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4.3 Reviewed by SusanRating:
The FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealer isn’t the latest model from this manufacturer, but it’s still very much a favorite among consumers. This top seller gets high ratings for great features and performance, and for being very user friendly.
This model is a channel (or suction) type vacuum sealer with a built-in accessory port and a seal bar wide enough for 11 inch bags. It’s every bit as versatile as the higher priced 4840 model, but it isn’t fully automatic. If that sounds like a bad thing, you may be surprised to learn that lots (and lots!) of owners choose the 3240 not because it’s cheaper but because they find the manual units much easier to operate.
Read our complete FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealer Review below.
(For comparison, you can click here to read about the fully automatic FoodSaver 4840.)
Table of Contents (click a topic to skip ahead)
- Manual Operation, 2 Speeds
- Moist/Dry Setting Options
- Works with Bags and Bag Rolls*
- Accessory Port, Hose Included*
- Roll Holder and Bag Cutter
- Drip Tray (removable, dishwasher safe)
- Includes Starter Kit (5 bags & 1 bag roll)
- 5 Year Limited Warranty
* This model has a built-in accessory port, and the hose is included. To vacuum seal canisters or zipper bags you must purchase adapters, which are very inexpensive but sold separately. See Optional Accessories below.
Operation and ControlsThe FoodSaver 3240 is manually operated, which might seem like a step “down” from the much pricier 4840 model, but that isn’t necessarily true. The 4840 has an automatic bag detection feature that some users find tricky to use and pretty frustrating. In fact, one of the main reasons so many owners choose this 3240 model is because they prefer manual controls. You do need to read the instructions, but after that there is very little if any learning curve involved. It won’t take you hours of experimenting to get up and running.
The control panel of the FoodSaver V3240 is straightforward, offering options for normal or gentle vacuum speed and moist or dry food settings. Pressing the Vacuum & Seal button starts the process, and the machine automatically stops when finished.
The “Seal” button activates only the sealing feature (no vacuuming) for creating pouches from bag rolls. This seal-only button can also be used to re-seal chip bags and or other bags of Mylar type material.
Unlike older models, this unit does not require that you hold down or apply pressure to the lid during the sealing process. Once you push the button, the machine does the rest. This makes it less awkward to use, and it can be a real lifesaver if you have arthritis in your hands.
As features go this is a very versatile unit. It works with either bags or bag rolls and canisters, and the built-in accessory port opens up lots more possibilities. The hose you’ll need comes with the unit, and if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars for adapters you can use your machine for fast marinating or for external sealing of jars, refrigerator containers, and vacuum zipper bags. For more detail see Bags, Rolls & Containers and Optional Accessories below.
The Bad News?
One drawback is the cost of the FoodSaver bags and bag rolls. While you’re saving money shopping bargains and buying in bulk, your expense for packaging materials can really add up over time. In a lot of cases you can wash and reuse your bags, but be careful. You’ll want to toss any bag that has been used for storing raw meat or other moist foods because of the risk of bacteria.
You may also waste some material when making your own bags because you’re left with about an inch and a half of extra plastic above the seal. With experience and some experimenting you can probably get this down to about an inch instead, but either way the bag rolls tend to be more economical to use.
Like all channel vacuum sealers in this class, this model is not designed for prolonged periods of batch processing. The manufacturer recommends waiting 20 seconds between bag seals. If your machine gets overheated it will automatically shut itself off, and you’ll have to wait for it to cool down before you can continue, usually about 20 minutes.
That isn’t a deal breaker for most home users. This unit is fine for gardeners, hunters and fishermen who want to process a lot of food at once. The trick is just to get a good packaging/processing rhythm going that doesn’t push the machine beyond it’s capabilities.
To put that in perspective, if you belong to a large hunting club and plan to set up an assembly line for all the members to package a dozen deer at once as quickly as possible, this probably isn’t the best choice for you. For that level of heavy duty use you should consider a chamber vacuum sealer. It will cost you a lot more but may be well worth the investment for the level of performance you need.
Note: There is one other channel vacuum sealer that is built for somewhat heavier use. It’s the FoodSaver GameSaver Deluxe, which has a larger motor and fan and a 10 year warranty. It may not work faster for you, but if it does overheat it will cool down quicker. Read all about the GameSaver model here.
You should also expect some limitations when it comes to liquids, which again is true of all channel (suction type) vacuum sealers. The “moist” setting on this model is designed for foods with only a very small amount of juice or sauce. If you want to vacuum seal soups, sauces, or other very high liquid content foods, you’ll usually need to plan on freezing them first. In fact, the manufacturer recommends that you flash freeze raw meat, seafood, poultry, fish, and even juicy fruits before vacuum sealing.
The FoodSaver 3240 takes up a fair amount of room on your counter top, but it’s light weight and easy to move around. One bag roll can be stored inside the unit for both space savings and convenience. Its built-in cutter can be quite a plus because it’s not always easy to get a neat, straight edge using scissors.
NOTE: The storage compartment is only large enough to hold the 10 foot bag rolls made by FoodSaver, not the commercial 50 foot bag rolls.
