Reviews

VacMaster VP215 review

VacMaster VP215 Review

VacMaster VP215 Review for 2020

There are many vacuum bag sealers on the market today and choosing the right one can be a little daunting. The popularity of vacuum bag sealing in growing, not only due to their ability to prolong the freshness of foods, both cooked and uncooked, by up to 5 times that of standard storage methods, but as sous vide cooking (very slowly cooking foods at lower temperatures with the food sealed in a vacuum bag to preserve the juices) becomes more popular vacuum sealing is a necessary part of the preparation. The VacMaster VP215 is the one of the premier models in the VacMaster range of versatile vacuum sealers.

The VacMaster VP range is a chamber type of vacuum sealer which means that due to the method of creating the vacuum it is, unlike many other vacuum sealers, capable of vacuum sealing soups, and liquid rich foods such as stews or even water if you feel so inclined. The VP215 has the ability to vacuum seal liquids because of the method in which it creates the vacuum. Rather than just suck the air from the bag (which also sucks the liquid from the bag) the VP215 has a chamber in which the bag is placed. Air is then removed from the whole chamber which maintains an even vacuum both inside and outside the bag. With the equalized vacuum the liquids do not get sucked out.

The VacMaster VP215 is a heavy duty vacuum sealer that is designed for frequent use. It is heavy, weighing in at 85 lbs. so it is the type of sealer that it needs to put in position where it will be used and leave it there. It also has a reasonably large footprint when compared to standard vacuum bag sealers, measuring 20” x 14” x 15”.

Our VacMaster VP215 Review

As mentioned in the introduction the VacMaster VP215 is a large heavy vacuum sealer so locating it needs some thought. It is not the sort of tool that is taken out and put away after every time that it is used. Weighing in at 85 lbs. it also needs 2 people to lift and site it. That being said, once the VacMaster VP215 is in position one of the first things that becomes obvious is that this is a well-built strong vacuum sealer that is made to be used.

Many people just want to get on and try out their new purchase but a few minutes spent reading the instructions first is definitely worth the effort here, it will help ensure that you have perfectly sealed results every use and in the shortest possible time. With the machine are some spacer plates. These are used when smaller amount of food are to be vacuum sealed. They basically take up space in the chamber which reduces the amount of air that needs to be vacuumed out which speeds up the cycle considerably.

A good first test for the VP215 is to try sealing a bag of water. Not only will this makes sure that the vacuum pump is withdrawing air and the sealer working correctly it will prove the capability of the sealer to vacuum seal liquids. For anyone who has used a standard vacuum bag sealer and tried to seal foods with a liquid before the results will be really impressive. So the sealer has been set up and tested how does it perform in general use?

 

Often people like to prepare a large quantity of food in one go and then vacuum seal it. This is yet another area where the VacMaster VP215 comes in to its own. The powerful ¼ HP rotary oil pump needs less effort to produce the vacuum so it can work for that much longer without needing a period of rest to allow it to cool down. For those who like to prepare a large quantity of soup or stews in one batch and separate in to individual portions for later meals, the ability to seal the whole batch in one go without having to stop and start is a real boon. In fact VacMaster recommend that this vacuum sealer is suitable for small restaurants and delis as well as for those who hunter and people who fish for the very reason of its capacity to work for extended periods.

As to the size of bags that the sealer can cope with, VacMaster sell a 10” x 13” bag (in packs of 250) which is the maximum size that they recommend but other users have reported that they have achieved perfect results with bags as large as 10” x 15”. The most popular sized bags are the 8” x 10” and the 6” x 12”.

The VacMaster VP215 may be a little large for some kitchens, and the height can make it to larger to fit on some counters with wall mounted cupboards over them, but if you need a heavy duty machine with a large capacity that can also seal liquids this is an ideal vacuum sealer.

