Best Emergency Water Storage Tanks For Self Reliance

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: March 26, 2023

Finding The Perfect Emergency Water Storage Tank

Emergency Water Storage Tanks

Water is the source of all life on Earth.

Without it, anything living dies.

Without it, there would be no civilizations.

No people, no plants, no animals. No chance of survival.

Nothing but inorganic stone and wind.

Water is the-most-essential resource known to man.

In fact, we’re so dependent on water it can be described as a burdensome necessity. Right?

  • Water is heavy
  • It’s easily contaminated
  • It evaporates over time
  • Dehydration kills

My point is water is life. Our daily lives depend on it.

That’s why everyone, whether you’re a prepper or not, should keep a supply of survival water in their house.

When disaster strikes, it often takes out municipal water systems and electricity grids first.

Both of which are needed to keep municipal water running. And if that goes down, your access to clean drinkable water goes out the window.

Unless, of course, you have stored water at home.

Buying cases of plastic water bottles or using old milk jugs works, but it’s not the most efficient method.

Soft plastic bottles will leach chemicals over time (especially if exposed to sunlight).

It’s far better to use water storage tanks. These handy aquifers come in all shapes and sizes, so you can pick the right ones to fit your survival needs.

The better ones are designed to hold water without chemical contamination.

Not just that, but they’re easy to refill. And you can rig water storage tanks to collect and filter rainwater to replenish your supply.

So today, we’ll be deep-diving into the following water storage tank topics:


The Coming Water Crisis

How Much Water Should You Store

Best Drinking Water Storage Tanks

Connecting A Rain Collection System

How To Maintain Your Water Tanks

Are You Ready For The Tough Times Ahead? Take My 60 Sec Quiz To See If You’re Part Of 'The Fragile Masses’ Or Not… Start Quiz Now!

Water Well With Ben Franklin Quote

The Coming Water Crisis

There are no two ways about it; the world is facing a water crisis.

↓ The Water Crisis | National Geographic ↓

It may not happen tomorrow or next year, but there’ll be conflicts over freshwater in the future.

In fact, war is simmering on the Indian-Pakistani border over access to fresh water. And water wars will be ugly conflicts.

Humans will fight for any resource; they can’t live more than a week without it.

The same goes for neighborhoods, towns, and cities worldwide. When freshwater becomes scarce, people will fight with their lives for it.

Neighbors turning on neighbors and friends turning on friends to get their hands on some.

But you won’t have to because your supply is safe at home, stored in your emergency water storage tanks.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our #78 Item Complete Prepper Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

How Much Water Should You Store

The answer to “How much water should I store?” differs for everyone.

It’s something that involves many factors:

Are you storing water for just yourself? Or will you be providing water for lots of friends and family members? Do you have any pets?

The more people and animals in your household, the more water you should store.

How long do you want your independent water supply to last?

The average person should drink about 1/2 gallon per day (minimum). That means if you ration it out perfectly, 1 gallon will last you 2 days.

Keep this in mind when shopping for emergency water storage tanks. It will help determine what size/kind of tank you should buy.

Exclusive Bonus Content - 11 Last Resort Home Water Sources - Finding water in the most unlikely of places. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best Emergency Water Storage Tanks

There are so many different kinds of water tanks out there that it can be overwhelming to find the right one.

Big tanks, small tanks, stackable tanks, underground tanks, packable tanks, pillow tanks, etc.

The list is almost endless, but here are the most popular options on the market.

So here’s a list of the best prepper water storage tanks – from smallest to largest.

Hard-Sided Plastic Stackables

These are another common water storage option and are particularly useful because they store so well.

You can build a “wall of water” in your basement, designed to stack neatly on top of open another.

If you add enough of these up, you get the equivalent of a large water storage tank with added portability and space-saving flexibility.

But, if stored properly, there’s less risk of these problems (so long as you occasionally replace your water) – we’ll hit details on this later.

1 Our Top Recommendation
5 Gallon Legacy Premium Water Storage System

By far my favorite plastic container (and favorite containers overall) is The 5 Gallon Legacy Premium Water Storage System.

Here are a few highlights of these 5-Gallon Water Containers:

  • Holds 5 Gallons of Water, Dry Foods, or Ammo
  • Stack-able to Maximize Storage Capacity
  • Easy-Grip Design Makes it Easy to Carry
  • Virtually Indestructible!

They are a solid investment and one of the best long-term survival storage solutions.

Plus, if you get the 30-gallon package (6 containers) you will also get the following bonus features:

  • A handy cap wrench (to ensure you completely lock and seal these containers)
  • 2 spigots (this allows you to tap into two of the jugs at the same time). This is a nice option if you'd prefer to keep sanitation jugs and consumption jugs separate.
  • Water Purification Drop Treatment Solution (the perfect amount for 30 gallons).

