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Nov 5, 2008 05:55 PM

Ziplock's vacuum pump storage bags. Tried 'em?

Bought both sizes today. And the pump with sample bags too, of course. They look so easy and magical in the TV commercial! For lunch today I made a mountain of linguini with scallops and thought it would be great to freeze the leftovers as individual portions. Got the food in the bags with no problem. Sealed the zip part with no problem. Then began trying to vacuum out the air. It was rather like trying to inflate a semi truck tire with a bicycle pump. THEN I noticed the little wing-nut like protrusions under the pump handle. WHY do they ship the damned things "unloaded," so to speak. Once I tightened that down, it became more like inflating a bicycle tire with a bicycle pump.

Reynold's battery operated pump is MUCH easier, but I haven't had much luck with their bags holding the vacuum in the freezer. I don't need to pay good money for freezer burn when I can get it free with any old garden variety zip bag. So the payoff for me with Ziplock will be whether the bags hold their seal in the freezer better than Reynolds does. If not, this toy will go in the drawer with my cubed egg mold and plastic sushi press. I hope I don't end up wishing the Reynolds battery pump would work on Ziplock. Oh, wait! I'm already wishing that!

Anybody else taken the plunge? Are you happy with it?

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  1. Perhaps you should give up with the toys and get a Tilia Foodsaver. Here's an on-going thread on it under cookware, where we've discussed these things before:

    10 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      Why do you assume I don't have one? I DON'T have counter space! I DO have arthritis in my hands, which makes it difficult to move many things onto the counters. I have not seen a discussion of this one, but it's possible I may have missed it. Sorry. It is never my intention to clutter up these boards.

      EDIT: Just checked your link, and that discussion is about counter top models. I did see it, decided it was a case of apples and oranges so decided not to muddy the issue with hand helds.

      1. re: Caroline1

        Not a site clutter issue - just offering my opinion that these toy things are a waste of money. This thread from a long time ago got into the pump'n seal vs. FS, but that's only a jar solution - not for bags.

        The pump'nseal offers a small straw that you're supposed to be able to use on bags, but there's an almost universal response that it doesn't work. Which is probably why both Ziploc and Reynolds had to come up with proprietary valve systems for their bags. I did ask about the Reynolds on that thread - but there was no response - I think it was too early.

        I understand both your counter space and arthritis issues, but I don't see the physics happening behind a proprietary-valve hand sealing solution. Without both the power of a powerful vacuum and the heat-fusion sealing, I can't see a long-lasting bag solution.

        I'm sorry - both that I came across as making assumptions but more so that I offer no solutions. I just use my FS so much - every day for resealing jars of roasted red peppers and other things that otherwise go bad too quickly - that I have decided that it's worth some of my limited counter space. (So I end up doing much prep work on the dining table!)

        1. re: applehome

          Disagree about the Handi-vac. Sure it is not a heavy duty item for daily use, but it works for occasional use--if you use a vacuum machine very frequently you probably ought to buy something more solid. And yes some bags work while some don't--I use mine from time to time and I have found that they mostly do keep the vacuum indefinitely provided that they seal in the first place, and you will know that soon after you put it in the freezer.

          I do think the hand pump in the Ziplock system is silly, but when I saw the bags in the store I wondered whether you can use them with the Handi-vac? Anybody tried?

          1. re: johnb

            Thanks for the info John - but what did you mean by, "some bags work while some don't"? I thought the unit only worked with Reynolds bags. Do you mean that sometimes. when you use a Reynolds bag, it doesn't work? That seems a bit weird.

            1. re: applehome

              "some bags work while some don't"? I think John was referring to all Reynold bags he bought, some worked and some didn't
              I have the same problem as John's
              SOme stayed vacuum sealed forever, while others didn't hold the vacuum state after 4-5 mins. Usually if one of the bags in a box doesn't work, the whole box doesn't work. It's like the whole batch that they produced doesn't work...

              1. re: applehome

                Sorry for the ambiguity. Yes, kobetobiko's take on what I said is correct. I meant to say that some of the bags made for the unit do seal well and some lose their seal after a short time. I too have noticed that it seems to run in groups, ie if some in a particular box don't work then probably several won't, so maybe it is a quality control problem, which hopefully they have gotten or will get a handle on.

              2. re: johnb

                Yup. I've tried. Well, only in one direction. Tried the battery pump on the Ziplock. Didn't work. No interest in whether the hand pump will work with the Reynolds bags. The zip on the Ziplock bags is interesting because it is a two-zips-on-one-track closure. Works really well. I hope they start using them for all of their bags.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  i use the reynolds vac with the ziplock bags ,it works great! ,

                  1. re: mamooo

                    Yes - I agree - I bought the Ziplock one and most of the vacuums didn't hold, so to speak. Reynolds is much much better.

              3. re: applehome

                I agree that the heat seal is the way to go. Miss Smarty Pants here thought she had the perfect answer! I have one of those "heat resealers" for bags of potato chips and such. Works really well on them, but the "jaws" aren't quite long enough to reach across the zip-lock on to put a heat seal beyond it. Which is really too bad. At the very least it would help me figure out whether it's the vacuum seal that leaks or the zipper. Ah well, who said life has to be frustration free? Maybe after another manufacturer or two put their versions on the market, someone will come up with a heat seal version with a strong vacuum.

          2. Bought a Foodsaver a couple of weeks ago. I then discovered the new Ziploc resealable vacuum. I am returning the Food saver. Not only is the ziploc more cost effective( price of bags) it is definitely more green and works as well. The only downside is boiling things in the bag. I don't think you can do that in the ziploc. So what you have to use a little muscle to pump out the air. it is way more convienient than using a machine I'm sold!
            Best price for bags is at Wal mart. O yes, they have held there seal fine in the freezer. I sealed some cookies in them and they tasted as fresh a week later. I take out a few and then seal them back up. I hope it is a sucessful product.

            1 Reply
            1. re: exmember

              I just bought the Handi-Vac rather than the Ziploc vacuum bags (I have arthritis so it was a no go), and let me tell you it's a pice of garbage!

              Not only it didn't seal my meats, but it got my hand so tired out that I had to stop what I was doing!

              I think it's waste of money!

              However, I am happy the alternative worked out for you.

              Juestestuff @

            2. I got one of the zip-lock ones as a gift form my in-laws after making them some sous-vide steak. I scoffed at it as a stupid toy before I tried it, but it turns out to work great. If you're arthritic, the hand pump may be a problem, but I can pull a pretty good vacuum in less time it would take to get one of the countertop electric ones off the shelf, much less fully set up.

              I haven't used it much, but the seal seems well-designed and none of the bags have leaked for me yet.

              (Also, FWIW, the zip-lock bags are cheaper than the foodsaver bags. Lower initial cots, easier to store, and cheaper consumables.)

              1. Mine works great, just don't over stuff. No problems here. Had lots of success.

                1. I have the FoodSaver for home use. I tried the Ziplock system, because I backpack and I have a backpacking, trekking, kayak touring information website.

                  Naturally, coffee is better is vacuum packed.

                  I want to know if the vacuum is good enough for thru-hikes, because "thru-hikers" mail their supply boxes ahead.

                  For example, the Appalachian Trail "thru-hike" involves months of hiking. Experienced "thru-hikers" prepare and dry food in advance.

                  How about re-vacuum packing prepared dry-foods on the trail?

                  Is this food-safe? Does anyone know the answer?