VacMaster VP215 Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • The VacMaster VP215 is seriously quiet. It is one of those devices where you couldn’t really tell if it’s ON or OFF – simply because it’s so quiet.
  • The clear lid is a unique and rather innovative feature of this sealer – allowing you to easily see when your food has been correctly sealed.
  • The affordable price tag makes the VacMaster VP215 an all-round winner.
  • This particular model has consistently attracted positive customer reviews.
  • You really need to purchase high grade sealing bags, as we found that the cheaper bags simply don’t mix well with the VP215.

VacMaster VP215 Best Features

  • Able to seal liquids as well as solid foodstuff – this is without a doubt a real asset to anyone who likes to be able to vacuum seal any type of food including soups and other liquid rich foods.
  • Powerful ¼ HP rotary oil vacuum pump – this pump enables the VacMaster VP215 to work for extended periods without needing to cool down allowing users to vacuum seal large batches in one go.
  • Spacers to reduce size of chamber for small items – by reducing the chamber size with the spacers the vacuum can be formed much quicker than otherwise, greatly speeding up cycle times.
  • Clear lid – to allow you to check on the progress of your sealing and stop if the bag needs adjusting
  • Stainless steel body – for easy clean and rust free body
  • Quick cycle times – of between 20 to 40 seconds with no cool down period needed in between each cycle
  • Quieter operation – the rotary oil vacuum pump runs much quieter than conventional vacuum bag sealer pumps
  • Longer lasting freshness of all foods whether fresh or frozen – the food that is vacuum sealed will last up to 5 times the length of food stored conventionally in freezer, refrigerator or larder

VacMaster VP215 Conclusion

For the person who just wants to vacuum seal the occasional steak or similar this is probably not the machine for those who would like to be able to vacuum seal anything, including liquids and work in batches the VacMaster VP215 is definitely well worth considering. It can easily cope with moderate to heavier vacuum sealing larger quantities of food on a continuous basis without having to pause for a cool down after each sealing cycle.

This is particularly valued for those who like the sous-vide method of cooking as the preparation can be carried out quickly. The rotary oil pump is much quieter than usual with vacuum sealers and apart from occasionally having to check the oil is maintenance free. The VP215 comes ready to use straight from the box with a selection of bags and spacer plates plus a bone guard to prevent punctures when sealing food with sharp bones in it. Also included is a very simple but highly useful stand to make filling bags much easier and cleaner.

Overall the VacMaster VP215 is a highly recommended vacuum bag sealer that not only has excellent conventional vacuum bag sealing specifications but also for it liquid sealing capabilities.

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Weston Pro-2300 review

Weston Pro 2300 Review

Weston Pro 2300 Review (Updated for 2020)

About 30% of all fresh food that is bought is wasted due to it going off before it is eaten. Food can be frozen to increase the life of it but not all food is suitable for freezing. Also when food is frozen or kept in the refrigerator it is usually stored in bulky plastic containers which use up a lot of storage space. An ideal way in which to solve the problem with prolonging the freshness of food, including foods not suitable for home freezing, is to vacuum seal and then store in either the refrigerator or freezer.

Vacuum sealing can extend the life of food by up to 5 times what can normally be expected. Not only will it extend the life of food stored in the freezer or refrigerator it will also extend the freshness of food stored in the larder as well. As an added plus, with vacuum sealing there is no need for additional bulky plastic containers to waste storage space.

Not only can vacuum sealing extend food freshness, for those who like to prepare large quantities of food for later consumption vacuum sealing is an ideal option. Many foods can be cooked in the vacuum bags themselves.

A vacuum sealer that is well worth considering when looking at options for buying a vacuum bag sealer is the Weston Pro 2300. It is a little more expensive than many models available but it makes up for that with its durability and ability to seal bags up to 15” wide. For those who like the sous vide (literally ‘under vacuum’) cooking the Weston Pro 2300 makes an ideal choice as, due to its fan cooled 2 piston motor, it has the ability to seal many bags in one session without the need to allow constant cooling down periods.

