According to this Medical News Today article, humans can only last about three days without water. Your body needs water daily to perform essential functions such as keeping cells alive and controlling internal temperature. So, you need access to healthy water even during water emergencies, which is why we recommend getting the best water storage container.
As you look for the best containers for water storage, you might also be interested in learning how to store food for emergencies.
What Is a Water Storage Container?
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Water storage containers are vessels you can store water in case of an emergency, such as broken water lines or reservoir contamination.
Experts at the CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend emergency water storage containers that hold up to a 2-week supply for your family. When choosing the best containers, ensure they can hold at least a gallon of water for each family member.
These containers come in different sizes; you can opt for small containers if you need to store water for one person or when you know a water emergency will not last long. Alternatively, you would need large containers that store hundreds of gallons of water for more people, especially when you don’t know how long an emergency could last.
In addition to size, the best water storage containers are made with healthy materials that do not transfer toxins into the water. For example, the CDC recommends getting containers made with food-grade plastic or polythene.
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With this information, it is time to look for the best emergency water storage containers. Unfortunately, too many water containers are on the market, so choosing one can be daunting. If this is your challenge, we have researched for you and found the best five water containers for several water storage functions. Read on as we share our experience using each.
1. Best Overall: 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
- Suitable for outdoors activities and emergency water storage
- NOTE: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will cause the water container to degrade and become brittle, increasing the chance of leaks. It…
The Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer water container is our best water storage container for storing easily accessible drinking water. Our shipment came with four 7-gallon portable water storage containers that we found easy to fill and store. These are designed for a camper, but they are great emergency water storage containers if domestic water pipes run dry.
Each is a blue portable water storage container with a molded handle and screw-on vent for safe water handling. We loved the hideaway spigot on the plastic lid, which makes it easy to access water without lifting the container. In addition, this plastic water container is made with food-grade materials and hence, comes with an FDA-approved and BPA-free rating.
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Since the water containers are made of plastic, we were cautious about storing them away from direct sunlight to guarantee their durability. Luckily, the four water containers are backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The final feature we loved the most was each container’s design. These are designed to be easily stackable, and thanks to their compact size and weight, we could easily load all four on top of each other after filling them with water. The design makes them ideal for tiny storage spaces.
- Best water storage containers for drinking water
- Made with food-grade polyethylene plastic
- Clever hideaway spigot feature for easier water access
- Each container comes with a 5-year warranty
- Easily stackable to save space
- Sturdy molded handles for easy portability
- A bit expensive
- The plastic wrapping on our bottles got loose after a few washes
2. Best Value: Augason Farms 55 Gallon Water Container with Filtration 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
- Shelter-in-place emergency water storage in the event of water contamination and natural disasters
- Measures 22.95″ diam. x 35.13″h
Since we wanted to store healthy drinking water, this water container caught our attention because it comes with a filtration kit. The water treatment kit is great for purifying water before storage, thus ensuring the water can last many years before consumption. Since we were storing tap water, we added the treatment to 60 gallons of water before transferring it into the tank.
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The water container looks well-built, and we loved that it is made with BPA-free Polypropylene plastic. It also came in a beautiful blue color with a 55-gallon capacity. Our container had extra accessories for easier handling, including a bung wrench that made it easy to open the container’s bung.
Once opened, we found the container easy to clean before adding water. The 6-foot siphon hose was a great accessory that allowed us to fill the container with water, while the siphon pump made it easy to access the stored water. The package also came with a pail to which we transferred the stored water for easy access when preparing meals.
