When I first got started with disaster preparedness, I kept my emergency water in empty milk jugs and other plastic bottles. Since then, I’ve upgraded to water storage containers – including WaterBrick.
Here’s my opinion of WaterBrick and whether I think they are worth the cost.
Why Invest in Water Storage Containers?
A lot of people don’t know that standard plastic bottles are actually degradable. It takes some time (about 6 months to 1 year), but those plastic bottles will slowly develop pin-size holes. Keep water in them for long enough and they will start to leak.
This is actually one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started stockpiling water.
I walked into my pantry one day and found the floor covered in water!
Another issue is that standard plastic bottles will leach chemicals into your water. In the aftermath of a disaster, I doubt you will care that there are some plastic chemicals in your water.
But, if you can avoid it, why not?
- Rotate your water: Every 6-12 months, you need to get rid of all the water you’ve stockpiled and get completely new plastic bottles. Needless to say, this is a big pain in the butt!
- Invest in water containers: Water containers (such as the ones marketed for boats and RVs) are made from non-degradable material. You can keep water in these for a long time, saving you the annoying hassle of rotating water.
The bricks are available from Amazon or Survival Frog. Prices change daily so it is always worth checking both stores to get the best deal.
Links included below for your convenience.
There are a lot of different water storage containers available. I’m going to break down how WaterBrick compares to the competitors based on the most important factors:
- Ease of Use
The standard WaterBrick is 9 inches wide, 18 inches long, and 6 inches high. It holds 3.5 gallons of water.
This is smaller than most of the other water containers you’ll see for sale (most of which are 5+ gallons). Yes, this means that each WaterBrick holds less water.
However, it also means that the full containers are a lot easier to carry.
3.5 gallons of water = approximately 29lbs. I’m a small-framed woman and find it easy to carry the WaterBricks. A water container that is 5 gallons is already 41lbs. As strong as I am, that is pretty tough to carry!
*WaterBrick also has a smaller sized option. It is 1.6 gallons. I personally find this one too small for emergency water storage. It is great for keeping in your car, or taking with you on picnics though.
Speaking from experience, it is incredibly frustrating when your water containers spring a leak. Luckily, this has never happened to me in a disaster situation or even while out camping.
But I have had many cheap water containers crack because of jostling in my truck.
The WaterBrick is true to its reputation that it won’t leak.
Use caution when twisting on the lid to be sure the gasket is positioned properly. Otherwise you won’t get an air-tight seal and it could leak.
Ease of Use
If you get WaterBricks, make sure you get the spigot too. Even though they aren’t very heavy, the mouth on them is very big. This makes it very difficult to pour water into a standard water bottle without spilling. The spigot solves that problem.
The spigot comes as a separate lid. Just screw the spigot-lid in place of the normal lid.
One cool thing about the spigot is that it is “ventless.” If you haven’t dealt with water jugs before, then you might not know that they usually need to have an air hole on the opposite side of the spigot. Otherwise, pressure builds up as the water comes out of the spigot.
The design of the WaterBrick spigot means that pressure won’t build up, so you don’t have to vent the containers. This helps make them more sturdy and prevents contamination of the water.
When it comes to durability, WaterBrick is probably the best container out there. They’ve been drop-tested, crush-tested, frozen…. Nothing seems to destroy these containers.
Some notes about the durability of WaterBricks:
- All WaterBricks are backed by a 5-year guarantee
- Are safe in temperatures from -104 to 230 degrees F
- Can be frozen – but you must leave some room to account for water expansion
Check out this parachute drop test!
Up until recently, pretty much all water containers were made from some sort of BPA plastic. Lots still are. However, as the public has been made aware of the dangers of BPA, you can now see lots of water containers advertising themselves as “BPA free.”
But, just because something is “BPA free,” it does NOT mean it is safe!
There are plenty of other chemicals in plastic which can leach into your water or food. According to this source, studies have found that all types of plastic (even the ones without BPA) still leach some chemicals which can affect our hormones.
WaterBricks are made out of High Density Polyethylene resin (HDPE) and the lids are made out of High Density Polypropylene. The gasket is made from Dynaflex TPE.
Are these 100% safe? Probably not – but they are certainly better than the thin, crappy plastics that cheap water containers are made out of.
Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about avoiding the chemicals in plastic. You could store your water in glass containers, but this is really impractical. A natural disaster would cause your entire water stockpile to shatter in a zillion pieces.
I’ll risk a bit of plastic residue.
This is the feature which makes WaterBrick different than virtually every other water container out there. Each of the bricks has two holes in it. These holes add strength to the bricks, but also make it possible to interlock with other bricks.
You can basically stack up the WaterBricks like Legos.
The bricks can safely be stacked up to 4 feet high without tipping over.
I’ve heard reports that they could be stacked up to 7 feet high, but I’m assuming you’d have to have a wider stack to add stability.
Another cool feature of WaterBricks is that they have a handle which folds in/out of a cutout in the brick. This means you can stack them without having to remove the handle.
The handle is sturdy and feels good in the hand. There are even grooves for your fingers. It seems to be attached to the container well, so I’m not worried about it tearing out of the plastic. If you lose a handle, you can order replacements.
I also like that WaterBricks are rectangular and not round. They won’t roll around in the bed of a truck. The shape also means they have a lower center of gravity, so are less likely to topple over than jerry-can styles of water containers.
Because WaterBricks are made from food-safe plastic and have air-tight seals, you can use them for storing your emergency foods too. The 3-inch mouth means you can even reach your entire hand inside to get out supplies.
I wouldn’t use WaterBricks to store foods like flour or sugar. Those foods would get stuck to the sides of the containers. But, for items like grains and beans, they should be perfect. Just remember to follow proper long-term food storage procedures before filling them.
The WaterBricks website also has some cool suggestions about other ways to use their containers:
- For building a wall or hunting blind
- As a trombe wall for heating your home
- To make ice blocks for keeping food cold during power failures
- Brewing beer or wine
- Radiation barrier
Here is the part that absolutely sucks about WaterBricks. Compared to other water storage containers, they are pricey.
You can save a lot of money by purchasing WaterBricks in bulk, but the cost is still high compared to some other options.
Except that the other options aren’t stackable.
There is this 5-gallon option which is a bit cheaper per gallon. However, they don’t stack nearly as well, aren’t as tough, and are hard to pour (no spigot is available).
Another option would be to get standard 5-gallon water jugs, but buy a storage shelf like this one. But remember that those jugs degrade, so you’ll have to get new jugs every couple years or so.
There’s also a version called AquaBrick which is stackable. I haven’t tested these myself. But, since the price breaks down to the same as WaterBrick, I’ll stick with WaterBricks.
Pros/Cons of WaterBricks
- Stackable design
- Air-tight seal
- Incredible tough and durable
- 5 gallon size is easy to carry, even when full
- Has optional spigot for easy pouring
- Comfortable, retractable handle
- Wide mouth makes it practical for storing food
- Tolerant of freezing and high heat
- Rectangular shape won’t roll around
- BPA-free and food-grade plastic
- High price
- Wide mouth makes pouring water difficult without spigot
- Not suitable for storing fuel or oil
- Might leak if gasket isn’t properly in place when closing
Tips for Using
Even in a container like WaterBricks, you should still rotate your emergency water every 1 year or so. However, if you sterilize the WaterBricks before filling with water and add some water preserver, you can go 5+ years without having to rotate.
The Bottom Line?
I love the design and durability of WaterBricks. I just wish they didn’t cost so much! However, when you consider that most cheap water containers will spring leaks within a few years, the investment does pay off.
If you just want to build up a basic stockpile of emergency water and don’t want to worry about rotating, then I’d go ahead and buy WaterBricks.
Just make sure you get the spigot to make your life easier!
If you are serious about stockpiling large amounts of water, then WaterBricks aren’t a reasonable solution. Instead, I’d recommend diversifying your water storage containers.
Get some large water storage barrels for complete SHTF situations. And have about 6 to 12 WaterBricks handy for shorter-term emergencies.
What do you think? Are they worth it? Let us know in the comments!
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Diane Vukovic spent her childhood roaming the woods of upstate NY, making brush shelters, backpacking and orienteering.
Now she is the proud mother of two adventurous girls whom she takes wild camping and teaches survival skills and self-defense. Learn more about Diane here.