NOTE: These are the containers I choose for my own emergency water stockpile – click here to read a detailed review and short “How To” for these containers.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
↓ 5-Gallon Waer Container – Stackable ↓

Water Bricks (3.5 gallons each)

A single water brink is far from a tank, but what if you stacked 16 of them?

At 3.5 gallons each, 16 of these would add up to 56 gallons - to me, that's a tank.

Here are a few highlights of the Water Brick:

  • It holds 3.5 Gallons of Water, Dry Food, or Ammo
  • Stackable To Maximize Storage Capacity
  • Easy-Grip Design Makes For Easy Carry
  • Virtually Indestructible!

They are a solid investment and one of the best long-term survival water storage solutions.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
↓ Water Brick Stackable Water Storage Container Review ↓

Drinking Water Barrels

Sure, these are technically called “barrels” and not “tanks,” but they serve a similar purpose – storing lots of emergency drinking water.

These are the standard-issue blue plastic barrels that are popular for water storage. They are simple and effective; that’s why they’re so popular.

55 Gallon Blue Water Barrel

BayTec Water Barrel is your standard-issue drinking water container.

It's a rigid blue plastic barrel that comes with a built-in spigot.

This particular model stores 55 gallons of water.

That's enough to last an adult a couple of weeks (with excellent rationing).

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
↓ 55 Gallon Water Barrel | Long-Term Emergency Water Storage ↓

Water Bladder Storage Tanks

Much like the bladder inside of you, these are stretchable bag containers. They fill up like balloons when filled with water.

One important feature of a water bladder is when they’re empty; you can easily pack them in for travel.

Water Storage Tank - Bladder AQUATANK2 Stores Water

Aquatank2 has a water pillow that holds 300 gallons of fluid. This is ideal for keeping inside cars, RVs, campers, and other vehicles.

The Aquatank2 packs away into almost nothing; it’s light and made of highly durable rubber that won't easily rip or tear.

You can also find this same tank in smaller sizes of 60 gallons and 150 gallons.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
↓ Water Storage Tank Bladder Aquatank 2 Video ↓

Hard-Sided Enclosed Plastic Water Storage Tanks and Cisterns

You need to have space outside for one of these, but using a cistern system is a huge advantage for two reasons.

  1. They store A LOT of water (often hundreds of gallons worth).
  2. They can be rigged with rainwater collection systems for ongoing replenishment.
Norwesco 45223 35 Gallon Horizontal Water Tank

Norwesco tanks are manufactured using resins that meet FDA specifications to ensure safe storage of potable water, so it's safe to use as a drinking water storage tank.

This Norwesco Water Tank is rugged, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight, with no seams, welds, or joints to leak or rust.

But you'll need to store this somewhere where there’s a lot of space - like in the backyard, garage, a big basement area, or even a portable garage.

It holds 35 gallons of water, which is more than enough to sustain you through a semi-serious disaster.

You can buy one of these today and then buy more over time to grow your system over time without breaking the bank today.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Water Tank, 65 Gallon

The RomoTech is another water tank that's approved for potable water storage.

The RomoTech Water Tank is a hard-sided plastic tank that's about twice as big as the previous one.

You probably won't be able to store this water storage tank inside a typical house, but it's made to handle the outdoors.

What's nice about this tank (and the previous one) is that they are small enough to fit in the back of most pickup trucks. This means you can move them to a new location if necessary.

It's always good to have that option for future-proofing your survival options.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
WaterPrepared 160 - 320 Gallon Capacity Emergency Water Storage Tanks

The WaterPrepared emergency water storage tanks are designed to provide a reliable and convenient water storage solution for emergencies and disasters.

The tanks are made of high-density polyethylene and are designed to be stackable, making them easy to store in small spaces.

One of the main advantages of the WaterPrepared tanks is their capacity, which ranges from 160 to 320 gallons, providing enough water for a family for several weeks.

The tanks also come with a built-in brass spigot for easy access to the stored water, as well as a debris strainer to prevent contaminants from entering the tank.

Customers who have purchased the WaterPrepared tanks generally praise their quality and durability, with many reporting that the tanks have held up well over time.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
↓ Emergency Water Storage: WaterPrepared Water Tanks ↓

RomoTech Vertical Polyethylene Reservoir Water Tank

This monster of a tank holds a massive 550 gallons!

It has thick, durable white plastic walls, which are semi-translucent. This allows you to check how much water you have left.

You can’t fit this badass RomoTech Reservoir container inside, though (unless you live in a stable).

So to host a reservoir of this size, you’ll need a large backyard or some land.

