Prepping 101: Buying an Automatic Can Sealer from China

BetterPak YZT-180 Automatic Can Sealer – $1,480 AliExpress
(Note that you can email directly kevinludy (a t) 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.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Sarah Lancaster October 13, 2017, 1:12 pm

    I am so glad that you mentioned that can sealing is very beneficial in a couple of ways. It is very beneficial because it keeps the food from going bad. I will be considering doing this for my food storage. Thank you for sharing this great information. I will be sure to share this with all my friends!

  • matt October 27, 2016, 11:25 pm

    cans do not cost that much, then how to you explain to find #10 cans of food @1,50 or less at wallmart and other stores?

  • DUANE PARK October 24, 2016, 8:41 am

    Just a thought. You can split the expense among a community group and everyone can benefit from it’s use, since you will get to the point where you have so many #10 cans that you may no longer need the can sealer. Also, the #10 cans of food may be a thoughtful gift to your sons and daughters with families of their own.

  • BillyBob October 24, 2016, 8:33 am

    1. Apple Cider Vinegar – This kitchen staple has many health benefits and will last indefinitely as long as you keep it sealed.2. Bouillon Cubes – As long as you keep these dry, they should remain stable indefinitely. With these, you can make some delicious soup with just a few other ingredients, so get plenty of them.3. Corn Starch – As long as it’s kept dry, corn starch can last indefinitely, so stock up. It’s not only great for cooking, but can also be used for other things like removing oil from the face and hair, soothing sunburns, and diaper rashes.4. Corn Syrup – The most common substitute for sugar in America. You can use it for brownies, cookies or candy.5. Ghee – This kind of butter is boiled until all the moisture is gone, which is why it never goes bad. As long as you seal it and keep it in a cool, dry location (as with every item in this list) it can last hundreds of years. Here’s some more information.6. Hard Liquor – Distilled liquor never goes bad, even after it’s been opened. And it’s not just a temporary escape, it’s also important for disinfecting wounds and easing physical pain.7. Hardtack – This is a mixture of flour and water forms a hard cracker that keeps for decades. Soldiers carried it with them in the civil war. It’s very hard and doesn’t taste great, but it will keep you going in an emergency. Here’s how to make it.8. Honey – Archaeologists discovered ancient honey in the Egyptian pyramids and it was still edible! It crystallizes over time, but all you have to do is warm it up and stir it to get it back to the right consistency.9. Maple Syrup – Like corn syrup and honey, this stuff lasts a long time because of the high sugar content. And what good are pancakes without maple syrup?10. Salt This stuff lasts forever, whether it’s sea salt or ordinary table salt. It’s also very useful. Just make sure it’s not seasoned salt, which is only good for a year.11. Soy Sauce – As long as it’s never opened, soy sauce also lasts indefinitely. This is mainly due to the high sodium content.12. Sugar – Brown, white and powdered sugar all lasts forever. The problem with sugar is it hardens over time, but you can break up the chunks by warming it up and stirring it, just like with honey.13. Vanilla Extract – Like fine wine, pure vanilla extract actually improves with time because it’s a form of liqueur. It’s more expensive than imitation vanilla, but well worth it.14. White Rice – Every type of rice except for brown rice will keep forever if you store it properly. Brown rice, on the other hand, has a lot of oil so it goes bad after several months.15. White Vinegar – In addition to cooking, distilled white vinegar can be used for cleaning, polishing, deodorizing, and other things.

  • Jim Stone October 24, 2016, 8:24 am

    I’ve been using a vacuum jar canner for several years.
    It’t made from a regular pressure canner (from WalMart) a vacuum pump from Harbor Freight, and plumbing fixtures. You can seal 5 quart jars in less than a minute, and the whole deal costs less than $200. The hardest part is finding a vacuum gauge that that will show 30 psi of vacuum.
    It’s much stronger than the “food saver” vacuums that you buy, and uses regular canning jars.

    • Larry October 25, 2016, 8:28 pm

      Did you see that on You Tube?

      • BillyBob October 28, 2016, 10:28 am

        Larry learned to pull a vac from him mom

  • BillyBob October 24, 2016, 8:12 am

    HarvistRight Freeze Dryer make your own freeze dry ! Mylar bags & Ox aso. togeather less than. .75 each ! Store them in a tote with wheels so you can move them quickly! Buy 35 gal plastic barrels with removable sealed lids (water proof) and bury them for a rainy day ! Throw in a knife-axe-fire starters -water filter – JD (1/5) ect….

    • BillyBob October 24, 2016, 8:28 am

      Be sure your hand sanitizer lists ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol as the active ingredient. Other chemicals may not work or they may burn too hot. Hand sanitizer gel & a lighter or match make great fire starters in damp weather

  • Mark October 24, 2016, 7:38 am

    What about a lined steel pail (5 gallon) with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers? Pail with cover is about $4.

  • Dustr October 24, 2016, 7:15 am

    Jus buy a galvanized garbage can. It’s rodent and insect proof, and much cheaper.

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