Water is an essential item for emergency storage, and emergencies strike at any time. Whether a hurricane is headed your way or civil unrest breaks out, having the best water storage containers ensures that you and your family survives.
Everyone talks about food storage and stockpiling food for disasters, but the human body only lives for three days without water. It’s imperative to have properly stored water for all of the members of your family. Don’t expect the city or state that you live in to supply you with water, and stores sell out within minutes of a disaster.
We looked at and compared all of the best water storage containers to find the best options for you. Not all storage containers are equal; here are our picks and how to make your selection.
Our Choice for the Best Water Storage Container
Water storage shouldn’t be dependent on your budget. Everyone needs to have water stored, regardless of their available money. That’s one reason why we picked the Aqua-Tainer as our best choice – they’re one of the most affordable options, but the quality is still high. Each container stores up to 7-gallons of water in an easy-to-transport design, using durable, food-grade plastic that ensures clean drinking water.
What to Look for in a Water Storage Container?
There are dozens of water storage containers available for purchase, but how do you find out which one is right for you?
We put together a list of qualities that mean the most for a majority of preppers. You can look at these qualities and decide which of our favorite picks will work for you when you store water.
Most people select plastic because it’s more affordable than other materials like stainless steel. Plastic works fine, but make sure you choose one that is thick and uses a form of high-density plastic to reduce leaks.
Flimsy material, such as the plastic used to create milk jugs, isn’t capable of long-term storage. Before too long, pinholes start to develop, eliminating all your drinking water!
Make sure whatever container that you use is made of food-grade plastic. Not all plastic is meant to contact food, so pick containers that only use the right type of plastic to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.
If you want storage containers for bugging out or camping, make sure they’re portable. They should be a small enough size, typically no more than 5 gallons, that you can carry comfortably. There should be a rigid handle at the top of the container for easy portability.
A handle is a must-have for portable water. Tanks are a no-go for taking water on-the-go.
These containers need to last for years to come, so focus on buying containers that last for years. Remember, these containers might be exposed to mother nature as well, such as a flood or a hurricane. The last thing you want is anything contaminating your drinking water.
Durability is a must-have feature, or you might lose all of your stored water.
Ability to Stack
Water storage is imperative, but not everyone has the storage space needed. That’s when stackable containers come into play. Their shape makes it easy to stack multiple containers on top of each other. That allows you to store water to an impressive degree without taking up more space.
Size Compared to Family Size
Decide whether you want one storage container to fit all of your family’s water storage needs or if you want individual storage containers. The recommended amount of water storage is one gallon of water per person per day.
Following FEMA’s recommendations, a family of four needs 28 gallons of water to last one week. Families might opt for one container that fits 28 gallons or more into it or pick individual 7-gallon containers for each person.
Water Storage Goals
How much water do you want to store? The storage container that you buy should line up with your water storage goals.
Consider if you plan to bug out or if your water storage stays where you plan to bunker down. If you plan to stay at the location, large containers will work better than multiple, smaller containers.
It’s best to start with a goal to have enough water stored for one week and then branch out, adding more water over time. If you’re a serious prepper, having large tanks will be the most practical, but if you want to be prepared for power outages or a hurricane, smaller containers will work well.
How Much Water to Store?
Experts recommend that you store one gallon of water per person per day. FEMA says that everyone should have a minimum of three days of water stored at any given time. While each person’s individual needs vary, one-gallon is sufficient for most people.
How much water you need to store varies based on your family size. Even though children tend to use less water than an adult, it’s recommended to store one gallon for children as well. Pregnant and nursing women require more water, so consider that.
Don’t forget your pets! Dogs and cats need water as well. The required amount varies based on their size and type, but storing one gallon for each of your pets ensures that they stay properly hydrated.
The 5 Best Water Storage Containers
Here are the reviews of the five best water storage containers that ensure you stay prepared in any situation.
- Scepter Military Water Container
- Easy to transport
- Lighter, better, safer
- Food grade material
- Superior impact resistance
- BPA-free construction
Sometimes, the best water storage containers are old-school and low-tech – simple. Scepter designed their storage container using thick, durable plastic that will last for years to come. It holds up to five gallons of water with a rigid grip at the top for easy transportation.
Other features of the Scepter Military Water Container include:
- BPA-free construction
- Food-grade materials
- Large-cap at the top for easy pouring
- Dark green to reduce sun exposure
We included the Scepter Military Water Container because it’s a perfect size for bugging out. It holds up to five days worth of watering, and the military design and ruggedness mean it works well for camping and any outdoor adventure. While five gallons is hard to carry around, the handle makes it easier, and if you drop it, this thing is a tank – it won’t break.
Rugged and durable design
Tight screw top
|Smaller – less than a week’s worth of water|
- Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7-Gallon Container
Reliance Products make our first choice for the best water storage container. It’s a rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with a contoured grip. The shape and size allow for easy storage and stacking when empty (not when full).