Hundreds and hundreds of owners love this unit for packaging an almost endless variety of foods. It works very well for raw meats, fish and poultry and for fresh garden fruits and vegetables. Save time using it for do-ahead meals, and prevent waste using it for leftovers. For everyday use you can seal and re-seal all kinds of deli meats, cheeses and produce. Foods will stay fresh longer so you can use them before they spoil, and you won’t have unidentified scary looking things growing in your refrigerator.(Back to Top)
Size and Capacity
Exterior Dimensions: 9.1″ x 10.7″ x 18.6″
Weight: 8.7 pounds
Maximum Bag Size: Seal bags or rolls up to 11″ in width.
As mentioned above, a hose for the built-in accessory port is included. This model also comes with a “Starter Kit” that consists of:
- 1 bag roll (11″ wide x 10′ long)
- 3 quart size bags
- 2 gallon size bags
The only owner’s manual available online is this generic User Manual & Recipe Book for the FoodSaver V3000 series. It pictures the V3040 model which has similar capabilities but a somewhat different control panel.(Back to Top)
Bags, Rolls & Containers
Bags & Bag Rolls
The manufacturer recommends using only FoodSaver brand bags and rolls. Their patented waffle pattern prevents air pockets from forming around foods, and the five layer material keeps air and moisture sealed out and food odors sealed in. All bag/bag roll material is BPA free and made specifically for the level of heat produced by FoodSaver sealers.
You can check the FoodSaver website if you like, but I think you’ll want to price shop. Amazon sells the entire line of FoodSaver brand packaging materials, and you can use the links below to check out bag types and prices:
- FoodSaver Brand Bags and Bag Rolls – includes pre-cut bags ranging from pint to gallon size, and bag rolls in 11″ widths
- FoodSaver Zipper Vacuum Bags – also available in various sizes, use mainly for daily re-sealing of refrigerated foods (requires adapter, see Accessories below)
Note: You cannot use the standard zipper type bags from the grocery store. Any channel vacuum sealer gets too hot for that type material, and you’ll ruin your machine.
Other Food Containers
In addition to bags, you may also be interested in these FoodSaver brand containers:
FoodSaver Vacuum Zipper Bag Adapter – This little attachment is only available from the manufacturer. It sells for about $8 and is required for sealing the zipper style FoodSaver bags, which are great for everyday foods such as cheese and deli meats that you use and need to reseal often.
This model can also accommodate the same accessories as the FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 System, including:
The jar sealers are designed for use with standard Mason-type glass jars.
The Marinator is made of BPA-free material that is odor proof, resistant to stains, and dishwasher safe.
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There have been past complaints about the door on this model breaking, but that doesn’t seem to be a big concern for two reasons. First, in every case customer service responded quickly with a replacement part that fixed the machine. Second, the latest such incident I found was in January of 2014, so perhaps that problem was due to some design flaw that FoodSaver has since corrected.
You’ll also find numerous other reports of units that, over time, either failed to perform correctly or at all. Again, research shows that the manufacturer responds very quickly to resolve problems. FoodSaver even monitors and responds to a lot of the reviews and comments about its products on Amazon, and the overwhelming number of consumers are satisfied with the level of customer service they receive.
If you do have problems, another big plus about this model is that it carries a 5 year warranty. Just remember to hang on to your receipt or proof of purchase.
Beyond that, the percentage of consumers who love their purchase is huge &ndsah; out of over 1,200 reviewers, almost 1,000 of them rate it 4 or 5 stars. While some users appreciate the fully automatic FoodSaver 4840 vacuum system, many others prefer this FoodSaver 3240 model because the manual seal is easier to operate and still allows you to be in control. You don’t have to hold down the lid while it’s sealing, and you can choose to stop the process early if need be.
This is a number one bestseller in channel vacuum sealers on Amazon, mainly because it’s a very versatile machine at a good price. The design of the roll storage and cutter makes creating your own bags quick and easy, it produces good seals that hold up well, and it even does fine with liquids if you freeze them first.
If you read the instructions for proper operation, and if you don’t expect the machine to perform beyond what it’s designed for, chances are good that you’ll be very pleased with this model.(Back to Top)
- Very easy to operate
- Creates good seals that don’t leak over time
- Great versatility – bags, rolls, & numerous types of containers
- Bag cutter is convenient and works well
- Optional adapters are inexpensive
- Drip tray can be removed for easy cleaning
- Somewhat noisy while running
- Bags are expensive
- Not for heavy-duty use, may require occasional cool down periods
FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealer Review: Summary
Over and over again owners praise the FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealer for being easy to use. Instructions are simple, and if you follow them you won’t have to spend hours trying to figure out how to make it work and get a good seal. One downside is that the bags are expensive, but fans of FoodSaver brand sealers think it’s worth it. This particular model is a bestseller on Amazon that has hundreds of positive reviews with high ratings for performance. It’s reasonably priced and offers great features that make it quick and convenient to use, and versatile enough to handle just about any task a home user could expect from a channel vacuum sealer.
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Which is best for you, manual or automatic? You can get complete details on the fully automatic model in our FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Review.
To check out other brands and models see our Vacuum Sealer Comparison Charts.