Best Minnow Bucket

Our Pick
Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
5.0
$94.99

As a cooler, it can carry 12 pounds of ice, 18 12-ounce cans, and has an interior dimension of 12x7x8.5 inches.


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11/22/2022 12:21 am GMT

The best minnow buckets, at least the specialized type, are a relatively modern invention. Kids from a generation or two ago caught their own minnows at a local pond. They then carried them to the lake, stream, or river in a coffee can. Perhaps a five-gallon minnow bucket and thought nothing of leaving them in the trunk of the car, or maybe on the back porch of grandma’s house after a day’s adventure with grandpa on the water.

The lecture you got from grandma wasn’t really a lecture at all and always ended in cookies, cake, or pie, with grandpa taking the brunt of the blame. If you are like my family, grandpa didn’t mind, he’d been there before.

Moms were a different story, you were the culprit, and you had to answer for your stinky crime as those discarded minnows began to decay and smell horribly of rotten fish on the back porch.

In the modern era, where there is a technological answer for almost every problem, we don’t see minnows decaying on the porch as we once did. Modern minnow buckets offer the latest in aeration techniques, water quality control, and portability.

They may have taken the fun out of the lecture. However, the ease of use, ability to keep minnows alive for long periods of time and even features like easy catching of these swirling tiny fish make the angling experience a much neater, less slimy, and much less odoriferous process.

Our Picks For the Best Minnow Buck

  1. Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
  2. Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
    5.0
    $94.99

    As a cooler, it can carry 12 pounds of ice, 18 12-ounce cans, and has an interior dimension of 12x7x8.5 inches.


    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 12:21 am GMT
  3. Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket
  4. Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket
    $26.78

    Sometimes you just want a basic piece of equipment without all the bells, whistles, and marketing ideas. The Frabill 4822 is that type of product.

    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 02:36 pm GMT
  5. YETI Loadout 5-Gallon Bucket, Fishing/Utility Bucket
  6. YETI Loadout 5-Gallon Bucket, Fishing/Utility Bucket
    5.0
    $40.00

    Durability is the hallmark of Yeti coolers, and that durability carries over to its versatile five-gallon fishing/utility bucket.


    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 05:04 pm GMT
  7. Frabill Flow-Troll Magnum Minnow Bucket - 10-Quart
  8. Frabill Flow-Troll Magnum Minnow Bucket - 10-Quart
    $27.83

    This bucket has a spring-loaded door, with filtering holes drilled in it. Minnows cannot escape, and the design allows a light flow of water to enter the bucket.


    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 12:21 am GMT
  9. Marine Metal Products Cool Bubbles 8 - qt. Plastic Bucket & Pump Kit
  10. Marine Metal Products Cool Bubbles 8 - qt. Plastic Bucket & Pump Kit
    4.0
    $46.78 $41.59

    For a moderate price, you can have a minnow bucket and aerator that fits the bill for most live bait applications.


    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 04:49 am GMT
  11. Flambeau Outdoors Galvanized 8 Qt. Floating Minnow Bucket
  12. Flambeau Outdoors Galvanized 8 Qt. Floating Minnow Bucket
    4.0
    $32.00 $20.99

    Don’t let the all-metal design make you think it won’t float, they make concrete boats that float just fine.

    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 12:20 am GMT
  13. Lindy Bait Tamer Fishing Bait Bag
  14. Lindy Bait Tamer Fishing Bait Bag
    $21.99 $19.99

    You’ll need to carry your minnows to the water with the bait bag inside a five-gallon bucket filled with water, but once you’re on the shore, the dock, or in the boat, tie a line to the bag and toss it in the water.

    Shop on Amazon
    11/22/2022 03:04 pm GMT

What to Look For in a Minnow Bucket

As a kid, we used whatever was around that would hold water, and preferably had a handle to carry minnows. That has changed in the modern era with an incredible variety of high-tech minnow buckets.

Some are insulated, some built of galvanized metal, and others just high-impact plastic. You can get them as standalone buckets, connect batteries, or solar-powered aerators to them to increase minnow viability.

Some of these buckets come with dual power aerators, meaning they can run on batteries, charged power sources, solar power, or be plugged directly into a 120-volt outlet in your home.

The important things to look for in a minnow buck are durability, crack resistance, a sturdy handle, capacity, ease of capture in catching the minnows, air supply system via an aerator, and as always, price.

We’ll take a look at these combinations, along with the material the bucket is constructed of, and finally, the reputation of the manufacturer.

