Gamma Seal Lids turns pails into reusable containers.

Gamma Seal Lids – What They Are and Why You Want Them

Gamma Lids

Gamma Seal Lids (UPDATED), also known as simply “gamma lids“, will effectively modify the typical 5 gallon plastic bucket into a reusable container that’s fairly leak proof with a mostly airtight seal. But, with the convenience of a screw on lid.

Also, 5 gallon gamma lids fit UN Standard 3.5 Gallon, 5 Gallon, 6 Gallon, and 7 Gallon Buckets with a 12″ Diameter.

Once installed, Gamma seal lids enable easy-on, easy-off because they simply screw-on and screw-off (spin).

Gamma seal lids convert 5 gallon plastic buckets into airtight storage containers with easy access – of which the benefits and uses are numerous.

Note: When I say “airtight”, it’s not perfect, or the same as using a sealed Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers inside (which obviously remove oxygen). However, gamma lids are quite effective for an airtight container. And the convenience factor is great!

Popular Gamma Lids:
(view on amzn)

  1. Black
  2. White
  3. Orange
  4. Red
  5. Green

The following looks to be the best price as of this post for a set of six 5 gallon food grade buckets.
Durable 90 Mil thickness:

Food Grade 5-gallon Buckets

How To Install & Use Gamma Seal Lids

The outer ring “snaps” to the top of the bucket with the help of a rubber mallet.

First remove the inner threaded lid from the ring (the two pieces come screwed together).

Place the bucket on a solid surface. Tap the portion of the gamma lid with the O-ring – hard enough to seat it all the way around the bucket’s diameter.

Work your way around the ring until it all ‘snaps’ in place.

Tip: It will be easier with a warm bucket and lid rather than cold.

Then, simply spin on the detachable lid portion.

Tip: Before installing the snap-on ring, be sure there’s a gasket (O-ring) seated inside. This is what provides the main bucket-to-lid air-tight seal. Also be sure there actually is an O-ring around the perimeter of the spin on/off lid (in case it fell out). This provides the air-tight seal of the removable lid.

Gamma Seal Lids - O Ring

Gamma Seal Lid Features

  • Air tight to a reasonable extent (due to the rubber gaskets)
  • Easy and Fast to open (spin on/off)
  • Variety of colors may assist inventory control
  • Stack-able to an extent
  • Re-sealed over and over again
  • Protects contents while providing easy access
  • Keeps dry foods fresher longer (eg dog food)
  • Leak proof (two gaskets, one on each part)
  • Keeps insects and moisture out
  • BPA free and Food Grade safe

The Many Uses For A Gamma Seal Lid

  • Dry pet food storage
  • ‘Working’ inventory storage of dry foods (rice, wheat, beans, oatmeal, etc..)
  • Very handy when accessing every day items
  • Emergency supplies
  • Camping and Fishing gear
  • Bulk Laundry Detergents (larger sizes save you money)
  • Potting/Planting Soil Mix
  • Boating (keep towels dry, part spares, etc.)
  • Pesticides, Chemicals
  • Chicken Feed
  • 100’s of other uses!

This is what I use gamma lids for around here…

For us personally, we have primarily been using the gamma seal lids for our bulk working inventory of wheat berries (for bread and pizza crust!), rye (mixed with wheat for bread), rice, sugar (though we don’t use that much sugar around here).

Tip regarding sugar storage: Some time ago I had purchased a big bag of sugar and dumped it in a 5-gallon bucket. Eventually it turned into a brick. Maybe because I kept it on a cold concrete floor – possibly creating condensation to some extent (enough to brick the sugar). Nowadays I just buy the small bags (4 pounders?) and set them in the bucket without dumping. Set bucket on piece of wood resting on concrete floor.

We used to use gamma lids for dry dog food too. Though our dog is now on “wet” canned food.

A Few More Tips

STACKING: With Gamma Seal Lids, avoid stacking buckets too high if the contents are heavy. This puts additional stress on the threaded lids. A typical 5 gallon pail of rice or wheat weighs about 30 pounds. If you stack them more than two high I would simply place a board between each one so the weight is transferred to the bucket’s edge (no problem).

LABELS: While color coded gamma lids help, we label each and every bucket. It’s easy if you use “white artist tape” because it will peel off readily later on, and a Sharpie writes on it quite well.

