The Best Jerry Cans For Storing Fuel

19 April 2024 23 view(s) 9 min read
The Best Jerry Cans For Storing Fuel

A ‘Jerry can’ is a widely recognised term used for a container specifically engineered to hold fuel. The general design has stood the test of time as they are an easy way to transport liquids and substances such as fuel. Regardless of the types of liquids you store at your home, club, workplace, or other premises, it’s important to source the correct containers. However, this is especially true for petrol or diesel.

There are many reasons for keeping fuel in or around your premises. This includes everything from boat yards and farms to homes with petrol lawnmowers. Some businesses also need to store substantial quantities of fuel to keep their fleet vehicles on the move.

There are, of course, rules and best practices designed to ensure people store fuel safely. It is important to know which jerry can will keep you legally compliant and safe. We also want to ensure your fuel is preserved free of contamination or degradation too.

We have looked closely into jerry can design and construction to offer you the best modern fuel storage solutions.

Click to jump to the answer to your question:

What is a jerry can? 

We know that jerry cans are a particular type of fuel storage container but what are they made of?

Initially, metal fuel cans were used. However, as specialist plastics became available, they have been increasingly used as non-corrosive, strong and safe materials ideal for manufacturing jerry cans. 

We will talk about the advantages of using plastic jerry cans later in this article and will also provide a guide to the best type of jerry can to use for your purposes.

Regardless of whether you choose metal or plastic jerry cans, they need to be of good quality to store petrol and diesel with confidence.

There are no rules on whether jerry cans need to be a specific colour in the UK so you can choose your own colour coding for fuel storage containers with our range of different coloured jerry cans.

You might be wondering how many litres a jerry can holds. We stock plastic jerry cans in a range of different sizes. For convenience and ease of storage, we offer these fuel containers in 5, 10 and 25-litre capacities. You can also buy single, packs or stacks of jerry cans in multiple colours.

What’s the law on storing fuel in jerry cans?

Various situations make it necessary to store fuel in your garage, workshop, business premises or leisure facility. 

This involves risks that have been defined under Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) legislation and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). Therefore, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has clear guidelines on such matters as storing fuel safely.

There are naturally different rules for large-scale fuel storage and dispensing sites, and the quantity of fuel held in the various types of jerry can.

The laws on this topic are largely aimed at employers, but homeowners are advised to consider the same risks and responsibilities.

Storing fuel at home

If you need fuel for garden equipment such as petrol lawnmowers or prefer to keep some petrol handy in the garage, there are limits to observe.

Volume limits: Only 30 litres of fuel can be kept at non-commercial premises without informing your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA). You can hold up to 275 litres when you inform the PEA and can apply for a licence to store more than that for relevant reasons. 

Container regulations: This fuel must be in suitable portable metal jerry cans, or specialist plastic containers, or a single demountable fuel tank. If you have multiple storage systems, it can still only add up to the limits mentioned above. 

Storage place restrictions: Fuel must be kept separate from living areas.

Sources of ignition: Homeowners must take steps to store fuel well away from things that create sparks, excessive heat, and anything else that creates an explosion or fire risk.

Petrol dispensing: You must not use an electric or manual pump to dispense petrol where you store it. 

Ventilation: If kept inside, fuel must be in a properly ventilated space, with a direct way for fumes to pass into the open air.

Storing fuel as a club or association

The same health and safety rules for fuel storage – and proper use of jerry cans – apply when it is a club or association that needs to keep petrol or diesel handy.

If your organisation needs to hold a significant amount of fuel – and dispense it to boats or light aircraft, for example – you will need to apply for a licence from your PEA. This is not transferable and would have a stated timeframe (up to three years). It will also include conditions on how you store and dispense fuel at your location.

Storing fuel as a business

There are different rules for workplaces that need petrol or diesel storage and dispensing systems.

If you study the legislation mentioned above – COSHH, DSEAR and the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 – you will find vital rules on the sorts of container or containers you can use for fuel, including capacity, design and integrity details. 

The methods used for dispensing fuel in workplaces are also defined by legislation, and, of course, there are clear rules on safe storage. Fuel containers must also be labelled appropriately in workplaces. For instance, diesel must be labelled with the date of purchase, volume, and information regarding what to do in the case of leaks and spills. 

As the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 are so prescriptive on this topic, it is vital to source the best jerry can in terms of compliance, capacity and cost. The HSE also offers thorough information on its website. 

