Best Large Water Barrels and Tanks for Efficient Water Storage has been live since September 2011, we specialise in both expert prepper guides, and a daily curated feed of the best prepper content online.

Water is an essential resource for life, and efficient water storage solutions are crucial for agriculture, gardening, emergency preparedness, and even for daily household use. Large water barrels and tanks are an excellent option to ensure you have a sufficient supply of water, especially in times of drought or water shortages. In this article, we will explore the best large water barrels and tanks available in the market, their features, and how they can benefit you.

Water holds such significance that it is prudent to store some in advance, well before an emergency situation arises. This assessment encompasses reservoirs that exceed the capacity for manual transport, such as the widely favored 55-gallon water barrel. These containers prove invaluable for stockpiling substantial quantities of water, be it weeks, months, or even years’ worth, in close proximity to your residence.

Even if you possess ample space, a solitary tank below 100 gallons can significantly enhance your preparedness efforts. The assurance of having a substantial water supply readily available goes a long way in fostering peace of mind and effectively addressing the majority of potential emergencies. Given the criticality of water, relying on chance or making rookie mistakes, like assuming there will be ample time to fill up the bathtub during an emergency, is ill-advised.

Water receptacles are categorized based on their size and purpose:

  1. Personal canteens, ideal for go-bags, everyday carry, and similar applications.
  2. Smaller containers ranging from 5 to 7 gallons, which are easier to store in and transport around the house by hand or on foot.
  3. The larger fixed-location containers in this review.

Even if you have the space and interest to invest in the larger tanks featured in this review, it is still advisable to have a few portable cans in the 5-7 gallon range. Consider a scenario where you possess a sizable tank at home but need to venture to a nearby creek to collect and bring back additional water. Having a container that can be conveniently carried by hand and foot when filled will greatly facilitate and enhance the safety of such tasks.

The most important bits:

  1. As a general guideline, it is recommended to store one gallon of water per person per day. For instance, if your household consists of four individuals and you have a 100-gallon container, you would have approximately 3 weeks’ worth of water (25 days).
  2. The one-gallon-per-day rule serves as a baseline, but during long-term emergencies, you will likely need more than that. This was evident in the water grid issues faced in Flint, Michigan.
  3. Water obtained from the municipal supply is already treated, so you do not need to add any preservation chemicals. However, if you use well water or a similar source, it is advisable to include appropriate additives or use household bleach.
  4. A reliable water tank should exhibit durability, be constructed from food-grade plastic, have a solid color to prevent algae growth by blocking light, and feature convenient fill and drain valves.
  5. Keep in mind that water expands when it freezes. If there is a possibility of your tank freezing, it is best to fill it up to approximately 85% capacity, allowing room for expansion.
  6. Consider the weight of larger water tanks, as they can exceed 8 pounds per gallon. Additionally, contemplate the foundation on which the tank will be placed.
  7. When storing the tank outdoors, it is advisable to provide some form of shade from direct sunlight. Even a simple suspended tarp a few inches above the tank can help reduce the harmful effects of constant sun exposure.
  8. If you plan to store the tank indoors, take into account doorway and hallway widths, as well as turns at the bottom of staircases, before making a purchase. Some larger tanks can be difficult to maneuver through a house due to their size and shape.
  9. Be aware that plastic tanks can leach nearby chemicals into the water when exposed to heat, such as sitting on hot concrete. For instance, if a concrete floor with a nearby generator causes oil or gas leakage that reaches the tank, the plastic may absorb and contaminate the water. Placing a wooden or metal base between the tank and the source of heat will help mitigate this issue.

We have compiled a list of the top large water tanks based on our team’s firsthand experiences, community feedback, and extensive research conducted over a period of 12 hours, which involved reviewing more than 15 leading options available in the market. It is worth noting that there are water containers, commonly referred to as “cisterns,” that have capacities exceeding 500 gallons. While we intend to include some of these options in future updates, it is important to highlight that most individuals opt for containers with capacities below 500 gallons. Rest assured, all the choices provided below are BPA-free and crafted from food-grade high-density polyethylene.

1. Norwesco Vertical Water Storage Tank

Norwesco is a leading manufacturer of water storage solutions, and their vertical water storage tanks are perfect for both residential and commercial purposes. These tanks are made from high-quality polyethylene, ensuring durability and long-lasting performance. With capacities ranging from 100 to 10,000 gallons, you can choose the size that best suits your needs. The tanks are UV-stabilized and impact-resistant, making them an excellent choice for outdoor storage.

Price: $956.00


2. Bushman Round Water Tank

Bushman is another reputable brand in the water storage industry. Their round water tanks are designed to store large volumes of water and are available in sizes up to 10,000 gallons. These tanks are made from food-grade polyethylene, ensuring the water remains safe and clean for consumption. The tanks also feature a self-supporting domed roof that adds structural integrity, and their seamless construction reduces the risk of leaks.

Price: $860.00


3. VINGLI Collapsible Rain Barrel

If you’re looking for a more portable and space-saving solution, the VINGLI Collapsible Rain Barrel is a great choice. This rain barrel is made from durable PVC and features a collapsible design, making it easy to transport and store when not in use. It is available in various sizes, ranging from 50 to 400 gallons. The barrel is equipped with a mesh cover to prevent debris and insects from entering the water, and its built-in overflow system directs excess water away from your foundation.

