1

Best emergency water storage containers for your home

We spent 34 hours researching and testing the best water containers for your basic home emergency supply.

[See the full post at: Best emergency water storage containers for your home]
118

  • Comments (118)

    • 9

      Super informative. I’ve always wondered if those stacking cubes were worth it. Ordered 10 of the LCIs. Thanks for the review.

      • 9

        Thanks Nick! We really *wanted* the stacking cubes to be worth it. The blue 5 gallon stackables you see on many prepper sites were really disappointing. The WaterBricks were close but still had some frustrations. Too bad 🙁 Enjoy the military cans!

    • 6

      When you say that certain containers should last 10 to 20 years are you talking 10 to 20 years of use or just 10 to 20 years from date of purchase even if they haven’t been used… reason I ask is I have some older reliance containers that I bought they were stored but never had any water in them

      • 5

        A good can will last for 10-20 years of reasonable use!

        Your old containers should be fine. Fill them up, dry off the outside, shake it around, lay it down, etc and see what happens. Be sure to properly disinfect the inside before storing potable water for the long term.

        There are of course chances of it failing along the way, including as soon as you receive it. Every single product has customer reviews of leaks. Some obviously more than others – e.g. the Reliance Aqua-Tainer is not as durable and will crack/leak often.

        It’s less about “does it have water in it or not”, since water won’t really degrade the container. It’s more about how hard the container is being used. If you’re taking it camping, it gets bumped around, etc then it will shorten the life faster than sitting on a basement shelf.

    • 6

      https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
      I use the 3 gallon versions of the Reliance Desert Patrol due to the weight. I fixed the vent problem with gas cap vents from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Yell…
      My review and installation tips is dated July 24, 2017.
      They work well for transfering water from the spring to the house, 12 gallons at a time.

      • 7

        Thanks for the info and pics, Greg! We do like the 3 gallon versions of many of the popular big brothers. There’s even a 3 gallon of the excellent Scepter military water can. Great for transport, lifting above your head to a shelf, etc.

    • 5

      When portable water (Tap water) in a storage container goes bad, what does goes bad mean. I understand algae, what else should you be looking for. In a pinch, water is water unless you have an acceptance criteria? I have never found a good acceptance criteria for stored water?

      • 4

        Great questions. Yeah, the primary concern with stored water is organic growth of bacteria, algae, spores, etc. Secondary concerns would be rodent feces and unintended chemicals.

        I don’t know how best to quantify what the threshold is between safe and unsafe stored water — such as a spore parts per million measurement.

        I’d guess the line is different for each person, like how some get sick drinking water in Mexico while others don’t. Plus it’s unrealistic that water will be pristine.

        I default to sense tests. If you can see, smell, or taste anything weird, don’t drink it unless you have to (and use basic survival filtering/testing techniques if you do). We developed those senses over 250,000 years for reasons like this.

        Will try to do more research on that question when we update this guide.

      • 8

        Totally agree with using God given senses, but if you are thirsty logic might get compromised? This is one reason I like to use Chlorine on questionable water. Put in what is thought to be a appropriate amount shake and leave set. In 30 min to over night pop the cap and if you don’t smell chlorine (the swimming pool smell) do it again. If it smells strong chlorine pour it back and forth between two clean containers until it vapors off. No scientific testing technique just poke your nose into it. Carefully of course.

      • 4

        Yep, good method. Unfortunately logic does get compromised in an emergency, since people have little-to-no practice in thinking during a crisis, but that’s why we prepare!

    • 8

      Hey, I discovered this site a few weeks ago and have been looking through it. I saw that you aren’t fans of bottled water, but it seemed like a strong choice to me, and I wanted to run my ideas out there and see if they’re very off base.

      1.) Stores well: 24 packs of half liter bottles are easy to stack and transport.
      2.) Different failure mode than large containers: if you’re in an earthquake or tornado zone, a single violent even could pierce one of your 5 gallon containers and compromise all of its contents in one go. Such an even is very unlikely to destroy a bunch of plastic bottles, even if it breaks a few (a mix between different storage types, as you suggest, seems strongest here).
      3.) Easy to pass on to neighbors in need: If you have extra water based on the level of emergency, or if you’re simply willing to give up some previous stash in the interest of your fellow man, to preserve peace, or to trade for something else, bottled water is easily transferable without the receiver needing his own receptacle and doesn’t scream “this guys has lots more in his basement”.

      • 7

        Thanks for wanting to talk about it! In short, we’d rather someone have bottled water than nothing. But when we shake it all out, if you only had one water storage method for your most important short-term needs, we’d rather it be in these kinds of containers.

        An ideal answer is a mix of both. I think of the containers as the 80% core and bottled water as 20% bonus.

        1) I disagree they are better to store than 5-7 gal cans. Smaller bottles are less space efficient. Bottled water is stackable when in their original box/crate form (much less so when you start using some), and although it’s close between the two, a good container is more “stackable”, especially in different orientations. Bottles break/crush easily. And I don’t think there’s a comparison in terms of transport, as our recommended cans are much easier to move gallons of water compared to bottles.

        2) Perfect example of why a mix is good. One point of failure vs. multiple smaller compartments. However, each bottled water is less durable than the top containers. We beat the containers up pretty good, and the best ones held together well.

