Review of chamber vacuum sealer, Vacmaster vp112

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by midtownbistro, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. midtownbistro

    midtownbistro Fire Starter

    When I smoke salmon or cheese, I usually have 50-100 pieces that I want to vacuum seal.

    I've gone through 4-5 store-bought vacuum sealers, ranging from $50 to $150 in price.  The biggest problem was they dont have a cooling mechanism which causes the units to shut down after an hour of continuous use (you have to wait maybe 10 mins after a couple seals to do another couple).  So in the middle of a big batch, this is a pain in the butt.

    I researched different seal-a-meal devices, looking at reviews and specs... none of which are suited for continuous duty.  There are some Weston commercial ones which cost $600, which I seriously considered.

    Finally I found a commercial chamber vacuum system.  Rather than going into great detail of how it works, all I will say is that it is a completely different concept of removing the air from the bag.  The entire bag is put into a chamber, the entire chamber goes under vacuum, the sealing bar is within the chamber.  Foodsaver systems suck air out of the bag, the bag is basically left in the open, and the air is pulled out.

    Here's the comparison:

    Time:  both take the same amount of time to perform the vacuum

    What can be put in the bag:  the foodsaver type doesnt work well with anything warm or that has a liquid, it also doesnt like dusty things.  The air drawn out actually sucks out the liquid/dust and makes a mess where you want it to seal.  Chamber systems can handle hot liquids, dust, or anything, the concept basically allows you to put anything you want in the bag and it will be sealed in there.

    Bag quality:  Both foodsaver bags and commercial chamber bags can be boiled after, both freeze well. 

    Bag cost:  Foodsaver bags are available everywhere and cost around $15 for 100.  That is 15 cents each.  Chamber bags cost about $30 for 1000.  That is 3 cents each.  Consider how many seals you will do in 2 years, multiply that by the bag cost, and now you know the running cost of using that device.

    Sealer cost:  Foodsavers cost $200 for a good one and the bags cost you 15 cents each.  Commercial vacuum sealers cost $500 and the bags cost you 15 cents each.  A portable commercial chamber system will cost you $650 and the bags will cost you 3 cents each.

    Benefits of a Foodsaver machine:  low entry cost, fits in a closet, simple and quick.

    Downside of a Foodsaver machine:  bags are 10x the price, cannot run continuous (more than maybe 40 bags at a time), breaks down in a couple years.  Not designed to handle hot, moist, or dusty products

    Benefits of Commercial Weston machine: fits in a closet, simple and quick, can run continuously

    Downside of Commercial Weston machine: high cost of entry, bags are 10x price.  Not designed to handle hot, moist, or dusty products

    Benefits of chamber vacuum system:  bags are very inexpensive.  can handle liquids, hot and moist product, and dusty product.  can seal multiple bags at a time (as long as they dont overlap on the seal bar).  full control over vacuum level and seal times

    Downside of chamber vacuum system:  high cost of entry, very heavy (the Vacmaster VP112 weighs 60lbs).

    Good luck if you are facing sealing problems.  Do your research and if you are packaging alot of product, do the math in bag cost.  My chamber system will pay for itself in 3 years.  I would be happy to answer any questions if you ask.
    shoebe likes this.
  2. midtownbistro

    midtownbistro Fire Starter

    here is a pic with a 6x9 bag

  3. gersus

    gersus Smoking Fanatic

    Very cool! Having one of these machines would be great! I didn't realize bags were that much cheaper... thanks, now I really want one! haha 
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What is the largest size bag you can put in the unit?

    Also - you might want to check on the "boiling water" comment. Everything I have read says hot not boiling water due to BPA issues with boiling water
  5. midtownbistro

    midtownbistro Fire Starter

    this has a 12" sealing bar, so (2) 6" bags or one 12" bag.

    I bought the sous vide cooking bags which are suitable for boiling.  Here is an extract from the manufacturer:   These 10" x 15" industrial strength, 3 mil chamber vacuum packaging bags help keep food fresh up to five times longer than traditional storage methods! They're specially designed so that you can reheat food right in the bag. The design has more perforated layers and a stronger adhesive than other vacuum chamber pouches which allow them to withstand the extended exposure to heat involved with Sous Vide Cooking. More economical than bags used for suction type machines, these bags also seal more securely.

