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vacuum sealer question

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by cal1956, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    we were talking to a friend and mentioned that we were thinking about buying a vacuum sealer , she told us not to waste our money the one she had never worked very well and then proceeded to get it out of her storage shed and show it to us . still in the original box
    it had several rolls of bags and she told to to take it home and play with it
    we did , we can't find anything wrong with it and it seems to work fine
    it's a
    "game saver Deluxe plus" by food saver
    according to the paper work that was in the box it will be 10 years old this November
    whats it worth ?
    and is it worth buying ?
    i have never used one before and know nothing about them so i would like your opinions
  2. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I am very glad I got a food saver, they aren't considered 'top of the line' by any means, but it's going to be ten years old? Flip her a twenty if she doesn't want it and have fun. I'm not sure if the bags back then were sous vide quality, but the ones now are. I have an instant pot I can set for a certain temp and thats how I plan to reheat things. No over heating, or no losing moisture.

    Maybe some one with the actual model will chime in though!
  3. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    If your not turned off by the roll and bag prices, I would say get that one. I think it's a very popular model even now. I have a mid priced food saver. I like mine.
  4. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I also have a mid priced food saver, and buy the food saver bags by the roll. I like it, and i use it to seal regular plastic bags like chips and tortillas. Not vac seal, just heat to melt the bag closed. I would have no problem paying $20-25 bucks for it.

  5. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    thanks i was thinking it might be worth more. see i told you i didn't know anything ..lol
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, just a different perspective. Long ago my Mom bought a Walmart food saver (don't know that was the manufacturer's name). When I needed a vac seal system she showed me the one she had. She said everyone told her that the vac machine type really didn't matter, it was all about the bags. She said her's worked 1/2 way thru the first summer and if I wanted to play with getting it to work, I was welcome to it. Only thing I remember was it was green. LOL

    I bought a Vac u seal from Ms. Lisa who helps sponsor this site I believe. I use her bags and her VacMaster Pro 350. I have used over thousand bags I know. In all that time, the only problem was the heating element got to sticking or burning thru the bags. I called Ms. Lisa and for 20.00 I got a new teflon coated heating element two days later (actually I bought 2 and stored the extra).


    I have had this for 3 years now without a major problem. I like it, but I can't tell you its better than what you are looking at, only I like it a lot better.

    Here's one of our threads all about sealers:
  7. SmokinAl

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

    That model is a high end model in the Foodsaver line.
    I have had very good luck with Foodsaver, then I bought a Vacmaster Pro 380.
    Much better machine, but the Foodsaver will do a fine job.
    chopsaw likes this.
  8. Jerry Onik

    Jerry Onik Newbie

    I have a Cabella's Brand unit, after going through 3 food saver units, I paid a premium for it but was tired of the food saver units not working. I do not buy roll bags anymore, I go online and buy bags in bulk, its cheaper than the waste I had in making the bags from a roll. I heartliy recommend them.
  9. petehalsted

    petehalsted Smoking Fanatic

    Foodsavers are "entry" level machines. As long as you treat them as such they are fine. I have gone through 3 Foodsavers in probably the last 10-12 years.

    VacMasters are definitely better quality but are also more $

    Never ever ever let the pump suck up any liquid. That is the number one cause of death for Foodsavers. Not really an issue with regular use, the tray catches some amounts of liquid, but if you do a lot of wild caught fish or want to do soups etc. it can be. For soups make your bag, put soup in it, let it par freeze for a bit, then seal the bag. For fish put the on cookie sheet and let them freeze a bit before sealing in a bag, which also keeps the fish from being mushed when sealed.

    If I am sealing something like fresh fish and don't prefreeze, I use a papertowel in top of the bag, just below where it will seal, to catch the liquid and keep it out of the seal and the machine.