        3) True, but you can also fill up water bottles from your main container to have on you while you’re moving about during the day, to hang off to someone else, etc.

        Then there’s the other factors, like refills. It’s much easier to carry one 5 gal to a river etc for a fill up than a bunch of little bottles.

      • 8

        Yeah, the mix definitely seems ideal.

    • 7

      Let’s say you had water stored for 5 years and it did “go bad”. What does that mean? In an emergency situation you wouldn’t throw it out would you? Can’t you just filter it, boil it, etc and be back to good? And if this is the case should it matter much if your water goes “bad” since it’s “fixable”?

      • 7

        Great questions Joshua. Going bad can mean a range of things: bad tastes (like a stale taste), leaching chemicals into the water (like from an improper container), and bacteria/protozoa growth.

        Stale tastes clearly don’t matter much. Chemicals do, but not much you can do to remove soluble chemicals from water.

        The most likely issue is the organic growth. And yes, you can filter and boil those out. See our latest: https://theprepared.com/gea…

        If you’ve got your bases covered with a good filter etc, yeah you’ll probably be fine with stored water that’s a little bad.

        We just really hammer home wanting to have that first week or two’s worth of water in your home as ready to go as possible, without needing any other treatment, because that short term water is one of the most vitally important things.

    • 6

      How bad is it for a water container to be semi-translucent? We have a couple containers that aren’t completely see through, but they’re not completely opaque either. After reading this article I plan to replace them eventually, but I’m wondering how much I should prioritize that replacement.

      • 6

        Although it’s hard to say without seeing, in general, if light can get in then bacteria can grow. If you want to get a little more life out of them before switching: rotate more frequently, put some bleach drops in (see above), and store in a dark place.

    • 9

      Thanks for these suggestions. I have three very basic questions. 1) How are you supposed to fill the 5 gallon containers? I bought a rhino to try it out, but it doesn’t fit either in my kitchen sink or under the faucet in my bathtub? 2) How are you supposed to keep the water cap, rim, pouring spout, and ultimately the inside of the container clean in cases of an emergency? Because first of all, to have access to water to clean these items, you have to open the container that stores the water — possibly with dirty hands! And second, in my experience, hygiene becomes much more difficult when you’re working with stored water with no access to sink or shower. and 3) How much water should we allot for cooking food that comes from those food buckets you recommend, or other meals where you have to add water? I’m imagining that would add to the 1 gallon per person per day allotment?

      • 5

        What do you think of the Rhino so far?

        To fill, you could use a smaller jug as a go-between, a hose/tube, a funnel, go to an outdoor faucet…

        If you camp or do something similar outdoors, try using your jug while being careful about contamination during use. For example, the flat disc part of the cap is meant to be used as a cover on the spout when in “pour mode” (see pics in article).

        Most of the cross-contamination answers are common sense stuff, and it’s not hard in practice. e.g. Don’t handle raw eggs and then grab the water spout which will then later be flipped inside the container during storage.

        Hygiene is definitely tougher in the field. Which is why a good kit also has wet wipes and some concentrated camp soap.

        The 1 gallon per person per day minimum benchmark is all-inclusive, so it’s meant to include hygiene and cooking, not just drinking. But it’s a minimal level, and would not be enough to cover “normal” levels of cooking. It’s enough to survive on with relative comfort.

        For example, a Mountain House pack uses ~2 cups of water. If you had two per day that’s 25% of your 1 gallon per day. But if you boiled a big pot of mac and cheese, washed the dishes, etc etc, your water use will go up.

    • 5

      One note about the Rhino cans – I just changed the water out after one year of storage. I have 3 of the Rhinos, and all three have bulged out quite a bit on the side that has the indentations for stacking (not so much on the side that has the interlocking projections). If laid on the side all three started leaking significantly, so much that you wouldn’t want to store them horizontally for more than a minute or so. Additionally, the bulging prevents them from being stacked at this point – they are simply too deformed to fit together anymore. I didn’t leave them empty long enough to see if they would return to the original shape eventually. No issues with the water inside when I changed it – they seem fine as long as they are always held vertically.

      • 4

        Thanks for sharing the data point, Bill. Did you store them horizontally? In what kind of temperature range? Wondering if wide temp swings caused plastic stress.

        We’ve also seen the bulging on the male side. Female side seems fine. Haven’t had any leaks though — where are yours leaking from? Reliance would probably replace if you contact them. (Perhaps don’t mention you store water year-round, as any manufacturer in that market will claim it’s an unintended use.)

        Unfortunately it’s part of the deal in these $15-20 cans, and is one of the main reasons to upgrade to the Scepter USGI cans (thicker sidewalls).

      • 5

        They were stored vertically in my basement – so a constant temperature year round. They didn’t leak stored like that. I only noticed it when I brought them upstairs to change the water out, one fell over and lost about a tablespoon out of the main opening in less than a minute. So i put the other two on their sides as well to see what they would do, and both of them also leaked copiously from the main opening. They didn’t do that when they were new. I’m still using them, but I take more care now to ensure they always stay upright.

      • 5

        2 year update – they haven’t gotten any worse. They all leak if you put them on the side, so…don’t do that? Seems ok stored upright – the water tasted fine.

