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VacMaster VP210 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
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- Dry maintenance-free machine pump.
- Keeps food fresh up to five times longer.
- A double seal on each bag ensures a complete and lasting seal.
- Customizable vacuum and seal methods offer a variety of packaging options.
- The VP210 can vacuum package liquids and liquid-rich foods like fresh meats, soups, marinades, and stews.
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The VacMaster VP 210 Chamber Machine provides a solution to the problem posed by vacuum packaging machines currently on the market: how to vacuum package liquids and liquid-rich foods. Current machines on the market are suction machines, meaning air is vacuumed out of the vacuum bag, then the bag is sealed. However, along with the air, liquids are also vacuumed out of the bag, leading to partial or failed seals. The VP210 Chamber Machine uses different technology to eliminate this problem. When sealing with our chamber machine, the vacuum bag to be sealed is placed inside the chamber of the machine, and the lid is closed. Then air is sucked out of the entire chamber, not just the bag, allowing the air pressure on the inside and outside of the bag to remain equal and liquids to stay in the bag. The bag is then sealed, and the air let back into the chamber. In addition, the chamber machine can reach a higher level of vacuum. Most suction machines obtain a 24-26 hg level of vacuum, while chamber machines are able to obtain a 27-29 hg level of vacuum.
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A good tip for filling bags with wet foods (such as a large wet piece of meat) is to get some small (you can cut up larger ones) flexible cutting boards. Roll the cutting board into a tube and place it in the opening of the vacuum bag. Now the sealing area of the bag is protected and you can easily place wet items in the bag and still ensure a good seal. If you are pouring liquids into the bag (such as a marinade) there are handy ring stands you can get to hold the bag upright that work really well. I use my wine decanter drying stand for this. The inside is slightly sloped to keep liquid away from the seal bar but I find that it’s sometimes not enough. Even cold liquid can boil slightly liquid (do not attempt to seal warm or even room temperature liquid) under vacuum and increase in volume causing it to migrate towards the seal bar. I have a 10 inch rectangular wooden bar that I place in the chamber, under the bag, in front of the seal bar, creating a hump that stops the liquid from going into the seal area.
But wait there’s lots more!
There is a video online (search for: “Vacuum Sealing a Canning Jar with a Commercial Chamber Unit”) where a guy demonstrates using canning Jars as Vacuum containers in a similar machine. It took me a minute to wrap my mind around how this works but in practice it works every time if done correctly. These jars make very inexpensive little vacuum containers that pay for themselves and reduce waste because of the bags you’ll save. I have found it works better to actually screw the ring of the jar down a little further than the video, just until you meet the slightest resistance. Don’t tighten it past that point though or bad things could happen. You may wonder how the air will get out, but trust me, it does every time. When the vacuum is lifted, the lid is super tight on the jar and you can now tighten the ring all the way down. I found prying the lid off to be difficult and can damage the seal on the lid causing it to fail on subsequent uses. Instead, I use a thumbtack to poke a tiny hole in the center of the lid to release the vacuum. The lid pops right off. Then, I take a small piece of electrical tape (I know, not very sexy but it works incredibly well) fold about a quarter inch of it over on itself to create a ‘pull tab’, then cover the hole with the tape. Now the lid can be used again and again. Just pull back the tape, let the vacuum out, and press the tape back down. I have used the same piece of tape dozens and dozens of times and it re-sticks perfectly every time. It even survives hand-washing of the lids as necessary. The guy in the video says you can use any jar as long as it stands up in the machine (up to a pint jar will stand up in the VP210) but I have discovered that any size jar will work (with dry contents) because, If you screw the ring until it barely resists, you can lay it on its side. You can even seal the giant half gallon canning jars with the VP210! This trick is incredibly useful. My entire pantry is full of vacuum packed, canning jars of various sizes from tiny ones for spices, to giant ones for things like flour and rice. My fridge is full of jars too. A jar of vacuum sealed garlic cloves lasts for months. Cheese stays fresh for weeks and weeks and weeks and does not dry out. Everything stays fresh, clean and neatly organized (wide mouth pint and quart jars can be stacked). Wash-off labels and wide mouth funnels can be found and are useful for this purpose. I live by myself and used to waste A LOT of food because I couldn’t use it all before going bad, no more.
