Review: FoodSaver V3880 vacuum sealer

Review: FoodSsaver Vacuum Sealer
Model V3880

A vacuum sealer can be an important part of a real food kitchen, a sustainable lifestyle and an indispensable tool in any home. Some of the most popular applications are vacuum sealing extra food when buying food in bulk, putting up food from gardens or Farmer’s Markets, the fresh catch for fishers or hunters, dehydrated food for storage, keeping dry foods dry as well as protecting important papers or emergency supplies.

There are many vacuum sealers on the market ranging from inexpensive manual-pump style to very expensive heavy-duty professional models. In the middle we find several vacuum sealers for the home use to choose from.

The Foodsaver® has been a one of the most recognized names in vacuum sealers for decades, and it’s the one that we’ve used in our home and business (in 3 model incarnations) since 1990.

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The newest, top-of-the line model is the V3880. Sleek and contemporary, with a smaller footprint the Foodsaver V3880 looks impressive sitting on your counter awaiting vacuum-sealing adventures.

Advertised features of the Foodsaver V3880:

  • Automatic, hands-off operation should sense the bag, engage the vacuum, remove air and begin sealing.
  • 2 vacuum speeds adjust depending upon the food.
  • 2 seal levels that auto detect moist or dry food.
  • Accessory mode for containers and canisters seal FoodSaver container.
  • Rapid marinate mode marinates in minutes.
  • Brushed stainless steel frontplate.
  • Touch button controls
  • LED progress indicator lights
  • Roll storage. Built- in bag cutter
  • Patented removable drip tray
  • Retractable accessory hose. 2.25″
  • BPA Free – bags, marinator and food contact surfaces
  • Dimensions: 17″ x 5.5″ x 10.5″ Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • “Smart-Seal” technology
    SmartSealTM Technology allows your FoodSaver® system to sense food moisture and automatically adjusts the seal level for a secure, reliable, air tight seal. The Automatic Bag Sensing feature takes all the guesswork out of Vacuum Sealing.

 

Testing:
The V3880 worked flawlessly, pulled a vacuum and sealed small runs consistently for approximately 3 days of intermittent use. After that, system would not pull a vacuum, no matter where the bag was positioned. In addition, of the bags we first sealed 3 days prior, 75 % had lost their seal. The problems seemed to have no identifiable pattern. At times the sensor would detect the bag, and other times it would not, even with repeated re-positioning, new bags, turning the machine on and off. If the sensor would detect the bag, the machine would not pull a vacuum and the bag was sealed prematurely. The bags were cut to remove the seal and attempted again..and again…and again. Food was re-packaged in new bags and the process was repeated without success.

Customer Support was very helpful and apologetic, we spent over an hour troubleshooting the unit until it was determined that the unit was defective. A replacement unit was ordered and arrived within 7 days.

The first time the replacement unit was used, the same problem presented. The sensor detected the bag, the unit indicated a vacuum was engaged, but the air was not removed from the bag. The bags would seal without having air removed. The unit was turned off, bags replaced, all the gaskets checked meticulously. Over and over, the same disappointing results. The second unit was also defective, this time on the first use.

More calls to Customer Support (remember, the original unit was under warranty), but even after speaking with a manager, they could offer me nothing except another replacement (after return of previous unit), waiting for FoodSaver to receive my return before the 3rd replacement would be sent. The last option was to return the unit and once it was verified returned and defective, I would receive a refund, minus the shipping both ways.

Consider me now a very dissatisfied FoodSaver customer, whereas before this purchase, I was a very satisfied FoodSaver customer of 22 years. The older models worked well for me over many years, however, during those years, FoodSaver was taken over by Jarden  Corporation. The newest models do not perform (in my experience, usage and testing) as well as previous models. It appears that in the two models I tested, the  new “Smart Seal” technology was defective.

During searches it became evident that this was a widespread issue with the newest FoodSavers and there were many other dissatisfied FoodSaver customers sharing their dissatisfaction and frustration. While not every new FoodSaver exhibits this failure to vacuum issue, overwhelming numbers of customers are relating the same defective unit problems that I experienced. It is a documented and known issue, yet FoodSaver /Jarden Consumer Solutions does not acknowledge or rectify it.

This customer wrote regarding the V3880 and exactly described what I experienced with 2 units:

“I have model v2480 and works intermittently. Just purchased model V3880, which is no comparison. V3880 I feel wastes bags. You don’t really have control of how much bag you want to use. The sealer is too difficult to navigate. I made 6 bags. Took me about 15 minutes. Tried to vacuum and seal the food and was successful with sealing only one. All the others sealed but did not vacuum. The machine does not stop when you press stop, it only stopped when I turned the machine off. Extremely time consuming and I am not satisfied at all. I am returning this item to the store. If I could get my V2480 repaired, I would be a happy customer.”

Overall:
The FoodSaver V3880 failed the number one criteria for product testing – Does it do what is claimed it will do? The answer is no.

As a product reviewer, my conclusion is that purchasing a FoodSaver 3000 series is a gamble and I cannot recommend the machine or the company to stand behind the known product issues.  I do not recommend the FoodSaver 3880 or any of the 3000 series with “Smart Seal Technology.”

As a consumer, my experience with not one, but two brand new FoodSaver V3880 units and with FoodSaver Customer Service was negative and I do not recommend the product.

 

Conclusion:
Not recommended. This applies to model V3880 and all the 3000 series with “Smart Seal Technology.”

 

FoodSaver http://www.foodsaver.com
FoodSaver is Sunbeam Products doing business as Jarden Consumer Solutions
Jarden Consumer Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation (NYSE:JAH). Jarden Consumer Solutions brands include: Bionaire®, Crock-Pot®, FoodSaver®, Health o meter®, Holmes®, Mr. Coffee®, Oster®, Patton®, Rival®, Seal-a-Meal®, Sunbeam®, and VillaWare®.
FoodSaver® Customer Service
Phone: 1-877-777-8042

 

 

Disclaimer: Vickilynn Haycraft is an independent Product Reviewer. She does not sell products or accept payment for reviews. The products reviewed are either purchased by Vickilynn Haycraft or provided for review and all reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained. The FoodSaver V3880 was purchased at market price for testing and review.

© 2013 Vickilynn Haycraft and Real Food Living. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this review may be copied, stored or transmitted in any medium, for any reason without prior written permission of the author.

About Vickilynn Haycraft

A student of health and nutrition for 30 years, Vickilynn Haycraft has over 25 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and now radio talk show host, as well as being full-time wife and mom to 5 children. Read Vickilynn's Product Reviews and Family Preparedness Articles at Examiner.com. She blogs at the Real Food Living Blog.