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Feb 29, 2012 12:01 PM

Basic/starter Foodsaver model?

I'm going to have to start shopping for groceries less often, especially meat, so am thinking more seriously about a Foodsaver than before. I won't be sealing very large items and don't need a lot of bells and whistles, but I am interested in an attachment (which I think exists) that would let me seal Mason jars with their own lids. If possible, I'd rather not spend a lot of money on my first machine. Can anyone recommend a good basic/starter model, still in production, that has a hose attachment?

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  1. You need their proprietary lid to seal mason jars, AFAIK, and it stays on the jar. I am not aware of one that uses the standard metal jar lid, but you might find this interesting: http://www.instructables.com/id/The-A...

    ETA, I take that back. It looks like people say it does work with the metal lids. Now I want one!

    I have the FoodSaver from Costco. It came with some bags and one plastic container that I have never used. If you can get past the marketing nonsense, it seems to me from looking at their website that they are all basically the same, the difference being what accessories it comes with and the finish.

    1. I have the V2350, which was the least expensive model when I bought it (a few years ago) and which has the attachment to seal jars (but not with their standard lids). It seems to no longer be in production, but the picture of the V2450 looks similar... so check that out. As with splatgirl, I got mine at Costco.

      1 Reply
      1. re: drongo

        I got one a wally mart on tues, it has the vac hose but i'm content to just use the bags, as I started curing my own bacon and canadian bacon , fresh sausage and ground meat and it seals that stuff up great I just wish I had bought one years ago. Model V2040 114$ it wasn't the cheapest or the most(costco was 167$) expensive but I didn't like the size of the one at costco

      2. Thanks

        >>it seems to me from looking at their website that they are all basically the same, the difference being what accessories it comes with and the finish.

        That was the conclusion I was coming to as well, though the models change so often, neither of the ones mentioned in the thread appear to be in production. (lol) From what I've seen, they go on sale fairly often so I think my best bet is to keep my eyes open and see what shows up over the next few weeks...

        1. For what it's worth, I have a low-end Foodsaver and frankly I wouldn't buy it again. The bags (genuine Foodsaver bags) have about a 50% failure ratio after a month, i.e. when I pull them out of the freezer in a month about half of them have lost their vacuum seal and there's air around the frozen contents (and I even double-seal them, doing a second heat-seal next to the first). I haven't really used it with containers like mason jars so perhaps that's better, but I wouldn't buy one to use it for the bags.

          5 Replies
          1. re: monopod

            weird. That has not been my experience with the bags at all. I process and freeze about 50lbs. of tomatoes from my garden every summer in addition to tons of other stuff and I don't think I've ever had a bag that looked like the seal was broken.
            What I don't like about the unit is how picky it gets about liquid and how fast that little trough fills up. Even if I'm really careful not to let it suck down too much I have to dump and wipe everything off about every third bag. SO annoying.

            1. re: monopod

              A few months ago I was watching America's Test Kitchen and they were testing Vacuum Sealers. They said that the Foodsaver bags were prone to micro tears due to ice crystals and would only stay totally sealed for a month or so.

              1. re: monopod

                I use the Ziplock version of the bags and they seem to work very well.

                1. re: monopod

                  I have a 6 year old low end Foodsaver, bought at Target, and it still works great. I have to say, though, that you need o be very careful to follow the directions and also to clean it regularly. In my experience, the biggest cause of seal/vacuum failure is not waiting long enough between uses. So, if you are sealing multiple bags in one sitting, you need to wait a couple of minutes between each bag. It is my guess that the more expensive Foodsavers don't need as long to refresh. Also - all parts that touch the bags must be clean and free of debris.I have stuff in my freezer that I packed seven months ago - seal and vacuum are still in place. I find that if a seal is going to fail, it will do so in the first couple of days.

                  1. re: hilltowner

                    I also found it very important to leave at least the 3" free space they reccomend, I started leaving 4 or 5 so I can reseal if I open it up.

