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Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2014–


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I've had my VP215 for a month now, and I use it nearly daily.  We vac seal cheese that we don't use very fast, open the bag up use the cheese and seal again.  Working great for the more expensive cheeses we get for Risotto.    

 

I made a huge batch of marinara sauce, sealed it in 2 different size quantities, now I can pull some out and make vodka sauce in the same amount of time as the noodles cook.

 

I vac sealed turkey legs to make turkey confit (from MC@H) and it was amazing.

 

I compressed watermelon, it gets too boozy with high proof booze, but just alone + some really good balsamic vinegar makes for a great appetizer dish that people don't expect. 

 

It's so much easier to get stuff out of a bag then a container, and flat packing saves so much space in the freezer.  Not to mention it's easy to slip a bag of sauce in the fridge to thaw overnight - containers often times not so much.

 

So for anyone that doubts just how much they will use one of these... as long as it's easy to get to you'll find uses you never dreamed of.

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I recently purchased a VP112 and have been thoroughly impressed.  It fits on a kitchen counter (home use) and I have used it a lot more than I thought I would at first. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a home unit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So for anyone that doubts just how much they will use one of these... as long as it's easy to get to you'll find uses you never dreamed of.

 

Yes!

 

I've had my VP115 for a few months. Nearly the same price as a VP112, and I prefer the form factor, size being as big an obstacle as price.

 

I almost bagged some cold (jelled) chicken stock today, then thought better of it. A $30 impulse sealer is the way to go with liquids and chamber vacuum bags, no matter what chamber vacuum machine one has conveniently at hand.

 

Otherwise, yes, I use the VP115 for everything.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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I almost bagged some cold (jelled) chicken stock today, then thought better of it. A $30 impulse sealer is the way to go with liquids and chamber vacuum bags, no matter what chamber vacuum machine one has conveniently at hand.

 

Otherwise, yes, I use the VP115 for everything.

 

Why's that exactly? I bag stock in my chamber vac all the time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

almost bagged some cold (jelled) chicken stock today, then thought better of it. A $30 impulse sealer is the way to go with liquids and chamber vacuum bags, no matter what chamber vacuum machine one has conveniently at hand.

 

Why's that exactly? I bag stock in my chamber vac all the time.

 

Well, I own a powered sliding miter saw, and yet there are plenty of times I reach for a hand Japanese pull saw. Someone could ask exactly your question, and we'd both be right. If I describe my concerns, perhaps my chamber technique can be improved through forum comments. One has to try an impulse sealer to appreciate its advantages.

 

This question takes many forms. If one has a Ferrari and loves it, one still doesn't roll it down the driveway just to check the mail. That may be obvious, but I've tried not to find myself rolling the Ferrari down the driveway in other problem domains.

 

My VP115 has an air pump, not an oil pump. With water in an oil pump, one can just change the oil. With water in an air pump, one loses use of the machine for weeks, and has the hassle of a bulky shipment and an expensive repair. I don't really understand where this line is that I don't want to cross, and I don't want to learn the hard way. So I'm naturally cautious about the warning signs when working with liquids. I chill liquids thoroughly, and hit the seal button as fast as I can when I see boiling. I end up with less liquid per bag (to avoid spills and for safety) and a bit of air left in the bag.

 

My throughput is much faster, burping the air out as I seal with an impulse sealer. This is a manual dexterity task that I've noticed challenges others more than me, but I end up with less or no air in a tidier packet.

 

It is then a luxury to be able to work with liquids as hot as one can comfortably handle, using the impulse sealer. One always needs to chill liquids to have a hope of good results with a chamber machine.

 

Wine!

 

I recently looked again at Argon systems for preserving wine, and realized that all my options would involve a complex, badly build apparatus to deliver an unverifiable gas blanket that only works ideally in one's simplified dreams. For short term use, just buy a spray can and convince oneself that it works. For weeks, good luck.

 

Then I realized that I could store quartos of wine indefinitely in chamber vacuum sealer bags. If one later snips the corner to pour off a little for cooking, the sides cling to each other to form a one-way valve seal, like one of those plastic obscuring sheets that can cling to your kitchen window for years just using a slight film of water.

 

This is an application for an impulse sealer, even if one has a chamber machine. One doesn't need to chill white wine to cook with it. And one is going to chill red wine, just to be able to preserve it using the chamber machine?

