The Difference Between Freezer and Storage Bags

Freezer bags and regular storage bags are sometimes used interchangeably. But there are some important differences between the two that you should know about.

The difference between freezer bags and storage bags is that freezer bags are sturdier, thicker, and made to better withstand the harshness of remaining in the freezer for long periods of time.

Main Differences Between the Two Bags

Frozen meat in freezer bags that were purchased after chef learned the difference between freezer and storage bags
Freezer bags are great for freezing meats.

Most storage bags nowadays have some type of zip lock to them, which makes it easier for the bag to remain tightly sealed when kept in the freezer or refrigerator. This is true of both freezer bags and regular storage bags, which are usually made of durable plastic. They both come in numerous sizes and can have various types of seals.

The main difference between freezer and storage bags boils down to one thing: the difference in thickness of the bags.

Simply put, when you’re using a freezer bag, you’re using something that’s thick, tough, and a lot more durable than any other type of storage bag. Freezer bags are made specifically to freeze various foods and prevent them from getting freezer burn. By contrast, a regular storage bag isn’t made for the freezer, so you should only use this type of bag for a relatively short amount of time.

If you want to store fresh frozen food in the freezer, the type of bag you use is crucial. Without the correct type of bag, it’s very likely that the taste and/or texture of the food you’re freezing will suffer at least a little.

A regular freezer bag is much less likely to tear or puncture while it’s in the freezer, and it is made to keep foods fresh for longer. Freezer bags break down much more slowly over time so that your food is better protected.

Can You Use Regular Storage Bags To Freeze Food?

Strawberries next to fridge bags that were purchased after chef learned the difference between freezer and storage bags

A lot of people use regular zip-top bags and even standard food sandwich bags to freeze food items. Most food safety experts recommend against this. Why? Because standard storage bags are much thinner and don’t protect nearly as well against things such as freezer burn. They are sometimes also made with a weaker seal, which means the seal may not be tight enough to withstand the super-low temperatures of most freezers.

This brings us to another advantage that freezer bags have over regular storage bags: temperature tolerance. Since storage bags are not as thick and durable as freezer bags, they are less likely to last and hold up if used in a freezer, where the temperature is obviously much lower than that of a refrigerator. Freezing temperatures can cause a regular bag to rip or tear.

If you combine that with the fact that freezer bags do a better job of protecting food from freezer burn, you’ll understand why it’s a better idea to use freezer bags.

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering if you can freeze food in regular storage bags, the answer is yes. If you’re wondering if you should do this, the answer is no. This is because regular freezer bags have a lot more sturdiness and strength than ordinary food storage bags have. It takes them a lot longer to deteriorate and break down while they’re in the freezer.

Freezer bags are also meant to hold foods of various types, including foods with different thicknesses, acidity levels and textures, which isn’t always true with regular food storage bags.

If you’re curious about the prices of these two types of bags, it is true that the thicker freezer bags are more expensive, but the price difference isn’t as significant as you might think. If you freeze a lot of food and you need to keep that food fresh for a long period of time, nothing beats a good freezer bag.