Vacuum Sealer vs Impulse Sealer | Appliance Comparison Guide

impulse sealer vs vacuum sealer

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Vacuum sealers and impulse sealers are two of the most common sealing machines that are used in homes.

This is because they’re both great for storing items both in the long and short term: however, these appliances differ in the way they help us preserve our foods and items. Hence the need for the vacuum sealer vs impulse sealer debate.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve compared both appliances in this impulse sealer vs vacuum sealer debate. So let’s find out the differences between a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer.

What Are the Main Differences Between A Vacuum Sealer and an Impulse Sealer?

The main difference between a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer is in their sealing method.

A vacuum sealer is a heavy-duty sealing machine that automatically seals bags by first drawing air out of the bag. While an impulse sealer is a type of heat sealer that seals bags by applying a brief pulse of energy to the area you’re going to seal, followed by immediate cooling.

The second main difference between a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer is in the materials they seal.

Vacuum sealers are used to seal barrier bags or materials that contain items which can break down when exposed to air over a long period. While impulse sealers are used to seal thermoplastic materials that require a lower seal temperature than direct or constant heat sealers.

To help you make the right purchasing decision, we’ll delve deeper into the capabilities of these sealers.

What is a vacuum sealer? A vacuum sealer is a special kind of heavy-duty direct heat sealer that’s used for sealing pouches of packaged food. Vacuum sealing works by extracting air from the poly package using an air compressor before automatically sealing it into a vacuum or airtight package.

Vacuum sealing is important for protecting foods and items that are to be stored for a long time from contamination. This is because there’s no air or moisture within the packaging. It is also used to reduce the volume of the product and minimize storage space as it will fit the packaging to the product since there’s no air inside.

What is an impulse sealer? An impulse sealer, also known as a jaw, manual, or clamp sealer, is a heat sealer that’s used for sealing thin and lightweight thermoplastic materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene. This is because these materials need only a moderate temperature to effectively seal them as they won’t be able to withstand the high sealing temperatures of direct heat sealers.

On the application of pressure, an impulse sealer seals these thermoplastic bags by applying a short pulse of electricity to the sealing area. It continues applying the pressure until the material cools down. Another interesting feature of impulse sealers is that they can control and regulate the cooling time.

Unlike constant heat sealers that maintain constant heat for as long as the machine is switched on, impulse sealing only uses electricity when the jaw is lowered – they don’t require any warm-up time to reach operating temperature. Also, this makes it safe to use and there’s little to no chance of sustaining burn injuries since the impulse sealer's components don’t get hot.

What are the advantages of a vacuum sealer over an impulse sealer?

The advantages of a vacuum sealer, when compared to an impulse sealer, are that it’s a great machine for sealing thick packaging, economizing space, and preserving items for a long time.

Great for sealing thick materials

Unlike impulse sealers that are used for sealing porous and lightweight Polyethylene and Polypropylene packaging, vacuum sealers are used for sealing thicker bags like barrier bags.

This is because a vacuum sealer is a constant heat sealer with a better heat penetration than an impulse sealer. In contrast, impulse sealers seal thinner materials that don’t require as much heat as direct heat sealing.

Saves space

When you want to manage space, vacuum sealing is the ideal method.

One of the most important features of vacuum sealers is that they can extract air from the packaged product they’re sealing. This then reduces the size and volume of the packaged product, making the packaging fit closely to the product.

Conversely, impulse sealing doesn’t extract air from the packaging they seal, and isn’t the best sealing method if you want to manage space.

Stores items for a long time

When compared to impulse sealing, vacuum sealing is used to preserve items for a long time.

Vacuum sealers remove air from the poly barrier bags before sealing the packaging. This extends the shelf life of the product as there will be no oxygen, moisture, or gas in the bag to oxidize it.

It also protects the bag from contamination and the product from spoilage, oxidation, and/or corrosion. For example, vacuum sealers can store cheese for as long as 4 to 8 months in a freezer: this is longer than the 1 to 2 weeks duration when using ordinary bags or containers.

Impulse sealing, on the other hand, is used to store food for a short time. This is because it is used to seal thin and lightweight Polyethylene and Polypropylene. These materials are porous and will allow air, moisture, and other gases into the package over time.

Controlled temperature

A vacuum sealer, like other constant heat sealers, produces a higher controlled temperature at the sealing jaws. This is in contrast to impulse sealers where the temperature fluctuates.

comparison between vacuum sealer and impulse sealer

What are the advantages of an impulse sealer over a vacuum sealer?

The advantages of an impulse sealer, when compared to a vacuum sealer, are that it’s an affordable machine which is safe and easy to use for sealing thermoplastic packaging.

Great for sealing thermoplastic materials

If you’re going to seal a bag made of thermoplastic Polyethylene and Polypropylene materials such as polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol, nylon, Polyflex, foil, etc., the best method will be impulse sealing.

This is because these materials can’t stand the high amount of heat produced by vacuum sealers.

More affordable and economical

When compared to a vacuum sealer, an impulse sealer is more affordable and consumes less electricity.

The cost of an impulse sealer ranges between $30 and $100, while the price of a vacuum costs around $50 and $500.

Also, vacuum sealing is a constant heat sealing method so it uses electricity for as long as the machine is switched on. Impulse sealers, on the other hand, only use power when pressure is applied to the machine and the jaw is dropped to the sealing area. This uses less electricity and helps you cut costs.

Safe and easy to use

Unlike vacuum sealers that seal the packaging using high heat, impulse sealers don’t require a warm-up time: they only use power when the jaw is lowered. This way, the machine doesn’t get hot to the point that it’ll cause burn injuries.

Which One Is more Usable in the Kitchen between A Vacuum Sealer and An Impulse Sealer?

