Storing drinking water is one of the most responsible elements of preparing for a potential disaster. Make sure your family has enough water to survive by choosing 55-gallon water barrels for your storage. Read on to learn what to look for in these products.
Clean drinking water is readily available for almost everyone in the continental United States. It’s hard to imagine a situation where we’d be stuck without clean water for an extended period.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the recent past, this reality is entirely possible. Flint, Michigan, for example, is still in the midst of a clean water crisis. They can go to the store to purchase bottled water, but can’t rely on fresh water from the tap.
This is only a small scale of the potential damage that a lack of water can cause. What if the damage is so severe that stores run out of water? What if you’re stuck in your house for days or weeks?
This is where large-scale water storage can help. If you have room in your house, it’s smart to plan for the worst by setting aside some clean water for drinking.
Here, we’ll help give you an idea of what to look for when searching for large-scale water storage barrels, as well as our top five rankings to get you started on your search.
How We Chose Our Rankings
Accuracy is our primary goal when developing these rankings. We want you to find the best water barrels for large-scale storage in your home.
There are several elements we prioritized while forming our rankings. We took special note of positive user reviews, durability reports, and materials to give you the best information available.
Ahead is a deeper dive into how we formulated our ranking system.
Customer feedback is the most valuable tool we have when forming our rating system. Long-term water storage is hard to test in a short-form review, so we relied on customer feedback to tell us how these barrels perform.
A customer who has used one of these barrels for years has experience that is hard to duplicate after a few hours with these barrels. They can test the durability and longevity, and give their feedback online.Since you hopefully won’t have to use your water storage for years, it’s essential that these barrels last quite a while. Large drums for drinking water storage can be expensive, and we don’t want you to waste your money on a product that will break down in a couple of years.
Preparing for the worst is the name of the game, but you hopefully won’t have to use your stored water for months or even years. You’ll have to cycle your stored water periodically, but the water barrels you use should be durable enough to last a decade or more.
55 gallons is a lot of water, and some of the lower performing barrels might spring a leak over time. If you don’t notice it right away, a leaking water barrel could cause serious damage to your home and personal items.
We chose only the most durable barrels in our rankings. If there were any reported leaks, we moved onto the next product. These barrels need to make it through harsh conditions and springing a leak while stationary is unacceptable.
You can’t use just any barrel to store drinking water. You need barrels that are safe for food and water storage. You’ll be able to identify them right away by the recycling sign on the side or bottom of the barrel. You can store water for house cleaning in a regular barrel, but not drinking water.
The best material for drinking water storage is polyethylene. This material is very dense so it won’t leak, and it will keep your water safe for extended periods. There are some other materials you can use for water storage, but this is the one we prioritized over all of the others.
Top 5 Best Water Barrels
Top 5 Best Water Barrels Reviewed
1. Emergency Essentials Water Barrel
Emergency Essentials provides a standard 55-gallon water storage barrel for an affordable price. Some of these barrels can cost hundreds of dollars. If you find this from the right Amazon provider, you can get it for under $100.
This blue barrel is similar to a lot of other products you’ll likely see when shopping for water storage barrels. The polyethylene material isn’t prone to leaking, even when it’s on its side. The drum is FDA-approved, BPA-free, and compatible with any similar drum on the market.
If you’re looking for an affordable water storage barrel, this is one of the ones you should consider.
2. Good Ideas Rain Wizard Rain Barrel
The Good Ideas Rain Wizard is one of the eco-friendly ways to store water. You can position this barrel directly under your gutter to catch the runoff rainwater as it falls. As is the case with all of these products, the Rain Wizard is BPA-free, FDA-approved, and polyethylene.
There’s even a screen at the top of the barrel to catch debris as it falls. You don’t have to worry about cleaning your rainwater barrel for debris before treating. If you don’t like the idea of drinking rainwater, you can always use it for bathing instead.
3. Augason Farms Emergency Water Storage Supply Kit
If you want an all-in-one product, so you don’t have to surf the web for the best treating package and additional accessories, the Augason Farms water storage supply kit is a strong option. Like most of the products we included, the barrel is made out of food-grade Polyethylene.
The package isn’t limited to just a barrel, though. With your purchase, you’ll also receive a hand siphon pump, a 6-foot hose, bucket lid opener, and two treatment bottles. With this package, you don’t have to buy anything else to start treating and storing your emergency water.
There have been a few reports of leaking with this product, but it doesn’t seem like a regular problem. Still, you should check on the barrel regularly and store it in a place where you can tolerate a bit of leaking should it happen.