 

Our Weston Pro 2300 Review

The first thing that strikes you about this vacuum bag sealer when taken from the box is that it looks like a serious well-constructed, solid piece of equipment that is designed and built to last. Rather than the usual plastic body, the Weston Pro 2300 is stainless steel. Note: – the Weston Pro 2300 is shipped with a protective film over the stainless steel. This needs to be removed prior to first using the sealer.

This vacuum bag sealer weighs just under 14.5 lbs. and measures 15” x 23” x 9” high and is therefore reasonably easy to move in and out of cupboards if your kitchen work surfaces are a little full.

Unfortunately the Weston Pro 2300 does not come with a supply of bags so it is necessary to order a quantity when you order your sealer. With regard to bags, Weston recommend that only their bags are used. Some users have successfully used other brands while others have not had much success.

If you have used vacuum sealer before when you first use the Weston Pro 2300 you will notice that vacuum pump on this sealer is much quieter than on many comparable models. Additionally the 2 cylinder vacuum pump is fan cooled allowing it to operate for longer periods without having to cool down. The noise and the cooling down time may not be too much of a problem if the machine is used only occasionally but for sealing batches of food it can make all the difference. It is also capable of attaining higher vacuum levels (28” for the Pro 2300 as compared with 24” to 25” on similarly priced models).

This vacuum sealer has the option of a one touch operation which will automatically create the vacuum and seal the bag but there is also a manual option if needed. The manual mode allow you to reduce the amount of vacuum for use when sealing soft food or delicate objects.

The 15” width sealing capability is yet another big plus for this vacuum sealer. With a 15”wide bag the size of the food that can be sealed is much greater than on standard machines. This is especially useful for sealing large cuts of meat or whole chickens.

One element that places the Weston Pro 2300 above many of its direct competitors is that there is a ready supply of consumable parts such as the Teflon tape that covers the heating element and seals that wear with time and use. There is even a complete service kit with all the necessary replacement parts included.

As with all other non-chamber vacuum bag sealers the Weston Pro 2300 will not seal liquids and can have problems with liquid rich foods. Some users have found that by partially freezing such foods before trying to vacuum seal them that this thickens the liquid sufficiently to allow it to be successfully vacuum sealed.

The Weston pro 2300 is a semi-commercial grade vacuum sealer that is built to cope with moderately high usage. Its manufacture from stainless steel rather than plastic means that it can take some harsher treatment than many similarly priced machines.

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Vacupack Elite Vacuum Sealer

Vacupack Elite Review

Our Vacupack Elite Review (2020)

The Vacupack Elite proudly proclaims that the sealer is manufactured in Italy and upgraded in the USA. What the modifications are exactly isn’t stated but seems to be an upgraded heat bar, whatever they are the machine ends up as a good looking versatile vacuum sealer that is able to seal even wet bags. An impressive offering on this vacuum sealer is a 2 year warranty and 5 year service contract included in the purchase price.

The stainless steel construction will prevent any rust while the special design of the crimp sealer heat bar is what allows the Vacupack Elite to effectively seal even wet bags without the trouble of having to dry the sealing area first. A powerful vacuum pump will give a higher level of vacuum than most standard vacuum sealers. To prevent a mess and to divert any liquid from the wet bag there is a moisture trap. Operation is designed to be simple and straight forward with automatic setting for vacuuming and sealing the bags, although there are manual settings for those who would prefer to adjust the machine to their preferences.

A big positive about this sealer is that they do not say that you need to use their brand bag in fact a selling point is the versatility to use any bag that is suitable for vacuum sealing. The Vacupack Elite is primarily designed for domestic use but the high production output that it is capable of means that it could be used in smaller scale commercial operations.

Although some websites state that the machine is for domestic use only and not intended for commercial use, Vacupack’s own website states that the Elite is suitable for light commercial usage. For such a well-built sturdy vacuum sealer the Vacupack Elite only has a footprint of 13” by 7” and it is 5.5” high, it weighs only 15 lbs, much lighter than the VacMaster VP112S. Included in with the sealer are a selection of sous vide vacuum bags.

