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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Steam Ovens For Healthy And Easy Cooking

Steam Oven

While many cultures have traditionally use steam to cook a variety of foods and dishes, some since ancient times, steam cooking has really caught on worldwide in recent years.   This surge in popularity is due to the fact that steam oven manufacturers have not only come out with some fantastic products to help consumers use steam in their daily cooking in as simple a way as possible, but also the general public has finally started to realize many of the benefits that cooking with steam has to offer.

So Exactly What Is A Steam Oven?

A steam oven is an appliance which uses a water reservoir or tank and does not have to be hooked up to a water supply like a refrigerator with an ice maker would.   Instead the reservoir is made to be easy accessible so it can be removed and filled with water before using the oven.  The water in the reservoir is boiled which produces a cloud of fresh steam that is injected continuously into the oven chamber and this moist heat in turn cooks the food.  They are typically available in two types: built in wall ovens and countertop units.

The Benefits Of Steam Oven Cooking

There is a huge list of advantages to steam oven cooking; here are just some of the most appealing:

-Ability To Cook Delicate Foods Without Damage

Unlike other methods of cooking, using steam will not damage food. The food will maintain its color and won’t brown making it much more visually appealing and of course appetizing.  This can be very important for certain dishes and food items regardless of whether you are making gourmet meals for guests, or just trying to feed a picky child their vegetables.

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-Much Healthier

Steam oven cooking is also healthier. No extra calories are added in the process like with frying or sautéing and it requires no oil. Many foods actually need to have a high fat content to taste good when cooked by dry heat, or else they tend to dry out.  This is not the case with steam since moisture is injected constantly, no extra fat is needed.  When cooked with steam, food also retains its nutritional value and more vitamins, particularly with vegetables and seafood.

-No Transference Of Flavor

One of the most convenient advantages of steam oven cooking is that there is no transference of flavor.  This means you can cook multiple foods at the same time and not have to worry about the flavor of one food influencing another. For example you could cook fish while also cooking chicken without any effect on how either of them taste.  Being able to cook multiple foods at once can save you an enormous amount of time.

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-A Cinch To Clean

Unlike steam clean ovens which cannot cook using steam and use water that is manually placed on the bottom of the oven and then heated up to clean, steam ovens have the unique ability to clean themselves with no hassle or lingering smells. Just turn on the cleaning function and after it’s finished simply wipe it down the inside.

-Leftovers Like New

Reheating leftovers saves money but often is not nearly as tasty as when the food was first served. With steam, food often tastes even better the second time around and there is no flavor, texture, or moisture loss.

-Option Of Using A Combination Of Cooking Methods

Luckily there are many ovens today which allow you to cook using a combination of cooking methods.  The top brands offer units which are actually considered steam convection ovens.  These three-in-one appliances give you the option of using steam, convection, or both to cook your food.

This is a huge advantage for all sorts of cooking and by using steam and convection together you get some magnificently delicious results.  Convection uses dry heat and circulates it all around the oven chamber and this combined with steam gives you an average of twenty five percent faster cooking time plus a crispy on the outside moist on the inside texture.

Steam Oven

This texture is not only what you need to make the best tasting turkey, roasts, chicken, or prime rib but also homemade bread with crispy crust.  With meats, the convection and steam combination will make meat fall right off the bone  and can also be used with vegetables, seafood, rice, and much more.

So What Type of Steam Oven Should You Choose?

There are two types of steam oven to choose from: built in wall ovens and the countertop ovens.

Built In Steam Ovens

For cooking large amounts of food on a regular basis a wall or built in steam oven is the smartest choice.  While they can be expensive some up to $6,000 if you are a serious home chef or are committed to serving the healthiest meals possible for yourself and your family, they are very worthwhile investment.  Most people who purchase one use it to supplement their existing oven but if you are doing a kitchen remodel a steam oven can be installed and used as your primary unit.   The vast majority are wall ovens but there are a few kitchen ranges that have steam features as well.

Steam Oven

Because they are more costly than other types of ovens it is highly recommended that you stick to the top brands.  By doing so you not only will be ensuring that you are purchasing a very high quality appliance but also one with some really hi-tech and useful features.