    • 6

      I just discovered that two of my four Rhino cans leak a lot if I tip them over opening side down, as if I were about to pour water, but with the cap closed. The drip rate for one of them is about 3 drops per second. The other one might be even worse, though I’m not sure. I’m dismayed to find this after I’ve filled them with water. I store them vertically, so no water actually pours out while they’re sitting there, but I imagine it can cause contamination, plus it’s obvious I can’t transport them like this. I don’t know if my other two Rhino cans leak as I haven’t tried them out yet. Did I just get a dud lot or am I doing something wrong?

      • 6

        It’s possible you got a dud (the flow sounds heavier than normal) and should ask for a replacement, but it’s also part of the deal with a $20 or cheaper product. They aren’t designed to be stored with water against the seals due to the price point — that’s a perfect example of the justification to upgrade to the military cans.

      • 6

        Would the leakage also mean that the water is potentially getting contaminated as it sits in the containers?

      • 5

        Technically, if air is moving, then contamination can get inside. But in practice I think most people would say you’re just fine, especially with proper storage and rotation every year or two. Plus you have your filters, purifiers, etc. if needed.

    • 6

      I know this article is a year or two old, but it might be worth noting/updating pricing info updated for items linked in the article. It turns out the Scepter cans from Bottom Line are priced at around $28 each, but they also charge exactly that much for shipping (it seems they charge a 100% shipping charge on all items), making them almost $60 each! That changes the cost basis considerably.

      I’ll give the Skilcraft/LCI branded ones a try since they are around $33/ea shipped directly via Amazon, assuming the sellers are legitimate (which is another issue with these items… knowing the pedigree of the seller). Caveat emptor.

      • 4

        Thanks, we’ll take a look at pricing. FWIW I found there to be a meaningful difference in quality between the LCI and Scepter cans.

      • 6

        Any idea why the ratings on the site you linked for the Scepter cans are so low? I was thinking of taking the plunge based on your review, but the ratings are terrible.

    • 6

      If you have the room and do not need to transport look for surplus drums or totes.

      Leaks? Seal the threads with the same stuff you use to put metal water pipe together.

      Chlorine is almost a must have. Defiantly if you are treating surface water or nave the potential to get surface water into you drinking water.

      That said, if you go swimming you end up “drinking’ the water through your eyes and ears and it is hard not to swallow some. So, if you swim often, and the water has not changed, you should be ok. If you do not swim so as to get your body used to it best be careful. A friend from India says he has to condition himself to the local water when he goes home or he gets sick.

      Cl is preety cheap too. One gallon has the potential of treating over 3000 gallons of clear water. For storage you want about 5 to 10 PPM and around 2 for drinking. Slight odor, but your smeller may vary. Residual Cl means there are not pathogens in the water.

      One bottle of wine will treat 2 additional bottles of water. Looking for 3% alcohol content to kill the bugs. So mix beer 50 / 50 and sipp’n lik’er based on proof. Mix before you drink it!

      For 5.25% bleach, sodium hypochlorite use 2 to 3 drops per quart of clear water and let it sit for 2 to 4 hours depending on temperature. Adjust for the 8% strength or age of the bleach.

      Use the smell check as the bleach will break down into NaCl and water over time.
      Figure 20% a year.

      It treating a tank:
      One ounce is 590 drops
      One CC is a ml is 20 Drops so a syringe is a good measuring device.
      One oz is 29.6 ml

      Solid pool Cl stores a lot more Cl for the space but you need to be careful with the dose of have a test kit.
      Calcium hypochlorite works too. Figure the dosage as I do not have it.

      With clear water, in a clear container, and strong sun light, you will have potable water in one to two days depending on temperature, location and time of year.

      If you are storing water you need to know how to get more.
      You need some plastic sheeting to make a solar still then you can make water from the ground or recycle your water.

      If you have plenty of wood for a fire then look at a still made like a moonshine still.
      Use a 5 to 55 gallon metal container and some copper or even a garden hose to condense the steam to liquid.

      Two of the clear 5 gallon bubbler bottles will make a fine solar still. Examples on the net.

      If you have a well and the power is out. Pull the pump and get water with a weighted piece of PVC pipe lowered to the water level. Well depth is generally posted on the well.

      If the water table is shallow and above bed rock it is not hard to safely dig your own. I like to sink sections of 24 or 30 inch concrete pipe as I go as I really do not want a cave in and you need a liner any way! 30 inch is easier to work in but more dirt to remove.

      Easy to go deeper if the water table drops, just add a section and start digging!
      Biggest hazard is keeping the air moving but 4 inch drain hose and a small blower works fine.

      Point is – be ready before you need water.

    • 10

      Hey, guys. A somewhat related question for you. I’m in Northern California, where, you might have heard, our gas and electric company, PG&E, has intentionally cut off power to a large portion of the state in anticipation of wildfire risk (high winds.) It’s kind of crazy around here. They are implementing blackouts in various neighborhood in a chaotic hodge-podge. No one knows if their power will be cut off at some point and if it’s cut off how long it will stay off. (NOT elegant implementation).

