5 gallon metal gas cans are the perfect combination of size, safety and durability, and because they're made from metal they're safe for nearly any kind of fuel, be it gasoline, diesel, avgas or just about anything else. The 5 gallon capacity is large enough to hold a considerable amount of gas, but not so big that it's bulky, takes up a lot of space and is difficult to handle safely.
There are almost limitless reasons why you'd need or want a 5 gallon metal gas can. Anything that needs gasoline can benefit from one. Many people keep a gas can securely tied to their car (or secured in the trunk) in case they run out of gas. Offroaders love them because it allows them to drive further, faster and get farther up the trails. Motorcrossers often have several 5 gallon metal gas cans with their bikes, because they'll inevitably run low on fuel long before they're ready to go home.
And let's not forget the average homeowner who simply needs a way to store gasoline for the lawnmower, weed eater, power trimmer, roto tiller, pressure washer or any other gas-powered home and garden tools. Even if you're just renting a power tool for some home improvement, you'll need a gas can.
Metal vs Plastic
Regardless of why you need a gas can, I'd highly recommend choosing a metal gas can over a plastic one. Why? Because plastic breaks down over time when exposed to gasoline or other combustible fuels and substances. The danger isn't so much that the plastic will deteriorate and the gas will spill everywhere (it would take eons for that to happen), but what can happen is the gas will pull microscopic pieces of plastic off the inside walls of the can, and where do you think they go? Into the engine of whatever you pour the gas into. Gas engines don't like plastic, even tiny, microscopic pieces. It could result in rough running or even premature engine failure!
Cost: Plastic vs Metal Gas Cans
I'll be honest, a 5 gallon metal gas can will cost more than a plastic one. That's because the materials are more expensive. Metal cost more than plastic, as evident by so many plastic parts replacing metal ones in all our lives. This difference in pricing can be significant, with cheap plastic ones costing about $10 and the high-end metal gas cans eclipsing the $100 mark.
So what's the point in spending so much more money for a metal gas can?
It's simple: Quality.
Like I mentioned earlier, a metal gas can is far superior to a plastic one, if for no other reason than it will keep your fuel clean. Metal won't break down under the caustic chemical properties of gasoline or diesel, but plastic will. But perhaps more importantly, the stronger build translates into a tight seal. Even with the lid on tight, a cheap gas can will likely leak gasoline all over the floor should it fall over. Metal gas cans are usually leak proof, even the lids.
This is especially important if you're taking your 5 gallon metal gas can on the road with you in your car, truck, SUV, motorcycle or motor home. A garden shed is one thing, but a moving vehicle is something completely different. Would you want to leave something like this to chance?
And if you're traveling off road, like in a big 4x4 such as a Jeep or pickup truck, the conditions are even more likely to cause a plastic one to leak. No matter how tight you strap everything down, the contents of the cans will slosh with each bump and turn in the road. Do you want gasoline leaking? I know I wouldn't. And if it costs a little more to ensure this, then so be it (that's my opinion, anyway).
Other Sizes Of Metal Gas Cans
If a 5 gallon metal fuel can isn't the right size for your needs, don't worry, there are plenty of other sizes that should fit the bill. I still feel that 5 gallons is the perfect "all around mix" of volume and ease of use, but maybe you need more capacity and therefore ease of use isn't as important? Or maybe a smaller size would be easier and more realistic for you?
Here are just a few different sizes you'll find:
- 1 gallon
- 2 gallon
- 2.5 gallon
- 3 gallon
- 6 gallon
- 10 gallon
- 12 gallon
- 15 gallon
- 20 gallon
And if you want an even bigger metal gas can, you can find them in sizes that go all the way up to a 55-gallon drum!
Ready To Buy A 5 Gallon Metal Gas Can?
You've got a few choices, but my favorite is Amazon. Not only does it have lower prices than every single auto parts store, hardware store and other offline retailer I've ever been in, they also seem to have the lowest prices of anyone else online, too. Plus, your order could qualify for free shipping. Free shipping + no sales tax (in most states) + lower sales price = savings all the way around.
Amazon's got a great selection, too. They've got Biggs & Stratton, Eagle, Midwest, Justrite, Blitz, Moeller and other well-respected brands. And they've got the shapes you need, too. They've even got Type I and Type II galvanized steel gas cans.
Don't want to shop online? No problem. You shouldn't have any problems finding 5 gallon gas cans at your favorite local auto parts store, such as NAPA, Shucks, O'Reilly, Checker, Pep Boys or any of the others. Sometimes you can find one at a big box retailer like Wal-Mart, but that's just what I've heard. I've never seen 5 gallon metal gas cans at Wal-Mart, just plastic ones. But you might get lucky.
Are Used Metal Gas Cans Safe?
Sometimes you'll find an amazing deal on a used 5 gallon metal gas can, but make sure it's safe before buying it - and especially before using it. Here's a trick to make sure it's got a tight seal: Fill it up with water, put the lid on tightly, then shake it vigorously. Does water leak anywhere? Is anything coming out from the lid our pour spout? If so, don't buy it!
Or if you've already bought it, don't use it!
No matter where you buy one, make sure you follow all the safety instructions for the type of liquid you're storing. Look online if you need to, just don't store gasoline or any other fuel in dangerous conditions. Pay attention to temperature zones and even light needs, then make sure you store your 5 gallon metal gas can in a place that meets all criteria.