There are a handful of manufacturers that are very-well known and always have the highest ratings in the industry. For example, Miele steam ovens are top of the line and offer some of the biggest oven cabinets available, enough to cook food for ten people or more and even offer custom handle designs.  The water tank for this brand is housed behind a motorized panel on top to not only save space but to give you more room to cook.  The panel automatically opens with the push of a button.

Thermador has both range and wall oven units available for the consumer to choose from.  A record setting two hour cleaning mode sets them apart from the competition as does very fast preheating times, and over forty easy cook programs. The larger units can even cook up to a fourteen pound turkey and are very reasonable in price.

 

Steam Oven

 

Wolf steam ovens are another highly sought after option.  Many of their ovens have over fifty menu presets to make cooking just about any meal as simple as placing it inside, adjusting the touch screen menu, and then going about your business without having to check on your food at all.  Their dual convection system helps bakers create the crispiest crusts with the gooiest insides.  Wolf is actually the largest American family-owned appliance company.

Bosch is famous for their German engineered home products particularly their dishwashers and is the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world.  They also happen to make some fantastic cookware.  Bosch steam ovens are generally offered at cheaper prices than other top brands but with just about as many features making them very enticing. The majority of models are made to fit perfectly above a warming or storage drawer and have halogen lighting so you always have a clear view of what’s going on inside.

Gaggenau steam ovens have been on the forefront of the steam cooking scene for years.  Their control panels and interfaces are top of the line.  A feature worth mentioning are their handle-free doors which open with a touch of the control panel that are available on their newest models. The Gaggenau combi steam oven line is very advanced yet with controls that are simple and easy to use. Adjusting everything from the percentage of humidity to the desired temperature can be done with a turn of the dial.

Steam OvenCountertop Steam Ovens

For those are looking for an oven which is not as large, a countertop steam oven is a way to get all the benefits of steam cooking on a smaller scale and for much less money.  About the size of a microwave they easily fit right on top of the counter with only a small footprint.

Instead of wasting energy by heating up your full sized oven for foods and dishes that only take up a fraction of its interior space many savvy consumers are using countertop models.  Their compact size means they require much less energy, heat up more quickly, and have faster cook times since an oven which is slightly bigger than what it is cooking will do so more efficiently.   However, just because they are smaller doesn’t mean that they can’t fit some decent size foods. Many countertop steam ovens have a deceptively large capacity and can cook up to a five pound chicken or twelve inch pizza.

Steam Oven

They can also be used a second oven when having guests and extra cooking needs to be done, or as a primary oven in the hot summer months when you don’t want to increase the temperature of your house.  And of course countertop steam ovens can be a stepping stone for you to start experimenting with the joys of steam cooking before taking the plunge and buying a larger unit.

Features like a drip tray to catch excess water, crumb tray, timer, and a large water reservoir are all things to look for. Unlike wall ovens, countertop models do not always offer both steam and convection in one but there are a few which do, and do the job unbelievably well.

Steam Oven

Without a doubt the most highly rated and purchased is the Cusinart combo steam and convection oven which is shown below.   Cusinart steam ovens have large LCD displays, are very inexpensive for the amount of cooking they can do, and are both very high quality and dependable.  They are an invaluable baking, steaming, and broiling tool but can also simply be used as a toaster. One dial controls everything and as an added bonus they come with a book full of steam oven recipes and tips.  Eurodib also offers some top notch choices for those looking for restaurant quality results in countertop space.

Another take on countertop steam ovens are microwave/steamer combinations. This type is popular in Asia especially Japan.  Both Sharp and Hitachi offer these however in the United States they may be units which are imported and therefore have an all Japanese language display as well as require a plug converter.

Once you experience the many benefits steam ovens offer first hand you’ll never want to be without the option of using one. Helping you to live a healthier lifestyle while eating food which is more delicious, visually appealing, and with the proper texture this is one appliance that will make a huge impact on your well-being and satisfaction both in the kitchen and daily life.  Of course don’t forget to purchase a few steam oven cookbooks and explore the limits of what you can do and how fantastic your food can taste!

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Your 5 Minute Guide To Portable Ovens

Portable Oven

There are countless situations where having a portable oven is not only helpful but actually advantageous.  They can go places larger ovens simply can’t, cost less, and are easy to use. With options for the kitchen, outdoors, patio, traveling, and even emergency situations the large variety of portable ovens has every need and scenario covered.  We’ve compiled a list of the leading choices to help you learn which type will serve you best.

