Are you looking for other uses for 55-gallon drums? In this post, we’re talking about all the ways you can use them. We’re also going to answer the most commonly asked questions about them. These containers are some of the most useful items you can have around the homestead or farm.
Cylinder containers have been used for centuries to transport solid and liquid goods. Looking to transport oil safely in the 1900’s Nellie Bly, a former journalist, patented a straight-sided steel drum with rolling hoops. This was the birth of the 55-gallon drum. During World War II the chemical industry, one of the many industries employing the 55-gallon drum, popularized the drum and made it a staple in the American consciousness.
Created to transfer oil more effectively the 55-gallon drum has become familiar to millions. These barrels have a history of transferring substances all across the globe; including, chemical waste.
10 Uses For 55-Gallon Drums
- Flower Bed
- Dog Bed
- Rain Barrel
- Metal Roofing
Lately, people have been finding unique uses for these barrels. Here is a list of ten atypical uses for a 55-gallon drum.
These barrels make beautiful flower beds or small vegetable gardens. They are fairly simple to make into flower beds.
Just drill a few holes in the bottom of the barrel to prevent root rot and then plant as usual.
The fun part of creating these flower beds is decorating them in fun bright colors.
Old 55 gallon drums have been turned into couches. Mostly for the patio.
Most barrel couches use wood to create the sitting area. Some people even upholster their couches to make them more attractive.
People have even used a barrel to create a crib for their baby with an attached mobile.
Circular steel bars are usually attached to the base of the cribs so that the 55-gallon drum is capable of rocking back and forth without rolling away.
People have turned 55-gallon drums into grills and smokers with some ingenuity.
Using power tools people are able to cut out the shape of their barbecue. Designs often feature a hinged lid construction.
To create a hinged barbecue you want to make two straight cuts across the length of the barrel and then slice around the rims from one line to the next. This will form the hood of your grill.
Often people make a metal frame to go around the length of the barrel and wedge the barrel in place. Some attach just legs and some add wheels.
Charcoal grills made from 55-gallon drums even utilize a blow torch hooked to a button to heat up the charcoal in his barrel grill.
Have you ever thought about turning a plastic barrel into a boat?
Several of these plastic 55 barrel drums can be strung together to create a raft sized boat. They are usually placed under the main structure of the boat to make it buoyant.
Some people affix a tabletop to a whole barrel. Others take it a step further and turn their designed tables into masterpieces.
Who said dog houses needed to be made of wood. A plastic 55-gallon drum can provide a comfortable home for your pet.
Some people have added heaters to ensure their pet is warm at night.
This idea provides functional use for your 15-gallon drum. The front of the barrel is cut open wide enough to add a few curved shelves to hold your books or collectibles.
You can add a round tabletop to the drum to provide even more storage space.
This is actually an old idea. Gardeners have been doing it for years.
The top of the barrel is removed and the barrel is left out to collect water. Gardeners use rainwater to water their vegetables because it is better for the plants than tap water.
Did you know that you can create a metal roof by using a 55-gallon steel drum as material,
All you have to do is remove the top and bottom of the barrel and split it down the middle. To get it perfectly flat try running it over with your vehicle a few times.
You can use this flat piece of metal to create a roof for your shed or possibly even your home if you have enough barrels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Today many questions exist about 55-gallon drum uses and carrying capacities. Below find answers to frequently asked questions about these drums.
Is a 55-gallon drum really 55 gallons?
A 55-gallon drum is said to carry 55 gallons, but whether it does or not depends on several factors. The actual amount the drum can hold depends on what it was designed to carry. 55-gallon drums differ in their carrying capacity depending on who manufactured the drum. Certain changes in the overall design of a drum can impact how much a drum actually is able to hold.
How much can a 55-gallon drum feed?
