Buyer's Guide

Sealer Buyer Guide

What is a Heat Sealer?
A heat sealer is a machine used to seal plastic material using heat. There are many types of sealers and choosing the right sealer may be overwhelming without a few basic points. We discuss the four key characteristics of sealers to help you

There are two main types of sealers: (1) Impulse Heat and (2) Direct Heat:

  1. Impulse Sealers require no warm up time and seal by applying a pulse of energy to the sealing area, followed immediately by cooling. Impulse sealers only use power when the jaw is lowered. We recommend an impulse sealer for any thermoplastic material such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) which requires a lower seal temperature. Materials for impulse sealers: Polyethylene, Polyurethane, Polyvinylchloride, Pilofilm, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Saran, Nylon, bubble packs, padded mailers, foil, coated bags, Kel-F, Polyflex, Mylar, Tyvek, and other thermoplastic material. Impulse sealers are easy to use (no warm-up time), economical (electricity used only during sealing process), and safe (no component is always hot). There are different types of impulse sealers based on type of material and usage.
  2. Direct Heat (Constant Heat) Sealers and Band Sealers maintain constant heat in both jaws. Direct heat sealers use power as long as the machine is turned on. As a result, direct heat sealers possess better heat penetration in order to seal thicker material. We recommend a direct heat sealer for materials such as coated aluminum foil, polycello films, gusset bags, coated Kraft paper, waxed paper, cellophane, mylar, coated PP, and other materials. We also include other types of sealers used for more specific types of applications:
The size of the sealer depends on the width of the material to be sealed. We usually recommend adding one inch to the width of material to be sealed for easier handling. Cutters on the sealer usually trim at slightly less than width of the sealer arm.

  1. Portable sealers are lightweight, handy and versatile. Sizes, however, are limited.
  2. Hand sealers are the most simple and economical unit. The sealing bar is lowered manually. Sizes are available from 4" to 40" and approximately 6-20 packages can be sealed per minute.
  3. Foot sealers provide a faster seal than hand sealers. The sealing bar is pedestal controlled leaving your hands free. Sizes are available from 12" to 35" and approximately 8-20 packages can be sealed per minute.
  4. Automatic sealers provide even faster sealing than foot sealers and are ideal for high production jobs. Automatic sealers feature a pre-set time cycle to allow for a fully continuous automatic operation. Automatic sealers can also be used with a foot pedal for semi-automatic operation. Sizes are available from 12" to 47" and approximately 20-50 packages can be sealed per minute.
  5. Continuous band sealers provide the fastest sealing operation with an unlimited length. Bags are simply fed into sealer while resting on a conveyor belt. Several models are available with features such as horizontal seal head, vertical seal head, tilting seal head, left or right feed, gas purging, and/or coding and imprinting.
Heating elements are made of nichrome (nickel-chromium) and determine the width of the seal. There are two types of heating elements: round or flat which are interchangeable in most sealers. The round wire is mainly used to cut and seal with no excess material above the seal. Depending on the width of the flat wire element, sealers are available in 2-3mm, 5mm, 8mm, or 10 mm. Some sealers are equipped with two heating elements for faster heat penetration making them ideal for sealing thicker materials.


Determine what type of sealer you need by the type of bag you are planning to seal. 

Side Gussetted Bags

Photo: Pacific
Side Gussetted Bags

Side gusseted bags are named for the gusset, or fold, on either side of the bag. The gussets expand when the package is filled with product, and the weight of the product usually holds the bag upright. This package format has two long faces, or panels, on the front and the back for product branding. The side gusset bag is the recognized format for coffee packaging today

Sealers that work: Double Impulse Sealer because it seals from both sides at the same time OR more commonly aConstant Heat Sealer or a Band Sealer because it is faster and more penetrating of the stack of materials to be sealed together. 

Note: The impulse sealer will not work because impulse sealer only welds one side to the other side.

Photo: Pacific
Quad Seal Bags

Similar in format to the side gusset bag, Quad Seal Bags create a distinctive difference in shelf appearance. Sealed on the four corners of the bag, rather than the back, the quad seal bag offers four crisp, clean panels for labels and graphic placement and an overall strong shelf presence. 

The same sealers referred to for the Side Gussetted Bag also apply to the Quad Sealer Bag: Double Impulse Sealer, Constant Heat Sealer, Band Sealer. This is because the Quad Sealer Bag is made in such a way so that all 4 corners are welded together so that it has a flatter advertising surface on the front, back and sides. This looks the best on the shelf but costs more.

Bottom Gussett Bag
or The Stand Up Pouch

With bottom gusset structure, it can be standing steadily by itself, easily attracting attentions from potential customers. There are several variants of standing bags made of different laminates, Alu Foil Bag, Standing Bag with a clear window, and All-Clear Bag. 

Any kind of sealer will work for this bag because you're only sealing one surface: the front to the back. See general sealer page.

Pillow Pack Bag or Pouch

Named accordingly because it resembles the pillow you sleep on. It is usually used for promotional packaging or instant coffee packaging. It is flat, usually square, and not gusseted, three sides sealed, leaving one side opening for filling. This kind of bag are ideal for mass packaging as it is cost effective. Therefore it is often seen in roll forms used for large quantity packing on automated packing lines. 

Any kind of sealer will work on this pouch because it's only sealing the front to the back. See general sealer page. 

Keep in mind however, that this bag does not stand up. It is designed to lay down and many people use it because it's less money.

How To Choose a Sealer
Use this quick and easy flowchart to help determine what sealer works best for you. The four main questions we ask are: 
  1. What type of volume is the customer looking to seal?
  2. Thickness of the material and material composition
  3. Dimensions of the bag?
  4. Weight of the bag when filled with your customer's product - this is most important only if they are looking at band sealers.
Band Sealers: Embossing vs. Dry Ink Coding
Band sealers offer two different methods of applying a message to the seal line: Embossing or Dry Ink Coding. 

Use our chart below to help you determine which method works best for your customer needs.

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