Top Portable Oven Options

Portable Pizza Ovens

Just about everyone who loves pizza has thought about making it themselves. However, until fairly recently this required buying a very expensive outdoor brick pizza oven or building your own.  Luckily for consumers today there are quite a few fantastic options that won’t break the bank and are also portable.

For The Kitchen

While most people think of portable pizza ovens as units that are used outdoors, and they are correct, there are also small home kitchen options that can be considered portable as well.  These are fairly light in weight and don’t take up too much space on the kitchen countertop.  Unlike models used outdoors these plug into your wall socket just like other appliances and most but not all, look fairly similar to toaster ovens.  They typically allow you to bake up to twelve inch pizzas on a baking rack or tray. Some like the one shown below may even have a rotating tray. Of course the pizzas that are cooked can be homemade or frozen.  In fact, this type is particularly useful and for those who will be cooking frozen pizzas but want them to taste more a little more like ones which are made at home.

Portable Oven

For The Outdoors

Outdoor options let you enjoy the art of pizza making on your patio, in your outdoor kitchen, and many other places too.  Depending on their size and weight some units are more portable than others.  There are two basic types, those that use gas and wood fired ovens.  Both types can be used for much more than pizza.  Breads, biscuits, pies, pretzels, chicken, pork, steak, fish, vegetables, and pasta are just some of the foods commonly made in portable outdoor pizza ovens. You will notice that both types typically have curved or rounded tops and this is to allow the flame to circulate around the cooking chamber creating a temperature which is not only very hot but even.

Portable Oven

 

 Portable Pizza Ovens That Use Propane Gas

Most portable pizza ovens which use propane gas actually are built to function just like wood fired brick ovens, which is a huge plus.  This means high cooking temperatures and fast cooking times, some can cook a pizza in as little as three minutes. They are also made to be highly portable and the majority can be brought to the park, the game, friends’ parties, or even with you when camping in the woods.  It’s up to you!  There are a lot models that can simply be used right on your tabletop while you are eating. You can usually also purchase stands made by the manufacturer for extra storage if you need it.  Some come with a detachable stand.

Portable Oven

 

The majority will include a pizza stone just like brick ovens use, to help you get the perfect crust.  A few models even have a rotisserie on which the cooking stone is placed so that the pizza is actually spinning while it is cooking to guarantee even temperatures throughout the entire pie.  Other convenient features include an igniter button to light the oven up without any risk of injury, easy to carry handles, and temperature gauges. A lot of pizza fans actually prefer this type over portable wood fired pizza ovens since you can control the temperature of the oven with a turn of the dial.  And many units can be used with a smoke chip cup containing wood chips so you can get the flavor of a wood fired pizza but while using gas.

Portable Oven

 

A smaller and even more portable type of portable pizza oven, are ones which are placed right on top of your propane camping stove.  They use the heat from your burners not the pizza oven itself, to cook the pizza inside a chamber with a pizza stone.  These are a great choice for tailgating and camping or any other time you would use your camping stove and want to treat yourself, friends, and family to a pizza pie.

 

Portable Oven

Portable Wood Fired Pizza Ovens

You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to be able to cook your pizza in an authentic wood fired oven.  Portable options can give you the same unique smoky taste, high cooking temperatures, and crispy toppings that true pizza connoisseurs crave because they cook with wood. While they are more expensive than units which use gas, they are much cheaper than purchasing a larger stationary wood fired oven.Portable Oven

Even though they are portable they are usually larger and heavier than other choices.  The majority are made more for being able to be moved around your patio or outdoor living area but there are options which can be taken with you on trips as well.  Some come with casters or wheels while others may need to be lifted by two people and can be placed on a table or countertop.  Most are made from stainless steel, unlike larger ovens which are made from brick and mortar. There are a few portable wood fired pizza ovens that have insulated walls for even faster heat up times and a small number that even use decorative brick on the face to make it look just like a portable brick oven.  If you will be cooking large numbers of pizzas or just demand the best tasting ones possible without the price tag and inconvenience of a much larger stationary oven, a portable wood fired pizza oven is for you.