      Meanwhile, with very short notice to prepare, folks are stocking up on basic survival stuff. One of the things I keep reading is that people are buying up bottled water. But I can’t figure out why they’re doing it. PG&E doesn’t control the water supply; we all still have water. We even all still have gas — it’s only the electricity that’s been cut off. Why are people buying water? What am I missing here?

      • 4

        FYI here’s a collection of resources to track the CA power issues: https://theprepared.com/blo…

        The simple answer: People buy water as a panic reaction in these situations. Logic and knowledge don’t factor in in a lot of cases. But there are people who can’t access water without electricity, perhaps due to treatment systems, pumps, etc.

        Some people simply might not understand that water supply is unlikely to be affected, or they may just be erring on the side of caution (which isn’t horrible, especially with water), or they may just be silly and panicked and grabbing what they’ve been trained to (“emergency = buy water, milk, and bread.”)

      • 6

        Thanks very much for the collection of resources! You guys are on top of things. I noticed on the PG&E page that their emergency centers are also handing out water…(?)

      • 5

        Yes, we’ve read/heard the same.

      • 5

        I think I found the answer. Apparently not a bogus suggestion: https://www.sfchronicle.com…

      • 6

        Yeah, good find. There are situations where someone’s well can’t run without electricity, etc.

    • 9

      I would like to store some of my water containers in my soft storey, above-ground basement, just to “diversify” in case the walk-in closet where I have the rest of my water becomes inaccessible. I’ve been reading that we shouldn’t store plastic water containers on concrete because the stuff in the concrete will leach into the water. Is this true? Are there measures that can be taken? Are there other materials that shouldn’t be used? I actually don’t even have concrete in my basement — I have square, flat bricks on top of an unfinished floor. There’s also the question of rodents, which I try hard to keep out of my basement, but sometimes they get in anyway. I’ve heard that rats actually seek out plastic containers to sharpen their teeth on (ick!)

      • 7

        Great question. Not sure if you saw the parts in the article about this. Yes, plastic water containers kept on garage/basement floors can leach. But it’s a relatively minor concern, and becomes a more meaningful risk in areas where the flooring gets very hot (eg. cement in the sun) and/or has chemicals around (eg. cleaners / motor oil on a dirty garage floor).

        Assuming you have proper plastic containers, many people just get a simple sheet of plywood or non-porous material and use that as the foundation for their water storage. Helps with stability and errs on the side of caution for leaching.

    • 7

      What are your feelings about drum containers? Uline has 5, 15, 30, and 55 gal containers. The 15 or gallon costs $40-45, and then you could get a siphon drum pump for another $15. Not portable, but if used with a couple of jerry cans, it seems like a good budget option for a home owner.

      Is there a reason the prepared did not include this option? Thanks.

      • 8

        This review was focused on portable water containers, which we think are the right “first” thing a typical person should do to get their home ready. ie. It’s easier to get to that important threshold of two weeks of self-reliance + it’s a great idea to have containers you can move around, easily refill, etc.

        But once that box is checked, yeah, storing larger quantities is a next step. We just haven’t done a separate article for those larger containers yet, but expect to in 2020.

        eg. I’m personally picking up one of these soon: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/utms-275-gal-intermediate-bulk-container

      • 7

        I’ve seen those big containers, used, on my local classifieds.  How do you feel using them for water storage after they have been used for some other food product?

      • 6

        We see a lot of people who buy these kinds of containers used from someone local via Craigslist etc. People will often say “oh, I got these super cheap from some local farmer guy, but he promises it only ever stored water!” (or whatever).

        But water is so important + it’s hard to trust random people selling used industrial/farm equipment = I would rather pay more to know something is clean and proper.

        If budget doesn’t allow for a new buy, then just be as sure as you can be about what the container used to hold so you can make a risk-reward decision. Do you trust the sellers’s answers, does the inside look clean, smell bad, etc.

    • 10

      Maybe you can clarify the detail about the blind and disabled workers for me. Are you mentioning that as a point of interest, or are you suggesting that the product is inferior to the Canadian-made counterpart BECAUSE it is made by blind / disabled workers?

      How and why is the US-Made product inferior?

      • 10

        As a point of interest. I wish more companies found ways to have disabled workforces. We have no knowledge of / wouldn’t assume quality problems are due to the nature of the workers — even if it was, that’d be management’s fault, not the workers.

        So I don’t know why their products were inferior, but I recall in testing feeling it was pretty clear when looking at things like seams, seals/gaskets, plastic quality, and overall build quality.

    • 7

      Do you need to clean out new containers?  I just bought some of the Rhino cans that were recommended, are they okay to just fill up or is there prep work first to be done?

      • 5

        Given how important this water is, I’d err on the side of caution and at least do a cursory rinse before storing water in it for the long term, even if just to get any dust etc out. I typically fill it with ~20% water, add a little bleach or soap, close cap, shake a lot, rinse thoroughly/repeatedly.

    • 10

      Just an FYI for anyone interested in the WaterBrick: you can buy a 10-pack ($180) and a spout ($16.49) direct from the manufacturer for less than an 8-pack and a spout on Amazon, and shipping is free.

    • 8

      I am a foster mom and am overwhelmed at the thought of buying enough containers to safely store water for our large family.  It would be $342 in containers for my current family but realistically we should plan for 2 more kids ($456) just in case.

