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

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

Kelli Foster
Aug 18, 2017
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler/John Kasawa/Shutterstock)

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.

The Difference Between Freezer Bags and Regular Zip-Top Bags

Freezer bags and regular zip-top 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.

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

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 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.

You don't need to reserve these bags just for stashing food in the freezer, either. 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.

The opposite is also true: You can use regular zip-top storage bags in the freezer — I'll admit that I have from time to time. But 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.

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.

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