 

Portable Oven

Portable Electric Ovens

Different from other portable choices in this article, portable electric ovens are not made for outdoor or emergency use since they do use electricity.  However they are made to be used in the kitchen and can be easily transported to another location if the need be.  The biggest misconception about these is that they are simply toaster ovens. And while they can be used to toast items, and do look similar, they are actually high-end but small, convection ovens.  This is why they are often also called portable convection ovens, because simply that’s what they are.

Portable convection ovens, unlike typical toaster ovens which use radiant heat, are able to create uniform temperature using their internal fans which circulate hot air.  This in turn gives them many advantages such as cooking the food more evenly and a lot faster.  You can also cook multiple racks of food at the same time without having to worry about the food itself getting in the way of or blocking some of the heat.

Portable Oven

 

Portable electric ovens are very popular in the UK, Europe, and other countries and are slowly gaining more and more fans in the United States as more Americans realize their many benefits.  They are a smart choice for someone who may be having problems with their larger oven and is in the process of deciding whether or not to replace or repair it, but still wants to be able to cook. Students, people who rent, live in a small space, and those who just don’t want to spend the cash on full size convection or gas oven will really get the full benefit from these.

Using one can also just be a pleasant break from firing up your existing oven since they are easier to clean, use less energy, and heat up faster.  And for those who live in warm areas or places which have hot summers they let you cook without raising the temperature of your house which can be a real help especially when having guests.

Portable Oven

 

Portable electric ovens can be used to cook and bake just about anything that larger ovens can such as cookies, breads, cakes, steak, fish , pizza, or just frozen dinners depending on your needs.  Most can actually fit surprisingly big items, as well as a multiple foods at the same time making them ideal for families; people who love to bake and cook, or even light commercial use like in small restaurant or cafe.

The majority of these ovens look pretty sleek making them an attractive countertop addition especially in silver stainless steel or silver and black.  More often than not they have easy to use manual control knobs for time and temperature, which are what a large number of consumers prefer, but some have digital controls too.  Features like cooking timers with audible tones, automatic shut-off, a power-on indicator, and pre-set cooking functions are all extra helpful.   A few models will even include a rotisserie for making things like pork roast, beef roast, or of course roasted chicken.

Portable Oven

Portable Gas Ovens

When it comes to being able to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest, having great food can play a huge part.  And while a camping stove does have its place and can make the basics, for taking it to the next level portable gas ovens are the way to go.  Because the gas they use is actually propane you’ll often see them advertised as portable propane ovens as well.

Being able to cook just like when you’re in your home kitchen, opens up a world of possibilities and delicious meals in a huge range of situations.  You can bake cookies; make pizza, casseroles, or anything you could cook in your home oven. For this reason they are ideal for camping, hunting, and fishing, letting you enjoy your favorite dishes no matter how far you are from civilization.

Portable Oven

 

But, of course they are also an excellent choice for people who have an RV, love picnicking, road trippers, and owners of country cabins. Using one in the patio, yard, or on the deck is also an easy way for home and trailer owners to cook outdoors in the summer months keeping extra heat outside where it belongs.  You can use one as a budget outdoor kitchen that won’t cost you thousands of dollars, like permanent ones do, and that can be taken with you wherever you go. Some brands such as the well-known Camp Chef and Coleman portable ovens are durable enough to be used on a daily basis or even multiple times a day as a primary oven for years into the future.

Since they don’t require electricity they are the best choice for people “living off the grid.”  They also just make a fantastic backup for homeowners who like to be prepared for and don’t want to miss a meal during power outages or even a serious disaster.  Using your portable gas oven cook for your family in an emergency situation pays for itself the first time around.Portable OvenThere are a few features that can make a really big difference when owning one.  Being easy to carry is a must, and that means having a handle and being fairly light in weight.  Also they of course need to be weatherproof so they can deal with the elements without a problem.  Some portable gas ovens will also conveniently have a range with burners on top which can save you from having to buy a separate camping stove and let you do all your cooking in one place.  Simple features like a built in igniter and temperature gauge are always very helpful too.

One very important item not to forget when purchasing a portable gas stove is a carrying case.  Think of it as insurance. Many ovens will have glass front which would be smart to protect when traveling to and from where you will be using it, or just during storage.  A case will also help prevent dents and scratches that otherwise could have been avoided and shield it from the weather.  Thieves are always on the lookout for easy targets and having a case can keep your oven from being stolen by making sure it is concealed when in your car or truck.  Good cases will have quality handles to make carrying your oven much easier and safer for the unit and your back.

