BetterPak YZT-180 Automatic Can Sealer – $1,480 AliExpress
(Note that you can email directly kevinludy (a t) hotmail.com and he will sell direct for $1,250. The machine is now available in 110v and he has the measurements for the cans)
Plain #10 Cans at House of Cans $2.13 each + Shipping
Food should be the first thing on everyone’s prepping list, so this week I’m going to return to the topic of canning. But this time I am not talking about pressure canning hot food in jars. This week we are on what is called “dry pack.” The instructions are simple. Fill up a #10 can with long term storage food, preferably throw in an oxygen absorber, and seal her up. How do I do that you ask? With a can sealer.
Some time ago I covered a hand crank can sealer from Ives Way, but those are very very few and far between, and when you find them, upwards of $1,500. There is one other US product, The All American Can Sealer. It is $1,100 and generally built to order. And though I am a big fan of their pressure canners, the can sealer has mixed reviews and is expensive for what you get.
So for this week I found you a can sealer from China. It is fully automatic, comes with everything you need but the cans, and is a great investment at $1250.
The foods that are good for dry pack I have covered many times here. Flour from Walmart is the cheapest when it comes to calories per dollar, but beans, rice, sugar, pasta and powdered milk are all also still head and shoulders above pre-packaged survival food when it comes to cost. You can also can corn flour, and edible oils, as well as all of those bagged beans and peas you see in bags at the supermarket. Marginal storage foods, like Velveeta cheese, Pepperidge Farm rolls and other preserved meats will also last much longer when packed in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber.
That is the primary benefit. The can prevents the food from oxidizing, but that is true also of plastic buckets and Mylar bags. The big difference is that cans are insect and rodent proof. There is no superior superior container for survival food, and that is why you will find #10 cans on the LDS survival food website (the cheapest source there is), as well as at Honeyville, also a Mormon entity, and a great source for hard to find freeze dried long term storage foods as I have explained in prior articles.
At $4 per can, empty #10 cans are expensive. This drastically brings up your calories per dollar cost of your food storage, so it isn’t for everyone. I’ve heard you can get #10 cans by the pallet from the LDS pantries for cheaper than that, but I have yet to nail that down. I’ll leave comments enabled for this article at least for a while to see if anyone can help us out with that question.
My source for #10 cans, House of Cans, gets $95 for 45 of them, but that’s plus shipping. To me the total cost works out to $3.77. Since one can holds about 4 lbs. of flour, that brings the the flour from 4600 calories per dollar down to just over 1100. It’s still several times Wise and Legacy, but it is what it is. On expensive bulk food like powdered eggs, this is going to further bring down your overall cost, but at least the money you put into the future will be there when you need it.
If you want to buy a pallet of cans and you have a lot of people to help you with filling them, I’m sure it will be a lot cheaper even from regular online sources. Obviously this week the column is for the serious among you, with real budgets, and I know that there are thousands of you at this point. I searched the Thomas Register for food cans and there are several manufacturers. I have also ordered from Freund Container, and they have bulk pricing links on the website.
The machine itself is actually fairly simple. Most of my video is about how I converted the machine over from 404 cans to #10 cans, because I had ordered it for two sizes. If you order it for #10 cans, that won’t be required. I actually mailed all of these cans to China back when I ordered the machines this past January, but you won’t have to do that either.
You will, however, most likely have to attach the motor when the machine comes in two wooden crates. I did, and it was fairly easy to figure out the belts. I had to email Kevin, my contact in China at BetterPak, to ask about the electrical leads, but he answered me within about a half hour and the diagram is included.
If you are concerned about ordering something directly from China without an intermediary, you can use Paypal, and they are a pretty good intermediary. I can tell you that this is a real factory and a real company, and Kevin does work for them, though I’m sure that is not really his Chinese name lol. If you buy the machine through AliExperess you’ll pay a lot more, and don’t be fooled by the yellow machine that you see on Ebay that looks like it does the same thing as the YZT-180. It is a cheaper machine, and I don’t know that it can be set up for #10 cans.
I am not going to ask Kevin to list this machine on Ebay this time like I did for the last one. When I covered this machine’s little brother none of you bought through the Ebay link anyway.
Food storage is a somewhat complex topic. I’ve addressed using Mylar bags, plastic buckets, and steel #10 cans once before as well. Regardless of your storage method, get some oxygen absorbers and include them before you seal up your package. The food will last much much longer, and the quality will remain higher, even under less than ideal conditions. But even if you can’t get to good storage options right now, the hour is getting late. Buy some food while it is still plentiful. This could all crumble tomorrow.