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Thread: Vacuum sealers. Do I really want one

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    Default Vacuum sealers. Do I really want one

    I have been thinking of getting a vacuum sealer but not sure what to get and how long it will take to pay for it in savings. Right now between all of us we do 800lbs of fish and game a year. We have been taking the fish to coal point in Homer. At 1.05 a pound it adds up but then again how much do the bags cost plus the cost of a sealer. What is a decent sealer and its price. How much are bags if you buy in bulk? I need some help with this one!

  2. #2

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    yes you do need a sealer.I have a chamber style sealer, it cost me $2100 for the sealer and $110 for a box of 1000 bags.if you are doing that much game get a chamber style sealer.When I first brought the sealer home my wife wanted to kick my butt.But no she thinks it is the greatest thing in the kitchen.We use it every day.If you open a pack of hot dogs you can reseal them the same way that they came from the store.Another cool thing with a chamber style is you can do liquids like soup and stews.We take them camping and just place the bag in hot water to heat up then cut a hole in the bag and pour out hot soup.

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Yes ... If you want to eat halibut, rockfish, ling cod and salmon in March ... that taste fresh, get one!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Since your budget appears to be $840, you could get a couple FoodSavers (Turbo GameSaver) and a ton of bags (actually rolls of material that you cut to the length you need). During heavy use, alternate back and forth between the 2 of them and it will allow the sealing element and vacuum pump motor enough cooling time between seals that you won't burn it out.
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...002&hasJS=true


    Option 2 would be the Cabela's heavy duty version of a FoodSaver, which costs a couple bucks less than buying 2 FoodSavers. http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...002&id=0030017

    I prefer the external sealers because you're not limited to the size of the chamber. You can seal the entire fillet off a King in one piece if you were so inclined to try it.

    And if you want a chamber sealer, there is one compact version at $800 before you get to the $1100 unit that most buy. of course, you haven't started buying bags yet.
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...233&hasJS=true
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    And they have got you with the plastic refills. I thought I could beat them all and tried using some industrial tarp plastic that I cut to size.
    It would not work. It appears that the plastic refills have an exterior texture, and I have yet to find it in rolls in the home repair industry. For now, that means you have to buy bulk refills or you will get nickel-dimed to death. I would appreciate knowing who some of the better bulk suppliers beyond Alaska Butcher and Supply...

    Rosenberg/Florida
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  6. #6

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    I use Coal Point when I have a lot of fish to deal with. They charge .85 a lb. just for vacuum packing only, so I prefer filleting all my fish and bringing them the fillets then going in the next day and picking up all my fish neatly packed into 1 lb. industrial strength bags, taking it all home and throwing it in the freezer. I don't have to buy bags, don't have to deal with the mess, don't spend an hour out of a day I could be fishing (or something less important) doing what I consider a tedious job and don't have to deal with a finicky vacu-sealer. Call me lazy, but I am happy to pay for the convenience.

    That being said, I do have a Foodsaver, but I'm ready to throw it in the trash. I'm not sure what model it is (I think I paid about $100 for it at Sav-U-More here in Homer) and it sucks. Or maybe I should say it doesn't suck...very well. I use it when I have just a few fillets to deal with (like just one or two salmon), but I am planning on buying a better one. I did a few silvers and kings a while back and the other day I looked in my freezer and every single piece I did leaked air and they all have freezer burn. When I sealed them they were just fine and didn't show any sign of air leakage. Maybe it's the particular brand of bag I was using (NOT Foodsaver bags), but I suspect the Foodsaver itself. I have to fight with it all the time when I use it and a lot of the time I have to coax the air out of the bag when I'm sealing it because it just doesn't seem to want to disappear. Obviously the Foodsaver just doesn't have the vacuum power it really needs.

    My advice if you're going to buy one would be to figure out how much you can afford and buy the best one you can afford for that money. There was another thread this summer regarding this issue, so you might want to do a forum search to find it. If I remember correctly the consensus of opinion there was that the CG-15 from Cabelas at $449 was the best buy. I was looking at one at Ulmer's the other day and they have one that looks almost exactly like the CG-15 and I think it was $399 (but don't hold me to that).

    But if you really want to get serious and have the bucks to do it I'd recommend one of the chamber sealers like elim said. That's what custom fish processors use and they're the best, though you pay big bucks to get the best.
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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Check trustworthy in Soldotna, they have the CG-15 without the Cabelas name on it for less.

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    Member Alan Sloka's Avatar
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    The other issue with a chamber sealer is the bags cost much less than the bags used with a "foodsaver" type vac sealer. At the volume your talking about you would pay the difference in a year or two.