Portable Oven 

Portable Warming Ovens

Unlike other options that are used cook food, these are used to heat up or keep pre-cooked food warm. A portable warming oven is a simple setup that consists of a hot plate inside of a bag that has a special heat reflective interior which both maintains and amplifies heat.  It’s meant to be used with flat bottom containers with sealable tops made from: glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, or foil and requires only to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

These are an incredibly useful and popular microwave alternative for office workers who want to save money and time by bringing leftovers or homemade foods to work.  Using the office microwave can not only waste a lot of valuable lunch time especially if you are the last one in line, but sometimes can be downright nasty if it is left un-cleaned.  Since the food being heated is done so in sealed containers you won’t have to worry about it being in an unsanitary environment. Because it is heated slowly, it also means evenly, so you don’t end up with a meal that is frozen in the center.  And of course you won’t have to worry about your meal exploding like what often happens in the microwave.   By using one your food will be cooking while you’re working, earning you extra minutes to enjoy on your lunch hour.

Portable Oven

They are also used quite often by anyone who stays in hotels frequently, such as airline staff for example, and wants to be able to eat nutritious home cooked meals without having to zap them in the microwave sacrificing taste, texture and nutritional value.  Anyone who works long hours in a car or truck such as truck drivers, police officers, paramedics, etc. also can benefit from having a hot meal ready to go at all times and save a ton of cash even in fairly quick time span.

Some brands may not be able to plug into the cigarette socket of your car, if this is the case with the model you want don’t let this stop you, all you need to do is purchase an AC to DC car inverter and you’re ready to go.  The most well-known and trusted units are without a doubt the Hotlogic mini personal portable ovens.Portable Oven

 

Portable Lunchbox Ovens

Similar to personal warming ovens but a little bit different, are portable lunch box ovens. Like their name suggests they have a hard plastic case just like lunchbox and not only reheat foods but can cook them as well. These are designed to be portable ovens used in cars and trucks and therefore can plug right into their cigarette socket.  For home use many will also come with an adapter.  Lunch box ovens usually can reach higher temperatures than warming oven somewhere around three hundred degrees Fahrenheit and do not need to be used with sealed containers.Portable Oven

As you could imagine these are a great for anyone who works on the road or takes frequent long trips in their car or truck, and are a long time favorite of truck drivers.  They save money, time, let you eat healthier foods, and of course leftovers.  Some of the most popular food items to use them with are pizza, sandwiches, canned foods, soups, hot dogs, chicken, and whatever you ate last night for dinner!  But of course the possibilities are almost endless.

Most lunch box oven owners do use disposable aluminum pans however to heat their food inside the unit since they can be simply thrown away after use and let them get away with little or no cleaning.  Another way to go is to simply line the oven with aluminum foil, dispose of it when you’re finished cooking, and give the inside a quick wipe down.  To save money, you could also just purchase a meatloaf pan and clean it in your dishwasher or sink after using it.  Regardless of what you use to cook the food inside of the oven, they are best used in conjunction with a cooler.  Just put your meals in the cooler and keep them there until you’re ready to heat them up.

Portable Oven

Solar Portable Ovens

Probably the least well known, but one of the most useful tools for cooking, particularly in an emergency situations are solar portable ovens.  While most people assume these are ovens which use power from solar panels, they are mistaken. These require no panels, gas, electricity, controls, or open flames.  Instead they use a reflective surface which is shaped to perfectly gather and hold the sun’s UV rays which are then converted into infrared rays that produce heat in the cooking chamber.  The heat generated by these infrared rays is what cooks the food.

Most models will use a metal heat conducting tray that absorbs UV rays as a base for whatever cookware you will be using.  Typically when heating food they will also use either a zip-up clear plastic cover to enclose the entire cooking chamber or a special clear plastic bag to enclose the cookware itself.  Which method used depends on the brand and model.Portable Oven

Solar portable ovens can cook any food which can be prepared in a conventional oven and many stove top meals too. You can even bake cookies. These ovens can also be used to effectively pasteurize water by killing bacteria making it safe to drink. They simply need to be placed in sunny spot and they will heat up, regardless of the outside temperature. Using one in the winter is just as easy as in the summer. And while you can cook when the sky is slightly cloudy you’ll have the fastest results on a clear day and when the sun is higher in the sky as opposed to lower.