    • 10

      So, for clarification, if storing water in a garage, off the concrete floor (bottom shelf or two), in a non heated/cooled garage, how often should the water be changed out? Will the container life be compromised not being in a fully climate controlled space? I’m sure this isn’t the most ideal spot but no basement and currently no extra closet space.

      • 9

        Assuming the water came from a treated source (eg. city water, which has some chemicals in it), you should be good for 1-2 years. Probably longer, but safe to rotate annually.

        I don’t have any intel that the container integrity itself would be harmed in a non-climate-controlled space, provided you’re not on some extreme end of the spectrum (northern territories in Canada or on the equator)

    • 7

      I ordered 6 scepter cans based on this article (THANK YOU!!!  This site is the best!).

      I’m in the process of cleaning and disinfecting them now.  As a thought exercise, I started wondering…  I have city water with a whole house charcoal filter and water softener.  So, I have three options for filling the containers…  (1) straight city water out of a hose spicket, (2) filtered and softened out of sink, or (3) bottled spring water (from Ozarka/Nestle, if that matters).  At the risk of geeking out too far on this, 🙂  and assuming cost is irrelevant, what might be the better source?  And would any of these do better with a few drops of bleach added after filling them up?

      Thanks again!!

      • 6

        Thanks for saying so! I love the Scepter cans. Assuming your city water is considered dependable, I would think your best bet is to just use that, since it already has preservatives in it. If you run it through your charcoal etc, you may lesson some of those chems (which is usually for taste), making it less ‘treated.’ And you wouldn’t need to add bleach (but you can). There’s no value in using bottled spring water.

    • 7

      I bought 3 Reliance Rhinos, and they leaked when I laid them horizontally. They also leaked when I filled them above the airflow valve.

      • 8

        I believe the review said that they were not meant to be stored on their side, maybe temporarily but not all the time.  I did not fill mine above the valve and have had zero issues with the six cans that I have.  For the price its a great water can for sure.

      • 8

        The review says they leaked when stacked on each other. Mine leaked any time on their side which kind of makes them almost useless  for transport in my car if I needed to do that. I won’t  be buying anymore of them. They are fine sitting in my closet not going anywhere, but I  want something  more  versatile.

    • 7

      Love this! Personally purchased a couple of 5 gallon Scepters and Rhino Paks for my home.

      However, now that they finally came. I am not sure what next to do. I couldn’t find any resources on your site for the next step of (I assume) cleaning the containers and the best ways to fill them. What do you suggest? Do I just take it to a filtered water stall at my local grocery store?

      Open to any suggestions, as I am a beginner prepper.

      • 7

        Hey man good question. I think you might have missed this in the water article. I pasted it below. This is how I filled mine at home using tap water.

         

        How to clean a water container:
        Fill it with warm water and a little dish soap. Close cap. Shake. Drain and rinse. This gets the obvious debris out of the can.
        Fill it with a quart (about 15 seconds of normal faucet flow) and a teaspoon of unscented household chlorine bleach. Close cap.
        Wait 30 seconds. Shake well. Wait 30 seconds again.
        Drain and rinse.
        Air dry (or fill right away with clean water

      • 8

        Thanks, ProtectiveDad! I don’t know how I missed this!

        Can I just fill it with tap water (supposedly our Utah water is clean)? Or should I take it to a like Sparklets refillable spot?

      • 8

        I’m in Tennessee.  I filled mine using our bathtub faucet since it was winter outside and my hose was frozen.  Tap water should be fine since it is treated too.  Just make sure they are clean and don’t use too much bleach a little goes a long way.

    • 7

      Thanks so much for these helpful reviews. The article refers to five drops of bleach as being equal to 1/8 teaspoon, but other sources, including Google’s conversion table, refer to 1/8 teaspoon as being more than 12 drops. Can you clarify the amount of bleach that you recommend per gallon? Thanks again; I love this site!

    • 7

      We are always told by emergency services that our water heater is a good source of emergency water. But I just watched a video that claimed that, if water heaters aren’t flushed regularly, they build up all kinds of sediment and corrosion and the water that comes out of them is really gross. It certainly didn’t look in the video like something you want to drink even in an emergency, unless there really are no other options. (Although I don’t quite understand why it comes out clean out of your faucet.) Do you guys have any resources in the water preparedness department, on making sure the water heater water is usable in an emergency?

      • 7

        In normal use the hot water that comes out of the tank is drawn from the top of the tank, which is why all that sediment can gather at the bottom, and the water you get at the tap looks “clean”. You wouldn’t want to drink the sediment, but you can easily filter it out with a filter like the HydroBlu or Sawyer Squeeze, or whatever. In theory we’re all supposed to flush our hot water tanks about once a year to remove the sediment, for the reason that the sediment buildup at the bottom decreases the heater’s efficiency over time.

    • 6

      I’m trying to be diversified in my water storage.  The 5-gallon and 7-gallon are just too big for me to wrestle around and also to bring in the house to set on a bathroom sink, etc.  when we need to rely on them.  I researched the Waterbrick and the Aquabrick.  This YouTube video was very informative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXfDQwoSpVQ.    I’m planning to get the Aquabricks if they ever come back in stock to store with my 55gal drums.