LUBRICATE GASKETS: To extend longevity and pliability of the rubber O-ring gaskets, DO NOT use petroleum jelly or petroleum based lubricants because this will eventually ruin (eat) the rubber. Instead use a silicone lube such as silicone plumbers grease:

Silicone Grease

Gamma Seal Lids are available from a number of sources, and their prices vary by quantity.

Are Gamma Seal Lids Worth It?

Are they worth the money? Yes, I believe they are worth it.

In my opinion there are uses where it’s so convenient that it is worth the money (see example list below).

If you seal a bucket with the standard snap-on lid, it becomes very difficult to remove and is certainly NOT convenient for accessing its contents from time to time.

Tip: For standard lids, you need a special tool (bucket lid wrench / pail opener). This one is a better one because it’s metal (aluminum). Whereas the plastic one’s aren’t as good:

Winco Pail Opener

What about you? Do any of you use Gamma Lids?

Like I said earlier, we like them for our working inventory of dry goods and others that we access from time to time. Easy in, easy spin.

Continue Reading:

Foods that will last ‘forever’

Diatomaceous Earth For Long Term Storage Of Grains

Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Bucket Food Storage


  1. No complaints about the gamma seal. Only had 2 problems. I cracked one by using it as a step stool. The other one I made a small crack by using a rubber mallet as an opener because I over tightened it. My bad on both. So I made an opener out of a 1×2 with wood block cleets that fit toward the out side of the inner rim. And the handle sticks out about 6 inches wider on each side of the bucket. Like a (redneck) spanner

  2. you should keep a mixed color assort of Gamma lids to create a bucket “pantry” for SHTF times – you’ll be cracking open the buckets of long term dry gods foods and they’ll need protection against contamination & pests …

  3. I have had one on my outside chicken feeder for a couple of year now. It works great but it does leak water when it rains a lot, So I have a cover over the top of it with the gamma lid to keep the food dry. It stays outside in the winter and summer. I use then for food storage like the others also.

    1. Matt in OK
      Gamma lids are used for accessibility to pull food out of the buckets, any time you need that item from the container. They are designed to keep bugs and other vermin out of your food source.

      As “air tight” to a degree, they are not Mylar bags which are designed for long term food viability.

      Mylar 5 mil(or greater) for long term storage, used with the oxygen absorbing packets. You can use a iron or curling iron after you have squeezed what oxygen out to seal the bag.

      Is this what you are wanting to know?

      1. Not so much as what I was wanting to know but what I knew.
        I appreciate it. It’s better received from elsewhere than me.

  4. We use Gamma lids for our easy access-everyday items such a flour,rice,pasta,etc. For our long term storage ( years) items we use the solid lids .When we stack buckets we always put a 14″ x 14″ plywood piece between buckets to avoid any cracking and to distribute the weight a little better. Our outer labels are masking tape with magic marker writing.

  5. Well I HOPE SO! Guess we will all find out in the long run. When I purchase grain I always check the inside then add more absorbers and a gamma. The grain inside is sealed in mylar but some times in haste the supplier tears the mylar when putting on the regular seal lid.

  6. Now if they would only start making then for the 4 gallon square pails. Easier to move, more storage per shelf space. I do like the 5 gallon ones and use a number of them.

  7. Before you place the gamma ring on your bucket know there is absolutely NO way it is coming off that bucket unless you have broken it.
    Ask me how I know…LOL.

    Put the ring on the wrong bucket ooohhh well live & learn rowl

  8. We use them, for the bulk food items we access on a regular basis such as beans, wheat, rice and oatmeal. Have done so since 2007. They are awesome. Keeps the bugs and other critters out, and the food fresh. With a practiced flick of the wrist you can spin them all the way shut! They are a bit spendy when you first buy them, but last so long they are a real bargain……

  9. Yeppers
    I use the heck out of these things.
    Go to the local Bakery and get some “Usually” free 3.5 gallon buckets,
    a perfect size for most commodities.

  10. We use them like everyone else. Have couple dozen full. Pasta left in original boxes two years or so, beans rice grains vac sealed. Keep couple on hand empty for whatever. Gamma lids are great, I can usually snap lid on with a knee and hands no mallet needed.

  11. I had 2 Gama rings break on me during storage. I guess the Lowes buckets are slightly bigger in diameter. Luckily everything was in Mylar bags.