Normally when cooking with a solar portable oven, there are two methods: setting the unit ahead of the sun and leaving it unattended or adjusting its position around every forty five minutes or so. Expect it to take around double the time to cook of a normal household oven. Slow cooker recipes work very well with this type of cooking.  In fact many people find that food cooked in a solar portable oven is more delicious than using other cooking methods since the food retains it natural moisture and nutrients therefore keeping it from drying out.

Portable Oven

Since these ovens are lightweight only weighing a few pounds at most, and normally fold or collapse down for easy traveling and carrying, they really can work amazingly well for quite a few uses.  Of course they are ideal for emergency situations such as long and short term power outages since they require no electricity.  This makes them a smart backup to keep “just in case,” and a favorite of preppers, survivalists, and people “living off the grid.”  A solar portable oven is also considered by many to be a must have item in a “bug out bag”, which is a portable kit that contains all the necessary items needed to survive for 72 hours in case of an emergency evacuation.

They can also just be a convenient cooking option when tailgating, picnicking, camping, hunting, fishing, or for use in areas where an open flame is not permitted such as beaches and national parks.  And of course are always a simple way to save on expensive electricity bills. Using a solar portable oven can save you cash in other ways too because you won’t need to pay for wood, propane, or charcoal. Since they don’t use any of these, they are not only a “greener” option but one that also keeps you from ingesting harmful carcinogens too.

Portable Oven

Being able to enjoy first-rate food in virtually any location has never been so easy.  Portable ovens give you the chance to eat your favorite foods whether they are used on a mountain top or your kitchen countertop.  Simply pick the one that suits your needs and place you will be using it and start cooking!

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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 Quick Guide To Countertop Water Coolers

Countertop Water Cooler

Drinking water is essential to our health and wellness as human beings. It helps to regulate our body temperature, flush out toxins, lubricate joints, carry nutrients to cells, and these are just a few of its benefits.

However having clean drinkable water accessible at all times often means purchasing large amounts of bottled water, installing a water filtration system in your home, or having to constantly fill up your water filter pitcher. While all of these may work, they are not the most convenient answer for everyone. A countertop water cooler on the other hand makes staying hydrated easy.

Unlike full size water coolers, the countertop variety are much smaller making them ideal for home and small office use. They take much less space, and as their name suggests fit are made to fit perfectly on a kitchen countertop.

Despite their small size they can provide you, your family, co-workers, or customers with all the water they need and at the temperature they prefer. With convenient features, sizes, and types to choose from countertop water coolers let everyone get the water they need without the hassle.

The Basics of Countertop Water Coolers With Bottles

There are two general types of coolers ones which use water cooler bottles and ones that don’t. The ones which use bottles look just like full size water coolers that you would see in an office only smaller. They have a water bottle on top that is installed with the neck of the bottle facing down which holds a reservoir of water that you can quickly access from a self-closing faucet.

They plug into an electrical outlet and use an internal compressor to cool your water. Most but not all, will also heat your water too. Obviously whether you choose one that only cools, or cools and heats your water, is up to what you will be using your countertop water cooler for on a regular basis.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Having instant hot water can really be a time saver for making coffee, tea, instant noodles, or soup. You won’t have to wait for water in a kettle to boil or use a microwave. You will also find what are called water dispensers on the market as well. These are basically the same setup and design but don’t plug in to cool or heat your water.

For this reason they are less expensive. If you like your water room temperature and don’t have any need for hot water, one of these could be perfect. You could also just unplug your portable water cooler if you want room temperature water as well or add a little hot water to your cold water for that matter.

Many consumers are attracted to the fact that they are basic, with no fancy gadgets or electricity needed. Since portable water coolers are also technically water dispensers as they dispense water, you will often see them advertised as “countertop water cooler dispensers.”

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Countertop Water Cooler Sizes

Both coolers and dispensers typically come in the same sizes. And sizes go by how many gallons their water cooler bottles can hold.  This usually means 2, 3, 4, and 5 gallon standard bottles. Which size you choose depends on how many people will be drinking from it and where you will be keeping it.

