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Food Saver vs. Seal-A-Meal? [Moved from Home Cooking]

I intend to get one of these devices before too long, and have been looking over several threads discussing them. I've only seen comments about the Food Saver brand, though. Target has both, with the Food Saver priced at just under $100, the larger of two sizes of Seal-A-Meal units at around $70, and the smaller at $40. I've already decided against the little guy, but I'm wondering if the Food Saver is really $30 better than the similar-sized Seal-A-Meal, or if it's just a marketing thing. Anyone care to address this?

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  1. I, too, have been thinking about getting a Food Saver for a while, and just the other day, my mother told me that she has the Seal-A-Meal. FWIW, she was raving about it. And my mother is known to freeze a LOT of things.

    1. I've owned a Food Saver for years and I'm hoping it will eventually croak so I can buy a bigger one with more features.

      I honestly don't know how the two compare, but I've been more than happy with my Food Saver and it has paid for itself many, many times over.

      1. I have owned both a Seal-A-Meal and the FoodSaver, and my professional opinion is that the Seal-A-Meal is a complete and utter piece of garbage. I guess this should be expected from the company that can no longer even make good slow cookers anymore. :-)

        Here's the biggest difference:
        The FoodSaver has a big oval trough that you stick the end of the bag in, you close the lid and twist a knob to lock it and then push the Seal button. Easy-peasy.

        The Seal-A-Meal has this flat plastic nozzle. You have to fit the end of the bag over the nozzle, then snap the lid closed. This requires considerable force. My wife needed 2 hands on each side. Because of the height of the nozzle, it's often hard to hold the bag up on the nozzle and lock the lid, even when you can lock the lid with one hand. I often had to either get my wife to help me, or put a box or something under the bag to hold it up. Added bonus: Since the nozzle goes inside the bag into which you have just dropped a slab of raw meat, you are guaranteed to contaminate the nozzle each and every time you use it.

        In addition to being far easier to use, the FoodSaver has a lot of thoughtful touches -
        a clip inside the lid to hold a pen (my wife was always "borrowing" the sharpie next to the Seal-A-Meal and never returning it).
        There is an integrated hook to store the accessory hose.
        There are different options for wet/dry and fast/slow.
        The bag cutter in the FoodSaver works much better than the one on the Rival.
        My Rival canisters never actually held a seal...I have read other reviews complaining of the same issue. My FoodSaver canisters actually work.
        And there is a slew of wild attachments for the Food Saver, most notably a gizmo that lets you vacuum seal mason jars and lids that can be used with ordinary glass jars.

        When my Rival died, I sprung for the FoodSaver and it was worth every penny.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jzerocsk

          Good to know. Which Foodsaver model do you have?

          1. re: jzerocsk

            I have the vac 900 Food Saver which is an older bare bones model. It does what it advertises and definitely improves the quality of frozen foods. With that being said, I would definitely get one of the higher end models. They have many features that mine doesn't that make it much easier to use.

            1. re: baseballfan

              Me too. Been waiting for it to die so I can upgrade. But it has served me well all these years and I love the way it seals the canisters.

            2. re: jzerocsk

              Its funny you mention the canisters differences. I have a Food Saver, two actually- a full size (model # 1050) & a mini one (ended up with the mini-one because it was on clearance for less then what the roll of bags that came with would normally cost). Meijer's clearanced out accessories for both Food Savers & Seal-A-Meal a couple years ago, and I bought a lot of the Seal-A-Meal canisters & Food Saver ones. Personally, I found I like the Seal-A-Meal ones better because you can see the lid sink down in as its seals and they seem to hold their seal better then my Food Saver containers tend to. Plus the Seal A Meal containers stack, which is a big plus in my kitchen. But I am sealing them with a Food Saver, not a Seal A Meal (cut the machine end of the Seal A Meal hose off & attached it to the canister end of an extra Food Sealer one), so that might be the difference. Have you tried using any of your old Seal A Meal with your Food Saver?

              BTW- I use both the large & the mini-Food Saver regularly. I like the little to pull out for quick little jobs, like resealing a package of cheese or something. But when it comes to packaging up a lot of stuff for the freezer, I pull out the big one. I would love to get one of the newer ones with the settings for soft bake goods & moist stuff...maybe Santa will bring it this year!

              1. re: anniemax

                "Have you tried using any of your old Seal A Meal with your Food Saver?"
                No, I just tossed it. The problem wasn't the pump - it sealed just fine - but as soon as i removed the vacuum attachment, the air would rush right back in. I think maybe the release valve was screwy. When I went to Amazon to order other ones, though, I saw reviews with similar problems so I decided it wasn't worth it, but maybe overall Rival ones do work OK.

            3. We have a Food Saver Vac 1200. For 2 carnivores who like to shop for meat at Costco the vacuum packer has been very handy. My wife loves the thing and happily seals all the meat every shopping day. She can not live without it.

              1. Will, Foodsaver seems to be a better supported product and has more add on features. I have the big boy with the vacuum line attachment for cannisters, mason jars etc.

                Love the thing, don't know how I lived without one for so many years.