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Best Metal Gas Can

Article by Mark Trotta

Since World-War-Two, the metal Jerry Can has been the world standard for safe, portable gasoline storage. Well-designed and rugged, their serviceable life is often 50 years or more.

best jerrycan for gasoline

What Is A Jerry Can?

The "Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister" was originally designed and produced in Germany in the 1930s for military use. It's name literally translates to "Defenceforces standardized container".

The Jerry Can (also written as Jerrycan) nickname refers to it's origins, 'Jerry' being slang for Germans. They are also called Jeep Cans and Blitz Cans.

Wavian Is The Original NATO Steel Jerry Can

Wavian has been manufacturing metal gas cans for various NATO militaries for over 80 years. They boast a number of features, including 0.9mm steel walls, an interior rust-proof lining, and an internal breather pipe for splash-proof pouring.

I bought this Wavian Jerry Can in 2019. Capacity is 20 Litres, or 5.3 gallons.

Wavian Jerry Can Review

The Wavian can is the highest quality Jerry can out there. Here's why:

It's lined inside with fuel resistant Rezol enamel that not only prevents rust, but if the can gets dented, the internal lining doesn’t crack.

Exterior is epoxy polyester powder coat.

It has a full, internal breather pipe for splash-proof pouring.

As of 2024, it's still the only military-grade EPA and CARB compliant Jerry Can on the market.

Other Wavian Features:

Carry Handles

The top of the container has 3 parallel handles. The center handle allows for a balanced, single-handed carry.

Wavian Jerry Can Review

With the two outer handles, they can be transported by two people walking side by side. This was more for military purposes than anything else. Think of WW2 soldiers carrying full, 40 pound Jerry cans for long distances.

20 Litre/5.3 Gallon Jerry Can Specs

The indented pattern on the sides of the container aren't just for looks. They were designed to add strength and allow the contents of the can to expand.

European style blitz can

In contrast to gas containers that are short and wide, Jerry cans are tall and narrow. This gives them a smaller footprint, so they'll take up less floor space in your garage or in the back of your truck.

Metal Jerry cans are often attached to the back of off-roading vehicles, such as Jeeps. They can also be transported in pickup truck beds with tie-downs or bungee cords. Several companies, including Smittybilt, offer lockable holders for Jerry cans.

jerrycan holder

Shop: Jerry Gas Can Holder


Flexible Jerry Can Spout

The included black plastic safety nozzle is hard to use when lifting a full, 40+ pound gas container. A much-needed upgrade from the standard spout is a flexible spout.

Jerry gas can with flexible spout

Shop: Flexible Jerry Can Spout

The nozzle diameter of the flex spout is designed to fit into automotive unleaded gas spouts, and allows quick pouring without glugging and air buildup.


Are Jerry Cans Legal In All 50 States?

Wavian Jerry Cans are made in Europe and come with an EPA/CARB approved spout, which makes them legal for sale in all 50 states. If you change the spout, it may not legal to re-fill in California.

Please check the law for your specific state.


Size and Color Choices

Aside from the popular 5.3 Gallon size, Wavian Jerry cans are also available in 2.6 Gallon (10L) 1.3 Gallon (5L).

best metal gas can on the market

All sizes are available in red (gasoline), blue (kerosene), yellow (diesel), and green (water).


Plastic vs Metal Gas Cans

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.


Are Metal Gas Cans Worth It?

Jerry Cans are expensive, but it's easy to justify - If it lasts 25 years, that's about three dollars a year you've spent. And 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 replace the rubber spout gasket every few years.


Does Gas Last Longer In Metal Cans?

Not only will a Wavian Jerry Can safely store gasoline, it will prolong it's usable life. Gasoline keeps freshest in a sealed metal container.

best jerrycan for gasoline

Shop: 5 Gallon Jerry Can

NOTE: Unless you will be using it up within a week or two, avoid buying ethanol-blended gas. Non-Ethanol fuel is much better for small engines.


Best Gas Can For Portable Generator

I originally purchased my Wavian Jerry Can to store gasoline for our portable generator, which is used when the power goes out.

best metal fuel can

When needed, the generator may need to run 24 hours or more, so I wanted to have enough gas on hand for for such emergencies.

Soon after, I found myself favoring it over smaller, lighter plastic jugs. It has become my 'go-to' gas can when filling up the lawn tractor once a month.

It never spills gas.

It's simply the best gas container I've ever owned.

Waivian Jerry Can Review

Shop: Wavian Jerry Can


2024 Update

After four years of moderate use, it started to drip while pouring, so I replaced the spout gasket and the dripping stopped.

Gas Can Spout Replacement Gasket for 20 Liter NATO Jerry Can

These Jerry Can Gaskets fit 20-Litre NATO Jerry Cans and are compatible with aftermarket nozzles.