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Minnow Bucket Aerators That Will Keep Your Bait Alive All Day Long While You Fish

While there are pretty lures and dead shrimp, nothing is better for catching fish than some live boat.

live minnows for bait in a bucket with an aerator

Live bait wriggles around and attracts fish better than anything else. But it can be a tough task to keep them alive and healthy until it’s time to set them on the hook. 

Many fishermen use aerators along with minnow buckets. This combination keeps their little fish alive long enough to be effective bait.

Aerators supply the water with oxygen, keeping the water moving and cool enough.

live minnows in a bucket with an aerator

To help you find the best aerators for minnow buckets, we’ve compiled a list of the seven most loved by customers.

Check out our reviews to see which minnow aerator is ideal for you!

Best Aerators for Minnow Buckets

  1. Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket
  2. Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Station
  3. Frabill Ice Min-O-Life Aerator
  4. Marine Metal Products CB – 211 Cool Bubbles
  5. Frabill Magnum Bait Station
  6. Aerobait Bait Saver Bucket 
  7. Frabill MIN-O2-LIFE Aerated Bait Bucket

Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket

The Engel Cooler and Minnow Bucket is one of the best bait buckets on the market. It has a capacity of thirteen quarts and only weighs about six pounds when it’s empty.

Engel 13 Qt Live Bait Cooler & Minnow Bucket

The white plastic cooler has a metal seal to ensure the water stays fresh and cool to keep the bait healthy until it’s time for them to take the plunge. 

It also features molded polystyrene insulation which protects the bait from overheating or becoming too cold due to environmental conditions.

The plastic exterior is super durable and can handle impact without cracking. It is also a dense plastic, so it won’t absorb and hold on to fishy odors. 

There’s a handle and a shoulder strap to make it easy to carry to and fro, and is compact, so storage is a breeze.

The gasket seal prevents sloshing when carrying it, which can be a major frustration when dealing with live bait. But users report that the cooler is easy to handle and overs excellent aeration to keep live bait splashing around for days. 


Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Station

This white and yellow bait station looks like just a five-gallon bucket and is much more high-tech than that.

Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Station

The capacity of this bucket is six gallons featuring a microbubble diffuser, removable insulated liner, and water-tight design. 

These aspects make it easy to keep your bait alive for days by controlling the temperature with the insulation.

The bubble diffuser also works as an aerator, filtering oxygen through the water to keep the bait healthy and moving around.

Both the aerator and the insulation are removable, making it easy to clean and sanitize the bucket when it gets fishy and dirty. 

The aerator has three power source options, making it easy to use no matter where you are or what power you have access to.

It will work with 2 D-cell batteries, a 12V power adapter for boat or truck use, or 120V use at home. 

The tight clamp-on lid design prevents splashing or spillage when carrying the bucket. The only complaint some users have is that you can’t run the aerator for 24 hours for more than a few days before it stops functioning. 


Frabill Ice Min-O-Life Aerator

If you are happy just using your five-gallon bucket or lunch cooler, you can buy this aerator without any additional items.

Frabill Ice Min-O-Life Aerator

This aerator can sit comfortably on the side of a five-gallon bucket and distribute oxygen throughout the water to keep the bait healthy and alive. 

This affordable aerator comes with an air hose, and a weighted air stone to position the aerator so it won’t slide out.

The aerator is powerful enough to circulate the water in a 15-gallon tank or bucket, and it runs on two D batteries. 

The aerator has been tested in saltwater and freshwater, ensuring it can oxygenate all water.

The batteries will let the aerator work for about 48 hours before you need to change the batteries. This time is shorter than many fishermen would like but still gets the job done. 


Marine Metal Products CB – 211 Cool Bubbles

For those that don’t keep much bait, this small bucket and aerator are perfect for storing live bait.

Marine Metal Products CB - 211 Cool Bubbles

Keeping a handful of minnows or shrimp in a massive five-gallon bucket is an unnecessary hassle. So instead, you can use this eight-quart plastic bucket with the cool bubbles pump kit. 

The synthetic plastic construction works as a decent insulator to keep the water cool but not cold.

The plastic is durable and long-lasting, so even though the bucket is small it should last you years to come with moderate wear and tear.

It even comes with a mini net, so you can easily scoop out your bait for use. 

The manufacturer says it will last 44 hours on two batteries, but users report it seems to work for as long as 60 hours before running out of juice.

For fishermen that don’t want to lug around a massive bait bucket or cooler, the Marine Metal Cool Bubbles bucket is a wonderful solution.

It works effectively to keep your bait swimming around which is great if you want to snack on a couple minnows.


Frabill Magnum Bait Station

It’s undeniable that Frabill knows what they’re doing concerning aerators and bait buckets.

Frabill Magnum Bait Station

This Magnum bait station is the cream of the crop, featuring a dual-speed aerator with a 12V power adapter and house battery capabilities, a shoulder strap, and a lift-out net liner.

It also has a large and sturdy handle, so you have some options when carrying the cooler back and forth.

The compact and rectangular design makes it easy to store and transport in a vehicle loaded with fishing gear. Frabill thought of everything with this product, even adding a non-slip material to the bottom of the cooler so it won’t slide around on a wet surface. 

Users report that the bucket can hold up to a pound of live bait, making it one of the highest capacity bait buckets on the market.

The aerator is excellent for keeping the water cool and the bait healthy for several days. It can hold between 70 and 100 minnows depending on the variety and size of the fish.


Aerobait Bait Saver Bucket 

The Aerobait Bait Saver Bucket might be the fanciest bait bucket on our list. It has an integrated aerator positioned at the bottom of the bucket, circulating oxygen through the water.

Aerobait Bait Saver Bucket 

The bucket features an insulated polypropylene interior that keeps the water cool even in freezing or scorching temperatures. 

It functions by using a heavy-duty, battery-operated electric motor with a recessed power switch.

It is easy to use, so serious fishermen who don’t want to waste time and effort fiddling with their portable aerator will love this product. 

It only requires a single D battery to operate, making it one of the most efficient bait buckets on the market.

Despite the impressive features and fluid design, it is also super affordable. The air pump con sometimes becomes backed up, but users report that it’s simple to fix and only happens when the bucket is properly maintained. 


Frabill MIN-O2-LIFE Aerated Bait Bucket

The Frabill MIN-O2-LIFE bucket is just shy of five gallons. It is a decent size for people that like to keep plenty of live bait on hand.

Frabill MIN-O2-LIFE Aerated Bait Bucket

Frabill gives you a portable aerator, air hose, and air stone when you buy this whole package. It gives you exactly what you need to keep your bait alive for a few days, no more and no less. 

The bucket has been tested for saltwater and freshwater, making it ideal for many fishing environments. The insulation and interior netting are easily removable, making it easy to clean and keep in good condition. 

Users report that the lid sometimes doesn’t have the tightest seal, and they feel the bucket is more expensive than it needs to be.

Considering all of the Frabill aerator buckets, this one is probably the least loved by customers.

However, many still report that it keeps their bait alive and fresh for days and is very simple to use. 


Final Thoughts

While these bait buckets are all excellent, there is some clear favoritism toward Frabill among experienced fishers.

Frabill offers many different kinds of aerators and bait buckets, giving plenty of options to its customers. 

However, you can’t go wrong with any of the aerators and buckets on this list. Just make sure you choose the best size and power source, so you can keep bait alive with ease in whatever bucket you’re using.

Rocco Smith

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