Portable Fuel Tanks

What are Portable Fuel Tanks?

Like the name suggests, Portable Fuel Tanks are exactly that. They are small tanks that are made of plastic or metal, and they hold fuel. They come in a massive range of sizes and shapes, designed for different purposes. People use these tanks to fill up their chainsaws, to run their boat from, to carry as extra fuel for their four wheel drives or to use in their motorbikes. They are very handy in many situations, and most households have at least one lying around (especially if you mow your lawn).

What are they used for?

Like I mentioned above, there are many different types of Portable Fuel Tanks. In most cases, they are used to fill something up. Whether that be a chainsaw, whipper snipper, lawn mower, motorbike or something else, they are used to carry extra fuel. In smaller boats, they are used to run the engine. Some people have more than one in their boat, depending on the size of it. They are also used as backup fuel for four wheel driving, in case you ever run out.

Advantages of Portable Fuel Tanks

These tanks have many advantages, depending on what you are using them for. Compared to bolt in fuel tanks these are very cheap, meaning you can carry a fair amount of fuel without spending too much money. They are usually quite easy to move around and can be used to fill up small motor fuel tanks with ease. To top it off, if you do manage to get a hole in your main fuel tank then you have this as backup, as a pose to it all running out in one go, like it can do in a Long Range Tank if you get a serious puncture.

Disadvantages of Portable Fuel Tanks

Portable Fuel Tanks are great in many circumstances, but they are a real pain too, depending on what you are doing. For example, using them to carry lots of extra fuel for your four wheel drive is tiresome in the fact that you have to fill them up individually, find a safe place to store them without increasing your centre of gravity and they are slow to fill your vehicle with. In a boat, you have to swap tanks if you run out, instead of one large tank. However, for running a lawn mower, motorbike or other small engine powered item they are perfect.


There really are no practical alternatives for filling up small tanks for your lawn mower and motorbike. Buying a larger tank and storing it at your house is expensive and the fuel would go stale too quickly. In this regard, you can’t fault them. However, if you are carrying fuel in your four wheel drive that exceeds more than 30L, I would highly recommend getting a Long Range Fuel Tank, or an Auxilliary Tank. These will save you a lot of money and time, and they are much easier to use. Instead of undoing 5 tanks from your roof, lowering them down, filling them up one by one and then struggling to lift them back up again, you just fill up one tank. Emptying a fuel tank into your car can take up to 10 minutes, and when you are standing outside and it is raining (or 45 degrees) I bet you would rather be inside your car.

As long as you ensure that you mount the long range tank up as high as possible (to get the most clearance) and that you put a guard underneath it (to protect it from any punctures) then you will have no issues. Bear in mind that these are not fragile – most are made of 3mm steel so they don’t puncture easily on their own anyway.

What is the best Portable Fuel Tanks to get?

In most cases, the choice comes down to plastic or metal. Plastic is much cheaper and comes in a greater variety of sizes and shapes, but they can crack and perish over time. A metal one will last you a life time, unless you run over it with a car. Basically the metal ones are about twice the price, but you can give them a hammering and know that they will put up with it. Both types have their own advantages, and it basically comes down to what you want. For four wheel drives, I would get the metal ones, but for motorbike riding, lawn mowers and anything else that is related the plastic ones do fine. Just ensure that you keep them out of the sun and somewhere that they can’t get too hot!

Storing Portable Fuel Tanks

Portable Fuel Tanks expand when they get hot, and this can be a serious problem if you allow them to get too hot. In either case, try to keep them out of the sun if possible. Don’t fill them up right the way to the top; leave a bit of room to expand (much like when you freeze a bottle of water!). Try not to keep fuel for too long, or it will go stale and could cause issues with your engines. If you are driving around with these, ensure that they are very securely stored! You shouldn’t ever mix fuels. For example, if you have had diesel in one fuel tank don’t put petrol in it unless you clean it out very well.

Where can you get these tanks from?

Most hardware, camping, boating, motorbike and four wheel drive shops will sell these. How much you pay though, comes down to how much you shop around. I know that you will get some great bargains if you are willing to do a bit of leg work, or wait for sales to come on. This is especially worth while if you are going to get some of the metal ones – they are not cheap. The alternative of course is to get them online, but just remember to check the postage costs!

Portable Fuel Tank Sizes

Portable Fuel tanks come in a range of sizes, from 5L through to about 50L. The most common size is 20L, but you can get 10, 15, 25, 30, 45L and beyond if you need to. Just remember to get something that is going to suit your purpose. There is no point getting a 45L one if you are planning on putting it on your car roof!

Portable Fuel Tanks are well worth buying, for many situations. I have a few that I use for different things, and they come in handy very often. Remember to shop around and you will save a lot of money!

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