Written By Scott Whisler
Published Sep. 6, 2021

Though electric motors can be found just about everywhere, the internal-combustion engine’s performance is still hard to beat. Whether you’re getting that lawn mower topped off to cut the grass, prepping your ATV for an epic adventure, or just heading down the road less traveled in your SUV, it’s important to have a gas can that meets your needs. It’s an essential part of most garages and one often overlooked until it’s too late. No one wants to walk two miles in the snow to get a $5 can from the convenience store that spills more fuel on you than into your tank. It’s an easy problem to avoid with some simple research and planning. Thankfully, we’ve already done the research for you. Now all you need to do is decide which of these cans fit your needs.

The Best Gas Can

At first glance, it’s easy to believe that the No-Spill Gas Can is from the future. Customers report that the one-button control makes this can easy to operate, starting and stopping the fuel with a simple motion. It’s even designed to avoid tipping, taking “no spill” just that much further.

Engineered with a dust cover, stainless-steel mesh screen, and an auto-stop feature to prevent overflows, it seems the manufacturer has thought of everything. To top it all off, this handy can has a view panel for you to check its fill level easily. Many customers have found the 7/8-inch nozzle a great feature, allowing use with equipment as big as generators and as small as lawnmowers.

Key Features
  • Fuel spout provides easy control
  • Stainless-steel mesh screen and dust cover
  • User-friendly design
  • 7/8-inch funnel spout
  • Child-resistant product
Specs
  • Brand No-Spill
  • Model 1405
  • Weight 1.54 pounds
PROS

Spill-proof control

Anti-tipping body

View panel for capacity indication

Reasonably priced

CONS

Only one carrying handle

Limited pouring angles

With newer SUV models getting smaller and smaller and side-by-sides getting ever more powerful and gas thirsty, you don’t always have room for a traditional gas can. And even if you could fit it in your vehicle, no one wants to smell gas the whole trip. RotopaX has solved this problem with an ingenious design meant to mount the gas can to your vehicle.

This stackable/mountable can has been roto-molded into a thick, durable canister to keep you fueled no matter how far off the grid you’ve gone. You can mount this system to any vehicle to meet your needs, although you will need the optional mounting kits. The two-gallon Gasoline Pack can also be combined with any of the company’s other packs to give you full support on your next excursion.

Key Features
  • Thick walls
  • Rigorous patented three-layer Roto-Molding molding process
  • Spout leakage avoided due to a sure seal gasket
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Only rotationally molded CARB and EPA compliant containers in the USA  
Specs
  • Brand RotopaX
  • Model RX-2G
  • Weight 3.79 pounds
PROS

Mountable in custom layouts

Portable and easy to carry

Rigid plastic construction

CONS

Not ideal for household storage and use

Mounting plates and kits cost extra

High cost isn’t budget friendly

Take Throwback Thursday to a whole new level with the Wavian Jerry Can. It’s not only the same design as the old school NATO Jerry Can, these cans are manufactured by the same company, too.

Made out of cold-rolled steel and coated inside with a rust-proof Rezol lining, the NATO Jerry Can’s durability can’t be beaten. Made to refuel in every climate and place, these cans are simple to use with a leak-proof nozzle that allows a fast flow. And since these cans were designed to be loaded in the back of Humvees and Defenders, there is a built-in locking pin to prevent spilling or opening up during transport.

They are, however, large and heavy and aren’t designed to just be stored anywhere. Like the RotopaX, you’ll need to mount these to your vehicle or store them in a special place in your garage. That said, if they can survive multiple wars, they’ll likely survive you.

Key Features
  • Safety lock on spout 
  • Both an interior and exterior anti-corrosive Rezol coating 
  • Spout features include smooth, fast flowing rate and leak-proof
  • Easy to carry on account of an ingenious three-handle configuration
  • Manufactured from 0.9mm cold rolled steel
Specs
  • Brand Wavian
  • Model 667741439102
  • Weight 10.2 pounds
PROS

Sturdy design and construction

Simple and easy to use

Rust-resistant coating inside

CONS

Bulky and cumbersome to load into vehicles

Expensive option

A far cry from the plastic cans you’ll find at your local grocery store, the Eagle Safety Can is an old-school, heavy-duty option for those who want the strength of a gas can’s forefathers. You can find these cans on almost any construction site or crusty mechanic’s garage due to their resilient manufacturing and ease of use.

