are No Problem

This type also functions amazingly well as a Mason jar vacuum sealer.  You won’t need to purchase any special lids or attachments, you can just put your Mason jars right inside.  Multiple jars can be placed inside the chamber together to be sealed at the same time.  As the oxygen is removed from the chamber and the inside of the jar, the lid will shut tightly and all you have to do is tighten the metal ring when you remove the jar.  The fact that most vacuum sealers with a chamber have a lid which is curved instead of flat gives them the extra height to easily fit jars inside.  You should take the lid into consideration when thinking about where to place your unit since when opened it will add to the height.  However, some manufacturers make models with a low profile design so that the lid tucks backward instead of up saving a lot of space particularly for home user.

 

Vacuum Sealer

Bags For Chamber Vacuum Sealers

Another advantage they offer is that you don’t need special bags with a valve.  They do not use bags which are zip sealed or come from a roll they use open ended vacuum sealer bags which are boilable, microwavable freezable, can be refrigerated .   This can end up saving up you quite a bit of money in the long run as these bags are much cheaper and can be purchased in bulk, often in boxes of up to 1,000 bags.  There are many generic brands as well so you don’t need to buy bags from the manufacturer of your machine.   If you use a few bags per day or week this can be a real money saver.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Single Chamber Commercial Vacuum Sealers

While the smaller countertop models are often used for light commercial use or serious home users chamber units which are a little larger are ideal for commercial use.  This is usually the case with restaurants, catering businesses, meat and fish packing businesses, supermarkets etc. where you must have an extremely reliable, long lasting machine which guarantees freshness and flavor for your customers.  While they do cost a few thousand dollars they are a necessity in many businesses and are therefore an important investment.

Vacuum Sealer

The majority of commercial vacuum sealers look like the smaller single chamber variety only bigger and with a larger and deeper chamber. They are designed for sealing a higher volume of items, greater speed, and can handle larger amounts of food at one time. Since there chamber has more space they can also seal individual items which are more substantial in size as well.  Their vacuum pumps are also more powerful and because of this some may use oil and require an oil change a few times per year.   Many single chamber commercial vacuum sealers are made to have a small footprint and can still be used on counter tops.  Others are may have to be placed on a stand or table.  And there are even freestanding units that have wheels.

Vacuum Sealer

 

Double Chamber Vacuum Sealers

For heavy duty use and sealing hundreds of bags per day larger units are needed. Double chamber vacuum sealers use the same method as single chamber machines but are much bigger and use two chambers instead of one to increase speed.  They normally have lids which are fully automatic or are spring loaded.  The two chambers share one lid which swings from side to side to cover each one.  They are one of the most commonly used large commercial food vacuum sealers since they can be used for a very big items, large quantities at one time, as well as liquids.

Vacuum Sealer

Purchasing The Best Vacuum Sealer 

When choosing what type and model sealer to buy there are a few things to keep in mind to help ensure you purchase one that meets your needs.  The most important is how often you will use it and for what.  Determining this will help you quickly weed out what doesn’t work for you.  For light use with smaller size items you’ll probably be able to get away with a handheld unit.

Most families and consumers sealing larger items and on a regular basis for groceries will be fine with a clamp type sealer.  For commercial use, sous vide cooking, or serious home use, a single chamber vacuum sealer is the way to go. And for heavy commercial needs a double chamber unit is necessary.  When shopping for one your best bet is to do so online in places like Amazon since you’ll not only get better discounts and have a larger variety of options to choose than in local stores but also you’ll be able to read the vacuum sealer reviews which can tell you of other peoples experiences with particular models before you buy.

Vacuum Sealer

Be sure to follow the advice above (and tips below) to quickly be on your way to enjoying longer lasting and fresher food.  With options that everyone can use and benefit from vacuum sealers are one appliance no home should be without.  Neat and controlled portions, less time wasted, and being able to eat the food you want when it’s convenient for you make this handy tool that pays for itself a top choice.

Extra Vacuum Sealer Tips

-Used with a blast freezer they are the ultimate combination for preserving food, in particular ones which have already been cooked or baked.  Blast freezers rapidly lower the temperature of foods faster than any other type of cooling and by doing so before vacuum sealing can keep food even longer, with even less nutritional loss, and better texture.