$ $ $
4. Nutristore Self Reliance Deluxe
The Nutristore Self Reliance kit is very similar to the Augason Farms kit we reviewed above. From what we can tell, the two kits use the same barrels and have similar inclusions.
When deciding between these two kits, it will likely come down to cost. If you can find one for a lower price, we advise you go with that option. The differences between the two are minimal, and it’s hard to give the edge to one over the other.
$ $ $
5. Titan Ready USA Hydrant Water Storage System
Titan Ready USA provides a full water storage system, complete with two FDA-approved, BPA-free barrels. If storage space is one of your primary concerns, then consider this product as your solution.
The price of this product is a bit high, considering you can purchase the barrels elsewhere for cheaper. You’re paying for convenience here but can likely find a storage system at your local hardware store for cheaper. It’s up to you whether you want to spend the extra money for the complete system and the barrels together.
$ $ $
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the best 55-gallon water barrels you can purchase online, we’ll give you some tips on buying one for your home.
Keeping water stored properly takes a bit of care in the long-term. In this section, we’ll give you some tips on saving your water as well as some considerations you should make in the storage process.
How Much Water Should You Store?
How much water you should store will dictate how many barrels you need. There are a lot of variables that dictate how much water you need. You should think about how many people live in your home and how long you expect the water to be out.
In a disaster situation, you need to have at least a gallon of water for each person for the day. This is about how much water a single person will use when disaster strikes. They will drink half of a gallon and use the other half for cleaning themselves.
Preparing for a specified duration without water is more difficult. It’s hard to predict how long your water will be away. FEMA recommends everyone keep three days worth of food and water on their property in case of a disaster.
You can usually scramble three days worth of food together if you know a hurricane or tornado is coming, but water is a bit different. You need to take precautions before storing your water, so having some stored water on-hand might save you in a disaster scenario.
If you have three people in your home, for instance, you should store at least ten gallons of water to make sure everyone has enough.
Unfortunately, three days without water could be the ideal situation if the event is large enough in scale. Your region could be out of water for weeks or even months.
This is where water barrels come into play. You can store enough water for a few weeks in bottles, but water barrels ensure your family has enough water for a month or more. Before you purchase a couple of these, though, you need to think about where you’ll store them.
How Much Space Do You Have?
If you live in a house with a basement, you probably won’t have much trouble finding space for a couple 55-gallon water drums. You can clear out some items you don’t need, and find a few feet of extra space to put these barrels.
If you live in an apartment, however, you’ll have a limited amount of storage space. One water barrel will probably fit in your apartment, but it still might be intrusive in your everyday life.
If you have a limited amount of space, consider storing less than a 55-gallon drum of water. If you’re only storing water for you and one other person, a smaller barrel might be enough to sustain you until your clean water comes back.
55-gallon drums are great for families but aren’t practical for one or two people living in an apartment. There are some other storage methods you can use if you’re on your own, so don’t feel inclined to buy the biggest barrel on the market.
Consider Gathering Rainwater
It might be easier to store pretreated water in your barrel, but it isn’t the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious. Since you need to cycle your drinking water every six months or so, you’ll be wasting a lot of water before it comes time to use it.
One alternative would be to store rainwater in case of an emergency. You can place an appropriate barrel under your gutter or outside during a rainstorm. Of course, you’ll need to take extra sanitation steps before you can drink this reserve.
If you don’t like the idea of drinking rainwater, you can always store it and use it for hygiene purposes instead. This will limit the work associated with storing rainwater and still give you the benefit of a free water reserve for cleaning yourself.
Treating and Storing Drinking Water
Once you’ve selected the right barrel, it’s time to treat and store clean drinking water for future use. It isn’t as simple as dumping water and a barrel and letting it sit. You have to take a few steps before the still water is safe to drink in the coming months.
If you’re storing water in a 55-gallon drum, you need to treat it with bleach. Take a look at the label to see if it’s 5-6% or 8.25% sodium hypochlorite, then use the following measurements to treat your drinking water:
7 tablespoons of 5-6%
4.5 tablespoons of 8.25% bleach
After you’ve treated the water, secure the lid on the top of the barrel and seal it. There will be specific directions on how to appropriately seal the container based on which barrel you choose.
If you have a basement, this is probably the best place to store your water. You want to keep it away from direct sunlight and in an area that stays relatively cool throughout the year.
You should change the water in your tanks every six months to a year to make sure it stays fresh. Dump the water you keep in the container (or keep it for personal hygiene use) and start the process over again.
If you have multiple barrels of drinking water and cleaning water, make sure you label them appropriately.