Water is a finite resource. It’s also one of the most essential resources for human survival. In an emergency situation, few things are more important than being able to access safe, clean drinking water. That leads us to two very important questions: how much water should you store for an emergency? And what type of container should you use for emergency water storage? Keep reading to find out.
- 1 Choosing an Emergency Water Storage Container
- 2 Best Emergency Water Storage Containers
- 2.1 Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
- 2.2 Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
- 2.3 RomoTech 50 Gallon Plastic Storage Tank
- 2.4 WaterStorageCube BPA-Free Collapsible Water Container
- 2.5 Augason Farms 55-Gallon Water Filtration and Storage Kit
- 2.6 AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder (15 Gallon)
- 2.7 LCI Plastic Water Can 5 Gallon
- 2.8 WaterPrepared 320 Gallon Capacity Emergency Water Storage Tanks
- 2.9 Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel
- 2.10 WaterBOB Bathtub Storage Emergency Drinking Water Container
Choosing an Emergency Water Storage Container
A quick scan of the interwebs will reveal a variety of containers intended for emergency water storage. Needless to say, they aren’t all created equal. A few things come into play when choosing containers for emergency water storage:
- Material: Most water storage containers are made of food-grade plastic, which is lightweight, inexpensive, and fairly strong. The most important thing to look for is plastic that is BPA-free.
- Durability: The way a container is constructed, as well as the thickness and quality of the container are very important. It needs to be strong enough to hold water over the long haul, and should be resistant to cracking and abrasion.
- Leak Resistance: You need one that has tight seals and will not leak. It’s as simple as that.
It’s also important that you consider the size and capacity of your storage containers. This depends largely on how many people you need to provide water for, and for how long. A good rule is one gallon of water, per person, per day. You can get away with less, but as long as you’re planning ahead, why not play it safe? Be sure to also consider how portable your containers are, in case you need to relocate in an emergency.
Best Emergency Water Storage Containers
There is no single best water storage container. Depending on your situation and needs, you may choose any of the containers on this list. You may also want to choose more than one, in order to be better prepared for a wide range of circumstances. In any case, these are some of the best water storage containers on the market today:
Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
- PORTABLE, STACKABLE WATER CONTAINERS: These 5-gallon water containers are designed with flat bottoms and tops that nestle together to help stack more water in less space. The handles make them...
- 160 DAYS OF DRINKING WATER: It’s recommended to have half a gallon of water per person per day when preparing an emergency water reservoir for your household. This kit provides 16 containers...
- MADE FROM BPA-FREE HDPE PLASTIC: Our high-quality water containers are made from 100% food-grade plastic, which also makes them useful for storing other liquids or food necessities. They are...
These are among the most versatile and convenient for water storage. These containers from Saratoga Farms are great for most people in most situations. Their space-saving design allows you to store more water in a smaller area. Each is light enough that you can carry it if you need to. But, they combine to give you a large storage capacity.
Saratoga Farms are made in the U.S. using 100% non-toxic food grade plastic. Flat bottoms and tops allow them to be stacked easily, and they have handles, so you can pick them up and go. Stackables are available in a pack of 12, which hold 60 total gallons.
Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
- Rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with molded contour grip
- Space-saving design for easy storing and stacking when empty. Spigot cap is reversible for safe storage and transport
- New and improved screw-on vent; hideaway spigot for on-demand water dispensing
A little bigger and tougher than the stackables, the 7-gallon Aqua-Tainer is rugged enough for outdoor and emergency situations. Each one weighs close to 60 pounds when full (the container on its own weighs 2 pounds). So they’re hefty, but still luggable for most folks.
These containers also have handles, and improved screw-on vents and hideaway spigots for easy pouring. The downside is that they don’t stack quite as neatly, but they’re more affordable in terms of price per gallon of storage. Each container comes with a 5-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
RomoTech 50 Gallon Plastic Storage Tank
- 50 gallon capacity
- Thick walled, heavy-duty design
- Molded-in graduation marks in gallons & liters
There are a lot of reasons to recommend this storage tank as a larger, semi-permanent water container. It holds a significant amount of water, and is also made of sturdy BPA-free plastic. It is semi-transparent, and has molded-in graduation marks in both gallons and liters. That makes it easy to see exactly how much water is inside.
