When I first started selling on Amazon, I stayed away from any item that possibly needed to be poly bagged or shrink-wrapped, simply because I didn’t have an impulse sealer. I kick myself when I think about how many profitable items I just left on the store shelves because of this. Ever since I got a quality impulse sealer, I’ve been able to source more inventory to sell on Amazon.
An impulse sealer is a machine used to seal products, packaging, and other thermoplastic materials using heat. When the right amount of heat is applied, it will seal two layers of plastic together causing the bag to become closed.
The two main ways I use an impulse sealer are to poly bag an item or to shrink-wrap an item. First, I’ll show you the supplies you need, and then toward the end of this post, I’ll show you a video with me demonstrating both poly bagging and shrink-wrapping with the impulse sealer.
Supplies Needed to Poly Bag:
16-inch Impulse Sealer – Impulse sealers come in different sizes from 8 inches up to 20 inches. People always ask me what size impulse sealer they should get. Without any hesitation I tell them the 16-inch model. The first impulse sealer I purchased was a 14-inch model, and there were so many times I wished I had a longer reach for sealing. You might think that the extra 2 inches isn’t that big of a deal, but it really is.
Poly Bags – According to Amazon guidelines, there are many items that need to be poly bagged if you plan on sending them to a FBA warehouse. These bags protect your inventory from the dirt and dust found in a FBA warehouse. Poly bags come in various sizes and thickness. Be sure you know what minimum requirements Amazon has for poly bags. The ones pictured are some of my favorite to order because I get multiple sizes. For bigger poly bags (18in x 24in) check these big poly bags out.
Suffocation Warning Labels – Each and every poly bag that you use on a product needs to have a suffocation warning label. Some poly bags come with warnings printed on them, but for the ones that don’t, it’s a good idea to have these stickers handy. If you use a poly bag that doesn’t have a suffocation warning on the bag, then you will be in violation of Amazon guidelines. These labels are easy to use, and they stay on well too.
Supplies Needed to Shrink-Wrap
16-inch Impulse Sealer – Ok, I know I already mentioned this tool in the supplies needed to poly bag, but I wanted you to know that some impulse sealers come with an optional cutter upgrade that you can slide across a seal to create a clean cut. While this upgrade may sound good, it’s totally unnecessary. If you apply enough heat, the impulse sealer will automatically cut the plastic. Just because it’s called an “upgrade” doesn’t mean that it’s necessary.
20-inch Centerfold Shrink Wrap Film – This is the shrink-wrap film that I use for shrink-wrapping larger items like long board games, longer toys, and anything else longer than 14 inches.
14-inch Centerfold Shrink Wrap Film – This is the shrink wrap film that I use for almost all other items I need to shrink-wrap. It’s good for shrink-wrapping health & beauty items, books, and almost anything else. It pairs well with my 16-inch impulse sealer.
Dual Temperature Heat Gun – I use a heat gun in two ways: 1) To heat up the shrink wrap so that it properly seals around the item I’m wanting to wrap for a very professional sealed look; and 2) To heat up price stickers so they can be removed so much easier. This heat gun has two settings so you can decide how much heat you want to use depending on the project you’re using it for. Plus, it includes a built-in stand.
Ok, so now that you know the essential supplies that you need, here is a video showing you how to use the impulse sealer:
How to Use an Impulse Sealer as an Amazon Seller
For more blog posts that show you all of the supplies I use for my shipping and prep stations, be sure you click here and here.
So how about you? Are there any tips or tricks you’d like to share about using an impulse sealer to poly bag or shrink-wrap an inventory item? I’d love to hear what you have to say.
*This post was updated for 2022
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Kelly Matyka says
Thank you for the video! What do you find are the benefits of an impulse sealer over just using a self sealing polybag?
The main reason is because I don’t want the item inside the poly bag to move around much. With the impulse sealer, you can make the bags any size you want, so I can make the the perfect sized bag. Also, sealing the bag closed with the impulse sealer has a very professional look. I also worry sometimes that the self sealing poly bags might come open in the heat of a FBA warehouse, so I’d much rather prefer to seal it closed completely. Sine I usually buy medium to large size bags, if I need to poly bag a smaller item, I can just use the scraps left over from the larger sized bags.
I know you recommend the 16″ Impulse Sealer. How does this work with 24-inch Centerfold Shrink Wrap Film that you also use?
Thanks for your insight.
Great question. When I use anything that is longer than 16 inches, I’ll make a 16 inch seal, and then move the shrink wrap down the line to finish off the seal. Maybe I’ll record a quick video to show you how I do this. If I post a video on the Full-Time FBA YouTube channel, I’ll update this reply and include the link.
Michael Carhart says
There’s a little roller/holder for the shrink wrap roll that is great to use if you have the room. Thanks for the video. Off the subject, but do you have a video on selling CDs?
If I had the room, I’d love to get one of those roller/holders for shrink wrap! Any maybe one day I’ll splurge and get one of those all in one shrink wrap machines that holds everything in one place.
And right now, I don’t have a video for selling CDs, but thanks for the idea.
1) You don’t have to stock multiple sizes of polybags.
