What’s the Difference Between Freezer Zip-Top Bags and Regular Storage Bags?

updated May 1, 2024
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Plant based slow cooker meals stacked up in freezer bags.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The food storage aisle of your grocery store can be a mystifying place. All the papers and foils and wraps! Do you want natural or dyed parchment paper? Do you really need heavy-duty aluminum foil? And don’t even get us started on the bags! There are bags of every size imaginable, ones with single zipper tops, double zipper tops, and the ones with the sliding zippers! There are bags for regular storage and others intended specifically for freezer storage. How do you decide?

We can’t help you if you’re set on those fold-top sandwich bags, but we can explain the difference between freezer bags and regular zip-top bags.

Quick Overview

The Difference Between Freezer Zip-Top Bags and Regular Storage Bags

Freezer bags are thicker than regular storage bags, which makes them tougher and more durable when it comes to storing food in the freezer.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Freezer Bags vs. Storage Bags

Freezer bags and regular storage bags are both made from durable plastic, typically have a similar type of seal, and are available in the same sizes. There is one important difference that sets them apart: thickness. While they often look and feel pretty similar to other plastic storage bags, freezer bags are slightly thicker than regular zip-top bags. This translates into a storage bag that’s sturdier and even more durable.

Freezer bags are less likely to puncture or tear, and also slower to break down after long periods of time in the freezer. As a result, freezer bags keep food fresh for longer periods of time and prevent or slow freezer burn.

Can You Use Regular Storage Bags in the Freezer?

Yes. You can use regular zip-top storage bags in the freezer. However, foods stored in these bags in the freezer might not hold up as well over long periods of time, and can be more prone to punctures and rips.

The opposite is also true: you don’t need to reserve these bags just for stashing food in the freezer. Freezer bags, which range in size from a pint to two gallons, can be used in all the same ways you’d use any other type of zip-top storage bag.

Of course, you can expect to pay a little more for freezer bags than you would for regular zip-top storage bags. But we think it’s worth it.

Ways to Use Freezer Bags