  9. #9

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    Alaska Butcher Supply / Anchorage
    Minipack MV31: $1850.00 5 years ago
    8x10 4 mil bags: $115 per 1000
    They have other size bags I buy lesser amounts of (packs of 100)
    They work fast and efficiently. I use it for a lot more than fish and game. Most used appliance in my kitchen. Way better seal.

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    Thanks everyone for your help. Now i have to decide if i want to throw a bunch of money at it. Mutley i hear you about Coal Point! We drop off our fillets and when we come back they are frozen rock solid and they never leak. It sure is simple with NO muss and fuss! You get back from them what you drop off. No worries no hassle.

  11. #11

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    $1850 for a Minipack MV31? that is a great deal

    Quote Originally Posted by Homertime View Post
    Alaska Butcher Supply / Anchorage
    Minipack MV31: $1850.00 5 years ago
    8x10 4 mil bags: $115 per 1000
    They have other size bags I buy lesser amounts of (packs of 100)
    They work fast and efficiently. I use it for a lot more than fish and game. Most used appliance in my kitchen. Way better seal.

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    Costco has a vacuum chamber sealer for $1000. I beleive that it is the same sealer that they sell at another store here in Anchorage for about 1700. My wife gave me one for fathers day. The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't get one 15 years ago! The bags are substantially cheaper than the Foodsaver bags. Also, with Costco if I ever have a problem, their return policy is second to none.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sound Fisher View Post
    Costco has a vacuum chamber sealer for $1000. I beleive that it is the same sealer that they sell at another store here in Anchorage for about 1700. My wife gave me one for fathers day. The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't get one 15 years ago! The bags are substantially cheaper than the Foodsaver bags. Also, with Costco if I ever have a problem, their return policy is second to none.
    What kind and model number is it?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by elim View Post
    $1850 for a Minipack MV31? that is a great deal
    Got it 5 years ago. Sport show "special price".

  15. #15

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    I have the same machine.how often do you change the oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Homertime View Post
    Got it 5 years ago. Sport show "special price".

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    i have the minipack sealer and would never go back to without it. we do lots of food every year with it. the fish alone makes it worth it over time. you can seal a salmon fillet and take it out next spring and it will be fine.

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    For what it's worth... this is a lower 48er's advice...

    I bought a Foodsaver at Fred Meyers when I arrived in Anchorage. After vac pakn about 10lbs of reds the darned thing overheated and froze one me.

    Now I just have my fish frozen in ziplock baggies and vac pak them at home! I bought a Cabela's CG-15 and it works great! By the time the fish arrives in AZ it's not completely frozen, but firm enough to vacpak with the CG-15. This year I packed 100 lbs of Reds flawlessly without the darned thing freezing up or overheating once! I'm a firm believer in the CG-15 and have been happy with it for the past two years. No, I'm not a schill for Cabela's, but I do love this packer. For the most part, I'm not too thrilled with Cabela's brand stuff because it's mostly Chinese garbage and it's only valuable to you if you have a Cabela's store near you to return the junk they sell under their name!

  18. #18
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Avoid the cheap FoodSaver models like the plague. If you spend less than $200 on your FoodSaver, you won't be happy.

    The high end models work just fine. Do NOT seal more than 1 bag (both ends) per minute or you will overheat it. Make a bag, write the date/contents info on it, go put the stuff in it, come back and seal it. Repeat the process. You cannot try to run these machines batch style.

    If you don't take the pin bones out of a salmon fillet, they will poke through the bag. You won't notice the leaks right after sealing, but it will show up in the freezer once the plastic is frozen.

    In order to get a good end seal, it is important to hold the opposite sides of the bag where it enters the FoodSaver. You need to pull the sides apart to force the sealing edge to remain perfectly flat during the sealing process. If you allow the vacuum to wrinkle the bag where it enters the unit, you will end up with a leaky seal.

    I've had great results with my FoodSaver. If it ever fails, I might consider the CG-15. But the way the FoodSaver runs, I'll probably be using it for many years to come.

    I've had 2-year old fillets in the freezer that were sealed with my FoodSaver that were still in great condition. (Every once in awhile, a fillet gets pushed to the back and you miss it. I normally use up my annual catch in less than a year.)

    Buy rolls of bag material at Fred Meyer when it goes on 1/2 price sale during the winter and it is pretty cheap.
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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Based on the previous thread that Muttly referenced, I bought a CG-15 and have used this this summer when one of my FoodSavers sealer failed. The CG-15 works much better, and the seal is about twice as wide. It even came with spare parts, such as the sealing strip and a few other items. So far I am quite pleased. I think it is a good, middle of the road solution between the cheap food saver and the high end commercial solutions.
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    I just bought the same one CG-15 from Cabelas for $349.00, new not a rebuild

    Now next question is where to get bags at for a good price, Pre-made or rolls

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