I don't have a sealer from them but I usually get good results from the stuff sold through LEM. They have a couple sealers here: LEM Sealers and bags I've been happy with the grinder I bought from them a few years ago.
It may also be worth looking into Sausage Maker They have the really high end sealers for when you need to go BIG.
I get a lot of sausage making supplies from them. Lots of good stuff to be had there.
What Eugene said.
We have a chamber vac sealer and I love it. Can do liquids in it unlike the counter top suck the air out of the bag sealers. These things are not cheap but are worth the price if you are doing a lot of sealing.
One thing though, this is not an item you move around in your kitchen, ours weighs 85 lbs so once it is in a place that is where it stays, you won't be pulling it out and putting it away to do the job, at least not very easily.
The biggest thing you have to watch for is the ability for the vacuum sealer to handle a small bit of moisture; it's how they all break, and why the recommendation is for a CHAMBER sealer. I have 1 of the Vacupack Deluxe in stock right now and would be happy to ship it out for a discounted rate than you see on my website, if you're interested. It's Italian-made (most are out of China now, since Jarden bought out a bunch of the brand names you find in stores). Call our store at 406-334-0185 if you are interested or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been using vacuum bag sealers for well over 15 years , in that time we have replaced three sealers .. this last one being the third @ three years old & made for by a company called Food Saver . It has sealed many hundreds of bags not only for food but things like seeds , machine & electrical parts wrapped in tissue that I send round the world .
None of the sealers were expensive either $20 , $20 & this one at $110 .
What does matter is getting the thickest embossed food bags you can , for this is where a lot of problems occur . The cheaper un embossed bags melt too easily and not being embossed means that there are no easy paths for the air to be extracted along .
The embossing takes the form of criss crossed indentations . We found that putting the embossing uppermost gives the best results for it is a bit stronger than the un embossed side , helps to trip the micro switch arms to bring the clamping plate into play & turn on the vacuum pump . Keep teh bags laid flat & in a cool place to ensure that they renain fairly stiff . bags left near a hot radiator get floppy 7 are difficult to insert in the machine .
Most of the table top shove in a bag sealers , have a small moisture tray inside the machine . It needs washing out often , use a small nylon brush to remove any dried on food or rust then leave it some where warm to totally dry off a It does not tqke much moisture condensate in this tray to form an electrical circuit & shut the machine down for safety reasons.
I frequently seal up 20 quarts of stocks , soups, tomatoes , preserves etc .
To stop any liquids entering the tray or being drawn into the vacuum pump I cut 280 mm lengths of 100 mm dia new unused waste pipe very carefully to ensure the cut face is square on the the axis . I then drew a straight line from top to bottom on each small tube & cut it with a fine toothed plastic cutting saw . then popped a small peg of wood in the long slot & filed / sanded the cut edges dead smooth . I did the same at each end & gave both ends of the long cut a gentle rounded "V" to prevent damage to the food bag as I out it inside the tube .
I slip an embossed bag on my hand , push my hand inside the split tube & carefully turn back the excess bag over the rim of the tube avoiding making any sharp folds . The bags are then filled with a jar filler funnel each with one pint of food , & left to cool
The tops are then folded over once as in ...., made straight & folded once at the bag seams .
They are then put in the chest freezer on trays , 12 at a time till they are frozen rock solid
Once frozen . take the tray out ease the folded part up right . pull the bag out the solit tube ( the split is to allow the tube to open up as the contents of the bag freeze so you can remove the bag once frozen ).
In this frozen state with the bag top straightened and wiped with a clean dry cloth to remove any moisture off the bag sides it's a simple case of pushing the open end squarely into the machine & letting it auto seal .
If you fail to wipe any condensation off the bag sides there is a tendency for the faces of the bag slot to become damp & grip the other bags which often results in a difficult bag insertion next time round .
Just gotta say, while in the city, the box store model has done well. Once we are onsite with a garden, we're gonna go to Cabelas. They may not be the cheapest but their Grinder we stepped up to from the beginning. I figure that the worst on machine are probably men. So I went to a hunting (Cabela's) store and never looked back.
Ed Farmer wrote:Just gotta say, while in the city, the box store model has done well. Once we are onsite with a garden, we're gonna go to Cabelas. They may not be the cheapest but their Grinder we stepped up to from the beginning. I figure that the worst on machine are probably men. So I went to a hunting (Cabela's) store and never looked back.
Check in hunting forums for the timing, but the cabelas vacuum sealers go on big sales several times a year...
You can also often get nearly new vacuum sealers in thrift stores...
Jack Spirko recently mentioned using a chamber vac to store stuff in canning jars instead of the expensive non-reusable bags. He hinted at the notion of making your own unit from a pressure canner (presumably by plumbing in a vacuum pump). I haven't had time to look into this route yet.