I received my LEM brand MaxVac Pro sealer yesterday from Costco via UPS. 4 days. It's a monster at close to 70 lbs, but seems to be fairly well thought out. I've used it a couple of times including experimenting with using ordinary ZipLoc bags under the assumption that at times one might run out of regular bags. With 3 heat settings, I used the low setting for those and it sealed perfectly. The one glaring deficiency IMHO is the fact that there seems to be no provision to just seal without vacuum... as one would do when making bags. The seal width is substantial... It is a far better seal than I've ever seen with a food saver, and there are 3 standard seal time settings as well .... time apparently equals temp. In addition you can seal for an extended time period for retort or mylar bags by holding down the setting button, which will about 50% more time. Maximum bag size is 10x13 inches. I would have liked to have a wider seal bar (10"), but it will work
fine. There are 3 vacuum presets, and it is in minutes but the screen
shows KPA in the high 80's. It doesn't just quit when it hits a preset vacuum, but continues applying vacuum. You can increase or decrease the vacuum time with the adjustments.
My main reason for wanting this is to be able to pressure can things like meat without having to use glass jars. Retort bags will allow this. This system will also allow canning of things like soups, chili, etc, essentially making your own MREs. The platform you set the bags on is sloped so you can place liquids and juicy items on it without leakage, and of course you could shim the entire machine up a bit if necessary.
The unit came with a stack of bags to get started. All had the impressive wide seals
all around. I decided to play with heavy duty Zip Loc storage
bags, as I have quite a few on hand. Gallon size will not fit, being wider than the seal bar. The seams on the zip lock bags ( sides ) are rather pathetic. I got a wild idea of cutting the bottom off a Zip Loc bag and closing the zip lock seal, then inserting an item into it and sealing the bottom. The result was pretty cool....... a zip lock with a vacuum seal. You can open the zip lock and release the vacuum seal, then reseal it. You can buy mylar bags (not retort pouches) with a zip lock beneath the seal. The zip lock experiment
is questionable.... if the zip lock isn't an adequate seal it isn't going to hold..... In this case it worked.
The weight and complexity is a bit absurd as far as I'm concerned. The vacuum pump
is virtually the same as my Robinaire refrigeration pump
, and the interior
is full of relays and contactors and boards. I'm the kind of guy who would be fine with manual switches... Simply fip the pump on, and watch a gauge, then hit the seal bar and release the vacuum. The working components other than the pump are not particularly heavy. Basically a lexan
dome, a flat plate of stainless steel
, and the tray. It could be much lighter I think. All in all, it's an excellent consumer item, especially if you are a hunter
, or fisherman, or butcher your own lifestock. $600 at Costco, compared to the LEM price of $1100 is a pretty good value.