Any recommendations that don't cost $500?
Or should I just buy cheap ones and consider them disposable?
Why spend $100 every two years or so for crap? I wouldn't want something that expensive to be considered disposable. Just suck it up and buy the one that can be repaired. You'll recoup not only the money you would have spent on replacing cheap junk, but also the time, hassle and irritation.
The Weston Pro (and the Cabelas-branded version) are very good. You can get the Cabelas one on sale, periodically, if you are willing to wait, and they will ship it to a store near you for pick up for free.
Edited to remove "not $500." Just checked Cabelas website, and they're now $500. But still, over 5 years, you've got your payback, if you only buy $100 FoodSaver models, otherwise. It doesn't look like the "professional-grade" FoodSaver machines are that inexpensive, though.
Cheap ain't good and good ain't cheap.
Edited by thock, 26 February 2012 - 07:27 PM.