One of the most important items in your emergency kit is the 5 gallon water jug. Here are our top picks so that you never run out of clean water.
Whether you’re putting together an emergency kit to help you brace for summer storms, severe weather situations, power outages, or other unplanned events, clean drinking water is the most important thing to have on your list.
Most Americans have only 12 hours’ worth of water stored in their homes, despite the fact that you could die within three days without it.
To help keep you ready for anything, we’ve reviewed seven of the best 5 gallon water jug options on the market.
Not only have we given you all the pros and cons of each model, but we’ve also included a helpful buyer’s guide to assist our readers with choosing the best model for them.
How We Rated and Reviewed
Narrowing down the list from the hundreds of different 5-gallon water jugs out there to our top seven wasn’t an easy task. We spent hours scouring the internet reading product reviews from verified buyers to see what real purchasing customers have to say about these products.
Additionally, we also searched for brands with an excellent reputation that offered a fair price for the value of the jug.
Furthermore, we gathered critical details on the products like weight, toughness, storage capability, materials, safety, and ease of use for every model. And all that, to help you and other preppers find an option that best fits your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Our Top 7: The Best 5 Gallon Water Jug Options Right Now
Our Best 5-Gallon Water Jugs (Reviewed)
1. Reliance Rhino 5.5-Gal Water Container
This container from Reliance Rhino stores just over 5 gallons of water and offers exceptional durability without costing significantly more than other options.
Many users report that the material is both tough and thick and can withstand everything from accidental drops to impacts from natural disasters like earthquakes.
This model features a user-friendly handle that makes it easy to grip and carry even when it’s full. Because of the compact shape, these jugs by Reliance Products are semi-stackable which makes them a more convenient, space-saving option.
Each jug includes a screw cap vent that makes it easy to pour thanks to the improved airflow.
Star Rating: 3.9
2. Scepter 5-Gallon Military Water Can
The most expensive 5 gallon water jug on our list, the military grade version from Scepter is worth the price if you need a tough can with additional features.
Complete with a 20-year warranty, this option is built with durability in mind. It has no moving parts that could break or wear out over time and molded feet for superior stability.
It’s the easiest option to fill thanks to the four-inch wide filling hole which measures in at nearly twice as large as cans with similar construction.
The comfortable handle and 1-inch pour spout make it easy to transport and retrieve water, and this Scepter option is made from safe, non-toxic materials.
Star Rating: 4.7
$ $ $
3. Brio BPA-Free Reusable Plastic Water Bottle
When most people think of a 5 gallon water jug, this is the model they picture.
Made with FDA approved food-grade plastic that doesn’t contain any harmful BPA’s, this model from Brio can be used with or without a water tank dispenser.
Equipped with a durable handle that makes it easy to carry and a cap to seal in the fluid, you can quickly fill this jug with clean water and store it for extended times safely.
These jugs are a popular options for several good reasons. First, they are made in the good ol’ USA and are the only BPA-free bottle of this type available. They are also relatively affordable, reusable, and easy to seal.
The one notable drawback of this model is that it doesn’t have a space-saving design. Because of the jugs’ structure, they aren’t easily stackable and storing multiple of them will take up a lot of space.
Star Rating: 4.3
4. Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables
These 5-gallon stackable containers by Saratoga Farms are made in the USA from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This means they are free of harmful BPAs, non-toxic, and crafted from food-grade plastic. So, they are safe to use.
Designed with both flat tops and bottoms, this option is a space-saving design as they are stackable. And you can fit several into one small space. They are equipped with a built-in handle so that they are easy to carry around.
Even when they are at capacity. The water jug also has a built-in breathing port that you twist to open. This makes it easier to pour out the water when needed.
This model is comparably priced to the others we’ve reviewed. And you can save if you buy them in a pack of four or more.
Most users report that they are easy to fill, but you may run into some issues emptying the canister entirely because of their shape and design.
Star Rating: 4.4
If SHTF has caught you by surprise, having clean water on hand is one of the first absolute musts for survival. Check out our related post on making water safe while on the go: How To Purify Water: Important Survival Tips You Need To Know.
5. Scepter Water Can
This budget water jug from Scepter retails for around $20. But is a good candidate if you want a durable option without a lot of bells and whistles.
Made out of polyethylene, the jug is naturally BPA free, rust-proof, and resistant to corrosion. These durable cans are nearly impossible to puncture or dent, making them a heavy-duty choice.
The jug is also equipped with an air cap and leak-resistant cap. Users say that the jugs are easy to use and the water stays fresh even after being stored for long periods.
The shape of this product is tall and narrow, and despite not being stackable, these jugs are a budget- and space-friendly option.
Star Rating: 4.5
6. GoWithWind 5-Gallon Collapsible Water Container
Another option made out of BPA-free, food-grade PE plastic, this water container from GoWithWind distinguishes itself from its competition by also being collapsible.
