Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Water Storage Containers Reviewed

These are the best-rated products to provide you a reliable water supply when emergencies occur.

by Matt Moran

Imagine if there was a natural disaster in your area. With global warming, the weather is getting increasingly more unpredictable. It can be challenging to determine when disaster will strike.

In the unfortunate event that something does happen, the first thing that you are going to need is access to clean water. You can only survive for about 3 days without water, so it is critical to your survival.

In this article, we review and compare all of the best water storage containers on the market. These containers will keep your water clean and accessible. If you are searching for a water storage tank, then give this buyer’s guide a read before you make a decision.




BPA Free

Check Price

Scepter Durable 5 Gallon 20 Liter Portable...


5.2 Gallons Each


API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers,...

API Kirk

5 Gallons Each


Blue 55 Gallon Water Storage Tank by...


55 Gallons


15 Gallon Emergency Water Storage Barrel -...

Legacy Premium

Food Storage

15 Gallons


Sure Water 260 Gallon Emergency Water Tank


260 Gallons


(4) Waterbrick 3.5 Gallon Blue Waterbricks...


3.5 Gallons Each


WaterStorageCube BPA-Free Collapsible Water...

Water Storage


1.3 / 2.6 / 5.3 Gallons


Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackable Water...

Saratoga Farms


5 Gallons


Benefits of Using Water Storage Containers

Storing water is one of the most critical considerations in a natural disaster. It is not only vital to survival but also daily life. By using a water storage container, you can ensure that you have fresh and clean water when you need it.

Water storage containers are designed to fight off any UV exposure. They are non-toxic and usually BPA free. Storing water in a designated container makes it easier to save space.

Considerations When Buying Water Storage Containers

Toughness and Durability

Water storage containers should be built to last. The last thing that you want is your storage tanks to spring a leak. When shopping for a new container, keep in mind the specs of your container. It should be able to withstand high pressure, UV exposure, and hot and cold climates.

Capacity vs. Weight

While you may think that these two words have a similar meaning when it comes to water storage tanks, they don't. The capacity of the container is the amount of water that it can hold. This is measured in gallons or liters. The weight of the storage container refers to how much it weighs once it is filled with water.

Dimensions and Design

You should consider how much space you have available to put these water containers. Many people may store them in their home or garage. You should review the size and the design of your chosen vessel. If you would like to be able to stack them or if you need a low profile tank to fit your space, then take measurements before buying. 


Water storage containers are typically composed of plastic since it is easy to clean. Plastic is lightweight and non-toxic. Some plastics can absorb materials from the ground, so make sure that you keep your water storage container in a clean space. Make sure that you purchase a container that is BPA free as well.

Shelf Life, Safety, and Container Colors

Ideally, you don't want to have to change out the water in your storage receptacles frequently. The goal is to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. The transparency of a container can affect the shelf life of the water inside. We recommend choosing darker, solid colors that are UV resistant to ward off bacteria growth. This will ensure the safety and freshness of your drinking water.

Ease of Storage and Cleaning

One of the first things that you should consider is the amount of space that you have available for storage. If you only have a small vertical space, then you should look into stackable or vertical water holders. If you have longer horizontal space, then consider a flat storage unit.

No one likes cleaning, but to keep your water fresh, you need to clean your containers with a small amount of chlorine bleach. According to the CDC, this is the most effective and safe method.

Ease of Use/Transport

Many water storage containers have features that make them easier to use. One example is a spigot for releasing the water. This is ideal for drinking water storage containers. Other features may include a quick release drain system to empty the tank.

You should keep in mind that water is denser than you might think. One gallon of water weighs about 8 lbs, which means a 5-gallon jug weighs 40 lbs. If you want to be able to carry your container, then you need to stick with smaller sizes.

Price and Warranty

Everyone may be wondering how much this investment will set you back. Water storage containers are available for almost any budget. The cheaper containers may need more upkeep, but they will still serve their purpose. Always check the spec sheet of your storage container for the warranty information. Most containers will have some sort of warranty included.

