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The Food Saver/Vacuum Sealer Topic, 2011 to Present


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I had forgotten that I had some 10" x 13" 3 mil boilable bags, which was why I was using the retort pouch. I didn't really need to, since I wasn't going to be canning the meat.

Bob, I just saw this. Have you ever tried to actually can in a retort pouch? I only have experience canning in glass jars. I'm interested in the process. Is this something best not attempted in a home kitchen (with a pressure canner)?

Thanks!

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone used the Weston or the BestVac for more than two years? Over time, I've had three or four FoodSavers die after about two years, and I'm really exasperated with them. I need something under $400, and light enough to be removed from a shelf when I use it (no more counter space), that won't quit after a few years. Any suggestions?

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I believe Weston makes the Cabela's one that I have, and I've had it a couple of years. It's still going strong, and just packed two deer. What I like about it is that the parts are replaceable, rather than having to throw away the whole thing if something fails. And the seal is 1/4" wide, as opposed to the very thin strip that the Tilia ones make. Did I have to spend a lot of money on it? Yes, but as someone once told me, I'm too poor to buy cheap stuff. I'd rather pay a decent amount of money for something that will last and can be repaired, rather than shelling out money year after year for something that has to be pitched if it breaks. If you think about it, how much have you already spent on vac packers that have quit on you? Is it more than $400? If so, what would you be losing to invest in something that can be fixed, rather than tossed?

The Cabela's one I have is not a lightweight, by any means, but it is movable. It's not as hard to move as my KitchenAid would be.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have had it with Food Saver. My two year old, lightly used "professional" model is acting-up. Switches are giving out and only work after about 15 presses and as many cusses. This is the third one that's crapped out after light, careful use. WTF. The quality of kitchen appliances just sux unless you pay a ton and even then they can suck (see the entire Waring Pro line).

Ok my rant is over.

Any recommendations that don't cost $500?

Or should I just buy cheap ones and consider them disposable?

Edited by gfweb (log)
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I'm pretty happy with my Weston Pro 2300 -- bought for $400 in 2010 (price has come down since) and still going strong, no problems. That itself could actually be a problem because at some point I would like to upgrade to a chamber model to make life easier with liquids and to try other techniques (compression/infusion). At this rate it will be a while before I get a chamber sealer if I wait for the Weston to break down...

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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 (log)

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

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.

As it turns out, Cabela's is actually running a $70 off sale on the $500 unit, and a $50 off the $330 unit. Unfortunately, they probably don't qualify for the "Your ENTIRE order ships for one cent when including clothing or footwear in your cart" deal since large and heavy items aren't included.

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  • 1 month later...

My FoodSaver, several years old, has finally broken. I'd love to buy a Weston or even a small chamber vacuum sealer, but I do not have the space for it. I am limited to a small machine like my old FoodSaver 1050. Has anyone used a Vacupack Lite? Here is a link to the distributor's description. I like a couple of things about this, in principle: the channel (where the open edge of the bag goes for air-evacuation) is removable for cleaning; the company seems to know about vacuum sealers; and (notably in the accompanying video) they do not make exaggerated claims for this basic model. And if anyone has other good options for a machine no more than 4.5 inches in height, I'd be very happy to hear them. I'm not too worried about the price, not that such machines tend to be all that expensive.

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My FoodSaver, several years old, has finally broken. I'd love to buy a Weston or even a small chamber vacuum sealer, but I do not have the space for it. I am limited to a small machine like my old FoodSaver 1050. Has anyone used a Vacupack Lite? Here is a linkto the distributor's description. I like a couple of things about this, in principle: the channel (where the open edge of the bag goes for air-evacuation) is removable for cleaning; the company seems to know about vacuum sealers; and (notably in the accompanying video) they do not make exaggerated claims for this basic model. And if anyone has other good options for a machine no more than 4.5 inches in height, I'd be very happy to hear them. I'm not too worried about the price, not that such machines tend to be all that expensive.

Looks nice, but has one disadvantage: as the port for the canister adapter tube is inside the vacuum chamber, sealing liquids will be difficult if not impossible. The Magic Vac Elite is 9cm high.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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Thanks, Crouton. Could you do me a favor and measure the height of the Cabela sealer (closed)? The website says it is 5", but it would help me to have a precise figure: storage space is tight!

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Thanks, Crouton. Could you do me a favor and measure the height of the Cabela sealer (closed)? The website says it is 5", but it would help me to have a precise figure: storage space is tight!