    Don't try to do 20 bags no stop. One of the reasons the VacMaster cost more is that cooling fan that isn't on the Foodsaver. Do 3 or 4 bags, give it a couple of minutes, Do 3 or 4 more. The heating strip gets to warm and causes issues with it sealing properly

    Do a double seal. Once you seal the bag, trim about a 1/4 off the lose portion past the seal and then seal again. This gives you a double seal, as it lets the bag slide in a bit further and seals in a different spot. I don't do this for everything. But if I see a lot of liquid pulling into the seal area, which can sometimes cause a compromised seal.

    Don't fall for the Sams Club/Costco big bag set. It has rolls and premade bags in it, premade bags save some time since you don't have to seal both ends but generally waste quite a bit. Using just rolls you can control the size of the bags, I buy my rolls via Amazon prime.

    Bottom line, some form of a Vacuum sealer is in most serious backyarders, arsenal. We buy our meat in bulk when we see sales, etc. And vacuum seal it. I did some beef ribs last month that I had in the freezer for 3 months and you would never have known it. But where it really shines is after the cook, I am one of those guys that believes a full smoker is a happy smoker. Once am am done with a smoke, I vacuum seal up "MRE" for the 2 of us, and we generally have 4-6 weeks worth of meal in the freezer. All we do is thaw out a bag, then we use it like a "boiler" bag to heat it, but don't let the water boil, Boiling the water can soften the seals and let them come loose (and you get boiled food), but it also cooks the food more, keeping your water around 140, reheats the meat without overcooking it, and when you open the bag, it smells like it just came off the smoker, even months later.

    Bottom line if you can get it for $20, its well worth it, you can play with it and see how having a Vac sealer works for you. I can tell you its one gadget in my kitchen I won't do with out!
  10. I've used FoodSavers and agree that they work well, and that doing super fast work from bag to bag will make them stop working when they overheat. I've only accomplished this once, when I was using it just to seal bags cut off a roll. My hunting group had butchered several deer, we then had two sealers going...one guy (me) was cutting bags off rolls and sealing the ends and labeling them with a sharpie, then handing to the next guy who filled the bag, who handed it to a 3rd guy who did the final seal.

    The 3rd guy had a Cabela's Commercial Grade and he had no pauses. My FoodSaver was our slow-down because I had to let it cool periodically. Keep in mind, my job was cut, seal, label, repeat. That means I was going bag to bag pretty quickly.

    When I do my own butchering at home, I do all the cutting/grinding/etc and then my wife packs/seals. We never have an issue with overheating then. It was only during that "assembly line" that I overheated it. I've done I can't even begin to count how many deer on FoodSavers. I go through one about every 5-6 years, it seems. Makes it hard to justify more for a higher quality unit, much as I'd like to justify it.

    So far, I've scored good deals at yard sales or various online sources so I've never paid "shelf price" for them. If I have to do that at some point, that's when I may reach for the higher grade brands/models.
  11. LanceR

    LanceR Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Foodsaver bags or rolls from 10 years ago can be used as boiling bags.

    I'm not sure about sous vide though. Strangely enough some bag makers state that certain of their pages can be used for boiling bags they sometimes also say that the same bag cannot be used for sous vide. I don't know whether they break down over time or what but there it is. At any rate, home use sous vide wasn't on the horizon 10 years ago so they may be all right and it just wasn't thought of. I suspect that a call to foodsaver is in order....
  12. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I got myself a Ziploc Brand sealer, and it has been doing fine for me.
    Were the cost comes in is the bags after-the-fact, as was mentioned above.
    My work around was to find rolls with free shipping on Ebay, commercial quality, and they have a clear side and a vacuum channeled side. I liked them so much I got more rolls of both the 8" and the 11" wide. I simply make my own bags, but tend to use more 8's than 11's.
    Here at the Daughters home I've been using her Food Saver Brand sealer and I like it better than my cheaper Ziploc unit. She also uses rolls and has the dispensers/cutters. She is an avid Goodwill Stores shopper and finds things for pennies on the dollar around her.
    Ultimately, if I was still processing game like I did in Wyoming, I'd have a chamber vacuum sealer. Shotgun Red has a pretty good video of a comparison.
    A Chamber type can seal up liquids, as well as solids.
    But doing the math is fairly easy on the bags. Just figure out 100 feet = 1200" of linear bagging material. If you made it into bags yourself, say 8 X 8, you can get 150 bags out of a roll. <11 cents per bag.
    My wife still drags her feet about it. But to me, the nicely prepared end result is well worth using a vacuum sealer system. Especially if I want to heat and eat some of my smoked Salmon.
  13. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    will the rolls of bags from Amazon work with it ? i looked at so that we 11" x 50 ' for about $ 16.00
  14. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Probably. They have become fairly standardized. So most vacuum sealer bags can interchange with the different machines.
    You are not limited to a brand name bag.
    kit s likes this.
  15. petehalsted

