IBC sizes range from 110 to 550 gallons, with 275 and 330 being the most common. Dimensions are internationally standardized to roughly 45″L x 45″W. They are engineered for forklift, pallet jack stacking, handling. IBC specifications support logistic scaling and supply of liquid to solid materials.
- Common IBC Tote Engineering, Sizes, and Capacity
- Individual IBC Model Dimensions, Specifications, Costs
- IBC Use Logistics, Handling, and Stacking
- Comparing IBCs vs. Drums, Other Portable Containers
Common IBC Dimensions
Volume Range: 110 – 550 Gallons
Stacking Test Load Dependent
- Two (2) High
- Small Capacity Three (3) High
- Three (3) High
- Four (4) High Potential
Material & Capacity Dependent
Poly Caged Totes:
$180 to $300
All Plastic IBCs:
$620 to $2,700
$1,300 to $3,300
Model & Capacity Dependent
Small – 120 Gallons
48″L x 42″W x 20″H
Medium – 275 Gallons
45″L x 45″W x 56″H
Large – 535 Gallons
57″L x 49″W x 90.25″H
IBC Characteristic Advantages
Standard Dimensions • Bulk Volume Range
Simple Operation • Integration Ease
Service Life • Dependable • Consistent
Long Term • Durable • Resistant
Versatile • Reusable • Cost-Effective
IBC Handling, Use, & Transport Engineering
Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) have a standard transport pallet’s shape and easy-to-integrate rectangular footprint that provides IBCs with multi-directional maneuverability and handling for use. IBC containers can be 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way forklift / pallet jack accessible. IBCs have been engineered with bases that maintain the container’s footprint and dimensions to within a standard, world-wide pallet size for acceptability, versatility, and integration.
IBCs are manufactured in capacities from 110 gallons up to 550 gallons while maintaining the IBC’s footprint specifications. An increase in IBC container volume is accompanied by an increase in height alone for all but caged poly IBC totes, which experience a small change in pallet base size with capacity increase from 275 to 330 gallons.
IBC Common Footprint Dimensions
IBC tote engineering makes IBCs well suited for forklift and pallet jack handling, as well as stackable up to their designed weight limit. The common design characteristics of IBCs allow them to efficiently integrate into logistic streams that feature product filling, packaging, transit, transfer, and dispensing.
- IBC tanks have base dimensions near an internationally-accepted, most used, standard pallet dimension of 48″ L x 40″ W ⇒ Common Pallet Area: 13.3 sq.ft.
- IBCs have a common base footprint around 45″ L x 45″ W ⇒ Common IBC Base Area: 14.06 sq.ft
- Across IBC models and capacities, average tote area dimensions are: 45″ L x 45″ W x 50″ H ⇒ Average IBC Total Area Volume: 58.59 cu.ft.
Intermediate bulk containers are manufactured with various size dimensions as well as potential custom options. Select the IBC option that best satisfies your individual use case and shipping needs.
IBC Pallet and Forklift Access
IBC containers have been engineered with integrated pallet bases that feature forklift, pallet jack channels for either 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way mobility access. The extent of tool access varies by IBC model. The following overviews the available mobility access by IBC model:
- 2-Way Pallet Jack; 4-Way Forklift | Standard Square Stackable, Premium, Widemouth IBCs
- 3-Way Pallet Jack; 3-Way Forklift | Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel IBCs
- 4-Way Pallet Jack; 4-Way Forklift | Caged IBC Totes, HDPE IBCs
Common IBC Tank Capacities, Materials, and Costs
IBC totes are available manufactured from High Density Polyethylene, (HDPE), Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, or are a Steel and Plastic Composite. IBC Container pricing ranges from $180 up to $3,000 USD and is dependent on IBC model and its gallon capacity.
Most Common IBC Model:
– Composite, steel-caged poly totes due to their low cost and versatility.
Most Common IBC Material:
– High-density polyethylene used in composite and all plastic IBCs due to HDPE’s durability and compatibility.
Most Common Food Grade IBCs:
– Stainless steel metal IBCs due to their cleanliness and strict hygiene capabilities.
