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From what I remember from new, my vacuum sealer doesn't seem to suck air out of the bag as well as it used to. While the bag does "Crinkle up", there seems to be more air inside the bag than I remember when the device was brand new.

I have used the same brand of bags since purchase, while they are thicker than regular polythene sandwich bags, they are not especially heavyweight or heavy duty.

This seems to be particularly noticeable with ingredients like pulses etc, sometimes the sealed vacuum bag is really rigid, sometimes it is not.

Would it be worthwhile trying another brand of bags or is my vacuum sealer showing signs of old age? The bags are smooth on one side with a criss-cross pattern on the other to allow air to escape. I have also checked the seals are seated properly and made sure the device is clean etc.

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A little bit of air remaining won't be a problem. For sous vide, you don't need a hard vacuum. You're just trying to keep most of the food in contact with the bag.

Food that isn't touching the bag will transfer heat more slowly and take longer to come up to temp. But most sous vide recipes will be very resilient to small changes in temperature rise.

If you're able to, just test the temp of some of the food as you pull it from the bath. Then you'll know for your bags and your preparation that the recipe is sufficient to bring it up to your target properly.

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You don't need a vacuum at all. You can use a ziploc bag and just force the air out. You do need the air out for the purpose of heat conductivity. You could also put some oil or other liquid in the bag, to both force the air out and aid in conduction. A couple of air bubbles is ok, as long as the food is submerged. For chicken breast (the post you refer to), I use a ziploc bag and some olive oil.

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