Edited by Syzygies (log)
Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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My experience is quite different than yours Syzygies. 

 

I've not had a boil-over problem with my VP112 except on one memorable occasion.  I was making a soup in the VMix and let it run considerably longer than neccesary (having checked brain at the door) thinking that heating the liquid would be a good thing.  It went into the sealer quite warm and we had an "event".    Not the sort of mistake one makes twice.  I don't chill to a particular temp nor do I monitor the liquid for boiling while the vacuum is being pulled.  I just push start and when it's done, remove it.

 

I have a strip sealer as well but only use it now for dry, bulk product thats going into the freezer.  Anything wet goes into the chamber.  Trying to hit the seal button at just the right time and cleaning out the strip sealer when it's not, is not my idea of easy.

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well, $150-200 more expensive, not exactly "nearly"

 

$696 versus $629 on Amazon, a $67 difference. (I paid $689 a few months ago.)

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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I got my VP112 for $549 from WEBstaurant.com. They're a bit more these days, but the prices move up and down over time. The 115 is consistently more though, and has a higher profile. Given that they have the same pump, I didn't see that the 115 was worth the price premium (and it wouldn't fit on my shelf since it's taller).

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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What's really goofy is that the VP115 has an 11-1/2" seal bar, which isn't quite wide enough for 12" inch bags (indeed, it's rated for a max of 10 by 13" bags), nor two 6" bags side-by-side.  The only advantage I can see (I also have the 112) is that the lid appears to have ordinary hinges and so, I presume, is easier to load and unload.

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I have a strip sealer as well but only use it now for dry, bulk product thats going into the freezer.  Anything wet goes into the chamber.  Trying to hit the seal button at just the right time and cleaning out the strip sealer when it's not, is not my idea of easy.

 

You do mean one of these, right?

Hand_Impulse_Sealer.jpg

 

Your description of the mess sounds exactly like my experience trying to seal liquids in an external clamp vacuum sealer such as the FoodSaver (or more upscale, something like the Minipack Cyclone 30). I dislike external clamp vacuum sealers for all the same reasons as you. Is that what you thought I meant?

 

An impulse sealer like shown above sells for a song in various lengths. Its only control is a seal timer, engaged when one presses down the top arm.

 

I place it near the edge of a kitchen counter. I take a tiny block of wood (intended for texturing handmade pasta) to prop up one end. Using ordinary (not textured) chamber vacuum sealer bags, set up a liquid-filled bag to seal, with one hand on each side of the sealer, supporting the bag as it hangs off the counter. Squeeze the hanging liquid to force the remaining air up and out. Because of the slope, the liquid will want to escape at the high point of the ridge over the sealing strip. After it escapes, smooth the plastic along the sealing strip, and seal. If a small amount of liquid cleared the ridge onto the counter, clean it up in a couple of seconds with a paper towel.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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The 115 is consistently more though, and has a higher profile. Given that they have the same pump, I didn't see that the 115 was worth the price premium (and it wouldn't fit on my shelf since it's taller).

 

The VP 112 had an image problem for me; had I studied one in person, I might have bought one over a year ago. The pictures made it look like a plastic knockoff of a "real machine", squished so it could be used by opening the long way on a kitchen counter, without banging the cabinets overhead. My kitchen counter space is way too precious to give up for such a beast. The space nearby has no overhead obstacles, and favors opening a lid to face out at me.

 

Their market research must have found I'm not alone, for the VP 115 addresses all of my prejudices, founded or unfounded. It shows more actual metal like a "real machine", while maintaining a lighter, smaller form factor that one person can easily lift. And it opens and closes in an orientation that makes sense to me.

 

So yes, I worried about the price difference between the VP112 and the full-sized, oil pump machines we should probably all be getting. And the size and weight; the price difference keeps shrinking. When I saw the VP115 for sale, I saw the machine I'd wished they had sold as the VP 112, and I didn't perceive any price difference. Just that this was going to save me hundreds of dollars over a machine I'd have trouble lifting alone.

 

The ability to seal 12" or two 6" bags would be very nice. Were I to do this over again, however, I'd go up to some oil pump machine. That search is a rabbit hole; the VP215 is a fine machine but one reads sound arguments for spending twice as much...

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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Were I to do this over again, however, I'd go up to some oil pump machine. That search is a rabbit hole; the VP215 is a fine machine but one reads sound arguments for spending twice as much...