The Best Minnow Buckets Reviewed

Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket

Our Pick
Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
5.0
$94.99

As a cooler, it can carry 12 pounds of ice, 18 12-ounce cans, and has an interior dimension of 12x7x8.5 inches.


Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 12:21 am GMT

A modern cooler conversion bucket with a lot of features, but at a solid price for a minnow bucket as well.

This 13 quart bait cooler doubles as a traditional cooler, so versatility is a prominent feature.

Constructed of high density injected molding plastic, and insulated with high-grade polystyrene foam, this is a solid cooler. The stainless steel hinges and clasps are secured with stainless steel screws, so rust and corrosion are never an issue.

An external two-speed pump can hang off the side of the bucket when used for carrying minnows. The two-speed pump uses a standard 12 volt DC car input so it can be plugged into your truck, boat, or to a 12-volt car battery with a clip-on adapter.

Carrying handles and a shoulder strap makes it easy to transport, especially during ice fishing season.

As a cooler, it can carry 12 pounds of ice, 18 12-ounce cans, and has an interior dimension of 12x7x8.5 inches.

It weighs just five pounds empty.

The minnow bucket cooler is available in 7.5, 19, 30, and 30 quarts with rod holder models.

Model7.5 qt13 qt19 qt30 qt30 qt rod
ColorWhiteWhite/tanWhite/tanWhiteWhite
Ext Dimension12.25x8x1015x10x11.2516.5×11.25×12.7519×12.5×14.2511×12.5×14.5
Int Dimension10x6x7.512x7x8.511.75x8x1015.5×9.5×11.515.5×9.5×11.5
Weight3 lb5 lb7.25 lb8 lb8 lb
Quarts7.513193030

Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket

Budget Pick
Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket
$26.78

Sometimes you just want a basic piece of equipment without all the bells, whistles, and marketing ideas. The Frabill 4822 is that type of product.

Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 02:36 pm GMT

Sometimes you just want a basic piece of equipment without all the bells, whistles, and marketing ideas. The Frabill 4822 is that type of product.

With a long history on the ice, the Frabill style bucket is a favorite among ice fishing anglers, and popular for the river, lake, and surf fishermen too. The bucket is light, just under six ounces, and has a two-gallon capacity.

The durable plastic bucket is designed to hold a clip-on aerator on the handle and has holes in the lid for an aerator hose. Plus, a larger hole to fill with fresh water to supply minnows with more air if you don’t have an aerator with you.

The snap-in lid, locks the contents in place, eliminating accidental spills, and the 11-inch height and 10.63-inch diameter of the bucket make it easy to carry, easy to set securely on the shore and stable in even choppy water on the boat.

This is one of the most widely used minnow buckets on the market with a long history of success among seasoned anglers.

You can’t go wrong with the low price and high performance of this Frabill classic.

YETI Loadout 5-Gallon Bucket, Fishing/Utility Bucket

Value Pick
YETI Loadout 5-Gallon Bucket, Fishing/Utility Bucket
5.0
$40.00

Durability is the hallmark of Yeti coolers, and that durability carries over to its versatile five-gallon fishing/utility bucket.


Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 05:04 pm GMT

Durability is the hallmark of Yeti coolers, and that durability carries over to its versatile five-gallon fishing/utility bucket.

Made of nearly indestructible high-impact plastic, this little gem tips the scales at 11 ounces and has variety written all over it.

You’ll pay a higher price since it has the Yeti label on it, but it also arrives with Yeti’s reputation and customer service.

Not a standalone minnow bucket, but a five-gallon bucket that can handle minnows. The Yeti entry into the minnow bucket field is also durable enough to carry water to camp, fill with debris, bale out the bottom of a leaky boat, or just about any other heavy-duty use you could find out on the water.

The 13.25-inch diameter and 15.87-inch height are nearly identical to a standard five-gallon industrial bucket, but the construction is much more durable than the buckets you buy paint, motor oil, or other materials in.

It is available in black or tan at the basic price and white or pale green for an additional fee.

Frabill Minnow Bucket, 10-Quart

Frabill Flow-Troll Magnum Minnow Bucket - 10-Quart
$27.83

This bucket has a spring-loaded door, with filtering holes drilled in it. Minnows cannot escape, and the design allows a light flow of water to enter the bucket.


Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 12:21 am GMT

Minnow buckets have a lot of users among anglers. We think of them as portable live wells for minnows, chubs, and other baitfish. We carry them out on the ice or keep them next to us on the shore.

