Best Gas Can For Garage Projects (Plastic or Metal?)

Article by Mark Trotta

Before updating to non-leaking gas containers, I had five different types of plastic jugs in my garage. Some of them were were cheap and some of them were free, and all of them leaked gas whenever I poured them. I decided to invest the money and get several no-leak gas containers.

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One gas container was for motorcycle and old car projects that require premium fuel. A second container was for the lawn tractor, pressure washer, and my small engine projects that run on regular octane fuel. The third and fourth cans were for my two-stroke chain saw (40:1) and my leaf blower (50:1).

A larger fifth container was for the gas-powered generator, which is used when the power goes out. When needed, it may need to run 24-48 hours, or longer, so I want to keep enough gas on hand for for such emergencies.

Did Gas Cans Always Leak?

Starting in 2009, all portable fuel containers sold in the U.S. had to meet new CARB regulations. The premise was noble - to help the environment by not having gasoline spilling and being wasted, and to contain harmful gas fumes. They also had to have child-proof caps, which meant they were a little harder to open.

So the premise was good, but the implementation was poor. Many, if not most CARB approved gas cans are poorly designed so they can be sold cheaply.

So, the CARB approved gas containers still leaked and were now harder to pour. This prompted consumers to unscrew the nozzles and pour the gas through a funnel, thus defeating the point of the no-vent nozzle. All that was really attained was that they were a little harder to open.

Plastic vs Metal Gas Cans

I began doing research on CARB approved gas cans that don't leak. The first question was, which is better, plastic or metal gas containers?

Plastic gas cans are light and inexpensive, and their affordability makes them popular. But plastic gas jugs can swell when subjected to extreme heat, and get brittle when it's very cold. Gas kept in metal containers withstand extreme weather better.

best Jerry can for gasoline

Gasoline keeps freshest in a sealed metal container. So, for my emergency generator gas, I bought a metal Jerry can. And for my lawn mower and lawn tractor and motorcycle projects, I bought two plastic gas cans.

Best Plastic Gas Jug

For my premium fuel storage needs, I bought a 2-1/2 gallon NO-SPILL gas can. It really is a no spill container, and most of the time I don't even need a funnel because the gas pours out so smoothly.

best gas can for garage shop
no spill gas can for garage shop

A nice feature on all NO-SPILL gas cans is the thin vertical translucent strip on the front. This lets you see at a glance how much gas is left in the container.

Best Plastic Gas Jug (Runner Up)

The SURE-CAN gas container is an interesting alternative to conventional gas jugs. Offered in several sizes including 2.2 gallon, it's the only gas can that dispenses fuel from the bottom of the can. It won't spill because you're not tipping it. The flexible hose twists up and down.

best gas can for garage storage

The rotating spout also lets you to see into the receiving tank, so you don't accidentally overfill and waste gas. The SURE-CAN is self-venting and has a thumb trigger.

Best Metal Gas Can

Since World War Two, the metal "Jerry Can" has been the world standard. Extremely well designed, rugged and safe, it is simply the best portable fuel container to have. I found that the Wavian Jerry Can is the only military-grade EPA and CARB compliant Jerry Can on the market.

best gas can for garage projects

Read More: Best Metal Gas Can

Best Metal Gas Can (Runner Up)

I considered buying the JUSTRITE five-gallon gas can, mainly because it was less expensive than a military-spec Jerry Can. The Justrite 7250130 is a five-gallon (19 litre) gas container made from high-grade coated steel, and each one is tested to guarantee 100% leakproof construction. The outside of the can is powder-coated.

best gas can for garage projects

The JUSTRITE can features a safety squeeze trigger. The sealed lid has an automatic positive-pressure relief that vents between three and five psi to guard against rupture or explosion. This "Type II" gas container comes with a one-inch flexible spout, and meets OSHA & NFPA standards. Measurements on the five-gallon Justrite can are 11.75" outside diameter and 17.5" in height.

So now I fill my five-gallon Jerry Can with standard octane gas, which will also serve for my generator gas needs. The smaller 2-1/2 gallon jug holds premium for my motorcycle and old car projects.

I bought a second, smaller (1-1/2 gallon) No-Spill Gas Can for my two-stroke equipment.

best plastic gas jug

Gas Container Storage Tips

All gasoline containers must be red. This is for your safety. If your house caught on fire when you weren't home, a fireman can quickly spot them and remove them.

Stored gasoline should be rotated every 3 to 6 months. This requires pouring the gas out of the cans and into your daily driver every so often, then refilling the containers with fresh fuel.

Two Year Update

Because of it's smaller size and lighter weight, I favor the 2-1/2 gallon NO-SPILL gas can over the larger and heavier Jerry can. Curiously, we haven't had a power outage in over a year, so I ended up pouring the Jerry can gas into my lawn tractor after three months and replenishing to keep it fresh.

Shop: Waivian Metal Jerry Can

Shop: No-Spill Plastic Gas Can

best gas can for garage storage