What Are the Dimensions of a Standard 5 Gallon Bucket?

What Are the Dimensions of a Standard 5 Gallon Bucket? Article BannerWhat Are the Dimensions of a Standard 5 Gallon Bucket? Article Banner

Find the Right Bucket for the Job!

5 gallon buckets are a versatile container option across a wide variety of industries. The 5 gallon capacity makes is a reliable choice to hold different liquids, solids, dry products and more. To make sure all 5 gallons fit inside and that it is the right capacity for your product, it is important to know what the dimensions of a 5 gallon bucket are.

It is common to refer to buckets and pails as the same container. One clear distinction among others is the fact that a pail will have a lid that is crucial for shipping and transportation. A bucket, on the other hand, does not have a lid and is known for its open top design for easy use.

Standard Dimensions of a 5 Gallon Bucket

The dimensions of a 5 gallon bucket can depend on a variety of factors. These factors can range from how it’s manufactured or if a lid is paired. These slight changes can alter the size of the diameter (on the inside or outside) or the height in a range between 1/10" to 2".

Dimensions of a 5 gallon buckets are determined by its diameter and height. Finding out these measurements is crucial to ensuring that your product will fit inside the bucket with ease. A miscalculation can result in having less product than preferred or needing a larger bucket.

5 Gallon Bucket Diameter

The diameter is known as a straight line passing from side to side through the center of a body or figure, especially a circle or sphere. If you were to draw a line of the diameter of a 5 gallon bucket, it would be touching at two points.

Common 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket Diameters

It is common for 5 gallon plastic buckets to have an outside diameter between 11" and 13" for round buckets. Square buckets do not have a diameter but commonly have a length between 9" and 10" on top.

Common 5 Gallon Steel Bucket Diameters

On the other hand, when taking a look at steel buckets, they are commonly around 11" to 12".

5 Gallon Bucket Diameter5 Gallon Bucket Diameter

5 Gallon Bucket Height

The second dimension of a bucket is its height. This is the measurement from the bottom of the bucket to the top (or vice versa).

Measuring from the bottom of the bucket to the two tapered sides will not give users the full height. These sides are primarily used for stacking buckets on top of one another.

Common 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket Heights

When looking at heights, 5 gallon plastic buckets (both round and square) have a height between 14" and 15".

Common 5 Gallon Steel Bucket Heights

Alternatively, steel buckets have heights between 13" and 14".

5 Gallon Bucket Height5 Gallon Bucket Height

Materials Used in 5 Gallon Buckets

There are two main bucket material options: plastic and steel. Both buckets are used for different applications.

5 Gallon Plastic Buckets

5 gallon plastic buckets are commonly made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) material. HDPE is known to be a great material for buckets due to its strength, versatility, chemical resistance and ability to handle low temperatures. As a cheaper yet just as efficient alternative, some buckets are made out of a regrind plastic material.

Most plastic buckets have a plastic or metal handle designed for transportation and pouring needs.

Some buckets are available with UN Ratings for hazardous liquid and solid materials, as well as FDA Compliance for food contact applications.

The two main shapes with plastic buckets are round and square. Round buckets are more commonly used for food products and flavorings, chemicals, adhesives, paint and more. On the other hand, square options are more popular for dry goods, food and bulk retail items. Square buckets allow for more shipping and storing space and help businesses reach their customers with more space on the outside of the bucket for labeling.

5 Gallon Plastic Bucket5 Gallon Plastic Bucket

5 Gallon Steel Buckets

In addition to plastic buckets, there are also carbon steel 5 gallon buckets available for your product needs. The rolled steel construction increases its strength and hardness and decreases ductility. Steel buckets have slightly different applications in comparison to plastic ones, primarily based on the lining that is used inside.

There are four main lining options used for steel buckets: unlined, epoxy phenolic lining, gold phenolic lining and pigmented phenolic lining. Each lining has different applications and popular uses.

5 Gallon Steel Bucket5 Gallon Steel Bucket

Unlined Steel Buckets

Some steel buckets do not have a lining inside. Instead of a lining, these buckets are made with a rust inhibitor which prevents rusting prior to filling. Unlined steel buckets are commonly used with non-hazardous applications such as coatings, scrap metal, powders and more.

