Looking For A High Quality 5-Gallon Gas Can? Check Out Wavian

I’ll keep this post short and sweet. A couple of my many-year old plastic gas cans are getting brittle and I needed to replace them. Some years back I bought some steel Chinese ones off Amazon that are doing relatively okay other than starting to rust a bit inside – I looked it up and I bought them in 2014 for $54.50 each so that’s not too bad. I wondered what some higher quality options might be so I did some digging and came across Wavian.

Honestly, when I saw their name I assumed it was some cheap import but then started reading more. Wavian cans are made in Latvia and they are a NATO supplier. After getting mine, I can tell you they are the highest quality cans I have seen since my dad’s old surplus cans from WWII or Korea.

A Bit of History

The “Jerry Can” design dates back to 1937 created the Vinzenz Grügenvogel, the chief engineer of Müeller engineering in Schwelm, Germany. An interesting design requirement of the Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister was that a German soldier needed to be able to carry two full cans or four empty ones hence the size and triple top handle design.

There’s a far more complete historical narrative on Wikipedia including what America did if you are interested – click here.

Fast Forward To Today

Folks, these are really nice cans. At any rate, they have some cool features and I just want to highlight the ones I noticed and want to share:

  • They are rated for 20 liters which is actually 5.28 gallons of gas
  • The color you choose, I picked red, is powder coated on and a nice deep color and is gas resistant
  • The welding and assembly is excellent – cheap cans use tack welds that do let go.
  • The steel body is 0.9mm (which is 0.0354″ and puts it a tad thicker than 21 gauge (.034375″ 0.873mm)). Cheaper cans use thinner metal.
  • There is an internal coating to protect the steel – I doubt you will see this in a cheap can – it’s not present in my Chinese cans.
Leave it to the EPA to screw up easy to use gas can spouts. At least Wavian tried to do what they could with the mandate.
The cap closes very securely and the cadmium colored pin you see locks it in place. The pin itself is flared on the far end on purpose so it can’t be accidentally removed all the way and lose – that’s a nice design detail I think.
Brand new Wavian on the left – cheap 8 year old Chinese can is on the right. In all fairness, it’s held up for holding gas but I don’t really transport gas in it. The Wavian is built like a tank.
Here’s a close up of the Chinese can’s filler tube, It’s discolored with age but it works. The con is the it does flip-flop around when you are trying to start pouring. Again, it’s held up being outside all year long so I can’t knock it too hard.

The negative is that they come with a God-awful EPA compliant nozzle. I absolutely hate any nozzle where I have to pull something back and hold it back while trying to hold a can with up to 33.8-37.7 pounds of gasoline in it. Folks, I am 54 and it’s not that easy any longer. At least Wavian tried to do what they could with the mandate. In many cases, if you can push the spout into a filler port on a vehicle, the pressure would keep the spout open but not all gas tank filler ports are shaped that way – for example it will not work on my lawn tractor or generator that both have horizontal gas tank filler ports.

So, I did spend the extra money for a more traditional steel goose neck nozzle that does not have all that EPA stuff on it so I can manage holding and positioning the can with both hands and let the nozzle do it’s thing. By the way, it’s not like Wavian really has a choice – they are mandated to supply a self-closing nozzle but at least they can still sell the aftermarket nozzle.

The EPA-compliant spout is on top. The optional spout that you can buy separately is on the bottom and far easier to use. I will install the longer spout when and where I need it vs. leaving it on the can.

Note, growing up my dad had the old style Jerry cans and kept his nozzles separate from the tanks. I’m going to do the same thing. I’ll grab the nozzle and the gas can I need when it’s time to pour gas.

So, do I like the Wavian can? Absolutely – I just bought a second. If you are looking for just about the best can out there. Get a Wavian. I’ve not seen a modern can even remotely close to this level of quality. I bought both of mine and the fill spout from Amazon:


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

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