IBC Container Types | Specifications for Handling & Use
Poly Caged Totes
Composite, caged IBC totes offer a low-cost option largely intended for one time use in applications involving or transporting chemical industry, solvents, acids, caustics, detergents, ag crop chemicals, and food industry ingredients. Caged IBCs are acceptable for repeat use with inert, non-sensitive commodities as well as in water storage and provision applications.
All Plastic IBCs
Polyethylene (HDPE) IBC tanks are rotationally molded to 1/2″ thick plastic. This IBC type is very durable, widely reusable, and largely resistant to corrosion and other chemical attack. HDPE IBCs are well suited for operations involving chemicals, petroleum products, water, and general hazardous, non-hazardous materials. Excalibur totes are a plastic IBC model that has been selectively engineered to be modern, more durable alternatives to the common poly caged IBC.
Metal IBC Tanks
Metal IBCs–carbon and stainless steel–are the industry’s strongest and most resistant IBC model with the longest average service life. The carbon steel IBC type is widely used for chemicals, lubricants, oils, and solvents. The stainless steel IBC model is well used within food, beverage, vineyards, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries due to their intensive hygiene capabilities. Metal IBCs are collectively used extensively in the oil and gas industry due to their corrosion resistance and UL142 and NFPA 30 certifications for up to Class I flammable, combustible material storage.
*Note: Food Grade IBCs will generally have increased purchase costs due to full tank and component manufacture from FDA-certified, food-grade materials.
|IBC Manufacture Material||Volume Capacity Ranges||IBC $ Costs
||Size Ranges (L x W x H)
|Poly Cage Composite
||275 up to 330 Gallons||$180 to $300||45″ x 40″ x 46″ to 48″ x 40″ x 53″|
|High Density Polyethylene
||120 up to 550 Gallons||$620 to $2,700||45″ x 45″ x 36.5″ to 81″ x 48″ x 60″|
||110 up to 550 Gallons||$1,300 to $1,550||48″ x 40″ x 20″ to 48″ x 42″ x 71″|
|Stainless Steel||110 up to 550 Gallons||$1,700 to $3,000||48″ x 40″ x 20″ to 48″ x 42″ x 71″|
IBC Material Specs & Chemical Handling
An IBC tank’s overall chemical/commodity resistance is specific to the IBC container’s material of manufacture. Verifying the suitability between IBC and the chemical to be handled is always important in representative applications for ensuring service longevity, product security, and worker/environment safety.
The IBC material that is most suitable for use can vary on the individual case needs and cargo commodity characteristics. In chemical handling operations, metal isn’t always the strongest product when it comes to chemical resistance. Hydrochloric acid (HCl; muriatic acid) is an excellent scenario where HDPE IBCs are the recommended handling tanks for HCl applications versus metal IBC containers. See the following further chemical use information for the different IBC material types.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) IBCs
Overall good resistance to many common industry chemicals, acids, alkalis, as well as inert goods, product commodities, manufacturing intermediates and water, water/solution applications of acids, bases, salts, fertilizers. HDPE IBCs experience sensitivity to various chemicals and materials; example chemicals that may warrant precautionary measures for verifying compatibility include: alcohols, glycols, strong oxidizing agents, low molecular weight hydrocarbons, oils, greases.
Carbon Steel IBCs
Strength and chemical resistance of carbon steel metal, durable and long-lasting, appropriate for many chemicals and solvents, alcohols, fuel oils, hydraulic oils, some food oils, petroleum industry chemicals/products. Carbon steel can express incompatibilities with strong acids, some strong alkalis, halogenated compounds, as well as aqueous ionic solutions, strong oxidizers, and general water, unless it has been deionized, is not recommended.
Stainless Steel IBCs
Significant chemical resistance and compatibility experiencing long service material, tank longevity, and the utmost in hygiene standards. Stainless steel is often used for food industry ingredients, wine and beverage applications, and other consumable commodities or product intermediates. They are also highly utilized in the chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries due to its increased material resistance as well as for many acids (organic, in particular) and bases that carbon steel has sensitivity to. Stainless steel expresses incompatibilities with certain strong acids (inorganic, largely) and halogenated compounds.
