Home food sealer durability/recommendations

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Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow
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#1 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » July 10th, 2015, 7:52 am

I have had vacuum food sealers for at least ten years..probably longer. I think most have been FoodSaver, but I know I ordered one of them from Cabellas. I don't do all that much sealing, though I cold smoke salmon and take it with me places and give some as gifts and smoke some pastrami, etc. that I cryovac.

My fourth or fifth machine stopped sealing this week. I see that there are $400 home sealers, but don't want to spend that. Under $200 is what I'm looking for now. But, the key is durability...not just a two year lease on some cheaply made machine. So, performance , per se, is not the issue (and most people reviewing these things on Amazon are early in the game and focus on the good/bad aspects of the machine when it is working right).

Any suggestions, without breaking the bank. I'm open to ideas..including the cheaper Westons..and even a used machine.....that can use the generic bags.

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#2 Post by c fu » July 10th, 2015, 1:56 pm

I feel like food savers tend to break down after a couple of years. But you get what you pay for I guess. Mine is maybe a year and a half and it has already lost the ability to detect when all the air has been pulled and switch to seal. Serves me right for buying the cheapest one
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#3 Post by Kent Zimmerman » July 11th, 2015, 5:32 am

Interesting....I've owned two Food Savers over the last 10 years and I think I'm on my 4th or 5th year with my current unit. I've always used mine quite heavily, and even more so since getting my Anova a couple of years ago. I didn't get the cheapest version they had but I don't think I paid more than $250 at Costco.

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#4 Post by John Davis » July 11th, 2015, 7:49 am

I've got two. One that is 6-7 years old and working, but not well. The newer one is 3-4 years old and is fine.

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#5 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » July 11th, 2015, 9:16 am

Two what, John?

I know the Foodsavers can last for a few years...they have for me. I'm looking for the next step up that will reward an investment and last like a good appliance should.

I've bought replacement gaskets, etc....for them, but...they always give up ..and make me get a newer one. I should have bought a good one then...but certainly want to do it now.

Anyone have any suggestions on a "good" one that is durable...? I am skeptical about FoodSaver in general, as I think they build them so people are always having to throw them out and replace them after 5 years or so....

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#6 Post by dteng » July 11th, 2015, 6:16 pm

Can you return them to Costco?
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#7 Post by Michael Klein » July 12th, 2015, 4:40 pm

Question for the food sealer aficionados out there ....

When sealing red meat, how do you prevent it from turning brown? I find this happens with steak but not with any other meat that I vacuum seal . Doesn't affect the taste or flavor or texture, but really just the visual appearance .

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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#8 Post by M Hudson » July 13th, 2015, 7:21 am

Like blenders I went through sealers every few years until I bought a good one. I purchased the cabellas pro model on sale one christmas and its indestructable. You can even rebuild it wiht new seals and heat tape.

It seals better than any I have had before it and I expect to have it running for 10 years or more.

In this, you do get what you pay for. I forget exactly what I paid for it, but it was more than 250....but they do go on sale at least twice per year.

Mine was the cg-15 and it seems they new pro model is different and its 250 bucks
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#9 Post by Peter Hirsch » July 13th, 2015, 8:09 am

I use a Weston Pro 2300 and am very happy with it. Seal is great and the seal thickness is like 1/4 or 1/2" so it's very stable (no leaks). I see that it's closer to $400 but maybe if there's a sale or you get a 'retail me not' coupon, maybe down close to $300?

The brown question is all about remaining air, making sure all the air is out before the seal. Need a machine that really pulls hard. Of course, that can damage fish or other more delicate types of food

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#10 Post by Jeff Fish » July 13th, 2015, 8:42 am

I bought the Polyscience 200 Series and overall I've been happy with it. http://www.kickassgrills.com/polyscienc ... Aokn8P8HAQ
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#11 Post by Richard Lamb » July 13th, 2015, 8:58 am

I use an ARY VacMaster VP1125. It's a chamber machine I use both for Sous Vide and freezer packing. Another step up in price, at about $535, but being able to vacuum bag liquids/wet items is a real plus for me. I also use it to "jump start" marinating by putting the dish with liquid and marinating item into the chamber, pulling a vacuum, releasing the vacuum, and repeating this a couple of times. Same technique to soak wood chips for the smoker.

