Different Steel Drum Sizes and What They’re Best Used For

210 litre UN Tight Head Steel Drum (Lacquered Interior)

The steel drum is one of the most common sights in warehouses and industrial centres across the world. These stout storage solutions are not only versatile, but they’re manufactured in a wide variety of sizes, too.

The standard steel drum is produced to a capacity of 210-litres, and this large industrial container is used to store and transport everything from oils and lubricants to hazardous waste. Smaller, less standardised sizes exist too, with the smallest being a compact 5-litres and a mid-sized steel drum holding a capacity of 25-60 litres.

To help you decide which steel drum suits your requirements, we’ve put together the following guide to steel drum sizes and what each size is best used for.

5-Litre Steel Drums

The smallest size of steel drum is five litres. This isn’t a drum that’s often required for industrial purposes; generally speaking, its small size means it’s best suited for personal use only.

Small, 5-litre steel drums aren’t often stocked by industrial packaging providers (given their petite size), but can usually be found in hardware stores. Five-litre steel drums are commonly used for storing paint or small quantities of oil, lubricants or building materials for personal projects.

25 to 60-Litre Steel Drums

Steel drum capacities begin to increase as we reach the mid-sized range. This range of steel drum sizes isn’t necessarily standardised, because different manufacturers produce several different capacities that can be classed as a medium-sized barrel.

The most common sizes are the 25-litre, 30-litre and 57-litre steel drum, but there are many more capacities within the 25 to 60-litre range. Regardless of the exact capacity, mid-sized steel drums are also commonly used for personal projects or to meet business needs.

This isn’t an industrial capacity. Smaller steel drums of 25-litres are often used to store personal quantities of drinking water or fuel, or they are used by catering companies to provide larger quantities of oil, spices or other foodstuffs to restaurants. Catering storage accounts for most uses of mid-sized steel drums, with the 57-litre steel drum commonly used for food and beverages.

180 to 210-Litre Steel Drums

For large businesses operating on an industrial scale or any one in need of industrial storage and transport capacities, a large steel drum is the most appropriate option. Again, these range slightly in size, with barrels being manufactured to hold a capacity of 180 litres up to 210 litres.

However, industry standard ensures that the most common steel drum for industrial usage is the UN-rated 210-litre steel drum. This is the drum that almost all large-scale industries use for storage and transport, and the primary steel drum that ITP Packaging stocks.

210-litre steel drums are also known as 45 imperial gallon drums or 55-gallon drums (usually in the US). The 210-litre steel drum not only has an industrial-sized capacity, but an impressive range of uses too. Because they are UN approved, 210-litre steel drums can safely be used to store foodstuffs, as well as hazardous waste (although not at the same time, of course!).

 A few of major industrial products commonly stored in these large steel drums include:

  • Water and any other liquid
  • Food and beverages
  • Oil and lubricants
  • Fuel, such as petrol or diesel
  • Solvents and chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hazardous waste

Given the array of potential applications, there are a wide number of industries that require steel drums to meet their day-to-day storage and transport needs. A few of those industries include:

  • Food and beverage industry
  • Construction industry
  • Aviation industry
  • Automobile industry
  • Transport, logistics and shipping
  • Medical and pharmaceutical industry

Large steel drums can be manufactured with a useful number of variations in their design, such as bung holes for ease of filling, taps for ease of pouring, open and tight heads, and more. 210-litre steel drums can also be kitted out with different protective accessories, the most popular being drum covers and drum liners.

Contact ITP Packaging to Find Out More About Steel Drum Sizes

Steel drums are produced in a range of sizes, but for industrial uses the best choice is almost always the standardised 210-litre UN-approved steel drum stocked by ITP Packaging.

If you’re looking to source high-quality steel drums for your business, contact ITP Packaging for more information and to place your order.

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