IBC Lids, Inlets, and Outlets | Usage Dimensions
IBC containers’ inlet, outlet sizes and lids come standard to IBC models but can often be customized on request. IBC inlet, outlet sizes do not change as tank capacity increases within a single IBC model. If looking for more information concerning IBC tote fittings, valves, or other components, visit our IBC Tank Fittings and Components Page.
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Inlet Fill / Lids
The most common IBC inlet/fill port size is 6″. The inlet size can vary on container model with some overlap between types. Other IBC inlet sizes include: 6.5″, 7″, 18″, 20″, and 22.5″ fill ports.
The most common IBC container lid is the standard vented, 6″ screw cap installed on poly caged totes, ultratainer IBCs, and excalibur totes. Other available IBC lid options include: heavy duty screw caps; GEM caps; polypropylene vented screw caps; wide-mouth threaded, vented manways; bolted clamp-ring vented manways.
Outlet / Discharge
Common outlet standards for IBCs are 2″ discharge ball valves featuring a 2″ male camlock, quick disconnect coupler. IBC outlets can be manufactured from various materials to meet different applications compatibility needs. Other IBC outlet options include:
- Bulkhead Fittings (in polypropylene, stainless steel, PVC, CPVC)
- Bolted Bulkheads (in same)
- Various Discharge Ball Valves (in PVC, CPVC, stainless steel)
- IBC Hoses (in PVC, XLPE)
- IBC Usage Pumps (in gas, electric, top/bottom unloading)
|IBC Type||Inlet Size||Lid Info|
|Galvanized Steel, HDPE Caged IBC Tote||6 Inches||Standard, 6″ threaded vented cap|
|Carbon Steel IBC||22.5 Inches||22.5″ Bolted clamp ring, gasket, vented manway|
|Stainless Steel IBC||22.5 Inches||22.5″ Bolted clamp ring, gasket, vented manway|
|Standard Square Stackable||6 Inches||HD 6″ threaded vented cap|
|Premium Square Stackable||6 Inches||HD 6″ threaded vented cap|
|Widemouth Square Stackable||18 Inches||18″ threaded vented manway|
|Ultratainer||6 Inches||Standard, 6″ threaded vented cap|
|Widemouth Ultratainer||20 Inches||22″ threaded vented manway|
|Voyager||7 Inches||7″ polypropylene threaded vented cap|
|Voyager Plus||7 Inches||7″ polypropylene threaded vented cap|
|Voyager XL||7 Inches||7″ polypropylene threaded vented cap|
|Megatainer||6.5 Inches||HD 6.5″ threaded vented cap|
|Excalibur||6 Inches||Standard, 6″ threaded vented cap; 6.5″ GEM cap option|
IBC Handling Specifications | Stacking IBC Containers
IBC totes are designed for stacking during storage, transport, and operation, when filled or empty of cargo. In general, intermediate bulk containers manufactured as stackable are acceptable for stacking 2 to 3 high, some up to 4 in select scenarios. Most IBCs are suitable for 2 high full stacking; 3 high full stacking is mostly recommended for smaller capacity IBCs. Most large capacity IBCs are suited for 3 high stacking if empty; 4 high empty stacking is often recommended for storage and for small capacity or low weight IBCs. IBC containers are recommended for stacking on the same IBC model for the greatest security, especially during transit, and according to the stack-weight restrictions within the UN/DOT label.
Number of IBCs acceptable for stacking will depend on:
- IBC model;
- IBC tank total volume capacity;
- Whether the IBC is full or empty, and;
- Potential local environmental conditions such as high wind exposure and seismic activity.
– – –
Common Stacking of IBC Totes
Caged, poly IBC totes in 275 – 330 gallon capacities, are acceptable for stacking 4 high if the IBCs are empty and in a storage-type environment; caged totes are recommended for 2 high stacking if filled to max cargo weight. Most larger capacity IBC tanks, 275 gallons and up, are generally only approved for 3 empty, 2 full stacking due to a growing collective tank height and weight as well as a rising center of gravity.
