19 Types of Buckets Just the Right Size for Each Task

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types of buckets

Speaking of buckets, you would be quite surprised to know that there are several different types of buckets - not just the ones you have in your utility room or restroom.

The difference between the various types of buckets is their ability to move and or store liquids, debris or earth. In previous eras, buckets also had spiritual or religious significance attached to them.

The word bucket essentially comes from the English word “buc”, meaning “pitcher” and the use of the word was first seen in the 13th century.

However, the hollow, cylindrical-shaped container has been in use even earlier. There are ancient carvings that depict gods and goddesses carrying buckets of holy water and Mexican priests carrying small little buckets.

In Medieval Europe, buckets made of metal, leather and wood were used for domestic and warfare purposes.

Galvanized iron buckets made an appearance in the 19th century and it was in the 1960s that lightweight, colorful and affordable buckets made of plastic in various shapes and sizes came into existence.

19 Types of Buckets

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the various types of buckets that exist.


among many different bucket types, situlas are unique ones due to their ancient story

Situlas are bucket-shaped vessels that are usually made of metal or glass. These have a handle made of wire or cord that is attached to the side and facilitates carrying. These were usually used to carry water or wine in ancient Greece and Egypt.

In Egypt, situlas were also used for temple rituals and in the Medieval Period, situlas made of bronze were used to keep holy water or other libations.

The situlas used for religious rituals and to keep holy water didn’t have handles and looked more like ornamental urns.

Water Carrying Buckets

one of the most common bucket types are nothing else than water carrying buckets

This is probably the most common type of bucket we are all familiar with. Your typical five gallon bucket these days are patterned after the classic water carrying bucket.

Traditional buckets are cylindrical vessels with wide mouths and can be used to carry liquids and also store liquids, paints, compounds, etc., or carry sand, gravel, debris, mix cement in, and also use to hold ice to chill beverages in.

In ancient times, water-carrying buckets were usually made of metal and later, they were made of wood. The wooden buckets were made up of a ring of slats that were held together at the top and base with metal rings similar to a wooden barrel.

It was in the 20th century that these water-carrying buckets were made from galvanized metal and much later from plastic.

Ice Buckets

some kinds of buckets, like ice buckets, are used for specific cases - like carrying enough ice to make the party go on

Commonly used at the home bar for parties, etc., these are essentially insulated containers that ensure that you have a supply of ice at hand, without having to go to the freezer whenever you want ice.

Usually, made of thick, insulating materials, ice buckets feature a lid that prevents the cold air from escaping and the ice from melting.

Usually, the ice bucket types has a single handle on the top, which drops down when you’re not using the ice bucket or it has handles on both sides of the container.

Mop Buckets

mop buckets

These are usually used by homeowners to mop the floor and keep it clean. These are usually different from commercial mop buckets.

These types of buckets are much smaller; they don’t have a wringer to remove the water and usually don’t have wheels. This is the kind where you'd keep it lightweight and move it around the room with you. Imagine using some Murphys Oil and water and plopping your mop in there, working your way backwards out of the room as you cleaned the floor, carrying the bucket with you as you go.

Mop buckets are useful to hold soapy water (please make sure you use the right floor types of soap), which you can use to clean the floor and are equipped with a handle that makes it easy to move the bucket easily. Sometimes, mop buckets have a spout that makes it very easy to empty the dirty water after you’ve finished mopping.

Commercial Mop Buckets

commercial mop buckets

Also known as mop trolleys, commercial mop buckets are equipped with wheels that make it very easy to move them.

The mop trolleys usually have a wringer that lets you remove the water from the mop, without dirtying your hands. The buckets consist of a top bucket, which has the wringer to remove the water from the water.

You can also store the mop in the upper bucket when it's wet. The lower bucket essentially collects the water that drips from the wringer and it also stores the water that you can use to wet the mop.

Ash Buckets

ash buckets

These are a handy way by which you can store old coals and ash from your fireplace or as one of the many fire pit tools you'll need.

Ash buckets are useful to carry the ashes and coal from your fireplace outside to dispose of them instead of using any types of shovels to do it, where you know you'll end up spilling some in your back and forth trips.

You can also store the ash and coals in the bucket until you’re ready to dispose of them. And, if you have dogs or pets at home, then it is a good idea to get an ash bucket with a lid to prevent any spills.

Sand Buckets

sand buckets

At the beach, kids love to play in the sand. A sand bucket makes digging and building sandcastles a lot easier for kids. These kinds of buckets are a blast at the beach or at the park with a sand pit. In a sense, you can consider any bucket one of the types of digging tools, as they can either be used to dig or to carry materials away from the dig site. Kids can have a blast with them.

Your children can also gather shells in the bucket to take home or they can use the bucket to carry water to fill in the castle moat.

Sand bucket types are best for kids because they are very lightweight and small in size, allowing your child to carry his/her bucket easily. Sand buckets are available in nice, bright colors, making them easy to identify on the beach.

