When it comes to preserving your hard-won bait, you need the best minnow bucket for fishing that offers not just storage space – but a storage space that will provide cool and aerated water for hours, perhaps even days.
Unfortunately, many products available on the market do not provide top-of-the-line preservation features. All too often, anglers rely on sub-standard bait buckets and end up with dead minnows, leeches, shrimp, and shad in a short time.
If you are on the market for the best minnow bucket for ice fishing, you are in the right place. We have done the research for you. This review contains a buying guide that explains the factors you need to consider when making a buying decision. Additionally, there’s a list of the 7 best buckets in the market today.
- 1 Best Minnow Bucket for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons
- 2 Best Minnow Bucket Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Best Minnow Bucket for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons
There are things you can do to keep your bait alive when fishing in warm waters – you might not even need a bait bucket. But this is not remotely possible when ice fishing. You need a high-quality bucket to keep your baits alive and well. The table below lists the 7 best products with the best minnow aerator at a glance.
1. Engel ENGLBC19-N Minnow Bucket
- 3-way 2 speed, aerator pump
- Airtight EVA gasket seal
- Noise suppressant
This Engel minnow bucket can be considered the Ferrari of the minnow bucket world by a long stretch. Engineered with appropriate space and power source, two vital features that are needed for a successful fishing conquest.
This product comes with a high-quality body and a rugged, thick side. A well-insulated molded polystyrene foam and high-quality gaskets create an airtight seal. This unique combination ensures that the Engel bucket maintains its cool temperature even in the harshest of weather.
Furthermore, a powerful 2-speed 2×2 air pump ensures the interior is well-aerated. It can be powered by two D-cell batteries or through a plug fitted into a 12v accessory socket. These batteries, according to the manufacturer, will run for 72 hours of continuous use. You can never go wrong with the Engel ENGLBC19-N Bucket, year after year, season after season.
- It comes in a water-resistant housing that protects motors
- Compact and lightweight; you can take this product for camping and other travels
- It comes with a convenient net that forms a protective cover over the minnows
- Water-tight, marine-grade stainless steel latches prevent spills on your car seat
- More expensive than other buckets on this list
2. Frabill Flow-Troll Bait Bucket
- Natural aeration
- Dimensions: 14
This is another angler’s favorite. It is a fantastic product that will keep your bait alive for long periods.
The Frabill Flow-Troll Bait Bucket is designed to be partially submerged in water, allowing for natural temperature and ambiance to take charge. So, since it smoothly floats across water, all components except the hatch get wet.
This product keeps baits alive without the need for an aerator. It is relatively hydrodynamic, meaning you can paddle or run your trolling motor with no worries about damaging the product.
Its extra-large size means you can hold more bait for a more extended time. You will also find a durable handle at the top of the bucket for easy transport.
- It comes with a self-closing lid and a locking door
- Easy to transport from one place to the other
- This bucket is perfect for wading behind the boat
- It comes in a Hydrodynamic shape that allows it to glide across the water
- This product is available in minnow and shrimp variants
- This unit is reliant on prevailing environmental temperature
- Since it is fraile it needs to be handled with care
3. Frabill Bait Bucket with Built-in Aerator
- Hose hole in the lid
- Built-in compartment lid
- High quality insulated liner
This product deserves its place as one of the best minnow buckets for ice fishing in the market today with its unique combination of advanced features and price. It is made from a durable plastic exterior that maintains plenty of insulation. You may find it difficult to keep temperatures liveable for shrimps in hot weather; this product does like it without breaking a sweat.
The Frabill Bait Bucket has a built-in minnow bucket aerator. It features a durable snap-on lid that houses the aerator compartment. It is powered by four batteries that can stay up to 16 hours of continual use. If you will be fishing for very long hours, it’s best to invest in the Engel ENGLBC19-N Minnow Bucket reviewed above or bring a spare Frabill Bait Bucket to the party.
- Not as expensive as the Engel minnow bucket
- Durable design. This unit can withstand knocks and bumps.
- The inner part is high-quality foam insulation that keeps the internals cool and liveable.