- Large capacity
- It comes with extra accessories for easier water handling
- Made with food-grade plastic
- It comes with a water treatment kit for treating contaminated water
- Not easily portable
3. Best Portable: Saratoga 5-Gallon Stackable Water Storage Containers
- PORTABLE, STACKABLE WATER CONTAINERS: These 5-gallon water containers are designed with flat bottoms and tops that stack together, even in…
- 200 DAYS OF DRINKING WATER: It’s recommended to have half a gallon of water per person per day when preparing an emergency water reservoir…
- MADE FROM BPA-FREE HDPE PLASTIC: Our high-quality water containers are made from 100% food-grade plastic, and the included spigots are made…
- SPIGOT & WATER PRESERVER INCLUDED: The extra accessories in this kit make these containers ideal for travel and emergency storage. The…
- PREPARE, STORE & SAVE: As a family-founded company with years of experience, we know the importance of preparedness. Our water storage…
If a water emergency, such as a natural disaster, occurred, there is no telling how long the water lines would be out. And, considering a person needs at least a gallon of water to survive each day, we also looked for water containers that could store enough water to last several weeks.
These Saratoga water containers were the best fit because they can store up to 100 gallons of water, are lightweight to move around, and are stackable, so they don’t take up much floor storage space. Our kit came with 20 containers, so we could save 100 gallons of water to last a single person 100 days in an emergency.
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We also loved that each container is easy to carry, thanks to a sturdy handle. In addition, each can fit nicely on a kitchen countertop, thus making water access easier for a kitchen without running water. While the containers are easy to carry, we understand not everyone can carry them from the storage area to the kitchen or bathroom. So, we appreciated the four spigots that made it easier to fetch water without lifting the container.
When handling many water storage containers, it is easy to lose some vital accessories such as lids. Thankfully, this set came with 24 lids, thus offering four extra replacement lids. According to the manufacturer, these containers can store healthy water for up to five years. As a bonus, our package also came with a water preserver kit that can purify water for longevity.
- Good value for money
- Easy to store
- The package has extra accessories like lids
- Includes a water preserver
- The water containers can store up to 100 gallons of water
- Some of the lids were leaky
4. Best for Short-Term Use: Topoko Foldable Cube Water Container
- IDEAL FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND EMERGENCY USE – TOPOKO foldable water bag is very suitable for outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking,…
- LEAK PROOF FAUCET WITH LARGE WATER OUTLET – the product adopts a unique faucet design to carry water to prevent leakage without worrying…
- ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY MATERIAL – TOPOKO foldable water storage bag is made of LDPE4 material (the highest quality level in the United…
- SPACE SAVING AND FOLDABLE – TOPOKO water storage bag is easy to fold when dry, which can save 90% of space and can be used for daily and…
- RETURN OR REPLACE GUARANTEE – We are located in Houston, Texas and speak to customers daily. If at anytime you have an issue with our lunch…
We included this option for people who want to have some water backup, even without the storage space for a water storage tank. While the collapsible bag is designed for hiking and other outdoor environments, we propose it for storing drinking water in case a building has contaminated water.
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The 5-gallon capacity water storage bag is clear and made with BPA-free Polyvinyl Chloride. Unlike other stackable water containers, we found this foldable option to come in a superbly space-saving design. We could fold the bag and store it in a cabinet, unlike a bulkier tank or jug, which would still consume floor space.
Thanks to a sturdy handle, we found the bag easy to carry when full. It was easy to fill up, and the cap was easy to open and close. However, while it comes with a spigot for easier water access, we didn’t find the spigot easy to position correctly. Additionally, since this bag is stored out of sight, it was important to dry it completely before folding it away, and both processes required a lot of effort.
- Affordable water storage solution
- The best space-saving collapsible container
- Portable and comes with a sturdy handle
- Made with BPA-free material
- It is clear, making it easy to observe the water level
- It has a 5-gallon capacity
- Easy to fill up
- Not easy to fold perfectly for storage
- Not as durable as other water containers
5. Best for Long-Term Water Supply: 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…
- HYGIENIC & SAFE DRINKING WATER: The WaterPrepared barrel is reinforced with a specially blended UV-resistant plastic that protects your…
- STRONG, RESILIENT CONSTRUCTION: Manufactured with a rugged high-density polyethylene material (HDPE), this emergency water container is…
- HASSLE-FREE ACCESS: With the spigot integrated right into the design, accessing your emergency water has never been easier. Simply connect…
- Includes 25′ Lead Free Hose and 5 Year Water Treatment
The set of two stackable water containers offered the best emergency water storage capacity for a big family. Each stackable water container has a capacity of 160 gallons, so both can store 320 gallons of water which is enough to last a small family several weeks.