Our Vacupack Elite Review

When we first came across the Vacupack Elite and the adverts saying that it vacuum seals wet bags, we were more than happy to put this claim to the test. Our first impression of the Elite straight from the box was that it looks like a serious commercial machine, even though it has a small footprint and is relatively light at only 15 lbs.

It is small enough that it will fit pretty much anywhere you want to locate it in your kitchen while at the same time easy enough to put away and take out when you need to use it if space is at a premium. Included in the box is connections to allow the Elite’s vacuum pump to be used for the vacuum sealing of jars. So how does the machine actually perform? As you would expect, it works very efficiently and simply. Just place the open mouth of the bag in on the bed close the lid press ‘automatic’ and off you go and your bag is sealed. A feature that we particularly liked was that if you want to stop the cycle before the heat cycle, turning the machine on again allows air back into the bag to easily break the vacuum.

OK, dry bag sealed successfully. But, what about a bag that gets moisture all over the inner faces of the bag where it is to be sealed?

It was suggested that we try with a moist sponge and see what happens. The instructions tell you to wait until the moisture has stopped moving that way you know that the vacuum has been achieved, you can then go on and seal. Not only did the bag seal perfectly, we ended up with a sponge about ½” thick. There is a small channel to collect any liquid that is drawn out when sealing and it is recommended that the channel is wiped out after every time there is a wet bag. Should this not happen there is a little raised pipe to protect the machine and in the worst cases where the pipe gets covered with water there is a moisture trap on the left of the machine to prevent moisture damaging the working parts. It is claimed that the Vacupack Elite will seal through oil, fat or food sauce, so time to test that claim.

Using a pork steak with an oily marinade, we placed that in the bag making sure that the sealing faces had a least some oil on them and proceeded to seal.  Again the process was flawless. It does take a little longer to seal wet bags as it is recommended that the heat is left on setting 4 which gives a little more time to heat through the moisture. Cleaning the sealer is very easy, the 2 neoprene seals pull out making it very easy to wipe down the machine, the stainless steel body and the sealed switches can be cleaned with a damp cloth. We found this to be an easy to operate vacuum sealer with a very quick cycle time.

We also like the idea that any make of vacuum sealing bags are suitable with this machine – an extremely positive aspect for consumers. For the average consumer, forking out on expensive Vacupack’s own brand bags just isn’t feasible.

Vacupack Elite Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • The Vacupack Elite allows you to use non-branded bags; which is a huge plus point for those who want to save money in the process.
  • The moisture trap system found in this particular model is outstanding. The system prevents damage from occurring if you accidentally leave water inside the tray.
  • While not graded as a heavy-industrial use system, we found that the Vacupack Elite is more than sufficient for uses such as restaurants.
  • The price tag is rather high in comparison to actual commercial graded sealers.

Vacupack Elite Best Features

  • Seals wet bags – this is undoubtedly a key feature, the modifications, carried out in the USA, to the heat bar are what allows this machine to seal through all types of liquids. The company guarantees that the Vacupack Elite will seal wet damp bags.
  • Moisture trap – to prevent damage to working parts if the moisture tray is not emptied after every wet bag is sealed.
  • 35 to 60 bags capacity per session – up to 60 bags can be sealed in one go before the machine needs to cool down.
  • 2 year warranty – and a 5 year service contract shows how much faith the manufacturers have in the durability of the Vacupack Elite which gives potential buyers confidence
  • Attractive design – the sleek stainless steel body and the flush touch buttons will look good in any kitchen.
  • Compact and light – unlike many other vacuum sealers this is an efficient and well-built machine that still manages to keep relatively small and light, so it won’t be too intrusive in even a smaller kitchen.
  • Suitable for any vacuum seal bag – this machine will seal any vacuum seal bag regardless of bag manufacturer. Will take bags up to 12.5” wide and any length.
  • Attachments for jar sealing – an extension hose with a choice of end fittings to vacuum seal jars.
  • Ideal for marinades and sous vide cooking – voted sous vide vacuum sealer of the year in 2011.