Normal wear parts are readily available. I did have a circuit board fail one time that prevented sealing, but a call to tech support, and they were able to identify the problem, and sell me a fairly cheap replacement board. Everything is just push on connectors, so no particular skill needed.

Biggest problem -- The thing takes up two feet of counter space and must weigh close to fifty pounds. I have an out of the way spot that the unit lives in, so no issue for me. However, if you had to haul it in and out of a closet everytime you needed it, that would get old fast!

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#12 Post by John Davis » July 13th, 2015, 9:52 am

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:Two what, John?

I know the Foodsavers can last for a few years...they have for me. I'm looking for the next step up that will reward an investment and last like a good appliance should.

I've bought replacement gaskets, etc....for them, but...they always give up ..and make me get a newer one. I should have bought a good one then...but certainly want to do it now.

Anyone have any suggestions on a "good" one that is durable...? I am skeptical about FoodSaver in general, as I think they build them so people are always having to throw them out and replace them after 5 years or so....
Sorry I was clearly not clear. Foodsavers.

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#13 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » July 15th, 2015, 9:18 am

It seems that the Weston Pro is the most respected/lauded/durable machine...that has a record. There are others. Anyone know anything about the 1100 series, which is under $300? The 2300 is around $400...and is bigger.

I will call Weston, I guess , before buying, but if the 1100 is just a smaller version (11" vs. 15" bag mouth width)....it looks like the best option. It seems new and there are few reviews, however.

The Polyscience seems nice...but there is little track record to review...and I am hesitant to invest in another FoodSaver experience.

I will report back when I move forward...which won't be for a week or so...so any more comments/ideas are welcome.

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#14 Post by ybarselah » July 15th, 2015, 10:05 am

Peter Hirsch wrote:
The brown question is all about remaining air, making sure all the air is out before the seal. Need a machine that really pulls hard. Of course, that can damage fish or other more delicate types of food
ironically, it's exactly the opposite - if you remove all the air, it will turn brown very quickly because you've removed the oxygen that is binding to the myoglobin which turns meat red. if it remains red, there's oxygen in the bag.

of course, when you remove it from the bag, it will turn red again.
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#15 Post by M Hudson » July 18th, 2015, 9:16 pm

the weston 15 inch is what was branded under the former cabelas pro model. I used it again this weekend, it never fails to seal well.
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#16 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » August 5th, 2015, 11:44 am

FWIW, I ordered a Weston Pro-1100. It cost in the $270 range. After calling Weston, it seems that the 1100 is an 11 inch version of the 15" models. It includes a place for a roll of bags and cutter.

I'll report back.

Thanks for all your thoughts.

It does seem that Weston is the safest, albeit more expensive, alternative to the models that need continual replacing.

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#17 Post by Larry P » June 27th, 2016, 2:02 pm

Since my Foodsaver recently died, I'm revisiting this same question.

Stuart or anyone else: Any long-term reviews on the Weston Pro 1100 ?
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#18 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 27th, 2016, 2:12 pm

Larry P wrote:Since my Foodsaver recently died, I'm revisiting this same question.

Stuart or anyone else: Any long-term reviews on the Weston Pro 1100 ?
Very happy with it so far. It seals great, and , unlike the Foodsaver, it does seem like it will last. I'm not sure what other criteria there are for evaluating such machines. But, I was sure tired to replacing those cheaper machines.

Let us know what you do.

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#19 Post by Larry P » June 27th, 2016, 3:52 pm

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:
Larry P wrote:Since my Foodsaver recently died, I'm revisiting this same question.

Stuart or anyone else: Any long-term reviews on the Weston Pro 1100 ?
Very happy with it so far. It seals great, and , unlike the Foodsaver, it does seem like it will last. I'm not sure what other criteria there are for evaluating such machines. But, I was sure tired to replacing those cheaper machines.