Stacking IBCs 4-High
Stacking IBCs four (4) high is often limited to low height, small capacity IBCs ranging from 110 to 220 gallons and empty poly caged totes. Four-high stacking is largely reserved for IBC storage handling and should always be accompanied by professional judgment and/or potential engineering support depending on the IBC model, capacity, and especially if filled.
Common IBC Stacking when Filled
Caged, poly IBCs in 275 to 330 gallon capacities are rated for stacking 2 high if the total payload is at the IBC’s maximum gross mass. The stacking capability of caged totes differs from other IBC models due to their composite engineering.
Caged IBC totes feature unique, additional labels that specify their total stacking test load. IBCTanks’ model examples:
- 275 Gallon Caged Tote: Stacking Test Load, 3,210 lbs (1,605 kg)
- 330 Gallon Caged Totes: Stacking Test Load, 3,866 lbs (1,933 kg)
These specifications may vary based on IBC manufacturer or IBC model type. If the stacking IBC tote has a cargo weight that brings the total stack weight above the bottom IBC’s labeled test load, stacking is not recommended.
UN / DOT Permit Labels | IBC Tote Stacking Data
All IBC tanks feature transit permits that list test values for an IBC’s total stacking test load and maximum permissible gross mass, among other information. These values are on the UN/DOT labels listed immediately following the IBC manufacturer’s information. UN/DOT labels are generated per the standard outlines of CFR Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter 1, Part 178 codes. See the example permit below with the IBC stacking test load and max payload weight identified for a 120 gallon, standard stackable tote.
- IBC Stacking Test Load: Cargo or other IBCs are rated for stacking on our example 120 gallon tote up to its stacking test load value of 9,816 lbs (4,462 kg)
- IBC Maximum Permissible Gross Mass: The total allowed transit weight for the complete IBC and inner cargo; our example IBC has a maximum scale weight of 2,063 lbs (938 kg)
To determine the number of IBC containers acceptable for stacking, use the IBC’s UN/DOT label to find the reported stacking test load value for that particular IBC model. An IBC’s stacking test load is given in kilograms: multiply by 2.2 to convert to U.S. pounds. If the weight of other IBCs, containers, or cargo pallets is known, the amount permissible for stacking can be defined by reviewing the IBC’s rated test load as well as ensuring container, environment security. IBC permit labels contain specific information concerning individual IBC model details, for further information about IBC markings.
IBC Stacking Quantity Calculation
To determine the number of IBCs that can be stacked when fully filled, divide the IBC’s stacking test load by the stacking IBC’s maximum gross mass value seen on the UN/DOT permit label. The amount of IBCs permissible for filled-stacking will depend on IBC model and its rated test load. Our example 120 gallon IBC has test ratings approving it to maintain container integrity when stacked fully loaded up to 4 high; (mathematically this is: 9,816 lbs ÷ 2,063 lbs = 4.76, or 4 IBCs).
Our example 120 gallon full and stacked four high would approximate 8,252 lbs and 11.5’ in height—a potentially hazardous worker situation less the IBCs have been restrained, somehow confined, stored, or are within an active, supervised operation environment. Professional judgment should always accompany total stacking of filled IBCs.
IBC Transport Specifications | How Many Can Stack During Transit?
Many IBC totes are suitable for stacking 2 high during transit, effectively doubling a transport’s potential payload capabilities. The total number of IBCs that will stack for transport will depend on the IBC model, its capacity and corresponding height, the IBC’s test load rating, and the full size of the transport vehicle. IBC transport stacking should always be well-secured, contained, and restricted from movement. Smaller capacity, low height IBCs—typically within 110 to 250 gallons—can potentially stack 3 high for transit within common, average-sized freight trucks. IBCs with volumes above 250 gallons tend to be suited for 2 high transport. When stacking IBCs, especially for transport, the stability, integrity, and safety of the container and immediate service environment should always be maintained.
