14 Best Live Bait Buckets to Keep Your Fishing Game Strong
Whether you toss shad to large cats, throw shrimp to reds, or chase slabs using minnows, you know that live bait and hot weather really don’t mix. And to keep your hard-won or expensive bait at its best, it’s essential to have a live bait bucket that can offer hours, or even days, of cool, aerated water.
However, with such a wide variety of bait buckets available, it can be difficult to make the right decision. To help narrow down the field, we’ve reviewed some of the best live bait buckets in the market, and even included a comprehensive buyer’s guide, so you can choose a unit that’s well worth your money.
Top 14 Best Live Bait Buckets
Nobody wants to leave their bait compressed, air-deprived, or killed by stray hooks. Whether you’re fishing competitively or just for fun, an aerated, easy-filter bait bucket can help make the most out of your fishing excursion.
Here are detailed reviews of 14 of the best live bait buckets, so you can easily choose one that best suits your needs:
Our Top Pick
Flambeau 6092BB Bait Butler
The Flambeau Outdoors Bait Butler is nothing less than a revolution in live bait fishing. Its unified lid system fits all standard five-gallon buckets and boasts a built-in pull rod activated net that allows you to efficiently collect bait and bring it to the surface.
So, whenever you want a shrimp or minnow, you simply need to pull up the rod, avoiding all the hassle of chasing around your live bait with your hand. However, keep in mind that the Bait Butler doesn’t come with a bucket, so you’ll have to use one you already own.
If you’re looking for a flexible and portable bait bucket, then the Flambeau Outdoors Bait Butler is the one for you. From saltwater to freshwater, it’s perfect for all types of fishing, including ice fishing and shore fishing. However, it doesn’t come with a bucket, so you’ll have to use your own.
✔️ Detachable lid system with a number of external clips and hoops.
✔️ Inbuilt pull-rod net for easy retrieval.
✔️ Portable aerator provides easy ventilation.
✔️ Weighted filtration stone and flexible air hose.
❌ Doesn’t come with a bucket.
Frabill Bait Box
The Frabill Live Bait Box is an excellent option for transporting live bait to your favorite fishing spot. Boasting a built-in aerator that’s powered by two D-cell batteries, it’s able to keep minnows and other bait alive for days.
The Live Bait Box is also lined with insulation to keep the water temperature cool, making it perfect for both freshwater and saltwater. However, it’s still advisable to have a few ice cubes on hand in case the box gets too warm.
If you’re on a tight budget but are still looking for a bait box with an aerator, look no further than the Frabill Live Bait Box. With an 7.5 litre capacity, it can hold a lot of baitfish and, at the same time, maintain the perfect temperature needed to keep them alive for days. However, it’s not ideal for ice fishing.
✔️ Portable aerator can be easily attached to the lid.
✔️ Lift-out net liner allows simple bait removal.
✔️ Durable construction ideal for salt and freshwater.
✔️ Comes with an air stone and air hose.
❌ Battery life on the aerator isn’t the best.
❌ Not ideal for ice fishing.
Engel Bait Cooler Box
The Engel Live Bait Cooler Box boasts a rugged and thick-sided body that’s insulated with molded polystyrene foam. A high-quality gasket creates a tight seal between the body and lid, enabling the cooler to maintain the right temperature in even the hottest climates.
It also features a two-speed aerator and a bait net, which makes retrieving your shrimp or minnows a breeze. The only downside is that the aerator is quite loud and can even stop working unexpectedly, causing serious bait issues.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often, and most people find that the cooler works well every season.
For multi-day fishing excursions with live bait, the Engel Live Bait Cooler Box is very hard to beat. It’s air-tight and water-resistant, so it can keep your bait alive for days without damaging your motor. It also boasts an 18-litre capacity but is much more expensive than other bait buckets.
✔️ Ensures no leaks.
✔️ Excellent battery life.
✔️ Durable enough to sit on.
❌ Aerator complaints from some customers.
Frabill Sit-N-Fish Bucket
As the name suggests, this incredibly portable Sit-N-Fish bucket by Frabill features a padded foam bucket for additional comfort. It also boasts an insulated core that protects your bait from extreme temperatures, making it ideal for ice fishing.
The inner bucket lid is designed with beverage holders as well, allowing you to keep your drinks of choice cool throughout your fishing excursion.
Extremely durable and comfortable, the Frabill Sit-N-Fish Bucket eliminates the need for a fishing chair and allows you to keep your load light. Thanks to its padded snap-on seat lid, it’s the best live bait bucket for pier, ice, and shore anglers.
✔️ Six-gallon bucket.
✔️ Incredibly lightweight.
✔️ Comfortable cushion lid.
✔️ Protects baitfish from extreme temperatures.
✔️ Ample surface space.
❌ Lid is difficult to remove.
❌ Glue holding the padded foam tends to give out.