Food-Safe Buckets

food-safe buckets

Commonly used to store and transport food items, food-safe types of buckets are used mainly by restaurant owners as they must ensure that the buckets they are using are safe for use with food.

The buckets to store and transport food must be made of materials that are FDA approved for food storage and transport, to ensure that the food stored in these buckets is not compromised or spoiled.

Car Washing Buckets

car washing buckets

Generally, car washing buckets are much smaller in size as compared to mop buckets; however, they are just as handy. These buckets can hold sufficient water and you can easily carry it with one hand while you go around your car, washing it.

It’s a good idea to choose a bucket with a thick, sturdy handle that is comfortable to hold for long without dropping it. These make for good clothes wringer alternatives as well.

You can put on a grit guard on your bucket, which will help in preventing you from scratching your car’s paint accidentally as you wash your vehicle.

Livestock Buckets

livestock buckets

These are mainly used to carry food and water for farm animals and livestock. These buckets are usually made of high-quality, durable materials that will not crack or break with use.

And, if you plan to feed the animals straight from the bucket, you must ensure that the bucket is sufficiently large to fit the head of the animal, without it being too constrained and uncomfortable.

Harvesting Buckets

harvesting buckets

It can be quite tiring and cumbersome to pick fruits and veggies, especially if you have to bend time and again to pick up the harvest. However, you can avoid this by wearing a harvesting bucket.

Harvesting kinds of buckets essentially come with a sturdy, adjustable strap, which holds the bucket close to your body, leaving both your hands free to pick the fruit and veggies.

The harvesting bucket is portable and moves along with you wherever you go so that you can work without any interruptions.

Storage Buckets

storage buckets

Generally, these are large-size buckets. They usually have two handles, which make them easy to carry, even when the buckets are full.

Storage types of buckets are excellent to gather things such as small tools, your child’s toys, etc.

Storage buckets are usually available in varying sizes and colors and you can find one perfect for your job and that perfectly matches the appearance and décor of your home, garage, etc.

Nesting Buckets

nesting buckets

If you have several bucket sizes but don’t require to use them all at once, then it may be a good idea to buy nesting buckets, which make them easy to store.

Nesting bucket types generally have a tapered shape instead of straight sides, which allow them to fit inside one another, facilitating convenient storage.

Storing several buckets one inside the other when not in use can help to reduce the amount of storage space required.

Dual Spout Buckets

dual spout buckets

If you want to pour water or any other liquid, then you could consider getting a dual spout bucket.

A dual spout bucket has spouts on either side and allows you to pour the liquid from any side without worrying about the liquid dripping down the side.

Buckets featuring a single spout are quite common and easy to find; however, if you don’t turn the bucket correctly towards the spout, you may find it difficult to pour neatly from the single spout, which makes the dual spout bucket extremely handy.

Buckets with Lids

bucket with lids

If you want to store something long term, then you could opt for a bucket with a lid.

By putting the lid on the bucket, you can protect the stuff stored inside the bucket and prevent it from getting damaged.

Also, you can stack the buckets having study lids on top of each other to save space.

Translucent Buckets

translucent buckets

You can use opaque buckets without any issue; however, if you want to keep an eye on the stuff stored inside the bucket, then it may be a good idea to purchase a translucent one.

Translucent types of buckets allow you to see how much sand, paint, or any other product is remaining in the container.

Collapsible Buckets

collapsible buckets

If you don’t have sufficient space to store your bucket when not in use, then buying a collapsible bucket is a great idea.

These bucket types are made of ribbed plastic that is very flexible and allows you to push them flat for storage.

However, collapsible buckets are not as strong and sturdy as regular buckets and since they are very flexible, they may be prone to spills.

Industrial Pails

industrial pails

These are strong and sturdy buckets and allows you to easily differentiate between several products like haul items, mortar, paint, etc.

Industrial pails are available in different sizes, although the most popular is the 5-gallon bucket, which allows you to store and carry several things.

The 2-gallon size is also quite popular, which is perfect to hold smaller items, paints, etc. and for doing small chores around your home.

If you have a large project and need several industrial pails then it is advisable to buy the pails as a pack, which is more cost effective and can save you money too.

Loading Buckets

there are different types of buckets, like loading buckets, that do not look like others; they are generally used on construction sites

Front-end loading buckets or bucket loaders are commonly used on construction sites. They allow you to easily scoop up materials, debris, etc. into a dump truck.

Usually, the loading bucket is connected to the vehicle by two hydraulic arms, which enables you to plow into the debris, materials, etc. to scoop them out.

There are different types of specialized buckets that can be used with a bucket loader such as slag buckets, designed for millwork, stump buckets, that can rip and scoop up stump roots from the ground, etc.

Types of Buckets for Every Task

So, as you can see, there are so many different types of buckets used in various places for different applications—at home, on the construction site, farms, industrial sites, etc.

The various types of buckets are extremely versatile and serve different needs and you can choose the right type and size of the bucket you need according to the job at hand.

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