Eagle used a galvanized-steel body, with a durable powder coating to prevent corrosion and protect your fuel for longer than the average plastic iteration. The fixed handle has a spring-loaded trigger to prevent unwanted spills and ensure a tight seal when not in use. And there is a detachable funnel for ease of pouring and a snap-in strainer to keep your fuel free of debris. You can rest assured this can is worth every penny and will be a useful feature of your garage for decades.

Key Features
  • Trigger release with spring closing lid and fixed Handle
  • made from 24-gauge hot dipped galvanized steel
  • A double interlock-no weld bottom seam
  • Optimal storage with a five-gallon capacity
  • Pour spout prevents any spillage
Specs
  • Brand Eagle
  • Model UI50FS
  • Weight 7 pounds
PROS

Rigid galvanized steel body

Spring-loaded trigger for safety

No tip design

Detachable funnel for easy fueling

CONS

Fixed spout position makes angle pouring tricky

Large size makes storing a challenge

Heavy even when empty

One of the biggest issues with gas cans is how you have to turn the can upside down to pour when you reach the lower fill levels. That can not only be a real burden with a five-gallon can, it also can be dangerous as gas can leak out and splash everywhere. SureCan says it’s solved that problem by adding a bendable spout that rotates up to 180 degrees and allows gravity to feed your tanks.

Utilizing a separate fill spout at the top rear of the can makes filling or mixing oil and gas for two-stroke engines easier. The thumb-release trigger works as an extension of the handle, in conjunction with a nifty air vent, and allows for easy-flow starting and stopping.

Given that safety is tantamount for the SureCan, customers have noted that the trigger-handle design takes some getting used to, but it gives you peace of mind when refueling.

Key Features
  • Rotating, bendable spout
  • Thumb-release trigger
  • Air vent promotes steady gas flow
  • Cap seals well
  • Sturdy
Specs
  • Brand SureCan
  • Model 5.0 Gallon
  • Weight 4 pounds
PROS

Rotating spout for convenient pour angles

Vents itself when pouring for fast flow

Safety features make this child resistant

CONS

Trigger handle can be difficult to learn

Only one carrying handle

Special consideration for the seal at the bottom of the can

During races, every second counts. You don’t want to mess with a gas can that wastes precious seconds. VP Racing, a performance giant that nearly every enthusiast knows, makes a gas can with a simple design to quickly fuel every performance vehicle you own.

Its vertical design allows for easy storage and helps prevent spills, and to maximize this can’s potential, its filler hose is designed so you can pour precisely, efficiently, and quickly. The high-density polyethylene construction makes this can a nearly indestructible and durable addition to your garage.

It is, however, very specialized and won’t work for the average consumer with a lawnmower. This is really for the racer, the off-roader, the person who’s out and doing enthusiast things.

Key Features
  • Manufactured with top quality polyethylene
  • Reliable bottom grip to ensure easy pouring
  • Level markings on exterior of the container
  • Unbreakable multipurpose cap which prevents leakage
  • A five-gallon capacity container allows for easy transportation
Specs
  • Brand VP Racing Fuels
  • Model 3522
  • Weight 2.95 pounds
PROS

Simple design is easy to use

Light empty weight

Nearly indestructible construction

CONS

Specialized for racing

Separate purchase of filler tube needed for optimal performance

Best Gas Can Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying a Gas Can

Now, it’s time to assess your options. Don’t just rush online and buy the first gas can that pops up on Amazon. Here are three things to consider before purchase:

  • Fuel capacity

Do you want to start off simple and buy a small gas can, or do you need something a little bigger? Purchasing a larger fuel tank is certainly a more cost-effective solution, yet this advantage could be short-lived upon realizing you don’t need that much and have to dispose of old gas after six months.

  • Safety first

There are EPA requirements for gas cans. Our advice is to only buy an approved container that is listed by a nationally recognized testing lab, such as UL (United Laboratory).

  • Type of equipment

Know what you’ll be using the can for before you invest. You’re going to need a different kind of nozzle for powering a generator than you will for fueling construction equipment.

Types of Fuel Cans: Metal vs. Plastic Fuel Cans

It’s the principal debate that dominates the gas can market today: Is metal or plastic best? There’s really no right answer. Both materials certainly have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few to think about:

  • Price

In this category, plastic takes the lead. Metal gas cans are around twice the price of an average plastic gas can.