Is it portable? Sort of. The tank weighs 25 pounds, and of course, 50 gallons of water is pretty heavy. Two guys could heft it up into the bed of a truck if they had to, but you’ll be happier if you lift it first, and then fill it with water afterwards. This unit also has molded-in channels for saddle straps, so you can strap it down for secure transport.
WaterStorageCube BPA-Free Collapsible Water Container
- FOOD-GRADE ODORLESS GREAT TASTE: PE plastic made with highest quality USA raw material. Environmentally friendly non-toxic, No BPA PVC or DEHP, No plastic PVC odor and water taste will not be...
- LIGHT, COMPACT, PORTABLE AND REUSABLE Foldable space saving design store away easily. Remains soft and flexible even when cold yet retains shape and is easy to fill, dry, drain and reuse. Soft...
- WORRY-FREE AND LEAK-PROOF Custom made lid and spigot with gasketless design means no leaks or parts to replace. Good spigot water-flow. Thicker lid to withstand heavy pressure. Easy on/off spigot...
The container from WaterStorageCube has an innovative design that makes it one of the most convenient and portable water containers in the 5-gallon range. They are made of soft, flexible plastic that folds down into a flat, compact square when not in use. When you’re ready to fill it up, you can pop it open into a 5.3-gallon cube.
This container is reusable, and easy to dry out and fold away for re-use. The only downside is that they aren’t quite as strong as some others. They’re said to be able to withstand a four-foot drop, but you wouldn’t want to test one with a drop much higher than that. On the plus side, with no BPA PVC or DEHP, they’re environmentally friendly, safe, and don’t affect the taste or odor of your water.
Augason Farms 55-Gallon Water Filtration and Storage Kit
- Stores up to 55 gallons
- BPA-free water drum
- Kit Includes: (2) 2" barrel plug fittings, 6' siphon hose with hand pump, Aqua Mira water-treatment bottles, and a pail and barrel opener
An excellent choice for long-term water storage, this water filtration and storage kit is ideal for home use or in an emergency shelter. The main feature is the 55-gallon drum, which is made to meet strict EPA guidelines with BPA-free, food-grade polyethylene plastic. It’s durable, and great for long-term water storage and emergency situations.
The kit also includes a barrel opener, Aquamira water treatment bottles, 2-inch barrel plug fittings and a 6-foot siphon hose with hand pump. Water stored in the 55-gallon drum has an expected shelf life of 4 years, though this depends on where you store it. A dark, dry place between 55°F and 70°F is ideal.
AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder (15 Gallon)
- "THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD FOR THE RV OWNER" Sick and tired of stretching hoses while you're out boondocking? Don't go dry camping without bringing an AQUATANK-2. It will change the way...
- "DECEPTIVELY TOUGH!" Our AQUATANK-2 systems have state-of-the-art material that is thinner and lighter than any rubber bladder but much stronger than you would imagine. Test the sample provided...
- "NO WEIRD TASTE" BPA's are not good... they can interfere with your natural hormone functions and they make your water taste just plain weird. Say no to Bisphenol A and Phthalates and invest in...
With an innovative space-saving design, the AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder is a unique water storage solution. Made with a soft, flexible and puncture-resistant nylon shell over a food-grade, BPA-free polyurethane inner lining, the AQUATANK2 is thinner and lighter than any rubber bladder. It’s not completely immune to punctures—you’ll want to keep it way from sharp objects—but it’s very resistant to tears and abrasions.
The 15-gallon version of the AQUATANK2 Water Storage Bladder is ideal in terms of being portable, but additional sizes are available, ranging all the way up to a massive 300 gallon water storage bladder for longer-term use. These are designed with RV water storage in mind, so their great for travel. You can fill it and empty it through the convenient garden hose-threaded fitting.