Most people want to know how much feed they are able to store within a 55-gallon drum so that they know how many drums they need to purchase. It is important to note that how much feed a 55-gallon drum holds depends on the volume of feed per pound. Most 55 gallon drums are able to store between 5-7 bags of feed. Extrapolating the number of bags by the weight of the feed would suggest that a 55 drum should be able to hold anywhere from 250 – 350 pounds of feed.
Will a 55-gallon barrel fit in a car?
Yes. A 55-gallon barrel can fit in the trunk of a small town car laying on its side easily. Don’t worry about it getting stuck as there should be enough wiggle room to comfortably be able to place it in your trunk and remove it when you need it.
How much does a 55-gallon drum weigh?
There is no uniform weight for an empty 55-gallon drum. The weight of a drum depends on the materials used to make it. An empty metal drum weighs about 40lbs while a plastic drum will weigh half that amount.
How much does a 55-gallon drum of corn weigh?
A 55-gallon drum can hold approximately 300 lbs of corn. How much corn your container holds will depend on your corn’s kernel size and the amount of moisture content. If you want to know how much a 55lb gallon drum will weigh when filled with corn you will need to know the weight of your container. Add the container weight to the corn weight to get the answer. A metal drum with 300 lbs of corn in it will weigh about 340 lbs.
How much does a 55-gallon drum of antifreeze weigh?
Most antifreeze for cars is 50% water and 50% antifreeze. A 55-gallon drum of 50/50 antifreeze on the Grainger website has a shipping weight of 550 lbs. That amount includes the joint weight of the antifreeze and the 55-gallon drum. Straight antifreeze weighs about 9 lbs per gallon which weighs about 495lbs. To get the full weight you will need to include the weight of the drum that you are using.
How much does a 55-gallon drum of oil weigh?
How much a 55-gallon drum of oil weighs depends on the oil’s density. Medium crude oils weigh about 399 – 417lbs based on the Louisanna DNR standard. Oil with a heavier density will weight more than the above.
How much does a 55-gallon drum of brass weigh?
The amount a 55-gallon drum of brass weighs depends on whether or not the brass you have accumulated is solid or not. Solid yellow brass weighs 520 lbs per cubic foot. A 55-gallon drum would weigh about 3900 lbs.
How much does a 55-gallon drum of water weigh?
A 55-gallon drum of water weighs 480 lbs. Water weighs about 8.34 lbs per gallon. To calculate the weight you times 8.34 gallons by 55 lbs which will give you an overall weight of 459 lbs. Next, you will need to add the weight of the drum to the total. If the drum weighs about 25 lbs then your total weight becomes 484 lbs.
Where can you find 55-gallon drums for free?
You can try Craig’s List and hardware stores to find 55-gallon drums. Brewing companies sometimes receive their liquid malt extract in 55-gallon drums and usually just dispose of the drums so sometimes they will give them to you for free. Beverage companies, car washes, and landfills are a few places where you can pick up free drums.
What can I do with an old 55-gallon drum?
You could list an old 55-gallon drum and give them away through Craig’s list. Some people have repurposed these drums into refrigerators, planters, and pizza ovens. Others have transformed their steel drums into sinks, bike racks, and bars. They have been used to collect rainwater, make works of art, and make pet beds. These barrels can be reused for storage, as chairs, and in many other ways.
How much .22 LR ammo can be stored in a 55-gallon drum?
Over 250,000 .22 LR empty bullet casings can be stored in 22 L container. This number is stimulated on a website selling these bullet casing by the barrel. If there are 208.198 liters in a gallon then there would be about 2.3 million of these types of casing able to be stored with the confines of a 55-gallon drum; though, this number seems incredibly high.
How much 9 mm ammo can be stored in a 55-gallon drum?
9 mm brass ammo weighs about 700 lbs when stored in a 55-gallon drum. If you subtract 40 lbs for the drum then you are left with a weight of 660 lbs for the 9 mm ammo. More than 80,000 9mm bullet casings can be stored in a 55-gallon drum.
From reviewing the above questions it is easy to see that 55-gallon drums remain popular because of their versatility. From planters to ammo storage, these drums have lots of uses.