Let us know what you do.
Thanks Stuart. I like the look on that machine, but my wife is intimidated by the footprint.

For me, the problems I've had with the Foodsaver are:
(1) Difficult to get the bag inserted into the vacuum. The old-style Foodsaver you loaded manually, the new one auto-detects the bag. The former was easier and more reliable. It looks like the Weston conforms to the manual style, which is IMO preferred.
(2) Consecutive seals - it's not uncommon for us to smoke a huge batch of Salmon and then have to seal dozens of bags. Our foodsaver doesn't do well here. It gets overheated and you have to give it long rests.

Durability on the Foodsaver I think is about what I'd expect. We've had ours for >5 years and it just died. Not bad but wouldn't mind better.

The cost of the 1100 for me isn't an issue, but due to the footprint concerns, I'm thinking about this one:



Image

Image
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#20 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 28th, 2016, 4:49 am

Larry, FWIW, I had narrowed my search to that and the 1100. When I talked to the people at Weston, I pretty quickly decided to spend the extra money. The 1100 and 1500 are different machines from this one. And, if you read the customer reviews on Amazon, I'd think anyone would hesitate. I know the footprint issue and the weight. But, though I have to store it due to that, it's worth the effort. A "heart of gold" is heavier, I suppose.

FWIW, I don't think this machine you're focusing on is all that much of a step up from the Foodsaver ilk. It amazing to me that FS gets away with such short-lived durability.

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#21 Post by Jay Miller » June 28th, 2016, 6:18 am

Larry P wrote:
For me, the problems I've had with the Foodsaver are:
(1) Difficult to get the bag inserted into the vacuum. The old-style Foodsaver you loaded manually, the new one auto-detects the bag. The former was easier and more reliable. It looks like the Weston conforms to the manual style, which is IMO preferred.
For this I found that you have to leave much more space at the top of the bag than seems reasonable for the food saver auto detect to activate. I also dislike this "feature". I'll revisit this thread if/when my foodsaver gives up the ghost.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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#22 Post by Larry P » June 28th, 2016, 9:10 pm

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:Larry, FWIW, I had narrowed my search to that and the 1100. When I talked to the people at Weston, I pretty quickly decided to spend the extra money. The 1100 and 1500 are different machines from this one. And, if you read the customer reviews on Amazon, I'd think anyone would hesitate. I know the footprint issue and the weight. But, though I have to store it due to that, it's worth the effort. A "heart of gold" is heavier, I suppose.

FWIW, I don't think this machine you're focusing on is all that much of a step up from the Foodsaver ilk. It amazing to me that FS gets away with such short-lived durability.
Ah Stuart, I don't doubt you're right, but the footprint of the 1100 is a bridge too far for my wife. If this one doesn't last, for sure the 1100 next time.
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#23 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 29th, 2016, 8:52 am

OK...good luck. I understand...the bridge issue.

It is silly how this industry is populated with machines that just don't last...and we all keep buying those same machines.

Had I not asked here, I would have, too....yet another time. And, had the guy at Weston not been pretty firm with me, I would likely have bought their version of the same ilk.

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#24 Post by dcornutt » June 29th, 2016, 3:32 pm

Check Cabella. They have the sealers for hunters. They are really nice!
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#25 Post by Kenny H » June 30th, 2016, 6:42 am

Dang you again Mark. Ordered the 2300. It is a beast! Meant for the long haul.
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#26 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » June 30th, 2016, 10:46 am

Mark? 2300???

[scratch.gif] [scratch.gif]

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#27 Post by Larry P » June 30th, 2016, 11:03 pm

Well... it's official, Stuart's right. This 65-0501-W is a total piece of junk. Really slow, failed to seal 2/3 bags I tried tonight. I'd be upset if one of the $70 sealers acted like this. Shocking they want $150. It's going back to the factory, and I'm ordering the 1100.
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#28 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » July 1st, 2016, 6:18 am

Larry, sorry to hear that, but...that was the inference I drew from the guy on the other end of the phone at Weston last year. Basically, in the same league as FSaver.

