Best Gas Can For Garage Projects
Article by Mark Trotta
Before updating to non-leaking gas containers, I had five different sizes and brands 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.
I keep one gas container for my motorcycle and old car projects that require premium fuel. A second container is for the lawn tractor, pressure washer, and my small engine projects that run on regular octane fuel. A third is for my two-cycle leaf blower.
I also have a gas-powered generator for back-up 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 power outages.
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 Containers vs Metal 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?
For fuel stored in storage (garage or shed), plastic gas jugs are fine, but they can swell if subjected to extreme heat. They can also get brittle when it's very cold.
Gasoline keeps freshest in a sealed metal container. They also withstand extreme weather better.
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.
Shop: No-Spill Gas Can
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 sure did look interesting. 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.
Shop: SURE-CAN Gas Container
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. The Wavian brand is presently the only military-grade EPA and CARB compliant Jerry Can on the market.
Shop: WAVIAN Jerry Can
Made in Europe and legal for sale in all of North America, the five-gallon Wavian is the highest spec steel Jerry Can in the world. But be aware when pouring gas they're heavy when full, and the gas pours slowly.
After buying a metal Jerry Can, I couldn't believe I ever managed without one. They are expensive, but it's easy to justify when figuring if one lasts you 25 years, that's about three dollars a year you've spent.
Flexible Jerry Can Spout
Built to European Military Spec, this flexible jerry can spout is a much-needed upgrade from the standard Wavian spout. The nozzle diameter was designed to fit in automotive unleaded gas spouts and allows quick pouring without glugging and air buildup.
Shop: Flexible Jerry Can Spout
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.
Shop: JUSTRITE Five Gallon Gas Can
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.
Benefits Of Metal Gas Cans
There are plenty of 50 year-old metal gas cans still in use. If you keep paint on the outside and there's no rust on the inside, a metal gas container may outlive you. The only suggested maintenance is to refurb/replace the gasket every couple years.
Metal gas containers may eventually rust. If this happens, it can be remedied with muriatic acid, but this procedure can only be done once or twice, as the acid eats away at the metal it cleans. A preventative measure for this would be to coat the inside of the can with gas tank sealer.
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.
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.
One 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 gas into my lawn tractor after three months and replenishing to keep it fresh.
I bought a second, smaller (1-1/2 gallon) No-Spill Gas Can for my two-stroke equipment.