Sure, I can check over the weekend for you. It's not exactly a small unit but 5 inches high sounds about right... it's more wide than tall. It fits nicely in one of our over-sized cabinet drawers.

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Thanks, Shalmanese. I had been debating forever about which one to get, but at 50% off, that made the decision for me. I got the FoodSaver 3880. I may decide to upgrade in a couple of years, but for under $100, I couldn't pass it up.

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  • 4 months later...

A vacuum sealer virgin here, and I think it's time for me to buy one. I've read through all the topics but while I've learned a lot, I don't see much of a consensus about what product is most reliable or easiest to use. I would like to be able to seal liquids and don't want to spend a fortune.

Any new wisdom or recommendations? What features do you think matter the most to a new user?


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liquids will make it tougher PedroG has had some input on this. consider also what you want to do with the bags after SV: a 3 mill bag will withstand freezer stress for a long time with no 'burn' the 2 mil not so much

I learned this on America's test kitchen several series ago when they review them all. Ill see if I can dig up the episode. the shows are in the Minuteman library system. it worth a watch.

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/overview.asp?docid=20161

"It turns out that jagged ice crystals can poke pinholes through plastic, letting air and moisture seep in. At 0.05 mm thick, the winning model’s bags were 0.02 mm thicker than the runner-up bags, and 0.03 mm thicker than a standard zipper-lock bag. Small as it may seem, that extra protective bulk made a lot of difference and pushed our winner to the top."

its very hard to find the episode it might be in Cook's Country I have the Weston system based on what I saw. but its expensive and pretty big. Im very happy with it but I SV in bulk. If a FoodSaver does the thinker bags ( I thought mine were 3 mil ) and you study PedroG's method for doing liquid, consider that.

and they are at BB&B where you always take a 20% off coupon!

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Sealing bags with liquids in them using a front seal type is almost impossible. The cheapest of the chamber types is over $550 (at webstrauntstore.com they have a VP112 listed for $559.00). My experience with vacuum sealers was this; buy a vacuum sealer from Costco for $250 use for two years and replace because they are completely non-servicable repeat three times, buy a chamber vacuum and use it more but have no problems.

I am on the chamber vac side of the debate. I love that I buy 1000 bags for $60 to $80 dollars and it is very rare that I have a bad seal. I use my VP112 more than I use zip lock bags because it is so much cheaper per bag. I love that I can make water bags and freeze them for camping at $0.07 each. It is so easy to plop a beef roast into a bag and pour in a cooking liquid and seal it up.

That's my 2 cents.

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this place says they are 3/5 mil:

http://www.allamericancooker.com/ows300101.htm

they say these bags work with any sealer.

not necessarily the cheapest. Rolls are good for odd sizes. I buy green coffee from Sweet Maria's and use the longer rolls: I leave extra space at the top so one 'bag' can be resealed many times, it just gets a lot shorter. I also store butter in the freezer this way when its 'on sale' run of the mill butter.

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If you don't want to buy a chamber vac sealer, the ones at Cabelas (rebranded Weston Pro, as far as I can tell) is very good. I've had one for several years. I had the FoodSaver ones before, and I was not happy with them. The Cabelas one has a 1/4" seal, and the foam, heating element, and teflon tape are all replaceable. I imagine the pump(s) is (are), as well. It's not cheap, but at roughly $400, if you buy two of the FoodSaver ones, you've paid for the Cabelas model (or the Weston Pro). Cabelas runs sales every so often, too.

Also, you can seal liquids in canning jars, or can freeze them and seal in bags with this vac sealer. Someone had come up with a way to seal liquids in bags, but I haven't tried it out, yet. Usually, I pressure can my liquids, or freeze and vac pack, or just freeze in a canning jar.

ETA info about liquids.

Edited by thock (log)

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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this is the one I have:

http://www.qualitymatters.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=QMPRO-2100&Click=65034&zmam=95372953&zmas=1&zmac=12&zmap=QMPRO-2100&gclid=CIWBvqzYmbMCFUKd4AodLBAApg

they also have decent prices on 3.5 mil bags.

Im glad i got this, but its on the $$ side, Ive had it 1 1/2 years, but its big:

its 19" wide. Ive frozen liquids in those rectangular plastic 24 oz reusable plastic tubs, the kind you get at any supermarket in 6 packs and if you work quickly it works fine taking out the frozen block and getting it in a bag then seal.

but I use this for several things other than SV, but am happy with it as I had the space in my kitchen for it to permanently live. its heavy!

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