How to Buy a Jug on eBay

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How to Buy a Jug on eBay

Whether it’s to complete a dining room sideboard that’s missing something, or to be used in the daily life of a kitchen; jugs are an integral part of modern life. From the oldest clay pots to the new sleek contemporary examples of today, jugs are used for a myriad of measuring and mixing to aid the cook of the household.

About Jugs

Jugs have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The word jug was first seen in the latter stages of the 1400s, but the vessel itself has undoubtedly been around for much longer. The definition of a jug is a vessel for storing liquid, which has a handle and a mouth or spout designed for easy pouring. Jugs can vary in size from the smallest gravy boats to the largest industrial pourers. Evolving over the years to become the essential spill free way to pour liquids, jugs have also become an integral part of modern design. They’re a very common feature of décor in homes, the great clay and ceramics movement of the 1800s and early 1900s produced some beautiful jugs.

Choosing a Jug

Whether it’s a rare ornamental jug or the most utilitarian plastic measuring jug, there are a number of options to choose from. If there is a specific need driving the purchase or the jug is intended for an avid collector, the seller can be asked questions to ensure that the jug fits all requirements.

Type of Jug

There are many types of jugs and it is largely the type that determines the function and purpose.



Measuring Jug

Measuring jugs are normally made from glass, plastic, or another transparent material. They offer the ability to measure out liquids in different standards, normally in fluid ounces and litres. Most measuring jugs have horizontal lines on the outside of the jug, which denote the level of measurement.

Gravy Boat

Gravy boats are low, long jugs used for the storage and pouring of gravy. Whilst normally ceramic, they can be made of any material but are usually decorative. Gravy boats have very small handles in comparison to other types of jug.

Sauce Jug

Sauce jugs, similarly to gravy boats, are used for the storage and pouring of a liquid accompaniment to a meal. Sauce jugs are closer to the original design of jugs than gravy boats, standing taller and deeper.

Water Jug

Water jugs are large vessels used for serving water to guests. The material used for water jugs is chosen for its neutrality so that it doesn’t contaminate the taste of the water. Enamel is a popular choice, along with glazed ceramic and glass.

Toby Jug

Toby jugs were a very popular form of decorative and comical jug and remain so today. First made in the 1700s in Staffordshire, England, they became synonymous with the English monarchy at the time and are still used today as novelty items. Original toby jugs can fetch very high prices on the open market.

Kettle Jug

Kettle jugs are jugs used for the heating or storage of hot water. They are designed to withstand great temperatures and allow the pourer to pour safely with stay-cool handles. Most kettle jugs have a protective material lining the exterior base of the jug to avoid damage to surfaces and tabletops.

Wine Jug

Also called a Claret Jug, these are used for pouring wine at dinner parties. Whilst they grew out of the need for an easier pouring action to avoid spillage at formal events, they are also strongly influenced by ornament. Claret Jugs are normally decorative with turned handles, bases, and spouts.

Purpose of the Jug

In the wide choice of jugs, some are more suitable for certain tasks than others. Knowing which will be the best for an individual role is key to selecting the right type and style.



Pouring (thin)

Pouring thin liquid like wine, water, and other non-viscous fluids requires a different type of spout. The ease at which thinner fluid runs denotes that the spout be more accurate. Water jugs and claret jugs often have a curled mouth to direct the liquids more accurately and reduce the potential for mistakes.

Pouring (thick)

Pouring thick and viscous liquids like accompanying sauce and gravy is a little simpler, as they run much more slowly. Gravy boats and sauce jugs offer more potential for decoration on the spout, as they can be poured from a variety of different shaped and sized mouths.


Decorative jugs offer very little in the field of function. They are designed to be the most aesthetically pleasing or to suit a certain style of decor; decorative jugs often have a disguised felt base so they can be placed on delicate surfaces like antique wood tabletops without the need for protection. Expensive ornamental jugs are often finished in a glaze or protective material to safeguard against damage and corrosion.


Jugs can be used for the storage of alcoholic and fermenting liquids if they are fitted with a lid. They are also frequently used as vases for flowers and as such offer little in the way of functional use.

Jugs can also become thermal with the addition of a second wall within the vessel. Kettle jugs are often treated with this technology, while thermal jugs are a popular alternative to the more utilitarian thermal flasks.

Typical Jug Material




Ceramic, or pottery, was one of the first materials used for making jugs. Along with clay, most ceramic jugs are finished in a glaze to both protect the jug and prevent contamination of the liquid within. An unglazed ceramic jug is unsuitable for use with food and drink, as it can affect the taste of the liquid contained within.


Plastic is the most modern of the common materials for jug making, it is also the cheapest and offers the most potential for shaping and colouring. Plastic jugs are great for measuring jugs because of their ability to be made transparent, but they are also popular because of the high-gloss finish and bright colours they offer for more modern designs.


Glass jugs are popular as measuring jugs for the same reason as plastic, and are also the most common material for water jugs. Glass is very useful when dealing with food and drink because of the ability to see within and the propensity not to affect taste.


Metallic jugs can be finished in enamel by fusion, heating the enamel to high temperatures and introducing it to metal encourages a bonding between the two. Enamel jugs are very durable because of their protective finish and offer the least impact on taste behind glass.


Metal jugs are less popular now than they were some time ago, as understanding about the properties of metals has advanced. Whilst still used for decoration and storage, metal jugs are rarely used for food and drink because of the potential to corrode or rust.

Buying New or Used Jugs on eBay




New jugs will come with the benefit of having never been used before, which can be important to people who intend to utilise them for food and drink purposes. New plastic and enamel jugs may require airing out or washing prior to use to remove the smells and chemicals of manufacture and packaging.


Used jugs are very popular for ornamental purpose and decoration, as they will likely have a distressed look. When buying ceramic used jugs, inspect them for chips and scratches as these can be difficult places to clean and can encourage the growth of bacteria when used with food and drink.

Finding a Jug on eBay

On the eBay Home Page, click the All Categories section to open a directory of choices. Jugs can be found in one of three root directories. The most common place to find a jug would be in the Home, Furniture & DIY category followed by Cookware, Dining & Bar, Tableware, Serving & Linen and finally Jugs & Pitchers. From within this category, there are choices to filter by Material, Colour, Condition & more. Jugs can also be found in the Collectables category in Breweriana and Jugs and in the Pottery, Porcelain & Glass category, in the Jugs sections of Pottery, Porcelain/China, Date-Lined Ceramics and Glass. From within these pages, use the Search bar at the top and the filters on the right to more closely refine the search.


Jugs can create solutions to a variety of problems, whilst offering a fantastic way to contribute to the decor of a home or room. Choosing the right one is vital to ensuring that it fulfills its purpose correctly and effectively. With such a wide array of possibilities for finding the right jug, eBay is the perfect place to begin the search, whether looking for a 17th century antique or an emergency gravy boat for the dinner party next week.

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