What Are The Standard Dimensions Of A 15-Gallon Drum?

A backup supply of water and food is necessary if you reside in an area prone to forest fires, ice storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. Human-caused disasters are becoming more prevalent, too, from toxic railroad car spills to lockdowns. 

One of the best solutions for food and water storage is the 15-gallon drum. If you plan to create a storage space, this article provides the 15-gallon drum dimensions, plus the various materials and head configurations available.

What Can You Store In a 15-Gallon Drum?

A 15-gallon drum can store various items depending on its construction. 

There are two types of tops for barrels, open or closed. A closed head has two openings; threaded bungholes for filling and pouring liquids. One is 2 inches in diameter, and the other is 1 3/4 inches. People use closed-head drums to store drinking water, dried ingredients, chemicals, oils, and fuels.

An open head means you can remove the entire top. Open-head drums are handy for storing bulk products like clothing, packaged items, grain, dried beans, and parts.

Drum heaters are necessary when storing liquids in freezing environments.

15-Gallon Drum Types 

You can buy 15-gallon drums made from various materials. 

  • Steel – Steel drums are ideal for storing and transporting heavy materials such as chemicals, fuel, and oils. 
  • Plastic/Polyethylene – Plastic drums are high-density polyethylene, lightweight, and corrosion free, making them suitable for storing and transporting water and non-corrosive chemicals. Most plastic drums are food-grade, BPA-free, and comply with FDA and USDA regulations.
  • Stainless Steel – These specialty drums use 22 gauge 304 stainless steel for the highest corrosion resistance. Stainless steel drums are UN-rated and meet its requirements for shipping hazardous materials.
  • Fiber – Fiber drums store dry, solid, or semi-liquid products using a polyethylene liner. They are lightweight and inexpensive. However, they deteriorate quickly if they get wet.

The 15-gallon size drum is an excellent choice for emergency preparedness storage. Next, we discuss barrel dimensions. You must purchase the correct size barrels if you have limited storage space, such as a truck bed or shed.

What Are The Dimensions of a 15-Gallon Drum?

The standard 15-gallon barrel dimensions are 14.5 inches in diameter and 26.5 inches in height. Drum dimensions vary slightly depending on the drum type, material, and manufacturer. These dimensions are rounded to the nearest ¼ inch:

  • 15-Gallon Steel Drum Dimensions
      • Inner Diameter – 14”
      • Outer Diameter -14”
      • Inner Height – 24”
      • Outer Height – 25”
  • 15-Gallon Plastic Drum Dimensions – Open Head
      • Inner Diameter – 14”
      • Outer Diameter – 15”
      • Inner Height – 27”
      • Outer Height – 28”
  • 15-Gallon Plastic Drum Dimensions – Closed Head
      • Outer Diameter – 15”
      • Outer Height – 27”
  • 15-Gallon Stainless Steel Drum Dimensions
      • Inner Diameter – 16”
      • Outer Height – 20 3/4”
  • 15- Gallon FiberDrum Dimensions
      • Inner Diameter – 15 1/2”
      • Inner Height – 18 1/2”
      • Outer Height – 19 1/2”

For open-head barrels, allow extra space for the metal bolt ring.

Other Popular Drum Sizes

The 15-gallon drum is a well-known size, but there are other sizes to consider. The 33-gallon steel drum is 18 inches in diameter by 33 inches high. The 45-gallon plastic drum dimensions are 23 inches in diameter by 34 inches high. They hold the same contents as the 15-gallon drum.

How Tall Is a 55-Gallon Barrel?

For comparison, a standard 55-gallon steel drum is 34 inches tall by 24 inches in diameter. Plastic barrels may have slightly different dimensions than steel ones. 

How Do You Control The Temperature of a 15-Gallon Drum

You can control a barrel’s temperature by storing it in a cool, dry place. If you store temperature-sensitive materials, there are two methods to prevent freezing. 

Band heaters can heat drums but don’t evenly heat the contents. For band heater alternatives, Powerblanket has a top-of-the-line 15-gallon drum and barrel heaters providing even heat throughout the barrel’s contents. These heating blankets surround the drum for insulation and even heat.

Tips for Using, Storing, And Disposal of A 15-Gallon Drum

Safe storage begins with proper labeling. The appropriate label lets everyone know the contents and whether it’s hazardous. Before filling, ensure the contents are compatible and will not react with the drum’s material. 

When you need to dispose of a 15-gallon barrel, sell or recycle it under local regulations. One option is the Container Compliance Corp. which buys, cleans, and sells reconditioned drums and totes. 

Where To Find a 15-Gallon Drum

You can purchase 15-gallon drums from manufacturers, industrial supply stores, and online retailers. Some suppliers include Basco, Skolnick, and Grainger.

15-Gallon Barrel Is The Perfect Solution For Most Storing Needs

30 and 55-gallon steel drums are the most common size barrel for industrial settings. However, the 15-gal. plastic drum is popular for businesses and home use because they can carry the same products in smaller quantities. It’s easier to store and handle. The drums are much less expensive than larger barrels and are lighter, making them less expensive to transport. 

If you need to prevent freezing or maintain viscosity in your drums, Powerblanket has a barrel and drum heater to fit any size.

Powerblanket's industrial drum & barrel heaters provide even and consistent heating, eliminating waste and lowering costs.


Shelby Thompson

Shelby Thompson is the head of standard product sales for Powerblanket. He has a distinguished military career, having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In his time in the Marines, Shelby acquired an impressive skillset that he now uses in his current role. When he's not working, Shelby loves spending time outdoors with his wife, son, and daughter. He is also a semi-keen hunter, fair weather fisherman, and shooter. Unfortunately, Shelby also has something of an unlucky streak when it comes to Fantasy Football at the company.

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