Results: The Jerry Jugs
In our tests we compared flow rates of each of the CARB-compliant jugs with the non-CARB control paying close attention to the ease of use and spill potential of each product. The five different brands of jerry jugs we tested included Wedco, Midwest, Scepter, Blitz and No Spill, all of which were CARB compliant. The two non-CARB jerry jugs were both made by Wedco.
It was no surprise that the control jug, the non-CARB Wedco with the Versaflex spout, flowed the fastest. It was also the messiest, gushing over the side of the gunwale on every pour. The other jugs certainly flowed more slowly, but many spilled significantly less.
All of the CARB jugs claimed a flow rate of 2 gallons per minute (gpm) with the exception of the No Spill which claimed 2.5 gpm. In our timed tests, we noted that none of the jugs met its flow-rate claim. The non-CARB jugs did not specify a flow rate but easily beat the claims of the CARB jugs. Although speed was not the point of our testing, we did find it terribly tiresome to balance a fuel can for several minutes while the slow CARB jugs trickled fluid through self-venting nozzles. In comparison, our super-speedy non-CARB control jug emptied in about one minute.
Since these jugs weigh over 30 pounds when full, we found the jugs with more handhold options were easier to handle. The Blitz and Wedco each featured two handholds to help with balance.The No Spill, with its L-shaped nozzle, worked best for our boat and was unanimously voted the staff favorite. It rested comfortably on the gunwale of our boat and with the same push-button valve as a 2.5 gallon jug of water it spilled the least of all the jugs. Flexible spouts are not feasible on CARB jugs because of the shut-off feature requirements. So directing fuel into the deck-fill was a challenge when things like railings and cleats got in the way of angles nozzles.
Some cut-off mechanisms were also difficult to maneuver around obstacles. Each CARB jug features either a tab or collar on the nozzle that must be depressed before the flow begins to prevent any premature spilling. However, you must use a constant downward force to maintain the flow, which would preclude any use of a funnel. If you let up on the pressure, the flow will slow and even stop so that when the jug is removed from the fill hole, the flow of fuel will cease. The CARB jugs also have an auto stop feature that shuts off the flow when the fuel in the target tank reaches the nozzle tip. Since the CARB nozzles are self-venting (meaning that through the nozzle fuel flows out and air comes back into the jug at the same time), simple physics stops the flow when air can no longer reach the nozzle.
In general, the auto-shut off features and the spring closures did a good job preventing leaks of fuel and fumes, especially when the jugs were new. However, the plastic nozzle hardware began to show signs of wear after just a few uses, resulting in more drips. The only exception, was the No Spill. Its nozzle required the tester to press a release button with springs that were exceptionally stiff.
Although the CARB jerry jugs flowed slower than the control, we still encountered our share of leaks. Some of the jugs required that gaskets be properly installed in the nozzle, others were prone to cross threading, and some just didnít stop the flow quickly after release. Since the jugs canít be used with a funnel there was nothing to catch a few drips. Couple this with the dramatic damage sustained by some nozzles after a half-dozen uses and we felt that many of the jugs actually failed to prevent leaks.