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Is the VacMaster Pro still the best?

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by muddydogs, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. muddydogs

    muddydogs Smoking Fanatic

    My Foodsaver stopped sucking in the middle of sealing some pork belly bacon packages so I ran to Cabelas and picked up one of there $150 units. Got the new unit home and while the lights come on it doesn't do anything, if a rap on the top of the unit it will work for about 2 seconds.
    In light of my recent hassles I'm really thinking about dropping some cash on a good unit. WebstaurantStore has the 350 for $240 and the 380 for $296.
  2. SFLsmkr1

    SFLsmkr1 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have the VM Pro 260. 5 years still going strong. And the VM VP112, Workhorse does liquids but its heavy unit.
  3. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    VacMaster is popular for sure. When my old foodsaver died, I researched and went with LEM before they incorporated their bag holder which I did not want anyway. 5 year warranty. I like it a lot.
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have a VM pro 380 & love it.
    Had it about 2 years & got it at WebstaurantStore too.
  5. Hi all -- I'm new here. I've recently started experimenting with sous vide (Anova Wi-Fi / BT model), and now I'm looking to add a vacuum sealer to the toolkit. I must have read a hundred reviews, looked at loads of sites, seen what I could at stores (only Foodsaver it seems in most bricks and mortar locations). Anyway - VacMaster and Weston external sealers seem to be about right for me: I've been comparing the VacMaster PRO350 and PRO380, several Weston models (1100, 2300, 3000, 3500...), and also briefly considered some that seem to originate from the same or similar factories in China (LEM, others). Webstaurantstore does seem to show the best discounts on VacMaster. I was concerned about what I've seen online though: Google's aggregate rating for them looks great --- but the aggregate of 635 ratings on "resellerratings.com" is only 5.4 out of 10, and their aggregate on "sitejabber" is 1.6 out of 5. Always hard to distinguish valid reviews from troll work. I like their pricing, but I'm concerned about the negative chatter. Any insight into them as a business vs. other vendors? Any other thoughts re: getting the best price on VacMaster (leaning to the 350 or 380 - can't justify a chamber sealer just yet...). Thanks in advance!

    - Jon
  6. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I went with LEM as I felt it might be a better machine. And the warranty of 5 years is pretty good. Check Cabella’s. As for Amazon comments, I don’t fully trust them. Oftentimes a comment may be positive or negative for a specific brand but not necessarily the featured model. Read them carefully.
    InThePittBBQ and Jon Strong like this.
  7. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I went from foodsaver to VM pro 380. I am in Canada so I contacted Lisa Directly ( Site sponsor ) @Vacuumsealersunlimited.com. She was very helpful it great to deal with. It has and is a good machine for our uses, We do a lot of home butchering and use it for almost everything. No complaints so far.
    Jon Strong likes this.
  8. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I bought a Vac Master 350 from Vacuum Sealers Unlimited (a site sponsor) last year. It had a small wrinkle in the sealing tape that prevented getting a good seal. Lisa at Vacuum Sealers got a replacement tape (actually an entire maintenance kit) sent to me immediately. Easy fix. She also sells what I think are the best bags. Very happy with the sealer and the customer service.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    Jon Strong likes this.
  9. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    My Pro 380 quit sucking a couple months ago. A call to customer service (quick, responsive and in English) and they sent me a new pressure switch rather than me having to send it in (whew!). Installation was simple, and they offered to walk me through the R&R over the phone. Piece o cake!

    The root cause of the failure is unknown. The part they sent me is what would fail if you let liquid or other matter get sucked into the machine. I can honestly say at no time have I ever allowed this to happen. But nonetheless, this is the part that quit.

    At first I really questioned my decision to buy the Vacmaster because I was so disappointed when it quit, and especially when it was so relatively new. Now, actually having gone through this, has given me a lot more confidence in the machine quality, (seeing the internal components and how it is built), customer service (fast, easy, and real people to talk to) and parts availability.