-The best time to use your vacuum sealer is right after you’ve gone grocery shopping.  The quicker you seal your foods after you purchase them the longer they will last.  You can even make it a family affair with one person prepping the food, another, vacuum sealing, and a third putting it away in the fridge and freezer.

-Since you’ll be removing the original packaging for most items, you’ll need an efficient way to remember when you sealed it.  Simply writing the date on the bag itself will leave out any guesswork.

Vacuum Sealer

 

-If you are going to be using an external vacuum sealer for liquid rich foods a smart idea would be to pre freeze meats and sauces, and liquids for around an hour beforehand to decrease the chance they are sucked up by the vacuum and compromise the seal.

-Because they are so inexpensive and yet highly functional handheld and clamp type units make outstanding gifts people will both appreciate and use often especially since they will save the recipient money.  Whether it’s for a university student keeping snacks and lunch meat for sandwiches in their compact refrigerator or a family who buys in bulk a vacuum sealer will be sure to please.

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The Compact Refrigerator Consumer’s Handbook

Compact Refrigerator

While full size refrigerators are of course often a necessity, and incredibly useful for storing foods and other items which need to be kept cold, they are not always what everyone needs.  They are often times too large, too expensive, and have a storage capacity which is bigger than what some consumers may require.  A compact refrigerator is an excellent space saving and cost effective solution.

Just like the larger variety, compact fridges come in a variety of types and with many different features.  They also come in a few different sizes as well.  Typically compact refrigerator sizes range from as small as 1.1 cubic feet to around 6 cubic feet.  And there are many situations where these fridges are your best choice.

The Top Benefits of Compact Refrigerators:

Less Expensive

Since they are smaller in size compact refrigerators are cheaper to buy which of course makes them the ideal choice for students, people in temporary living situations,   or anyone on a budget who does not require the amount of space that full size options offer.

And since they are inexpensive there is no reason to buy a used compact refrigerator since you can get all the benefits of purchasing new for only a few more dollars.   Their modest size also means they use less electricity to run which can save you quite a lot of money both monthly and long term.

Portable

Not being as large means they are also lighter in weight which makes them highly portable. You can reposition virtually all sizes without a problem and easily bring smaller models with you when you move to a new dorm, apartment, or house without any hassle or having to pay someone to do it for you.

Compact units can also be carried into another room or up flights of stairs without having to worry about hurting yourself or damaging your floor trying to do so.

Compact Refrigerator

 

 

Fit In Spaces Larger Ones Can’t

Not everyone has the space for a full size fridge and that can really give compact models a big advantage.  They can be used in small spaces such as under desks, tables, inside of cabinets, on countertops, in closets, and under raised beds.  Really just about anywhere there is a few feet of space will work perfectly.

The Most Common Places To Use Them

In The Dorm

Since they are inexpensive, portable, and can fit in small spaces they are the top choice of students living in dorm rooms.  In fact because of this they are sometimes referred to as “dorm refrigerators.” Most students have a meal plan and don’t cook the majority of their food so they don’t need to have as much fridge space.

But of course the larger sized compact refrigerators can accommodate those that do or can be shared by multiple roommates. Many students who share houses choose to have their own personal small compact refrigerator in their room especially if they have roommates who like to eat other people’s food or simply just for the convenience of always having one close by.

Compact Refrigerator

 

At The Office No Matter Where That May Be

Break rooms and small offices are another place where these fridges excel. They can keep employees sodas, water, milk for coffee, and other beverages cold plus lunches they bring from home.  If you decide on a model with a freezer like the Frigidaire compact refrigerator shown below busy workers will be able to conveniently store frozen entrees that they can simply heat up in a microwave instead of having to rush out of the office for lunch which gives them more time to get work done or an extra few minutes to relax.

With more and more people working from home online, these types of fridges are also becoming very popular in the home office as well.  Having cool drinks and food in your home office means you won’t have to leave the room and possibly be distracted from your work by chores that need to get done in the house or by other family members.  Many people use one in conjunction with a microwave and countertop water cooler so they can stay in their home office all day.