- Trusted by many hot-weather anglers
- The latch needs a better handle to grab onto
4. Marine Metal Insulated Bait Saver
- Utilizes 2 alkaline D batteries
- Waterproof switch
This is an excellent choice for hot-weather anglers. It is not as popular as the Engel or Frabill minnow buckets, but it functions really well. This product is slightly bigger and slightly different in design, but a great buy.
At $45, it is more expensive than the Frabill Bait Bucket but comes with slightly better features.
This insulated bait saver is tough and rugged. It is a 5-gallon-sized bucket with a high-quality styrofoam liner and inner lid. It is absolutely perfect for anglers fishing in a hot climate. To make it even more functional, add a few cubes of ice, and you will be astonished how long it will stay cool.
This unit can run for 40 hours at a stretch on D batteries and holds 5 gallons of water. It will maintain a constant interior temperature all through its working hours.
- It has excellent working hours
- Comes with the best minnow bucket aerator that ensures constant internal temperature
- Tough exterior, it can withstand knocks and bumps
- It can be used in both fresh and saltwater fishing
- Hinges seem lightweight and may break
5. Frabill Bait Box with Aerator
- Portable minnow bucket aerator that constantly supplies oxygenate the contained water
- 8-quart capacity
- Powered by two D batteries
- Whisper drive technology
If the Frabill Magnum or Engel is too pricey for your pocket, here is a cheaper and good quality alternative. This product is great if you are a casual fisherman who needs something for the occasional fishing trip.
The Frabill Bait Box offers a degree of convenience not found in many minnow buckets. It is portable, lightweight, and can fit into cramped spaces. The batteries can work for several hours non-stop, and might not be a great option for anglers looking to stock up for long periods.
This product has the best minnow bucket aerator among its peers. It offers all the benefits and advanced features found in more expensive models and at a fraction of their price. It comes fitted with a lift-out net liner and durable insulation that provides optimum aeration and calm. Perfect for use in fresh and saltwater.
- A good quality alternative to premium minnow buckets
- Sturdy and solid exterior built that will last for long
- The best minnow bucket for ice fishing during light fishing expeditions
- It is available in only one size
- Some users complain of leakages when filled to the brim
6. Flambeau 6063BC minnow bucket
- Deep trolling bucket
- Reinforced collapsible handle
- Softside Tackle Bags
- Aerators and Combo systems
The Flambeau 6063BC minnow bucket floats deeper than the other products on this list. It keeps contained water fresh and cool for hours. This unit is easily transportable as it comes with a tie-off handle. You will also find a V-shape back and a wide design that prevents the bucket from detaching during retrieval.
This product comes with a 6-quart capacity and fits perfectly into a standard 5-gallon bucket to store your bait. The Flambeau 6063BC is more than just a minnow bucket; it is also a tool for hanging hooks, attaching aerators, and holding a fishing rod.
It is lightweight and can occupy small spaces. Engineered for that perfect fishing experience, trip after trip, fish after fish, this unit remains sturdy. It is built to last!
- Durable, this unit is designed to last a lifetime.
- Lightweight, it can be easily transported from one place to the other.
- Long-lasting, can preserve baits for several hours
- Multi-use. This unit can also be used to hold a fishing rod.
- The door can be difficult to open and close
7. Frabill Magnum Bait Bucket
- Tangle-free netting
- Portable aerator
The Magnum Bait Bucket is perfect if you plan to go on a fishing expedition with large baits like shad, chubs, or suckers. This bait saver is comparable to the Marine Metal Insulated Bait Saver in terms of functionality and features. The design is simple and you get a snap-on lid with molded-in tool holders and an access lid.
The standard Frabill Aerator is attached to the lid’s side, while a hose and air stone run through the lid into the bucket. Finally, it comes with a super-quiet aerator and packs plenty of power to oxygenate 4 gallons of water for hours.
- It is safe to use in both salt and freshwaters
- Insulated lining can be removed, and the bucket used for other purposes.
- It Is powered by two D batteries that can work continuously for hours.
- The bucket is quite heavy when filled.
- The two D batteries are not included.
