Impulse sealers are a great tool for speedily sealing large quantities of stored food. Preppers and homesteaders know the value of storing foods that last a long time.
I have always recommended that preppers start their food storage efforts by buying extra of the foods they already eat, expanding their pantry. This is an incremental, economical approach to expanding your food supply. You know the foods won’t go to waste, because you already eat them, and it allows you to expand as money allows. You can also capitalize on sales at the grocery store.
Once a pantry has been expanded and stocked to the point where you are stocking enough food to make use of it all before it expires (last in is first out, so rotate stock), you then move on to longer-term foods.
Foods stored for the long-term can also be cost-effective, and if space is limited, you can actually get more food (meals and calories) stored by storing rice long-term, beans, and other foods than you can by stocking extra canned goods. Mylar bags, food-grade buckets, and impulse sealers go a long way, stocking foods that can last 30+ years without the need for buying a freeze drier or watching for freeze-dried food sales.
What Exactly is an Impulse Sealer?
Impulse sealers are used to seal plastic and Mylar bags. They use electricity to heat thin sealing wires that are activated when the sealing bar is pressed down. They are similar in purpose to heat sealers but with a few differences.
You can use an impulse sealer to not just seal Mylar bags but also seal other plastic food bags. This means an impulse sealer is great for both long and short-term food storage.
Have a bag of chips that you opened but didn’t finish? Seal it back up with an impulse sealer to retain freshness. Have a bag of cereal that didn’t get finished? Same thing.
Impulse Sealer vs Heat Sealer
Impulse sealers act much like heat sealers. The difference between impulse sealers and heat sealers is that heat sealers seal through heated elements whereas impulse sealers seal through a brief pulse of electricity. Impulse sealers do not require a warmup time whereas heat sealer need time to reach heating temperature. The impulse sealer only takes a few seconds to seal a bag and it is otherwise cool to the touch making the impulse sealer a higher-end technology.
The actual seal is different as well. The impulse sealer has a very clean, crisp seal. See pics below for a comparison.
3 Best Impulse Sealers
Consider what size impulse sealer you need. What is the maximum width of bag you will want to seal? Determine that and then go 1″ wider to allow space for placement. I opted for the wide 16″ sealer because I wanted it for five-gallon Mylar bags, which I use for bulk long-term food storage.
1 – Highest-End: Wallaby 16″
I believe in buying a high-end product once rather than a mediocre product twice. I own the Wallaby because I believe it’s the best. Wallaby Goods is a US-based company. If you have a problem with the product (odds are high you won’t), you can easily contact the company via email, phone, or online chat. You won’t find this to be the case with most of the other impulse sealers here.
You can buy this unit, or others that Wallaby produces, directly from Wallaby or via Amazon. Compare prices to find the best deal.
I’ve been impressed with my Wallaby thus far. It’s heavy (solid) and works fast. I opted for the 16″ model because I wanted the versatility that comes with the widest unit available. The downside, of course, is that it’s quite a bit larger, so storage could become a concern depending on your situation.
2 – Runner Up to Highest-End: Metronic 16″
The Metronic impulse sealer has strong reviews. While I have not handled one personally, the design looks similar to the 16″ Wallaby and is priced just under the Wallaby. The difference that jumps out to me is I can’t find a Metronic company website when I search online. Instead, search results just lead me to sites like Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart.
- Tabletop Impulse Heat Sealer --- Important Notice: The light only turns on and the sealer is activated when the handle is pressed down! The Metronic tabletop impulse sealer, quickly seals different types of plastic packaging.
- Safe and Easy to Use --- Metronic impulse sealers are safe and easy to use. The heating element in the impulse sealer is not constantly heated. The light will turn on when the sealer is activated, and will turn off once sealing is completed.
Wallaby has a company website whereas Metronic does not. This may not matter to you, but for a few dollars extra I prefer buying from a US-based company that I can directly contact.
3 – Budget Model: Vimi 12″ Impulse Sealer Machine
This 12″ model is not as wide as the other models, but it’s about half the cost (they also sell an 8″ model). With nearly 3,000 reviews averaging 4.5 stars there are enough buyers vouching for its quality.
- Built-in fuse for safe using, Easy to use and to clean,ideal for household, retail, produce, grocery Stores, and industrial sealing with a certain quality superiority.It's can't cut anything,just good to seal PP and PE bags.
- Energy Conservation Manual Impulse Sealer，Non-Toxic, Odorless, Durable, Reinforced and Compression，could seal more than 10000 bags.
My only reservation with this unit is the same as my reservation with the Metronic: there is no obvious company website behind the brand. It’s clearly a Chinese-driven sales product. One of the most obvious giveaways is the product description on Amazon. Read, as an example:
1.Kindly pls reading Instruction manual carefully and To adjust the temperature that you need when using it for the first time.
I don’t understand why these companies can’t hire a decent interpreter…
Depending on how much food you plan to seal up with an impulse sealer, you might need a few accessories. Actually, you’ll definitely need the first. The second is optional.
Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers
You need Mylar bags if you’re going to be sealing up rice, beans, wheat berries, or other food products for long-term storage. I received my Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers from Wallaby, but I’ve also bought them off Amazon before.
- Food-Grade Materials: Mylar bags are made from food-grade materials that are safe, eco-friendly, durable, and tasteless. These bags feature a three-layer construction: PET, Aluminum foil, and PE.
- Thicker Thickness: The bags have a substantial thickness of 10 mils, with each side being 5 mils thick. This includes an extra internal layer of aluminum foil for added durability and puncture resistance. It prevents light and air permeation, ensuring longer food storage.
Heat Sealer Table
I don’t own one of these, nor do I plan on buying one, but if you have a large family and plan on serious use of your impulse sealer, I can see how they would be helpful for assembly-line style sealing. Note that they come in different sizes. Match it to your impulse sealer.
- This cute little table makes using your bag heat sealer a dream!
- Holds your item at the perfect height to keep both hands free.
How to Use an Impulse Sealer
Impulse sealers are exceptionally easy to use, even easier than the traditional method of using a clothes iron to seal Mylar bags. The process is straightforward:
- Plug your impulse sealer into an electrical outlet.
- Set the dial to the appropriate setting that corresponds with the thickness of the bag you’re sealing.
- Place the bag between the handle and the heating element, lined up to exactly where you want the seal to be.
- Press the handle down firmly until the activation light is lit and hold it for a few seconds until the light goes out. You can seal it again in another spot along the bag for added insurance .
- Lift the handle and remove your newly-sealed bag.
Use your impulse sealer long enough and eventually you’ll need to replace the heating element and the fuse. Both are easy to do and any decent impulse sealer is going to come with replacement parts and the ability to order more.
Where I have not used other impulse sealers, I can’t speak to how their maintenance works, but I suspect it’s very similar to maintaining the Wallaby I own.
The fuse is clearly labeled and easily unscrewed. You simply pull it out, insert a new fuse, and screw it back in. Easy. Done.
The heating element is removed by unscrewing a few screws with a standard screwdriver, laying the new heating element in place, resetting the cover and cloth, and then screwing it down in place. Easy. Done.
How Long Do Impulse Sealers Last
A good impulse sealer will last many years. They do require periodic maintenance, however. It is normal to have to replace the heating element but only after thousands of seals. The fuse may also need to be replaced. The Wallaby Impulse Sealer that I own came with two replacement elements and fuses. Suffice to say, with those included replacement parts, the sealer will essentially last me a lifetime.