A careful look at the No-Spill 5 Gallon Gas Can, for your electronics-friendly generator
Why would I look seriously at a $36 gas can from Amazon that's apparently not available anywhere locally, despite being made in the USA? Safety first, which we'll return to in a minute. Then there's lack of any shipping cost with Amazon Prime. Even slightly less expensive options like Sears.com wind up costing about the same, once you tack on shipping. Even on eBay. For the same $36 USD, you can choose the ship-to-store option for True Value here.
The reason I began shopping for a new can in the first place was because my 2 year old gas cans were bloating. Like, a lot, especially this past summer when it got pretty hot in my garage. Yeah, I could try to remember to release the pressure once in a while, but what worried me was the prospect of the can rupturing someday along the seam. I do have whole-home, interconnected, smart-phone alerting fire alarms, but I'd rather not test them the hard way.
The reason for those strange and barely functional filler spouts these days came from the new EPA mandates back in 2007 here, stating:
The new requirements also apply to diesel and kerosene containers. Starting with containers manufactured in 2009, the standard limits evaporation and permeation emissions from these containers to 0.3 grams of hydrocarbons per gallon per day.
So when it came time to prepare for another winter here in New England this fall, part of that preparation included being ready for multi-day power outages by having enough gas on hand for my whole-house generator, I didn't care to invest in 5 gallon containers anything like the 2 year old models I already have (bought at a wholesale club for about $22 each). Why? While they may be environmentally friendly, a good thing, the variety of filler spout designs I've used lately are all extremely prone to dangerous spillage, a bad thing. This is particular problematic for tiny tanks, such as string trimmers or chain saws.
So looking for newer designs with decent reviews, I quickly found the:
currently 4.5 stars and 293 reviews
last week, well before the recent NBC stories about the possible safety issues with some gas cans, based on WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) studies published here:
- Warning: Scientists say gas cans carry risk of explosion NBC News Dec 4 2013
- Consumer panel calls for flame arresters on gas cans after NBC report NBC News Dec 5 2013
I make no claims to be some sort of expert on fuel storage safety. Whatever container you chose to buy is your decision, and your risk, of course. But it does seem logical to me that less spillage could be safer during both transport (good seal) and refueling. The following attributes of the No-spill container seem to give it some safety advantages over all other designs I've owned these past few years:
- wire mesh in the spout, not mentioned on No-spill's site, Amazon No-Spill 6131 Nozzle description only says the stainless steel filter screen "stops dirt & debris"
- spill proof nozzle design that stops automatically when gas fills to level of nozzle opening I'll be testing soon, already demonstrated somewhat convincingly on YouTube here
- thicker plastic that seems less likely to be at all porous, and could help the seams hold up better under pressure
Based on what I've seen so far, (it arrived yesterday), it's looking like a much improved design over anything I've owned or seen in stores. I'll update this article with my hands-on informal test results soon, once i have some real-world tests filling my snowblower and generator.
If you're trying to refuel a car, you may want to consider this accessory:
Read more about my chosen generator, with UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) compatibility:
These UPSs work well with this generator, so you're ready for protection during thunderstorms, and the ability to keep your electronics going when you turn off the generator to refuel:
nospill.com's "Features...Functions...& Benefits..." section
, NBC News, Today, Dec 04 2013
on Nov 12 2012.
Dec 09 2013 Update:
I'd rather not add fuel to the fire, so to speak, as far as the admittedly somewhat sensationalized NBC coverage. But if you'd like to hear what the "No-Spill" company has to say about flame arrestors, send me an email at paul dot braren @ tinkertry.com
Jan 06 2013 Update:
Well, it sometimes seems to spill a bit. Yeah, there, I said it, that'll teach me for blogging before finishing my testing. Less than I used to spill when I'd slip while holding other brands of 5 gallon tanks upside down. And I can avoid spilling entirely if I don't intentionally hold down the release button even after I see gurgling near the tip of the spigot begin to happen.
But still, not exactly spill-proof. Would I buy another, despite this? Yes. It's still a better spigot design than anything I've owned before. It's also easier to refill at the gas station, because of the larger-than-average filler hole revealed when you remove the spigot. And no more of those little pressure release holes to remember to open and close at every use.
Nov 05 2014 Update:
In this past summer's heat in my garage, like any gas container, it did bulge quite a bit. I simply released the pressure outdoors before pouring, when I went to use it again. How? Simply by pressing the button, while the container was upright. It recovered its original shape again, no permanent deformation. The plastic is thicker than any previous brands I've owned, so I'm less concerned about rupture along the seams.