Entry Level Chamber Vacuum Sealer

In the Sous Vide Equipment Forum
A couple months ago I purchased a Chamber Vacuum Sealer. I wanted a chamber unit because I wanted to be able to use it with soups, chili, and other, wet foods (have you ever tried to make a little batch of minestroni?). As I was looking at units, I found most sit fairly tall... To the point of barely fitting under my cabinets hanging over my kitchen counters. And since these units tend to weigh in at 80 pounds more more, it was obvious that they would not be convienient to use. The VacMaster company makes an entire line of chambered vacuum sealers as well as home-use suction sealers. From what I've seen, they tend to be cheaper than other brands that I've found.

VacMaster has come out with a new model that uses the same technology as their low-end commercial unit, but with a few interesting differences. This unit is the VacMaster model SP-112. Mechanically, this unit is very similar to the VacMaster SP-210. It has a dry pump. However, the sealing bar is 12 inches long as opposed to the 10 inch bar in the SP-210. This lets you use larger bags. The chamber is also deeper than the SP-210, thus allowing bagging of larger liquid quantities. This unit can seal a bag with over three quarts of liquid, though I haven't tried to find the absolute upper limit.

The profile of this machine is much lower than other chamber vacuum baggers. This made it practical to place it on the kitchen counter under a cabinet. I can open the lid without having to slide the unit out. What they've done is move the vacuum pump from being under the chamber and they've moved it behind the chamber. So the unit is lower, a little wider (due to the 12" sealing bar), and it is longer than other chamber units.

This unit is about half-way between the cost of a suction sealer and other chamber sealers. You can find these units for about $650 if you look around.

I've liked this unit. It seems to be well made, weighing in at over 50 pounds. There are only two controls. You set the length of time that the vacuum pump should run (I've been using about 30 seconds) and the length of time that the sealing bar should heat (5 seconds for 3 mil bags, 6 seconds for 4 mil bags). The only thing that is absolutely critical when using this machine is to make certain the bag opening is laid absolutely flat over the sealing bar. Small kinks in the bag will prevent the bag from sealing totally. I think for sous vide, the ideal bag thickness is 3 mil. These seem pretty tough. I haven't had any problems with bone punctures or the like. This unit will work with the 4 mil bags, but they are so rigid that they can be tough to totally evacuate. Whatever bags you purchase, make certain you get the ones that are rated for cooking. VacMaster sells both types.

And no, I have no association with VacMaster... other than having given them some money for this unit.


6 Replies So Far

Dean, thanks for the review! I've heard decent things about VacMaster as well but haven't used one myself.
Thanks for the review! I've noticed that the Sous Vide Supreme website is selling this vacuum sealer under their branding as well.

http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/product.aspx?productid=54&deptid=1&
I purchased mine from qualitymatters.com (no affiliation with them, just found the best price via Google):

http://www.qualitymatters.com/VacMaster-Chamber-Vacuum-Sealer-VP112-by-ARY-p/qmar-vp112.htm

$599 with free shipping, and if you order bags at the same time, that shipping is free too. I ordered it over a weekend and it was delivered the following Thursday, along with the bags that shipped separately from the manufacturer.

This looks like the least expensive chamber sealer available so far. I wish it would seal only without setting the vacuum cycle to the minimum time (5 seconds), but I've been able to easily create smaller bags from the large bags I ordered. The bags tend to move a bit if empty, slipping off the sealer bar, but the "filler" plates can be used to hold them in place, slipping the bag betweeen 2 of them.

From Dean's review, it looks as if I can do the same by reversing the position of the bag, placing where I want the seam on the sealer bar and letting the rest of the bag hang out the front of the machine, letting the cover hold it in place. I'll give that a try later today!

The "filler" plates simply take up space for smaller jobs so that the machine has less space to have to vacuum, making the process a bit more efficient.

I haven't used it much yet, but I can post additional info as I learn more about it. It's nice to have a bag of egg whites in the fridge that won't leak as easily as a zip-loc!
I'm planning to pick up a VP-112, too, probably in Jan with my tax refund. It looks like the SVS is the same machine, just re-badged...no reason to spend $200 more for it.

Hopefully the machine is powerful enough to do stuff like compressions of fruit.

The only thing is really lacks that I wish it had was dual seal bars to seal retort pouches, but at such a low price I guess you can't have everything.


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