Storage space is often at a premium, so vacuum storage bags can come in very handy—whether you’re storing food in the freezer or pantry or compressing hanging clothes, blankets, or out-of-season garb. When used for clothing and linen, air is removed from these plastic bags to shrink the size of the contents, saving space. When it comes to food items, removing the air helps retain freshness—but the uniform shape of vacuum storage bags also makes them easy to stack, maximizing storage, too. Whether you’re looking to save space in your closet or luggage or avoid wasting food, vacuum storage bags may be worth considering.
The best vacuum storage bag should be strong, have leak-resistant seals, and be of adequate size for the items to be stored. We’ve put a variety of vacuum storage bags to the test, filling them to capacity and seeing how well they removed air and kept it out. In testing these bags we also learned a few things about storing vacuum-sealed food, clothing, and bedding. There were definitely some winners (and losers) among these products. Use this guide to discover some of the best storage bags available plus tips on how to use them.
- BEST OVERALL: BoxLegend Space Saver Bags
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Gongshi Vacuum Storage Bags
- BEST FOR FREEZER STORAGE: VacYaYa Food Storage Vacuum Sealer Bags
- BEST SEASONAL STORAGE: Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags
- BEST FOR PANTRY: Wevac Embossed Vacuum Sealer Bags
- BEST FOR LARGE ITEMS: Suoco Vacuum Storage Bags
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: AirBaker Vacuum Storage Bags
Types of Vacuum Storage Bags
Vacuum storage bags work in two different ways. The type usually used for food requires a sealing machine to remove excess air and permanently heat-seal the bag shut. The type designed for clothing and bedding necessitates drawing air from the bag via a hand pump or vacuum nozzle before manually sealing the bag.
It may be possible to extend the shelf life (or freezer life) of perishable foods by about three to five times by storing them in vacuum-sealed bags. Vacuum-sealed pantry items such as dry rice, beans, and other grains will deter critters such as moths and weevils. Storing food is trickier than storing garments and linens, since it’s essential to get as much air as possible out of the bag—and keep it out—so food won’t spoil.
A machine that sucks the air out of the bag and then heat-seals the opening is ideal for preserving food for storage. These machines work with individual plastic bags or rolls of plastic that are cut to the desired length for the amount of food being stored. Just place the food into the bag and then insert the open end into the sealing machine. The machine draws all the air out and then seals the opening so no air can get back in.
Clothing, quilts, and other soft fabric items can be flattened to a fraction of their size in quality vacuum bags that feature heavy-duty ziplock openings. Simply fill the bag, zip it shut, and attach a vacuum hose nozzle or hand pump to a round port on the bag’s side. Draw out all the air, and when the contents are compressed, quickly seal the port with its included tab or screw top.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum Storage Bag
Now that we’ve provided some information about the types of space-saver bags available, here’s what shoppers will want to consider when it comes to size and functionality to ensure they purchase the right products for their items.
Vacuum storage bags are great for compressing soft stuff, but they can also be used to store hard items, such as kids’ toys or office supplies. They are also handy to store and protect flat items such as laptops or books for waterproof and dustproof safekeeping during a move.
Certain items should not be stored in vacuum space-saver bags, especially for an extended period, because the compression may affect their ability to decompress. Natural fibers, such as wool or the down filling found in coats and comforters, might not regain their original shape after prolonged storage in vacuum bags.
Vacuum storing for a couple of weeks during a move should be fine, but users may not want to store wool or down-filled items for longer periods (several months) in vacuum bags. Also avoid vacuum storing leather items, which could become permanently creased or wrinkled if pressure sealed. Store leather and suede items in a traditional garment bag.
The following sizes are standard in vacuum space-saver bags, and shoppers can purchase the bags in sets of just one size or sets of various sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, sizes may vary slightly.
- Small travel bags: 19 inches long by 13 inches wide with a 1-inch depth
- Medium bags: 22.5 inches long by 18 inches wide with a 2-inch depth
- Large bags: 22 inches long by 18 inches wide with a 4-inch depth
- Extra-large bags: 33 inches long by 21 inches wide with a 4-inch depth
- Jumbo bags: 40 inches long by 30 inches wide with a 3-inch or 4-inch depth
Food storage vacuum bags that have a ribbed or textured surface are typically only compatible with a specific sealing machine brand and may not work in different machines. Generic storage bags may also fit only specific machines, so shoppers will want to make sure the bags they’re buying will work in their sealing machine.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a Top Pick, a vacuum storage bag should be strong and durable, able to hold a seal without leaking, and easy to use. The following products are meant for various purposes, but each one can make good use of available storage space or keep foods fresh and safe to eat for a longer period of time.