Five gallon options like the Oasis Onyx countertop water cooler shown in the image below, are the most popular since they can be used by more people or more times before having to be filled up and are normally the choice for small offices or families while smaller sizes are better for smaller spaces like desks and for individuals or couples.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Water Options

When it comes to the actual water for your countertop water cooler you can have a few options as well. You can purchase water bottles at just about any supermarket. Home stores too, will normally sell them so if you are looking for bottles for your countertop water cooler Walmart and Target would be easy places to shop for them for example.

Or you could have them delivered to your house or office instead. Many people simply use a tap water to fill up your water cooler bottle when it is empty, although depending on the size of your sink you may have to use a pitcher to help do this.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Storing Water Cooler Bottles

If you are going to be purchasing water cooler bottles it is a smart idea to think about storage. Many people keep them in an attached garage or storage room. But, due to their round shape and narrow top, they can tend to take up some floor space since they can’t be stacked on top of each other.

Purchasing a bottle rack or shelf set will help protect your floors and manage your space much more efficiently. Since they allow bottles to be stored vertically you can save multiple bottles in a space that would normally only be able to fit one or two. Just be sure to purchase one that is made for the size bottle you are using.

Countertop Water Cooler

A Countertop Water Filter Cooler

An increasingly popular option is to purchase a model that has its own filtration system. This is because owning one eliminates having to buy water bottles which can save you a lot of cash. And while you’ll still have to fill up your own bottles you’ll do so from your tap so you won’t have to leave your house yet end up with all the benefits and none of the hassles of bottled water.

A countertop water filter cooler is also ideal for someone who may not trust their tap water completely or does not like the taste or smell which is a common problem. Choosing one with a filter will solve all of these problems providing you with clean, fresh, and tasty water.

Countertop Water Cooler

If you already own a cooler and want to switch from buying bottles to a filter without having to purchase a new one you can simply purchase a separate filtration system, it’s an easy thing to do. Filtration systems are made to fit all standard size countertop water coolers and are used in place of a normal water bottle.

This allows you to use a filter that is made from a company other than the one which manufactured your cooler with no problems. Each filter can be used to clean a certain number of gallons before needing to be replaced, and how many that is depends on the manufacturer and model. Using one is cheaper than buying your own water bottles.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Bottleless Countertop Water Coolers

These are also called point of service water coolers since they do not use water bottles but are attached to the water line of your home. They are more expensive than options with bottles but that’s because they offer more advantages and convenience.

A filter is used to clean the water however they normally have to be changed less frequently than the type used in coolers with bottles. Some filters can be used for thousands of gallons before needing to be replaced. Not having to purchase any water can really save money and quickly make up for the price of the machine.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

Countertop bottless coolers have other advantages too. They are built to be more compact and because they don’t have the added height of a bottle on top, can fit into spots that other types can’t, such as under low hanging cabinets. Of course, since they do not use bottles you won’t have to worry about purchasing them, filling them up, or bottle storage which can be very appealing since it will save you time, money, and storage space.

Another benefit of bottless options are that they typically are much more sleek and attractive looking. They often will enhance the look of your room with materials such as stainless steel and won’t make your space feel like an office, which is actually a common fear when people buy a countertop water cooler for home use.

Like with other water coolers, these can both cool and heat your water. Some models like the one shown below will even make ice cubes. Countertop bottleless coolers are excellent for offices, businesses, small restaurants, or families and individuals who drink a lot of water or want the least amount of hassle. They are also especially handy for people who live in apartments, condos, and small spaces.

Countertop Water Cooler

 

The Best Countertop Water Cooler Features

Whether you choose a model which has a bottle or not, there are some features that set the top options apart from the rest. If you have children, a child safety lever is a must when purchasing a cooler that heats water. Little kids are always curious and it always pays to have an extra safety measure so they don’t get hurt. Luckily, these are typically a standard feature.

Choosing one that is known to be quiet is also important, as a noisy countertop water cooler can be annoying. Also make sure you pick one that is known to have a good flow volume. This will save you from having to wait an extra couple of seconds every time you get a glass of water which can really add up.

While not necessary, some people like to purchase models that allow them to adjust both the hot and cold temperatures to their own preference, and there a quite a few that let you do so.

Countertop Water Cooler

To live a healthy lifestyle you need to stay hydrated. And the key to doing so is having a supply of water which is always easily accessible. A countertop water cooler will make sure to provide the water you, your family, co-workers, or customers need on a daily basis.

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