Compact Refrigerator

Your Business

Having cold drinks for your customers is always a nice gesture and one that can go a long way especially on a hot day. Of course it also shows you care and it always pays to make a good first impression.  You can also use your compact refrigerator as a way to sell drinks and snacks or maybe even ice cream if it has a freezer.

In The Man Cave

The man cave can be an essential part of male life and when having the guys over to watch a game or play poker having cold drinks within reach is a must.  There’s nothing worse than missing out on the last point, play, goal, or hand because it was your turn to run to the kitchen fridge.  Having a compact refrigerator will guarantee you’ll be there for all the action and with plenty of ice and tasty beverages.   Many guys keep theirs right next to the sofa so they don’t even have to get up to grab a refill.

Compact Refrigerator

 

In The Bedroom

Not having to leave your bedroom, or maybe even your bed depending how close you place your fridge, in the middle of the night to get some water or a snack can be very handy. A compact refrigerator in the bedroom is also ideal for the elderly or disabled who can’t walk up and down stairs every time they need something from the fridge and is often used to store their medicine as well.

Teens that need their own space or roommates sharing an apartment or house could also really benefit from having one in their bedroom as well.

Different Types For Different Needs

Just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they lack variety of features and designs, in fact far from it.  There are different types for different functions, spaces, and needs.  Here are the best options to check out:        

A Compact Refrigerator With Freezer

Most consumers, but not all, prefer their fridge to also have a freezer. Compact refrigerator freezers typically come in two different types single and double door.  The smallest are in single door fridges and are chiller compartments which are simply a plastic ledge that is attached to the ceiling of the fridge.

These can normally only hold one or two ice cube trays or maybe ea frozen dinner or two. However, that might be all you need.  Some chiller compartments are the full width of the refrigerator it simply depends on the model.

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For more freezer space you’ll need to consider a two door compact refrigerator with freezer. The most common have a separate top mounted freezer and a fridge below. These have much more room items to be frozen and for this reason are often the top choice for small offices, people who will be sharing a fridge, or doing more cooking.

Of course they are great for keeping things like frozen dinners, ice cream, and more ice cube trays than smaller freezers can handle. Some two door refrigerator with freezer combinations are side-by-side.  These are divided in half length-wise with a fridge on one side and a freezer on the other.

This is actually the most popular setup with larger fridges and many people prefer their compact versions this way because the freezer will have multiple shelves as opposed to one large open space which can make organizing much easier. Just keep in mind that when purchasing one that you will have two doors that open in opposite directions so they will need a slightly larger space.

Compact Refrigerator

A less common two door option but the one which is the most energy efficient is a compact refrigerator with freezer on the bottom. These are normally less expensive than side by side units but cost more than ones with a top freezer.

The main advantage of these is that you won’t have to reach far down to get to the lowest shelf or compartment of the fridge section since it is higher up everything is more accessible. The freezer being lower down is not a problem since it is not normally used as often.

 

A Compact Refrigerator Freezer

For those who want a unit that can be used as either a fridge or a freezer depending on their needs there is an answer. A compact fridge freezer gives you the option of using it as either one but not both at the same time. These are also popular with consumers who like to have beverages like beer and sodas kept at a cooler temperature than when in conventional fridges since you can normally adjust the temperature down to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

This double use makes them a good value since you can always go from fridge to freezer in the future or today if you want, it leaves it up to you to decide.

 

Compact Refrigerator

A Compact Refrigerator Without Freezer

Not everyone who is looking for a compact refrigerator has the need for a freezer. This is often the case if you already have a full sized refrigerator with a freezer or a separate freezer unit like a chest freezer. They are particularly popular with consumers who just want one for storing beverages.

And because there isn’t a freezer to take up any space they often have more shelves and space. Usually a compact refrigerator without freezer is cheaper both to purchase but also in terms of electricity because they use much less.

Compact Refrigerator

 

 

A Glass Door Compact Refrigerator

Another alternative without a freezer is a glass door compact refrigerator. Why would you want a glass door? So you can see what’s inside of course. These are ideal for anyone who sells beverages or chilled snacks in a small shop. Customers can see what’s inside without having to open the fridge door first, which can save a lot of electricity.

Many models look very modern in style and are very attractive. They are incredibly popular for beverages such as beer and of course soda and water too. A large number of glass door compact refrigerators are actually marketed as beverage coolers and can fit a surprising amount of cans and bottles.

