Choosing between Steel Tanks and Plastic Tanks

Choosing between Steel Tanks and Plastic Tanks

You have two options of tank material to choose from when you decide to purchase a tank to store the fuel you need for your operations. You can buy either a steel tank or a plastic tank. In this article, we will compare the two tank materials to help you decide which one suits your needs and your operations.

Plastic Fuel Tanks

These fuel tanks are usually made of polyethylene. Poly diesel fuel tanks have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Poly fuel tanks weigh lighter than those tanks that are made of metal or steel. This makes poly tanks easier to install and transport. The material is also cheaper than steel, and therefore poly tanks are cheaper than steel tanks. Plastic is a natural insulator, which reduces heat transfer. The heat from the environment cannot penetrate directly to the fuel inside the tank. Plastic is easier to shape, thus poly tanks can come in literally any shape you want. If you wish to have a customized design, it is possible with poly tanks. Plastic is a flexible material, making it prone to deformities under certain types of stresses. Fortunately, they can be corrected easily without causing damage to the tank nor its reliability.

On the downside, plastic fuel tanks have a limit when it comes to size and capacity. In general, poly tanks are limited to 1,700 gallons or 6,500 liters as maximum capacity. Poly tanks are not ideal for outdoor storage because direct exposure to sunlight degrades and deteriorates plastic materials. Plastic is a much softer material, making it prone to damage within the worksite. This material is also easy to puncture, thus making it vulnerable to theft. Plastic can also eventually absorb some of the substances it stores, which could weaken the durability and reliability of the tank. Plastic is a material that is difficult to recycle, which makes it an issue when disposing, going against environmental safety principles.

Steel Fuel Tanks

Typically, steel fuel tanks are made with single or double walls. Let us look into their advantages and disadvantages.

Steel is a much robust material compared to plastic. They can withstand pressure and stresses on the worksite, and theft is impossible with this material. Steel is a non-porous material, thus it will not absorb the fuel being stored. The material is easy to recycle as well. Steel fuel tanks can be built for larger capacities, reaching up to 30,000 gallons or 115,000 liters. This allows you to store more fuel. Moreover, steel tanks are great for outdoor storage because steel cannot be weakened when exposed to direct sunlight. However, this material is heavy, making it difficult to move and install. Steel is also more expensive than plastic. If not maintained properly, rust can build up over time and the tank may corrode.


Both materials are useful in many ways, so your decision will depend greatly on how you will use it as needed by your operations.

Related tags: 2000 litre diesel tank