Good luck with the bridge too far.

Image

FWIW, this is a work by a German painter http://naomireuter.de/index.php, called "the bridge"....i like it on many levels and your "bridge too far" "footprint" reminded me of it....

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#29 Post by Larry P » July 1st, 2016, 8:44 am

LOL that painting's pretty good Stuart.

Lori's disappointed and still trying to argue to try a different Foodsaver brand model, but she's reluctantly coming around to my argument that we're better served by a professional model. Sealing a large batch of smoked salmon is a very different job than sealing a bag of leftovers after dinner, which I guess is what these machines are aimed at. I'm still shocked at how weak this thing really was at $150. It's about equivalent to the Foodsavers in the $70-$90 range.
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#30 Post by David J » July 6th, 2016, 1:19 pm

depending on what you want to spend, the chamber sealing machines are FAR superior to the foodsaver style bags that work on suction.

Chamber sealing machines work by placing the entire bag with its contents inside a chamber and then all of the air is pumped out of the chamber creating a pressure inside the chamber of zero atmospheres. The bag appears to be inflated while this is happening, but it's actually empty. It's sealed, and then when the vacuum is released and it goes back to 1 atmosphere, the bag shrinks down on the meat (or whatever else is in there). Liquid is never a problem and you always get a good seal. In fact, you can vacuum seal a bag of soup with these things as long as the soup isn't hot. The boiling point at zero atm is way lower than at 1.

the problem with them is price. I have a vacmaster 112 model and I think it's around $550 new and you have to shop around to find that price. The good part, is the bags are super cheap. I bought 1000 bags for 40 bucks I think. If you vacuum pack a decent amount of stuff like I do, you'll end up better off than you do with a foodsaver because you'll save on bags, and you wont' have stuff go bad when the foodsaver seals inevitably break.
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#31 Post by Ron Kramer » July 6th, 2016, 3:23 pm

Eight years and have NEVER had a bag break.

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#32 Post by Jay Miller » July 7th, 2016, 6:28 am

Ron Kramer wrote:Eight years and have NEVER had a bag break.

Me either.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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#33 Post by Larry P » July 8th, 2016, 3:05 pm

Well the 1100 arrived, and my first 3 bags would evacuate, then the thing would show "E1" and wouldn't seal. I didn't find anything about error messages online or in the manual. With the intent of calling customer service this morning, I gave it another try and it successfully sealed and vacuumed 5 bags. Now I don't know what to think.
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#34 Post by Ron Kramer » July 8th, 2016, 7:15 pm

Larry P wrote:Well the 1100 arrived, and my first 3 bags would evacuate, then the thing would show "E1" and wouldn't seal. I didn't find anything about error messages online or in the manual. With the intent of calling customer service this morning, I gave it another try and it successfully sealed and vacuumed 5 bags. Now I don't know what to think.

Make sure seal band gasket was firmly pressed down.

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#35 Post by David J » July 11th, 2016, 8:28 pm

You've never had a seal fail? You must not bag much stuff.
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#36 Post by Larry P » July 17th, 2016, 7:41 pm

Bagged about 5 lbs of smoked salmon today, the 1100 performed flawlessly.
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#37 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » March 20th, 2018, 1:09 pm

Almost two years later, my Weston is just what I needed: reliable; easy to use...and....failsafe.

Haven't even talked to their consumer line people.

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#38 Post by Larry P » March 20th, 2018, 4:41 pm

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:Almost two years later, my Weston is just what I needed: reliable; easy to use...and....failsafe.

Haven't even talked to their consumer line people.
Same here. What we thought were defects turned out to be bad bags.
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#39 Post by Kenny H » March 20th, 2018, 9:06 pm

And Mark Hudson's recommendation was solid gold. My Weston Pro 2300 is still killing it. Considering it can even be rebuilt, it is a lifetime purchase. An absolute staple in my kitchen.
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