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. They are well-designed and rugged, and with proper storage, often last 50 years or more.
What Is A Jerry Can?
The Jerry Can (also written as Jerrycan) was designed in Germany in the 1930s for military use. The nickname refers to its German origins, 'Jerry' being slang for Germans. They are also called Jeep Cans and Blitz Cans.
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.
Gasoline keeps freshest in a sealed metal container.
Military-Style Jerry Can
I bought this Wavian Jerry Can in 2019. As of 2023, it's still the only military-grade EPA and CARB compliant Jerry Can on the market.
The top of the container has of 3 parallel handles. The center handle allows for a single-handed, balanced carry. They can also be transported by two people walking side by side with the two outer handles.
5.3 Gallon Jerry Can Specs
- 9" x 5" x 14"
- Weight (empty) 12 pounds
- Weight (full) 40 pounds
In contrast to gas containers that are short and wide, Jerry cans are tall and narrow. This gives them a smaller footprint, meaning they take up less floor space on your garage floor or in the back of your truck. This also makes them easily stackable, which is often how the military stores them.
The indented pattern on the sides of the container aren't for looks - they were designed to add strength and allow the contents of the can to expand.
Waivian Jerry Can Features
- Leak-proof bayonet closure
- Locking pin for cap
- 0.9 mm steel walls
- Interior rust-proof lining
- Internal breather pipe for splash-proof pouring
- Three handle configuration for easy carrying
Jerry Cans are often attached to the back of off-roading vehicles, and can also be secured in the bed of a truck with a Jerry Can holder. Several companies, including Wavian, offer vehicle brackets which you can buy separately.
Shop: Smittybilt Jerry Gas Can Holder
Flexible Jerry Can Spout
The included black plastic safety nozzle is hard to use when lifting a 40+ pound gas container. A much-needed upgrade from the standard spout is a flexible jerry can spout. Built to European Military specs, the nozzle diameter was designed to fit into automotive unleaded gas spouts but still 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 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.
Aside from the 5.3 Gallon size, Waivian Jerry cans are available in 2.6 Gallon (10L) 1.3 Gallon (5L). All sizes are available in red (gasoline), blue (kerosene), and yellow (diesel). They also make blue plastic containers for water.
Best Gas Can For Generators
I originally purchased the Wavian Jerry Can to store gasoline long-term for our portable generator, which is used when the power goes out.
Shop: 5 Gallon Jerry 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.
After buying the Jerry Can, I found myself favoring it over my smaller, lighter plastic jugs. Now I use it when filling up the push lawn mower, lawn tractor, and pressure washer. It never spills gas. It's simply the best portable fuel container I've ever owned.
Metal Gas Can Maintenance and Restoration
Through time and neglect, 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, but this would be effective only if the inside of the can was spotlessly clean.
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.
Not only will a high-quality metal gas container safely store gasoline, it will prolong it's usable life.