A gas can is a necessity if you use gas-powered tools. They’re also handy emergency supplies and can be used to transport fuel for off-roading vehicles and boats.
With all these potential uses, it makes sense there are a lot of gas cans out there. But what’s the difference between them—and how do you pick the right one? This article’s here to answer those questions!
Safety is important when you’re working with gasoline. Both the liquid and the vapors can combust if they come in contact with high enough heat. This is why you need a gas can that’s secure and well-sealed. Approval by regulatory agencies is a good sign a gas can controls vapors well.
What are the best, safest gas cans available right now? Our top 10 are reviewed below.
Product Reviews: Pros and Cons
Gas cans from No-Spill all share one key feature—and it’s right in the name. The no-spill spout has an auto-shutoff feature that prevents spills and drips. That makes No-Spill gas cans like the No-Spill 1450 some of the best gas cans 2019 for safety.
The No-Spill 1450 specifically has a number of additional safety features, as well. The spout has a dust cover, and there’s also a stainless steel mesh integrated into the spout. These combine to prevent anything from dropping into your gas and spoiling it.
Using the thumb button to pour gas from the No-Spill 1450 Gas Can is tricky at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s a convenient system. The small diameter of the spout makes it the best gas can for lawn care since you can fill a wide range of equipment with it. Overall, this is a durable and reliable gas can for any home use.
For transporting and storing diesel, the No-Spill 1547 has similar features to the No-Spill 1450 above. This includes the stainless steel mesh and dust guard to prevent contamination. It also features the same no-spill spout. You can turn the gas can completely upside down without spilling a drop—a great feature for both transporting and filling.
The No-Spill 1457 has a 5-gallon capacity and is made of durable yellow plastic to indicate diesel compliance. Like other no-spill models, it can take a bit of fiddling to figure out how to depress the thumb button correctly. This is part of its safety features, however, so it’s not a major negative.
One great thing about plastic gas cans is that they’re not as susceptible to damage from moisture. This makes the No-Spill 1457 the best gas can for boat engines that use diesel fuel. Our only warning is that the threads connecting the nozzle to the can aren’t very deep. Because of this, the nozzle can come off unexpectedly if you apply too much pressure—something to be aware of.
Users of kerosene engines also have a No-Spill model just for them. The No-Spill 1456 shares design features with the two cans above but is approved for the storage and transportation of kerosene.
The No-Spill 1456 has similar strengths and weaknesses to the two No-Spill models above. It includes features to prevent dust and other contaminants from getting into your fuel. You can also flip the can in any direction without spilling until you push down on the thumb button.
One advantage of No-Spill gas cans we haven’t yet mentioned is their speed. The No-Spill 1456 is one of the fastest pouring kerosene cans on the market, pouring at a rate of up to 3 gallons per minute—about twice as fast as most kerosene cans. For convenience and durability, this is one of the best gas cans 2020 has to offer.
RotopaX makes the only rotationally molded gas cans you can buy in the US that are approved by both the EPA and CARB. The RotopaX RX02G is one of the most durable gas cans on the market. Its triple-layer construction prevents fuel from seeping into the plastic, making it one of the safest gas cans for long-term storage.
In our opinion, the RotopaX RX02G is the best off-road gas can. The safety features on the nozzle make it resistant to vibrations impacts and other hazards of off-roading. Its size is also perfect for ATVs, dirt bikes, and other off-road vehicles since it’s small and light enough for easy transport.
The only downside of those safety features is it’s not particularly easy to get the gas out of the RotopaX RX02G. This is the biggest complaint against this gas can on the whole. If you’re more concerned with safety than convenience, though, the RotopaX RX02G is an excellent choice.
Military-grade gas cans are made of high-quality cold-rolled steel as this Jerry Fuel Can from Wavian USA. Metal construction allows it to resist damage from punctures or falls better than plastic cans. That makes Wavian USA Jerry Fuel Cans some of the best off-road gas cans on the market.
The interior design of the Wavian USA Jerry Fuel Can is also high-quality. One feature we like is the breather pipe inside that keeps the fuel from splashing while you’re filling. The included adapter is also convenient, allowing the spout to fill in most gasoline tanks with ease.
Now the obvious disadvantage of a metal gas can is that you won’t legally be able to re-fill it. Having said that, the Wavian USA Jerry Fuel Can is treated to resist corrosion, making it better than other metal fuel cans. That makes it the most durable single-use option on the list.
While metal gas cans can’t be filled at many gas stations, they do have their uses. The Justrite Galvanized Steel Type II gas can is perfect for long-term storage of fuel used in seasonal tools, for example. It has a solid build and anti-rust coating, so it’s a safe way to store any kind of fuel.
Because it’s made of non-porous metal, the Justrite AccuFlow is just as safe, whether it’s holding fuel, automotive oil, or a blend of the two. You can easily label it, so you know what it’s storing.
