Drum Handling Equipment Explained

Are you doing a lot of work with drums?

Then you will want to look at drum handling equipment. This equipment is designed just for moving, turning, and storing drums. Drum handling is also sometimes referred to as barrel handling.

Need help with your selection of drum handling equipment?

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Drums can be very heavy. Lugging them on and off of racks and pallets can be extremely difficult. And then you may have a need to open and pour from drums.

Drum handlers and movers can help with these tasks.

Drum handlers come in different configurations – they can be drum lifters, drum movers, drum turners, drum rollers, drum palletizers, or a combination of these.

Most of these are manually operated with electric or hydraulic assistance.

And don’t forget that with a drum forklift attachment, you can put your forklift to work handling drums as well.

Before we talk about drum handling equipment, we should go into drums – the types and sizes of drums.

About Drums

Drums come in various sizes, but the most common are 30 gallon and 55 gallon drums. (we can supply drums, too, if you need them)

Drums are made from different materials. The type of material you choose will probably depend on what you are putting into them.

Common drum types are plastic drums (also referred to as poly drums), steel drums, and fiber drums.

All have different purposes, again , depending on what is going into them.

Drum Movers

Drum dollies are simple drum movers, basically a small cart that a drum sits in with wheels to be able to move it around.

It is a basic solution for when a drum is going to be around for awhile and doesn’t need to be turned or poured.

Drum trucks are hand trucks specially designed to pick up and roll drums around. They are simple and economical and used just to get a drum from one place to another.

Drum cradles are carts that hold a drum on its side. Some cradles also act as drum trucks.

So with a drum cradle truck, you can pick up and move a drum and then tip it on its’ side for pouring or other applications.

Some drum handlers can also be used to move drums. Meaning that a drum handler which can pick up and lift a drum can also be used to roll it and maneuver it.

Drum Clamps

Drum clamps are used with overhead support for clamping onto and lifting and maneuvering drums. It is the most basic type of drum handler.

They can also be fixed to a forklift or other lift for drum moving or drum turning.

Drum Handlers

Drum handlers come in a variety of configurations. Some are drum lifters and drum pickers so that you can put a drum up on a rack or get it down.

Other drum handlers may also allow you to turn the drum to a better angle for pouring or stacking and act as drum turners, drum rotators, or drum tilters.

Drum handlers also act as drum stackers.

As you can imagine, drum handlers are rugged, steel equipment made for heavy duty use.

You can also get a stainless steel drum handler when you are concerned about using it in a very clean environment, like in pharmaceutical or food applications.

They even have drum handlers that are spark resistant and coated in alloys that reduce and prevent sparking.

Drum Tumblers and Drum Rollers

When you have contents in a drum that need mixed, either from separation due to sitting or if you are mixing contents in production, then you will want a drum tumbler.

A drum tumbler rolls a drum continually in one direction and in place.

A drum tumbler rolls a drum back and forth in place.

Both are used for mixing of contents.

Some drum tumblers or drum rollers must have each drum placed into the unit, while other drum tumblers can also pick up and position the drum for rolling or tumbling.

Drum Pourers

As mentioned, drum handling equipment has varied uses.

If you need to pour the contents from a drum, then you  need a drum pourer.

Drum pourers are also referred to as drum tippers, drum tilters, or drum dumpers.

They can be as simple as a drum cradle truck. Or you may want to take the effort out of the equation with a drum handler, which can pick up a drum and maneuver it as needed.

Drum Palletizer

Drums are sometimes shipped on pallets. Getting them on and off of pallets may not be easy.

A drum palletizer helps get this job done – specifically made to position drums onto pallets, or get them off of pallets.

Forklift Drum Attachments

You have a forklift for moving pallets and other equipment around. Why not use it for drum handling?

There are many different attachments that allow a forklift to be used to handle drums.

A few types of forklift drum attachments allow a forklift to be used for drum lifting, drum lift and pour, and as a drum stacker.

Drum Racks

Where do keep all those drums?  In a drum rack.

Drum racks are storage racks designed for storing drums, typically on their sides.

Of course, how drums are stored will depend on what is contained in the drum.

Drum Safety

Have a leaking drum? or a drum spill?

This can be a nightmare if not handled properly.

You may want to keep drum barriers on hand to contain drum spills or leaks.

Or you may want certain drums kept in special drum cabinets for safe keeping.

Other Drum Solutions

Oh by the way…

Need a pump for a drum?

How about a drum crusher?

A drum heater?

There are many specialized products for drum handling that make your job easier.


Can we help?

If you handle drums, we can help with equipment selection.

We supply drum handling equipment from Morse, Easy Lift Equipment, Vestil, and Wesco.

Feel free to give us a call with any questions. We are happy to help.