New foodsaver? Opinions?
- scavdog Dec 4, 2012 09:02 AM
Has anyone had any experience with this little guy?
It seems very new and I am wary to purchase, given some of the reviews for other foodsaver models. My hope is that this model, being new, will have an advantage over existing sealers. My fear is that I receive a cheap POS. My g/f has wanted one for some time and this will be an Xmas gift.
If it were up to me, I would be getting a Weston. All opinions welcome!
It depends what your using it for. #1 Death to most vacuum sealers is liquid being sucked into the pump. #2. Failure to fully seal is the number 1 complaint by users of vacuum sealers. Both are interrelated because meat/chicken/fish are both wet (Kills pumps) and leave slime on the inside of the bags which cause sealing problems.
If your vacuum sealing dry items, no problems. If vacuum sealing meat/chicken/fish or any like items, best to partially freeze product then vacuum seal. Also wipe inside of bag where seal will be made, after product is in bag, to make sure its clean so the seal bars evenly melt the plastic together.
I agree with everything here. I have ten or so year old foodsaver model - no electronics - and it still works great...provided you pay attention to the directions. Clean the gaskets, clean the sealing bar, don't process more than one every 90 seconds, freeze liquids before attempting to seal. Sounds onerous, but if you're not sealing an entire deers worth of meat, totally doable. Problems come when people don't follow directions.
I don't have the model the OP linked to, but I have the FoodSaver V3880 which I think was their previous best model. I was wary because of all the people who had problems, but I've found it pretty forgiving. I've never had any problems after about 200 sealings.
It's clear that if you tried to put a bunch of liquid in the bag that would be a problem because the machine would suck it up. But I haven't had any problems with having a very small amount of liquid in the bags. I've never cleaned the gaskets or sealing bar, but it does take about a minute per bag to do both sides so not good for a mass production line.
To understand the limitations of vacuum sealers you have to look at their history. There are basically 2 types of external clamp vacuum sealers, Nozzle style and Channel style. Nozzle style was the original. Its a little more difficult to use, needs to be cleaned once in a while but its very powerful and extremely durable. Channel style make up about 95% of the models sold today. Easier to use but most of the big box store models are not built for performance or longevity.
NOZZLE STYLE: These were the original vacuum sealers (1980's) called FoodSaver by Tila. There were designed by engineers to be high performance long lasting repairable machines. They were made in Italy and were quite expensive during their production run. The had no fancy electronic control panels to fail and were controlled by mechanical switches. The pumps were old fashion piston style and they were nonmetallic so liquids & corrosion were not an issue. (Big issue with newer diaphragm pumps). The heat sealing transformers were old school big and heavy duty. The heat sealing bars were metallic strips like full commercial sealers, not wire strips. Because of the quality of the transformer and heat seal bar, they will burn through animal fat & grease to seal the 2 layers of plastic. (This is where many new machine fall flat on their face). They function by placing a bag over the nozzle. The handle is then pushed down causing the bag to be squeezed between 2 pads and the air is then drawn out through the nozzle. When all the air is removed, the "operator" pushes down the handle further causing a plastic bar to come down and squeeze the bag against the heat seal bar which is then activated and seals the bag. This is key, because the heat sealing bar only comes in contact with the bag when actually ready to seal, NOT during the vacuum process. Because of this, residual heat on the sealing bar is not a problem and you can seal bag after bag and not have to worry about the bag starting to seal before all the air is drawn out (Big problem with new machines). Because of the high volume capabilities of these machines, their heavy duty components & their ability to be serviced (parts still avail) many in the industry referred to them as light commercial. They can be had on EBAY in mint condition for between $50 to $100. Because these machines are 25 to 30 years old, they often need a little cleaning and ArmorAll run through the pump. Often the sealing pads & nozzle "O" ring have to be replaces. Very easy to do and about $20.00 from Thom Dolder at PMG. Once cleaned up, lubed & new pads, these machines will outperform virtually any external clamp vacuum sealer made today and last a life time. Only thing is you do have to clean and flush them once and a while.
CHANNEL STYLE: With these machines, the end of the bag is placed into a channel. The bag is then squeezed between a set of pads and the heat sealing bar and vacuum is drawn out of the channel across the entire width of the bag. The idea is that any liquid that is drawn out of the bag will fall into the channel and not make it to the pump. In addition, laying the edge of the bag in the channel is less tedious than getting it lined up with a nozzle. In theory, it is also easier to clean because all you have to do is wipe out the channel to clean it. The down side is its a diaphragm pump and if liquids get to it the pump is done. Another problem is the bag is in contact with the heat seal bar as the vacuum process is underway and after multiple bags the bar retains residual heat and can start to seal the bag before the bar is activated. For this reason they are viewed as low production machines because they need cool down periods. When Tila was sold, they switched from the original nozzle style to this newer more convenient Channel style machine. They were called "FoodSaver II" . The original Foodsaver II's were well built, repairable machines and can still be had on EBAY for about the same price as the original Nozzle machines. I believe parts are still available from Thom Dolder at PMG.