      • 7

        They were in stock and arrived very quickly.  Each holds 3 gallons and have two handles which do make it easier for me to manipulate the 26.4lbs after they are filled and also to pass between people.

      • 9

        Alicia, I found the YouTube video to be very helpful!  Like you, I have been looking for smaller containers, because 5 gallons is just too heavy for me to carry.  I wish other containers in the 3 to 3.5 gallon size range had been included in the review above; I didn’t see anything mentioned besides the WaterBrick, which the YouTube video shows to be clearly inferior to the AquaBrick.  I’m going to try the AquaBrick!  

    • 6

      Thank you for this informative article. I was price checking scepter cans $65-$42 per can. But also price checked lci cans $24. 4 lci cans to my door $102 with free shipping.  Have to thought about doing an artical comparing scepter to lci?

      • 8

        When we update this review with a new round of head-to-head beat-up testing, we’ll go into more detail about Scepter to LCI. But we have had hands on both, and that lead to the recommendation to buy Scepter. That said, the LCI cans weren’t bad, and if that’s what makes sense for you, you should feel okay buying them.

    • 8

      Was reliance rhino discontinued? It’s not showing up on the reliance website, and it’s out of stock in many places. 

      • 7

        Thanks for flagging this. Have you tried contacting them? I just did some quick poking. Their website is down with the following message:

        “Thank you for visiting. We’re currently making some improvements to our website and will be back online on Monday, August 17. We apologize for any inconvenience and encourage you to check back soon.”

        Between that note, the unusual step of pulling down a whole site for weeks, and the lack of available stock on third-party vendors, it does smell like something more than just simply a backlog of orders. But everything is wonky right now with COVID, so it’s hard to know what’s what. 

      • 7

        I didn’t try contacting them, but their site was still up a couple days ago. I see that splash page now – they must have put in up just today or yesterday. The rhino wasn’t listed in their products when I checked. Thanks!

      • 5

        The Rhino-Pak isn’t listed on Reliance’s Products page anymore and it’s out of stock everywhere. It seems to be discontinued, maybe temporarily due to demand or supply-chain issues?

        https://relianceoutdoors.com/products/hydration.html

    • 6

      It appears the Walmart link is to the Consumer 5 gallon Scepter and not the Military version.

      • 7

        If you go to the Scepter website, you’ll see that they only make two models of water jugs. The consumer model looks distinct from the military grade. The one in the Walmart link is the military grade.

      • 6

        Hi Brandon – thanks so much for your reply! I had already ordered them before I asked my question. You set my mind at ease.

    • 4

      I bought a Reliance Rhino-Pak a few months ago and I wanted to get another. Unfortunately, they seem to no longer be in production and the Scepter cans were running $70-80. Recently, I checked again and the Scepter cans are around $40 now. I found an Amazon deal where I got two for $75 and jumped on it.

      I’m thrilled with the quality of these cans. The plastic is solid and the fill hole and cap is absolutely enormous—as large as my hand. I also like the integrated vent. I made a short video to show it off.

    • 9

      Thanks for the very helpful article. I purchased a few Scepter cans and am ready to santize and fill. I went looking for plain, household bleach, but the products I find have more ingredients than just sodium hypochlorite and water.

      Some of the additional ingredients are fine (sodium chloride; sodium chlorate), but I’m not sure about the others (sodium carbonate; sodium hydroxide; poly (diallyldimethylammonium chloride); and polyacrylic acid, sodium bisulfate terminated). (FYI – These are the ingredients in plain Clorox bleach – not concentrated, not splash-less, etc.)

      Any concerns for these not-so-plain bleach products? Particularly if I add a few drops to the water for storage and not just container cleaning? Thanks!

    • 7

      How important is it to clean the containers with bleach before filling with water? After a couple of years of trying I’ve finally gotten my mom to get the right containers and put water in them, but she forgot to do the bleach cleaning. Does she have to start over?

      • 6

        The safests choice would be for her to sanitize the containers, yes. With sanitized containers, proper storage, no air, etc I’d be ok in keeping the water stored for 2-3 years, before feeling the need to replace it.

        However, I’d suspect that she’d be fine for a while, unless of course the tap water is already contaminated, there’s chemical leaching into the containers, she stores them in direct sunlight, etc. Did she at least swish the containers with a bit of soap, to remove dust and debris? If she didn’t, then I would re-do the whole processs straight away, this time with the bleach. If she did, and/or if you think she might resists doing the whole process again right now, maybe she can do the bleach when she replaces the water? In that case I would replace the water earlier, though (6 months – 1 year max), as opposed to wait 2-3 years. Wdyt?

        BTW, yay for mom!

    • 5

      Did you ever get around to doing the article on larger containers for longer term storage? I tried searching for all articles on the theme of “water” and it didn’t show up. Thanks for getting me started on my home water storage.

    • 3

      Thanks for this great write-up. I have my containers and am ready to fill them. I have a whole house water filter, which is supposed to take a lot of the chlorine out for better tasting water. So, should I add bleach (using the quantities you outlined above)?

      • 3

        Hi Spoon, if you’re using tap water from the municipal grid it is not necessary. But you can still do it if it keeps your mind at ease.

