Vac + Chamber Sealers

bdrlgion

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My Foodsaver finally bit the dust after 6-7yrs of service and i'm in the market for something better. I purchased a "nice" Weston Pro 2300 vac sealer from Amazon for $400, used it once, and realized my crappy Foodsaver actually did a better job removing air, which is really the primary feature in such a unit.

So, two questions:
1. How much more effective are chamber sealers at removing air from a bag vs vac sealer? Can I expect to have a completely air-free bag with a chamber sealer?
2. Has anyone tried the LEM MaxVac Pro Chamber Sealer? It's on special at Costco for $600, which is at the max range of my budget.
 
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G-Spot

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  • Mar 14, 2008
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    The difference between a vacuum sealer and chamber sealer is huge!

    You must have got a bad Weston, because mine was miles better than my good foodsaver brand.

    The chamber sealer would be comparable to snorkeling versus scuba diving. The chamber sealer takes it down atmospheric pressure and presses the air out versus a vacuum seal operate off of vacuum and sucks it out including any juices causing potential sealing issues. All kinds of tricks, paper towels etc…. But a chamber sealer is much better product.

    If the Costco one is top of your budget, I’d go for it… Costco tends to back their products…

    a lot of guys will begin to chime in about China made products and advise you to spend $2k or more, but if that’s not your budget, get the Costco one and tell us all how it works!
     
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    bdrlgion

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    Appreciate it, @G-Spot. Are you seeing zero air in your chamber-sealed bags?
     
    G-Spot
    G-Spot
    Zero…. A very small learning curve, but they are zero air and good lasts longer than vacuum sealer.
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    thesaltyhooker

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    Oct 25, 2018
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    i have the LEM chamber sealer from costco.. i've been very happy with it so far. i use it for fish, wild game meat, vegetables, soups, sauces, etc. you can adjust the pressure and all that based on what you're sealing which will affect the amount of air potentially still in the bag. For me the cost of the bags has damn near offset the cost of the unit itself over a vac sealer over the first year sealing salmon, elk, and tuna.
    buy the bags in bulk and they're pennies each.
    just know the thing is heavy, and will likely live close to where you set it up initially.
     
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    Wild Bill

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    I have a very heavy Sammic that does a great job and pulls a very deep vacuum with the Bosch oil pump it uses and is retort rated. It works great for home but am looking at one of these smaller lighter chamber sealers for trips and on the boat. They get great reviews and the smaller one has been out of stock everywhere for a while now so they have sold a pile of them.

     
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    thesaltyhooker

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    one thing to note on the LEM is i do not THINK it is retort rated.
    some people have worked around it with double sealing bags or something...but if you're not needing to do retort bags not a big deal.
     
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    KimH

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    I have had a Minipac chamber vac for several years. Bought it from Thom when they were around a couple grand or a bit less. Good unit. One thing I've noticed versus the Food Save types is you can use a heavier mil bag. I think I'm using 5 mil. You don't seem to have the failures that you notice after a couple months or so in the freezer from pin bones et cetera. Much better bag to use.
     
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    liltrouble

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    one thing to note on the LEM is i do not THINK it is retort rated.
    some people have worked around it with double sealing bags or something...but if you're not needing to do retort bags not a big deal.
    No, it is not retort rated. You have to have the ability of the sealing bar to put on the p ressure and the heat. Trying to do retort without a retort rated bag and sealer will get you expensive cooked tuna, and maybe even some botulism!
     
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    liltrouble

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    I have had a Minipac chamber vac for several years. Bought it from Thom when they were around a couple grand or a bit less. Good unit. One thing I've noticed versus the Food Save types is you can use a heavier mil bag. I think I'm using 5 mil. You don't seem to have the failures that you notice after a couple months or so in the freezer from pin bones et cetera. Much better bag to use.
    I got mine from Thom also. Great in setting it up and he answers calls when you have questions!
     
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    Elkfins

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    In December @Montanadave and I went to Wyoming and Idaho and killed 3 cow elk. We boned out, ground and vacuum sealed just over 400lbs of elk meat in 2 days. We used his chamber vac to seal the goods... link below, i think it's the right one. Without the chamber vac, we would've never been able to get the job done in the amount of time and I haven't encountered any bags with a bad seal yet. From what i can tell, this one is comparable to the LEM and this one is damn near worth it's weight in gold as far as I'm concerned.

     
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    Papa "J"

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    Baller

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    We use the VacMaster VP210 on our trips to Mexico. Pricey but well worth the final product that we get. Fish come home in pristine condition.
     
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    goatram

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  • Apr 3, 2008
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    I have both a vacmaster 215 and the show Special from Thom. The 215 is supposed to do retorts but it fails. Y get what you pay for. 45secs per bag compared to 20secs or so fro the better one. Like Kim said the bags are better. No freezer burn and no leaks.
     
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    Wild Bill

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    Here is another option I have come across in my research. What impresses me about this one is it can do retort with a seal bar change and replacement parts are readily available including the vacuum pump. They also appear to fully support their products. I think they can be had for $799 with a promo code.

     
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    TwoTapPat

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  • May 22, 2013
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    Just pulled the trigger on the LEM at Costco. Will report back this evening.
    I got one for a birthday present in May and love it for sealing 10 time better than a food saver. If I do retort bags I just go to Vance's and use his. For now it will work great but I will eventually get one that does retort bags.
     
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    TooManyHobbies

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    I have the Costco LEM one too. The bags that come with it are garbage!! Honestly it works way better with food saver bags, or 4mil ones. I’ve read elsewhere that if you get the settings right it will do retort pouches, but I haven’t tried it. Regardless, it’s way nicer than the food saver, just heavy as fuck. I have mine on a little wooden cart in a kitchen closet, and roll it out to use.
    I think the best thing, is that you aren’t sucking fish goo to the edge of the bag and leaving it there, stinking up your freezer.
     
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    bdrlgion

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    Which bags are you guys using on the LEM?
    I only started a few hours ago but my standard foodsaver-ish bags (Weston or the like) seem to work fine.
     
    esgeo
    esgeo
    I’ve had the LEM for over a year now and have zero complaints thus far. I bought bags from this website after I ran out of the ones that came with the machine. It seems like $85 for 1000 bags is a lot to pay, but that should last like 2-3+ years.

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    Mr. DRE

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    I bit the bullet and bought a VacMaster earlier this year and love it. It worlds apart from Foodsaver. I bought a case of 5mil bags and the finished product looks better than the fish I've had processed professionally.
     

    tambs

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    I'm another customer of Thom's as well. Bought a Sammic from him several years ago and love it. I am one of those that @G-Spot mentioned that would chime in about China made crap. With few exceptions, their stuff is garbage, and I will go out of my way to find what I need from almost any other country. To be fair, I've never owned a china-made chamber vac, but there seems to be a fair number of people that have had success with them. As already mentioned, Costco stands behind their offerings, so they would be a good place to pick up one that came from China. Give Thom a call. He's forgotten more about vacuum sealers than most of us will ever know.
     
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    Apr 14, 2013
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    Been really happy with the VP325. Nothing like doing 4 bags at a time and not worrying about sealing strips overheating. Plus can do liquids. Not sure if it is retort compatible. How do I find that out?
     

    G-Spot

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    Been really happy with the VP325. Nothing like doing 4 bags at a time and not worrying about sealing strips overheating. Plus can do liquids. Not sure if it is retort compatible. How do I find that out?
    Pretty sure you can do retorts if the VP215 can… I have the VP545 and it’s a beast 4 at a time, retorts, you name it…
     
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