They usually also will have adjustable temperature settings which can go lower than normal which can be a huge plus for certain types of drinks. This variety of fridge makes a fantastic father’s day or birthday gift for any husband, boyfriend, or dad with a man cave.

But of course they since they work for food as well are just as good in a dorm, under the counter, or in an office. Most will have LED lighting to help you clearly see what’s inside and a often a lock which can be really handy if you are keeping alcohol inside and have young children in the house or are using it in a shop.

Compact Refrigerator

 

A Compact Wine Refrigerator

Not everyone who loves to drink wine has the luxury of having their own wine cellar to keep their wine at just the right temperature and humidity. And keeping wine in your normal refrigerator can easily degrade its taste and quality which can end up being a huge waste of money. Wine needs to be kept at a constant temperature which can’t be accomplished in a conventional fridge due to its being opened and closed on a regular basis.

In fact each type of wine has its own temperature range and humidity level that allow it to mature and taste its best. Wine that is stored at temperatures that are too warm can cause premature aging and likewise at a temperature which is too cold the cork can shrink letting in oxygen which can ruin the wine.

This shrinking  of the cork often occurs in standard fridges as well since they are incorrectly stored upright which allows the cork to dry out thus letting in air and spoiling the wine.

Compact Refrigerator

 

The simplest, least expensive and most efficient way to guarantee the quality of your wine is with a compact wine refrigerator. Unlike much larger units these are made to fit in small places but still accommodate quite a few bottles stored on their sides like they should be.

They have a glass door so you can see inside, protect against vibrations, and most have LED lighting. You can also program the temperature of a compact wine refrigerator to the exact one you need for the type of wine you are storing. Some units even have different zones which allow you to keep different types at different temperatures at the same time.

A Desktop Refrigerator

The most compact and portable of all types, are what are known as desktop refrigerators. These are really small and made for keeping a few cans of soda (usually a maximum of six if laid on their sides), cool drinks, or milk for your coffee at work. All can be plugged into a wall outlet and some even to the cigarette lighter socket in your car when driving.

Compact Refrigerator

Questions To Keep In Mind That Will Help You Choose The Best Compact Refrigerator

As you can you see there are many types of compact refrigerators to choose from. However, keeping a few things in mind will help you to pick the correct one for your needs.

What And How Much Will You Be Keeping Inside?

How much storage space you need will greatly influence the size and model you need. Before you purchase think about what you’ll be keeping in your fridge. For just some snacks and drinks a small fridge will do but most consumers like to be able to fit essentials like a container of milk or juice.

And when there are multiple people sharing a fridge going with something still compact but a little larger is a good idea. There’s usually not that much of a price difference in sizes so if you’re unsure and have the space choosing one that has more room is probably a good idea.

Do You Need A Freezer?

If you don’t you’ll have more room for refrigerated items but if you plan on keeping any frozen goods be sure to pick a unit that has adequate freezer space. Many university students actually overlook the benefit of being able to keep frozen meals inside their freezer and end up choosing a small compact refrigerator with no freezer.

If you do need one also think about what style you like: freezer on the top, on the bottom, or a side by side model?

Compact Refrigerator

 

Do You Have Space Limitations?

Where you will be keeping your fridge will also be an important factor. Look at your space accurately and asses what size refrigerator can actually fit in the space you have. Don’t forget you can always use items like a compact refrigerator cart which can support a small fridge on top and offers drawers for storage underneath if you have a really cramped space. Under counters, on top of them, and in shelving units also work well for many models.

How Portable Do You Need It To Be?

While all compact refrigerators are much easier to move than full size options, small units can be very lightweight, carried easily by most people, and simply placed in the seat or trunk of car when moving. Many people really like the fact that they can move their fridge at any time and to anywhere without having to ask for help.

Larger fridges will require a few people to move. This may not be a factor for you if you plan on leaving your fridge in one place or room for a long period of time.

 

Compact Refrigerator

Do You Want Frost Free Or Manual Defrost?

Whenever the fridge or freezer door is opened air comes inside. Since air contains water, the water from the air trapped inside quickly cools and sticks or freezes to the walls, containers, and foods. Frost free compact refrigerators will automatically defrost the fridge or fridge/freezer for you several times per day. This type will cost a little more but save you the hassle of defrosting the fridge yourself.

