Oh boy don't get me started. I will say right from the start that I do not work for Tillia Foodsaver, but I am sure you will think I do by the end of this message. I love this thing so much. My wife thought I was crazy when I bought mine. She laughed out loud at me, but now she agrees that it is one of the most valuable tools in our kitchen.
I bought mine on eBay (new and in the box) for about half the price they were asking for in the stores. I got the top of the like Professional II model and I am glad I did. I like the pro II model for a few reasons.
1. It is made to vacuum a lot without taking a break to cool down. Some of the lesser models require that you take a break after a few minutes.
2. Once I hit the on button I can walk away and it will finish on its own. The lesser models require you to hold the lid down the whole time it is vacuuming.
3. The proII has a built in bag holder and cutter. I love the cutter. I know that if I tried to cut a bag on my own with scissors then I would have a very uneven cut which makes vacuuming harder. The cutter makes this simple.
4. The proII has the accessory port. A lot of lesser models have this feature also. This is one of the most important features in my opinion. If you do not want to spend a lot of money on the top of the line model and don't think you will be doing a ton of vacuuming all at the same time then as long as you have the accessory port you should be OK. With this post you can use the foodsaver canisters. The canisters are not cheap, but they work great. My wife put a half a head of iceberg lettuce in one of the canisters and 6 weeks later it was just as good as the day we bought it. With the accessory port you can also use regular mason jars. I do this all the time. My fridge and pantry are full of vacuumed mason jars now.
Some of the things I have vacuumed are rice, beans, flour, cornmeal, corn starch, nuts, fruits, produce, soups, stews, whole meals, etc. I also like to use it to marinate meats. Just pour a little marinade in a canister (preferably the flat one) and place you meat in so that it has a lot of contact with the marinade. Vacuum pack it and in 20 minutes you have a very well marinated piece of meat.
OK I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. One place that I would recommend you check out is the Yahoo groups. There is one specifically for vacuum packing. It is not specific to Tillia Foodsavers, but 95% of the info there is about this brand simply because it really is the best out there. I highly recommend reading some of the posts on that site (start from the beginning, post number 1) as there is a TON of really useful info about how to use this thing. Here is the link http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FoodSaver/
I hope this helps and if you have any other questions about it please feel free to ask me. As you can tell, I love to talk about it LOL