Price: $56.99


4. Graf Mondo Rainwater Tank

The Graf Mondo Rainwater Tank is a sturdy and attractive option for those looking for a decorative solution. This German-engineered tank is made from 100% recycled material and can hold up to 137 gallons of water. The unique column design allows it to blend seamlessly into your landscape, and its UV-stabilized construction ensures it will withstand harsh weather conditions. This tank is perfect for those looking to collect rainwater for gardening and irrigation purposes.

Price: $219.95


5. WaterPrepared Emergency Water Storage Tank

Preparedness is key in times of emergency, and the WaterPrepared Emergency Water Storage Tank is designed specifically for this purpose. These tanks come in 55, 160, and 320-gallon sizes and are made from heavy-duty, food-grade plastic. They feature a stackable design, allowing you to save space while storing a large volume of water. The tanks are also equipped with a built-in spigot and hose attachment, making it easy to access the stored water when needed.

Price: 299.00



Our Picks

Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable water tank

Price: $254.99


Legacy Premium 30 Gallon Stackable water tank

Price: $199.99


15-30 gallons:

  1. Legacy Premium Food Storage 15 Gallon Emergency Storage Barrel $84
  2. Legacy Premium Food Storage 30 Gallon Emergency Storage Barrel $140

50-55 gallons:

  1. Augason Farms 55 Gallon Water Barrel $210
  2. Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable Water Storage Tank $210
  3. WaterPrepared 55 Gallon stackable Water Storage Tank $185

100-200 gallons:

  1. STORMTANKER 185 gallon water tank $470
  2. WaterPrepared 160 gallon stackable water tank $585

200+ gallons:

  1. STORMTANKER 250 Gallon $550
  2. STORMTANKER Ultimate 500 gallon tank $775
  3. Sure Water 260 gallon emergency water tank $550
  4. Sure Water 500 gallon doorway emergency water storage tank $950

How Will You Put In and Take Out the Water?

An often overlooked aspect, which becomes evident only after purchasing a water tank lacking certain features, is the ease of filling and emptying the tank.

Consider the scenario where the tank has only one spout or spigot positioned at the very bottom, and the tank is placed directly on the floor. In such a case, it becomes challenging to extract water from the tank as you cannot position a bucket beneath a spigot that is merely three inches above the ground. This is precisely why exceptional tanks are equipped with a valve positioned at least a foot above the tank’s bottom. This design allows for efficient drainage by gravity, enabling more than 80% of the tank’s contents to be emptied while avoiding frustration.

The SURE WATER 500-gallon tank has two outputs: a higher one you can put a bucket under and a lower one to get as much water as possible from the bottom.

Plastic Water Barrels

Plastic containers primarily consist of polyethylene-based plastics, specifically plastics #1, #2, and #4. The preferred choice is food-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE) #2, which boasts excellent tensile strength, resistance to common solvents, and is free from BPA. Another commonly used option is linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) #4. It is crucial for food-grade polyethylene containers to have a dark color to block UV light, as exposure to light can promote the growth of microorganisms.

Plastic water containers have the advantage of being lighter and more portable compared to their metal counterparts. Cleaning plastic containers involves using diluted bleach or dish soap, followed by thorough rinsing before use. When stored correctly, food-grade polyethylene-based plastics have a long lifespan.

The versatility of plastic allows for various design options. For instance, some plastic containers, like the Augason Farms 55 Gallon Water Barrel, are simple drums with a cap on top. On the other hand, containers like the Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable Water Storage Tank are molded to facilitate efficient stacking for storage purposes.

Premium tanks, such as the STORMTANKER 185 gallon water tank, are specifically engineered to resist bulging. They feature upper and lower valves that enable filling a secondary container or rotating water supply.

STORMTANKER 185 gallon tank

What About Metal Barrels?

While it is true that large metal storage containers, such as those offered by Skolnik Industries, are available, it’s important to consider some factors before opting for them. Metal containers typically come with a significantly higher price tag, often around ten times the cost of a plastic container. Additionally, metal containers tend to be extremely heavy, making them challenging to move or transport.

If you decide to store water in a metal container, it is recommended to choose a food-grade option made from either 304 or 316 stainless steel. Stainless steel containers have a long lifespan. However, it is crucial to note that compared to food-grade plastic, stainless steel containers are heavy, cumbersome, and not practical for many applications. The weight and impracticality associated with stainless steel containers make plastic containers the more favorable choice for most water storage needs.

What About Rain Barrels?

Rain barrels, such as the RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel, are typically constructed from food-grade high-density polyethylene. They are available in a 50-gallon size. It’s important to note that the water collected in rain barrels will be contaminated and should be filtered and chemically treated before use. Moreover, during challenging situations, such as when the SHTF (shit hits the fan), the presence of rain barrels may attract unwanted attention.

Many barrels marketed as rain barrels are manufactured using recycled high-density polyethylene. It is advisable to seek barrels made from virgin food-grade polyethylene instead. Any of our recommended picks, whether it’s the Augason Farms 55 Gallon Water Barrel or the Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable Water Storage Tank, with capacities of 50 or 55 gallons, will serve well as rain barrels.

100 gallons of water stored in food-grade polyethylene


Selecting the right large water barrel or tank depends on factors such as intended use, storage capacity, durability, and cost. The options listed above are some of the best in the market, each catering to different needs and preferences. Before purchasing a water storage solution, consider your requirements and the features that are most important to you. Investing in a high-quality water barrel or tank will provide you with a reliable source of water for years to come.