If the goal is to flatten garments and other fabric or textile items for storage while sealing out air, this set of eight BoxLegend Space Saver Bags may fit the bill. The set includes two bags in each of four sizes: small (23.5 inches long by 15.25 inches wide), medium (27.5 inches long by 19.25 inches wide), large (31 inches long by 23 inches wide), and jumbo (39 inches long by 27 inches wide).
To use, place items in the bag, smoothing them out as flat as possible, and then close the zipper with the included clips that seal the bags tightly prior to vacuuming. The instructions direct users to ensure that nothing, not even a hair, is caught in the zipper.
In testing, we sealed a full set of queen-size bed sheets. While the clips worked fine, we actually found it easier to lock the zipper using our fingers. We then employed a standard vacuum cleaner to suck out the air quickly and closed the valve with a cap to prevent air from seeping into the bag. The seal felt tight and kept air out for the 5-day test period. We were impressed by the thickness of these plastic bags and felt that they were strong and durable enough for long-term storage.
- Type: Manual seal
- Size: Small, medium, large, and jumbo
- Materials/intended use: Linens, fabrics, and textiles
- Includes a total of 8 bags in various sizes for different-size items.
- Triple-turbo valve creates a tight seal and allows users enough time to get the cap on securely
- Plastic is thick and of high quality, suggesting it will hold up for long-term storage
- Sealing clips were more awkward than simply using our fingers to lock the zipper
Get the BoxLegend vacuum storage bags at Amazon or BoxLegend (for a 12-pack).
Folks on a budget with lots of stuff to store may wish to consider this set of Gongshi Vacuum Storage Bags. It includes 12 durable bags as well as a hand vacuum pump at an attractive price point. The bags work with a standard vacuum hose, too, and we tested them with both options to verify. There are three bags in each of the four sizes: small (24 inches long by 16 inches wide), medium (28 inches long by 20 inches wide), large (32 inches long by 24 inches wide), and jumbo (40 inches long by 30 inches wide), providing plenty of storage for clothing and bedding.
We placed items in the bags and smoothed them out evenly before sealing with the zipper slider. (Though sealing clips are included, we found it easier to simply use our fingers.) Then we used the hand pump to draw as much air out as possible and repeated the process with another bag and our vacuum—the hand pump worked fine but took much longer. We had ample time to get the cap on, and the triple-seal valve kept air from reentering the bag for our 5-day test period.
- Type: Manual seal
- Size: Small, medium, large, and jumbo
- Materials/intended use: Clothing and bedding
- Includes multiple sizes; 12 bags in total
- Triple-seal valve holds strong and affords enough time to cap the valve for long-term storage
- Included hand pump works well enough for travel or sealing when there’s not a vacuum available
- Included sealing clips were awkward to use; testers preferred using fingers
Get the Gongshi vacuum storage bags at Amazon or at Sears.
It’s disappointing to pull leftovers out of the freezer only to find them no longer fit to eat. VacYaYa Food Storage Vacuum Sealer Bags aim to put an end to such waste. Freezing meat, vegetables, and casseroles requires food-grade plastic bags that won’t degrade at frigid temperatures. Plus, food sealed in airtight bags develops frost less easily in the freezer.
We put these bags to the test over a few weeks, sealing ground beef, biscuits, rice, and soups. Each bag is 12 inches long by 8 inches wide, an adequate size for 1 to 1.5 pounds of ground meat and two- to four-person servings of soups and other dishes. We used these bags to preserve and freeze meals for a week-long hunting trip.
The bags were stored in a freezer for a week before being transferred to a cooler for our week-long trip. During that time, they were shuffled around and squished, none of which caused them to lose their seal. The precut bags made food prep fast and easy. Plus, we could write directly on the bag to label the contents.
We tested a set of 200 VacYaYa BPA-free bags in quart size, but gallon and pint sizes are available. The vacuum bags require a standard food sealer, sold separately, such as FoodSaver (which we used for testing) or NutriChef.
To use, place food in the bag and insert the open end into the machine, which sucks out the air and then heat-seals the bag so no air can reenter. The only issue we encountered was that the bags tended to fold over in the sealer, requiring us to straighten the bags and try again—a minor annoyance, we believe, for these rugged, well-priced food storage bags.
