Is a 5 Gallon Bucket Actually 5 Gallons?

Dec 8th 2021

If you’re looking at this blog, you’re probably curious about one question: Does a 5 gallon bucket hold exactly 5 gallons?

There are a few ways you could figure this out. One of those options could be measuring a 5 gallon bucket yourself...or you could let us do the leg work and just read about it.

To settle your curiosity, we have the answers to this question and many more about 5 gallon bucket dimensions and capacity. Let’s discuss how much a 5 gallon bucket can hold so you can store your items most efficiently and effectively.

Is a 5 Gallon Bucket Actually 5 Gallons?

The majority of 5 gallon buckets do hold 5 gallons of water. However, depending on where you purchase your 5 gallon bucket, there can be some uncertainty as to where the 5 gallon mark is. Where is the 5 gallon mark in a bucket? Is it at the very top of the bucket, or are there a few inches for wiggle room?

Most 5 gallon buckets will come with pre-measured marks on the inside of the bucket, showing you exactly where the measurements are—the 5 gallon mark being the one closest to the top. Generally, 5 gallon buckets have a little extra room on the surface to account for spillage or breathing room.

Here’s a general rule if there are no marks or lines within the bucket: the area where the handle anchors into the bucket marks approximately 5 gallons. When filling a 5 gallon bucket with a substance, be sure to leave some headspace. The exact amount of space you’ll need primarily depends on the product, application, and whether or not you are sealing the bucket with a lid.

Is a 5 Gallon Bucket Actually 5 Gallons?

How Do You Mark a 5 Gallon Bucket?

If your 5 gallon bucket does not have measurement marks on it, it’s easy to apply them on the inside of the bucket. All you need is a gallon jug, a permanent marker, and the 5 gallon bucket you wish to measure.

Fill the gallon jug up with water and then pour it into the bucket. Mark a line on the side of the bucket where the water hits, then repeat the process. Fill up the jug again, pour it into the bucket, and mark where the water hits. It’s as simple as that! If you’d like to make smaller measurements, such as where the gallon and a half mark is, find a jug or container to use instead of the gallon jug, then follow the same steps accordingly.

How Many Square Inches are in a 5 Gallon Bucket?

A five-gallon bucket is about 1,155 cubic inches. The standard 5 gallon bucket dimensionsare 11.9" diameter x 13.38" height.

Here are some other 5 gallon bucket measurements. Five gallons is equal to about:

  • 10 half gallons
  • 20 quarts
  • 40 pints
  • 80 cups
  • 160 half cups
  • 320 fourth cups

How Many Pounds is a 5 Gallon Bucket of Water?

When filled with water, a 5 gallon bucket weighs about 42 pounds. This can be a considerable amount of weight to carry. Although most five-gallon bucket handles can handle 42 pounds of water, it can be challenging to use the handle to transport the bucket with just the handle alone. When transporting a heavy bucket, consider options such as a bucket sling, a bucket backpack, or a bucket binder.

Source Your Custom 5 Gallon Buckets from is a U.S. veteran-owned and operated company that promises to bring you the best experience. We offer buckets, lids, jars, containers, and cups to cover all of your serving, prepping, and storage needs. All of our products are food grade, and we offer custom labeling to make your products unique and tailored to your needs.

When you shop at, you can feel good about your purchases. From excellent customer service to no minimums on quantities to our community involvement, we are here to help. Explore our website today to see the many products we offer.

*ePackage exclusively sells official Gamma Lid® products.