Five gallon buckets can often be found for free, but not always. We’ve had a few requests for information about where to buy 5 gallon buckets, especially metal buckets like the one featured in the rocket stove article.
In this article I’m going to cover the best options I’ve found for buying 5 gallon buckets.
If you would rather hunt for free buckets, we encourage you to look into our sourcing buckets article instead.
The cheapest and most common bucket is the plastic variety. There’s many types of these buckets, so make sure to buy the bucket that meets your needs. The 2 most important ways plastic buckets differ are in food safety and in quality.
For example, let’s look at 2 popular branded 5 gallon buckets from some home improvement giants.
This is easily the United States’ most recognizable 5 gallon bucket. My first five gallon memories are of chucking 2×4 ends into one of these in the corner of our garage workshop.
The Home Depot sells these buckets cheap because they have their brand all over them. You can also buy more expensive white unbranded buckets from this company.
While the blue Lowe’s bucket is a similar price to home depot’s bucket, users report that it of flimsier make, and more prone to leaks. Here’s an excerpt of a review on this bucket:
I bought 3 of these buckets and all 3 sprung a leak after just a few uses. I had the same orange 5 gal bucket from a competitor’s store that held up MUCH BETTER…
Note that both of these buckets are utility grade, not technically food grade, so be sure that you do your research before purchasing a bucket for food storage. Read our article on food grade plastics for more information about food safe buckets.
If you’re just looking to buy just one or two buckets, it may be best to visit one of the above home improvement giants. One of the downside of buying buckets online is their bulk, which greatly increases shipping costs. However, if you are in need of more premium buckets or a larger quantity, purchasing online is a better option.
Buying 5 Gallon Buckets Online
The buckets I buy are from Great Western Containers, a Canadian plastics manufacturer. I don’t buy them direct from the company, but used from a soap company in town. Many Americans have had good luck with U.S Plastics, which also sells my favorite bucket add-on, the float valve.
Amazon.com sometimes offers buckets with their super saver shipping, which really helps with the cost of shipping such a bulky item. At the time of this writing, the cheapest 5 gallon bucket on Amazon costs $4.54 each, with $8.21 additional for shipping.
Some plastic bucket manufacturers advertise on this site, so watch for sales and promotions here.
Steel 5 Gallon Buckets
These are much more expensive and harder to find. Steel 5 gallon buckets are not in nearly as common use as plastic ones, but paint stores still use them to sell paint so you may be able to buy one there. (I have asked at my local paint store and they’ve told me no.) Amazon fortunately does now sell steel buckets, but as the sole reviewer points out, you must not use them to store anything water-based.
At this point, I need to make an embarrassing confession. I have still not managed to get a steel bucket of my own! So I’m counting on you to tell me if these buckets are compatible with plastic 5 gallon buckets. specifically if they support the excellent screw-on 2-piece 5 gallon bucket Gamma seal lids.
Have you found something better?
If you’ve found a better source to buy buckets, whether plastic steel – or even wood, let us know in the comments. If you’ve found a good source for free buckets, let us know in the sourcing free buckets article.