- Type: Sealing machine
- Size: 12 inches long by 8 inches wide
- Materials/intended use: Food
- Includes 200 food-grade bags that are a versatile 12 inches long by 8 inches wide in size
- Suitable for freezing meat, vegetables, casseroles, and other foods
- Tough enough to get shuffled around in the freezer without breaking the seal
- The premade bags are easy to use because there’s only one side to seal.
- Bags can fold over in the sealing machine, requiring a second sealing
Get the VacYaYa vacuum storage bags at Amazon.
Heavy flannel sheets, poly-filled comforters, and snuggly bedspreads can take up a lot of room in the linen closet when not in use. Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags in a jumbo size proved ideal for reducing the bulk of heavy bedding and keeping it in top shape until it was needed again.
We sealed a duvet in one Spacesaver bag and six baby blankets in another, using a vacuum for the first and the included hand pump for the second. The hand pump screws into the sealing valve to get a tight seal, which prevents air from escaping until the cap can be attached. Both methods resulted in a tight, successful seal, though a standard vacuum cleaner worked much faster than the hand pump. We tested the seal for 5 days with the duvet and 3 days with the baby blankets, and the seals held strong throughout.
Spacesaver offers a six-pack of jumbo bags, each approximately 40 inches long by 30 inches wide in size, which fit a queen-size comforter during testing. The item fit fine, but we did find that straightening out lumps and bumps as much as possible before sealing helped create a better shape for stacked storage.
- Type: Manual seal
- Size: Jumbo
- Materials/intended use: Heavy linens
- Thick plastic and large size is suitable for large, heavy comforters, sheets, and bedspreads
- Single bag is large enough for a queen-size comforter
- Includes 6 bags and a hand pump that may prove useful for travelers
- Only includes 1 size option: jumbo
- Spacesaver bags are pricier than some of the competition
Get the Spacesaver vacuum storage bags on Amazon or Spacesaver (for an 8-pack).
Buying food in bulk saves money, but oversize boxes tend to take up space on pantry shelves. With Wevac Embossed Vacuum Sealer storage bags, bulk purchases of dry-good staples (like rice, beans, pasta, and even sugar and flour) can be divided into smaller portions, then sealed to preserve while the big, bulky boxes can go into the recycle bin. BPA-free Wevac bags come in a continuous, 50-foot-long roll and a choice of 8-inch or 11-inch widths (we tested the latter). Bags on a roll offer more versatility than precut bags, which we felt made them better suited to the different sizes of pantry staples.
We tested these bags with both liquid-based foods for the freezer and, for the pantry, loose, uncooked macaroni and hard red wheat. We cut the bag to the length we needed, sealed one end, loaded the bag with food, and sealed the other end. The bags proved to seal well, but we found it tricky to create packages that stacked well in the pantry; however, they stood on end just fine. Tip: When storing pointy items like rice and macaroni, handle the bags with care so that sharp edges don’t poke the plastic, potentially damaging the bag. On the down side, bags occasionally folded over in the sealer so that we had to start the sealing process over again.
- Type: Sealing machine
- Size: 50 feet long by 11 inches wide
- Materials/intended use: Food
- Bags come in 8- or 11-inch widths, but roll format allows users to choose any length
- BPA-free thick plastic material resists punctures and maintains a tight seal
- Patented suction channels help remove air faster and create a tighter seal to prevent freezer burn
- Bags can fold over in the sealer, requiring the user to start the sealing process again
- Items with sharper edges like rice or pasta may break the seal if the sealed bags are stacked or handled roughly
Get the Wevac vacuum storage bags at Amazon or Wevac (for 8-inch bags).
Those with a lot of large blankets, pillows, and mattress pads may appreciate Suoco’s set of jumbo vacuum storage bags, which measure a mighty 40 inches long by 30 inches wide. While many storage-bag sets come in a variety of sizes, storing many large items may require more than a few jumbo bags; this set includes eight.
For best results, fill the bags and then smooth the items before closing the no-leak zipper and using a hand pump (included) or standard vacuum cleaner’s nozzle to suction out the air. Triple-seal valves prevent air from reentering to keep items thin and flat.
To test, we filled one bag with three queen-size sheet sets, and another with a sheet set plus three pillowcases. We sealed the first bag using a standard vacuum cleaner and the second with the hand pump. Both options worked well, though the hand pump takes longer. To give an example of how much items compress, the three-sheet set bag went from 10 inches to 6 inches high after sealing. A valve prevented air entering until we could get the sealing cap attached.