8 Best Water Storage Containers Reviewed

1. Scepter

Our Top Pick


13.70 x 6.80 x 18.80 inches


5.2 gallons each

Weight/Filled Weight

4.33 lbs/ 44.33 lbs each


LDPE and HDPE plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 1 year

You know that you are getting a top-quality product when the specifications read "mil-spec." This means that the product is up to code by the same specs that the military uses. This is why we chose Scepter as the best water storage container. It is a simply designed receptacle that will serve all of your needs.

With this product, not only do you get one but two water storage containers. This is a bonus for customers that are hoping to store as much water as possible. The Scepter container holds 20 liters or a little more than 5 gallons.

These containers are relatively easy to carry when filled to capacity. This product features a durable carrying handle. It boasts a dual enclosure cap that makes it easy to pour and fill. It is made of top-notch materials that are BPA free, so there won’t be any odor or chemicals added to your water. It is made of LDPE and HDPE plastic that is of the highest quality food grade.

I liked that this container had a smaller cap that I could take off and fill small water bottles for hiking trips. It has a bigger cap to remove for filling.

Rick, from Walmart's website, stated, "Good heavy duty construction. Most importantly, no water leakage.” I also didn’t experience any issues with leaking even when it was tipped over.

  • Dual enclosure cap for filling and pouring
  • BPA free food-grade plastic material
  • Dark color that will resist sunlight
  • More expensive than other models

2. API Kirk

Best 5 Gallon Water Storage Container


12 x 11 x 15 inches


5 gallons each

Weight/Filled Weight

2.5 lbs/10.5 lbs each


HDPE plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 30 days

If you want to be able to transport your water from place to place, such as when camping, then you should get a smaller container. The API Kirk stackables are the best 5 gallon water storage containers on the market. They are stackable and portable so that you can easily store and move them around when needed.

The API Kirk containers come in an awesome 4 pack! You get 20 gallons worth of water storage with one purchase. This product comes in a great stackable design so that you can create a water tower as big as you want. They sit perfectly on top of each other.

These receptacles feature a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. It is BPA free and food-grade quality, so you don't have to worry about bacteria. This model comes with a gasket cap to keep your water as fresh as possible. They feature one spigot that can be attached, which is perfect drinking water.

One of my favorite things about this product was that they were stackable. You could easily throw the 4 of these in the back of your car, and they would nestle on top of each other. This is a great space-saving feature. I also liked that they included a spigot, which is great for sports games or camping. 

  • Includes a spigot
  • Stackable units
  • Includes 4 jugs
  • May not be as durable as other models

3. WaterPrepared

Best Emergency Water Storage Container


22 x 28 x 30 inches


55 gallons

Weight/Filled Weight

25 lbs/465 lbs


Enhanced HDPE plastic

BPA Free



Yes, lifetime

If you are in the market for something a little bigger, then this is the product for you. We rated the WaterPrepared product as the best emergency water storage container available. It is perfect for emergency situations and storing large amounts of water safely. It is ideal for construction projects and events, as well. 

The WaterPrepared system holds a whopping 55 gallons of water. We would consider this item as more of a storage tank or drum than a small container. This water storage drum is stackable, which makes it great for space saving. It comes with an easy access spigot that will enable you to give out water quickly. It is made of an HDPE plastic that is BPA free and UV resistant. They feature a large cap that makes refilling easy.

I loved that these tanks hold so much water, but are still stackable. That is hard to find in large drums. I also liked that the spigot made it easy for everyone to get water quickly. 

John Richardson from WaterPrepared noted, “Confidence that I can prepare intelligently and accomplish preparations with excellence for my dearest loved ones.” As you can see from the stellar review, these tanks are perfect for emergencies.

  • Large capacity tanks
  • Easy access spigot
  • Stackable units for space saving
  • Can be difficult to transport

4. Legacy Premium

Best Food Grade Water Storage Container


15.7 x 21.5 inches


15 gallons

Weight/Filled Weight

11 lbs/125 lbs


Food grade plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 3 years

When you hear that something is food grade, you can be sure that it is approved by the FDA as safe for consumption. This applies to water storage containers, as well. You want the water in your storage container to last and be drinkable. We chose the Legacy Premium as the best food-grade water storage container on the market. It comes in a perfect mid-size range holding 15 gallons.