2) You don’t have to keep going back to the store to purchase more, or a different size, bag.
3) The bag will fit the item perfectly.
4) Shrink wrap is a good choice for some products. For one 6-pack grocery item, we shrink wrap it to keep the six items from moving around in the bag, and then we bag it to protect against any possible leaks.
5) We bag many items to ensure an excellent condition when the buyer receives it, even if Amazon doesn’t require it.
6) Extremely cost effective if you bag and/or shrink wrap many items. We keep a supply of the trimmed waste and use it for smaller items (e.g., game pieces in a used game; diary with a clasp; small toys that are not sold in boxes/packages; and more).
7) Some hair dryers may also work like a heat gun, and are also good for removing price tags.
8) Easy to use. Our 12- to 18-year-old grandsons do an expert job at sealing … a win-win when they want to earn some money!
A 14″ impulse sealer was part of our initial equipment purchases, and we later purchased a 20″ sealer. A 16″ sealer would be sufficient for most of our items; the 20″ has been needed a few times (e.g., an estate sale 18″ x 20″ wall coat hanger with bunnies at the top; the bagging will keep dust off the bunnies (no dust bunnies, lol).
The first shrink wrap we purchased was lightweight/economy; it can tear/separate, requiring taping or doing it over. Our upcoming purchase will be a deluxe polyolefin shrink; it is strong and will ‘fit’ around the items better.
We couldn’t sell many of our products without our impulse sealer.
Great additions, Diane!
I’ve been so excited to use my brand new 16″ impulse sealer and CF shrink wrap on a bunch of used games and some high priced large books however the 16″ impulse sealer appears broken. I have contacted Amazon seller for replacement, but boy was I bummed when sealer didn’t work. I did purchase the model linked above. Hopefully just a random lemon.
I bet it was just a random lemon. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years.
When I started I purchased a 2nd hand 20″ KF sealer (after turning down an offer from a shifty-looking fellow for his 8″ sealer and little weigh scale …wrong business). The KF didn’t perform that great and one day it quit altogether. Here’s what I found out:
The KF is quite a simple machine, as it turned out. Open the screws that run on either side of the heating element….I found a thin metal strip-in 2 pieces. After awhile, they tend to snap.
I found Sealersales.com who had what needed. Very helpful. Prompt shipping….I’m in Canada. The kit came with 2 metal strips so I’ll never be stuck. (BTW: I’m not associated with SS. I like to applaud great vendors.)
Stephen – keep up the great work. Thank you for all you do.
Steve Bough says
Excellent information as usual, Stephen! Thanks for all you share!
Just to let you know the link to the Warning Labels leads to a Pretzels listing.
Thanks! I just fixed the link. 🙂
I have been using my FoodSaver to seal poly bags. I just don’t stick the bag in the machine far enough to vacuum out the air. Now, I am wondering if I could shrink wrap with it too. 🙂 I may have to experiment.
Joe Mezzanini says
can you buy polybags that are not self seal (not sticky edge)
Yes! In fact, those are the only ones I use.
Joe Mezzanini says
where do you buy them?
I buy these: http://amzn.to/29pbBmp
If I’m poly bagging something small, then I keep the left over bag for other smaller items.
Joe Mezzanini says
thanks… great idea keeping the leftover bag for other stuff
never thought of that
Hi, where can we find these bags that don’t have the adhesive on it already? Seems like it defeats the purpose if it has a self sealing ability and where can we buy in bulk (1000+ pcs at a time)? I mainly deal with small items about the size of a credit card. Trying to look for a faster way of bagging items than the self sealing method. Thanks for the help!
Can we use an impulse sealer on a regular over-the-counter zip-loc style bag, or do I need to buy a special bag type?
Love your work and your books. Bought a couple of them and they have been so useful. I am posting here because I thought you had created a PDF sheet of labels for download that I have been unable to find on the site. The labels were a note to slip inside shrink wrapped used items so that the customer did not think the item was new by mistake. Was that you?
Thanks in advance,
Yep, that’s me…. it’s one of the bonuses from the Board Game guide!
Slamet Riyadi says
The above article is very helpful for me. Previously, I used the traditional way of using candle flame, which of course the result is not as good as impulse sealer. Thank you very much
Duke Sherman says
Good day. I am wondering if you take any safety measures when sealing the plastic and creating fumes?
Stephen Smotherman says
I know that over time the fumes would not be good for me, so I’m sure not to spend too much time by the impulse sealer as I’m sealing the items. If I’m going to spending a longer time sealing bags, then I’ll use this breathing filter mask to be safe.
Thomas Vilfroy says
I can’t tell when this article was written – so is the above items still currently what you recommend (or are there some to definitely avoid 🙂 in regards to poly bag and sealer? I read some comments on the sealer on amazon that says that a seal is created but doesn’t cut off the end. Is that really an issue? Also I noticed there is a repair kit included but also seems to lack instructions. So what does the repair kit do and obviously can refer to your video for the first few times to use but is there a pdf or web page for referring to when my old brain can’t think correctly?
Excellent information as usual, Thanks for all you share!