Flambeau 6064BC Bait Bucket
Made with durable plastic, the Flambeau Outdoors 6064BC Bait Bucket certainly deserves a place on our list of best live bait buckets. Its insulated foam liner protects your bait from heat, while its large five-gallon capacity offers enough space for a full day on the water.
Along with keeping your live bait fresh and oxygenated, its easy-access vented lid also comes with accessory rails, making it easier to attach aerators and hang hooks and fishing rods.
The bucket comes with a durable carrying handle as well, so you can take your live bait with you wherever you go.
The Flambeau Outdoors 6064BC Bait Bucket is built to last and perform for a lifetime of use. Its insulated design and vented lid keep your bait fresh and oxygenated, making it perfect for full-day fishing excursions.
✔️ Accessory rails for convenient storage.
✔️ Collapsible handle prevents flexing.
✔️ Keeps bait oxygenated and fresh.
✔️ Long-lasting and durable.
❌ Burns through batteries quickly.
❌ Foam insert has a few bulges.
Frabill Drainer Bait Bucket
Boasting a two-gallon capacity, the durable Frabill Drainer Live Bait Bucket is ideal for storing several different bait types. Its interior tray allows you to keep your hands dry when handling bait, while the size and shape of the bucket itself keep it stable and prevent it from tipping over in rough waters.
The bucket also has slits at the bottom for aeration, which help keep your bait fresh and oxygenated for several hours.
The two-piece design of the Frabill Drainer Live Bait Bucket allows you to quickly drain water for easier bait access. And with a 10-quart capacity, it offers more than enough space to store and transport multiple bait types for your fishing excursions.
✔️ Two-gallon capacity.
✔️ Comfortable carrying handle.
✔️ Can store multiple bait types.
✔️ Includes a pull-out minnow trap.
❌ Exterior bucket doesn’t lock onto the lid.
❌ Handle hinges may break if used roughly.
Sunglow Multifunctional Bait Bucket
Available in three different sizes, the Sunglow Multifunctional Live Bait Bucket can meet all your different needs. Its filter mesh prevents the bait from jumping out and, at the same time, keeps fresh air circulating in the bucket to ensure fresh and oxygenated bait throughout your fishing trip.
The bucket boasts an ergonomic handle as well, making it comfortable and easy to carry. Lastly, it’s made with a thick, impact-resistant, and corrosion-resistant material, ensuring durability and a lifetime of use.
The Sunglow Multifunctional Live Bait Bucket is perfect for fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities. Boasting a filter mesh, an ergonomic handle, and impact-resistant material, it’s definitely one of the best live bait buckets available in the market.
✔️ Comes in three different sizes and colors.
✔️ Keeps fresh air circulating in the bucket.
✔️ Ergonomic handle makes it easy to carry.
✔️ 100% money-back guarantee.
❌ Container is not insulated.
❌ Top vent mesh doesn’t have a cover.
Drasry Collapsible Bait Bucket
The Drasry Collapsible Live Bait Bucket features a net cover design that prevents aquatic plants from getting in and live bait from jumping out, which helps keep your bait alive for a longer time.
The bucket itself is made with non-toxic, environmentally-friendly materials, making it impact-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and flexible. With an ergonomic handle and foldable design, the Drasry Live Bait Bucket is extremely comfortable and easy to carry as well.
Along with storing live bait, the Drasry Collapsible Live Bait Bucket is also ideal for use as a water container for outdoor trips and car washings. Its collapsible design further saves storage space, while its ergonomic handle makes the bucket incredibly comfortable to carry.
✔️ Made with environmentally-friendly, non-toxic materials.
✔️ Collapsible design ensures convenient storage.
✔️ Ergonomic handle for comfortable grip.
✔️ Four-sided triangular positioning makes the bucket more stable.
❌ The zipper isn’t heavy-duty.
Sunglow Collapsible Bucket
This Multi-functional Collapsible Bucket from Sunglow is made with high-quality PVC material, making it quick-drying, tear-resistant, and incredibly lightweight. It’s extremely versatile and ideal for a wide range of tasks as well, including camping, boating, and fishing.
Along with being waterproof and leak-proof, the foldable bucket is also free from toxins, making it environmentally friendly and completely safe to use.
Whether you need a portable wash basin or a live bait bucket, you can count on the Sunglow Multi-functional Collapsible Bucket to get the job done. It’s made with waterproof fabric, boasts a 20L capacity, and is free from toxins, earning it a place on our list of best live bait buckets.
✔️ Waterproof fabric holds water well.
✔️ Comfortable handles make it easy to transport.
✔️Lightweight and easy to use.
✔️ 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
❌ Standing upright may be difficult if half-full
Black Anchor Collapsible Bucket
Boasting a collapsible design, the Black Anchor Bait Bucket allows for easy storage and transportation, making it perfect for boats where every inch of space matters.