Vacupack Elite Conclusion

With so many vacuum heat sealers on the market today and with a wide price range it can be a little bewildering as to which one to actually choose. Although maybe not the very best vacuum sealer on the market, the Vacupack Elite is certainly well worth considering due to its ability to seal wet bags and its very long warranty. The ability to use any vacuum sealing bag or roll is a definite advantage as it allows you to choose the best size bags for what you want to vacuum seal rather than the limited number of sizes available from individual manufacturers.

We liked the ability to seal moist and wet food (although it in common with many vacuum sealer it will not seal liquids such as soup), plus its easy clean low maintenance design. It was easy to operate and we did not have any failed bags in the large selection of foods that we sealed with the Elite.

There are less expensive machines on the market that will do many of the tasks that this sealer will do and do them adequately but if you are someone who like the convenience of being able to vacuum pack your food, not being able to vacuum pack moist foods, such as marinades, can be a real drawback. The Vacupack Elite is a very good vacuum sealer.

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VacMaster VP112S

VacMaster VP112S Review

Our VacMaster VP112S Review

The VacMaster VP112S Chamber Vacuum Sealer is an ideal option for those who want to be able to seal liquid rich foods, soups as well as conventional vacuum sealed foods. The VP112S is a lighter duty version of the very well regarded but larger (and heavier) range of chamber vacuum sealer that have the ability to vacuum seal liquids – something that many conventional vacuum bag sealers cannot do. Even though this is a lighter duty model it is still, as are all VacMaster products, robustly built. Its low profile of only 9” with a footprint of 24” x 16” makes it an ideal size for fitting on kitchen counter tops.

Although the overall volume of the VP112S is relatively small it does weigh 40 lbs. so users may need assistance to lift it to the counter top. Unlike most conventional vacuum sealer that create a vacuum in the bag (and also draw out liquids), with the VP112S the bag to be vacuum sealed is placed in a chamber. The air is then drawn out of the whole chamber, meaning that there is no positive air pressure for the liquid to be sucked out to. The bag is then double sealed and the air let back in to the chamber. Using this chamber system means that liquid rich foods such as stews, marinades and even soups can at last be vacuum sealed in a domestic kitchen.

Many users have found the VP112S particularly useful in sous vide cooking (very slowly cooking foods at lower temperatures with the food sealed in a vacuum bag to preserve the juices).  There are a wide range of vacuum sealers available today but many have restriction on what they can and cannot seal, with the VP112S many of the drawbacks with other sealers have been eliminated.

VacMaster VP112S Chamber Vacuum Sealer

VacMaster VP112S Chamber Vacuum Sealer

  • Redesigned heavy-duty chamber & lid allows for consistent performance with a 4 mm wide positive seal
  • Marinating cycle marinates and infuses meats, fruits and veggies; helps penetrate food with deeper flavor

Our VacMaster VP112S Review

Vacuum sealers are a very popular addition to many kitchens. Their ability to extend the freshness of food in the refrigerator or larder and extend the storage time in the freezer by up to 5 times non-vacuum sealed foods can be stored helps reduced gone off food being thrown out. Those who like to do batch cooking find vacuum sealers invaluable. Not only does it extend the life of the food, but it also takes up far less room than if plastic storage containers were to be used. Plus, the vacuum sealed food can be cooked or warmed through by placing the vacuum sealed food straight into boiling water.

Setting up the VacMaster VP112S for use is simple. The only difficulty that some users may find is that at 40 lbs, the help of a second person may be needed to help locate the machine.

Included in the box are 40 assorted bags, a very useful bone guard to prevent punctures when sharp boned meats are vacuum sealed and a stand to hold the bags open when being loaded. This is a small wire stand that makes matters so much easier that you wonder why every manufacturer does not include one. As mentioned in the introduction, many vacuum sealers are very good at sealing foods without free liquid but fail when it comes to liquid rich foods. Even small amounts of liquid can cause problems when some liquid gets drawn by the vacuum in to the area that is to be sealed it prevents a good seal from forming.