Manual defrost units are cheaper since require you to unplug and defrost the fridge when ice buildup begins. However  like with the GE compact refrigerator shown pictured below because of their smaller size this usually is not too much of a pain, and many people prefer manual defrost units as they like to give their refrigerator a good thorough cleaning after it’s been defrosted.

Compact Refrigerator

 

Do You Need A Lock?

Sometimes you need to keep others out. If you have roommates, siblings, or coworkers you who like to raid your fridge without asking, customers who might take items without paying, or are storing alcohol and have curious kids in the house a locking compact fridge is probably a smart idea. This is a common feature that many units particularly ones made specifically for beverages come with but can also be found on other types as well.

If you already own one a fridge which doesn’t lock and decide later on that you would like to have a little more safety for your food there are kits you can buy with peel and stick anchors pads that allow you to attach a padlock and require no drilling. A compact refrigerator with lock doesn’t usually cost anymore than other types so it can really be worth having the option of being able to lock it up if you need to.

What Color Should You Choose?

Fridges can be a fantastic way to add a splash of color to a room particularly in small spaces but also in larger ones as well. Using one to match your current color scheme is a popular way to go and manufacturers offer colors like blue, green,  pink, orange, purple, and red compact refrigerators to help you do so or to make a bold statement if that’s what you want.

Compact Refrigerator

 

The most popular are white, black, and stainless steel. Of course a white compact refrigerator will give you a more traditional look but since it is a neutral color will always look good no matter what the dominant colors of your room are. This can be an advantage if you plan on moving in the future. Black also is neutral and is often used to match black kitchen sinks, microwaves, and ovens.

The silver color of stainless steel can look very modern and very upscale. Usually a stainless compact refrigerator will have a silver steel front and black sides. Because this is considered such an attractive combination many glass door fridges use it as well, with the stainless steel framing the glass and the black sides providing contrast.

How Much Electricity Does It Use?

How much electricity a unit uses can vary.  Look for one that has a high energy rating compared to the price. Top brands will have better insulation and typically require less energy to stay cool. If you want to know how much it will cost to run for an average year check the energy guide label that comes with it.

 

Answering these questions will choosing your compact refrigerator a simple and easy process. And of course be sure to check online for the best prices and biggest discounts. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a unit for an extremely small space, one only  for wine, or just to function as an extra fridge there are many compact options to fit your space and meet your demands.

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The All In One Soda Maker Guide

Soda Maker

Soda water is also known as seltzer, club soda, sparkling water, and fizzy water. This popular drink made from a mixture of carbon dioxide in gas form and water, not only can quench your thirst, keep you hydrated without the extra calories, and be used to make some wonderfully delicious bubbly drinks but also has many other fantastic uses as well. Best of all, with a soda maker it can be made right at home and for a fraction of the cost.

A Little Soda History

Joseph Priestley actually invented soda water way back in 1767.  A philosopher, inventor, scientist, and brewer this English friend of Benjamin Franklin discovered this drink when he placed a bowl of water over a container of fermenting beer.  Carbon dioxide from the fermentation process mixed with the water and carbonated it.

He quickly found out that his friends enjoyed the taste of this unique fizzy drink. While he did not go on to manufacture soda water, others like some very well-known companies did, and are still around today.

Sodas Makers Bring The Home Fun

Luckily today, this process can be done in a much simpler and faster way right on your countertop or even outdoors. Basically, home soda makers use pressurized CO2 cartridges to carbonate tap water.  Being able to make your own soda at home not only is very convenient but has many other important benefits for the consumer.  Such as:

Soda Maker

 

Saving Cash On Soda Water, Colas, And All Types Of Carbonated Drinks

Buying carbonated drinks of all types by the bottle on a regular basis, not just soda water, can really add up, particularly if you have a family. And while buying in bulk can save you some money, the real saving are in making your own at home.

By doing so you’ll pay less per serving than buying at your local corner shop, supermarket, or buying in bulk. This can really add up over time, particularly if you love drinking soda, and the unit will easily pay for itself in these savings.