On the whole, the Justrite AccuFlow Type II gas can dispense as cleanly as it can be filled. The trigger-style nozzle gives you a good amount of control over the speed and direction of the flow. We also appreciate the safety features, like the self-closing lid.
The Garage Boss GB310 makes a list because it strikes a nice balance between safety features and usability. The dispensing mechanism is intuitive, and it fits comfortably into your hand, so it’s easy to fill the tank.
It’s very easy to pour accurately with the Garage Boss GB310. The inclusion of the spout extension is helpful, letting you perfectly align the spout with the engine opening. Since it’s clear, you can see when the tank is close to overflowing, helping to limit spills. The seals around the spout are nice and tight, too, preventing leaks even when it’s upended.
This is a fairly small gas can, with a capacity of just one gallon. It’s also a bit flimsier than many of the gas cans on the list. The Garage Boss GB310 is the best gas can for lawn care equipment and other small tools, and less suitable for off-roaders.
The Briggs & Stratton 85053 gas can has one of the largest capacities on the list at 5 gallons. That makes it the best gas can for RV drivers and other larger vehicles. The flip side of this is that it’s larger and heavier, especially when it’s full. With just one handle on the top, it can be tricky to use.
The spout of this Briggs & Stratton gas can is slightly too complicated for our liking. It’s a three-step process of twisting the cap, anchoring the spout, then pushing downward. This does prevent gas from spilling, but it’s also the least user-friendly gas can on the list.
What we do love about the Briggs & Stratton 85053 is its build. Both liquid gas and gas fumes will stay trapped inside the can until you release them. The container itself is sturdy and the seals are tight. It’s also child-resistant and tip-resistant, thanks to the wide base.
Another 5-gallon option is the SureCan CRSUR5G1. It has the best gas can spout solution, with a rotating, flexible dispensing tube. Since the spout comes out of the bottom, you never have to lift and tilt the can. That saves you effort and helps to prevent spills.
The thumb-trigger dispensing system on the SureCan CRSUR5G1 is one of the best we’ve seen at preventing leaks. It helps that you can look past the spout to see into the tank you’re filling, and the flow of gas stops as soon as you release the trigger.
The SureCan CRSUR5G1 is safe to store in a garage and built to last. While the tall, narrow design does make it prone to tipping, the high-quality seals prevent spills if it does topple. It stands up well to repeated use and is a great option for garages where you go through a lot of gas.
The Midwest Can MWC5600 gas can is an affordable, no-frills choice. It’s sturdy with a squat construction that resists tipping. That makes it a great choice for off-roaders, or anyone who needs to take gas on the go.
Now we’ll admit, the Midwest Can MWC5600 is one of the hardest gas cans on the list to use. It has two handles, but they’re not shaped well for comfort. Maneuvering the spout into the fill hole can be difficult, especially when the can is full. You also have to press in on the spout to start the pour, which isn’t as user-friendly as trigger-style gas cans.
Despite its awkward design, the Midwest Can MWC5600 is a well-built gas can. It exceeds all federal and state standards for emissions, virtually eliminating the risk of leaking fuel odors. For build quality, it’s one of the best gas cans
Things to Consider before Purchasing a New Gas Can
As simple as a gas can is, not everyone on the market is the same—something that’s quite clear after reading through the reviews above! So how can you make sure you’re buying the right one? We’ve got some questions for you to ask yourself before you make your purchase.
What will you be using it for?
The most common use of a gas can is to store gas for future use. They’re just as commonly used to transport gasoline from the pump to your home. A gas can is also the first step in knowing how to dispose of old gasoline properly.
For short-term storage and transportation, red plastic gas cans are the best option. Long-term storage may call for a metal gas can. If you’re buying it for automotive fluid disposal, look for one approved to hold oil/gas mixes.
If you plan to refill the gas can, find out your state’s laws on approved containers. In most states, only certified red plastic containers can be legally used to hold and transport gasoline. There may also be restrictions on the size and method of transportation, so it’s a good thing to know before you buy.
What type of fuel do I use?
The chemical composition of gasoline is different than kerosene, oil, or diesel. Each of these compounds has different needs in order to be kept safely.
Standardized colors are used to indicate what type of fuel a can contains (or should contain). Red containers are for gasoline, blue for kerosene, yellow for diesel, and green for oil. Buy the can for the fuel you need, and only store that type of fuel in it to avoid confusion and unintentional mixing.
Is it EPA and CARB compliant?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) establish regulations on the fuel vapor emissions of gas cans. Gas cans that are compliant with these regulations will be more secure, with fewer fumes and less odor.
Do I want a Type I or Type II?
A Type II gas can be most useful if you’ll be refilling the gas can frequently. These gas cans have two spouts, one with a wider opening intended for a fill hose, and one that’s smaller, for dispensing. Type II gas can is also easier to vent, which can prevent splashing.