- Type: Manual seal
- Size: Jumbo
- Materials/intended use: Blankets, pillows, and mattress pads
- Each set contains 8 bags, an adequate number for packing wardrobe and bed linen items for a family of 4
- Bags sealed well with both a vacuum or the included hand pump
- Triple-seal valve prevents deflating until the sealing cap is attached
- Bags are fairly pricey compared to some of the competition
- This set includes only jumbo-size bags
Get the Suoco vacuum storage bags at Amazon.
Folks who prefer to travel with a favorite pillow or blanket but find these items challenging to pack may appreciate AirBaker Vacuum Storage Bags. Available in jumbo (39.3 inches long by 31.5 inches wide), large (31.5 inches long by 23.6 inches wide), and small (27.5 inches long by 19.5 inches wide) sizes, these bags can free up lots of luggage space. And if users are the type of traveler who shops a lot while away, the bags can come in handy to flatten purchases for the return trip.
We used a large and small bag, sealing two pillows in the first and a single queen-size sheet set in the second. We were disappointed that the large bag lost its seal after 24 hours, but we realized that was our error—we sealed in the pillows too close to the “stop” line that precedes the seal. We tried again, keeping items below the seal line, and the seal held throughout the 3-day test period.
The bags come with a hand pump, but of the versions we tested, it felt the flimsiest. As we found throughout testing, the included sealing clips were more difficult to use than simply using our fingers.
- Type: Manual seal
- Size: Small, large, and jumbo
- Materials/intended use: Small pillows and clothing items
- 8 bags in 3 sizes are included in the set for variety
- Bags are simple to seal with either the included hand pump or a standard vacuum
- Bags held a strong seal as long as the items were well away from the seal line
- Vacuum seal line is a bit difficult to see
- Hand pump felt flimsy compared to those included with some other bags
Get the AirBaker vacuum storage bags at Amazon.
SunHorde Hanging Space Saver Bags
The design of SunHorde bags was promising since it boasts a built-in hanger to allow several coats, dresses, or blazers to be stored on a closet pole. Sadly, though, these bags didn’t hold a seal no matter how many times we tried. The zipper sealed well, and we could suction out the air with a standard vacuum, but the closure on the valve was difficult to manage, and there weren’t adequate instructions to assure that we’d done so correctly. We tried sealing the bag three times, and each time within an hour, the bag lost its seal. Consequently, we can’t recommend the SunHorde bags.
How We Tested the Best Vacuum Storage Bags
Testing followed a prescribed rubric, and the bags were scored on their performance. For clothing and linen storage, we measured the bags before and after sealing to deem how much space they saved. If bags included accessories, like a hand pump or sealing clips, we tested those as well.
Food-grade vacuum-seal bags were used to seal several types of food; then the food was frozen, moved, and thawed to test how well the bags preserved food over time. They all required the use of a vacuum-seal machine, and we used a FoodSaver model. We checked to make sure there was an airtight seal before the bags were stored.
Food-grade bags were stored sealed for 2 weeks, while the nonfood bags were sealed for 3 to 5 days to ensure they held a strong seal. The water resistance of the seals was tested by placing them on a wet surface and spraying them with water. The bags were then scored based on their performance.
If you’d like more information before buying and using vacuum storage bags, consider the answers to the following questions.
Q. Can vacuum storage bags be recycled?
Many communities do not permit plastic storage bags to be put in curbside recycling bins. Still, you may be able to take them to a local grocery or hardware store that collects plastic of this type for recycling. Bags must be clean and dry before recycling.
Q. Can vacuum storage bags be reused?
For food safety purposes, you cannot reuse food storage bags. You can, however, reuse bags for storing clothing and blankets.
Q. Are vacuum storage bags waterproof?
When correctly sealed, both vacuum food storage and vacuum nonfood storage bags are airtight and waterproof.
Q. How long does the seal on a vacuum storage bag last?
The seal will last as long as the plastic material is in good shape, which can be a year or longer. However, if the bag is exposed to bright sunlight, it may degrade more quickly, causing the seal to fail.
Q. What items should not be vacuum-packed?
Avoid storing leather, wool, and feather-filled items in vacuum bags. The intense compression may give them permanent wrinkles, or they may be unable to fluff back up.