Flavors And Drinks For All

Most people don’t realize that soda makers can be used to make much more than soda water. Many soda maker brands offer some really tasty flavors that are actually healthier than standard options. Simply choose the fruit, cola, diet cola, or even energy drink syrup flavor you like and  depending on the type of machine you have add it before or after carbonation process to enjoy the drink you crave most.

And of course soda water can be mixed with other options too besides flavored syrups such as juices, and used to create your own cocktails, ice cream sodas, and any more bubbly and refreshing beverages.

Soda Maker

 

Control Over Ingredients

Having complete control over the purity of what put in your body is always important. For this reason soda maker bottles are BPA free and do not contain any materials which could be potentially toxic, which is apparently not the case with all plastic bottles.

Salt and other ingredients are also often added to soda by manufacturers and of course we all know the effects of consuming drinks which have too much sugar. Soda makers let you decide what ingredients you will consume.

Cutting Down On Sugary Drinks

Drinks which are very high in sugar, while they may taste very good, can be linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. For those who like the beverages with carbonation and want to kick the sugar habit, switching to soda water is a much healthier alternative, and one that can often be pretty easy since it has the same bubbly consistency.

Soda Maker

 

Carbonate To Your Own Liking

One of the biggest complaints consumers have not only about store bought soda water but with many other carbonated drinks is that they prefer less or sometimes even more carbonation. With a soda maker you get to decide just how carbonated your drink is to meet your preference.

Decreasing Pollution

Since with a soda maker you won’t be buying plastic bottles or cans of soda, you’ll be helping the environment.  In fact, Soda Stream, one of the leading brands, estimates that each one of their soda maker bottles saves the equivalent of 2,500 plastic bottles and cans from being used.  Plus the CO2 cartridges used in all soda makers can be recycled and some re-used.

Sleek And Attractive

These accessories are not only about function but are made to be also be both sleek and attractive.  They also come in a variety of colors and styles to help match and even enhance the look of your kitchen and countertop.Soda Maker

Picking The Best Soda Maker

While picking the best soda maker for your needs isn’t very difficult, you do need to know the basics first in order to make a smart decision.   There are actually two different types of soda makers: soda maker machines and soda siphons.

Both use pressurized CO2 cartridge to carbonate tap water equaling soda water, however they do so in slightly different ways and that gives them each their own benefits. Here’s what you need to know:

 Soda Maker Machines

What Are They And How Do They Work?

Home soda maker machines offer the simplest soda making method generally just requiring the touch of a button after they are set up. While some models are a little more expensive than soda siphons, you are paying for convenience.

Machines cut down on waste by using less CO2 cartridges, are fast, and designed to sit neatly on your counter top while taking up very little space. Some units are even handheld and can easily fit into a utensil drawer.

Soda Maker

These machines are very simple to use, they have a carbonating bottle which is filled up with tap water to a certain line or limit depending on the manufacturer and then screwed in. Pressing the button on top of the machine releases CO2 from the cartridge into the water of the carbonating bottle.

Most units will make a series of sounds to let you know the level of carbonation, allowing you to stop when at the desired amount. But you can also see with your eyes just how bubbly it is getting since the carbonating bottles are clear.  The entire process only takes a few seconds at most.

CO2 Cartridges

Home soda maker machines do not need any batteries or electricity instead they use a CO2 cartridge that fits inside the unit itself. Unlike with soda siphons, each CO2 cartridge can be used many times before having to change it.

These cartridges can range in size and the amount of soda they can make before needing to be replaced. CO2 cartridges for countertop models are made by the manufacturers of the machines and can be purchased either online or from a local store which has them in stock.

Soda Maker

For most brands when the cartridge is empty you do not purchase another one, you simply bring it to one of the many stores that have an exchange program with the particular brand of your machine for an exchange.  This means you give the store your empty cartridge and they give you a full one for the just the price of the CO2 gas itself.

They can also be recycled which is always a good thing for the environment.  Handheld units may use smaller CO2 cartridges which are normally good for 1 bottle of soda per use.

Bottles

The majority of units use plastic bottles which will need to eventually be replaced after around two  to three years of use or so (each brand has its own recommendations on how long to use their bottles)and can be recycled. Keep in mind however that plastic bottles are not usually dishwasher safe and must but hand washed.