These containers are made with durable BPA-free HDPE plastic that also gives them a rugged look. In addition, the tough plastic is UV-resistant, so we loved that we didn’t have to look for storage space in a dark corner. These tanks come with two spigots integrated into the design that connects easily to the 25-inch garden hose that comes with the package, thus making water access a breeze.
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These stackable containers also came with a 5-year water treatment kit which we found excellent considering we could leave the water untouched for many years. All we needed to do was clean the tanks, add the treatment, the fill the water to the brim. We started filling the bottom tank, then stacked the second before filling it up. Unfortunately, there is no guide to show when the tank is full, so we needed a ladder to observe the filling process.
- Best large tanks for water emergency preparedness
- Space-saving stackable design
- Durable construction
- Easy to fill up
- Tight plastic lids to keep water healthy for years
- The package comes with a 5-year water treatment
- Best-placed spigots for easy water access
- They come with a 25-inch hose for filling and accessing water
- We had to use a ladder to fill the top tank
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Water Storage Container
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As mentioned above, you need to store healthy drinking water for emergencies when taps run dry. So, if you struggle to select the best option for your needs, here are the most important factors to narrow your search.
group of water tanks isolated on white background
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Before choosing your best water containers, understand how many gallons you would need daily in an emergency. According to health experts, a person needs at least a gallon of water daily for drinking and cleaning. In addition, experts also recommend you store at least 3-days worth of water for emergencies.
So, consider how many people you live with, then calculate how many gallons you will need to store that can see you through three days. For example, if you live alone, a 5-gallon container can sustain you for 5 days, while a bigger 20-gallon container can sustain a family of about 5 for three days.
If you want the best emergency preparedness, we recommend getting more storage so you have water that can last you weeks of drinking, cooking, and cleaning. More water storage will also give you enough water to water your lawns or garden. So, you can look for the best stackable water containers to store more water while taking up the least floor space.
b) Container material
For the best water storage, go for containers made with healthy, BPA-free, and FDA-approved materials. Most containers will be made with food-grade plastic and will not pass toxins to your stored water.
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While getting a durable container is imperative, you also need to consider how you would access the stored water when needed. Some containers are relatively lightweight, so you can carry them with ease.
If you go for a bigger tank, we recommend looking for options with built-in or easily customizable spigots that connect to hoses so you can access the water without hassle.
d) Container Storage Solutions
Your storage space will determine if you buy large tanks or smaller stackable water storage containers. Generally, large water tanks will store more water, but they will take up a lot of floor space. If you don’t have much free floor space, the next best option is to get stackable containers that sit on each other. Then, you will easily store the water bottles on a smaller floor area, and they can hold hundreds of gallons of water combined.
e) Screw-in air vents
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Air vents are a vital feature for all potable water containers. The vents are located opposite the cap or spout and release the air that forms inside the container when you fetch water.
If a container does not have an air vent, more air will continue building up inside the vessel, leading to water coming out in aggressive spurts. So, get a container with an air vent, but it is also vital that the feature does not make the container leaky. When buying a water container, we recommend choosing one with a screw-in air vent instead of an air cap, as the former is less prone to water leaks.
While colors are more about preference, we advise going for models with darker colors, such as blue and brown. This is because you don’t want to expose your water to direct light that can encourage algae growth. Unfortunately, you cannot monitor the water levels with most dark-colored containers. If you get a clear container, it is best to store it in a dark place.