The conveniently integrated slot on the lid is perfect for hanging aerators and inserting airline tubing, while the drain holes on the smaller center lid help prevent bait from jumping out. The holes also allow you to easily replace and drain water without worrying about losing your bait.
Available in two different sizes, the Black Anchor Collapsible Bait Bucket offers more than enough space for storing almost all bait fish sizes and quantities.
Thanks to its collapsible design, this Black Anchor Bait Bucket easily fits in a backpack, duffle bag, and tackle bag, making it the best live bait bucket for camping and shore fishing. It’s also backed by a one-year warranty, so you can be sure that you’ll be getting a quality product.
✔️ Collapsible and lightweight design.
✔️ Ergonomic handle for easy transportation.
✔️ Available in two convenient sizes.
✔️ Backed by a one-year warranty.
❌ Lid is flimsy so must be used with care.
Kangdun Fish Keep Net
The Kangdun Collapsible Fish Keep Net features a net and several stainless steel metal rings, making it much more durable than its competitors. The net is rubber-coated, quick-drying, and odorless as well, so you don’t have to worry about any fishy smell after use.
Thanks to its foldable design, it also doesn’t take up a lot of space, making it the best live bait bucket for canoe and kayak fishing.
The Kangdun Collapsible Fish Keep Net is perfect for keeping bait like clams, lobsters, minnows, crabs, and crawfish alive for several hours. Although the rubber-coated net dries quickly and doesn’t leave a fishy smell, it does have a strong chemical smell when brand new, so you must remember to give it a wash before use.
✔️ Excellent value for money.
✔️ Doesn’t take up a lot of space.
✔️ Lightweight and heavy-duty design.
✔️ Keeps bait and fish alive for a long time.
❌ Must be cleaned after use to avoid smell build-up.
Hikary 13L Bait Bucket
Boasting a one-piece design, the Hikary Collapsible Live Bait Bucket features a breathable mesh that prevents live bait from jumping out and improves their survival rate. It’s also easy to fold and doesn’t take up much space, making it easy to transport to all your favorite fishing spots.
The bucket comes with a rechargeable mini fish breeding oxygen pump as well, making it ideal for longer fishing excursions.
The Hikary Collapsible Live Bait Bucket comes with everything you’d need for a long fishing trip. However, the lack of insulation might not make it ideal for anglers in warmer climates.
✔️ Collapsible design for convenient storage.
✔️ Easy to assemble.
✔️ Comes with a mini oxygen pump.
✔️ Stable, even when completely filled with water.
❌ Tab on the top could be a little wider.
Frabill Universal Bait Station
Specifically designed for live bait, the Frabill Universal Live Bait Station is portable, durable, and one of the best live bait buckets available. With insulated, watertight construction and a side-mounted aerator, it helps keep your bait safe and healthy for a long time.
Its molded base and non-slip pads ensure it stays in place, while its soft-sided design makes it incredibly easy to transport. Lastly, the Universal Bait Station can hold up to eight quarts of water, ice, and tackle boxes, making it perfect for almost all bait sizes and quantities.
If you prefer using live bait, then the Frabill Universal Live Bait Station can turn a good fishing excursion into a great one. Although it doesn’t take up a lot of space, it will definitely become an essential addition to all your fishing trips after only a few uses.
✔️ Comes with a battery-powered aerator.
✔️ Durable molded base and non-slip pads ensure stability.
✔️ Insulated design keeps bait fresh.
✔️ Soft-sided body for easier transportation.
❌ Batteries die quickly.
Lunaoo Foldable PVC Pool
Made with industrial-strength PVC material and thick, high-density fibreboards, the Lunaoo Portable Pool is extremely durable and can stand up to years of use.
It’s incredibly easy to set up and even comes with built-in drains to make draining a breeze. However, keep in mind that you’ll need more than one aerator to keep your bait fresh and oxygenated.
The Lunaoo Foldable PVC Pool is ideal for extended fishing trips, especially those where you’re targeting big game fish, like marlin and kingfish. It’s foldable and allows you to store a lot of live bait. However, it takes a long time to fill up.
✔️ Made with high-grade PVC material.
✔️ Foldable and portable.
✔️ Bottom of the pool is made with non-slip material.
✔️ Easy to set up and use.
❌ Requires more than one aerator to keep bait fresh.
❌ Takes a long time to fill up.
Meet The Author
William O’Reilly is an Australian land-based fishing enthusiast. He discovered his passion for fishing from the shore as a child, when his grandfather would take him out on the water and teach him the ropes. He encourages others to try land-based fishing and believes it is a unique and sustainable way to connect with nature.
He also advocates for responsible fishing practices and conservation. His passion for land-based fishing led him to pursue a career in writing about it, sharing his experiences, knowledge and thoughts about the sport, and inspiring others to appreciate and explore it.
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