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The best vacuum sealer might at first glance seem like an unnecessary luxury.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Whether you want to extend the life of grains, rice and pasta or freeze fresh produce, vaccum sealers have a wide range of uses. From keeping leftovers fresh to some sous-vide cookery if you fancy trying something different, you might just be surprised how often you use a vacuum sealer if you make the modest investment.
You’ll get far less wastage and enjoy an added layer of convenience if you can simply snatch some fresh blueberries from the freezer even if they’re not in season.
One of the leading names in the vacuum sealer space, FoodSaver has really upped their game with the FM5200. This starter kit is up for grabs with or without a bumper pack of bags to get you going.
In today’s review, we’ll explore the key strengths and weaknesses of this excellent vacuum sealer. We’re not here to nudge you towards a product not suited to your needs. With our open and honest review, you’ll be able to clearly identify whether or not the FoodSaver makes sense for you and buy accordingly.
We’ll get straight down to business now…
FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System (FM5000) + Starter Kit (FM5200) Review
When you’re on the trail of a new vacuum sealer, the 2 brands with a stranglehold on the market are Weston and FoodSaver.
The FM5000 is an entry-level model but don’t let that put you off. This FoodSaver vacuum sealer offers fantastic value for money combined with quality and performance, a tough tightrope to straddle. You normally find good products or cheap products. The FM5000 is both.
A quick word of warning…
If you’ve used FoodSaver’s sealers before, you’ll notice that the new 5000 series has been completely revamped and re-engineered. The changes are so significant that you might need to consult the comprehensive instruction manual before you get going.
We’ll start out with a summary of the main features of this vacuum sealer before we probe the benefits more fully. Nobody wants to know what a product does. They want to know what it does for them so we’ll outline this clearly for you.
Here’s a rundown of the FM5000 at a glance:
- 2-in-1 upright and handheld unit
- 10 x 17 ½ x 9 ½ inches
- 9 pounds
- Express bag maker
- One-touch vacuum
- Seal bar
- Vacuum view window
- Removable drip tray
- Quick marinate mode
Read More: Best Handheld Vacuum Sealers
FoodSaver market their range of Food Preservation Systems based squarely on the savings you can hope to achieve by investing in one. In their Brand Promise, the company claims you could realize savings of up to $2700 a year by harnessing one of their vacuum sealers.
The other core promise made is that food will remain fresher for up to 5 times longer. By vacuum sealing, you’ll eliminate waste and maximize the benefit of any fresh produce in your garden by being able to freeze it at its very best.
The FM5000 series has been rejigged completely. Although it’s at the lowest end of the impressive FoodSaver range, you won’t be stiffed in terms of quality for pursuing a bargain.
One of the key selling points of the FM5000 is the fact it serves double duty. In standard configuration, you get all the oomph of a standalone upright vacuum sealer. While this is by no means a commercial-grade unit, you’ll enjoy more than enough functionality and performance even if your kitchen at home is a hive of activity.
When you’re using a vacuum sealer, keeping a close eye on things is essential. FoodSaver makes every step of observation super-simple. The roll of bags is easy to access and the fact it’s stored in plain sight means you can see at a glance when it’s time to restock.
There’s a translucent window that allows you to watch closely while you’re sealing your bags and make sure placement is optimal. This feature alone can save you considerably since you’ll end of wasting far fewer bags by operating precisely.
If you want to make your life easier by investing in a food storage system, the last thing you want is something that requires a PhD to use. Everything is straightforward and intuitive with the FM5000…
The Express Bag Maker affords you the ability to customize the size of the bags you use while it also automatically creates the seal saving you time and effort.
We’ll look at how to get up and running with this vacuum sealer after highlighting its chief benefits so scroll down if you want to get up and running immediately!
A pulse feature comes fully to the fore if you want to preserve delicate foods without impacting upon their quality. Check out below for just how easy this is to activate.
Cleaning this vacuum sealer is a breeze. The drip tray keeps mess to a minimum and you can simply remove it and pop it in the dishwasher when it’s time to spruce it up. Wipe down the remainder of the unit with a damp cloth and you’re good to go.
Space is always at a premium and the vertical design of the FoodSaver FM5000 drastically minimized the real estate it will eat up on your counter top.
If you want the ease of using a handheld, a separate unit detaches allowing you increased freedom of movement. You’ll be able to easily seal zipper bags or other containers without moving the entire sealer into the bargain.
If you want to avoid an immediate trip to buy some bags, you can opt for a bundle with a bumper pack of bags thrown in. You will pay extra for this so only you can decide if that’s a price worth paying.
The class-leading 5-year warranty is extremely comforting. FoodSaver are gradually shaking off their reputation for producing effectively disposal vacuum sealers. The way in which they stand behind their products clearly demonstrates their commitment to excellence.
Now you’ve seen exactly what this nifty little 2-in-1 vacuum sealer can do, we’ll give you a snapshot of the leading benefits of the FoodSaver FM5000.