The VacMaster VP112S is one vacuum sealer that eliminates this problem completely by using a sealed chamber from which all the air is removed. With an equalized vacuum any free liquid will not be sucked into the vacuum pipe.  A real test for the effectiveness of this vacuum sealer to see how effective it is at sealing liquids is to seal a bag of just water. This test the VP112S passes with flying colors. As sous vide cooking becomes more popular a vacuum sealer such as the VacMaster VP112S really comes in to its own. Being able to vacuum seal dishes with sauces and marinades included makes life so much easier. The internal dimensions of the chamber measure 12” x 11” x 5” with the sealing bar covering the 12” length.This volume is more than sufficient to cover most needs.

One area that the VP112S is lacking when compared to many other VacMaster models is that it doesn’t come with spacer boards. These are a very useful addition when small quantities of food are being sealed as they reduce the spare volume which means that the vacuum is achieved much quicker and the machine has to work less hard as well. Although the machine is not rated for continuous use, VP112S owners report that they have sealed over 30 bags in one session without any problems such as overheating.

VacMaster produce a range of sizes in vacuum bags but many people find that any bag suitable for vacuum sealing works well on this machine.

VacMaster VP112S Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • The VacMaster VP112S is popular. It happily serves hundreds of restaurant owners and food establishments.
  • It’s small and compact size is useful for constant use. However, it does weigh quite a bit.
  • Being able to seal liquid rich foods will be a life saver for many. The majority of vacuum sealers we have reviewed are not capable of sealing foods such as soups and stews.
  • No spacer boards are included with the VacMaster VP112S model. However, users have reported being able to seal 20-30 bags in one session without overheating the appliance.
  • The VacMaster bags seem to work best – with other non-branded bags not exactly fitting perfectly.
  • This particularly model is quite expensive, and it’s hard to justify the price tag when compared to other leading brands.

VacMaster VP112S Best Features

  • Able to vacuum seal liquid rich foods – this is the outstanding feature of this machine. Being able to vacuum seal marinades (which increases the amount of the marinade absorbed by the food as a bonus) as well as soups and stews enables all foods to now benefit from the extended life that vacuum sealing gives
  • Fits on the kitchen counter – many other chamber style vacuum sealer are bulkier and even if they fit between the counter and over counter cupboards, the height of the opened lid means that they have to be moved when in use
  • Longer lasting freshness of all foods whether fresh or frozen – the food that is vacuum sealed will last up to 5 times the length of food stored conventionally in freezer, refrigerator or larder
  • 12” long double seal bar – the double seal ensures that the vacuumseal on the bag remains intact
  • Cycle time of between 30 and 60 seconds – depending on the amount of free space in the chamber
  • Transparent sealing lid – this allow users to check that the bag isset correctly before sealing rather than finding out after that it was not.
  • 2 cylinder vacuum pump – for more efficient and maintenance free operation
  • Stainless steel body – looks good and is easy to clean

VacMaster VP112S Conclusion

This is yet another very good vacuum sealer from VacMaster that is able to vacuum seal most foods including those with a high degree of liquid content. The efficient and maintenance free 2 cylinder vacuum pump operates with much less noise than many vacuum pumps on conventional sealers. The additional noise is only a minor irritation if the sealer is used infrequently but if the sealer is to be used regularly the relative quietness of the VP112S is a real bonus.

Where the VP112S scores highly is the fact that it fits very comfortably in a domestic kitchen situation. 110v machines are readily available whereas the 220v option (designated VP112EU) can be found with a little searching. The only drawback with the VP112S is that not every VP112S comes with the spacer boards, if not it is well worth buying some or using small plastic chopping boards that fit in the sealer because of the time that is saved when vacuum sealing smaller quantities of food.

Although the VP112S is a little more expensive than some conventional bag sealers the durability plus the ability to vacuum seal liquids make this a highly recommended option when deciding which vacuum sealer to purchase.

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