Best Smell-Proof Bags

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

29 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
394 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best smell-proof bags

Last Updated December 2019

You don't want to be the person who's stinking up your train car with a slice of durian or a wedge of Gorgonzola, but sometimes you have no choice but to take odorous items into public spaces. Enter the smell-proof bag. Using a smell-proof bag, you can contain or filter out strong smells to make a more pleasant environment for you and everyone in your vicinity.

In states where marijuana is legal, smell-proof bags are often used to carry it without subjecting others to a smell that some people find offensive. However, smell-proof bags are also useful when traveling with items that have a strong smell or for storing snacks when hiking or camping in bear country.

There's plenty to consider when selecting a smell-proof bag, such as size, material, whether it has pockets and compartments, and closure type. Keep reading this guide to smell-proof bags to learn all you need to know about these products. We've also included our top recommendations for you to consider.

Some smell-proof bags are water resistant, so they'll protect whatever's inside if it gets splashed or rained on.

Key considerations

Disposable vs. reusable

Although this guide mainly focuses on reusable smell-proof bags, you can also find small plastic  smell-proof bags that are disposable.

Disposable: Although inexpensive, disposable smell-proof bags are only suited to extremely small items and aren't as effective as their reusable counterparts. You might be able to use them a couple of times, but after that they'll need to be thrown away, which isn't great for the environment.

Reusable: These smell-proof bags are much larger and made of fabric. They can usually filter out odors rather than simply contain them, making them more effective than disposable bags. While reusable bags cost more than disposable ones, they last significantly longer.

Material

As we touched on above, disposable smell-proof bags are made of plastic and reusable options are made of fabric. The outer material of the reusable bags is usually durable nylon, which resists tears, and can have a waterproof coating. However, some smell-proof bags have an outer layer made of polyester or natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. These materials might not be quite as heavy-duty, but they tend to look and feel nicer.

Size

You can find smell-proof bags in lots of sizes, from extremely compact options measuring around two by three inches to large case-style bags measuring more than a foot across and six to eight inches high and several inches deep. Only you know what size you require to accommodate the items you wish to carry. If you intend to use it to carry food on a camping trip, for instance, you'll need a fairly large model.

Closure

Check the closure type on any smell-proof bag you're considering. It's vital that you can seal the bag securely; otherwise, smells can escape through the opening. Zipper closures are common and are fairly effective if you can seal the zipper completely from edge to edge, because smells can escape from any gaps. You can also find smell-proof bags with hook-and-loop closures. These aren't especially effective on their own unless the bag is designed so you can fold the top edge over a few times before you seal it. The most effective smell-proof bags combine a zipper, fold, and hook-and-loop closure to stop scents from escaping.

EXPERT TIP

You can find smell-proof bags with humidity control packs to absorb moisture and prevent damage to the bag’s contents.


Staff  | BestReviews

Smell-proof bag features

Carbon filter: A large percentage of smell-proof bags use a carbon filter to remove any scents that may permeate the bag. This tends to be in the form of a layer of activated carbon that sits between the outer shell and the interior lining.

Combination lock: There are times when you might want to prevent others from accessing your smell-proof bag. For instance, if you share a house and you keep expensive spices inside or if you want to keep your medication safe from kids. You can find smell-proof bags with integrated combination locks to keep anyone out who doesn't know the code. Alternatively, if your chosen bag has a double zipper, you can use your own padlock to secure it.

Compartments: It's useful to have compartments inside your smell-proof bag to organize the contents. This makes it far easier to find small items rather than having to root around in a single large compartment. Bear in mind that any outer pockets might not have the same smell-proof capacity as the main compartment.

Color: Most smell-proof bags come in discreet colors, such as grey or black, but occasionally you can find some in brighter hues.

EXPERT TIP

Padded smell-proof bags can help protect delicate items if you accidentally drop the bag or it gets knocked to the floor.


Staff  | BestReviews

Smell-proof bag prices

Smell-proof bags aren't very pricey, but you can still find options in a range of prices. So, whether you want the best smell-proof bag available regardless of cost or you're on a tight budget, there's something for you.

Inexpensive: Basic smell-proof bags cost roughly $10 to $15. These are fairly simple, pouch-like bags that do the job they're meant to do but don't have any extra features.

Mid-range: These smell-proof bags cost around $15 to $25. Some of these have extra features, such as a range of pockets and compartments, combination lock, and padding.

Expensive: High-end smell-proof bags are priced between $25 and $50. At this price point, expect to find highly effective bags with all the bells and whistles. Many of the priciest models are fairly large, too.

EXPERT TIP

Smell-proof bags should be made of durable materials, but some are stronger than others. You can find rip-proof options that resist tearing.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Think about what items you'll put in your smell-proof bag. Herbs, spices, coffee, blue cheese, whatever you'll be storing, make sure the bag you choose is large enough to accommodate it.
  • Choose one that's easy to use. Features that will make the bag easier to use include easy opening, internal compartments, and a wide base so it can stand up independently while you look inside.
  • Consider how regularly you'll use your smell-proof bag. If it's intended for daily use, choose the most durable option you can find. For occasional use, a flimsier model will suffice.
  • Pick a design you like. Sure, it's not exactly the fashion accessory of the year, but some smell-proof bags have a fairly stylish appearance.

Other products we considered

Our five favorite smell-proof bags are in the matrix above, but those aren't the only effective options out there. We've selected another four quality products in case you're looking for an alternative. Measuring 11 by 6 inches, the Bdsign Smell-Proof Bag is large enough for most uses but not too big to fit in a backpack. The combination of zipper and Velcro closures keeps smells locked away. The HELMET HEAD Smell-Proof Bag uses activated carbon to completely filter out any odors. It's secured with a combination lock, so you can keep valuables safe, too. Like most of the quality models, the TÜS Smell-Proof Bag uses a lining of activated carbon to filter strong smells, plus the rollover top helps keep smells from escaping through the opening. Inside are a couple of mesh pockets to organize the contents. If you're looking for a deeper option, try the Herb Guard Smell-Proof Case. It has one large compartment plus a zippered pocket on the front. The dual zips on the main compartment allow you to secure it with a small padlock if you choose.

Most smell-proof bags are fairly plain in appearance, but you can find some with logos or patterns on them.

FAQ

Q. Are smell-proof bags tested for effectiveness?
A.
Some are and some aren't. If you want a smell-proof bag that you're certain will lock those odors away, choose one that's been tested for effectiveness. This information is generally included in the product description because it's an important selling point.

Q. Will my smell-proof bag remain effective over time?
A.
Carbon filters do lose effectiveness over time, so any smell-proof bag that uses activated carbon to filter smells will gradually do its job less well. Unfortunately, these are the models that are best at what they do, so there's a compromise one way or another: either choose a truly effective smell-proof bag that will need replacing after a couple of years or choose a less effective smell-proof bag that will last indefinitely.

Q. Can I put my smell-proof bag in the washer to clean it?
A.
Some smell-proof bags can be washed in the washer without any ill effects, but this isn't true across the board, so always check the specs on your chosen model before you go ahead. If in doubt, simply spot clean your smell-proof bag to get rid of any marks.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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