After that, we’ll walk you through how to use this neat little vacuum sealer before drilling down in more depth on the chief advantages and drawbacks.
Hopefully, when you’re done, you can make a well-informed decision and determine whether this is the best vacuum sealer for your needs and budget.
- Relatively lightweight at 9 pounds so you get heavyweight performance in a pretty maneuverable package
- 2-in-1 functionality gives you the raw power of an upright sealer with the added convenience of a hand-held unit when you need it
- Open roll storage lets you keep your eye on bag inventory
- Get more done in less time thanks to one-touch vacuum and seal bar so perfect for busy kitchens
- Design of lower seal and cut bar gives you increased efficiency of you are batch sealing or you need to store in bulk without taking an eternity
- Slash time making bags with Express Bag Maker as second sealing bar prepares the next bag in advance
- Monitor proceedings with ease through the transparent viewing window
- PulseVac feature ideal for sealing any delicate foodstuffs
- Drip tray removes for easy cleaning and helps to catch any spillages keeping your kitchen clean
- 5-year limited warranty allows you to buy with total security
How To Start Using This FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer
While the end results of sealing your food using the FoodSaver are impressive, using it is extremely simple.
First up, you’ll want to install a roll of bags…
- Push Power button and check light comes on
- Pull forward on the Express Bag Maker seal and cut bar
- Pop the roll of bags in from either side. It will sit in a notched area
- Pull the first bag forward so it meets the white line. Make sure the edges of the bag are flush with the marked-out lines
- Close the unit by gently pushing all the way back
- Turn the Unlock/Seal lever on the side to lock this into position ready to start vacuum sealing
Next, it’s time to get that first bag cut to size…
Making a Bag With The FoodSaver
- Turn the side lever to the Unlock position
- Pull the bag away from the dispenser area to the length you require. When you’re determining your ideal size, make sure you allow for 3 inches of space between the contents and the top of the bag
- Turn the side lever to the Seal position. This will create the seal for the following bag
- By sliding the cutter across, you can trim your new bag to size and you’re ready to roll
With your bag in place, it’s time to fill it with whatever you have in mind then seal it up for storage.
Vacuuming and Sealing a Bag With The FoodSaver
- Insert the open end of your bag through the viewing window and into the drip tray
- Once it’s in place, push then release the vacuum and seal bar using both hands. The window will close automatically and grip the bag. This kickstarts the process of vacuuming and sealing
- Wait for the red seal light to go out then you’re done. The window will release on its own and the sealed bag is ready to pop in the freezer
How can you tweak the settings if you want to seal delicate foods? We’ll show you right now!
Using The PulseVac Feature
- Fill your bag with the contents making sure there’s 3 inches between the contents and the top of the bag
- Hit the PulseVac button. The Vacuum light should come on
- Put the open end of the bag into the window then press Seal. This will close the window in preparation
- Press PulseVac button again. You’ll hear the pump running
- Release the button when you want to stop the vacuuming
- Hit Seal which will seal up the bag and wrap up PulseVac mode
- Remove the bag when the red Seal light goes off
To round out this quick guide to using your FoodSaver, how about the retractable handheld unit?
Luckily, this is equally straightforward and user-friendly.
Using The Handheld Sealer
You can use this handheld for zipper bags and containers by hitting the Accessory button and placing the end of the handheld over the bag or container.
For canisters and marinators, you’ll need to disassemble the adapter. The clear part at the bottom comes away. You then insert the tip into the port of the third-party appliance. For vacuuming purposes, hit Vacuum. To marinate, hit Marinate.
It really doesn’t get much easier than that!