The Legacy Premium drum comes with two pouring spouts. They feature gasket caps to prevent leaks when not in use. It comes with a comfortable carrying handle so that you can transport the container if needed. This water storage container boasts the highest quality plastic available. It is BPA free and UV resistant. The dark blue color will keep the sun rays out so that you don’t have to worry about bacteria.

I really enjoyed the fact that this container comes with the absolute highest food grade standards. I could be sure that my drinking water would not be contaminated over time. I also liked that this model had durable carrying handles. 

James, a verified buyer from Legacy Premium, exclaimed, "This is a must have container. The price, quality, water safety and ease of handling when full makes it a plus for medium sized adults.”

  • Comfortable carrying handles
  • Two spouts for pouring
  • Great medium size capacity
  • These are not stackable

5. Surewater

Best Long Term Water Storage Container


32.2 x 28.8 x 86.2 inches


260 gallons

Weight/Filled Weight

70 lbs/2170 lbs


Food grade plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 2 years

If you're like me, then you are more of a set-it-and-forget-it kind of person, meaning that you like to do something once or twice and not have to worry about it until much later. The Surewater product is perfect for this. We named it the best long term water storage container. It can hold a lot of water for long periods, and that's what it does best. 

The Surewater storage drum can hold an impressive 260 gallons of water. This tank may be huge, but it will fit through most standard size doors. It comes with a 50-foot hose that is thicker than an ordinary water hose. It is BPA free and won't leave that plastic taste in your water. It also comes with two different spigots for distributing water. These valves are brass coated and durable.

As a bonus, Surewater will ship a free water purification kit that you can put in this tub after its filled.

One of the most impressive features of this water tank, in my opinion, is that it can hold water for up to 5 years. This is an incredibly long time, and it saves you the hassle of having to empty and change it often. 

One customer from Surewater’s supply website noted, “The tank is well designed, sturdy, and holds enough water to last through the outages.”

  • Large 260-gallon capacity
  • Brass coated valves
  • Comes with a purification kit
  • Some users had issues with the closures on the spigot

6. WaterBrick

Best Drinking Water Storage Container


9 x 18 x 6 inches


3.5 gallons each

Weight/Filled Weight

2.5 lbs/30 lbs each


Food grade plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 5 years

When it comes to emergencies, you want to have enough drinkable water for your family. Since water is the key to survival, we've chosen the WaterBrick product as the best drinking water storage container available. It will provide clean and safe drinking water for the whole family.

The WaterBrick comes in a 4 pack, so you’ll have plenty of room for storing. Each container holds 3.5 gallons each, which gives you a total of 14 gallons of fresh drinking water. These water storage containers feature a stackable design. They can be interlocked so that they are easy to carry as one unit or separate canisters.

This model boasts a comfortable and durable carrying handle. Since each one holds only 3.5 gallons, they are lightweight and easy to transport. They are made from FDA approved plastic that is also BPA free. You can rest assured knowing that you will have an uncontaminated water supply.

One of my favorite features of this product was the stackable and interlocking design. You could easily transport one or more of these locked together. For bigger adults, you could connect multiple of them for carrying. For smaller adults, you can disconnect them and carry only one at a time.

  • Stackable and interlocking design
  • Comfortable carrying handle
  • Comes in a 4 pack
  • May experience issues tightening the lid properly

7. WaterStorageCube

Best Water Storage Container for Camping


13.4 x 13 inches


1.3 / 2.6 / 5.3 gallons

Weight/Filled Weight

0.7 lbs/10 lbs each


Polyethylene plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 30 days

Now that the weather is cooling off, it is the perfect time to go camping. Instead of taking a lot of small water bottles, which are bad for the environment, maybe you should try investing in a water storage container. The WaterStorageCube is the best water storage container for camping that we could find on the market. It is perfect for those weekend outdoors trips. It will keep your family hydrated.

