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How to Choose the Best Portable Def Tank

A portable diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank that fits on the back of your truck or ATV is a convenient way to safely and securely deliver DEF fluid to remote areas. This article will explain how to select the right portable DEF tank for your mobile fleet.

What is a DEF Tank?

Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is required on most diesel engines to satisfy environmental regulations. DEF is made with deionized water and urea. When it enters a vehicle’s exhaust stream, DEF becomes ammonia and eliminates nitrogen oxides that could be harmful to the environment. This process greatly reduces the amount of pollution generated by diesel engines.

Although the legislation requiring DEF was controversial, there are benefits to the driver. Trucks using diesel exhaust fluid have superior fuel economy and higher horsepower. Since combustion is more optimized with DEF, there’s also less wear and tear on the engine.

Because DEF is a legal requirement, large quantities may be necessary to support commercial trucking operations, construction, or other industries that rely on diesel vehicles.

Light-duty trucks will use roughly 2 to 3 gallons of DEF over the course of 800 miles, while medium- or heavy-duty trucks will consume 1 gallon of DEF for every 50 miles.

Benefits of a Portable Def Tank

Portable Def Tank in Use

Portable DEF tanks allow you to safely store diesel exhaust fluid on the back of a pickup truck or ATV. Since DEF can evaporate or degrade in the wrong storage conditions, a designated tank is designed to protect the integrity of the fluid while serving as a convenient source of refills.

A few of the key benefits of a portable DEF tank include:

  • Lightweight design for mobile use.
  • Dimensions are sized to fit inside a pickup truck bed or ATV.
  • Can be refilled at a larger bulk def storage tank system.
  • Designed to safely and securely hold DEF fluid.
  • Includes a transfer pump to pump DEF fluid into a vehicle DEF tank.
  • An optional pallet attachment to move the DEF tank with a fork lift onto the back of a pickup truck or ATV.

What Size Portable DEF Tank to Select

The most important consideration for a portable DEF tank is whether you can fit the DEF tank in your pickup truck bed or ATV.  

  • Measure the width of your pickup truck bed.
  • The width of your truck bed represents the length of your portable DEF Tank.
  • The Portable DEF tank length needs to be less than your bed width.
  • The width of the portable DEF tank represents the depth inside your truck bed. Measure the depth starting from the back of your cab and move in a straight line going to the back of your pickup bed.

What DEF Tank Accessories to Consider

The main consideration for people is whether to purchase a portable DEF tank by itself or purchase a portable DEF tank with a pump.

If you already have a transfer pump, make sure the existing transfer pump connection will fit on your portable DEF tank.

If you do not have a transfer pump, it makes sense to purchase a portable DEF tank with a pump. We offer two main pump options: a 12V DC pump or a 120V AC pump.

Fork Lift Pallet Attachment

Portable Def Tank with Fork Lift Attachment

An important benefit of portable DEF containers is the lightweight design.  The tank material is made of lightweight polyethylene material. 

However, once you pour DEF fluid into the DEF tank, the tank weight increases significantly.  For this reason, we strongly recommend purchasing a DEF tank with a fork lift pallet attachment. 

The fork lift pallet attachment allows you to easily lift and move the tank on or off a pickup truck using a fork lift or a skid steer with a fork lift attachment.

We offer a fork lift pallet attachment as an add-on accessory that you can add to any order.  

Best Portable DEF Tanks

Tank Retailer offers multiple sizes of Portable DEF Tanks.  You can purchase the DEF tank by itself or your can purchase a portable DEF tank with a pump.

Rhino Portable DEF Tank

Rhino Tuff Tanks offer portable DEF Tanks that come standard with lockable lids, integrated level indicators, four anchor inserts, openings for RSV inlet and outlet valve/cover, and molded inserts for mounting brackets.

Notable Features Include:

  • Lockable Hinged Lid for security.
  • Molded-in Tie down corners for secure transport.
  • Semi-transparent tank with integrated fluid level indicators.
  • Two 2 inch NPT openings.
  • Four 1/4-20 SS Inserts for Pump Mount.
  • Optional fork lift pallet attachment available as a product add on.

Available Sizes Include:

  • 80 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 27 inches high (90 pounds)
  • 120 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 36 inches high (115 pounds)
  • 180 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 45 inches high (155 pounds)

Rhino Portable DEF Tank with Pump

Rhino Tuff Tanks also offers a full package option which includes a portable DEF tank with a pump.  The key benefit of a package option is that you do not need to worry about whether or not your existing transfer pump will fit with your portable DEF tank. 

Notable Features:

  • DEF Transfer Tank with Pump (7 to 9 GPM).
  • Choice of a 12V DC Pump or a 120V AC Pump
  • Automated shut-off nozzle with swivel and nozzle support.
  • 20 foot dispensing hose.

DEF Tank with 20V DC Pump Sizes:

  • 80 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 27 inches high
  • 120 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 36 inches high
  • 180 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 45 inches high

DEF Tank with 120V AC Pump Sizes:

  • 80 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 27 inches high
  • 120 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 36 inches high
  • 180 Gallon: 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 45 inches high

DEF Tank Manufacturing and Certifications

It’s always a good idea to review how tanks are made and whether they’re compliant with a reputable code. Rhino Tuff Tanks manufactures its products in the United States and certifies its tanks under ULC 142.14-03 Nonmetallic Bulk Containers for the Storage and Dispensing of Combustible and Non-combustible Liquids.

Some manufacturers even have their own preferred processes that affect the tank’s final qualities. Rhino Tuff Tanks uses rotational molding, a method that continuously turns the material during heating to ensure it’s completely distributed throughout the mold. This results in a tank that’s more durable, flexible, and uniform throughout compared to other processes such as injection or thermal molding.

Monitoring DEF Fluid Levels

While it’s a good idea to check all your fluids on a routine basis, it’s especially important to monitor your diesel exhaust fluid. Your truck will most likely notify you as you start to run low.

Carrying your own supply of DEF fluid makes it easier to manage your fluid levels without having to stop and purchase more. Plus, purchasing in bulk will always be more cost effective than the smaller quantities available for sale at truck stops and hardware or automotive stores.

Since DEF is required by law to reduce pollution, modern diesel engines won’t work if you’re completely out of fluid. Some vehicles have a low-power mode that allows you to cover short distances, but it won’t last forever. Running out of DEF could cause unexpected disruptions to your schedule or even leave you stranded on the side of the road.

You can also browse our full selection of Portable DEF Tanks Available for Sale.