Stainless Steel 55 Gallon Drum – Best Prices

What is a stainless steel 55 gallon drum ?

A stainless steel 55 gallon drum, sometimes known as a barrel, is a cylindrical transportation container that is used to transport bulk freight. They are often used for the transportation and storage of liquids and powders and they are frequently stackable.

Their dimensions are optimized for warehousing and logistics application. This style of packaging is frequently approved for the transport of hazardous materials. Proper shipment requires the drum to comply with all applicable regulations.

Origin of the modern steel drum

In December 1905, Henry Wehrhahn, a New York employee of Nellie Bly’s Iron Clad Manufacturing Company, won two patents that would lead to the contemporary 55-gallon steel barrel. During World War II, when trucks, cold rolled steel, stamp or pattern forging gear, and welding were all readily available, the use of 200-litre drums became widespread. The Axis nations (Germany and Italy) were the first to use them, but the Allies swiftly embraced them.

The drums were essential in the victory of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the United States’ first offensive in the South Pacific Theater. Because the US Navy couldn’t keep control of the water long enough to discharge aviation gasoline for planes ashore, the drums were frequently delivered to the island on quick ships like destroyers and pushed over the sides (or, time permitting, lowered in cargo nets). The drums floated because the density of gasoline is substantially lower than that of water. The drums were captured by Navy Seabees aboard tiny vessels.

What is a stainless steel 55 gallon drum used for ?

The well-known stainless steel 55 gallon drum (210 liter) is extensively used for a wide range of liquids, from chemicals to food, and is a more resistant alternative to plastic drums. The open head (open top) and closed head designs of these traditional plastic barrels/drums are both available. Contrary to plastic drums, when it comes to transporting aggressive substances, such drums do not have significant limitations. They can transport highly aggressive chemicals, or dangerous liquids, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using them.

Difference between a drum and a barrel

A stainless steel 55 gallon drum is frequently referred to as a barrel, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Many drums are nominally 880 millimetres (35 in) tall with a diameter of 610 millimetres (24 in), and have a common notional volume of 208 litres (55 US gal), but crude oil barrels are 42 US gallons (159 L). 25-gallon (95-litre) barrels are also widespread in the United States and have the same height. This makes stacking mixed pallets a breeze. Plastic, laminated paperboard, and steel can all be used to make barrels.

The open top and the welded top (with 51-millimetre (2 in) NPS bung holes) are the two most prevalent types of drums. In the United States, the latter is referred to as “barrels” rather than “drums.” They cannot effectively dispense or fill powdered commodities, despite their ability to store them, hence they are not utilized for such goods, instead being retained for liquid conveyance and storage.

Plastic drums are made with injection blow molding technology and can have a separate cover (like fiber drums) or a welded type top with the bung holes molded in. Metal drums are made from cold-rolled steel sheets that are welded into long pipe-like sections before being forged into drum bodies on a stamping machine. The drum bottom, or both the bottom and top, is then rolled with a seam.

types of drums including Stainless Steel 55 Gallon Drum
Different types of drums, with a stainless steel 55 gallon drum in the center.

Measurements of stainless steel 55 gallon drum

The conventional 55 gallon steel drum is an industrial workhorse that allows for safe and organized storage and shipment of items, both commercial and hazardous. The stainless steel 55 gallon drum is reusable, reconditionable, and environmentally beneficial, measuring 22.5″ by 33.0″ (57cm x 84cm) and weighing up to 80 pounds (37 kg) depending on gauge/metal thickness.

How long will a stainless steel 55 gallon drum last ?

A stainless steel 55 gallon drum should last at least two years without any difficulties. Additive separation and oxidation problems normally don’t appear for another 4 to 5 years at the earliest. Unless it is infected with water, we doubt you would detect any color change. Even then, it begins to grow more obfuscated.

Rust of a stainless steel 55 gallon drum

Some people believe that a stainless steel 55 gallon drum and its components are immune to rust and corrosion. That isn’t entirely accurate. The term “stainless” is a misnomer. To begin, there are various types of stainless steel alloys, each with varying levels of rust resistance. The corrosion resistance of 300 series stainless is higher than that of 416 stainless, which is usually used in drums. The carbon content of 416 stainless steel is 0.15 percent, the chromium content is 12-14 percent, and the remainder is iron. In atmospheric conditions, 416 stainless steel lacks the roughly 10% nickel component that makes the 300 series more corrosion resistant.

Stainless steel drums won’t rust as quickly as blued steel, but you still need to take care, such as cleaning the drum of sweat and corrosive salts. Also, don’t allow any moisture to accumulate inside or outside the drum. We recommend wiping your drums with an anti-corrosion lotion regularly. This king of rust fighter is incredibly effective and dry quickly without leaving a greasy behind.

How to Choose the Right Drum

Steel drums can be found in plenty. They can be acquired completely new from a variety of vendors, or secondhand from a variety of sources. Choosing the correct drum is the first step in ensuring that your cargo arrive securely. If you’re buying or utilizing a used drum, check sure it’s in good shape and doesn’t have any severe damage that could cause it to leak.

Whether you’re looking for a new drum or repurposing one you already have, make sure it’s been tested to meet the ICAO, IMO, and IATA criteria. The drum must also comply with DOT CFR-49 procedures if hazardous items are being sent.

Open Head and Closed Head Stainless Steel 55 Gallon Drum
Open Head and Closed Head Stainless Steel 55 Gallon Drum

There are two types of tops for steel drums: open head and tight head (sometimes referred to as closed head). The coverings of open head drums can be totally removed. A bolt or a lever lock ring closure is usually used to fasten these tops. When working with solids and heavy liquids (e.g., syrup, oil, glue, etc.) and when the contents need to be added or withdrawn regularly, this sort of drum is ideal.

Tight head drums have fixed, non-removable tips. They’re most commonly utilized with thinner liquids and feature top bung apertures of 2″ and 34″.

Product Reviews


You know have all the necessary information to choose the right stainless steel 55 gallon drum. Don’t forget: it should not be about the price. If you have very valuable liquids to transport or store, it is better to have a good product than a cheap one that does not last.