In addition, any vacuum style container with a one-way valve (including ones designed for use with suction machines) can be used in the chamber. These are much more expensive than canning jars but it’s nice to have a couple for big items like leftovers or lunch. Even a wine bottle with those special vacuum corks can be placed right in the VP210.
I wanted to post this review because I have found tremendous value in this machine that I was not even aware of when I purchased it. I use it several times every day and still get a real kick out of it. It’s actually fun and satisfying to keep my pantry and fridge neat, organized, and stocked with vacuum packed food.
I know the cost is high (though not compared to similar units), it’s big, and not the prettiest thing in the world, but if you are even considering this unit I would strongly recommend you go for it. If mine ever dies I will immediately buy another.
The first machine that I received was dented on a back corner and the cover of the machine was set too low so it was impossible to plug it in. Amazon overnighted a replacement (thank you, I needed it for thanksgiving).
Then I needed to speak to technical support a couple of times to help set up the machine settings. I had to increase the the seal time of the machine up to 1.4 or 1.5... technical support said not to raise it above 1.5, but the setting as set by the factory was too short, so when the bag was sealing, air was getting back into the bag.
I raised the vacuum time in the chamber to 60 seconds due to the initial trouble I was having of the bags not holding the vacuum, but can probably lower the time now back to 40 seconds since the seal time is set to a longer time.
This is a basic chamber sealer for a very reasonable price compared to other units on the market, but you have to play around with the time you set the machine to vacuum. You cannot choose to set it to specific vacuum percentages, you have to experiment with the time to get the effect you want on a particular type of food. Most foods will seal within 40 seconds.
Researching the machine online, I read that this is dry rocker piston instead of the more expensive rotary oil motor. The dry rocker piston machine will tend to clog after sealing bags with alot of moisture in them (items like fish), but supposedly will still last 10 time longer than the typical countertop external strip sealing machine. The rotary oil motor machine will last 10 times longer than the dry rocker piston machine. However, I am using this on a home basis, not a commercial setting, so the representative said that the dry rocker piston would be fine.
There is a newer, smaller lighter-weight vp112 vacmaster sealer, which uses the same motor in the vp210, has a port for external vacuum sealing of bottles with the attachments commonly found on other brands like foodsaver, and is light weight because the cover is a foldable plastic without the heavier lid closing mechanism found on the vp210. Its also cheaper by a couple of hundred dollars. I opted to go with the vp210 because the chamber is slightly bigger and the bottom is flat. The bottom of the the vp112 is slightly curved, like a bathtub, so only the middle of the chamber has the full depth.
Note: I purchased the rolls of vacmaster bags with the vacstrip (amazon listed them as being purchased by others with this machine), which I found out from the company are not meant to be used with chamber vac machines (the bags were not sealing with a vacuum). When using the pre-made bags that come with the machine (25 bags each of 3 different sizes are included with the machine for a total of 75 bags) the sealer works as intended. I was told by the company to purchase the 3 mil premade pouches.
This is so much better than the ones you can buy at the department stores etc. We order meat in bulk and have to re-package it for freezing. This is fast, quiet, efficient, and does the job without any issues. We got this one for home seeing that there were quite a number of reviews from businesses that use it every day. We use it every several months to re-package 30-40 pounds of meat at a time into 0.5 - 1.0 pound packages. We have gone through 3 foodsaver machines because they just can't keep up. We anticipate this being used for many years to come!
UPDATE: We have been using this regularly and still love it. So very easy to use. The only downside is the weight and size for keeping in the house. But for what you get, it is still well worth it! In the home we have this sitting on the dining room table until we need it.