    The 380 is a beast! It is a huge counterspace hog, but I am still glad I got the wider 380 over the 350.
    Jon Strong likes this.
  10. rexster314

    rexster314 Smoking Fanatic

    You can't go wrong with anything Vacmaster, and seconds on the customer service
    Jon Strong likes this.
  11. Thanks... I've looked at ads for a few different LEM models. Interesting -- much like many products that originate in China, it seems that a lot of these probably come out of the same factories, but have been spec'd differently by their companies that source and sell them. I learned something about that in 2005 when I picked up a very decent stainless steel grill from Lowes that turned out to be far better than I had any right to expect at that price point: it turned out to be a "Jenn-Air" branded model 720-0061-LP which was actually manufactured by NexGrill, but to surprisingly good specs, so good in fact that became a popular topic item on another forum: bbqsource-forums.com at the time, with people posting mods for it. I wound up getting new brass gas orifices, undrilled, and drilled them out to a slightly larger diameter (#55 drill bit as I recall), which allows me to get about 600F at the grid.

    Anyway - back on topic: I can see a lot of similarities between LEM, VacMaster, Weston, and I suspect Cabella's top two may come from the same or a similar factory. Definitely differences across the various models -- pump motors anywhere from 125W to 900+ Watts with a resulting different speed and ultimate vacuum they can create. Different width sealing bars and features -- pulse, seal time, etc. I think that the more closely I look at all of these the more they begin to blur together. These are all definitely more than I had planned to spend, but I'm sold on the value -- just have to make a final decision now and look for the best price.
  12. Thanks to all -- I really appreciate this. Re: Amazon comments -- yes -- I'm aware of the awful situation re: bogus comments there, both positive *and* negative. There are a few sites you can use to help assess the quality of the reviews (e.g., "reviewmeta"), but these only help so much.

    I appreciate the comments about Lisa (VacuumSealersUnlimited), and see the long term participation here -- that says a lot. I also wrote directly to ARY (VacMaster) and got a reply back today indicating that they WILL be posting holiday discounts this week. Their own direct to consumer pricing is higher than something like Lisa's site, but maybe some of the holiday discount goodness will also trickle down to distributors like VacuumSealersUnlimited this week too...? (hoping!)

    - Jon

  13. retfr8flyr

    retfr8flyr Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can't go wrong with Vacuum Sealers Unlimited. I got my VP12S from them, also bags and they have been great to deal with. I would rather pay a little extra to keep a small business operation going and have good people to deal with.
  14. Good point - thx

  15. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Jon - I am sure you will be happy with whichever machine you buy. Budget is always a concern and I reckon so are aesthetics. Maybe even bells and whistles. Good luck.
  16. @sarge - I suspect you're right. My guess is that any of the ones I'm considering will be fine. Think I'll keep an eye out for Black Friday deals over the next week or so and then pull the trigger. Thx!

  17. ARY VacMaster dropped the price on the PRO350 and PRO380 over the last couple of days -- I first saw the drop on their direct listing on Amazon (I monitor listings via both CamelCamelCamel and "Honey" -- they both notified me of the drop). Great pricing -- still discounted if anyone is considering these. I pulled the trigger on a PRO350 -- the 380 is appealing (especially at the current price), but I really don't need to extra long seal bar, and it's already going to be sufficiently challenging dedicating space for the 350 in the kitchen, no less the wider 380. Anyway, I should have it sometime next week. Thanks again for the feedback and comments. Looking forward to this; opens new options for bulk meat purchases, and improves what I'll be able to do with sous vide.
  18. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don’t keep our vac sealer on the counter. I store it in the box on a shelf in the laundry room. Just too big to leave out permanently. I bring it out when needed. If I am doing only one or two small items I double in plastic wrap and a zip lock bag. But any more than that I bring out the machine and set up an assembly line. I might even have the meat grinder set up at the same time.
  19. rexster314

    rexster314 Smoking Fanatic

    We have a Foodsaver 4000 series that is kept on a kitchen counter. If it's stored in it's box, you don't get your money's worth out of it. Out of sight, out of mind. We use the thing several times a day, including resealing canisters and chip bags.