  12. I have to share this in regard to storing long term…funny?? Not so much. I don’t check my shelves every day..obviously for a few days….I discovered an entire case of green beans leaking onto the shelf and into another case or two. I just discarded the cans, cleaned the mess, left the fan on for a few hours. It dried fast and no smell.
    So, I decided to check all cases (lots of cases!!) on all shelves. This is a Goody’s storage warehouse shelf bought at a yard sale and I love it. 8′ tall(had to cut metal to get inside doorway)4 ‘ wide and 2’ deep(X2). The shelves are 1″ thick and adjustable…a really nice shelf.
    Well, it took a while but I checked the dates inside the cases, rearranged by year date, and found a BB date of 2009 on a can of corn!! Yep!! I don’t even recognize the brand–so I used it with a zucchini dish I like and it was fine, taste just as fresh as any can of corn.
    So, don’t throw out those cans until you are sure they are bad. 11 years is a long time, but that can was fine.

  13. A friend cut a hole on the top of a gamma seal (be still my heart) and put the pole end of a close washer thru and attached it to the washer bottom. You can wash your clothes in the 5 gallon bucket and close the top with the gamma seal, the top pole sticking out and nothing splashes out. Hope I explained this right.

  14. We originally bought ours to use on our Super Pails in storage, since once you remove the flat top they come with you’re left to pry up and pound down each time you get into the bucket. Wound up using every single one of the gamma seals on other buckets in the meantime though because they are so convenient when adding staples as they’re procured. I always use a Mylar or vacuum seal for items as double protection. And the colored lids help identify which bucket to pull out from the stack.

    The seals can get tight. As a result we southern engineered a “wrench” to give leverage out of two U shaped pieces of metal that fit over the ridge section and fastened those to a handle with screws. It works like a charm and makes getting in so much easier.

  15. Some of the Gamma Seal lids have a manufacture fin from the plastic press process used to create the lids. To improve the seal, trim up the fin so that the gasket seal is not partially defeated as it rides over the fin. A few seconds with a pocket knife will drastically improve the air seal capability of new lids.

  16. I didn’t read all the other comments.
    My bit here is when putting the main ring onto the bucket try not to do it when the plastic is very cold.
    When I put several together I let the sun warm them up.
    Cold plastic under extreme stress(hitting it with a rubber mallet) will crack.

    Just a suggestion.

  17. I use for long term storage as well. Though I’ll admit I tend to go a little overboard, rice/beans/etc get sealed in Mylar and then put into 5 gallon buckets with gamma sealed lids. I like them for there easy access more than anything else

  18. @ Horse,
    Nothing wrong with advantaging a Sale price! (just watch out for “shipping” costs if applicable).

    Only difference is I get a small commission if purchased via the links above. Helps towards my efforts here ;)

  19. Yes, I use a lot of these gamma lids regularly on 5 gallon buckets. Dog food, cat food, Sugar, all my different grains that are used regularly (buy in 50# bag, put #20 away for long term storage in Mylar bags and the remaining 30# in the color band that references that particular grain). Also use them for quick grab and go kits- each bucket packed with 10 day food & necessaries.

    I find them at Tractor splay for $6.99 here and there. Buckets could be purchased for $2.99 but seem to have gone up lately. Lowe’s has gammas for under $8.

  20. The wife bought some containers that came with gamma lids. Some are 14x14x20″ tall.Some are 14x20x20″ tall with a sloped top. They are a hard plastic off white. Pretty sure the containers are made by Gamma too.I think she got them at a feed store. We keep bulk dogfood,cat food, and rice in the others. The wife used to just pour the food/rice loose in the containers. Now she puts it all in food grade 2 gallon bags with twist ties and then places them in the containers.
    I’ve had sugar harden up in 5 gallon buckets. Broke it up and ran it through a hand grinder.Pain in the neck.So I put it in 5 gallon food grade bags and oxygen absorbers now in buckets. They have gotten pricey though.

    1. I have a few buckets of sugar and only one hardened. It was only at the top of the bucket and I just took a long kitchen spoon/spatula and hacked the middle and it fell apart in lumps but I’m still using it–it is fine and I just hack it….it isn’t really a brick, just lumps.

  21. I wish food grade buckets manufacturers would attach the gasket ring on the bucket so when we order the gamma seal is already attach. I’m willing to pay a little more. Right now I have no one to help me withit and having trouble attaching to gasket on the bucket.

    1. Mary:
      From an old fart, about attaching the Gama lids.
      Dont know the recomended way, but i just remove the screw lid from the ring that fits the bucket.
      Place the ring on the bucket, than use a rubber mallet to beat the heck out of the ring till it snaps on.
      Have never had one fail or break…..

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