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26 January 2021

Best reusable freezer bags

We tested premium silicone and PEVA bags to see which are best and whether they're worth buying over a standard plastic freezer bag
Stack of freezer bags in freezer.
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Olivia Woodhouse

In December 2020 we put eight premium reusable freezer bags and one cheaper, plastic reusable freezer bag to the test to see which ones coped best with our tough tests.

We tested four popular silicone freezer bags and four PEVA freezer bags – the most common materials available for this type of premium product.

Food-grade silicone is a popular choice for food storage bags because of its impressive durability. A silicone freezer bag should outlive your average resealable plastic food bag by years. You can even put silicone freezer bags in the oven and the microwave.

PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) is a type of non-chlorinated vinyl and is commonly used as a safer substitute for PVC (a mass produced plastic that contains harmful chemicals). You'll often find shower curtains made from this material. Unlike silicone, PEVA is biodegradable which means its lifespan is shorter but it's also easier to recycle.

We tested popular reusable freezer bags from Stasher, Green Island, and a number of other popular Amazon sellers. Our testing covered everything from ease of use and leakage, to durability and labelling. 

We deliberately didn't include a selection of the type of bags from supermarkets that pop up when you search online for 'reusable freezer bags'. That's because even though these can be used in the freezer and are resealable, that doesn’t mean you can reuse them in the same way as these bags we tested, which are thicker and sturdier. 

We know this becuase we tested one of these types of bags, from Xup Zip, and you can see how it compared to the sturdier bags in our results below. 

All the reusable freezer bags we tested can be used to store all foods: from meat and fish to fruit and veg. 

The best reusable freezer bags

Only logged-in Which? members can view the reusable freezer bag test results below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the reusable freezer bags we tested. Join Which? to get instant access to our test scores and to find out what's our Editor's Choice top pick reusable freezer bag.

Green Island Ziplock Bags

£9.50 for 1 Available from Green Island, Wearth London

Material: Silicone Seal type: Zip seal

Key features: Dishwasher safe, available in 1,500ml and 1,000ml sizes.

For every item sold Green Island states it will plant a tree. But it's not going to help your carbon footprint if you need to replace these reusable freezer bags sooner than you thought because they're not up to scratch.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results and find out how these reusable freezer bags fared. 

Kitchen Elements Premium Reusable Food Storage Bags

£17.99 for 6 Available from Amazon

Material: Silicone Seal type: Zip seal

Key features: Dishwasher safe, pack contains two 21x 27cm (1,500ml) bags and four 18x 23cm (1,000ml) bags.

At £17.99 for six reusable freezer bags, this pack sits in the middle of the price bracket of those we tested. The price does include, however, a handy gadget you clip to the sides of the bag to hold it open when you fill it.

But after filling and reusing these bags, how did they fare in our ease of use, durability, staining and smell tests.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results and find out.

Kollea Reusable Sandwich Bags

£7.64 for 12 Available from Amazon

Material: PEVA Type of seal: Press seal

Key Features: Not dishwasher safe, pack contains six 18cm x 21.5cm bags and six 21.5 x 12cm bags.

Kollea says its reusable freezer bags are easy to clean, leakproof, and thick enough so you can't smell the contents inside. We found one of these claims to be untrue.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results and find out which it was.

OCOOPA Reusable Food Storage Bags

£9.99 for 12 Available from Amazon 

Material: PEVA Seal type: Press seal 

Key features: Not dishwasher safe, pack contains four 12cm x 22cm bags and eight 18.5 x 22cm bags.

OCOOPA claims one of its reusable freezer bags can replace up to 500 single-use bags. It also say that these bags are easier to open than silicone ones. While we can't tell you whether it will last 500 uses, we can definitely tell you how it fared after 100 uses of the seal, and whether PEVA press seals are better than silicone seals.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results and find out how these reusable freezer bags fared after 100 uses of the seal and whether PEVA press seals are better than the zip seals that typically come with silicone reusable freezer bags.

Stasher Reusable Food Storage Bag

£12.99 for 1 Available from Amazon, Anthropologie, Boobalou, Lakeland, John Lewis

Material: Silicone Seal type: Press seal 

Key features: Dishwasher safe, available in 21.5 x 26 x 2cm (1.9 litres), 9x19cm (450ml), 9 x 11.5 x 1cm (293ml).

Stasher is one of the better known reusable freezer freezer bag brands and is sold by a number of big retailers including Lakeland and JoJo Maman Bebe. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results and find out how this bigger brand's reusable freezer bags fared against those less well known.

Soreli Reusable Freezer Bags 

£14.99 for 4 Available from Amazon 

Material: Silicone Seal type: Zip seal 

Key Features: Dishwasher safe, pack contains four 23.3 x 23.3cm bags.

The Soreli reusable freezer bags looked identical to us to the Kitchen Elements bags we also tested, but did our results reflect this seeming similarity?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

U-MISS Reusable Storage Bags

£9.99 for 12 Available from Amazon 

Material: PEVA Type of seal: Press seal 

Key features: Not dishwasher safe, pack contains two 28cm x 27cm, four 20cm x 26cm, four 17cm x 23cm and two 12cm x 21.5cm bags.

These U-MISS reusable freezer bags come with extra bag sealers which you run over the press seal to help the bag close more quickly, make it air tight and to ensure the seals are leakproof.