        Just remember to make sure that your containers are clean and/or disinfected, before filling them in!

    • 6

      Is a dark-colored tarp the best way to keep light away from the containers if I don’t have the space in my home to put all of these containers somewhere dark?

      • 4

        I thought the blue food grade barrels were opaque enough for outdoor use – just maybe not direct sunlight.  Comments from the experts?  

      • 3

        Great question Lowell. So will you be storing this outside and exposed to the elements?  

        As Alicia has said, if you are storing in those blue food grade barrels, they are opaque and will block the sunlight from growing algae in your water. Always try and get opaque containers for your water storage.

        Direct sunlight probably isn’t the best for them though, so even if you are using those blue opaque containers, I would cover them and provide shade to keep them cooler. Warm temperatures can also encourage bacterial growth.

        While I don’t store my water outside, I do store my winter tires to my car out on a pallet under a few tarps outside. Every year or two I need to throw away the top most tarp because the sun and UV rays cook it all year making it brittle and the tarp will just disintegrates. I’m thinking about buying a roll of black plastic ground cloth that is meant to be outside. Something like this. Check your local hardware store because the Amazon prices seem a bit much…

        Covering your water storage outside will also keep bird poop, animals, and other things from getting all over your containers. During a disaster when I need to tap into my water, I don’t want to be scraping off leaves, dirt, and bird poop from the lid before I open it. You risk contaminating your clean water if you don’t clean your opening well enough.

        Another idea, and one I might use to protect my tires out at my house, is to place a piece of plywood or sheet metal over the top. Let the sun bake that all day and it will protect the tarp underneath much better.

        If you do have a clear water container like an IBC tote, you definitely will want to cover that extremely well and make sure no light is coming in. Because that is a clear plastic and will allow light into your water.

        rebottled_ibc_totes_caged_water_tanks_cat200

        To sum things up, the three things that promote bacterial growth is Light, Heat, and Air. Try to minimize those as much as possible. (Only fill 75% though if storing outside and there is the risk of freezing, in that case you will have some air in your container)

      • 4

        Thank you both so much for your responses, and my apologies for not being more clear!

        I’m still storing the water in my home, just not in a place where it’s completely away from sunlight! Right now I’ve got 11x Scepter 5 Gal Military Water Can, 1x Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7 Gal, and 1x WaterBrick 3.5 Gal (soon to be 2x I believe).

        We originally got one of each type because we didn’t know which would be best for our space, but then we ended up just getting a 10x pack of the Scepters because they do technically fit in our home and an “upgrade pick” seemed appropriate for something so crucial!

        All this said, do you think the opacity of the containers themselves will be enough? Or would you recommend covering them? The room they’re in right now (and will likely remain) is north facing, so it gets less light and stays colder than the rest of the home.

      • 3

        All of those should be fine without additional coverage. All are opaque, stored inside where it is cooler, and not getting direct sunlight. It doesn’t hurt to cover them, but don’t think it’s necessary and you should be safe.

      • 3

        Stellar! Thank you so much Gideon!!

      • 1

        Kinda jealous of your setup there 😉 

        I have three scepters and two water bricks. Hoping to expand to more someday though. 

        Keep up the great work!

    • 4

      An additional option for diversifying the home supply of stored water is to buy the boxes of 24  12 oz CANS of water, that are advertised as having 50 year shelf life. Here is the link for buying them on Amazon (though other vendors sell them also): https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Can-Premium-Emergency-Drinking/dp/B00M9O9HTK/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=canned+water&qid=1628221603&sr=8-5

      I have very limited storage space, and these can be slipped behind the books in my bookcase, or into a nook behind the bed, etc. I also have 3 of them in my (light weight) bug out bag — they are a good size to drink the entire contents at one sitting, and they have pull-tabs to open, like soda cans. I should comment that the processing of these apparently includes a high-heat treatment, and as a result of that, occasionally these cans come out of the box with dents in them; however, I think this is harmless. Also, this is much more expensive than using tap water; however, one does not need to mess with replacing the water every two years, and that is a significant advantage.

      • 2

        Isn’t it funny how a 24 pack of water costs $50 but a 24 pack of sugar water, aka Sprite, is only $9? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C2EK0PG/

        You do make a good point on how those individual cans can be squirreled away throughout the house where other methods of storage might not work. Also is nice how you don’t have to worry about them for 50 years, and by the time it’s time to rotate through those, many of us will be dead.

    • 2

      Where do y’all go for spigots for those Scepter water containers? 

    • 3

      A common issue I keep seeing from the community on the forum is that these 5 gallon containers are too heavy. Just the water alone is over 41 pounds (18kg). Medical conditions or even just the shear awkwardness of trying to pour from a 5 gallon container makes these difficult for many people.

      Two possible solutions that I have seen people implement are to buy the smaller siblings of the top picks from this article.

      There is the 2.5 gallon/10 litre Scepter

      416i-wVGM4L._AC_

      And then there is the 1.6 gallon half water brick.

      Screenshot from 2022-03-25 11-32-41

      • 4

        I still like the aquabrick over the waterbrick.  It’s easier for me to carry as it has 2 handles and is a bit lighter.  This video also compares them.  