Epoxy Phenolic Lining

Epoxy phenolic linings are known to have great chemical resistance. They are commonly used with products that have a pH rating between 7.0 and 9.0. These can be water-based resins, fatty acids, detergents, emulsions, foods (as they are made with FDA Approved materials), general organic chemicals, and surfactants to name a few. In addition to its contaminant-free flexibility, epoxy phenolic are also corrosion and high heat resistant.

Gold Phenolic Lining

Steel buckets that have a gold phenolic lining are a great choice for products that have a pH rating between 3.0 and 7.0. These can be anything from acid compounds, agricultural chemicals, insecticides and corrosive chemicals to solvents, food products, essential oils, and petroleum products. It is known for having high acid and solvent resistance.

Pigmented Phenolic Lining

Pigmented phenolic linings have a red color to them and have high acid and solvent resistance. They are not recommended for alkaline and are ideal for products with a pH rating between 3.0 and 7.0. The pigmented red color allows for thicker film thickness and is selected when greater protection is required. 

How Much Can Fit Inside a Five Gallon Bucket?

It would be easy to say that 5 gallons can fit inside a 5 gallon bucket, but that does not answer the question entirely. What if you are working with products that have different densities? Solvent paints and even solid concrete have different weights in comparison to water. Because of this difference, they need to be measured differently to see how much of each product would fit inside a five gallon bucket.

See the chart below that goes over how many pounds of certain liquid and dry products can fit inside a 5 gallon bucket.


Density (g/ml) Gallons Density Conversion (lb/gallon) *Weight in Pounds (lbs.)

5 Gallon Bucket of Water Weight

1 5 8.3454 41.65
5 Gallon Paint Bucket Weight 1.2 5 8.3454 50.07
5 Gallon Bucket Concrete Weight 2.3 5 8.3454 96

*Pounds = density of product * gallons * 8.3454 (converting density into lb/gallon)

How Many Quarters Fit in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

Approximately 23,367 quarters will fit in a 5 gallon bucket.


How Many Golf Balls Fit in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

Approximately 462 golf balls will fit in a 5 gallon bucket.

Golf BallsGolf Balls

How Many Baseballs Fit in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

Approximately 94 baseballs will fit in a 5 gallon bucket.


5 Gallon Bucket Lids

Whether it is with a plastic or steel bucket, there are a wide variety of lid options available for added protection in transportation.

5 Gallon Plastic Bucket Lids

With plastic buckets, there are five main categories of lids to choose from.

Standard Bucket LidStandard Bucket Lid

Standard Lids

Standard pail lids is a popular option for plastic buckets that can either snap on, pry-off or can twist and lock. Some lids may have a gasket on the bottom for extra protection and a tight seal.

Gamma seal LidGamma seal Lid

Gamma Seal Lids

Gamma seal lids are a two-piece sealing system that transforms a standard bucket or pail into an easy-to-use airtight container. Gamma Seal lids re-seal your bucket and offer an opportunity for an easy opening.

Tear Strip LidTear Strip Lid

Tear Strip Lids

Tear strip lids are a great choice for products that rely on tamper evidence, a strong seal and an airtight containment. This style of lid is commonly used for food or industrial uses.

Threaded LidThreaded Lid

Threaded Lids

Threaded lids are senior friendly and child resistant for safe product protection. This style of lid is commonly used with buckets that have a threaded opening, a popular choice to hold pool chemicals, granules, powders, food, and other applications.

Square LidSquare Lid

Square Lids

Square lids are available for square buckets and are offered in high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) materials. Most lids will have a tear tab or tear strip for tamper evidence purposes, as well as gaskets.

5 Gallon Steel Bucket Lids

Steel lids for 5 gallon steel buckets have a wide variety of customization, from color and lining to caps and flexspouts for your product needs. Flexspouts are able to control the flow of the content inside and fitted with pumps that enable dosed dispensing. Steel lids will have a gauge rating that designates how strong the metal is that the lid is made of. Additionally, some lids are designated UN Rated for hazardous liquids.

There are two main types of lids: lug cover and dish cover. Lug covers feature “tabs” that are meant to be crimped with a lug closing tool. Dish covers are attached using lever lock rings.

Steel Lid for 5 Gallon BucketsSteel Lid for 5 Gallon Buckets

Is a 5 Gallon Bucket the Choice For You?

We have a wide selection of 5 gallon buckets for a wide variety of applications, from food and dry goods to chemicals and more.

Have any questions? Contact one of our product specialists available to answer any questions and recommend products for you. Give us a call at 630-629-6600 or email us at sales@thecarycompany.com.