How Many IBCs Can Fit within Common Freight Trucks
Up to 60 intermediate bulk containers can potentially fit for transport within common 53ft. cargo bed freight trucks, and with a potential total volume capacity of 25,200 gallons. To determine the total number of IBCs for transit or to calculate an IBC-fleet’s payload potential, know the transport vehicle and the IBC size dimensions and stacking capability. Always properly secure your IBC transport fleet.
Transporting 275 & 330 Gallon Caged Poly Totes
Poly caged totes are 45/48″L x 40″W x 46/53″H (275/330 gal). At these dimensions on an average 53ft. semi-trailer, potentially up to 2 full rows of 15 caged IBCs stacked 2 high could fit for:
- Total Caged IBCs in 53ft Truck: 60 IBCs
- Total IBC Volume: 16,500 – 19,800 Gallons
- Cubic Volume Total: 2,875 – 3,533 Cu.Ft.
Transporting 250 to 350 Gallon HDPE / Metal IBC Tanks
Medium capacity IBC containers have 250 to 350 gallon capacity ranges, dimension ranges from 48″L x 42″W x 35″H to 46″L x 46″W x 71″H; lower capacity and metal IBCs can potentially stack 2 high during transport for:
- Total 250-350 Gal. IBCs in 53ft Truck: 28 – 56 IBCs
- Total IBC Volume : 7,000 – 19,600 Gallons
- Cubic Volume Total: 1,143 – 3,070 Cu.Ft.
Transporting 110 to 250 Gallon Small Height IBCs
Small height, low capacity IBC tanks range from 110 to 250 gallons. Low end IBC volumes have heights limited enough for potential 3 high stacking during transport, up to 250 gallons can stack 2 high for:
- Total 110-250 Gal IBCs in 53ft Trucks: 56 – 84 IBCs
- Total IBC Volume: 9,240 – 14,000 Gallons
- Cubic Volume Total: 1,960 – 2,287 Cu.Ft.
Transporting 450 to 550 Gallon HDPE / Metal IBCs
Large capacity, 450 to 550 gallon IBCs have overall tank heights that are too large for 2-high stacking within traditional, covered transport vehicles. This IBC group dimensions range from 48″L x 42″W x 59″H up to 57″L x 49″W x 90.25″H. For 450 to 550 gallon IBCs:
- Total 450-550 Gallon IBCs in 53′ Truck: 30 IBCs
- Total IBC Volume: 13,500 – 16,500 Gallons
- Cubic Volume Total: 2,065 – 4,376 Cu.Ft.
How Many IBCs Can Fit within Various Freight Truck Sizes
The following table compares the amount of average IBC totes that will fit for transit within various common tractor trailer lengths.
|Caged IBC Totes||Polyethylene IBC Totes||Metal IBC Totes|
|Transport Truck Length||275 & 330 Gallons||120 to 330 Gallons||110 to 350 Gallons|
|48’ (576″)||14 Row; 56 Total||12 Row; 48 Total||13 Row; 52 Total|
|50’ (600″)||15 Row; 60 Total||13 Row; 52 Total||14 Row; 56 Total|
|53’ (636″)||15 Row; 60 Total||14 Row; 56 Total||15 Row; 60 Total|
|57’ (684″)||17 Row; 68 Total||15 Row; 60 Total||16 Row; 64 Total|
|59’ (708″)||17 Row; 68 Total||15 Row; 60 Total||16 Row; 64 Total|
IBC vs Drums | Comparing Volume & Pallet Dimensions
Traditional shipping drums are 55 gallon containers with dimensions that allow for only four (4) to fit per standard pallet, maximizing drum-pallet volume capacity at 225 gallons. Most IBCs occupy the footprint of a single pallet base and with a total volume range of 110 to 550 gallons, which is up to two times (2x) greater than the drum-pallet max capacity, also meaning twice the shipping cargo potential.
When compared to total pallet quantity, the volume range of IBCs, 110 to 550 gallons, is the equivalence of 2 to 10 standard shipping drums that would fit on 0.5 to 2.5 pallets. This means a solitary, 550 gallon IBC container could replace 2.5 pallets of 55 gallon drums and provide the desired 550 gallons of shipping product.
