Need the perfect 5 gallon bucket for your next project but aren’t sure what size to get? You’re not alone. With so many options and variations between brands, it can be tricky to know exactly what dimensions to look for when selecting your bucket.
No more guessing games – just the key measurement info you need to size up your buckets with confidence.
The Key Dimensions That Matter
When it comes to 5 gallon buckets, there are four main dimensions that dictate the size and capacity:
- Height – how tall the bucket is from bottom to top
- Diameter – the width across the top opening (for round buckets)
- Width – side to side width (for square buckets)
- Length – front to back measurement (for square buckets)
Getting these measurements right ensures your bucket will fit your space, allow stacking, hold the volume you need, and work with lids and accessories.
The typical height of a 5 gallon bucket ranges from 12-15 inches. Lower profile buckets around 12 inches high are easier to carry and stash under shelves, while taller 15 inch buckets hold more and may be better for stacking.
Factors like the shape, handles, lid, and rim can add or subtract an inch or two from the overall height.
For round 5 gallon buckets, the average diameter is 10-12 inches across the opening. Wider diameters in the 11-12 inch range allow easier access for cleaning and filling the bucket.
Just keep in mind diameter directly affects how many buckets you can stack side by side.
Square 5 gallon bucket widths generally range from 9-11 inches across. The most maneuverable square buckets are around 10 inches wide.
Make sure to account for the added width of any side handles when planning storage.
Length for square 5 gallon buckets usually falls between 9-12 inches. Longer 12 inch buckets take up more floor space but provide more volume.
Knowing the length allows you to optimize your storage footprint when organizing multiple buckets.
Calculating Overall Capacity
While called “5 gallon” buckets, the actual volume ranges depending on dimensions. The total capacity is based on the cubic inches, typically 1,100-1,400 cubic inches.
To find the cubic inches, multiply the height x width x length. Then divide by 231 to convert to gallons.
Be sure to add extra space if using liquids, usually an extra 0.25-0.5 gallons to allow for headspace.
Bucket Shape: Round vs Square
Choosing round or square buckets comes down to your specific needs:
- Round buckets are stronger, nest better for shipping, and work for hand scooping.
- Square buckets maximize storage density, have flat sides for labels, and cut down on wasted “dead” space in corners.
Both shapes typically have similar capacities in the 5 gallon range. The best option depends on your application.
Materials: Plastic, Metal, and Beyond
5 gallon buckets come in a spectrum of materials:
- Plastic buckets are affordable and lightweight but less durable for heavy loads.
- Steel buckets are super strong but heavy and prone to dents.
- Stainless steel offers a compromise – sturdy yet lighter weight.
Food-grade plastic buckets keep contents safe for contact. Metal buckets resist weathering.
5 gallon bucket lids are commonly 10-12 inches in diameter and add 1-2 inches of height. Securing the right lid ensures your bucket contents are protected.
Look for tight-fitting lids with durable gaskets. Some lids feature handy pour spouts or access ports.
Understanding Brand Variability
With so many manufacturers, 5 gallon bucket dimensions can vary. In general, sizes tend to range:
- Height: 12-16 inches
- Diameter: 10-12 inches
- Width: 9-11 inches
- Length: 9-12 inches
Sticking with the same brand for bucket and lid offers the best compatibility. Never assume a lid will fit – always measure first.
FAQ – Common Questions
Are all 5 gallon buckets the same size?
No, dimensions can vary 1-2 inches between brands. It’s smart to take measurements instead of assuming a standard size.
How many 5 gallon buckets fit in a pallet?
The number varies based on bucket dimensions, but expect 40-60 buckets per standard 40″ x 48″ pallet. Nesting round buckets saves more space.
Can I use a 5 gallon bucket lid on a 6 gallon bucket?
Likely not – lids are usually designed specifically for the matching bucket. Mixing brands or capacities often results in loose, unsafe fit.
Now that you know the key dimensions that dictate 5 gallon bucket size, you can shop smarter. Reference this guide anytime you need to demystify and size up buckets for your needs.
You’ll get a bucket that’s just the right fit with the right measurement. No more size confusion or surprises. Just efficient, effective project storage and transport made simple.