 

Boy, do I know it... I was going to get a VP215C and then I talked myself into a Minipack. No regrets, however!

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So I had a bit of a mess, trying to package some chilled Okra Sambar to freeze before leaving town. Just thick enough that the air pockets eject food rather than slipping by food. (Having urged chamber machine owners to try a basic impulse sealer (not a clamp machine), I felt a responsibility to give my chamber machine some more chances with liquids.

 

A Heloise Hint for cleaning up around the hardware that grips the bag: Get up what one can with a wet paper towel, then blow out the water and debris with a can of compressed air. Rinse and repeat.

 

Once one gets the hang of the impulse sealer, it's faster and does a better job with less risk of a mess.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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The only times I've ever had problems bagging liquids in a chamber vac, I wasn't paying attention AND I was using a bag too small for the amount of stuff I was bagging. The only instance that falls into only the "I wasn't paying attention" category was a time I was sucking the air out of a liquid thickened with hydrocolloids, when I turned my back and things bubbled over. If I had been paying attention, there would not have been an issue. Of course, in that case I wasn't even trying to bag anything, just suck the air out (something you couldn't possibly do with an impulse sealer).

 

Okra contains natural polysaccharides (that function similar to hydrocolloids) that both thicken liquids and trap air inside them. Mucilage, mucilage, mucilage. This can lead to bubbling over and creating a mess in your machine. If you're just sealing broth or soup or wine, nothing like that will happen. Next time, use less product in the bag and keep your eye on it. Or just stick with your impulse sealer.

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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I have to say I am confused about the problems regarding sealing liquid -- my MVS35 just does it, no problems.  I totally get that you can't allow it to boil away in the wrong circumstances, but if you have it in the right sized bag, and that bag isn't filled too much, there won't be a boil over anyway. I routinely pack measured out stock and then lay it flat for freezing -- makes for a very efficient use of space in the freezer, and with the high vacuum, a much longer stay in the freezer.  Sealing hot liquids can lead to a mess, but once again, as said above, if you pay attention, you are not going to have any problems.   I guess the whole reason I bought a chamber sealer was for the versatility and ease of use..which I absolutely have.

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what you say UP is interesting.

 

I have the VacMaster 215  Im very fortunate to have it, as I heard my lower back disc's 'squish' as I pick it up

 

stupidly, in an Olympic "Arnold S." against mu better judgement.

 

I was a bit bereft to note:

 

on this model its 14.5 " back to mid sealing bar

 

but only 2.5 " back depth to the 'rim' on the back

 

I dont know anything about other more expensive CVac's, but this seemed modest at 900 $$

 

still so far so good.  maybe more expensive CVacs drop that back 2.5 " into something with more depth.

 

One might get around this by making sure you 'fluids' are very cold.

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I have to say I am confused about the problems regarding sealing liquid -- my MVS35 just does it, no problems. 

 

Same here. I went for a nice sealer so I could have maximum versatility. I seal liquids, even warm ones, all the time. All you need to do is watch the chamber and hit the stop button before it makes a mess. When sealing warm liquids there will be an instant where the chamber fogs up in a split second... that is when I hit stop. Any longer and you're headed for a mess. 

 

I run the Conditioning Program once in a while, and change the oil (so far) once a year. I did about 600 cycles in my first year, so that is probably an early oil change, but more frequent oil changes won't hurt anything. 

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I guess the other thing I will say is that I have not had one seal break on either my old MVS31 or my current 35 -- I would constantly lose seals with my old vacuum sealer - to the point where I almost avoided sous vide cooking...obviously, that was a garbage sealer -- but when it came time, I super prioritized and went for the chamber....

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I have had some failed seals but always with good explanation. If I seal something with sharp parts (bones, shrimp shells), I might get a pinhole leak. Now I know to double-bag these things, or pad the bones. Once in a while one of my big 12" bags will shift during pump-down and I will get a wrinkle under the sealer bar, but I can usually trim off the bad seal and try again. Not all wrinkles cause bad seals, but it does happen once in a while. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

this is a big problem w those machines

 

I only know that as I discussed at length w the owner of the place i got my oiled chamber vac

 

in Texas about this.

 

 

I really cant recall the place, but it was the cheapest place at that time and probably now

 

If someone remembers this place.

 

shout out and call them.

 

sorry I cant get closer than this.

 

Ill try later.

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