The 6 Best Emergency Water Storage Containers to Get You Through a Natural Disaster

Combining rugged durability with food-safe construction, these are the best emergency water storage containers to buy

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The 6 Best Emergency Water Storage Containers 2023VIA MERCHANT

Natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes can easily disrupt or contaminate the water supply of your city, leaving those without a backup water supply vulnerable to dehydration and even death. Given the importance of clean drinking water, investing in a supply of one of the following best emergency water containers is one of the most important emergency preparedness tasks you can do.

Emergency water containers are specifically designed to safely store clean drinking water. They come in a range of sizes and types, from compact and portable options for those on the move to large storage tanks for those hunkering down. These containers also allow you to focus on other emergency prep tasks in the event of an advancing storm or hurricane, instead of waiting in long lines at the grocery store. We’ve rounded up the best emergency water storage containers for every type of situation and need.

The Best Emergency Water Storage Containers

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Reliance 7 Gallon Aqua Tainer
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Best Overall Emergency Water Storage Container

Reliance 7-Gallon Aqua-Tainer

Combining a useful balance of capacity and portability, the 7-Gallon Reliance Aqua-Tainer is our top pick for best emergency water storage containers overall. It’s constructed of food-safe and FDA-approved HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and colored blue to limit light exposure—so it’s not only rugged and sturdy, but safe and effective for clean water storage.

Our favorite feature of this container is its reversible spigot, which flips around and into the container when not in use. This design is not only more convenient to store, but it also prevents the spigot from being damaged. Whether you’re stocking up for an emergency or just want to stay hydrated at a campsite, this is a great option.


  • Multifunctional capacity
  • Good value for the price
  • Hideaway spigot
  • Convenient shape for storage


  • Cannot be stacked when full

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Waterstoragecube Collapsible 5.3 Gallon Container With Spigot
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Best Budget Emergency Water Storage Container

WaterStorageCube Collapsible 5.3-Gallon Container

For less than $20, this collapsible water container from WaterStorageCube holds up to 5.3 gallons of water. Its collapsible body only takes up as much space as is being used for water and easily folds up when not in use—unlike hard-sided alternatives that take up valuable storage space even when empty. The collapsible container also comes in a smaller 1.3-gallon model, perfect for an emergency go-bag.

Despite its pliability, this container is still strong enough to withstand 4-foot drops and heavy pressure. Its single-piece construction doesn’t have any seams that could leak or split, and the spigot’s reinforced neck adds even more durability. We’re also impressed with its soft, molded handle centered on the top, which provides a comfortable and well-balanced feel during transport. An added bonus? The container’s food-safe construction is BPA-, PVC- and DEHP-free.


  • Budget-friendly price
  • Wide mouth is easy to fill up
  • Spigot is convenient for kids to use
  • Folds down when empty


  • Drying out takes longer than hard-sided containers

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Saratoga Farms 5 Gallon Stackable Containers
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Best Stackable Emergency Water Storage Container

Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackable Containers

If you’re interested in maintaining a large supply of water at home but don’t want to commit to a single massive container, consider these Saratoga Farms 5-gallon stackable containers. Designed with recessed handles and lids, the containers’ flat bottoms and tops nestle together so you can store more water in less space.

The sturdy handles are comfortable to lift and carry, which is important if you need to evacuate quickly. Made of BPA-free HDPE, this set of four containers safely holds 40 days’ worth of drinking water.


  • Stack tightly together
  • Rugged construction
  • Opaque material inhibits bacterial growth
  • Good value for the price


  • Doesn’t have a spigot

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Waterprepared 55 Gallon Tank With Spigot
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Best Large-Capacity Emergency Water Storage Container

WaterPrepared 55-Gallon Tank with Spigot

If you plan on hunkering down at home or in a cabin and want to be prepared for extended periods without tap water access, these 55-gallon WaterPrepared Emergency Water Storage Tanks are a great choice. Each of these heavy-duty tanks holds enough water to keep a single person safely hydrated for 55 days.

