Black and Decker food savers?

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Dec 28, 2004
I am getting ready to buy one in the next couple of wks but wanted to know if Black and Decker was a good brand?
I don't need anything fancy just something to store my food in the freezer and then to possibly close chip bags close.
Wow, here goes a great big, "It depends" ....

The Black & Decker Freshguard does not draw as much vacuum as a Tillia Foodsaver - in a test of 10 brands B&D came in #10 with the weakest vacuum.

If you can reseal chip bags depends on two things - the model and the material the bag is made from (not all vacuum sealer or bags are created equal). Check the instruction manual before you buy it (same is true for Tillia Foodsavers).

Speaking of bags .... my son warned me not to try to use the B&D bags (generally a little cheaper than the Tillia Foodsaver bags) - he said he had a lot of problems with them getting punctures and failing to seal properly.

No matter what brand you decide to get - take a few minutes to read the manual before you buy it!!! See what it does, and what limitations it has. One thing that I have noticed that seems to be fairly consistent across the brands is that - the more it cost the more it will do.
I have the Tillia Foodsaver and could not be happier with it. From what I have heard, none of the other brands are really worth the money. This seems to be one case where you get what you pay for. Yes the Tillia brand is expensive, but you will actually end up saving money if you use it enough (and trust me you will use it). Check out this sit before you buy anything. It is a yahoo group dedicated to vacuum packing machines. Most of what is discussed is about the Tillia brand, but others are discussed as well. The people on that board who bought brands other than Tillia have all been disappointed. Click here for the Yahoo vacuum packing board
here's what consumer reports says:

November 2004
Freezing for the long haul

IT'S A WRAP The Food Saver Professional ll is very easy to use, but the plastic wrapping supplies you need to use with it are expensive. The device's most practical use is for long-term freezing of costly foods such as steak.

Vacuum sealers can prolong the life of many foods. But the price of the eight machines we tested ranges from $80 to $290 (not counting the refills of brand-specific plastic). That's a lot to spend on a pound of bologna or a package of saltines. The calculus changes, however, when the items you bought in bulk, and want to preserve for months, are expensive cuts of chicken, fish, or meat.

Convenience and cost. These don't go hand in hand. Both the $290 Food Saver Professional and the $85 Rival Seal a Meal are top-rated for convenience. They practically run themselves: Feed in the plastic; the sealer swaddles the food and sucks out the air. You slide a cutter across the sealed package. With the other machines, you have to use scissors to cut off the package.

Sounds good--until you figure the ongoing cost of storage materials: 45 to 74 cents each for plastic bags in gallon and quart sizes; 45 to 70 cents per square foot for rolls of plastic. That's 10 times the cost of regular, zippered freezer bags.

The freshness test. Vacuum sealing almost always worked well. Although beef and salmon steaks frozen in zipper bags and containers suffered from freezer burn, those that were vacuum sealed showed little or none. Sealed and refrigerated cream cheese stayed fresh for nearly a month, while cheese stored in other containers had mold. However, containers and zipper bags did better at keeping lettuce and celery crisp. And vacuum suction crushed bread and pound cake. Potato chips, cookies, and crackers picked up off-flavors from the Rival plastic.

The bottom line. If you regularly buy food in bulk, a vacuum sealer may be a good investment. The Food Saver V840 offers the best performance for the price.
Some of what Consumer Reports said here I will agree with, but other things are either incorrect or misleading or just not the whole truth.

Lettuce does not store well in the bags, BUT if you use the foodsaver canisters you will be amazed. We had a head of lettuce in a foodsaver canister for over three weeks (I forget exactly how long at this point as we did this test a while ago) and it was still as good and crisp as the day we bought it. We were amazed.

Yes the bags and canisters are expensive, but you can re-use both. The bags are even dishwasher safe. If you are interested in one of these machines, check out that Yahoo group I posted and start reading from post number 1. There are tons of hints and tricks to getting the most our of your vacuum sealer and how to keep the price down as well. One great suggestion is when you make a bag (you can buy the bags in one continuous roll and cut the size you want) make it pretty large. Then when you put something in the bag you actually put the food in a cheap ziplock first. This way the foodsaver bag stays completely (or almost completely) clean. By making the bag extra large you can seal it, open it, and seal it again many times over.

Yes the vacuum with crush things like pound cake or anything soft, but this is where the canisters come into play. Poundcake would do great in these. If you are going to get a Tillia brand, make sure it has the accessory port so that you can use the canisters. With this accessory port you can also seal regular mason jars. This is a very handy tool. I have all my grains and things like corn starch and pastas in mason jars. They are all vacuum sealed so they stay fresh and no bugs get in. It also makes my pantry nice and organized, because I don't have half open bags lying around.
I got a Tillia "for" husband for Christmas. We already are impressed with what this thing can do. Haven't played with the canisters yet, but that's next on the list.

I've signed up for the Yahoo group and am just waiting for my membership to kick in to learn more.
Mudbug once your membership kicks in make sure you start at pot #1 and work your way forward as that is where most of the useful info is located. After a while the posts start to get repetitive and not as detailed and helpful. Enjoy :)

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