A few other features of the Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer include:
- BPA-free and food-safe materials
- Improved screw-on vent
- Hideaway spigot for easy water dispensing
- Blue colored to reduce exposure to sunlight
- Five-year warranty
We like this water storage container because it’s the perfect size for a week’s worth of water. 7-gallons is sufficient for one week for one person. The price is affordable, so buy one for each member of your family, giving you an easy way to store seven days of water.
However, it is an awkward size for carrying. It has a handle for portability, but most people cannot move 7-gallons around easily.
|Durable, thick plastic|
Screw-on vent and spigot
Stackable, space-saving design
Easy to pour
|Stacking when full is hard|
Spigot might break.
- Valterra ABS Water Tank
- Lightweight, completely algae-free black ABS plastic
- Tasteless, odorless, and non-toxic; will never rust or corrode
- Easily installed, universally designed with six 3/8" threaded fittings...
- Low pressure applications only
- Dimensions: 8" x 16" x 30", Horizontal installation only
Valterra offers water tanks in seven sizes – 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 33 gallons. That allows you to customize and match what you need for the water supply you aim to create. Their containers are lightweight, made with algae-free, black, ABS plastic that is odorless and tasteless.
Here are some of the features of the Valterra Water Tanks:
- Never rusts or corrodes
- Easy to install and put together
- Stores well on shelves
- Opaque and black to avoid sun exposure
Make sure to note that these water tanks are for low-pressure applications only. Stacking is not recommended; it applies too much pressure to the plastic.
We included these water storage containers because they fit perfectly on shelves due to the rectangular design, and the company offers several sizes. That means you can find the perfect combination to store the exact water you want.
This water storage container works well for camping and RV living. Since it has no grip, carrying it isn’t possible, so it needs to stay wherever you are.
|Perfect shape for shelves|
Multiple storage sizes
|Not portable |
- Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
- PORTABLE, STACKABLE WATER CONTAINERS: These 5-gallon water containers are...
- 40 DAYS OF DRINKING WATER: It’s recommended to have half a gallon of...
- MADE FROM BPA-FREE HDPE PLASTIC: Our high-quality water containers are made...
- SPIGOT & WATER PRESERVER INCLUDED: The extra accessories in this kit make...
- PREPARE, STORE & SAVE: As a family-founded company with years of...
It’s easy to see why we picked the Saratoga Farms Stackables – you can stack them! This water storage container is designed to be stacked, unlike other ones that we stack even though they shouldn’t be due to pressure limitations. If you have limited storage, buying stackable containers is a smart choice.
A few features of the Saratoga Farms Stackables that we like include:
- Stacks neatly due to flat bottoms and tops
- Made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Built-in handle for moving the containers
- BPA-free, food-grade plastic
- Easy cap for pouring
- Made in America
Since each container is only five gallons, it means they’re portable. If you have to bug out, there is a convenient handle that allows you to pick up and move each container. The handles are strong with a grip.
We included these emergency water storage containers because we understand that space is often limited for water storage. Stackable containers are a perfect solution, and the size of each container is more convenient. Larger containers are challenging, if not impossible, to move. You can take these wherever you want to go.
Thick, durable plastic
Great for limited storage
|Not easy to pour|
- WaterPrepared 55-Gallon Water Storage Tank
- ALWAYS BE PREPARED: Be ready to face any water emergency or water shortage...
- HYGIENIC & SAFE DRINKING WATER: The WaterPrepared barrel is reinforced with...
- STRONG, RESILIENT CONSTRUCTION: Manufactured with a rugged high-density...
- HASSLE-FREE ACCESS: With the spigot integrated right into the design,...
- STACKABLE, SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: With WaterPrepared's unique stackable...
If you want a stationary water storage tank for an emergency, WaterPrepared offers a 55-gallon storage tank with an easy-to-use spigot. Having a spigot is an advantage because it reduces the risk of bacteria entering your water supply.
Here are some of the features of the WaterPrepared Storage Tank:
- Made with high-density polyethylene material
- Durable and rugged
- Integrated spit design for easy access
- Stackable design
- UV-resistant plastic material
- Lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects
We picked the WaterPrepared Storage Tank because 55-gallons is enough for most average families. It supplies one person with 55 days of water, and the size isn’t too large, measuring 22” x 28” x 30”. The design is stackable, so you could store several of these tanks in a closet without taking up much space.
|Large 55-gallon capacity|
It has a strong plastic smell.
Everyone needs to have water stored, and it’s much easier when you have some of the best water storage containers. The key is to keep your family’s health in mind, and to prepare for emergency water storage properly.
Whether you’re trying to make your home more sustainable, or just preparing in case of an emergency, storing water is never a bad idea. Try one of these five options to store all of the water that your family needs.