It’s time now for a closer look at the pros and cons of the FoodSaver FM5000.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: Main Advantages
- For general purpose sealing, the quickfire automatic mode takes all the sting out of using the machine. Not all situations are equal, though. Sometimes you’ll want to exercise a little more control and for this purpose, the PulseVac feature lets you stop the FoodSaver when you’re ready at the push of a button
- Weighing a fraction under 9 pounds and designed with an innovative upward slant, the FoodSaver will take up very little space in the kitchen, always a bonus with food appliances. The combination of plastic and brushed aluminum keeps the weight down while still offering plenty of durability. The aluminum is also highly resistant to smudges
- Its 2-in-1 nature gives you exceptional flexibility and value. You’ll be able to detach the handheld in a trice and widen your scope to sealing containers or marinating without needing a separate unit. This is an unexpected touch on an entry-level vacuum sealer and one of its main attractions for busy homeowners on a budget
- The exposed design lets you clearly see where to best place the bag and you can also notice at a glance when the roll is running low and needs replenishment. These ease-of-use features are another bonus on a cheaper vacuum sealer and FoodSaver should be commended for such attention to detail
- Cleaning couldn’t be much simpler. The way in which the drip tray is designed to slide out means you can just pop it in the dishwasher or handwash it. Make sure it’s completely dry before you replace it then you’re all set
- Marinating can often be a tasky and time-consuming process. The way in which you can speed through this job using the handheld is a real boon for busy cooks who don’t want to compromise quality
- The Express Bag Maker ensures that you can cut down on your preparation time, particularly valuable if you have a whole bunch of fresh produce you want to seal and freeze. By reducing the steps in the process and simplifying things for you, you can rattle through large mounds of food in no time letting the FoodSaver do the work for you
- Ergonomics are uppermost with the FM5000. The angle of sealing is fully optimized and the little lever makes it very easy to operate even if you’re working at speed
- You’re buying into a brand that specializes in food storage so you can buy confidently knowing that plenty of research and development went into bringing you the very best vacuum sealer. The redesigned FM5000 series is testament to the way in which FoodSaver constantly innovate and never rest on their laurels
- The 5-year limited warranty ices the cake. Again, you might expect perhaps a 1-year guarantee at best on a product at this price point. The length of the coverage should remove any lingering doubts you might have about investing in this hard-hitting vacuum sealer
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: Main Disadvantages
- If you’re looking for a commercial-grade vacuum sealer, you’ll be disappointed. It’s almost unfair to flag this as a disadvantage because the FM5000 is not marketed in that way. Nevertheless, it bears pointing out that this is very much a vacuum sealer for the home kitchen not for a commercial enterprise
- Although it’s a completely redesigned unit, bear in mind that the FM5000 is at the very low end of FoodSaver’s range so this has to be termed a budget vacuum sealer and as such the functionality is relatively limited
- While not a fault as such, if you’ve used FoodSaver’s previously, the way in which this model is tweaked might cause you to fumble initially. Take your time to familiarize yourself with the layout, though, and you’ll be away laughing double-quick
- Some questions from disgruntled users about build quality but we have to say that it’s pretty well-made. As with any kitchen appliance, treat it with respect and you should get plenty of mileage from it
- A few users have complained that it’s difficult to fit a full roll of bags inside. The bag roll also tends to get stuck if you’re not careful
- Customer service leaves something to be desired so you might need some patience if you run into any problems
FoodSaver FM5000 Vacuum Sealer: FAQs
1) How does vacuum sealing work?
If you place food in a sealed container with too much air, oxidation can negatively impact its flavor as well as sap away much of the nutritional value. Vacuum sealing removes the vast bulk of that air allowing you to save foods for longer without any adverse effect on its quality.
2) How should I store foods I have sealed with my FoodSaver?
Low temperatures are absolutely key. You can inhibit the growth of microorganisms when you get down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At 0 degrees, you can stop these microorganisms from growing. If you are angling to store foods long-term, you should always freeze them after vacuum sealing. Once they have thawed, stash them in the refrigerator.
3) What should I do if the bag is not sealing properly?
Check there’s not too much liquid in the bag. Clean any food debris away from the seal area. Make sure the unit is not overheated from extended use. If this is the case, turn it off for a few minutes, allow it to cool then try again.
4) What should I do when I try to vacuum a container but it won’t work?
Check the lid of the container is on and properly aligned. Make certain you have pressed the Accessory button.
5) Why is the roll failing to dispense?
Pull the roll firmly out from the bag dispenser. If it has not been properly pulled out, the sealing process will not work.
6) Can I get any replacement parts?
With this model, several replacement parts are available. Many old FoodSaver’s did not come with this option so were considered disposable. You can buy a new drip tray, upper and lower seal profile, cutter or reservoir accessory if you experience trouble in any of these areas.
7) What happens if I forget to register my vacuum sealer?
You forfeit coverage by the warranty. Don’t expect any leeway here either. Head to www.foodsaver.com/register and you’ll also be eligible for a bag and some introductory offers.
8) What causes the bag to melt?
If this happens to you, the sealing strip has likely overheated. You should wait a minimum of 20 seconds between bags.
9) What bags can I use?
This vacuum sealer is designed to work with FoodSaver bags only. You should know this before buying so you are not expecting to pop generics bags into this machine.
10) Do FoodSaver offer any kind of customer service?
Yes. Call 1-877-777-8042 if you are based in the US. If you are outside of the States, pop to their website and click Service & Support for more details.
FoodSaver has always had something of a mixed reputation in the vacuum sealer industry…
Legions of delighted users extol the virtues of affordability combined with more than adequate performance.
Detractors point to questionable build quality and poor customer service as a reason to sidestep this brand in favor of Weston.
Put simply, there’s no right or wrong answer here. People have wildly differing needs and budgets. As the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. And, whether you want to marinate that meat or stash some strawberries and raspberries, there’s no denying that the FoodSaver FM5000 is an effective and eminently affordable entry point into the world of vacuum sealers.
While it’s by no means a perfect product, the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks and if you don’t want to spend the earth but need a vacuum sealer at home, the FM5000 makes a smart choice.
Check one out today and start saving time and money tomorrow!