    These chamber vacuum packaging pouches can be frozen, refrigerated, microwaved, or boiled, and their nylon/poly construction adds puncture and abrasion resistance! Sold 1000 per case
  6. thanks for the link...I actually ended up getting the vp210 and am loving it! (My foodsaver seemed to overheat after only about 10-20 seals).  Lisa at VSU was great and hightly recommend both VSU and the chamber sealer.

    Scarbelly--I think you're right...not sure about FS bags, but I know they make boil safe bags for the commercial sealers...
  7. midtownbistro

    midtownbistro Fire Starter

    Wow, you dropped a grand for that....nice!

    I am very happy for you.

    Did you end up getting the bag stand?  I just saw that and I found some plastic follish thing which helps but is not sturdy at all.  Still trying to figure out how to get product in the bag without getting the sealing area dirty.  I am wondering what to mimic this for 6" bags....
  8. shhh...don't tell the wife! :D

    I didn't get a stand, though it may come in handy--I kinda do a wet hand-dry hand dance to try and get it in as cleanly as possible...
  9. smoker21

    smoker21 Meat Mopper

    Thank you for your report.  This answers most of my questions!

  10. roger shoaf

    roger shoaf Fire Starter

    One other benefit is that the chamber sealers give you more vacuum. The nearer to a perfect vacuum you can get the less oxygen there is to cause problems.

    So if you had a package of meat in the freezer loose, wrapped in butcher paper, zip locked bagged, food saver bagged or done with a commercial grade vacuum you are going to get different freezer lives out of each.
  11. lisa b

    lisa b Smoking Fanatic

  12. kelly k

    kelly k Newbie

    I purchased the VP112 about a month ago. This is going to be a great addition to food preparation. First a tip and then a question. 

    TIP: I took the bottom off a M'donald's large plastic cup and it is the perfect funnel for the 6" bags. I used a Wndy's Large for the bigger bags. Keeps the tops nice a clean for a perfect seal.

    QUESTION: How do you use the "seal only" that even their manual, under "tips" refers to? 

  13. Hello all, new to the forum. I bought the VP112 about a year ago and let me tell 'ya. I will never go back to the FS again! Not saying their bad or anything our first one (and only one) lasted about 9 or 10 years. I bought 3,250 bags from vacuumsealersunlimited for $188 with shipping included. FS bags can cost up to $10 for 22 bags (I believe...been a while since I bought them). that's $.45 a bag. The biggest bag it can handle is 12"x14" and their are sizes of bags ranging from 2.5"x10" to 22"x34". there are controls for seal and vac. time and you can still use the FS canisters with this machine. You don't have to worry about sealing wet products because this machine will vac. seal water. You will not go wrong with this machine. I found it on sale for $570 with free shipping. Right now The W^$$%&&$$%^t Store has it on sale for $549 free shipping.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  14. ...but the W*&^#$$%&*&^t Store doesn't have Lisa...
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  15. I'm seriously thinking of getting a chamber unit. Yesterday I smoked 20 pounds of cheese - that's 40 individual inch thick slices. I vacuum sealed them and put them in the fridge. Today I pulled them out to put labels on them and found a 100% failure rate - no vacuum seal at all. I was so careful to make sure the sealing surface was clean, but the Vacmaster 130 does not seem up to the task...

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
  16. smoker21

    smoker21 Meat Mopper

    I have the Pro 140 and after I set the heater timer 2 seconds longer I stopped having any problems.
  17. lisa b

    lisa b Smoking Fanatic

    Awww, thanks!   [​IMG]

    We also sell the unit for $549 with free shipping.  

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  18. cs3625

    cs3625 Newbie

    Vacmaster vp112
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  19. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Lisa is one of our sponsors...and would appreciate it being purchased from her.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2013
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    cs3625....  Since this is your first post here, please stop shilling for NON site supporters.....   Evidently you haven't come to terms with how great this site is....    without our sponsors, it wouldn't be here.....    Did you just drop in to FREE advertise for the site you mentioned ????    Well, that sucks.....    

    Sincerely, DaveOmak......

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