Are you truly prepared for an emergency?
Not unless you have an adequate water supply.
Even if you spend years planning for a disaster, you’ll only survive three days without water. Fortunately, disaster hasn’t struck yet. There’s still time to make arrangements, and you need a water storage tank you can count on.
Read: How much emergency water per person
The WaterPrepared 55-gallon storage tank is the perfect unit. I recently had the opportunity to try one out, and I’m on a mission to spread the word about my experience.
Tough as nails and streamlined for potable water storage, this tank is made with the savvy survivalist in mind. It has an intuitive design packed with sensible features, delivering a substantial supply of lifesaving water inside a surprisingly compact container.
WaterPrepared Storage Tank Pros:
- Saves floor space
- Comes pre-assembled
- User-friendly design
- Easy to maneuver
WaterPrepared Storage Tank Cons:
- Difficult to drain fully
- Low spigot
- Heavy when filled
Specs and Buying Options
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WaterPrepared makes several different storage tanks. Mine is a 55-gallon stackable tank, but you can also get a 160-gallon tank and a 35-gallon utility tank.
Depending on how much water you want to store, you might need a different size or style of tank. I’ve only tested the 55-gallon tank, but I was impressed with its top-notch build quality and design.
I believe other WaterPrepared products will live up to that standard, and I feel comfortable recommending this brand to anyone needing long-term water storage.
Our preferred supplier for WaterPrepared tanks is WaterSupply; they manufacture and ship direct from Logan Utah.
They have kindly offered our readers a 10% off coupon – Just add Coupon Code PRIMAL10 For 10% Off at Checkout
WaterPrepared storage tanks are made from high-density polyethylene resin (HDPE). This is a safe and recyclable food-grade plastic, free of harmful BPAs and guaranteed not to leach into your water supply. Both the FDA and NSF have approved HDPE for long-term water storage, so you can rest easy knowing your stockpile won’t get tainted over time.
However, the WaterPrepared storage tank isn’t just a safe container—it’s a sturdy one. I’m always afraid plastic will be flimsy, but the HDPE is actually quite tough. If you use it correctly, there’s little danger of breaking or denting it. I should know, as I dropped it a few times. Aside from a small scuff mark, it’s still in mint condition.
You’ll notice the tank is an opaque blue color, which helps block out UV rays. Since sunlight promotes algae growth and bacterial reproduction, the opaque quality will reduce the risk of spoilage and can help extend the water’s shelf life. Less importantly, it’s a pretty color.
I found the WaterPrepared tank to be a convenient, user-friendly way to store and access water. It has several features that help it stand out:
- Stackable design: Each unit is designed to lock another unit in place on top of it. You can stack them up to two tanks high, and they will fit comfortably in a room with standard eight-foot ceilings.
- Space-saving shape: These tanks are taller than they are wide and specially designed to save room. They take up roughly 4.27 square feet of floor space.
- Extra-wide intake: The intake hole is an easy screw-on lid. It measures five inches across, so it’s big enough for any hose.
- Outdoor-friendly: The HDPE plastic is hearty and UV-resistant. While storing water directly in the sun is never a good idea, you can safely leave the tank outside without incurring massive damage.
- Cold protection: This tank is rated for use at extreme temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and is highly unlikely to freeze through. If you believe you’re in danger of freezing, leave 10 inches of headspace inside the tank to allow for expansion.
- Hose attachment: A ¾” brass bib lets you attach a standard-sized garden hose to drain water conveniently.
- Flow control: You can control the water flow with a 90-degree ball valve at the spigot.
- Vacuum relief valve: The automatic vacuum relief valve allows air inside the tank as the water gets drained. This balances the pressure and prevents the tank from collapsing in on itself like a wet neutron star.
WaterPrepared Storage Tank in Action
I got pretty excited unboxing this tank. It was a lot lighter and easier to maneuver than I expected. At just 25 pounds and under three feet tall, I handled it easily. Since I’m working with limited strength and limited patience to haul things around, it was perfect.
Filling Up the Tank
The company does its best to vacuum any stray materials out of the tank, but I’d still advise rinsing it out before you fill it. There were a few plastic pieces in mine.
The intake hole is large and wide enough to put a hose directly inside. I was pleased I could walk away during this process, especially since it took 20 minutes to fill the tank.
Treating the Water
I didn’t treat my water. Since I plan to use it primarily for gardening, I will rotate it out in shorter cycles. However, you may want to treat yours. To determine if it’s necessary, consider how long you’ll store the water before rotation.
The CDC recommends storing untreated potable water for no longer than six months. If you treat it with chlorine, copper, or another antimicrobial agent, your water can remain potable for longer.
The exact length of time will vary based on your location and the conditions there. Many sources cite five years as the limit, but some people report storing treated water for 10 years or even indefinitely.
Leaving your tank in a cool, dark place will help inhibit the growth of bacteria. Make sure the tank is closed and secured, and check it periodically to see if anything is growing in it.
It’s also a good idea to regularly test the quality on a microscopic level to ensure germs haven’t invaded. If you’re unsure about the quality, you can use additional field methods to purify your water before you drink it.
Accessing the Water
Rather than a top-only access point like a standard water barrel, the WaterPrepared tank has a convenient spigot on the bottom.
