Best Water Storage Containers for Stockpiling

best water storage containers

According to the rule of 3’s you can only survive 3 days without water as compared to having 3 weeks to survive without food.  So having a stockpile of emergency water should take priority over your food stockpile.  Therefore in this post, we are going to discuss the best water storage containers to help you with your stockpiling efforts.

  When it comes to emergency water storage, you are going to be limited to how much space you have for storing it.  Ideally, you would want to have close access to natural resources like lakes, creeks, rivers, etc.  Having those natural resources will give you an advantage and increase your survivability.  Either way, it is imperative to have some sort of emergency water stockpile.

How much water should you stockpile for emergencies?

The answer to this question is going to be dependent upon a few factors.  First, the number of dependents that you have is going to be a factor. It is widely accepted that you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day.  However, the bare minimum should be 4 liters per person per day.

Types of water storage containers


Steel is considered the safest option for storing water, especially for long term storage.  The great thing about steel is that you don’t have to worry about chemicals leaking into your supply.  Along with that, the steel protects water from sunlight preventing it from evaporating in the heat.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides with storing water in steel containers.  First, steel is by far the most expensive option compared to the others that we will discuss.  Steel is also a lot heavier than other options.  Finally, with steel containers, you can’t use chlorine to treat the water as it will erode the steel and poison your water.


For many years, people have used glass to store food and water in.  Even to this day, a lot of homesteaders and those that live off-grid use glass containers to “can” or preserve their food.  There are a lot of great ways to keep glass containers airtight.

The downside is that glass is by far the heaviest option which makes it challenging to store a stockpile of emergency water.  You don’t want glass falling out of your pantry when it gets too heavy.  Along with that, glass doesn’t block the heat which can lead to evaporation.  Finally, like steel, glass containers do come with a hefty price tag.


Plastic is the most preferred material when it comes to storing water for long term purposes.  The great thing about plastic is that they are lightweight, portable, cheap, and easy to come by.  However, like the other options, there are some downsides of using plastic for long term storage.

The main thing that you have to be aware of is that not all plastic containers are made the same.  There are food grade and non-food grade containers.  With that being said, you can’t just buy some plastic buckets that you find laying around for storing water.

Instead, you will want to store water in BPA free containers.  With BPA free containers, you can store water for long term purposes.  You won’t have to worry about the plastic chemicals leaking into the water.

Criteria for the best water storage containers:

BPA Free

Bisphenol A, or better known as BPA, is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960s to make certain plastics.  It is typically found in most polycarbonate plastics that are used to store most food and beverages that you find in stores today. 

Studies have shown that over time, BPA from those containers tend to leak into the food or beverage that it is being stored.  This is typically why you see water bottles with expiration dates.  If you drink that water after that expiration date then you are risking digesting BPA.

Research has shown that there are health effects associated with BPA.  Those effects include effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses.  So when you looking for the best water storage containers for stockpiling, you want to make sure that they are BPA free.

Ease of use

When looking for the best water storage containers, it is imperative that the containers are easy to use.  That means you want to have an easy way to fill and withdraw from the containers.  It is also helpful to have containers that are easily portable in the case that you need to bug out or evacuate.

Doesn’t take up much space

The fact is that many preppers don’t have much storage space available.  This is especially true if you are already utilizing your storage with your emergency food stockpile.  Unfortunately, your emergency water stockpile is going to require a lot of space.

On top of that, building an emergency water stockpile is going to weigh a lot.  Therefore, your pantry may be limited on how much it can hold.  If you have alternative storage locations, like a closet or garage, then it gives you more options on the types of containers that you can use for stockpiling.

Recommendations for best water storage containers

Water Bricks - Best Storage Containers for Limited Space

Water Bricks are a very smart concept.  A lot of preppers are limited to the amount of space that they can store water.  This gives you an easy to store water utilizing the small space that you.

With the Water Bricks, you can use small spaces like under your couch or small spaces that you have in your pantry.  On top of that, they are stackable.  Finally, they are lightweight and portable which makes it super easy to load up in the case of evacuations or bugging out.


  • Portable: comfortable handle makes it easy to carry and secure in cars, boats or ATV’s
  • Stackable: unique design securely stacks to maximize limited storage space
  • Customizable: perfect disaster relief container for storing food, water or anything you want to keep dry
  • Convenient: Stack and store anywhere you need it or grab and go
  • Made in the USA for everyday use and emergency preparedness
  • Best stackable water storage containers


  • Easy to store in small spaces
  • Stackable
  • Portable
  • Lightweight


  • Flimsy handle
  • Handle has to be removed before sealing
  • Holds less water per dollar

Coghlan's Collapsible Water Container - Best Collapsible Water Storage Containers

I typically use this for emergency water storage in my Jeep.  I do that because you never know when you will get stranded in the middle of nowhere or during an emergency.  It is also great to have in the case that you need to fill your radiator or just to cool off on a hot summer day.

Finally, I use these when I’m camping as well.  The thing that I love about the containers is that they are collapsible.  This makes it super easy to fit anywhere in the vehicle.  The shape adapts to where ever you place it.


  • Portable, sturdy, collapsible 5-gallon plastic water container is ideal for camp, picnic, sports events, travel and emergency water storage
  • Leakproof, easy-pour spigot with on/off feature removes easily for quick filling; ice cubes can be added through opening
  • Heavy-duty clear polyethylene carrier with integrated handles for easy transport, resists dents and cracks
  • Constructed of BPA-free, food-approved high grade polyethylene
  • Measures: 11″ x 11″ x 12″ (28 x 28 x 30.5 cm)


  • Easy to store
  • Portable
  • See through
    Helps you to know how much water is in the container


  • Challenging to carry when filled completely due to the handle
  • Doesn't have blue tint which blocks light

Aqua-Tainer - Best Heavy Duty Water Storage Container

The seven-gallon Aqua-Tainer has been my favorite emergency water storage container.  The only downside of these Aqua-Tainers is that they are not stackable when filled.  However, the handle on the container makes it easy to move around.  The last thing you want to happen during an emergency is to be struggling to move around your water supply.


The Aqua-Tainer also comes with a cap that makes it easy to withdraw water.  There is also a spigot that you can screw into the cap so that you can easily dispense or fill the container.  The fill hole is the perfect size for placing under a faucet or even a water house.


  • Rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with molded contour grip
  • Space-saving design for easy storing and stacking when empty
  • New and improved screw-on vent; hideaway spigot for on-demand water dispensing
  • Suitable for outdoor activities and emergency water storage
  • Five-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects


  • Comes with a spigot
  • Holds up to 60 pounds/7 gallons of water
  • Portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable


  • Aren't ideal for stacking when filled

Emergency Essentials Water Barrel - Best Large Water Storage Containers

I get a lot of preparedness gear and supplies from Emergency Essentials.  They are by far the industries leader when it comes to preparedness.  The quality of their products is unmatched and even innovative.

Their water barrels can be used in many different ways.  Ideally, you could use these while you are harvesting rainwater on a homestead or off-grid living.  Or you could place them in garages and storage units.

They hold up to 55 gallons of water.  So it is definitely helpful for short term emergencies.  However, if you have the ability to purchase more than one then it can give you ample supply to survive long term emergencies as well.


  • No additional shipping cost beyond normal shipping charges
  • The dark blue color of this 55-gallon barrel restricts light and helps control the growth of harmful algae and bacteria
  • Made from Heavy-duty, thick, high-molecular-weight polyethylene resin
  • FDA-approved and BPA-free


  • Holds up to 55 gallons of water
  • Durable
  • Can be used to harvest rain water


  • Not easily portable
  • Requires a lot of storage space
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