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Avid Armor and living with a chamber vacuum

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After considerable research and consideration, I decided to follow John Setzler’s advice and got the Avid Armor instead of the Adcraft VS-300 which is 95% the same as the VacMaster VP215 for less money.  Avid Armor was $150 cheaper than that and is much lighter.  I have had the unit for 2 weeks now and have a few comments on chamber vacuums in general and some specifics on the Avid Armor. 


Regarding the Avid Armor – this is a very well-designed machine with an intuitive and flexible control panel.  It is so simple to use.  During the vacuum cycle you can simply hit the seal button to immediately seal for a lighter pull on chips or things you don’t want to crush.  I did several pouches of rice, and they are very hard, almost like a brick.

This machine is very loud.  I guess this is to be expected from a dry pump.  This is my biggest concern and complaint.  Dry pumps fail from friction, contaminants and heat.  I spoke with someone at Avid Armor and it was his enthusiastic commitment to the pump, which he claims they will be using on many future machines, that gave me the confidence to risk it. He assured me that they would support the pump even after the 2 year warranty period.  For $600 I hope I can get 10 years out of it. 


The chamber is large and nicely shaped.  After hitting the start button, you must press down on the lid to start the pull.  As John indicated, not a big deal.  One thing the manual does not mention is during the seal process the machine sort of burps before sealing and releasing the vacuum.  I was told this is normal.  The lid is heavy and requires a lot of space above when open, so it does not fit under some cabinets.


Regarding chamber vacuums in general – I absolutely love having one.  I have sealed everything not nailed down.  From raw food to leftovers, stocks and marinades to small electronics.   Things like routers with specific charging blocks and cords are now tightly sealed and very compact.  No more worrying about matching parts and it created space in my drawers.  I bought 2 sizes of bags. 1000 8x12 and 250 10x13 bags for $90.


I have sealed over 50lbs of bulk chicken, beef and pork into usable serving sizes.  It all fits easily into my chest freezer.  San Diego fishermen recently started selling direct off the dock because restaurants are not buying.  I bought 20lbs of Ahi Tuna for $10lb usually $30lb and sealed it all up. I made Mexican carrots and onions and sealed up fresh berries in juice.  Leftovers are so much easier to manage, will last longer and look more appetizing.


I cannot imagine living without a chamber vacuum.

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I ran into a user-error issue with mine.  I was packaging stone ground grits in single serving packages.  I had about 25 of them bagged and ready to seal.  I was sealing them one right after the other.  It's important to let the lights stop flashing on the unit BEFORE you open the lid.  The vacuum is operating the sealer bar.  If the sealer bar does not recess fully into its seated position after the seal, you will potentially have problems sealing bags.  It took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong.. lol

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