Pros: Not a one.
Cons: Simply doesn't work.
As a part of the purchase of my Tilia FoodSaver, I received a wide mouth mason jar sealer. I used it several times and was very happy with how it worked, but I have a bunch of regular size jars as well.
For the longest time, I just didn't use those jars, but then I got a hankering for some refrigerator pickles. I wanted to make enough to seal up in the smaller jars to give to friends as well, so I went online to Tilia's website at www.foodsaver.com and purchased the Tilia FoodSaver Regular Jar Sealer for $8.99.
About the Regular Jar Sealer
Tilia sells the jar sealer accessory in two sizes, wide mouth and regular, suitable for sealing both Ball and Kerr branded mason jars. Both jar sealers are white and have a vacuum mechanism on the top side which adds a few inches to their height. The bottom of the jar sealer is sized to fit snugly over the top of a mason jar. A rubber gasket around the edge of the sealer seals the top of the jar temporarily to create the vacuum. At the top of the jar sealer is a hole for the accessory hose.
Using the Regular Jar Sealer
Having used the wide mouth jar sealer many times I knew how these little gadgets operated. Hooking everything up is a simple matter of plugging the ends of the accessory hose into the top of the jar sealer and into the Tilia unit.
First the top of the jar should be cleaned, and then a fresh and clean flat Mason jar style lid should be put on the top. Do not put the screw-top ring on the jar prior to sealing. With the flat lid on the jar, push the jar sealer over the jar's neck, pressing down to ensure that the sealer is flat over the lid. To seal the jar, simply turn on the FoodSaver unit. When the vacuum is complete, the unit switches off and the jar sealer can be removed.
Just a note: vacuum sealing is not the same as pressure canning and cannot be used in replacement of properly pressurizing and sterilizing cans during the canning process. The vacuum seal helps to marinade foods and helps them stay fresh longer, but it will not keep a food from becoming perishable.
How Well It Works
When properly sealed, the lid should be firmly on top of the Mason jar, completely flattened with the vacuum. An improperly sealed lid will come off, and if there is no vacuum the lid bows up slightly so it can be popped down and up to test the vacuum.
That's what happens with the jar sealer works. My wide mouth jar sealer works nearly every time, so that was the behavior I expected.
I put the refrigerator pickles in their jars, wiped them off, and started trying to seal the lids onto them. I put the regular mouth jar sealer on the jar and sealed until the unit switched off. I removed the jar sealer and the lid flew right off with it.
I tried again. Same result. I switched out the lid and re-wiped the jar and tried even yet again. And I got the same result again. I thought that maybe the lid wasn't getting a good seal inside the jar sealing unit, so I double stacked the lids, putting one on top of the other before sealing.
This time the seal held. Both lids were sealed directly to the top.
I continued fighting with the regular jar sealer until I got four of the six lids sealed on tightly. Exasperated, I figured I'd just screw the lids onto the top of the remaining two jars.
I gave up at that point and put the regular jar sealer away, vowing never to use it again. A month or two later I had to seal up some coffee beans so I put them in a regular jar and used the regular jar sealer again. Again, I was frustrated. It took three or four tries to get a successful seal.
I could spot no defect on the sealer itself, so I went online to see if I could find anything about the problem. I read on a bulletin board of another person who was having the same problem with their sealer. I called customer support and was told that the regular jar sealers sometimes require a better seal in order to vacuum properly. I couldn't figure out how to get that "better seal".
The regular jar sealer accessory is very reliable. It doesn't work, almost every time. It's gathering dust up in one of my cabinets. About every six months I get industrious and think that perhaps this time it will just work and all will be well. It's been several years and it hasn't worked well yet. This accessory is a dud.
Warranties & Customer Service
Tilia warranties all of their FoodSaver line of products against defects for a period of up to one year. They require a receipt for warranty service so if you buy this item, be smarter than I was and save your receipt. All warranty service should be handled through Tilia directly.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 194530 San Francisco, CA 94119-4530
Toll Free Phone Support:
United States: 1-800-777-5452
My Tilia FoodSaver Reviews:
Tilia FoodSaver Ultra Vacuum Sealing Unit
Tilia VacLoc 11" x 18' Bag Rolls
Tilia VacLoc 8" x 22' Bag Rolls
Tilia FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer
Tilia FoodSaver Regular Jar Sealer
Tilia FoodSaver White Bottle Stoppers (3 pc.)
Tilia FoodSaver Canisters (3 jars)
Tilia FoodSaver Universal Lids (2 pc.)