The Pros and Cons of Mylar Bags vs. Vacuum Sealing for Food Preservation

Last updated: June 12, 2024.
Writen by :
Eric Lu
Marketing at Bagnpouch

Preserving food is crucial for extending its shelf life, maintaining freshness, and preventing spoilage. Two popular methods for achieving this are using mylar bags and vacuum sealing. While both techniques aim to remove air (xoygen) and moisture, which can cause food to deteriorate, they differ in their approach and suitability for various situations.

Mylar bags are made of aluminum-coated polyester, creating an impermeable barrier against air, moisture, and light. They're often used with oxygen absorbers to create an anaerobic environment that slows oxidation and microbial growth. Vacuum sealing removes air from plastic bags or containers using a vacuum sealer machine, creating an airtight seal that minimizes air exposure and spoilage risk.

In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using mylar bags vs. vacuum sealing for food preservation, helping you choose the suitable method for your needs.

What are Mylar Bags Packaging?

Mylar bags, also known as sealable mylar pouches, are a popular choice for long-term food storage. These bags are made from a specialized material called mylar, which is a combination of polyester and aluminum. The aluminum layer provides an impermeable barrier against air, moisture, and light, while the polyester offers durability and strength.

mylar bag sample display

The key properties of mylar bags that make them suitable for food preservation include:

  • Oxygen and moisture resistance: The aluminum layer prevents oxygen and moisture from entering the bag, creating an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment that inhibits the growth of microorganisms and slows down the oxidation process, which can cause food to spoil.
  • Light protection: The opaque nature of mylar bags blocks out light, preventing light-induced degradation of food items.
  • Puncture and tear resistance: The polyester layer makes mylar bags resistant to punctures and tears, ensuring the integrity of the packaging during storage and transportation.

Oxygen absorbers are often used with mylar bags to remove residual oxygen, creating a truly anaerobic environment for optimal preservation.

The principles behind mylar bag packaging revolve around minimizing factors that contribute to food spoilage, such as oxygen, moisture, light, and microbial growth. By removing these elements, mylar bags can significantly extend the shelf life of various food items for long-term storage.

Pros of Mylar Bags

  • Excellent barrier against moisture, oxygen, and light: The aluminum layer in mylar bags creates an impermeable barrier that effectively blocks out environmental factors that can degrade food quality. This barrier ensures optimal preservation by preventing moisture intrusion, oxygen exposure, and light-induced degradation.
  • Long shelf life for dry goods: By creating an oxygen-free environment, mylar bags significantly extend the shelf life of dry goods, such as grains, legumes, and dehydrated foods. The anaerobic condition slows down oxidation processes, allowing these foods to remain fresh for years.
  • Ease of use: Mylar bags are lightweight and compact, making them easy to store and transport. They can be efficiently stacked or stored in small spaces, maximizing storage capacity while minimizing the required footprint.

Cons of Mylar Bags

  • Limited suitability for wet or fresh foods: While mylar bags excel at preserving dry goods, they are not well-suited for storing wet or fresh foods. The potential for moisture buildup can lead to spoilage and the growth of harmful microorganisms.
  • Potential for punctures or seal failures: Although mylar bags are puncture-resistant, they can still be punctured or develop seal failures, compromising the anaerobic environment and rendering the food susceptible to spoilage.
  • Upfront cost of bags and oxygen absorbers: Investing in high-quality mylar bags and oxygen absorbers can be more expensive than some other food storage methods, especially for large quantities or long-term storage needs.

What is Vacuum Sealing?

Vacuum sealing is a food preservation method that involves removing air from a plastic pouch or container and creating an airtight seal. This process prevents oxidation and inhibits microbial growth, extending food's shelf life.

transparent vacuum pouch samples 2

The principles involve removing air (containing oxygen and moisture) from packaging. This anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment inhibits the growth of aerobic bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms that thrive in the presence of oxygen.

Types of Vacuum Sealers

Vacuum sealers come in two main types: external and chamber vacuum sealers.

External vacuum sealers are the most common and affordable option for home use. These sealers have a removable vacuum chamber where the open end of a plastic bag is inserted. The machine then removes the air from the bag and seals it shut, creating an airtight package.

Chamber vacuum sealers are typically used in commercial or industrial settings. With these sealers, the entire bag or container is placed inside a vacuum chamber. The chamber is then depressurized, removing all air from the packaging before sealing it. Chamber vacuum sealers are more expensive but offer a higher level of vacuum and are better suited for packaging liquids or delicate items.

