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There are 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.

 

PREPARING TO STAY: OPTIONS FOR STORING WATER AT HOME

 

Option #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 up front 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.

Option #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, Maceys 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 up front 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.

PREPARING TO STAY OR GO: OPTIONS FOR STORING WATER AT HOME OR FOR EVACUATION

 

Option #1: 3-5 gallon jugs

These are typically available in white, somewhat opaque plastic as well as the 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 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.

 

Option #2: Water Boxes

Water boxes include 5 gallons 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).

 

Option #3: WaterBricks

Waterbricks are 3.5 gallon interlocking containers and 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 includes 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, in 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)

 

 

Option #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

 

Option #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 everyday.
  • 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.

 

COMING SOON:

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