Best Impulse Heat Sealer for Food Storage

by Vern Evans

If you are looking to seal plastic or mylar bags, an impulse heat sealer can make it easy. Load the bag, position the bag in the sealer, and then put the seal arm down to seal it in an instant. Easy enough, but the best impulse heat sealer does it quickly, efficiently, and doesn’t break the bank. There are several options to consider when it comes to an impulse sealer: capacity, speed, maintenance, etc.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best impulse heat sealers, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need to seal some bags for food storage (or other projects), one of our recommendations will close the deal.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


The Best Impulse Sealer

Vimi Impulse Heat Sealer

Effective, Versatile, and Inexpensive

Seal your stuff quickly using an impulse sealer without the fluff and frills.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

This impulse sealer from China will get the job done nonetheless. It doesn’t claim to be more than it is- a simple sealer in a plastic frame. You wouldn’t expect to be putting this through too much abuse as a kitchen prep tool, but it is still relatively durable. The main thing is that it gets bags sealed.

Here is how it measures up:

  • 5mm seal bar
  • ABS Plastic frame
  • 16″ L x 3″ D x 6″ H
  • 110V, 290W running
  • 4 pounds
  • Includes 1 pad and 1 strip for easy maintenance

With specs like these, it’s easy to see how the Vimi Impulse Heat Sealer can give you good value.


Budget Heat Sealer

Iron or Hair Straightener

DIY, Versatile, and Effective

Skip the dedicated impulse heat sealer and re-use a small tool you already own.

An impulse sealer isn’t completely necessary, especially for quick jobs or those just starting out. It may take a bit more time and some practice, but you can heat seal with small appliances you may already have on hand- hair straighteners and clothes irons.

Hair straighteners are ideal since they have a long and narrow profile to reach across the opening of the bags you are trying to seal, and you don’t have to lay the bag on a surface to get it done.

Save yourself a few bucks and use what you already have if you aren’t tackling large projects or an entire pantry of food storage.


Upgrade Impulse Sealer

Wallaby Impulse Sealer

Effective, Efficient, and Easy to Use

A quality impulse sealer for those serious about consistent seals for their food storage.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Multiple settings and a smart finish light let the Wallaby take over and make food storage easy. Designed to handle a wide range of bags, including mylar this impulse sealer has your pantry covered.

Here are the details:

  • 5mm seal bar
  • Aluminum frame
  • 18″ L x 4″ D x 7″ H
  • 110V, 300W running
  • 8 pounds
  • Includes 2 pads, 2 strips, and 2 fuses for easy maintenance

If you are looking for the best of the best, pick up a Wallaby Impulse Sealer.


Everything We Recommend

Iron or Hair Straightener

Skip the dedicated impulse heat sealer and re-use a small tool you already own.


The Heat Sealers We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several heat sealers that we compared: Wallaby, Vimi, Harvest Right, MSW, Metronic, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We focused on sealers with a maximum capacity of 12 inches or less just as a baseline to compare costs and features. All of our picks come in a few size options, including 8″ and 16″.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have an impulse sealer that you swear by let us know in the comments. Also, if you have a DIY solution as we do for our budget option, let us know. We review most of our tested equipment annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

The best heat sealers have several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Capacity
  3. Speed
  4. Maintenance
  5. Quality

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a sealer that will consistently close bags without any leaks. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the impulse sealers that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a heat sealer shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Don’t go overspending or overdo it. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap or just plain get the wrong thing. There are handheld heat sealers that are no different than a hair straightener but are marketed and marked up as heat sealers. Don’t go out and get something scammy- you’ll be relying on the seal it makes.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like a small appliance with a niche use. It’s better to diversify your preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Capacity

There is a wide range of lengths available for heat sealers, and the larger you go the more versatile they are. For home use, you’ll find most impulse sealers go up to 18″, which can typically handle two-gallon bags.

Capacity can also be measured by the thickness of the mylar bags the impulse sealer can close. Very thick bags may need a higher heat setting and a longer set time to completely seal.

Check the manual of your specific model to see which setting to use for the various thicknesses of plastic and mylar.

Speed

Impulse sealers are meant to be quick. You don’t need to sit the arm on the bag and wait- it should only take a few seconds to seal depending on the thickness of the bag.

Both models we suggest have a finish light, and depending on the instructions you may want to delay a little past that to ensure a good seal.

Maintenance

The main consumable parts of an impulse heat sealer are:

  • Fuses – be sure to have spares on hand to easily swap out blown fuses
  • Heat strips – a heating element that can be replaced quickly when it stops working
  • Pads – pads become damaged with use, so you need to be able to swap these as well.

All of these are relatively easy to swap out on most models we researched and tested, so combined with the maintenance instructions you shouldn’t have much trouble. Our upgrade pick did come with plenty of spare parts to make maintenance much easier. The quality of the parts can extend their life, making maintenance less frequent.

Quality

When you invest in any appliance, quality is important. Especially if that appliance is a part of your emergency plans. Besides the manufacturing quality inherent in an impulse sealer, the service quality is important too.

You’ll also need a reliable supplier for your sealer because there are replaceable components inside of them that you will either need to have on hand or be able to get them quickly. In our tests, our upgrade pick (Wallaby) and Harvest Right had the two most responsive service departments.


How to Use an Impulse Heat Sealer

Using an impulse heat sealer may seem easy at first, but it can be a little finicky and require some maintenance. Most have replaceable fuses and sealer bars available. You’re also dealing with heat so you always need to be careful what you put into a sealer to make sure you aren’t starting a fire or creating toxic fumes.

Here is Dimitri on YouTube giving some great tips on how to use it with plastic:


Who Needs an Impulse Sealer?

Impulse sealers are not a necessity, but they are very nice to have on hand if you plan on doing a lot of sealing. People investing in food storage, for instance, really stand to benefit. For those who plan to use mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, it can pay off to make sure your seal is good by using a proper tool.

We recommend an impulse heat sealer for your:

There are other uses for heat sealers, and they can be used for a wide range of storage purposes.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best impulse heat sealer is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Insoo, K., et al. (2019). Development of Temperature Controlled Impulse Sealer for Preventing Cumulative Heat and Improving Sealing Quality. Korean Journal of Packaging Science & Technology. Volume 25. Issue 3. Pages 117-123. (Source)

Lamont, N. (2014). Using a portable heat sealer for sealing Nylon 11 (polyamide 11) arson evidence bags. Forrest 2014, Northumbria University. (Source)

Zinsmeister, G., et al. (1983). Computer Simulation of an Impulse Heat Sealing Machine. Journal of Vibrations and Acoustics. Volume 105. Issue 3. Pages 292-299. (Source)


The Final Word

A heat sealer can put your food storage plan on the fast track, helping you seal and store non-perishables in your pantry. They are inexpensive tools that can make the process easy and consistent, preventing any messes down the road.

Here are a few other reads our subscribers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Vimi Impulse Heat Sealer to be the best option given its value, capacity, speed, maintenance needs, and quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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