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32 Different Types of Buckets

Different variety of buckets, collage photo.

Buckets come from the Old English word “buc” which means “pitcher.” The word was first used in the 13th century but the object itself has already existed as early as 3200 BC. in Egypt. Ancient carvings depict Pharaoh Narmer with a servant carrying a bucket, Assyro-Babylonian gods and goddesses holding buckets of holy water in one hand and on the other a pine cone to sprinkle the holy water with, and Mexican priests also carrying small buckets.

Buckets made of wood, metal, and leather were used in Medieval Europe for domestic purposes as well as for warfare. Galvanized iron buckets were made in the 19th century while affordable, lightweight, and colorful plastic buckets of different shapes and sizes were introduced in 1967.

A. Types

1. Livestock Bucket

A farmer holding a metal bucket that stores the feeds for his farm animals.

Having the right kind of bucket makes it a lot easier to feed all of your farm animals and to easily carry and deliver the food and water that they need. These buckets are very high quality and are made of durable materials so that you do not have to worry about them cracking or breaking soon after you buy them.

If you are going to be feeding your animals directly from the bucket, it is important to make sure that the bucket is large enough to accommodate the head of your animal without them feeling uncomfortable.

2. Ice Bucket

A stainless steel bucket containing cubes of ice.

These insulated containers are used to ensure that your guests or family members always have ice when they want it without having to get up and go to the freezer. They are commonly used on a home bar and usually have a lid to help keep the ice from melting. When made of thicker or more insulating materials, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your ice is going to melt soon after being put in the bucket.

One popular type of ice bucket is available at hotels and allows guests to go to the ice machine to get ice to take back to their rooms. Most ice buckets have a lid that fits into the top of the bucket to prevent cold air from escaping. There are generally either handles on each side of the bucket or a handle on the top that drops down when not in use.

3. Mop Bucket

Green plastic bucket great for storing cleaning materials at home.

Homeowners who want to make sure that they are able to keep their floors clean need to invest in a mop bucket. These are different from commercial mop buckets in that they are smaller, generally, do not have wheels, and do not have a wringer that can be used to remove water from the mop.

They are great for holding a large amount of soapy water for cleaning a floor, and they have a handle to make moving the bucket as easy as possible. In addition, opting for a mop bucket that has a spout makes it very easy to pour out the dirty water when you are done mopping.

4. Bucket


A white bucket with a half-moon shape great for storing small harvests.

Picking fruits and vegetables can be very time consuming and hard on the body, especially if you have to keep bending down to put the food that you harvest into buckets on the ground. You can avoid the back pain that is inevitable with this motion by using a harvesting bucket that you can wear.

These buckets come with a durable adjustable strap that holds the bucket next to the wearer’s body so they can use both hands when picking food. Because the bucket goes wherever the user does, it is easy to place harvested food into the bucket without having to stop and move the bucket along with them.

5. Commercial Mop Bucket

A yellow bucket with mop that is popular among stores and markets.

These buckets are also called mop trolleys and are wheeled buckets that are easy to move with the person who is mopping the floor. They generally have a wringer that makes it possible to remove most of the water from the mop without accidentally getting dirty water on your hands.

The top bucket is where the wringer is located to remove water from the mop and where the mop can be stored when it is wet, while the lower bucket is used to collect the water as it drips down from the wringer and to store other water for the user to wet their mop.

6. Car Washing Bucket

A red, plastic bucket good for car wash activities.

Buckets for washing the cars are generally a lot smaller than the ones used for mopping floors, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less useful. They can hold a decent amount of water and can be easily carried with one hand while you navigate around the car to wash it.

Because you don’t want to drop the bucket, you will want to opt for one that has a thick or ergonomic handle, as this will help you hold onto the bucket so you don’t have any accidents. Putting a grit guard in your bucket will also prevent you from accidentally scratching your car’s paint while you wash it.

7. Ash Bucket

A metal bucket with ash inside.

Ash buckets provide homeowners with an attractive way to store old ashes and coals from their fireplaces. Rather than trying to balance ashes on your fireplace shovel to carry them outside for disposal, when you use an ash bucket, you will have a great place to store your ashes and hot coals until you are ready to dispose of them.

Opting for one with a lid is a good idea, especially if you have small children or dogs in your home, as this will help prevent any accidents or spills from occurring.

8. Industrial Pail

Blue, extra large buckets used for industrial purposes.

Industrial pails make it easy to distinguish between various products such as mix paint and mortar and haul items in a handy yet sturdy bucket. These pails come in a wide variety of sizes, although the five-gallon size is very popular due to the fact that you can put so many things into it.

