John, I've been using the cheaper Food Saver model V-2244 for awhile, and it works fine for most applications. However, with the amount of vacuum sealing that I do, they don't last more than a few years. I'm thinking that when this one goes bung, that I'll buy the seemingly more macho Food Saver model V-3460 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and use one of their 20% coupons that they mail to me often.
You'll be amazed at how many applications you'll find for a vacuum sealer. I've cut up Tyvek envelopes and made lightweight bags for tent stakes, for example. I've also sealed all my first aid gauze packs in a single bag, which removes all the air and saves space in the emergency kit. I do the same with a few Esbit tabs (for emergency fire starters), which eliminates odor. If I think I might encounter a stream crossing, I'll carry a vacuum-sealed pair of Cool Max liner socks and a couple of Whole Foods' plastic bags (from the meat section, not the bulk bin section--they're stronger). I take off my regular socks and remove the shoe liner pad, cross the stream, then dry my feet, put on the liners and then the bags, and resume the hike. When the shoes are pretty much dry, I replace the shoe liners, put my regular socks back on and be done with it (I know, I know--too much information...).
I also buy certain Mountain House items in their bulk #10 tins (meats, FD veggies), and repackage them into 1-cup portions, seal them, and just store them in my cool, dark, basement pantry. They remain fine even after several years. I do the same with Harmony House's dried beans and veggies, and they remain fine for the same length of time. Any meat that I've dried myself gets sealed and the placed into the freezer, and the sealed cheeses stay in the refrigerator.
For me, winter is the time that I do my packaging for the next summer's vittles. Cold Colorado days with low humidity are perfect conditions to do the sealing duties.