The disadvantage of Type II gas cans is that emissions are harder to control because of the extra opening. They’re also more prone to accidental spills from drops or toppling.
What spout design do you prefer?
Most gas cans you see today will have a no-spill spout of some kind. There are a lot of different mechanisms in play, though.
Many gas cans use a pressure-based release system. Pressing the nozzle of the gas can against the fuel tank releases the fuel. Some have an extra layer of protection on the releases, such as a ring you have to turn while you press in on the nozzle.
Other gas cans use a trigger-style fuel release. Once the nozzle is positioned, you press a trigger or depress a button to start the flow.
Both of these no-spill styles are secure when not in use, but most users find the trigger-style spout easier to use. You get more control over the flow, which helps to prevent over-filling. Others prefer the pressure-activated spout because the flow stops as soon as it breaks contact with the tank.
How much gas do you need to store?
Gas cans are available in a range of sizes, from 1 gallon up to 5 gallons or more. A bigger gas can isn’t always better. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll only want to store as much gasoline as you’ll go through in 3 months. This can help you decide what size of the can is best for you.
Weight is a factor in this, as well. A gallon of gas weighs about 6 pounds. That means a full 5-gallon gas can weigh more than 30 pounds, and that can make it tricky to maneuver during filling.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ)
Q: Are metal gas cans safer than plastic?
Ans: So long as they’re approved, both metal and plastic gas cans can be a safe choice. A metal gas can is the best gas can for long term storage because the fuel cannot leach into metal as it can into the plastic. On the other hand, plastic gas cans won’t rust, making them safer in humid or moist environments.
Will a gas can explode in the sun?
It technically can if left long enough in high enough heat, but it is highly unlikely. To understand why you need to know a bit about how gasoline works. The auto-ignition temperature of gasoline is between 495°F and 530°F (232°C-280°C). Even on a hot day, the temperature inside your gas can is unlikely to get this high.
While a gas can might not explode from direct sunlight alone, exposure to heat makes the gas more dangerous. Plastic gas cans can be weakened by sunlight, making damage and leaks more likely. High heat also creates more fuel vapors inside the can, which will explode if exposed to a spark, flame, or other heat sources. This is the main reason you should store your gas cans in a cool, dim place.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 gas cans?
The number, in this case, refers to the number of openings. A type 1 gas can have only one opening, which you use for both pouring and filling. Type 2 gas cans have 2 openings: one for pouring and one for filling and venting while pouring.
Q: Should gas cans be vented when stored?
Ans: No. Leaving the vent open on your gas can will allow fuel vapors to escape into the air. This greatly increases the risk of ignition and explosion, especially if the storage area isn’t well-ventilated. In addition, you’ll lose some of your stored fuel to evaporation.
If you noticed pressure building up inside your gas can, take it outside and open the vent to release it. You can then re-seal the vent and put it back into storage.
Q: What is the safest gas can?
Ans: The safest gas can designs, in general, are approved plastic cans with a no-spill spout. While it’s a bit trickier figuring out how to use gas can models with no-spill features, they are the best way to keep all the fuel safely in the can.
Q: Are metal gas cans illegal?
Ans: It is not illegal to store gasoline in metal cans if you purchased it in that container. However, you are not able to refill metal gas cans in most states of the United States. Only approved red plastic containers can be refilled or transported in a vehicle.
Q: Is it illegal to carry a gas can in your car?
Ans: In some states, it is illegal to transport a filled gas can in your car, even if it’s of an approved design. It is not illegal to transport an empty gas can in your car. Having said that, even an empty gas can produce fumes if it has been used. For that reason, you should not keep even an empty gas can in your vehicle long-term.
Q: Is it OK to store gasoline in the garage?
Ans: Yes. The safest place to store gasoline is in a cool, dry, detached space, like a shed or detached garage. If you have an attached garage, ensure that the space is well-ventilated. This will limit the fumes that can seep into the living spaces of your home.
If you need to store gasoline, using an approved gas can is key to make sure you’re doing so safely. Combustion is a risk you should always respect and be aware of when you’re storing gasoline. Fumes from gasoline can also lead to illness in people and pets, so safe storage isn’t just about preventing fires.
Consider how long you’ll be storing the gasoline before you shop for a can. For most people, a plastic gas can will be the safest option. If you need to store gas long-term, though, a metal can will be more durable.
The type of fuel you’re storing makes a difference, too. Kerosene, diesel, and gasoline might all serve similar functions, but they’re different at a molecular level. Make sure you’re buying the correct can for the type of fuel you need to store.
We hope this buyer’s guide has helped you find the safest, best way to store your extra fuel. If you have any extra pointers on buying the best gas cans, be sure to share them in the comments below!