Pail (container)

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Three gallon plastic pail of paint with screw closure
Steel pail of concentrated pesticide

A pail is a technical term, used in the shipping industry, to designate a type of cylindrical shipping container with a capacity of about 1 to 12 gal (3 to 50 L). It can have straight or slanted sides and usually has a handle or bail.[1]

The non-technical meaning is identical to bucket.[2][3]


Pails can be made of

Pails are either "open head" with removable covers or are "tight head" with sealed heads and a screw closure.

Pails made of wood, and later metal, were originally used to transport milk, before the introduction of the milk churn.


Pails are used for a variety of fluids and flowable materials. When properly constructed and certified, they may be used for dangerous goods shipments. [4]

Pails are shipping containers that are shipped individually, shipped as secure unit loads on pallets, or shipped in corrugated fiberboard boxes.


-Paragon Manufacturing Inc.

-Letica Corp


-Norton Packaging

-Rehrig Pacific

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Soroka, W. Illustrated Glossary of Packaging Terminology (Second ed.). Institute of Packaging Professionals. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Flexner, Stuart; Hauck, :epmpre, eds. (1993) [1987]. Random House Unabridged Dictionary (hardcover) (second ed.). New York: Random House. p. 271. ISBN 0-679-429174. 
  4. ^ "How to Comply with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations". US DoT. 

Books, general references[edit]

  • Soroka, W, Fundamentals of Packaging Technology, IoPP, 2002, ISBN 1-930268-25-4
  • Yam, K. L., Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6
  • ASTM D4504—Specification for Molded Polyethylene Open-Head Pails for Industrial Shipping of Nonhazardous Goods