    petehalsted Smoking Fanatic

    Agreed the "foodsaver" style machines pretty much can use each others bags.

    The Chamber sealers like Sonny mentioned use something completely different, because they don't need the "air channel" for the way they vacuum, which is why the per bag cost is much lower, but the machine ain't cheap for sure.
    kit s and SonnyE like this.
  16. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah Pete, I sure can't justify the Chamber Pot for my use. Lowest I think I saw was ~ $600+.
    And the per bag ran in the 3 cents per range.
  17. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    I'd been using a Foodsaver for years, and the only problem I encountered was when running large batches of product - had to let the sealing element cool else the machine would seal prematurely and not evacuate the bag properly. Like Al, I now use a Vacmaster 380 Pro and it works flawlessly for anything (and however much) I need to do. However, if you are patient with the Foodsaver, or only do small batches, then it works just fine.
  18. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I've had a Seal-a-Meal sealer given to me as a gift probably 10+ years ago that just wont die! I finally upgraded to a Vacmaster PRO380 and never looked back. My old one was fully automatic, and I couldn't independently control the sealing. It needed to reach a full vacuum before it would seal. That was a deal breaker for me in the end. My point is, having independent control of suction and sealing should be a minimum requirement, and it looks like that one does. I see you can still get parts for it- sealing gaskets, heating strips.

    I will second the aforementioned NEVER suck up any liquid. Take all necessary precautions to prevent that.
  19. The bags from different makers can be used as long as they are same size. Also it is better to pre-freeze most things so juice from meat will not only be sucked out of it but also to keep your unit from filling with same. Cheeses and other soft stuff also as the squish. Found also had to double bag (first not sealed) some thing such in rib steaks etc. as bone my poke a small hole and allow air in (usually when item is jostled around in freezer) But they all sure extend the life in the freezer of food items so ya worth it.
  20. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    When it comes to vacuum sealers my experience (and a TON of others as well) is that if you don't fork out the money and buy the quality vac sealers you are going to be in for a major disappointment way too soon :(

    I did some research and thought I could get away with buying one of the higher end food saver models that are $200+. It worked great for 1 hunting season and then severely struggled during the 2nd season. I had replacement sealing strips, foam strips, etc. in preparation for the day it started going down hill and none of that worked! I also thought it would be many years of use not two hunting seasons worth of use.

    I process anywhere from 125-200 pounds of wild game meat each year after my big weekly hunt and let me tell you the LAST thing you want is to be sitting with 150 pounds of hard earned, painstakingly well processed game meat sitting around ready to be vac sealed and a have your vac sealer just not perform worth a damn! EVEN WORSE is to have it half perform and think you can roll with it to then end up with a bunch of sub par sealed meat that will get freezer burned!
    The disappointment is heartbreaking!

    I upgraded without hesitation and got the Weston Pro-2100 because it is used by serious restaurants and other businesses. It runs $350-$475 but I got it for $305 during the Black Friday weekend sales right after my Food Saver limped by. WOW one of the best purchases ever despite the hefty price tag!

    So long story short, buy the correct quality of machine and do NOT try to get away with lesser quality machines like Food Savers. Many here swear by the Vac Masters 350 or better which can be had for $275+.
    I ask you to PLEASE do yourself a favor and get a real/quality vac sealer or at the very least DO NOT DEPEND on that vac sealer to support you through any semi-serious food storage need.

    Best of luck with it all! :)