      • 2

        Thank you for the recommendation and for sharing your thoughts on the aquabrick. I have a few waterbricks, but they are far from perfect and have many design aspects that can be improved upon. The aquabrick looks to be a good alternative with those two handles.

        How many do you have? Next time you walk past them and are thinking about it, I’d love to see a picture of your setup.

      • 3

        I have 12 stacked two high outside.  I’ll click a photo next time I am out there.  The shelf they are on was one of our pandemic prep projects.  🙂 

      • 2

        @Alicia, how well does the aquabrick cap seal when stacked that high? I found that the waterbrick caps leak even without stacking and am concerned about any solution that has the caps on the side (and therefore exposed to internal water pressure).

      • 2

        So far no leaks. Its outside in Los Angeles so no freezing temperatures.  It also doesn’t get direct sunlight. The design is such that i could tighten it really well. 

      • 2

        And there are some comparison videos on you tube that really helped me decide on the aquabrick. 

      • 2

        @Jared.  Since they’re outside, I may not notice if they did leak.  I’ve moved a couple to the deck so I could monitor more closely.  They were still heavy enough to be full.  

      • 1

        @Jared No leaking and I even sat and stood on them.  

      • 1

        Thank you. I’m weighing my options….

      • 2

        Here its the setup F23C1C61-C6B3-437E-9364-81997C1C7FBE

      • 2

        Alicia, I also chose the AquaBrick, which is made by Sagan Life.  I like it for the same reasons you mentioned: it is not too heavy for me to carry, has two conveniently placed handles, and can be stacked.  Also, the rectangular shape saves storage space.  A Sagan Representative told me they can be stacked 5-6 high, but they shouldn’t be placed directly on cement.  I’ve had mine stacked three high for over a year, and they have not leaked.  It might be of interest to note that I initially ordered 10, and of those, two of them leaked around the lids right away.  I contacted Sagan Life, and they quickly sent me two replacements, at no charge.  Customer service at Sagan Life was great.  They told me to keep the defective containers and use them to store dry goods.  I now store rice in them.

      • 1

        Good to hear Sagan Life has such good customer service.  Thanks for sharing.  

    • 4

      Really disappointed with the Waterbrick

      I purchased 20 Waterbrick 3.5 gallon storage containers from a reputable retailer. These seemed one of the best options considering I relocate for work often and cannot always get a house with good storage spaces. After spending several hours washing, sanitizing, and air drying the containers, I filled four Waterbricks with water to do an integrity test before storing them in a carpeted room. I stacked them horizontally two across and two high on a level, flat surface to test their load bearing capacity and interlocking features for leaks. Within 2 hours, I noticed considerable leakage.

      I checked the seams and found no signs of damage, splitting, or leakage. I opened each container and reseated the cap to verify a good seat. I then placed all four containers on their wide base (cap oriented horizontally) to check for leakage without a second row on top. Again, I observed leakage within 2 hours from all four containers. After inspection, I found no conspicuous damage or split seams.

      I wiped down the outside of each container completely dry and left them overnight in an upright position. This would allow me to test the seams for leaks without placing any pressure on the caps. After 10 hours, I observed no leakage from the seams. This confirmed the leakage observed previously was from the caps.

      I opened each container, inspected the cap for damage to any of the sealing surfaces, found none, and reseated each cap as tightly as possible (hand tight). I then returned each container to a horizontal orientation with a small smear of blue food color on the lip below the cap. Within 1 hour, I observed water with a noticeable blue tint beneath all four containers. The water source was the caps.

      The primary design feature of the water brick is the ability to store water in tight spaces using the interlocking modular design. This requires stacking water bricks with their cap oriented horizontally, placing continual pressure on the cap seals. Since the caps are non-sealing, the water brick is not a useful water storage container.

      • 4

        Very frustrating!  And none of the options are cheap.

      • 2

        That is frustrating. I have had no issues with my water bricks, but do agree that their caps do not feel like the highest quality. Hopefully you can get replacement caps or a refund for your bricks and can get something higher quality like the scepter jerry cans. Good thing you did some testing before filling and leaving in the basement.

      • 2

        We got a full refund today. Looking at alternatives now.

      • 1

        Good to hear!  

      • 3

        This requires stacking water bricks with their cap oriented horizontally, placing continual pressure on the cap seals.

        That has been one of our continual gripes about the WB since the very first test in this article. I didn’t see leaks, but just really dislike the idea of water being stored while pressing against a seal/opening.

      • 2

        @John Ramey – Yeah, I’m an engineer, so I always test something before trusting it. I’ve worked with many systems that successfully hold low water pressure against rubber gaskets, but this is not well designed at all.

        Based on my experience and the rest of the information I’ve read here on this discussion board, you might want to revise the original article either to remove the Waterbrick altogether or at least describe the Aquabrick as an alternative low-profile container for the space-saving solutions.

    • 2

      Sharing some pictures from a Water Brick fan that I saw on Reddit.

      waterbricks 1

      waterbricks 2

    • 2

      A reader emailed in with a question about using a brand new Scepter fuel can to store water. While it does look similar to the water can reviewed here, the two are made of different materials with the water can being BPA free and made of food grade safe materials. I confirmed with a representative at Scepter that they are made of different materials and Scepter does not recommended storing water in the fuel cans they sell.