                2. I've been sealing food in plastic bags for the freezer for more years than I can remember, and it is sooooooo much easier than canning! A minute or two, max, compared to a day? No brainer! But my first Seal-A-Meal is decades old. I can't even remember how many decades, but old enough that it still seals beautifully but, alas, never did vacuum air out of the bags, and air is the enemy! So a year or two ago I retired the Seal-A-Meal to the garage and got a Food Saver. The model I bought has now been superseded by this:


                  And now I'm wishing with all of my heart I had bought this Seal-A-Meal instead:


                  My regret comes from the design of the FoodSaver. I fell for the tall, upright, suave "space saver" design. I didn't know that that is the very reason I would come to hate the machine. With this design, to seal a bag you slide it into a slot across the lower front of the machine where the bag must push against sensors to start the pumping/sealing process. You don't want to know the number of times I have had knots of frustration in my stomach because the damned sensors are so picky OR the bags are wrinkled a bit from being rolled and they don't want to slide into the slot. In addition, the heat sealing "rods" are so far in front of the sensors that it takes at least a half an inch more plastic to activate the process than the Seal-A-Meal's simple open-the-machine-and-place-the-bag-on-the-heat-rods-and-close-and-press requires for an excellent seal. There is a LOT more waste with the model of FoodSaver I bought than there is with either the new model of Seal-A-Meal in the link above or in the decades old Seal-A-Meal I have in the garage. The advantage of the Seal-A-Meal design is that the whole machine opens up, end to end, and you place the bags where you want them. The FoodSaver design is closed at both ends and you cannot exceed that width. The Seal-A-Meal design provides the flexibility to do a two or more overlapping seals along the side of a very long bag if you need to. No way can I possibly do that with my model FoodSaver.

                  In all fairness, FoodSaver DOES offer models similar to the Seal-A-Meal in the link above. I haven't studied them hard enough to know whether both brands open fully in exactly the same way. I have studied both brands enough to know that Seal-A-Meal is half the price of a similar FoodSaver! Based on my years of service from my ancient Seal-A-Meal, I cannot believe it is half the quality. Just half the price. And they all come with the accessory tube to vacuum out jars or marinate containers. I do NOT know whether the accessories of one brand will work with the other, but I am thinking VERY seriously about finding out.... through experience!

                  I would strongly urge you not to waste one thin dime on any brand of hand-held vacuum device for special zip lock bags. I've owned two. Slow learner here! NONE of them hold their seal in the freezer. I never tried them for sous vide. I ended up giving the hand vacs away and cutting the zip lock/seal vent off the top of the bags and using them as small bags with my big vaccum sealer. But years ago, I had a little hand held, battery operated thingie for heat sealing bags of opened potato chips and such. Sure wish I could find one of those again! My old one wore out, and that was one handy little gadget!

                  After reading hilltowner's post above, let me add that neither my ancient Seal-A-Meal nor my FoodSaver require ANY wait time between sealings. That seems really strange to me, and it sounds like a real pain. Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide!

                  EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! For anyone who read this early, I originally posted the wrong link for the Seal-A-Meal. I have now taken out the link to my shopping cart full of LED light bulbs and inserted the correct link. Sorry about that, and noooooo... I'm not going to buy ALL of those LED bulbs! It's just my way of sorting through which models I want before I place an order. Amazon loves me. I'm always getting emails that say, "HEY, you left stuff in your cart! Come back ad BUY IT!" Yeah. Sure. When I've made up my mind...! '-)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I should clarify. The Foodsaver requires time to vacuum properly, not to seal.

                    1. re: hilltowner

                      Sorry for the misunderstanding! My model FoodSaver doesn't require any recovery time on vacuuming. It does offer two settings for how strong the suction is on vacuuming so I don't have to use the power to crush aluminum cans at every use, or I can also interrupt the vaccum process and go straight to seal at any point I wish should I want air in the bag for some reason, or with meats, when the juices start climbing up the vented part of the bag I can cut the vacuum process immediately so I don't have to clean up the sucked out mess! But I still want rid of the monster. It's just too temperamental for my taste! '-)

                      1. re: hilltowner

                        The foodsaver manual says wait between sealings. can't remember the number, but I wait at least a min.

                        1. re: Dave5440

                          Oh, lordy. And now EVERYBODY knows I don't read directions! '-)