To do this just add a drop of dish washing liquid inside and fill it half way up with water, put the cap on, shake it up, and rinse it out. Some manufacturers may offer glass bottles which can be washed in the dishwasher or special plastic ones that are dishwasher safe.

Soda Maker

 

Adding Flavors

Soda maker machines don’t just make soda water but a wide variety of fizzy drinks for your pleasure.  Flavors can be purchased and simply added to your drink after you have finished the carbonating process. Some brands like Soda Stream for example, have an enormous selection of flavors to choose from.

You can use your unit as your very own soda pop maker by using a cola or diet cola flavor. Of course you can make drinks using fruit juice and even wine. However with machines, almost all brands will tell you to only use water in the carbonating bottle, you must add your ingredients or flavors to the water after it has been carbonated not before.Soda MakerTop Brands

With these machines it is very important to choose only the top brands not only because you want the best soda maker possible but because will also need to exchange your CO2 cartridges at retailers who supply their products.  Here are our top picks:  

Soda Stream

Without a doubt this is the most famous brand and widely purchased of all. Soda Stream soda makers are available in more than ten different models ranging from basic to more hi-tech options with different levels of carbonation available at the push of a button.  The best-selling Soda Stream Fountain Jet home soda maker is a consumer favorite.

This brand offers a huge array of drink flavors to choose from. Each individual bottle of flavor mix can make between twenty five and fifty servings depending on the individual flavor. They sell everything from pink lemonade to fountain style colas, diet colas, and even energy drinks all of which are actually healthier and contain less sugar than the store bought variety.

Because they taste so good and can be used with any soda water these are very popular with all soda maker owners regardless of whether they own a Soda Stream maker or not.

Soda Maker

Soda Stream also has an excellent CO2 cartridge exchange system. In the Unites States and Canada you can do so at your local: Target, Best Buy, Wal-mart, Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath and Beyond, and many more participating retailers which is very handy.

KitchenAid

KitchenAid offers a superb machine with classic charm. Made from metal it weighs seventeen pounds so you know it is sturdy.  It costs more than ones made from other brands but it is of the highest quality, from one of the most trusted companies in the kitchen business, and probably the best looking soda machine on the market.

The KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker has some of the best soda maker reviews and it’s not hard to see why.  KitchenAid made their unit to be used with all SodaStream accessories since they have such an excellent system in place already for CO2 cartridge exchange and flavors. That is why you will see it advertised it as “powered by SodaStream.”

Soda Maker

Hamilton Beach

As one of the United States largest distributors of small kitchen appliances Hamilton Beach has some very high quality products. Their Fizzini handheld soda maker is making splash with in kitchens around the world. It is smaller than other machines taking up even less counter space and can easily be stored away in a kitchen drawer and can make an ideal travel option too.

Many people will purchase a Soda Stream machine for their countertop at home and use one of these as a portable soda maker for when they are on the road.  For the function they provide they are very reasonably priced.  The Fizzini uses smaller eight gram CO2 cartridges which can make one bottle of soda water each and then need to be replaced.  Since they can use generic brand cartridges these can be bought cheaply and in bulk.

Soda Maker

 

Other Options

Unfortunately despite having very positive reviews on performance the Cusinart soda maker does not currently have a CO2 cartridge exchange program meaning you’ll have to buy new ones when they’re empty which will add up.  The Primo Flavorstation Home Beverage Maker was originally very widely used and a made an excellent buy. However, now this Primo soda maker has been discontinued.

Even though it is still for sale in many places, it might not be such a smart choice since replacement parts will be unavailable.  Keep in mind that while you may find information online about how to make DIY soda makers these are best avoided since using CO2 gas safely should be a priority. Stick with the best brands.

Soda Siphons: The Other Soda Maker Option

What Are They And How Do They Work?

Soda siphons look and work a little differently than machines. They take up even less space than machines because they consist of only a bottle and two caps which helps if you have a cluttered counter but means they are perfect for travel.