But did this extra gadget make a difference? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Xup Zip Food Storage Bags

£10.99 for 40 Available from Amazon

Material: Plastic Type of seal: Press seal

Key features: Not dishwasher safe, pack contains 40 30cm x 28.8cm (4.5 litre) bags.

We added one non-silicone or PEVA freezer bag to our test to see if it could match the other premium options.

Did Xup Zip exceed expectations? Log in now to find out or join Which? to unlock our test results.


Looking for a low-price freezer? Check out our run down of the top 10 cheap chest freezers and freezers.


PEVA vs silicone freezer bags: what's the difference? 

Functionality

Because silicone is so durable it's able to withstand extreme temperatures. You can put silicone reusable freezer bags in the oven, microwave, and the dishwasher. PEVA on the other hand is less so. You can't put PEVA reusable freezer bags in either the oven or the microwave and you should hand wash them. Of course, both should be able to withstand very cold temperatures and will be fine in the freezer. 

Lifespan

As the silicone reusable freezer bags aren’t biodegradable they’re naturally more durable and will have a longer lifespan than the PEVA bags. Despite the difference in lifespan, both types of bag are recyclable (though silicone recycling centres are more limited) and therefore more eco-friendly than the standard plastic bag we tested. 

Seal type

There were two types of seal on the reusable freezer bags we tested: a press seal (where you push the sides of the bag together until it closes) and a zip seal (where you zip across a plastic bar to close it). Of the bags we tested, the PEVA ones all had press seals and the silicone ones mostly had zip seals. 

Odour

Even after following these instructions we still found that all silicone and PEVA bags, including our favourite, had some residual pasta smell and staining. We found one type of bag tends to hold more smell than the other but staining doesn’t appear to affect either material more.

We found some key differences in our tests that Which? members log in to read. Not a member? Join Which? .

Reusable or resealable - what’s the difference?

Many outlets sell their own brand of food storage bags that can be used in the freezer and are resealable but that doesn’t mean you can reuse them. 

These bags will often have no cleaning instructions and will be sold in high quantities at a low price. You'd also feel a noticeable difference in material. While PEVA and silicone bags are much thicker and sturdier, these resealable bags will feel thinner and more malleable.  

Five tips when buying and using reusable freezer bags

Here's what we learned from our testing.

1. Not all bags in a pack are guaranteed to be of the same quality. We found several leakers. 

2. It's best to label the silicone bags on the rigid outer sides. Their main body wasn't the best base for the marker.

3. Seal type makes a big difference. We found big differences in usability between the press seal (on the right) and the zip seal. 

4. Stated capacity isn't always true capacity and in many cases you will only be told the dimensions of the bag not the capacity. 

5. Some plastic freezer bags might be sold as 'reusable' but that doesn't necessarily mean they are.


Our guide on storing food safely in the freezer can help make sure your frozen food is in the best shape when you get around to eating it.


How do you clean reusable freezer bags?

Washing your reusable freezer bags correctly is vital to getting the most use out of them. 

PEVA bags should be hand washed to avoid the seal warping at hot temperatures. 

Silicone can be washed in the dishwasher but any zip seals can't, despite what some of the advertising we came across led us to believe. 

It’s best to let reusable freezer bags air dry where possible.

Even after following these instructions we still found that all silicone and PEVA bags, including our favourite, had some residual pasta smell and staining. 

How we tested these reusable freezer bags

We put four silicone, four PEVA, and one plastic reusable freezer bag to the test. For the seal ease of use and leakage tests, we tested one of every size in the packs we'd bought. For the remaining tests we used single bag from each multipack that was of a comparable size with other bags that came in single packs. 

Seal ease of use

We tested the bag seals by opening and closing each 100 times. We rated how easy the bag seals were to open and close at the beginning and the end of our ease of use test.

Leakage

To test for leaks we filled the bags with water to their capacity and held them upside down. We did this just before commencing the seal ease of use test, on the 50th try in the ease of use test and after 100 tries. This helped mimic 100 uses of the seal. Disappointingly, not all the bags passed this test.

Durability

To test the bags' strength we filled them to capacity and sat popular frozen items on top of them. We used a 500kg frozen item, a 1kg frozen item, and a 1.5kg item to mimic what these bags would likely be sitting under within your freezer draw. 

Freezing ability

We cooked a tomato pasta up to put into the bags, measuring how many typical pasta portions (180g) we could fit in each. They were then stored in the freezer for 21 hours and marked on whether there was any notable freezer burn or damage.

Cleaning

After decanting the particularly garlicy tomato pasta we washed all the bags according to their instructions. The silicone bags went in the dishwasher and the PEVA bags were hand washed. We left them to air dry and then ranked them from the most stained to least stained and most smelly to least smelly. 

Labelling

Before the bags went into the freezer, we labelled each bag using the appropriate black marker pen to see which was easiest to label and how many stayed on for the duration of the 21 hours in the freezer.

How we chose these reusable freezer bags

We researched which companies people most commonly search for reusable freezer bags from. We then picked the most popular bags that fitted the premium freezer bag description from those companies.

We ordered and paid for all of the freezer bags we tested, just like you would. Which? doesn't accept freebies, which means you can trust us to tell consumers the truth.