Published: Oct 29, 2012 6:35 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 29, 2012 7:13 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - If you've ever looked for ways to save on food, maybe you've considered a vacuum seal product.  WINK News found one that's so affordable, it could pay for itself in just a few uses.  But does it work?

Cayle Thompson tried out FoodSaver's "FreshSaver" household bag sealer for $19.99.  But he found a problem right out of the box: the handheld suction device was not charged.

While that's not a surprise in a brand new product, it was disappointing when the problem was not immediately solved by plugging it in.  It took more than an hour before there was enough charge to successfully vacuum seal one bag. 

However, once charged, the FreshSaver worked like a charm.  It quickly pulled the air out of the bags, which Cayle loaded with fresh apple slices, a head of lettuce, and some strawberries.

For comparison, Cayle also put the produce in several inexpensive Ziploc bags.  All of the samples went into a refrigerator for one week.

Exactly seven days later, the produce was unsealed and put side-by-side.  WINK News found no appreciable difference in the apples or lettuce.  Both still looked fresh.

However, the strawberries in the Ziploc bags appeared to hold their freshness better than those in the vacuum sealed FreshSaver bags. 

FreshSaver also says the bags are reusable, but we were unable to re-vacuum a bag once it was opened.

As a result of our tests, it was obvious the FreshSaver vacuum and bags may work best for small jobs.  We found they worked as advertised, but were not impressed with the time it took to charge, or how quickly that charge dissipated with use. 

For our tests, we also found Ziploc bags can do just as well as a fraction of the cost.  For those wanting a more industrial food saver, it may be worth the added cost of a more expensive and professional product, which FoodSaver also offers.

WINK made several attempts to reach the FoodSaver company for comment, but were ultimately told to write a letter and send it by post.  We've done that, and will let you know when and if the company responds to our review.

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