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Open Head vs. Closed Head Drums: What's The Difference?

In the realm of industrial storage and transportation, steel drums stand out for their robustness and versatility. Open head and closed head steel drums are each tailored for distinct types of cargo. Both play critical roles, and so making the right choice between them depends on the materials you aim to store or transport. Dallas Steel Drums, a leading provider in this space, offers an extensive selection of both drum types, ensuring your materials are housed in compliant, reliable, and safe containers.


A Primer on Drum Containers

Drum containers are synonymous with efficiency and utility in storage and transportation worldwide. Steel drums, in particular, appeal to industries for their exceptional durability and longevity, surpassing alternatives such as plastic. Constructed from stainless or carbon steel, these drums cater to a broad spectrum of needs, from food storage to hazardous materials transport.

Their resilience and reusability make steel drums a cost-effective solution for many businesses. Explore the extensive variety of both drum types at Dallas Steel Drums.

Open Head Steel Drums

What sets open head steel drums apart is their detachable lid, facilitating straightforward access to the drum's interior. This design lacks a hinge but employs secure locking mechanisms, like lever locks or bolt rings, for safety compliance with UN and DOT standards.

Open head drums are particularly suited for the storage or transport of substances that are not easily poured, such as semi-solids and viscous liquids, as well as solids like sand or gravel. The convenience of loading and unloading without specialized equipment makes these drums a prime choice for a variety of applications. Discover more about these versatile containers at Dallas Steel Drums' Open Head Drum selection.

Closed Head Steel Drums

Alternatively, closed head steel drums, or tight-head drums, feature a non-removable top with bung openings for accessing contents. This design maximizes safety and integrity, especially for transporting liquids and hazardous materials.

The durability and corrosion resistance of closed head drums make them an indispensable option for industries dealing with flammable and combustible liquids. Although they offer less accessibility compared to open head varieties, their safety and reliability are unparalleled for specific uses. Learn more about these drums at Dallas Steel Drums' Closed Head Drum collection.


Two 55 Gallon drums, one white and one black,

Choosing Your Steel Drums Wisely

When it comes to selecting the right steel drum, understanding the nature of the materials you need to store or transport is key. For solid and semi-solid substances, an open head drum provides the necessary ease of access. On the other hand, for liquids, especially those of a hazardous nature, closed head drums offer the safety and security required.

Dallas Steel Drums prides itself on offering a wide array of both drum types, ensuring compliance with national and international standards. Whatever your needs, from water to hazardous materials, they have the packaging solutions to meet them. Find the perfect container for your materials in our product catalog.


In conclusion, the distinction between open head and closed head steel drums is more than just structural; it's about choosing the right tool for the job. With Dallas Steel Drums, you have a partner committed to providing high-quality, regulation-compliant options for your storage and transportation needs.

Whether you're in the market for an open head drum for more accessible contents or a closed head drum for secure liquid transport, their expertly crafted selection is designed to meet the diverse requirements of industries worldwide. For more details on their offerings, including parts, reconditioned options, and tote tanks, visit their comprehensive website.

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