Have you seen items tightly packaged in bags with no air in them?  We are sure you have.  There are many of these in your grocery store but you will also see them in homes, around blankets, clothes and personal items.  We are going to show you the difference between food vacuum sealers and the vacuum bags you use for home goods.

There are two major types of vacuum sealers – the vacuum cleaner-attached sealer for household materials like clothes, and then food vacuum sealers.  It is quite easy to mistake the attachment for vacuum cleaners and food vacuum sealers because they have the same result on the packaged items. 

However, there is a difference and you need to know exactly what a food vacuum sealer is.

What Is A Food Vacuum Sealer?

Invented in the 1940s, a food vacuum sealer is used to suck the air out of a bag and then seal it with a heated bar.  This allows food to be preserved safely for longer periods of time.  Many chefs also use a food vaccum sealer for sous vide cooking.  Food is marinated with herbs and spices inside a sealed bag and then boiled.  The flavor is delicious and it is a very healthy cooking style as no nutrients are lost.

This ensures the contents are tightly covered by the plastic bag and all excess air is removed.  These machines are usually associated with home food preservation.  Food items have a longer shelf life in the absence of oxygen.

Based on its purpose and mechanization, there are two types of vacuum sealers.  The first is the vacuum sealer used for food storage and the second is used for storing household items and materials.

Vacuum sealer machines were originally designed for food.  However, over time the need for vacuum sealing household items led to the invention of vacuum attachments for regular vacuum sealers. 

Both sealers require specialized bags to work properly.  Food vacuum sealers use bags that have ribbing inside to allow the air to be suctioned.  Vacuum sealer bags have a port that the vacuum cleaner hose attaches to.

Difference Between Food Vacuum Sealers And Household Items Vacuum Sealers

Food preservation is ever-evolving with many innovations continuing in home food preserving equipment.  Home food vacuum sealers are no different.  

These machines have taken on many new features since the invention of the vacuum sealer machine in Germany.  Vacuum sealing has become one of the most widely practiced and reliable ways of preserving food in the modern world.  While the major vacuum sealers are created for the purpose of food storage, the attachments for vacuum cleaners are also popular.

Let’s look at the major differences between food vacuum sealers and the vacuum cleaner attached sealer for other items.

How Do Food Vacuum Sealers Work?

The food vacuum sealers are of two types; the regular home food vacuum sealers and chamber vacuum sealers

A home food sealer is designed to suck all air out of a specialized plastic vacuum bag, usually with corrugations on the inside of the bag.  You insert the open edge of the bag into the machine and air is sucked out through these lines inside the bag.  Once all the air is removed, heating coils then seal it.  These machines are small and very portable.

Bags are either pre-sized or can be cut to size from a plastic roll. 

The other type of vacuum sealer for food is the chamber vacuum sealer.  These are bigger and shaped more like a box because you place your food within a plastic bag inside the machine.  They can seal multiple bags at the same time and can be used continuously. 

These units work by pumping air out of the chamber so that the pressure inside the bag is the same as the pressure in the chamber.  Once the programmed pressure is reached the machine seals the bag automatically

Despite the differences in design and working procedures, these sealers are independent machines and they seal the bags themselves, although some require you to use ready-made bags.

On the other hand, vacuum sealing household items like clothes and shoes take a whole different dimension.  First, there is no sealing machine designed for household items.  So, how do they work?

How Household Items Get Vacuum Sealed

Items like clothes, shoes, books and many more vary in size, however, most are quite bulky. 

A regular food vacuum sealer is not large enough to be able to seal bags holding quilts or bulky jackets. 

To seal large items, you have to use a different method. 

To get regular home items vacuum sealed, you will need a couple of things. 

First a plastic zip bag big enough to fit your items and also a vacuum cleaner.

These bags vary in size and thickness. 

They can be bought in most local stores or online.

Add Your Items

Just as it starts with every packaging process, you need to add your items to the bag.  Unlike a food vacuum sealer bag, there is no open-end.  Instead, these bags have zip locks.  Large home sealing bags have a spot on the side to attach your vacuum hose for air suction. 

The nozzle of the vacuum cleaner is detached and the tip of the hose is pressed against the valve on the side of the zip bag.  Through the suction system of the cleaner, the air is sucked out of the bag.

After the air is completely removed your bag is sealed as the valve is one way so it will not allow air back into the bag.  Once vacuum sealing is complete you can store your items.

Food Vacuum Sealers

The first difference between the vacuum sealers for food and that for household items is the description of the machines. 

A food vacuum sealer is an independent machine designed solely for the purpose of sealing food

The cleaner-attached sealer on the other hand is just a vacuum cleaner that uses a bag with a special valve that stops air from getting back in. 

In fact, there are many videos on YouTube showing that you don’t even need specialized bags. 

Many people show how you can use a regular garbage bag and it will work just as well.

Food Vacuum Sealer Bags

Another difference is the capacity of the sealer bags in both types of sealers. 

Food vacuum sealer bags are much smaller as are the machines. 

There is a limit to how much a chamber sealer can take and there is a limit to the length of the sealer on a vacuum sealer too. 

To save food in larger quantities, you will need to split them into smaller portions that the machine and its bags can take. 

However, there is no limit to how big the bags for the vacuum cleaner sealers can get. 

All it needs is an opening for the suction to be done.


A food vacuum sealer does the exact same job as a vacuum cleaner attachment sealer does.  However, they are not interchangeable.  

Vacuum cleaner packaging works for any size package, however, it is usually used for large and bulky items.  Many people use specialized bags to store winter woollens, quilts, and heavy coats over the warmer months.  Note here that our research has suggested that you can use regular garbage bags.

Food vacuum sealers are specialized pieces of home preserving equipment and also have a place in many restaurants or commercial kitchens.  With the rise of sous vide cooking, a food vacuum sealer is essential.

Read about the best chamber vacuum sealers or how you can vacuum seal Mylar bags.