The Rival Seal a Meal, FSSMSL0160-000 vacuum sealer is one of the most affordable vacuum sealers on the market. But with the price being half of a FoodSaver, will you be wasting your money on an inferior product? Or is it actually a gem? Forget searching through tons of seal a meal reviews. Find out here and now in this review that covers both the good & the bad. You’ll also find answer to some of the most commonly asked questions like:
- Is it better than a FoodSaver?
- How is the vacuum?
- How is the seal?
- How easy is it to find bags?
- Is it worth the investment?
Better Than a FoodSaver?
Everyone seems to want to know if this is better than a FoodSaver. The answer really depends on what you’re looking for specifically in a vacuum sealer. I would say yes if the following applies to you:
- You only want a basic vacuum sealer with no fancy features.
- You’re not looking for something heavy duty.
- You have a budget & an affordable price is important to you.
The seal meal food saver really is just a basic vacuum sealer. It definitely will pull air out from the bag and seal it, but you won’t find fancy features. There are no accessory ports for vacuum sealing jars and no fancy Seal a Meal containers (like the quick marinator). You won’t find various vacuum settings for different applications. What you will find is a basic vacuum sealer that does exactly what you want it to do, vacuum seal food.
Although it doesn’t have all these fancy features, the low price more than makes up for it. This seal-a-meal vacuum sealer food storage system is nearly two times cheaper than an entry FoodSaver. You could buy two of these for the price of a single FoodSaver. Again, the answer to what is the best vacuum sealer for home use depends if all you’re looking for is a basic vacuum sealer. Why pay double the price for something like an accessory port that you’ll probably never use? It sure seems like a waste of money if you ask me.
How is the Vacuum?
Let’s be realistic here. It gets the job done, but you won’t find the very best vacuum pump on this thing. It’s not going to be strong enough to crush a can like some other more expensive units out there. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll have to spend 2-3 times more for that. Not being able to perform this little trick doesn’t mean that it can’t get the job done right. The pump on this unit is strong enough. It gets enough air out to keep your food protected. It will prevent freezer burns and help preserve the flavor for months in the freezer; which is exactly what you’re looking for in a basic vacuum sealer anyways.
You’ll also find that it takes a few seconds longer to pull the air out. You might also run into overheating problems if you try to use it for heavy duty purposes. It just wasn’t designed for that. Heavy duty means continuously vacuum sealing nonstop for an extended period of time like over an hour, or more. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to vacuum seal a lot of things. It just means you have to give the machine a little time to cool down before using it again.
How’s the Seal? Is it Reliable?
The seal is always important because if it fails then all your efforts go to waste (and your food as well). The seal made by this unit is a little thin compared to seals made by the more expensive machines. It would’ve been nicer if it came with a wider sealing band, but it’s not really necessary. Just look at the professionally packed packages. The lines on those are pretty thin as well and they hold just fine.
What’s more important than the size of the seal is making sure that seal is done right. As long as it’s done right then it will hold just fine. If the size concerns you then you can always do a double seal for a peace of mind. All you have to do is after you’re done vacuum sealing a bag, make another seal about half an inch from the first seal. Doing this does use a tiny bit more bag than needed, but it’s only half an inch; which could add up in time but it’s going to be a long long time from now.
The seal bar which contains the wire to heat up and seal the bag feels sturdy. It doesn’t move and it doesn’t seem to flex. This is a very good thing. Because if it does then it will be a very big problem that will cause failed seals or incomplete seals.
The Fssmsl0160-000 isn’t very good with liquids and a lot moisture. You’ll have a hard time vacuum sealing liquids like soups without some extra work and some tricks. I’ve already covered a few tricks to help you get a reliable seal with liquids, so be sure to check it out. It isn’t just this unit that has this problem though. It’s the way suction vacuum sealers work in general. Because of the way they work they just can’t compare to a chamber vacuum sealer when it comes to liquids and a lot of moisture.
How Easy is it to Find Bags?
If it’s one thing that annoys me, it’s buying a product like this and then not being able to find the bags for it; or I’m limited to overpriced bags that are available only from the same manufacturer. Fortunately for us, we won’t run into this problem with this unit and be left wondering where to buy Rival Seal a Meal bags. You can pretty much find the bags and rolls at major retailers locally. Even though the manufacturer recommends that you use their bags only, you can get away with using bags made by a third-party.
It isn’t important who makes the bag; it’s important what kind of bags you use. The bag, or bag roll, needs to have the textured strip on inside of the bag. This textured strip acts as a channel to allow air to be suctioned out by the vacuum pump. Just make sure the bags you buy have this and you’ll be okay using it with this unit.
Is it Worth the Buying?
If you’re just looking for a basic vacuum sealer then the Rival Seal a Meal fssmsl0160-000 vacuum sealer is the best one to start off with. It works just as well as a comparable FoodSaver that costs twice as much. It just doesn’t have the unnecessary fluff. Also, if paying the lowest price for a reliable vacuum sealer food storage system is important to you then buy this one. Nothing else will beat it at this price range. For the price and performance it is definitely a gem and worth adding to your kitchen. If this seal a meal review has helped you make up your mind, please come back and let us know how you like it.