When in use, these containers stand 13.2 inches tall and are 11.4 inches wide and long. Empty, they fold down to just 2.8 inches tall, 9.4 inches wide, and 10.2 inches long.
These foldable cans are a perfect option if you’re using them for outdoor activities like camping and have access to fresh, clean water that you can refill with daily.
The containers are also equipped with a leak-proof faucet that makes it simple to control the flow of water. The heavy-duty handles ensure easy transport when they are full.
Like other containers made of these materials, you can safely store water for long periods. However, the jugs aren’t stackable. It will take up a larger footprint than some of their competitors’ if you keep them filled with water.
You can read more on the importance of this type of water container in an emergency situation: Benefits Of A Collapsible Water Container For Emergency Survival.
Star Rating: 4.3
7. Igloo 5 Gallon Seat Top Beverage Jug with Spigot
If you’ve ever watched a sporting event you probably saw the coach get a “Gatorade shower” after a big win. If you did, you’re likely familiar with this model from Igloo.
Easily identifiable thanks to its high visibility color, this 5-gallon water jug comes with patented UltraTherm insulation to keep your water cool.
Made of heavy-duty plastic, it’s resistant to corrosion or cracking. And the reinforced handles and pressure fit lid are durable and convenient.
The Igloo jug has a push-button spigot with a double gasket design which eliminates leaking and keeps water fresh. The bottom of this model is impact-resistant. You could stack these jugs for secure storage.
The two major drawbacks of this model are that it isn’t intended for long-term storage. And it is bulkier than many other options. This is a good choice for something like a hurricane preparedness kit. You can learn more handy water storage tips in our viral post: The Water Storage Law of 3’s.
It is a handy water storage container when you have several days notice in advance of needing clean water. But not if you live in an area where you might experience situations that escalate quickly, like earthquakes.
Star Rating: 4.8
Deciding which water storage container is best for you and your family depends on several factors.
In our informative buyer’s guide, we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions on a prepper’s mind about the topic. We also have expert tips to help you decide on the best option for your needs.
How Much Water Do I Need to Store?
Before you begin shopping, you’ll want to do some quick math. To understand how much water you need on hand in case of an emergency.
This may automatically narrow down your choices based on how much space you have to store containers. And help you eliminate options based on their dimensions or stackability.
The CDC recommends that you have a minimum of 1-gallon of water per day set aside for every person and pet in your household and that you store at least three days worth in your home.
However, most experts agree that having two weeks worth of fluid on hand is a far better idea, especially in the case of a disaster where you could be without power or potable water for several weeks. This means every person and animal in your home should have access to around 14 gallons of water. Or three five-gallon containers, at any given time.
For how long is it safe to store water?
If you use an air-tight container like one of those we reviewed in this guide, and fill it with clean, purified water, you can store it safely for between three and five years.
However, experts recommend you rotate it every two to three years to be safe. And to ensure you won’t end up in a situation where you have to drink stale water.
How do I know the container is safe for water storage?
When you’re shopping for a 5 gallon water jug. You’ll want to pay special attention to the materials used in its making. Every option is labeled with a recycle symbol and a number within that symbol.
Plastic number 2, also known as HDPE, is considered the safest and most durable material. You can also choose models made from plastics number 4 and 5.
Containers crafted from plastics 1, 3, 6 and 7 aren’t good choices as they are not approved for water storage.
Where will I need to place my storage containers?
Designating a space for water storage in your home. Is an important step to narrowing down which jug is the right one for you. You’ll want to select a cool, dry, dark area. Because light and heat can compromise the quality and safety of your water.
Keep in mind that most plastics are porous and will absorb chemicals that they encounter. For example, if you place your plastic jugs on your garage floor where they come into contact with oil, gasoline, or other harmful chemicals.
Then, you may end up with those compounds in your water. Take care to only place your water containers somewhere they won’t leach dangerous substances into your emergency water supply.
Can I freeze my 5 gallon water jug?
Stored water might freeze if you place your containers outdoors in the winter in a cold climate. Make sure you take that into account.
When water turns to ice, it can expand by up to 10% and may damage or compromise the less durable parts of your container like spigots, valves, seals, or fill holes.
Finally, to ensure you don’t destroy the jug and your SHTF water supply. Only fill the container 85% to ensure enough room for the expansion of the fluid.
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Hi, I’m Gabriela and I’m a prepping freak with a knack for frugal living – as if you could have one without the other. I’m also interested in all things DIY, green living, and homesteading. I’ve been dreaming of a self-sufficient, one-acre organic farm ever since I realized how fragile urban life really is. It takes one push of a button for millions to be left without running water. It takes no more than a four- to seven-day disruption in a city’s food supply for complete mayhem to break out. So, I’m now dutifully working toward keeping my loved ones safe when the brown matter (inevitably) hits the oscillating ceiling device, but I also like to share what I’m learning with fellow likeminded folks as I go.