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What Is an Impulse Sealer, and How Does It Work?

Did you know that the United States Postal Service processes and delivers an average of 25 million packages every day? 

That's a lot of work for postal workers and e-commerce businesses alike! Corrugated boxes and cardboard mailing tubes don't require much effort to seal and ship. Most E-commerce businesses know how to package and ship using cardboard materials.

But how should you handle small, loose items like screws and bolts? How should you package sweets and treats to keep them sealed during shipment? You'll need to invest in one essential tool: an impulse sealer. 

Just what is an impulse sealer? Keep reading to learn more! 

What Is an Impulse Sealer?

An impulse sealer, also called an impulsive sealer, is an electrically-powered tool that seals plastic packages. Plastic packaging is convenient for shipping and packing edible items, hardware, and other small components. An impulse sealer can make all the difference for packaging, protecting, and safely delivering your high-quality goodies.

Why Use an Impulse Sealer? 

An impulse sealer is an essential tool for any E-commerce business. Impulse sealers ensure that your items are tamper-proof, airtight, and hygienic. Impulse sealers secure small items until the consumer cuts or tears the bag open.

An impulse sealer is a very useful and affordable tool to have in your arsenal. The biggest difference between an impulse sealer vs. heat sealer is that impulse sealers only use electricity when the sealing arm is engaged. 

You can leave your impulse sealer plugged in and ready to use during the workday. Unlike direct or continuous heat sealers, they don't require any time to pre-heat. Impulse sealers are also much safer to keep in the workspace, as they are less likely to cause burns or damage products with heat. 

How Does an Impulse Sealer Work? 

Impulse heat sealers have heating elements (element wire) of Ni-chrome that sit between a Teflon (PTFE) cover and a piece of Teflon (PTFE) tape. When the materials are placed in the impulse sealer, they are held in place by pushing down the handle or jaw. 

When the sealing arm is engaged, it completes the electrical circuit. The sealing components meet on either side of the plastic packaging, creating almost instantaneous heat. Heat from electricity then melts the plastic, fusing each side together to create an airtight seal.  The handle or jaw is then lifted to complete the process.

The timer that goes into an impulse sealer is used to make sure that the seal is made correctly.  The total time can be adjusted depending on the thickness of the material you are trying to seal.  The seal will be incomplete and weak if heat is not applied long enough. Too much time and the plastic will burn and smoke.

The other two parts are the Teflon Cover and Tape. Teflon is a brand name by DuPont for the official term PTFE. In an Impulse Sealer the Teflon is used to distribute heat and cover the bare wire from direct contact with the plastic. Over time the heat will burn through the Teflon and need to be replaced.

Good seals are a result of time, temperature and pressure for the correct clean material.  The seal can be used for many reasons including weather proofing, packaging, sealing food for freshness and many more.

Types of Impulse Sealers 

There are many types of impulse sealers with unique handling instructions, but they all work in essentially the same way. Some impulse sealers have additional special features to aid in the packaging process. 

Hand Impulse Sealers

Hand Impulse Sealer

Hand-operated or "tabletop" impulse sealers look somewhat like a large stapler, except that they use heat instead of staples. When you push down the lever arm, it meets with the base component and creates a seal in the plastic. Hand impulse sealers are ideal for businesses that don't often need to ship a high volume of sealed items. 

Foot Impulse Sealers

Foot Impulse Sealer

Foot-operated impulse sealers sit on their own stand and seal plastics faster than a hand impulse sealer. The sealing components meet when you push a foot pedal, leaving your hands free. Foot impulse sealers can be moved around the work area and are more convenient and comfortable to use for high-volume projects. 

Double Impact Impulse Sealers

Double Impulse Sealer

Double impulse sealers come in hand, foot, and automatic models. These sealers are ideal for more heavy-duty packaging because they have two sealing bars. Double impact impulse sealers are often used for automotive and machine parts because they can seal thicker plastic. 

Other Variations

There are dozens of variations of impulse sealers available today. Many come with features like built-in cutters and customizable temperature settings. These special features help to make your packaging process as efficient as possible. 

For example, pneumatic impulse sealers are like automatic impulse sealers. At the press of a button, these machines use pressurized air to quickly seal and secure plastic packaging. If you're debating between purchasing an impulse sealer vs. vacuum sealer, a pneumatic impulse sealer may be the perfect choice for you. 

Impulse Sealer Uses 

Impulse sealers are ideal for packaging food and hygienic items like scented soaps because it seals them safely and prevents oxidation. You can also use an impulse sealer for shipping small hardware and other components alongside larger items. 

Some common uses for impulse-sealed packaging include:

  • Candies
  • Foods and teas
  • Soaps and deodorants
  • Spare clothing buttons
  • Building and furniture hardware
  • Electronic components
  • Automotive parts

Impulse Sealer Supplies & Accessories

You can think of an impulse sealer like a printer. It performs an essential function, but you'll need to have the right supplies and accessories to make full use of this machine. 

Material to Seal

When selecting an impulse sealer, it's important to determine what kinds of material you expect to seal. Impulse sealers can seal a variety of materials, including:

  • Foiled and metalized materials
  • Poly-coated craft bags 

Of course, each material will have specific temperature and timing needs. Make sure your impulse sealer can appropriately handle the packaging of your choice. 

Health Warnings for Sealed Packaging

Some states require by law that plastic bags have readable suffocation warnings. Even if there are no requirements in your state, putting a warning on larger plastic bags is highly advisable. If you frequently ship small parts, consider adding a choking hazard label to your packages.

A labeling machine or printer can also help your customers identify the bag's contents and promote your brand image. Labeled packages tend to look more professional and may be necessary for foods and candies. 

Bag Openers for Easy Filling

A bag opener is an extremely helpful accessory for filling and packaging your plastic bags. Bag openers work like large funnels to help you quickly fill your packages with the perfect amount of products. These machines are ideal for businesses that package and ship consistent products by net weight.


So what is an impulse sealer? An impulse sealer is bound the be your new favorite tool. These essential machines take a lot of work and worry out of packaging perishable goods, small parts, and components, helping you build your business dreams. 

Ready to invest in your business' product packaging? Pack Secure has got your back!

Click here to shop our selection of impulse sealers, accessories, and more! 


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