One cap is used to close the top of the bottle and the other to house the CO2 cartridge. Soda is made in the siphon, usually stored inside of it, and served from it. For this reason some models may come with a third cap that seals your bottle so that it can be laid down flat in the refrigerator.Soda Maker

The soda making process is a little more involved than pushing a button but still very simple. Cold tap water is used to fill the bottle and the cap for the bottle is screwed tightly in place. Then, the CO2 cartridge is placed in its housing cap which is screwed onto the cap of the bottle, as it tightens the bottom of the cartridge will be pierced releasing the gas into the water below.

Most models require you to shake the bottle which increases flavor and carbonation. The more you shake the more both increase. After that you let the bottle rest for a few minutes and then release extra gas using a button on top. Lastly and the most important: serve and enjoy.

CO2 Cartridges

Another difference between soda machines and this type of soda maker is the CO2 cartridges. Similar to handheld units, the cartridges used for these can only be used to make one bottle of soda. But, they are also much cheaper and can be bought in bulk.

Most of the time this also means that you can use generic cartridges of the same size which can be purchased virtually anywhere that sells CO2 such as a restaurant supply shop. This can really come in handy if you will be travelling since you can find CO2 that fits just about anywhere in the world. Purchasing cartridges from online stores like Amazon is of course the easiest way to go.

Soda MakerBottles

Unlike with the carbonating bottles of soda maker machines, with siphons the bottle, sometimes referred to a carafe, is made from either stainless steel or aluminum. Not only are they good-looking but durable, so you can bring your soda maker with you wherever you go both indoors and out.

Not having to worry about it becoming  damaged is a big advantage and makes them ideal for anyone taking a road trip, travelling, game, picnic, portable or who just wants to have a fizzy drink at the office. Soda siphon bottles are also dishwasher safe which is another plus.

Adding Flavors

The process of adding flavors to your soda is also different from machines. That’s because with most soda siphons, not all, you do not have to wait until the water is already carbonated to mix your drink. Juice, adult beverages, flavors, and even edible solids like fruit pulp or smaller fruits like strawberries or blueberries can be added directly to the soda maker bottle before you carbonate which is not possible with machines.

Soda Maker

And while although you don’t have many soda siphon manufacturers making their own flavors, it doesn’t matter since you can purchase any brand of flavor and simply add it right in or make your own mixtures, it’s your choice. Soda siphons can also be used to re-carbonate beverages which have already gone flat which can always save a few extra bucks and cut down on waste.

Top Brands

When it comes to quality a few brands standout, our top three picks are:

Mastrad

The French company Mastrad is well-known for its top-notch culinary accessories which are all convenient to use and very aesthetically pleasing. Their Mastrad Purefizz soda maker is no exception. With a simple design yet very high quality parts and a stainless steel bottle it is designed to last for a long time and for that reason is slightly more expensive than other brands.

The Purefizz soda maker does use eight ounce generic CO2 canisters which are easy to find and for cheap too. It is also known for being able to keep a drink nice and bubbly for four to five days and Mastrad has excellent customer service should you have any questions or concerns or need a part or unit to be replaced usually free of charge.Soda MakerSoda Plus

Soda Plus is another smart brand to buy and even offers a slightly larger bottle than others to let you make a little more in terms of quantity. With a stainless steel bottle, these can make for an eye catching addition to you countertop or dinner table when having company.

Soda plus soda makers can also use generic eight ounce CO2 cartridges. While they look similar in design to ones made by Mastrad they are less expensive in price.

Soda Maker

 

iSi

The iSi Soda Maker is a top quality siphon manufactured in Austria and is a modern and sleek looking take on classic soda sprayers. iSi has been making great products since the 1960’s and really knows their stuff. While made from stainless steel bottles are available in red, black, or brushed aluminum finishes and also feature a non-slip silicone grip.

Different from Soda Plus and Mastrad options you can only put water in the bottle no juices or other liquids making it a true club soda maker. But, of course you can always use your soda water to mix with other ingredients later. The best part of these are you get to spray your soda out, no more pouring.

Soda Maker

With so many benefits, once you start making your own fizzy drinks there’s no way you’ll go back to buying from the store. Both soda maker machines and siphons are great choices, which type you choose simply depends on your needs and preference.

Whether you use yours just as a soda water maker or to make any of the bubbly beverages from cola to sparkling apple cider to your own champagne, knowing you’re saving money each time you make one will make your refreshments even more delicious!

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