There is a plethora of water storage and purification products on the market.  It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to sift through and research them all and then decide what you really need.  While I don’t claim to be a water expert, I have done a bunch of research and I’ve used a lot of products in order to figure out what is right for our family.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you here.

I like to “layer” my emergency water supplies.  This means two things: (1) I like to have stored water AND a means to purify water, and (2) In both cases, I like to have something I can use in my home and something I can use on the go.

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Emergency Water Products For Storing Water at Home Reviewed

#1: Supertankers

HUGE gravity-fed water tanks are available in various sizes: 130 gallons, 160 gallons, 250 gallons, and even up to 320+ gallons. 

Pros

Cons:

  • Water does not need to be rotated as frequently (especially when using additives).
  • Extremely convenient since they are gravity fed.  Easy to get water out.
  • Best use of floor space b/c of vertical height.
  • Large upfront investment financially
  • High cost per gallon of water stored
  • Difficult to store in a small apartment/home
  • Difficult (impossible) to move once full at 1100 – 3000 pounds.
  • Rotation is relatively easy b/c of gravity-fed spigots
  • Will need to move water to a smaller container to carry to sinks/tubs etc.

#2: Large Barrels

Large barrels are available in sizes from 15 gallons up to 55 gallons.  The 55-gallon barrels are the best deal per gallon.  You can occasionally find them on craigslist or e-bay for amazing prices. If you live in Utah, Macey’s grocery store is the best place to purchase these at around $40-$50 each. Online, I’ve found $60-$70 to be a good price.

With these barrels, you will need a pump or at least a simple siphon to get the water out. You will also need a bung wrench to close and open it.

Pros

Cons:

  • The 55-gallon containers are typically the least expensive option per gallon (other than free options or 16.9 oz bottles).
  • Does not need to be rotated as frequently (especially when using additives).
  • Good use of floor space, especially when used with water barrel towers.
  • Large upfront investment financially
  • Must also purchase a pump in order to get water out
  • Difficult to store in a small apartment/home
  • Difficult (impossible) to move once full at close to 500 pounds for a 55-gallon barrel.
  • Difficult to rotate the water in them
  • Will need to move water to a smaller container to carry to sinks/tubs etc.

Emergency Water Products for Storing Water at Home or For Evacuation Reviewed

#1: 3-5 gallon jugs

These are typically available in white, somewhat opaque plastic as well as completely opaque blue plastic. There are also spigots available so you can use them at a sink. We use these when camping. If you go with the less expensive/opaque white ones, be sure to store them away from light.

Pros

Cons:

  • More portable than large barrels.  Could throw in a vehicle if asked to evacuate.
  • Relatively easy to rotate the water in them
  • Can be purchased almost anywhere… Walmart, Amazon
  • Less expensive (per container) than a 55-gallon barrel… less upfront investment when getting started.
  • Not stackable (can create wasted space)
  • Can waste a lot of water when pouring without a spigot.
  • Need to be rotated more often (if using the less opaque white containers)
  • More expensive (per gallon) than a 55-gallon barrel.

#2: Water Boxes

Water boxes include 5 gallons of mylar bags that are filled with water and then placed inside a stackable box.

Pros

Cons:

  • Low cost per gallon (sometimes as low as the 55-gallon barrels)
  • More portable than large barrels.  Could throw in a vehicle if asked to evacuate.
  • Stackable…better use of space.
  • Long shelf life (5 years), so no need to rotate as often.
  • Less expensive way (per gallon and per container) to get started.
  • Great for apartments and small spaces or where they have to be stored in the light.
  • Can be complicated/frustrating to fill and set up
  • While they come with a pouring spout, it isn’t a spigot, so you can’t turn it on / off or have full control over the amount of water that comes out.
  • More difficult to rotate when needed.
  • Can typically only be purchased from emergency supply stores or online (like Thrive or Emergency Essentials).

#3: WaterBricks

Water bricks are 3.5-gallon interlocking containers that can be used for food or water and are very popular in the “prepping” crowd. Spigots are available.

Pros

Cons:

  • Very manageable / portable. At 3.5 gallons they weigh just over 30 pounds when filled with water and include a carrying handle.
  • VERY stackable. They interlock so you can stack them all the way to the ceiling.
  • Extremely long shelf life (15 years).
  • Easy to store under beds, at bottom of closets, etc. Great for apartments
  • Easy to rotate water when needed
  • Very expensive per gallon of water stored.
  • Only available at select stores (mostly online)

#4: Soda/Juice Bottles

If you buy 2-liter soda or non-refrigerated juice (such as apple juice), you can use those containers to store water.

Pros

Cons:

  • Very portable.
  • Nearly free if you are planning to buy the soda/ juice anyway.
  • Easy to store/hide in lots of little places.  Great for apartments and small spaces.
  • Bacteria growth is possible if not cleaned exceptionally well
  • Must rotate often (every 6 months – year)
  • Often leave an “off” taste in the water
  • No way to turn into a “sink” with a spigot.
  • Not stackable

#5:  Store-bought water bottles

These are available in small kids (8 oz) sizes, the typical 16.9 oz bottle, or even large bottles.

Pros

Cons:

  • Extremely portable.
  • Great taste.
  • Easy to store/hide in lots of little places.
  • Great in 72-hour kit go-bags.
  • Easy to rotate/use every day.
  • A very inexpensive way to get started
  • Very inexpensive cost per gallon (even less than a 55-gallon barrel)
  • Not exactly “green”
  • Must rotate often (6-12 months)
  • Can leach chemicals in the water, especially if stored where hot.
  • Can’t (shouldn’t) be re-filled.
  • Difficult to buy enough for truly long-term stay-at-home storage solutions.

More products (filters).  I will add them as I talk about them during the course this month.