Another popular size is the two-gallon bucket, which is ideal for holding paint for small jobs around the home. When you need a lot of industrial pails, it is a good idea to buy them as a pack, as this can help you save money.

9. Sand Bucket

A pink, plastic sand bucket with a plastic hand shovel included.

Any parent who has ever taken their kids to the beach knows that children love to dig and to play in the sand. Having a bucket makes building sand castles much easier, allows kids to gather shells, and makes it simple to scoop up water to fill in a moat. While it is possible to bring almost any type of bucket to the beach, sand buckets are ideal for use by children because of their size.

Not only are they light enough for most kids to carry on their own, but they generally come in very bright colors so they are easy to spot on the beach.

10. Party Favor

Small and colorful plastic buckets for party favor.

Very small buckets are useful for party favors. While these buckets are not large enough to be of much use hauling water or other materials, they come in a variety of colors and styles so you can find some that match the theme of your party. They are very popular for birthday parties, holiday parties, and even weddings, as they provide a great place to hold party favors, snacks, or even flowers for your guests.

11. Storage Bucket

A heavy-duty, red storage bucket.

Source: Etsy

Storage buckets are generally large and flexible, with two handles which make them easy to move, even when they are full. They offer a great way to quickly corral items such as toys in a child’s room or smaller yard tools. Because they come in a variety of sizes and colors, it is easy to find storage buckets that fit the décor of your home or improve the appearance of your outbuilding or garage.

B. Feature

1. Dual Spout

Blue plastic bucket with spout.Source: Home Depot

If you are going to be pouring water or other liquids from your bucket, you may want to consider buying one that has a dual spout. This means that you will be able to pour from your bucket from either side without having to worry about the liquid running down the side of the bucket.

While buckets with just one spout are popular and easy to find, if your bucket is not turned in the right direction, it can be difficult to pour neatly from a bucket that only has one spout.

2. Personalized

Rustic metal bucket with a hand-painted name.

Source: Houzz

Personalized buckets are great if you are going to be having a party or a wedding and want to have a cute and fun way to collect items. While this type of bucket does not have much use around the home as a mop bucket or for feeding animals, it offers a great way to brighten up your décor if you use your bucket for storage.

Families with more than one child can benefit from personalized storage buckets, as this makes it much easier for children to put away their toys in the right place.

3. Translucent

Pink translucent plastic bucket. with a metal handle.Source: Home Depot

Most of the time, using an opaque bucket does not cause any problems, but if you want to be able to keep an eye on the level of product in your bucket, you will want to opt for one that is translucent. These buckets make it very easy to see how much paint, sand, or other product is left in the bucket.

4. Nesting

Pink bucket for nesting with two green clippers.

If you have a lot of buckets but do not need to use them all it once, it is a good idea to buy some that can be nested for storage. Unlike buckets that have straight sides, buckets that can nest have a gently tapered shape. This means that they can easily fit inside one another for storage. Being able to nest multiple buckets will decrease the amount of space that you need for storing your buckets when they are not in use.

5. Collapsible

A brown collapsible bucket that is practical for saving space.Collapsible buckets are ideal if you do not have a lot of storage space for your bucket and do not need to use it all the time. They are generally made of a flexible ribbed plastic that allows the bucket to be pushed flat for storage. One thing to consider if you do opt for a collapsible bucket is that they are generally not as sturdy as traditional buckets.

This means that you may deal with spills due to the flexibility of these buckets, so it is a good idea to be wary of putting dangerous materials in them.

6. With Lid

Metal paint bucket with lid.Source: Home Depot

If you want to be able to use your bucket for long-term storage, opting for one with a lid is a smart idea. This allows you to protect the items that you have inside of your bucket by simply snapping the lid on top. Additionally, buckets with sturdy lids are ideal for stacking items on top of one another, which is perfect if you do not have a lot of storage space.

As long as the buckets you use are sturdy and well-constructed, you do not have to worry about the items in storage being damaged.

7. Partitioned

Wooden partitioned bucket isolated on green background.

Partitioned buckets are ideal if you want to separate two materials from each other. One great reason to opt for a partitioned bucket is that you want to make sure you can do a thorough job cleaning your floor. Since these buckets have space for both clean and soapy water, they make it very easy to wash and then rinse a floor.

Rather than trying to carry two buckets with you for a cleaning job, you can use one that is partitioned and only have to worry about moving one bucket at a time.

8. With Wringer

A red mop bucket with wringer filled with soapy water standing on wooden flooring.

Unless you have a mop with a built-in wringer, you will need to make sure that you wring out extra water from your mop when mopping your floor. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to use a bucket that has a wringer included. This allows you to quickly remove excess water from your mop and collect it in the bucket so that it does not go all over the floor.