The tank’s thick, blue-pigmented HDPE construction resists UV rays, inhibiting harmful algae growth. The stackable design saves space when storing multiple units, and the recessed spigot connects right to a standard garden hose.


  • Hydrates a single person for 55 days
  • Rugged construction
  • Stackable design
  • Easy-access spigot


  • Not portable

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Scepter 5 Gallon True Military Jug
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Best Portable Emergency Water Storage Container

Scepter 5-Gallon True Military Jug

The Scepter True Military Water Jug is large enough to store 5 gallons of water and, thanks to a sturdy handle and vertical shape, is still comfortable to hold and carry. The rugged design is well-suited for the wear and tear that comes from frequent use and travel—so you won’t have to worry about it cracking or splitting when you toss it into a truck bed or accidentally drop it when hustling to evacuate.

My favorite feature of this container is its versatile cap design: In addition to the large 3.5-inch opening, it also features a built-in, 3/4-inch option for more precise pouring. This not only saves time when emptying the entire container, but prevents accidental spills and water waste when filling smaller bottles. Both of these caps are connected to the container, so you don’t need to worry about them getting lost.


  • Comfortable to carry
  • Rugged construction
  • Dual-pour cap


  • Limited water storage

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Waterbrick 3.5 Gallon Stackable Containers
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Most Convenient Emergency Water Storage Container

WaterBrick 3.5-Gallon Stackable Containers

These compact WaterBrick containers stack tightly together like bricks so you can customize your water storage system according to your needs. If you don’t have the space for a single, large container but still want to have a decent supply of water on hand, break up your supply into several locations around your house, car or RV.

Thanks to their wide, 3.25-inch lid opening and rubber gasket, these containers are more functional than others, and can store non-water items like pet food, dry goods or other emergency supplies. When it’s time to move, a top-mounted handle makes it easy to grab and carry each container, and two interior reinforcement columns enhance stability when stacked.


  • Versatile storage system
  • Easy to grab and transport
  • Large mouth opening


  • Inconvenient to drain and clean

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Why You Should Trust Us

As a California resident who must be wary of earthquakes, wildfires, flash flooding and heat waves, I’m very familiar with the importance of emergency preparedness, particularly water-related issues. I’ve written several in-depth articles on emergency gear and supplies which, like this piece, involved extensive research and expert outreach. For this article, I spent several days combing through online research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Red Cross and other emergency preparedness sources, and I reached out to Ben Green, a plumbing expert and CEO of Green Leaf Air, to get a more hands-on perspective of water containment materials.

How We Found the Best Emergency Water Storage Containers

I first compiled a pool of around 20 popular emergency water storage container options, based on my own personal experience, recommendations from federal emergency organizations, insight from Ben Green as well as relevant picks from online guides and tested reviews. I then narrowed down that list by removing products with quality control issues or unsafe materials, as well as products currently unavailable for purchase, or those that were inferior to a newer or updated version. I then selected a variety of categories that would be the most useful to a wide range of users, and finally landed on the six options shown here.


What is the best type of container for water storage?

According to the CDC, you should store water in FDA-approved, food-grade storage containers, as it will not transfer toxic substances into the water. Green specifically recommends looking for containers made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP), advising that you also ensure the containers are clean and free from any previous residues before filling them.

How long can water be stored in plastic containers?

If you’re storing water in plastic containers, the CDC advises replacing the water every six months. Green agrees, adding that “Labeling the containers with the filling date and rotating the water supply every six months is recommended.” Commercially bottled water lasts much longer, and according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has an indefinite shelf life.


Alex Rennie
Alex Rennie is a freelance writer who specializes in the home improvement, DIY, and appliance space. Having spent more than five years as a residential and commercial carpenter in NYC–specializing in custom furniture construction and installation–Alex uses his hands-on experience and expert insight to craft product reviews, buying guides, and how-to articles. He has previously written for CNN Underscored, Business Insider, and Popular Mechanics, in addition to Family Handyman. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, where he spends his free time hiking and relaxing on the beach with his wife and their two dogs, Louie and Iggy.