Buckets and Pails, Let's Help you Tell the Difference

Buckets and pails, spot the difference


Buckets and pails are very familiar products, but they are often confused with one and another. However, there is a difference, and that main difference is the purpose. 

Bucket is the more familiar term. It is a cylindrical upright open container with a handle. The primary purpose of a bucket is to transport liquids and that is why they are popular in the food industry. In addition to carrying liquids such as water and milk they are also used to carry bulk dry ingredients such as flour, sugar and spices. They can also be used for cleaning and carrying chemicals. They are designed to be a quick efficient way or transporting liquids or solids in reasonable sized quantities. Some buckets may come with lids, this additional feature is favourable to ensure the safety of your produce short term. 

A pail, although having the same cylindrical appearance, is designed to be used for storage. One of the big differences is a pail usually has an air-tight or a tamper-proof lid. While a pail can be used as a bucket, a bucket should generally not be used to store food indefinitely. This means that a pail is often used as packaging, typically for bulk buys, or storing ingredients until they are required.

So, there we have the difference between buckets and pails. However, there is a lot more to a bucket and a pail than just their purpose. There are many ergonomic and innovative features that make buckets and pails much easier to use. Buckets tend to have more ergonomic features as they are used regularly compared to a pail, hence the focus is on buckets below. 

Material is critical in determining the quality of a bucket. Typically, they are made of plastic or stainless-steel, with a wide range of variations and grades. From that which is food safe to chemical resistant is quite different, so it is good to know the intended purpose of your bucket. To find more about food safe materials how and why click here. Some buckets boast a metal detectable plastic, this is an additional feature, for your piece of mind, when used in production areas. 

Have you ever noticed those small increments on your bucket? This moulded measurement device is very useful as it allows accuracy in the measurement of liquids, dry ingredients or chemicals. 

Its unthinkable of buckets not containing a handle, Likewise, pails. And while they are typically designed with them, the design of the handle is interesting. When the bucket is full, all the weight is concentrated on the users’ fingers or across the palm, meaning ergonomics and strength of the handle is important. This includes the shape, and grip of the handle. The handle often is flattened to spread the pressure and make carrying more comfortable. How the handle is connected to the bucket is important especially for food contact. Rust can form in metal joins where it is hard to clean, meaning an all-plastic option is often preferred.

A spout. Spouts guide the flow of the liquid or dry ingredients in a neat and orderly direction. Managing the direction of the flow, helps in reducing mess and overflow, which can be a time saver, which is important in the food industry.

When pouring, it is often hard to get a grip on the bucket. A good quality bucket often has an unnoticed indent in the bottom for support. This ergonomic feature balances the weight of the bucket between both arms and enables you to control the bucket as do indents in handles.

Pails are typically cheaper than buckets, as their purpose is not so diverse. However, the lid is an important feature. If it is airtight, this as we know reduces bacterial breeding. But what many have is a tamper proof seal, this one-time seal is a good way of keeping produce fresh.

So yes, buckets and pails are different, not just two names for the one product.

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