How Much Do 55 Gallons of Water Weigh?

Water is so important for everyone; it is recommended that we should drink at least 2 liters every day to keep us fit and healthy. I have never used water from my faucet for drinking because, although it looks clear and clean, I’m a little paranoid as to what invisible chemicals or bacteria it may contain.

Consequently, I always buy water from the local store, and I always carry a bottle of water with me at all times, wherever I am. I normally buy 55 gallons with my weekly shop, but it’s heavy!

55-gallon water drum
One of my 55-gallon water drums that I use to store my drinkable water.

So, how much do 55 gallons of water weigh? One US gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds at 62°F, consequently, to find the total weight, we only need to multiply the 55 gallons by the gallon weight. This simple calculation shows us that 55 gallons of water weighs 458.7 pounds, or 208.06 kilograms.

Different measures of gallons

If you’re wondering why I actually specified a U.S. gallon in my answer I have done so, as there are actually three different measures of a gallon.

The US uses two different gallon measures; the liquid gallon that we have used in the calculation above and is the measure that is commonly used. There is also, however, a dry gallon. The dry gallon is a historic measure that originated from the British dry measure that quantified the volume of 8 pounds of wheat.

Using the dry gallon as a measure a gallon of water would weigh approximately 9.71 pounds which would mean that using the dry measure 55 gallons of water would weigh 534 pounds.

There is also the UK or Imperial gallon measure that quantifies a gallon of water as weighing 10.02 pounds which would give a figure of 551 pounds for the weight of 55 gallons of water.

Using the different gallon measures results in a different range of weights:

  • US Liquid gallon 459
  • US Dry gallon 534
  • UK gallon 551

Therefore, it is important when looking at the weight of 55 gallons to ask the question “What gallon measure are we going to use?” especially if we are paying for a liquid by the gallon or if we are adding something to the water to create a plant fertilizer or weed killer where the relationship of quantities is important.

As with a cooking recipe, the correct quantities of the ingredients of plant fertilizers are incredibly important.

How do we know what a gallon of water weighs?

The gallon is a measurement of volume, it is, therefore, necessary to convert the volume measurement to one of weight, which in the case in question is pounds.

It would be an easy task to put a gallon of water on to a set of scales and measure the weight, but all measurements have already been quantified as part of a standardized system of weight and measures.

We are fortunate in today’s age that it doesn’t take too long to find detailed information regarding measures, and how these can be converted.

When the conversion of gallons to pounds is done, it easy to look up the figure that shows how much a pound of water weighs, although for those for whom the devil is in the detail there are formulas for converting everything.

Will temperature affect the weight of 55 gallons of water?

Yes, the temperature of water has an unusual effect on the properties of water.

The density of warm water is lower than that of cold water, especially when it is just above the freezing point of water.

This property is known as the anomalous expansion, and it actually prevents fish in rivers from dying since the water just below the ice being slightly less dense and warmer prevents it from freezing.

This effect is caused by hydrogen bonding and does result in the weight of warm water being slightly less than that of cold water.

Temperature does affect the weight of water; however, the difference is slight and not sufficiently large enough to generate any significant difference in the value.

Does the elevation of my house affect the weight of water?

Since weight is a property that is related to a specific mass within a gravitational field the greater the distance a mass travels from the source of the field the less effect the field has on the mass. The reduction would continue as the distance increases until the mass, although still the same will weigh nothing.

Apparently, the distances that water can be taken to a higher elevation on earth does show a reduction in weight that can be measured, however not necessarily felt.

I wonder if this is true since every week, I visit the store to buy 55 gallons of drinking water in gallon containers. This task calls for the water to be handled and moved a lot of times.

  1. Load it into my trolley from the shelf
  2. Unload it at the checkout
  3. Load it back into the trolley
  4. Transfer it into my car to drive to my mountain home
  5. Unload it from my car and carry into my utility room

How much, then does 55 gallons of water weigh?

We can appreciate that to answer the question of how much 55 gallons of water weighs involves a simple calculation using some extremely basic math.

The first task is to be sure which gallon measure we are using, we then need to realize that since a gallon is a measure of volume, we need to convert the volume measure to a measure of weight. The measurement of weight in this case is the pound.

Once we have established exactly how much a gallon weighs in pounds, it is a simple task to calculate the weight of 55 gallons by multiplying the gallon weight by the number of gallons. The weight of a gallon of water is quantified using pure water at a certain temperature.

Even though the weight of water is affected by temperature, and altitude, the difference in weight to the standardized measurement, although large enough to be measured does not create any major difference to the actual value.

55 gallons of water weigh 458.7 pounds, or 208.06 kilograms.

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1 thought on “How Much Do 55 Gallons of Water Weigh?”

  1. I like your blog a lot and find most of the articles informative. That being said, you have posted something that is one of my pet peeves – “ it is recommended that we should drink at least 2 liters every day to keep us fit and healthy.” That 2 liter figure is one of those urban legends that has no truth to it. We’ve heard it for so long from so many sources that we all assume it’s truth – my doctor even said it a few years ago – but it’s just not true. The initial story was written by a journalist trying to hype a story. It was picked up by other media sources and in the best sensational journalistic fashion, it became the hot story of the day. In its purest form, the story postulated that the 2 liters of liquid had to be plain water. Juice or coffee or even tea consumption didn’t count. From a basic human biology stand point, that’s just silly, because to your cells, liquid is liquid. We all need to consume liquids in one form or another to keep the body hydrated, but it doesn’t need to be water, and for most people, 2 liters is likely way more than is required.

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