Pros of Vacuum Sealing

  • Versatility for various food types (dry, wet, fresh): Vacuum sealing is suitable for preserving a wide range of food items, including dry goods, wet foods, and fresh produce. The airtight seal protects against oxidation and moisture loss, making it an effective method for diverse food types.
  • Compact storage and portion control: Vacuum-sealed bags can be compressed to remove excess air, resulting in compact storage and efficient use of space. Additionally, vacuum sealing allows for easy portion control, as you can seal individual servings or meal-sized portions.
  • Potential for sous vide cooking: Vacuum-sealed bags can be used for sous vide cooking, a technique where food is cooked in a water bath at precisely controlled temperatures.

Cons of Vacuum Sealing

  • Limited shelf life: While vacuum sealing extends the shelf life of food, it generally does not provide as long of a shelf life as mylar bags, especially for dry goods and dehydrated foods.
  • Potential for air leaks: If the vacuum seal is compromised due to punctures, leaks, or improper sealing, air can enter the package, leading to spoilage and reducing the effectiveness of the preservation method.
  • Additional cost of vacuum sealer: Investing in a quality vacuum sealer and compatible bags can be more expensive than some other food storage methods, especially for occasional or small-scale use.

Mylar Bags vs Vacuum Sealing: Which Is Best?

There is no one-size-fits-all packaging solution for food preservation. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the ideal choice depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

Here's an objective comparison to help you make an informed decision:

Scenarios Where Mylar Bags are Preferable

Mylar bags are an excellent choice for long-term storage of dry goods and dehydrated foods, emergency preparedness, and bulk storage with limited space. Their impermeable barrier against moisture, oxygen, and light creates an ideal environment for preserving the quality and shelf life of these types of foods.

To maximize the benefits of mylar bags, follow these practical tips:

  • Use high-quality thicker mylar bags with a thick aluminum layer for optimal protection.
  • Include oxygen absorbers in each bag to remove residual oxygen and create an anaerobic environment.
  • Ensure proper sealing techniques, such as using a heat sealer or iron to create an airtight seal.
  • Store mylar bags in a cool, dry, and dark location to prevent moisture buildup and light exposure.

Mylar bags are particularly suitable for long-term storage for preppers, emergency preparedness, and food security scenarios, as well as for outdoor enthusiasts who need compact and lightweight food storage solutions.

Scenarios Where Vacuum Sealing is Preferable

Vacuum sealing is a versatile method suitable for short to medium-term storage of various food types, including wet and fresh foods. It's also an excellent choice for portion control, meal prep, and sous vide cooking.When using vacuum sealing, consider these practical tips:

  • Choose a vacuum sealer with appropriate features and capacity for your needs (e.g., external or chamber sealer).
  • Use high-quality vacuum bags or rolls designed for food storage.
  • Ensure proper sealing techniques to create an airtight seal and prevent air leaks.
  • For extended storage, consider using the Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) option, if available, to flush the package with protective gases.
  • Store vacuum-sealed packages in a cool, dry location, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Vacuum sealing is particularly beneficial for budget-conscious consumers looking to reduce food waste and extend the shelf life of various food items, as well as for those who enjoy sous vide cooking or marinating meats and vegetables.

Both mylar bags and vacuum sealing can effectively preserve food when used correctly. Consider your specific needs, storage duration, food types, and budget to determine the most suitable method for your situation.


The choice between mylar bags and vacuum sealing for food preservation depends on your specific needs and priorities.

Mylar bags excel for long-term storage of dry goods and dehydrated foods, offering an impermeable barrier against moisture, oxygen, and light. Their compact nature also makes them suitable for emergency preparedness and bulk storage.

Vacuum sealing provides versatility, accommodating various food types, including wet and fresh items. It effectively extends shelf life through an airtight seal, making it ideal for short to medium-term storage, portion control, and sous vide cooking.

Both mylar bags and vacuum sealing can be effective when used correctly in appropriate scenarios. Understand the nuances, follow best practices, and choose the approach that best suits your lifestyle and goals.


Can you vacuum seal mylar bags?

Yes, it is possible to vacuum seal mylar bags. This involves placing the mylar bag inside a vacuum bag or chamber and removing the air before sealing. The vacuum sealing method can further extend the shelf life by creating an even more anaerobic environment within the mylar bag.

How to vacuum seal mylar bags?

To vacuum seal mylar bags, first place the mylar bag inside a vacuum bag or chamber sealer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove the air from the outer vacuum bag or chamber, creating a vacuum around the mylar bag. Once the desired vacuum level is reached, seal the outer bag or chamber to create an airtight package around the mylar bag.

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