This package comes with up to 10 containers when purchased. You can store as much or as little water as you need. One fantastic feature of this product is that it is collapsible when not in use. It allows you to fold it down into a compact travel size easily.

Each cube holds about 5.3 gallons of water. They come with environmentally friendly plastic that is BPA free, and FDA approved. The WaterStorageCube boasts a large mouth cap for filling and a spigot for distributing.

I enjoyed that these storage containers were collapsible when not in use. This made them ideal for hiking and camping trips. If you need to carry one in your backpack, you will still have plenty of space. 

Jasmiil reviewed on their Facebook page, stating, "I love it! It's very efficient."

  • Comes in a collapsible design
  • Features a spigot for distribution
  • Gasketless lids to prevent leaks
  • Some customers experienced leakage

8. Saratoga Farms Stackables

Top of the Range


21 x 21 x 15 inches


5 gallons

Weight/Filled Weight

10 lbs/45 lbs


HDPE plastic

BPA Free



Yes, 5 years

When it comes to being prepared for a natural disaster, you may want the absolute top product available. The Saratoga Farms Stackable units are the top of the range water storage container on the market. You can’t go too easy on your wallet when it comes to protecting your family during an emergency.

The Saratoga Farms model features a stackable design that is perfect for saving space. They come in an easy to transport 5-gallon capacity. They won't be too heavy for even smaller adults to carry. This container comes with a comfortable built-in carrying handle so that you can tote them around with ease. This is one of the most durable models that we have reviewed. It can handle high pressure and UV rays with ease.

The dark blue color ensures that no bacteria will contaminate your drinking water. The HDPE food grade plastic will last for many years.

I thought these containers were great for almost any use. They were easily stackable, and I had no trouble transporting them with the comfortable carrying handle. They also came with spigots, which I thought was a bonus. The large caps made filling them simple. The material felt extremely durable when handled.

  • Comes in a stackable design
  • Features a carrying handle
  • Includes spigots for each container
  • Comes with a hefty price tag

Types of Containers for storing water

Non-Specialized Water Storage Containers
  • Large Water Storage Tanks and Drums
    This type of container is usually composed of polyethylene or similar plastic material. They hold large amounts of water, but they are not portable. This type will often hold 55 gallons or more. They are very large, so you will need a place to store it.
  • Underground Water Cisterns
    This type of storage container is made of heavy-duty plastic. It is stored underground and is used to keep potable water for drinking and cleaning. They hold large amounts of water, starting at 250 gallons. They are securely buried underground, so you won’t have to worry about storage space. They are not portable.
  • Horizontal and Low Profile Tanks
    This type of water storage container is longer than it is wide. It is ideal for transporting large amounts of water, such as in the bed of a truck. It can hold large quantities of water and can be transported with assistance.
  • Large Vertical Tanks
    This storage container stands up tall and can hold large amounts of water. It is not as easy to transport since its height makes it difficult to move. It is a great option for catching rainwater.
  • Portable and Stackable Water Containers
    This model of container is much smaller than the previously mentioned types. They can usually only hold up to 10 gallons of water in each container. They are portable and lightweight. Some units can be stacked on top of each other to create room for more storage.
  • Collapsible Water Containers
    These units can be broken down into much smaller sizes when they are not filled with water. They can be folded down to a portable size. Once you begin to fill them up, they expand to offer storage space of up to about 10 gallons of water.
Specialized Water Storage Containers
  • Onion/Pumpkin Tanks
    These models are shaped like a large, round onion or pumpkin. They are composed of heavy-duty fabric. Once filled, they expand to hold as much as 3000 gallons of water. They have a top cover to prevent evaporation.
  • Bladder/Pillow Tanks
    This type is similar to the above in that it is like a large bladder. It is usually square or round and can be transported. It can hold large amounts of water, and it also collapsible. They are often used in industries such as construction or events where access to water is quite far away.