LCI Plastic Water Can 5 Gallon
- Standard-issue 5-gallon USGI water can, issued to hundreds of thousands of soldiers worldwide
- Color: Desert tan
- BPA-free product
The LCI Plastic Water Can is about as rugged and durable as a water storage container gets. This thing is made of heavy-duty military grade plastic (it is, in fact, designed for military use) which can really take a lot of punishment without splitting, cracking or leaking. It’s a little more pricey than your average 5-gallon container, but it’s seriously tough.
The plastic is also BPA-free, and doesn’t affect the taste of the water contained within. The LCI Plastic Water Can has a well-designed handle, and also an extra-large screw-on cap, with a 4-inch opening that makes the container very easy to fill. It also has a smaller venting cap (sort of like a cap-within-a-cap) to make precise pouring easy.
WaterPrepared 320 Gallon Capacity Emergency Water Storage Tanks
- ALWAYS BE PREPARED: Be ready to face any water emergency or water shortage by safely and conveniently storing 160 gallons of water in your backyard, garden or garage. With a huge water capacity...
- HYGIENIC & SAFE DRINKING WATER: The WaterPrepared barrel is reinforced with a specially blended UV-resistant plastic that protects your water. The large tank cap and standard garden hose spigot...
- STRONG, RESILIENT CONSTRUCTION: Manufactured with a rugged high-density polyethylene material (HDPE), this emergency water container is BPA-free, and made from FDA/NSF compliant materials and...
The largest emergency water storage option on our list, the WaterPrepared 320 Gallon Emergency Water Storage Tank is actually two tanks. Each has a capacity of 160 gallons, and they can be stacked and locked together to create one giant water storage system. They’re great for an emergency, but also perfect for storing extra water in your home, garage or backyard.
The WaterPrepared tanks are made of rugged blue BPA-free plastic that’s resistant to UV radiation, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. Each tank includes two standard garden spigots, and is reinforced to withstand the pressure of holding hundreds of gallons of water for years, or potentially decades.
Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel
- FUNCTIONALITY: Catch and store rainwater in this 50 Gallon faux wood rain barrel
- OVERFLOW SPOUT: Includes brass spigot so you can easily connect your hose or for use as an overflow spout
- QUALITY: Made of the industry's strongest polyethylene resin that stands up to the cold without cracking or splitting
In an emergency, a system for gathering water could be just as important as a system for storing it. The Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel is both. It shouldn’t be your only water storage option, because the rain it collects will be off your roof and need to be treated in some way to make it potable, but it’s a great addition to your overall water storage system.
The barrel is made of UV-resistant polyethylene plastic that resists mold, mildew and algae. It’s molded to mimic a classic wood barrel, and has a brass spigot near the bottom to easily dispense water. It holds 50 gallons, and has a screen filter to catch large particles before they get into the water. Many people use the Rain Wizard to catch rainwater for their lawn and garden. It can also be a great backup plan in an emergency.
WaterBOB Bathtub Storage Emergency Drinking Water Container
- COLLECT WATER IN YOUR BATHTUB: The waterBOB is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub to prepare for an emergency and survive....
- PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES: Never be without water in an emergency. During a hurricane or tropical storm, water main breaks and storm surges can interrupt or even contaminate your water supply. This...
- KEEPS WATER CLEAN FOR DRINKING: Water stored in an open bathtub with dirt, soap film, and exposure to debris will spoil and become useless. WaterBOB lets you negate these health risks and make...
This is designed for quick emergency water storage in a natural disaster, such as hurricane or severe storm. This is a flexible plastic bladder, which can transform any bathtub into a safe storage space for clean drinking water. It’s available in 100, 200 and 300-gallon sizes.
When the time comes, unfold the WaterBOB container and lay it in your bathtub. Connect the included fill stock to your faucet, and turn it on to fill the container. It’s designed to keep water safe for drinking and other uses for up to 16 weeks. It also comes with a pump for filling smaller containers. The only downside is that you need a source of clean water for this system to be effective. For instance, a water faucet.