Monday, April 9, 2018

Product Review: Gamma Seal Lid

I occasionally find myself with a lot of something to store, but with a need to be able to get to it on a regular basis. One of my favorite solutions to this is to use a 5 gallon bucket  --  depending on what I am storing, I will either use a bog-standard Home Depot orange bucket, or a food-grade 5 gallon bucket from a local food storage warehouse -- and a gamma seal lid.

A gamma seal lid consists of two parts:
  1. A rim that you place onto a bucket that has a special rubber O-ring that rests on top of the rim of a bucket, and has threading facing the interior of the bucket.
  2. A lid that has matching threads and a second O-ring, allowing for a water tight seal.

  • They open and close quickly, with a good seal on the lid that prevents all sorts of issues. I have never seen one of these fail in such a way that it allowed mice or other vermin in. I have seen the bucket that they are attached to fail, but I have never seen a lid fail. (Editor's Note: I have. A rat chewed through the lid of a storage bucket we keep on the back porch.)
  • They do seem to keep food fresh for quite some time compared to standard “Snap on/snap off” lids for five gallon buckets. I am not aware of official tests with this; my observation is based on my own tests with brown sugar and seeing how long it takes to solidify.
  • They are very convenient in that they screw on and off of a five gallon bucket easily and conveniently. If you have to get something out on a regular basis (like cat food, for example) it is much nicer than having to snap on a lid.

  • At around twelve to fifteen dollars each, they're kind of expensive and can be out of reach for someone who is looking for a lot of storage. The problem comes when you have to purchase a dozen of these at once, and how it can come out to be a notable expense all at once.
  • Putting the lid on the first time requires either a fair amount of muscle, or (if you are me) figuring out how to sit on it just right to get the lid on in the first place.
As an aside, here's the method that I use to get lids on the first time:
  1. Screw the lid together, making sure that the threads are lined up correctly.
  2. Make sure that the bucket that you are using is clean, and has no pieces missing from it.
  3. Set the lid down on the bucket, lining up the groove with the edge of the bucket.
  4. Sit on one edge. Stand up, rotate, and sit down again. 
  5. Repeat until the lid has fully “snapped on” to the bucket.
  • If you ever have to remove the lid completely, prying the seated rim off can be very difficult.
  • The threading on the lid will occasionally have trouble matching up to the threading on the bucket, and it will take a couple of tries to screw it in correctly.

I think these are excellent and would recommend these to anyone looking at food storage, or storing anything granular and dry (kitty litter, dog food, rock salt, etc). The cost is negligible over the long term, and I have had some of my lid/bucket combinations for a number of years. I know people who use them on a more than daily basis that have yet to have them break, wear out, or otherwise cease to function.

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