I only needed to turn it open to get at the water, and the flow rate was easy to control with the valve. I experimented a little bit with this, closing it halfway to fill a water glass and opening it fully when it was time to empty the tank.
Emptying the Tank
Attaching a hose is a convenient way to drain your tank without creating a puddle. The attachment is easy to use and will work with any garden hose.
Emptying the tank took me a very long time, but that’s to be expected. The tank is not pressurized (nor should it be), and there isn’t a significant flow rate out of the hose. You’ll need to use gravity to your advantage here and place the hose at a lower level than the tank itself.
My WaterPrepared Storage Tank Experience
I’ve got a lot of thoughts after using this tank. I can see why it’s such a popular product, as the intuitive design features make it safe and easy to use. However, there are a few things I’m not too crazy about.
What I Love
This tank is ergonomic, intuitive, and versatile. I am not one to follow directions, so I was pleased that none were necessary. The tank arrived ready to go; I only had to give it a quick wash. Unscrewing the cap and gripping the tank from the inside allowed me to carry it easily, even without a handle.
I really love that this system makes water storage accessible to everyone. I don’t have the power to handle one 500-gallon water tank, but I could definitely manhandle 10 of these 55-gallon WaterPrepared tanks without help. In light of this, the tank is excellent for solo homesteaders or older couples who need an easy system.
Something else that made this product stand out was its portability. I experimented with putting it in my truck, filling it up, and driving it around for a little while. The weight of the full tank kept it glued to the bed so it didn’t jostle. Even going down dirt roads, the tank sustained no damage.
If you have a homestead without a water supply, you can use the tank to transport water in addition to storing it. Additionally, you could take it camping or RVing in place of gallon jugs.
Since the spigot is on the bottom, you could even leave the tank on the tailgate and use it like a beverage cooler. Just make sure you have a vehicle capable of handling its weight.
I can’t say enough about how much space this tank saves. With the stackable design, you can store 110 gallons of water in the same amount of floor space you use for 55 gallons.
The automatic pressure relief valve eliminates the need to add air to the tank manually, and the hose attachment allows you to divert water away from the tank itself.
If you’re storing it outside, you can use the hose to water plants or fill buckets. If you’re inside, you can direct the water towards a floor drain.
What I Don’t Love
Overall, I only have minor complaints. There isn’t any obvious way to improve the design without taking away some of the features that make these tanks so valuable in the first place, so I give WaterPrepared a pass. Nonetheless, I did run into some issues.
I love that the spigot is low, but it’s located just a tad too low. Filling a glass or attaching a hose when the tank is on the ground is awkward. Of course, you can easily get around this by elevating your water tank, but it will require you to construct or buy a platform. I set mine on the edge of a concrete pad, and that worked well.
Heavy When Full
These tanks are also very heavy when filled. One weighs nearly 500 pounds, while two stacked atop each other would weigh almost 1,000 pounds. They could damage your floor or even your home’s foundation. Especially if you plan to stack them, you may need to reinforce your floor.
Hard to Empty and Clean
It’s also difficult to empty the tank, as opening the spigot won’t remove all the water. My solution was to drain all the water I could through the spigot, then tilt the tank over and drain the rest through the top.
While draining the tank, I realized the stackable design presents another unique problem. The bottom of the tank rises in a series of rectangular plastic grooves. These can trap water inside them and are more difficult to clean than a flat bottom.
WaterPrepared Storage Tank Buyers Guide
Ready to get your tank? I’ve compiled some information to make the buying process easier.
How Many Tanks Do You Need?
To determine how many storage tanks you need, you must figure out how much water you need. This is a highly individual choice, but there are some rough guidelines you can use for your calculations.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises that each person needs about one gallon of water per day for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. However, one gallon is the bare minimum and may not be enough for you. You can use our handy water calculator to factor in your unique needs.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know exactly how long you’ll be without water in an emergency. Government sources recommend storing enough water for two weeks, but you should consider your situation first.
In a drought-prone climate, more water is better. If you’re in a rainy area or live near a clean water source, you might not need hundreds of gallons in reserve.
I believe it’s better to err on the side of caution. A two-person household would probably do well to get two 55-gallon tanks. That way, they would have enough water to last for roughly two months—an ample buffer of time to find water in any crisis.
If your household is very large, you might consider getting a couple of 160-gallon tanks to give yourself more peace of mind.
Buying a WaterPrepared Tank
WaterPrepared is an American company that manufactures all of its products in Utah. If you get the 55-gallon tank, you’ll receive a one-year warranty and free shipping within the continental USA.
The company sends most orders by freight. This is a relatively straightforward process, but it does mean you need to stay in contact with the freight company. Keep in mind that a freight truck is big and it can’t go everywhere. If your location is particularly difficult to reach, you’ll need to make alternative arrangements.
I had no issues with my tank, but the company seems to respond well to people who do. Most buyers report customer service is reliable and willing to fix mistakes quickly. That goes a long way toward building trust, which is essential when making a decision like this. After all, these water tanks aren’t cheap.
Overall, this tank is a great product. The UV-resistant HDPE helps preserve freshness and protects your water supply, while the stackable design streamlines the unit and saves valuable floor space. Add convenient features like a built-in hose bib and vacuum relief valve, and it beats other 55-gallon drums by a mile.
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