Poly Steel Caged IBC Totes v. 55 Gallon Drums
275 gallon and 330 gallon caged IBC totes are the most commonly used IBC type and capacity among IBC models manufactured from either plastic or metal. When compared to filling/dispensing of standard 55 gallon drums, poly caged IBCs feature top and bottom access ports and quick pump, hose attachment capabilities for easy product containerization. When compared to the shipping dimensions of standard 55 gallon drums:
Comparing IBCs and Commonly Used Portable Tanks
Intermediate bulk containers and other common portable tanks have various volume capacity, size, and price ranges. The following compares IBC totes against other portable tanks.
|Portable Tank Type||IBC Tote
||Elliptical / Leg
||PCO / Utility||Low Profile|
|Avg/ 300 Gallon Tank Cost
||$800 to $1,400||$400||$360||$550||$450|
|Low Volume Capacity||110 Gal||30 Gal||200 Gal||30 Gal||50 Gal|
|Low Base L x W x H
||48″ x 42″ x 20″||29″ x 20″ x 23″||52″ x 52″ x 30″||25″ x 19″ x 23″||43″ x 24″ x 15″|
|High Volume Capacity||550 Gal||6,025 Gal||450 Gal||300 Gal||2,400 Gal|
|High Base L x W x H||57″ x 49″ x 90.25″||193″ x 99″ x 103″||62″ x 62″ x 41″||69″ x 37″ x 40″||150″ x 90″ x 53″|
|Pallet / Fork Lift Access||2-4 / 3-4 Way||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Freight Truck Quantity||28 to 84||3 to 420||20 to 24||36 to 530||4 to 260|
|Freight $ Cost / Gallon||$0.7-18.1 / Gal||$0.9-2.4 / Gal||$0.9-1.4 / Gal||$1.5-4.0 / Gal||$1.5 / Gal|
IBC v. Portable Tanks Summary
The freight cost per gallon of the common transit containers is also directly related to it’s complete service life from purchase to disposal. IBC containers typically have longer service lives than other portable containers, and this significantly decreases an IBC’s total life per gallon freight costs due to it’s returnable, reusable, and long-lasting engineering.
When considering company logistics, economics, as well as shipping safety, IBC tanks are cost-effective, well-designed, reliable, multi-use transit containers that are built for years of repeat use and handling. IBC tote engineering provides a better priced option against other common portable container types and come in a variety of gallon sizes, dimensions, and compatible materials. When selecting IBC containers, choose the one that best matches your individual application need.
Entire IBC Model Specifications
The information below concerns the volume capacities, pallet base dimensions, tank total height, and weight for the following IBC models:
- Galvanized Steel, Caged IBC Totes
- Standard Square Stackable
- Premium Square Stackable
- Widemouth Square Stackable
- Widemouth Ultratainer
- Voyager Totes
- Voyager Plus
- Voyager XL
- Excalibur IBC Totes
- Stainless Steel
- Carbon Steel
|IBC Type||IBC Gallon||Length||Width||IBC Height||Weight|
|Caged IBC Tote||275||45″||40″||46″||135|
|Standard Square Stackable||120||45.75″||45.75″||34.25″||168|
|Premium Square Stackable||120||45″||45″||36.5″||185|
|Widemouth Square Stackable||220 HD*||45″||45″||44″||184|
|*HD = Heavy Duty Standard Model Pallet Base; *P = Premium Model Pallet Base|
|Megatainer (Megatainer LX)||550||81″||48″||60″||570 (542)|
|Excalibur IBC Totes||120||42.5″||42.5″||32.25″||62|
|Carbon Steel||110 Gal||48″||42″||20″||266|
IBC Tanks | The IBC Tote Authority
We aim hard here at IBC Tanks to provide quality IBC tote information that is relevant for inquiring professionals, enterprises, corporations or small-businesses, individuals and the like. Review our IBC Tote FAQs page for further information.
If you have a question, would like further assistance in IBC acquisition, want to request custom sized IBCs or custom dimensions, or simply don’t see the resources you’re looking for or need: contact us; let us know. Our team is always ready to assist.