Water Storage Preparation

To survive in a natural disaster, preparation is key. To make sure that you have plenty of fresh drinking water, you need to prepare for storing it in proper water storage containers. If you follow this guide, you should have plenty of clean drinking water to get you through.

Always clean your water storage containers before you use them. This can be done with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. Check that you have properly set up your storage area before you fill the containers. Make sure the area is cool and dark without any direct sunlight.

You must check your water containers frequently to make sure there are no leaks or damaged areas. Always make sure that you store enough water per person. The average person needs to drink about 1 gallon of water per day.

Proper Storage of Drinking Water

To have a clean supply of drinking water, there are some steps that you should take to store the water efficiently. Do not store water in anything other than food-grade plastic containers. This can lead to the growth of bacteria.

Do not store water in anything that cannot be sealed tightly. Without an airtight container, water can become contaminated. Always rotate your water supply out before disaster strikes. Read the instruction manual for how often you should rotate the water. The average time per container can be anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

Cleaning Water Storage Containers

The CDC recommends cleaning your water tanks every 6 months. This is a good rule to apply even though some containers may state that you can do it less often. To clean your water storage container, follow the steps below for the best results.

  • Step 1:
    Drain the water and rinse or pressure wash the walls of the container with clean water.
  • Step 2:
    If the interior walls need to be scrubbed, use a light scrub brush and a chlorine bleach and water solution.
  • Step 3:
    Rinse out the tank and use a chlorine bleach and water solution to clean the interior.
  • Step 4:
    Rinse out the solution and let the tank air dry. Once complete, refill with fresh water.

How to Keep Your Water Clean

Water Purification Tablets and Drops

This is a straightforward and inexpensive method. You can carry purification tablets anywhere you go. They work by dropping them into the water and dissolving. They can kill viruses and bacteria.

Boiling Water

This method is done by merely bringing water to a boil. It will kill bacteria and viruses, but will not remove large debris or heavy metals. It can also be difficult if you have no source for heating the water.

Disinfecting with Chlorine Bleach

This method is similar to water purification tablets in that you place drops of chlorine into the water. It will kill bacteria and viruses, but be careful not to use too much because it can be hazardous in large quantities.


This method is effective, but it can also remove many of the natural nutrients that are found in water. It can also be costly and difficult to achieve in disaster situations. It requires more tools than any other method.

Water Filters

Water filters can be used to remove large debris and bacteria. The carbon-based filters will remove any horrible tastes, while the iodine filters can eliminate viruses. This method can be more costly than other methods. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long can you store water in a container?

The CDC recommends changing your water out every 6 months. Although water does not have an exact expiration date, for safety reasons, it may be useful to follow this rule of thumb. If you place a chlorine bleach solution in the water, then it may last up to 5 years.

Are 5 gallon water jugs safe & how long will they last?

Yes, 5 gallon jugs are very safe and efficient to carry. It is recommended that each person drinks one gallon of water per day, so a single 5 gallon jug will last someone 5 days.

What is the main misconception about storing water?

It is commonly thought that you can store water for an indefinite amount of time without any issues. As we have noted in this guide, you cannot store water in direct sunlight or regular plastic containers. You should only use food-grade plastic jugs for storage.

How much water should you store per person in an average household?

You should store an average of 1 gallon of drinking water per person per day. We recommend having at least 3 days worth of water stored away. If you have a family of 4, then you would need 12 gallons.


In this buyer's guide, we have provided the best tips and guidelines for purchasing your next water storage container. The only way to ensure that your family is safe in the event of an emergency is to be prepared. We have also outlined the best products for storing as well as other survival tips.

By now, you are probably wondering what the best product is for storing your water. In this roundup, I have to recommend the Scepter water storage containers. They are extremely durable with mil-spec materials. They can also be easily carried from place to place.

Matt is a freelance writer, English graduate, & keen traveler from the UK. As a specialist plumbing expert, he enjoys writing about everything there has to do with at-home plumbing products & related problems. When he isn’t writing, he’s usually drinking coffee or planning his next adventure. In his spare time, he also runs his own blog all about digital nomad life.