For kitchen use, a vacuum sealer is more useful in the house as it can also store items that an impulse sealer can store. Plus it can inhibit bacterial and mold growth and preserve the items for a long period. Impulse sealers, on the other hand, can only seal lightweight materials that don’t require the high temperature of the vacuum sealer. Here’s how to use a vacuum sealer.

And if you’re asking, “Is a vacuum sealer the same as an impulse sealer?” No, they’re different appliances. A vacuum sealer is a direct heat sealer for sealing thick packaging used to store dry goods by first removing air within the material. While an impulse sealer is an appliance best used for sealing lightweight materials made of thermoplastic.

What can you seal with a vacuum sealer?

You can store and preserve the following items with your vacuum sealer;

  • Milled products
  • Cereals
  • Coffee beans
  • Bulk perishable items: meat, fish, and cheese
  • Fruits: grapes, bananas, apples, cranberries, strawberries, avocados, oranges, blueberries, and apples
  • Nuts
  • Cookies  
  • Chips: potato and tortilla
  • Dried spices and herbs:
  • Smoothies and blends: mashed potatoes and baby foods
  • Grains: rice, beans
  • Vegetables: lettuce
  • Yeast
  • Pastas: spaghetti, ravioli
  • Pickles
  • Wine

Here are some of the other uses of a vacuum sealer.

What can you seal with an impulse sealer?

You can use an impulse sealer to seal bags made of the following thermoplastic materials;

  • Polyethylene
  • Foil
  • Pilofilm
  • Polyurethane
  • Polyvinylchloride
  • Kel-F
  • Saran
  • Mylar
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Padded mailers
  • Nylon
  • Tyvek
  • Coated bags
  • Kraft bags

Can a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer be paired together in a kitchen?

No, you can’t pair a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer in your kitchen. Vacuum sealers use high heat to seal both dry and perishable foods as well as non-food items packaged with thick materials. They can also seal thermoplastic materials even if an impulse sealer will be the best option. While impulse sealers are only used for sealing lightweight thermoplastic materials such as Polyethylene.

What are the instances where you can use a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer?

You can’t use a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer since a vacuum sealer can perform its function efficiently and seal packaging that impulse sealers are best at sealing.

What are the instances where a vacuum sealer and an impulse sealer should never be used together?

When you want to store or preserve bulk perishable foods such as meat, you can only use a vacuum sealer as it’ll remove the air in the packaging to prevent the food from getting contaminated and spoiling.

What to Consider when Buying A Vacuum Sealer or Impulse Sealer?

To know whether a vacuum sealer will suit you better than an impulse sealer or vice versa, we’ll look at the most important features you should consider before getting a sealer.

What types of vacuum sealers or impulse sealers are available?

There are three types of vacuum sealers: chamber, external, and pistol vacuum sealers.

Chamber vacuum sealers have the best performance of all vacuum machines: however, they’re more expensive and are great for sealing liquid-rich foods as well as other foods in large batches.

External vacuum sealers are less expensive than chamber models and offer less performance and versatility. Unlike chamber vacuum sealers, external vacuum sealers are not great for frequent sealing.

Pistol vacuum sealers are best for applications where you’ll need to take the sealer to the bag.

For impulse sealers, there are five types: hand sealers for sealing poly materials with thickness reaching 10 mm; both auto and pedestal sealers for sealing poly materials up to 15 mm thickness; double impulse sealers are for heavy-duty sealing; and lastly, sealers with cutters for making customized bags.

What foods do these sealers work best on?

Vacuum sealers are best for storing dry foods for a long time, say months. Chamber vacuum sealers can also preserve liquid-rich foods such as marinated meat. While impulse sealers are great for storing foods that are preserved short-term.

How much should I spend on a sealing machine?

If you’re low on budget, an impulse sealer may be the best choice for you as they’re more affordable. Impulse sealers cost around $30 and $100. But if the versatility of a vacuum sealer appeals so much to you, you can get one for between $50 and $500.

How portable are these sealers?

Impulse sealers are very portable, especially hand sealers. Because of their sizes and weight, you can easily take them from one point to another with ease. For vacuum sealers, there are countertop models that aren’t as portable as impulse and pistol vacuum sealers. However, they are more powerful and functional.

Comparison impulse sealer and vacuum sealer

What Are the Best Brands for Vacuum Sealers?

The five best brands making the best vacuum sealers are FoodSaver, Nesco, Weston, NutriChef, and Hamilton Beach.


FoodSaver is our top pick for the best brand making the best vacuum sealers. Their models have innovative features such as PulseVac that allow you seal delicate items like potato chips without crushing them. FoodSaver products also come with a 5-year warranty and help you save money since you can store your produce for a longer time.


Nesco is one of the most popular brands making some of the best vacuum sealers. Their products have a great balance of power, pulse control, and ease of use. You can also use them to store fragile foods. Nesco vacuum sealers also give you control over the vacuuming process so your items don’t get crushed.


Weston makes some of the best commercial vacuum sealers. Their models are durable professional grade small appliances that feature high-quality double piston pumps for vacuuming air out. Weston products are great for storing things in bulk, plus they come with a 5-year warranty.


NutriChef is one of the most reputable brands making some of the best kitchen appliances. And their vacuum sealers are mostly countertop models that can seal both wet and dry foods. However, they have a 1-year warranty and are not designed for frequent usage.

Hamilton Beach

If you’re looking for a mid-priced vacuum sealer with a good mix of power and ease of use, you should consider Hamilton Beach. Hamilton Beach makes some of the best vacuum sealers, and their models are durable and great for both dry and moist-food sealing.

What Are the Best Brands for Impulse Sealers?

The five best brands making the best impulse sealers are Metronic, LinsnField, Suteck, Fuxury, and Eletional.


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