Since the 1980s when we took our young family on many camping and boating trips, I have used either a Seal-A-Meal or a FoodSaver to freeze and store our meals in a convenient manner.
Having owned two of each of these products, I can say without reservation that I much prefer the FoodSaver. It's more money but in my opinion well worth it. Both the Seal-A-Meals died on me in short order. They proved to be more difficult to use and did not vacuum as efficiently as the FoodSaver. It was frustrating to try to get the vacuum tube at just the right position into the bag. With the FoodSaver you simply put the end of the bag into the machine, close the lid and push down the lock. Easy. Apparently Seal-A-Meal eventually decided it was easier to seal this way too. Their product now features the same principal and has done away with the cumbersome tube. But since they fell out of my favor long ago, I am still partial to my FoodSaver. I use it a lot and can't forget how quickly my Seal-A-Meals died on me and the level of frustration I felt in using them. My only problem with my first FoodSaver was that it didn't stay intact when I dropped it on my ceramic tile floor.
The FoodSaver has the added benefit of an optional attachment that will vacuum seal canning jars using regular or wide mouth lids & rings. Very cool. I use these jars to store leftovers in with my FoodSaver and the food stays much fresher longer. This feature alone is worth the extra dollars. The food is more attractive in the clear glass jars sitting in my refrigerator. My picky husband is more apt to eat leftovers stored in jars that are vacuumed sealed than food stored in opaque plastic containers. It not only looks fresher - it tastes fresher. And with all the nasty chemical stuff we're hearing about that plastic contains, vacuum sealing in glass may be better for your health.
So here is the run down on the Seal-A-Meal vs the FoodSaver. Note that both products' manufacturers are subsidiaries of the same company - Jarden Corp.
Seal-A-Meal by Rival
Model # VS107
Cost = approximately $50
- Basic. No bag cutter
Model # VS230
Cost = approximately $80
- Integrated Bag Roll Holder & Cutter
- Progress Lights to Monitor the Vacuum Process
- Dishwasher Safe Drip Tray w/ Microban® Antimicrobial Protection
- Convenient Top Panel Accessory Port
They also have a cordless model that runs about $70 and will do approximately 25 bags before recharging is needed.
Click on this link to check out the Seal-a-Meal website.
FoodSaver by Sunbeam
There are 15 different models. I have listed two - a basic and a deluxe model.
Model # V2460
Cost = approximately $129
- 2 speed vacuum control
- 2 sealing levels + double wide sealing strip for high liquid content
- Crush Free control to help protect delicate food items
- Built in bag storage and cutter
Model = Professional III Plus
Cost = approximately $279
- PulseVac Control
- Digital Seal Level Display
- Extra Wide Sealing Strip
- Repetitive Seals
- Extra large drip tray
- Automatic Hands-Free operation
- Built-in roll storage & cutter
- 5-level seal control Crush free instant seal
For all you hunters out there, they also have a heavy duty turbo model for storing your game.
Click on this link to check out the FoodSaver website.
The model I own is comparable to the V2460 and it does everything I need. However after doing this comparison I find myself desiring one of the deluxe models to see how all those fancy features work. Hmmm, the holidays are just around the corner. Hint, hint.
Ebay is a great place to find extra pre-cut bags and bag material in rolls at substantial savings. Note the difference in the thickness. I got some of the thinner material (3.5 mil) and found they work just as well as the thicker.
ellie on August 14, 2012:
how long do nuts stay in a seal a meal bag? are they safe to eat 2 years later?
Dave03 on November 14, 2011:
Thanks Susie my wife has a food saver it's about 3 years old she got it for Christmas and now it does not work. Guess I will get her a food saver one to replace that broken food saver.
Bushy Hartman on April 01, 2011:
How do you use the canning jars with the Food Saver. Thank you for your review it was very helpful.
Susan (author) from Northern California on November 25, 2008:
foodstorage, At Costco I get a box of 6 rolls for about 40 bucks. Two different widths come in the box. I checked the Costco site for dimensions as follows...
4 - 11"x18ft rolls and 2 - 8"x22ft rolls.
It lasts me for at least a year with a bit more than normal use.
Thanks for reading!
foodstorage from Utah on November 24, 2008:
Susie, I was wondering if you know how much the little bags are that you use with the foodsaver? I've been thinking about getting one of these as I am starting to accumulate more food storage items that are freezer-type foods.
Susan (author) from Northern California on October 26, 2008:
Thank you Dottie for reading my hub! Glad it was useful to you.
Dottie1 from MA, USA on October 23, 2008:
Thanks Susie for pointing me in the right direction when I go to get mine. I've always wanted a Food Saver now maybe it's time!