Check Today's Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Exclusive Bonus Content - 11 Last Resort Home Water Sources - Finding water in the most unlikely of places. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Connecting A Rain Water Collection System

Refilling your water storage tanks can be a pain, especially if you’re in a position where freshwater isn’t readily available.

How can you re-up your water supply when there’s no running water to use?

Well, the most obvious (and most natural) way to do that is via a rain collection system!

In most places, drinkable water falls straight out of the sky. Don’t waste that resource!

Collecting rainwater is an incredible survival practice. And it’s straightforward too.

There are a few core principles to keep in mind when you start planning how to set up your collection system:

  1. The more surface area your system has, the more water it will collect.
  2. Water that’s collected must be transported efficiently.
  3. Water that is transported gets filtered.

When it comes down to it, a roof is probably the best rain collection you have. Every house has one, covering a large surface area to catch the falling rain.

With a simple gutter system, you can turn your roof into a water collection tool. Collecting the water that falls on it is funneled into one place: your water storage tank.

Now, this works a lot better if you have a large outdoor water storage tank or a series of water storage tanks.

Then you can direct your gutter system to move water directly into your tank.

↓ Make Rainwater Collection Tank System ↓

Note: Transporting water to an inside storage location is not only complicated, but it’s also risky. If something malfunctions, you could find yourself facing some serious flooding.

Tarp Rainwater Collection

If you don’t have access to a roof, you can still rig a rain collection system using other materials.

Survival tarps are particularly useful for this. They are waterproof, light, packable, and offer lots of surface area.

Tie up three of the four corners of the tarp, and use the third corner to funnel water into your water storage tank.

You can also tie up all four corners and cut a small hole in the center. Place your storage tank under the hole, and water will spout out of the hole directly into the tank.

↓ Rain Collection – Quick Deploying Rain Catchment System ↓

Exclusive Bonus Content - 11 Last Resort Home Water Sources - Finding water in the most unlikely of places. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Maintaining Your Water Storage Tanks

Fortunately, maintaining your drinking water storage tanks is straightforward.

Once you’ve filled them up and stashed them somewhere safe, you’ve already done most of the hard work. However, this is one major issue you might need to overcome.

Preventing Freezing

The best place to store water to prevent freezing is in a garage or basement area. Water stored outside is prone to freezing.

That’s bad news for two reasons.

  1. You can’t drink frozen water.
  2. It will expand when it freezes, damaging your emergency water storage tanks.

Storing water inside can be tricky, too, though. You should elevate the storage tank(s) on a palette, so they are up off the ground.

And regularly check for leakage as that could cause flood water damage inside your home.

Preventing Emergency Water Storage Tanks From Freezing

You have a big issue if you store water outside and live in colder regions.

There are a few options to keep your liquid water from freezing.

If you go down far enough, the water will remain at underground temperatures (which stay above freezing).

Or you can wrap your tank in insulation and then use some thick plastic (used for greenhouses) to trap solar rays helping to keep your water above freezing temps.

But this still won’t work on long cold stretches on cloudy days.

So you may also need to add a tank heater as well.

The bottom line is:

You need a plan to prevent your water storage tank from turning into a massive ice cube. 

↓ How to keep your water tank from freezing ↓

BONUS: Keep Water Purification Around

Even if you’re using water straight out of the tap, you still need water purification.

Too many people trust their water supplies – it’s a dangerous mistake.

Water purification allows you to collect water from external, natural sources safely.

That means you can collect water from streams, lakes, or rainfall all for general use. That is particularly useful when water lines go out.

Without tap water, you’ll have to fill your emergency water storage tanks with water from somewhere else. This is dangerous if you don’t have the means to purify it.

Some of the best purification methods are simple. Water purification tablets are my personal favorite because they are cheap and easy to use.

Some fancy new ultraviolet filters use light waves to kill all biotic life. But these are only used for smaller amounts of water.

Here’s our post on all your water purification options.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter what kind of disaster you are in; clean, safe water is a survival necessity. Any prepper checklist that doesn’t include water storage is lacking.

So ensure you have some kind of emergency water storage tank or water storage containers on hand, full and ready to use.

Without proper water storage, you can consider yourself part of the fragile masses.

Will Brendza

Will Brendza

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Member of The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association
  • Certifications: Avalanche 1, WFR (expired), CPR (expired)
  • 8+ Years Researching, Writing, About Survival and Preparedness
  • Awards from Society of Professional Journalists
  • Winner of Camp Cold’s “Happy Camper” award in 2020
  • P.s. Are you ready for the tough times ahead?

    Find out now by taking my short Readiness Score Quiz - it’s absolutely free. Once complete, you’ll know exactly where you stand on the “fragile” vs.” resilient” spectrum.

    Get My 10 Steps To Basic Preparedness Video For FREE.
    Plus daily survival tips (unsubscribe anytime).