  • Storage time

Opt for a steel tank if you’re planning to store gas for a long period of time. Plastic fuel tanks will absorb some of the fuel and other chemicals, which can compromise the integrity of the can. Metal gas cans have no such problems. However, they will begin to rust over time if not properly maintained.

  • Transportation

Plastic gas cans are lighter to transport and install, unlike bulkier metal models. This being said, if you plan on purchasing gas cans to take advantage of cheaper fuel prices, then metal cans are capable of storing a lot more gas.

Best Gas Can FAQ

Q: Will a gas can explode in the sun?

A gas can isn’t like vampire – if they’re exposed to the sun, they won’t instantly burst into flames. However, we’re not suggesting that you leave your gas cans out in the heat for long periods of time. Gas cans are designed to be resistant to increased pressure but it’s best not to test them. Many inexpensive plastic gas cans are missing their flame arrestor – a thin screen which is ideally made of brass at the opening of a gas can’s outlet. Their job is to prevent explosions by extinguishing small sparks flowing up the nozzle of the can before they reach the liquid gas. For this reason, best to be on safety’s side and store your gas cans in the shade. Many people believe it to be perfectly acceptable to leave a gas can in the trunk of a car when the engine isn’t running. This is actually extremely dangerous, as when a car is not in use, heat builds up like in a greenhouse. If a gasoline can is placed here, the vapors inside the gas can expand and this could inevitably lead to an explosion.

Q: Can I drive with a gas can in my vehicle?

Keeping a gas can in your vehicle has been viewed as resourceful for decades. That way, if you run out of gas you can instantly fill up and you’ll be on your way, right? But it’s time to move away from this harmful belief that we allow ourselves to ignore. Experts state that if any fumes escape due to a leak or even if the lid isn’t screwed on tight enough, just a small spark or heat source could cause them to ignite. Disregard all of this for a second and imagine that the gas can wouldn’t blow up your car. Even then, it wouldn’t be safe to store a gas can in your vehicle. This is due to the fumes, which make a driver light headed and queasy. Gas contains carbon monoxide which, if you are exposed to for long periods of time, can cause serious health problems. If you absolutely have to transport a gas can, strap it on to the roof rack of the car, as this area will be well-ventilated. But for safety’s sake, best to fill up before.

Q: Where should I keep my gas can? 

When deciding where to store your gas can, you should firstly think about who’s going to be nearby. If you have children, make sure they won’t be going anywhere near your chosen storage spot. If possible, purchase yourself a proper storage cabinet. These are flame resistant and robust models which keep gas cans off the floor. They may be a little on the pricey side but you can never put a price on safety. The second best option is to store your gas cans far away from your house in a garage or shed at room temperature. Place a piece of plywood under the container so the gas can isn’t directly on the ground: as here, they would be more susceptible to ignition. Make sure that your gas can storage spot is at least 50 feet away from any ignition sources, even the ones you don’t consider to be serious fire hazards such as water and space heaters.

Q: How do I clean my gas container?

It’s one of those jobs that we put off and off but unfortunately, gas cans won’t clean themselves. Before you start, gather together your tools: an old toothbrush and dish detergent. Then, place your empty gas can in a sink. Place a few drops of detergent on the bristles of your old toothbrush, wet them under the nozzle and start scrubbing! Make sure you scour every inch of the gas can’s exterior; there’s nothing worse than finishing a job only to find there’s one tiny section you’ve missed. A common area to forget is the bottom of the gas can. When you’re done, rinse it under the tap. Now, it’s time to work on the interior. Many people don’t see the point in this, it’s going to get dirty anyway, right? Nevertheless, it’s better to be safe than sorry if you think one of your used gas cans could’ve contained bad gas in the past. Remove the cap, place a little detergent inside the gas can and fill it up part way with warm water. To clean any last bits of dirt from the inside, forcefully shake the gas can with a cloth over the opening. When you’re done, pour the leftover waste down the sink and fill the can back up with water in order to flush out any excess and detergent. Once the cleaning process is over with, leave your gas cans in a dry location with good airflow to encourage any remaining water left inside the gas cans to evaporate. This is to prevent phase separation from occuring- when gasoline becomes saturated and consequently, a layer of ethanol and water forms in the tank.

About the Author

Scott Whisler is a family man and Marine Corps veteran. He writes gear reviews for Task & Purpose and is known for starring in the documentary series “The War Within” (2018). Outside of writing, he’s an avid reader and outdoor adventurer.

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