I like to buy in bulk and freeze it in smaller portions because it seems to be cheaper to do it that way. It does take up a lot of freezer bags, though. The other day I was freezing ground beef and realized I only had one freezer bag left and I needed a lot more.
I checked my drawer and saw all I had left were storage bags. I didn’t want to spend more money than I had to on freezer bags, which left me wondering what the difference between storage bags and freezer bags was.
|Freezer Bags||Quantity||Overall Price||Price Per Bag|
|Glad Flex’N Seal||112||$16.76||$0.15|
|Ziploc Grip’N Seal||60||$10.82||$0.18|
|Storage Bags||Quantity||Overall Price||Price Per Bag|
|Ziploc Grip ‘N Seal||75||$11.29||$0.15|
|Glad Flex’N Seal||140||$13.56||$0.10|
*These numbers are based on gallon-sized bags and Amazon pricing*
The main difference between storage bags vs freezer bags is the thickness of the polyethylene plastic and zipper. Freezer bags are more durable than storage bags because they are thicker and the zipper seals tighter. This is why freezer bags are more expensive than storage bags as well.
Even with this information, I started wondering if I had been wasting money this whole time on freezer bags if the storage bags held up just as well.
Does it really make a difference what I use? Will one keep food fresher than the other? All of these questions will be answered through research and personal experience.
Can You Freeze Food in A Storage Bag?
You can freeze food in a storage bag, but the food won’t hold up as long as in a freezer bag.
When I ran out of freezer bags and tried to use storage bags to freeze my meat, I wan’t satisfied with the results just a few weeks later. My meat was freezer burnt and had a strange taste to it because it wasn’t protected as well.
Freezer bags are definitely more effective than storage bags. I believe it’s because they have that thicker polyethylene plastic on them to keep the freezer burning away better. If you double the storage bag, you could probably get the same result as you would with freezer bags, as long as the zipper is secure.
On average, storage bags are 1.5 mil thick and freezer bags are 3 mils thick. So doubling it up would have the same effect. However, if something were to puncture the first bag, the next bag may not be as secure as it was before.
I’ve tried this method with Ziploc storage bags before. I doubled the bags, rolled the top down to get out all of the air, and then taped the zipper area to ensure they both stayed sealed. It worked pretty well and my meat didn’t show signs of freezer burn after a few weeks.
Freezer vs Storage Bags for Sous Vide
You cannot use freezer or storage bags for Sous Vide. It requires vacuum-sealed bags, which require a vacuum sealer.
Pros & Cons Of Storage Bags
Food storage bags are generally cheaper than other storage bags. They’re readily available in multiple sizes and styles as well.
They are sealed by a zipper closure or a tie. I don’t like the tie storage bags because they don’t do a very good job of keeping moisture out. However, since they’re made of a thinner plastic, they can be easily molded around foods.
The thinner plastic also means you can get more air out of the bag. There are small voids that may not be easily seen, so you can twist the bag and smush it to remove as much as as possible. Vacuum sealers are the only products that can completely remove air from a bag.
Storage bags are best for storing dried snacks and foods as opposed to wet foods and snacks. You can store solid veggies in these bags in the refrigerator for a couple of days as well.
On the other hand, because storage bags are thinner than freezer bags, the durability of the bag is greatly reduced.
The softer plastic also means there’s less protection for whatever is inside the bags. Any food stored in a storage bag has to be robust enough to accommodate other foods being piled on top of it.
Pros & Cons Of Freezer Bags
I love freezer bags because they’re thicker and hold up well in the freezer. Almost all freezer bags are at least 2 mils thick with polyethylene plastic, with most being upwards of 3 mils thick.
One of my favorite things about freezer bags is the white label section on the bag. You can use this section to write what’s in the bag and when it was stored.
Additionally, freezer bags have a more durable zipper or fastening closure. Many of them will have a sliding closure, which I’m not partial to. I prefer the zipper bags because they hold up better. I found that the sliders break or get off track. I don’t have this issue with the zipper bags.
The extra-secure closures are better for freezers because foods are often tossed around in large freezers and won’t break open.
On the downside, freezer bags often come in fewer quantities than storage bags and they’re more expensive.
They’re more expensive because of their heavy-duty nature, making them a higher quality item. Anything that has high-quality characteristics is generally more expensive than its lower-quality counterparts.
Additionally, there’s really no good way to reuse a freezer bag, especially if you use it for meat. Most freezer bags that have a zipper-like closing device can be tough to clean out.
Are Freezer Bags A Waste Of Money?
No, freezer bags aren’t a waste of money if you store items in bulk. Freezer bags are less likely to puncture and they don’t break down as easily over time in the freezer. They will keep food fresh for longer periods and slow down or even prevent freezer burn.
I only use my freezer bags for preserving meat or bulk vegetables and fruits. I don’t like to use storage containers for meat as not many of them are large enough. I also don’t like to use reusable storage bags because I always think I didn’t clean them enough and worry about cross-contamination.
Freezer Bag Sizes
There are several sizes of freezer bags on the market right now. I always use the gallon freezer bags for anything I’m sticking in the freezer. They’re ideal for meat, soups, and anything large and soft that you need to flatten.
The pint-size bags are perfect for storing small fruits or veggies. You can’t fit much meat in one. I use these occasionally to store small boneless pork chops one at a time. I like to do it this way because instead of defrosting more than I need when frozen together, I can defrost them one at a time as I need them.
The quart-sized bags are larger than the pint-sized ones. I use these ones for steaks. I can fit one of them in the bag at a time. I also use this size for small portions of soups. They’re the most common size and are usually readily available at most supermarkets and even the dollar store.
The gallon-sized bags are the most common and the ones I use the most. I can store 2lbs of ground beef at a time. I squish the mead down as thin as possible so it’s quicker to defrost and easier to store flat. Additionally, I use them for leftover stew or crockpot dump meals.
There are also 2 and 2.5-gallon storage bags available. You won’t get as many of these in a package as the others because of their large size. They’re used for storing large portions of food such as large quantities of ground beef, soup, stew, and large steaks.
Reusable Freezer Bags
Many people are being steered away from disposable plastic due to the damage they’re causing all over the globe. This type of plastic doesn’t biodegrade and when it begins to break down, it can be harmful.
Partially degraded plastic products produce microplastics. These are harmful to humans and animals. They can leach into the soil, which will then pollute food that grows in the area. When it rains, the microplastics are picked up and washed away into natural water sources.
When the plastic enters waterways, animals mistake it for food, which kills them slowly after digestion.
This is why more and more people are beginning to use reusable storage bags.
They’re safe to use in the freezer and are made of silicone or PEVA. These materials can withstand extreme temperatures, with some withstanding temperatures up to -51 degrees Fahrenheit.
Silicone freezer bags are more durable, can withstand heat, and have a higher food grade. Having a higher food grade means there are fewer chemicals used in production.
Some may think that they can use regular freezer bags over and over, but the more you wash them, the more they’re going to break down and lose effectiveness. The zippers are also harder to clean, as I’ve mentioned before.
I like the Inspiratek PEVA Bags. They come in a set of six and include two stainless steel straws. They’re made with 100% PEVA and use double-slide zippers to ensure they remain leak-proof. You can store up to one liter of food without the bag breaking.
Storage bags and freezer bags are different in that freezer bags are thicker and have a more durable zipper. Freezer bags are better to use when storing food in a freezer whereas storage bags are better for dry food being stored in a refrigerator or on the counter.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.