5 Best Bait Tanks (Reviews Updated 2022)

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For some particular fish like trout and bass, live baits are very effective, but to ensure your live baits stay as fresh as possible just before they are hooked, a bait tank is a must-have in your fishing gear. Bait tanks are designed to store your live baits in continuously oxygenated water and keep them insulated from harsh weather – basically keep them alive, pending when you’ll need them. The ideal bait tank should come with enough storage, should minimize the risk of injury, generate enough oxygenation, and should allow easy bait retrieval.

Best Bait Tanks

To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of our top five bait tanks that all boast of great functionality and don’t cost a fortune.

1. Engel Live Bait Cooler

Engel Live Bait Cooler

The Engel live bait cooler features a high-grade PP copolymer shell and a polystyrene foam inner lining for excellent insulation. It comes with an EVA water-tight seal, a carrying handle and shoulder strap for portability, and stainless steel fittings for durable performance. It also includes a 2-speed aeration pump that runs on 2-way power is housed in a water-resistant, low-noise casing and an inner mesh tray for easy retrieval.

  • Highly durable, excellent insulation.
  • Very portable, durable.
  • Low-noise performance.
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2. Marine Metal 5Gal Lid

Marine Metal 5gal Lid

This bucket lid from Marine Metal is designed to quickly transform round 5 gallon buckets into bait tanks. It is built from plastic, includes a long-duration aeration pump, and two D batteries that power the pump. It is UV treated, is supported by a hinged door, and is the ideal low-cost option for a bait tank.

  • Very convenient to use.
  • Durable, long-duration performance.
  • Very affordable.
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3. Frabill MIN-O-LIFE Bait Station

Frabill Min O Life Bait Station

The Frabill MIN-O-LIFE comes as a sleek, aerated bait cooler and boasts of excellent insulation. It includes a lift-out net liner for easy retrieval, a water-tight lid, and a single ergonomic latch for spill-resistant performance. It also includes a long-duration aerator and top-mounted aeration tube to allow you to fill the cooler.

  • Excellent insulation, water-tight.
  • Easy retrieval.
  • Excellent aeration, fillable design.
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4. Frabill Magnum Bait Station

Frabill Magnum Bait Station

The Frabill Magnum bait station is a heavy-duty bait tank that comes dual aerator pumps and runs on either 12V input or D batteries. It features a tough yet lightweight plastic body, is highly insulated, and can be used as a regular cooler. It also comes with a lift-out liner for easy retrieval, a water-tight gasket, dual latches, and ergonomic handles for easy transport.

  • Excellent aeration and versatile power.
  • Lightweight and very versatile.
  • Easy retrieval, water-tight.
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5. Wilderness Systems Thrive Baitwell

Wilderness Systems Thrive Baitwell

The Wilderness Thrive Baitwell is specially designed for use on kayaks and comes with three rod holders for a solid mount. It sports a rugged design, a flexible hose system for good circulation, and spring-loaded latches that ensure a water-tight seal. It also comes with a large 26L capacity, a 3L/min pump system, and is powered using its built-in Li-ion battery or solar panels.

  • Large storage capacity, ideal for kayaks.
  • Very durable, water-tight.
  • Two-way power.
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Bait Tanks Buying Guide

For any angler who wants to exploit the effectiveness of live bait, a bait tank is a must-have in your gear. They are designed to ensure your baits stay alive in captivity and as fresh as possible for when you’ll need to make a catch.

Our buying guide reviews the best bait tanks on the market based on their specified features and tested performance to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the particular factors you should consider and qualities you should look out for in a bait tank before you make a purchase.

Storage Capacity

The first factor you want to consider is the bait tank’s storage capacity. It is usually rated in liters or gallons. The larger your bait tank, the more space your bait will have to move around, raising their chances of survival, but also means the bulkier the unit. The ideal bait tank should balance bait freedom and portability.

Ease of Use

The ideal bait tank should be very easy to use and should allow seamless maintenance, filling, and retrieving. It should come with a non-stick internal that will easy to clean when dirty. It should also come with a convenient you can use to introduce bait. Some high-quality bait tanks also come with lift-out mesh liners that allow you to easily lift out bait from the water instead of struggling to catch them. A mesh liner also helps improve cleaning as the bait doesn’t come in direct contact with the tank’s inner surface.

Materials and Design

The materials from which the bait tank is made is another very important factor to consider. It should be made from lightweight, impact-resistant, and weatherproof materials for the most portability and long service life. The materials should also be eco-friendly, completely non-toxic, and should not react in any way with the water.

The design of your bait tank is another factor to consider as it determines the health of your bait. Many bait tank manufacturers favor round designs over the traditional rectangular design and it maximizes the space and yields a gentle curve as opposed to the corners in rectangular tanks where bait may get congested.


Another important factor is the power demand of your bait tank. In general, most bait tanks come with a built-in air pump that keeps the water aerated. Depending on the size of your bait tank, your pump will either run on D batteries or connect directly to your boat’s DC output.