Best Minnow Bucket Buying Guide
The quality of your bait bucket will determine the success of your fishing expedition. Thus, you should settle for the best minnow bucket that suits your needs and your pocket. If you buy a sub-standard bucket that kills all your bait within an hour, you will be unhappy during your trip back home. Consider the following factors when making the best minnow bucket buying decision.
If you visit a bait shop today, you will see many inexpensive styrofoam bait buckets for sale. Yes, they might be worth only a small buck; they will break and leak over the slightest bump. Don’t be tempted! They are not worth even a penny, don’t waste your energy.
Instead, go for the best minnow bucket that is sturdy and will withstand hard knocks without leaking like a poorly fitted kitchen pipe.
Whatever fish you decide to use as bait will be vulnerable to the changing weather. Some baits do not handle cold well. Thus, you should be looking at a product with plenty of insulation.
Insulation is important to maintain the water in the bucket at the same temperature when it was filled into the bucket. This feature can also regulate the ambient temperature in the bucket if weather conditions become harsh.
It is advisable to go for minnow buckets having fully insulated chambers when you are ice fishing. Products with less insulation are fine in warm weather, but cheaper buckets will do no good in a cold environment.
Some of the minnow buckets in this list can be powered by a 12v accessory socket. If you have a cigarette lighter on your boat, then power is not a problem. For most experienced anglers, battery life is an important feature to consider before going fishing. For instance, shrimps are expensive; a dead shrimp might mean a time-wasting ride back to the bait shop.
Go for the best minnow bucket for ice fishing that comes with long battery life!
This is another important factor to consider. Keep in mind that driving out to your favorite fishing spot might not be possible in icy weather. Thus, you may need to carry all your gears by hand to that spot. Think about it; do you really want to carry several gallons of water plus fish on icy grounds?
It is advisable to go for a minnow bucket that is large enough to cater to your fishing needs but still portable. This translates to carrying a lower amount of weight to your favorite spot.
In addition, your bucket of choice should also come with a handle for easy transport. Some come designed like an ice chest, very difficult to carry if you won’t be moving them around on wheels.
When it’s time to decide the best minnow bucket to buy, consider aeration. If you are fishing in warm weather, you could use a minnow trap for aeration. However, this is not an option when you go ice fishing. Go for buckets with silent aerators that do an excellent job of keeping your baits alive.
You should settle for a battery-operated one, as an electric-powered bucket means you need to stay close to your vehicle all the time for power. However, do not let the absence of an aerator discourage you from settling for a great bucket.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can minnows survive in a bucket?
Most minnows can survive for 24 to 72 hours in a bait bucket. You can increase their lifespan by investing in a quality minnow bucket, avoid overcrowding. Keep the water fresh and cool for the duration of their life in the bucket.
What battery size does the best minnow bucket use?
Most standard bucket coolers use two D batteries like Frabill Magnum, Engel. Additionally, some can be powered by a 12V DC cigarette lighter. If your boat has this feature, you can enjoy additional power use time.
How long do the best minnow bucket batteries last?
The longevity of your battery will be determined by the quality of the battery that comes with the product. If you intend to run the battery continuously, you will enjoy at least eight hours of use. However, if you have high-quality lithium D cells, you will enjoy full use for days. When the batteries run out, connect to your cigarette adapter and continue your expedition.
How much bait can the best minnow bucket safely hold?
Many live minnow buckets come with impressive carrying capacity. But, you need to be careful not to overcrowd the baits. At a capacity of 7.5 quarts, the smallest-sized cooler can hold up to 5 dozen shrimps, shiners, or minnows. For a 13-quart variant, the storing capacity increases to 10 dozen. You can have greater carrying capacity if your cooling bucket can be supplemented by a 12V adapter.
As you already know, dead baits will ruin a fishing expedition faster than a broken outboard. For the best return on investment on your shrimps, shiners, or minnows, buy the best minnow bucket.
The best minnow bucket for fishing is one that has thick insulation, plus the best minnow bucket aerator and a durable battery to last you during your conquest.
We hope you will find the best minnow bucket that suits your needs and pocket from the 7 best reviewed above.