9. Seat Cushion

A black plastic bucket with a cushion lid.

Source: Etsy

While this is not a very common option, buckets that have cushioned lids can actually perform double duty and work as a seat as well. This is great for people who love to entertain and need to have extra seating available, but it is important to make sure that the cushion is thick enough to be comfortable.

10. Reinforced

A medium-sized stout bucket made of stainless steel.Source: Home Depot

Carrying very heavy loads in a bucket can often cause the top of the bucket to become distorted. This is because the walls of the bucket are not thick or strong enough to keep their shape when a heavy load is carried and the handle of the bucket is used.

To prevent this from occurring, it is a good idea to buy a bucket that has reinforced rings around its top. This will help prevent distortion and provide enough strength so that the rim of the bucket does not collapse, bend, or become distorted.

11. Tongs Included

A metal bucket of ice with a metal tong included.

If you are going to buy an ice bucket, it is a good idea to consider purchasing one that comes with tongs. These tongs are necessary for removing ice from the bucket without contaminating it. When they come with the bucket as a set, they will generally match it in style and appearance, which can improve the appearance of your bar and impress your guests.

12. Food Safe

A small metal bucket with french fries.

Restaurant owners find themselves in a unique situation when buying buckets, and that is because they have to make sure that any bucket they buy is safe to use with food. Because of this, restaurant owners are unable to use just any bucket to store or transport food.

They instead need to make sure that the buckets they use have been manufactured with materials approved by the FDA for food transport and storage. This is so that the food stored in the buckets will not be damaged or compromised.

C. Material

1. Glass

A glass bucket served on a fancy dinner table.

Glass buckets have the obvious advantage of being very attractive, but they are also significantly more fragile than buckets made from other materials. Generally, any glass bucket you find on the market will be an ice bucket. While ice buckets made of glass can be very ornate and attractive, it is important to remember that unless the ice is insulated, the bucket will not do a great job of keeping the ice from melting.

This means that if you are in the market for an ice bucket, you need to weigh the pros and cons of glass and decide if the visual appeal of the material is worth the possibility of your ice melting faster.

2. Plastic

A blue, plastic bucket with a red handle.

Plastic buckets are incredibly popular and are generally very heavy-duty, so they can last for a long time without cracking, breaking, or splintering. It is easy to find both commercial and residential buckets that are made of plastic due to how durable this material is.

Another benefit of plastic is that the buckets come in a variety of different colors and designs, making it easy to distinguish which bucket you are using for what purpose.

3. Wood

Wooden bcukets of different styles and sizes.

There are not many buckets that are made from wood available on the market now, although of this material used to be very popular in the past. While wooden buckets are incredibly attractive, they simply are not as durable or long-lasting as metal or plastic buckets are.

Unfortunately, when exposed to water on a regular basis or left outside in the elements, wood buckets tend to rot, mold, and break down fairly quickly. Because of this, most people opt for a different material when they are going to be using their buckets regularly. However, wood buckets can be used in a decorative manner or for storage inside the home where they will not be subject to the elements or get wet.

4. Metal

A metal ice bucket with wine glasses on the side.

Metal buckets are very beneficial to people who will be using their buckets outdoors or who want to make sure that they buy the most durable bucket available. Just like plastic buckets, metal buckets last for a very long time when they are cared for properly. Of course, there is the concern of a metal bucket rusting after a period of time.

Taking care to dry off your bucket when you are finished using it and store it in a protected location will help prevent this damage from occurring. Metal buckets have the added benefit of being able to withstand odors without absorbing them.

D. Size

1. Extra Small

An extra small red bucket perfect for storing tomatoes and garlic.

Used mostly for small plants or party favors, these extra small buckets are generally only a few inches tall. While they are not ideal for many other applications, because of their cute size, many people love them.

2. Small

Small and colorful buckets with uncooked pasta inside.

One-quart buckets are ideal for use in small jobs around the home such as mixing paint or little amounts of grout. They may not come with a handle due to their small size and the fact that they can easily be picked up with one hand.

3. Medium

Medium-sized metal buckets containing drinks and ice.Medium buckets average around ten quarts in size and are great for carrying food for animals, transporting a little bit of water, or organizing things in your home.

4. Large

A large, yellow green bucket containing water for easy floor cleaning.

Fifteen-quart gallons are ideal if you need to use your bucket for water to wash your floor, as you will have plenty of space in the bucket to hold all the water you need.

5. Extra Large

Extra large industrial buckets in a factory.

For a large job or for plenty of storage, you will want to opt for a bucket that can hold around twenty quarts. These buckets are great for mixing up large batches of paint or storing materials. They often come with lids and can generally nest for storage when empty.