Why plastic jerry cans might be the best choice for you

Metal jerry cans were used for many years as there was no real alternative that was strong and safe enough for this task. Fortunately, modern plastics are excellent materials for crafting hard-wearing fuel storage containers and tanks.

Plastic fuel cans are lighter

Jerry cans are designed to be portable. Having a plastic version increases your ability to move fuel around with ease, and it can impact the type of shelving you use to store jerry cans. 

Plastic jerry cans are cheaper

The cost of the best jerry cans will no doubt influence your buying decision. Plastic is a more cost-effective material than metal for jerry can manufacturing. 

Plastic fuel storage containers can be safer

As our plastic jerry cans are made from eco-friendly high-density polyethylene (HDPE), they are robust and long-lasting, with a tamper-evident, tight-fitting screw cap. This makes them safer for storing fuel.

Plastic petrol/diesel storage tanks or cans don’t corrode like metal does

This is a big advantage of plastic jerry cans and other containers used for fuel. HDPE is corrosion-resistant, but also resistant to mould and other contaminants. 

When it comes to plastic jerry cans, keep in mind that they should not be stored in direct sunlight – this is also a wise consideration for metal jerry cans. 

What should you be looking for in a jerry can to store fuel?  

We have streamlined the process of sourcing cost-effective jerry cans that are compliant and hardwearing. However, it is worth summarising the features we recommend checking for:


This is both a safety and security feature of the best jerry cans. It is important that the cap can be tightly closed and can indicate when there has been unauthorised access to the fuel.

Strength of the material 

The regulations on fuel storage include rules on the thickness and integrity of storage container walls. Jerry cans should be strong enough to withstand normal wear and tear.

Can they be stacked?

The best plastic jerry cans are stackable safely and effectively. This can be important as the storage area used for fuel may be limited in size. When stacked, you are also able to move the cans as one rather than many.


Sourcing jerry cans in a variety of capacities can make your fuel storage easier and more adaptable. It may also be safer for homes and small businesses to only store the correct quantity in a size-appropriate jerry can. 

UN approved 

We are fully aware of international as well as national regulations on jerry can design and manufacture. Therefore, we only sell jerry cans that are designed to transport hazardous liquids.

Ability to buy in bulk

The opportunity to buy larger quantities of jerry cans can be valuable for businesses operating multiple sites, or workplaces that need to place fuel stores in more than one location. Kingfisher Direct delivers up and down the UK.

Choosing a material that can be used for a range of materials 

Some individuals and organisations sourcing storage tanks and containers want an adaptable solution that can be properly recleaned and reused for different substances, such as foodstuff. This is why we use HDPE as the material for our jerry cans.

Can you clean a jerry can that has had fuel in it?

The fact that HDPE is both reusable and recyclable is a key factor in buying value-for-money jerry cans. It is resistant to corrosion and contamination, which helps to preserve fuel and makes it easier to clean jerry cans after use.

You may be wondering how to clean a jerry can. Standard cleaning supplies such as dish soap and baking soda can be used. Take care to thoroughly rinse them afterwards. 

How long does petrol last in a jerry can? 

You may be wondering, how long does petrol last in a jerry can? This depends on one key factor – whether it is sealed, unsealed or always open.

Petrol left open to the environment will evaporate. As it evaporates, the composition and properties will change because different components evaporate at different rates. If it is held in a sealed container, it can be preserved for up to 12 months. Once unsealed (and then with the cap on), petrol can last up to six months in a container stored in temperatures around 20°C, and around three months if the environment is 30°C. 

How long does diesel last in a jerry can? 

You may be asking, does diesel go off in a jerry can? Much depends on the environment around the container and whether it has been opened already.

As a rule of thumb, jerry cans for diesel – kept in clean, dry, and cool environments – have a shelf life of six to 12 months. However, if the fuel is exposed to high temperatures, moisture or other contaminants, its shelf life can be significantly reduced. Gums and sediments can form in the diesel or a moist atmosphere can make a suitable environment for fungus and bacteria to develop which degrades the fuel.

Where can I buy the best plastic jerry cans? 

Our range of plastic jerry cans has been designed and engineered using the best materials for fuel storage. We also offer different size options and accessories for fuel dispensing and storage, which means that we can match your liquid containment needs with jerry cans supplied quickly. Browse our range of plastic jerry cans today or contact our customer service team to find out more about delivery, product information or buying in bulk.

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