Unfortunately, the company was sold yet again and price point took over and quality was severely compromised. With virtually all the big box store brands today, the money was taken out of the key components (pump, transformer & seal bar) and was put into fancy exteriors and marketing with big profits for everyone involved. Most have a 1 yr warranty and are throwaways after a few years or one shot of liquid in the pump which is NOT covered by warranty.
New well built channel style machines from companies like Weston are available starting at about $275.00. Professional Marketing Group (PMG) also sell some very good machines starting in the same price range and go up significantly. Truth is though, the old original Foodsaver Nozzle style will outperform anything under say $350.00 and the FoodSaver II channel style will come in a close 2nd but does require a cool down period.
I have bought 3 of the orig Foodsaver Nozzle style machines for family & friends on Ebay for under $75.00 to the front door. In each case, cleaned them, lubed the pumps with a little ArmorAll, replaced the pads ($20.00 @ PMG) & nozzle "O" ring (.25 cents @ homeDepot) and they work like new.
Keep in mind, when these original machines were in production, bags were enormously expensive and when the free sample bags ran out the machines often went back into the box and were never used again.
If you google "Original Foodsaver Vacuum sealers" an article by Thom Dolder at PMG should come up. Very good read. He also has some video's on them because when Tila switched to the Foodsaver II, Thom bought the patent for the origiinal nozzle style and marketed it under several different names.
No, just had a little extra down time today. Truth is so many things sold today in the big box stores are poor quality both in terms of performance & longevity. The money goes into the appearance & marketing, not the components that make it work.
Whats great about the original Foodsavers is they performed very well and with proper care and routine maintenance could last a lifetime. The best part is via EBAY they are still out there at 1/2 the price of the new big box store junk.
Go to Ebay, type in Foodsaver. Then check the "used" box. This will narrow it down to 10 or less pages.
The original Nozzle style will be about 18 inches long, 7 inches deep and 5 inches tall. The bottom inch or so will be brown color and the rest will be cream color. On the lower right it will say "Foodsaver by Tilla". On the top 1/2 there will be a small brown lever that slides side to side and cuts the bags if rolls are used. On the top left there will be a brown round knob. Next to that there will be a little 3/8 inch by 3/8 inch window. On the top right there will be a green light. On the right "side" there will be another round brown knob. NOTE: See older post above as these machines were marketed under several names.
I have an old Vacupack which is identical to the original Foodsaver made in Italy. These are heavy duty "repairable" home use machines. Liquids won't hurt them. Money went into a very powerful pump, transformer & heat sealing bar. No automation, no computerization. YOU control when to activate the seal bar and for how long. They were market under Foodsaver, Vacufresh & Vacupack. They can be had used for about $100.00 on ebay. Replacement parts are readily available from Tom Dolder at Professional Marketing Group. I have sealed hundreds of wet slimy bags containing Beef & Seafood without failure.
Foodsaver I have is "second hand"... $10 at a yard sale, SEVERAL years ago. Has been going strong so far. Since I'm cooking for one, I love it for RE-portioning meat/poultry before freezing. When boneless/skinless chicken breasts are on sale, I'll buy them... but one packages usually has FOUR hunks of chicken, and I would be eating it ALL WEEK??
Like how things that are properly sealed pretty much last "forever" in freezer without fear of freezer burn. And a single serving of about anything (rock solid) is ready to cook after maybe 20-30 minutes in a tub of room temp water.
Bags NEVER seem to go on sale anywhere... tho probably deals to be found on places like Ebay?? Through trial and error... I make LONG bags, not matter what's going in them. Ya lose well over an inch (maybe closer to 2") on top when you seal. Bags can be washed and reused, so now I make 10-12" long bags and get to use them 2-3 additional times. I'f I'm sealing "wet" stuff like meat/chicken, will park bags in freezer for maybe an hour or so till they start to harden up and THEN seal.
Started finding "accessories"... again at yard sales. Have found MANY of their cannisters... great for stuff that doesn't go "bad" but possibly STALE... cookies, crackers, little pastas/rice. Found a doodad that lets you seal stuff in wide-mouth canning jars with just the metal lid... lid can be reused over and over again.
Can't beat $10.00 at a yard sale. The orig Nozzle Foodsaver is bag efficient as it only leaves 1 inch of bag after the seal. Pump is made to be flushed out so no need to partially freeze products that contain moisture.
If you usually use the same size bags such as PINT for very small items, QUART for med items & GALLON for large items it is usually much cheaper to buy pre-cut bags in bulk than rolls. It also reduced the wear & tear to your transformer & seal bar by 50% because your only sealing one end of the bag.
The cheapest place I have found bags is the "webrestaurantstore". Their 300 counts are very reasonable, about 1/2 the price of the big box stores and discount clubs. Splitting the order with family and or friends makes it even more attractive.
I buy all high quality fine dining restaurant quality meats and seafood in bulk, break them down & vacuum seal. Never any freezer burn. Items that have sharp edges such as bone in meats, lobster tails & shrimp get a wrap in cheap butcher paper first to keep the sharp edges from puncturing the bags.
It has been said that before the patents expired on the bags, vacuum sealing may not have been cost effective because the bags were so expensive. Today, bags are a 1/3 of what they once were and IMHO this tipped the scales heavily in favor of owning a vacuum sealer.