But many times the best use for minnows comes on a slow troll in either saltwater or on a freshwater lake.

Frabill has an established minnow bucket designed exclusively for trolling.

At 1.65 pounds it’s heavier than most multi-use minnow buckets, and the design is much more aerodynamic, or should we say, “hydro-dynamic.” The weight and the shape are made for trolling behind your boat.

Minnows get acclimated to the water temperature you’re fishing, there is plenty of oxygen available without an aerator and they’ll last as long as you want to fish.

This minnow bucket has a spring-loaded door, with filtering holes drilled in it. Minnows cannot escape, and the design allows a light flow of water to enter the bucket.

Some designs literally pound the minnows against the side when a boat trolls the bucket.  The Frabill design allows water in, but not in full force, rather it filters in gradually through the drilled holes in the door.

Fill this venerable bucket with shiners or fatheads, tie a length of rope to it and let it ride behind the boat all day.

Marine Metal Products Cool Bubbles 8 – qt. Plastic Bucket & Pump Kit

Marine Metal Products Cool Bubbles 8 - qt. Plastic Bucket & Pump Kit
4.0
$46.78 $41.59

For a moderate price, you can have a minnow bucket and aerator that fits the bill for most live bait applications.


Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 04:49 am GMT

Don’t let the name fool you, there is no metal in this Marine Metal minnow bucket. It is made of high-impact plastic and does have a metal clip that attaches the battery-powered aeration pump to the bucket.

Measuring 11.22×10.04.9.45 inches it is a compact size that holds eight quarts of water. Filled to the brim, it weighs 17.5 pounds, but only 1.5 pounds empty.

This minnow bucket includes a single-speed DC-powered aerator and an easy-open, easy-close plastic lid.

For a moderate price, you can have a minnow bucket and aerator that fits the bill for most live bait applications.

Flambeau Outdoor 2-Piece Galvanized 8 Qt. Floating Minnow Bucket

Flambeau Outdoors Galvanized 8 Qt. Floating Minnow Bucket
4.0
$32.00 $20.99

Don’t let the all-metal design make you think it won’t float, they make concrete boats that float just fine.

Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 12:20 am GMT

It’s back to basics with a few modern quirks in this class design. You’ve probably seen similar-looking products used by your grandpa when you first went fishing with live minnows, but there are some hidden features that make this minnow bucket one to consider.

Made of metal, with a two-piece inner design crated to allow freshly aerated water to flow through the bucket, it will float on the water.

Don’t let the all-metal design make you think it won’t float, they make concrete boats that float just fine.

An automatic locking door, an eight-quart capacity, and a dimension of 20×10.5×7.75 inches make this durable metal bucket at home on land, on the boat, and especially in the water.

You can feel the heft of the galvanized steel in the 3.25-pound weight, but it still floats even in choppy water.

Lindy Bait Tamer Fishing Bait Bag

Lindy Bait Tamer Fishing Bait Bag
$21.99 $19.99

You’ll need to carry your minnows to the water with the bait bag inside a five-gallon bucket filled with water, but once you’re on the shore, the dock, or in the boat, tie a line to the bag and toss it in the water.

Shop on Amazon
11/22/2022 03:04 pm GMT

Our final minnow bucket in this review isn’t a bucket at all, but a radical departure from the other products we’ve reviewed.

This is a floating mesh bag that uses the surrounding water to keep minnows alive and vibrant.

You’ll need to carry your minnows to the water with the bait bag inside a five-gallon bucket filled with water, but once you’re on the shore, the dock, or in the boat, tie a line to the bag and toss it in the water.

The flow-through design allows water to move easily through the mesh covering, providing clean circulation and fresh, oxygenated water to the minnows.

An added benefit is the odor of the minnows in the bag wafting out into the water, attracting game fish in the process.

A secure hook and loop closing system remove the chance of metal corrosion over time while ensuring the minnows are securely locked into the bag.

Pulling the bag out of the water makes it easier to grab a minnow as well.

Conclusion

best minnow bucket

Minnow buckets have gone well beyond the realm of the coffee can or five-gallon paint bucket. They’re high-tech these days made of durable, corrosion-resistant plastic, galvanized metal, or space age nylon webbing.

The best minnow bucket is essential when fishing with live bait. Keeping those baitfish alive from the time you catch them in a seine or buy them at your local bait shop ensures better chances for you on the water.

For more guidance on choosing the best fishing gear, check out the pages below:

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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