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We are an avid outdoors family. Hunt and fish year round. And yep, we grocery shop too :-) Always loading camp and home freezers. Very experienced vacuum sealers using commercial chamber type. Decided to try a “home” version, counter top size unit. Fully prepared to return to Amazon Prime if needed.
First and foremost you should know this unit pulls 11” of vacuum (10.5 inches actually, I rounded up). Other units can pull as much as 22”-30” Hg. This is a BIG difference. But not necessarily a show stopper (more on this later). I measured this with 2 different accurate vacuum gauges. I am an engineer and understand measurement, pressures, etc. Made a career out of measuring. I wanted this unit to perform. I really did. 11” Hg verified. Just know Foodsaver doesn’t reveal how much vacuum their units pull. They say it’s proprietary? So measured I did.
Bottomline is we’ll keep the unit. Overall very utilitarian with nice set of features allowing both auto and manual operation — you want that. Manual (pulse) allows you to control or “feather” amount of hard/soft vacuum. A unit with internal bag roll storage is a plus; very efficient. The Hand Held Accessory is a great option. Use with zip type vac seal bags, jars, marinade containers. And this hand held Accessory has its own reservoir to collect liquids (when used for zip bag). Nice. Main unit has liquid catch tray as well. Essential. Must have. Why? You don’t want liquids sucked into the vacuum pump. It can easily happen. Cleaning nightmare. Always be careful to avoid liquids getting into the pump circuit.
I would prefer a bit more vacuum power but think we can live with this. It’s adequate but barely IMO. ONLY because we normally use our vac’ed foods within a year or less and our sealed bags tend to hold up during that span. And yes, we have had precious wild game get buried in the freezer for 2+ years (stored using monster size chamber vac). They were all fine, seals intact. So a durable seal matters.
Balance of Power (this is the “more on this later” part) You buy a vac sealer to evacuate the air from your storage container and keep it out. Soo....you want enough vac power and sealing ability to do so. Over a long haul. Yet there is something of a balance needed between too much and not enough suction. Bear in mind a common complaint about sealers is bag leaks over time. That’s a FAIL. There are lots of reasons for this (user error, crappy bags, etc). Also consider vacuum can work against itself. How? Ambient air pressure is ALWAYS trying to get in. Plus the hostile environment inside your freezer. Competing forces. Too much vacuum can be a problem and work against the seal. Unless “the balance of power” is good. There are several variables here: vacuum amount, bag quality, seal quality, the user. Too much vacuum for a mediocre seal or a chinchy bag can result in creating a leak. It’s just a matter of physics. So now I’ll postulate: One has to think the better manufactures understand the balance between amount of vacuum, bag design/material, and sealing. Thus they want to find that balance or sweet spot. And all things considered, the better manufactures match the variables for optimal, cost effective performance. So I surmise it’s wise to stick with matched, quality components (bags) that work in unison. At least until you verify other bags will work as well (many do). Respect that balance.
Results We put this unit to work. Processed an entire deer and 30 lbs of large, whole shrimp. The unit didn’t miss a beat vac’ing and sealing dozens of bags custom cut from Foodsaver rolls. We cut ~ gallon and quart size. Some necessarily larger than gallon size. NOTE: We also used several bulk packaged precut bags from Foodsaver. And yes they were about an inch shorter than the older precuts and the demo bags that come with this unit. Makes a difference. Shame on Foodsaver!
Ok, so I would like to have a bit more than 11” of vacuum. We tinkered with Dry, Moist, Pulse settings to fully test this unit to get max vacuum we needed for this batch. We didn’t get that shrink wrap type result on larger items like 3-4 lb roasts; could still see a bit of air space left in. Just a little :-( The shrimp sealed very well as they lend themselves to a nice, flatter lay in the bags. Happy. Overall we think it’ll do. And the 5 year warranty helps with peace of mind.
I CAN’T yet speak to the longevity of the seals and bags (the bags are well made tho, no reason for concern here). I do know we prep’ed and sealed like pros. So time will tell how and to what extent that bit of air matters and how well the seals hold.
I know this was a lengthy review. Hopefully not too technical. Hope it helps you. Inquiring minds want know.....
This machine was so close to being perfect. Its super easy to use, love that it holds a roll of bags and making bags is simple and quick. The machine also looks great, you could leave it out all the time and it would not be an eye sore.
The problem however is that it has very low power, it just does not pull enough vacuum. I mean $40 machines pull twice as much vacuum as this $150 unit. If you were just doing a single item in a bag, just doing sous vide or marinades than this would be fine. The problem is if you have more than one item in the bag or an any item with nooks and crannies this machine will not pull enough vacuum to get all the air out. I will be returning my machine for one with more power.
Edit 1: I decided to keep the machine and give the lower vacuum a chance to see if it really did matter that much. Well the machine is now having problems, I have to push down on the lid to get it to pull a vacuum, locking the turn handle to vacuum does not pull it down hard enough now to get a seal. I hate this thing
This is my 3rd Food Saver brand vaccum sealer. I use it a lot so wore my other 2 out. The last and best one lasted me 14 yrs. This new one on the other hand is awful. Due to the new design and supposed improvements like it being "hands free" this is a big waste of money. Not just for the sealer itself but also the amount of waste in plastic. They moved the sealer back further and the angle design makes sure you're wasting at least 3 more inches of plastic per bag!!!! The cord is half the length and a pain to cram back in the small space it comes out of. I wish I would have used it sooner because it's past the time that I can return it. I'm so unhappy with it I'll be scouring ebay for my old version that was so good. Don't do it unless you plan on mostly using the additional can and jar sealer. Although I haven't I would hope that would work well.
I ordered this, along with one of their vacuum-able containers. When I received it I went to bag/seal about 10 pounds of chicken into meal-sized portions. It worked fine for three bags and then, on the fourth, stopped vacuuming hardly at all. I ran the cycle five times and the bag still contained air. In addition, the handheld unit tip broke off the second time I used it on a FoodSaver brand container (first time worked great) rendering that element useless. I tried all of the troubleshooting to no avail, and after a couple of weeks of occasionally trying to get it to work unsuccessfully I'm now trying to fix/return it. If they'll replace it (or there's some fix I haven't figured out) I'll give the machine another shot, but for now I'm not impressed.