You need a 5-gallon water jug in your house. It is never a bad idea to prepare for an emergency—fortune favors the prepared, after all. A human can go weeks without food, but only a few days without fresh water. In times of uncertainty, with more extreme weather becoming the new norm, there is nothing more important for your emergency kit than having the right 5-gallon water jug.
Maybe you are more worried about having the right jug to take along with you to work, or you want the perfect one for your tailgate party. You might be searching for a 5-gallon jug to take on a road trip, or maybe you just want something great to hold your drinking water in your home or office. In any event, we have you covered.
What is the best 5 gallon water jug to buy in 2023? K2 Cooler 5-Gallon Water Jug has the best construction, most reliable function, and is the best value on the market today.
To help ensure you are ready to survive the next power outage, hurricane, or other natural disaster, we have done our research and put together a list of the nine top-rated 5 gallon water jugs, as well as one to avoid.
Best 5 Gallon Water Jug
- Best Overall: K2 Cooler 5 Gallon Water Jug
“Best constructed water jug on the market for any use.”
- Best Stackable Water Jug: Saratoga Farms 5 Gallon Stackables
“Stackable form for emergency water storage preparation.”
- Best Camping Water Jug: Scepter Military Grade 5 Gallon Water Jug
“Military grade for toughness and easy portability for camping.“
- Best Durability: Fatboy Waterboy 5 Gallon Water Jug
“Made of a single piece of plastic so it is nearly unbreakable.“
- Best Igloo: Igloo 5 Gallon Orange Cooler
“The classic orange Igloo cooler found at every sporting event.“
- Best Value: Scepter 5 Gallon Water Can
“An old fashion water can for emergency water storage or camping.“
- Best Glass Water Jug: Intelligent Design Retro 5 Gallon Glass Water Jug
“An Italian-made glass water jug that is the most echo friendly.”
- Best Water Dispenser Jug: Brio Reusable 5 Gallon Water Jug
“The reusable water jug fits nearly all popular water dispensers.”
- Best Collapsible: WaterSorageCube Collapsible Water Container
“Collapsible water container for easy compact storage.”
Best 5 Gallon Water Jugs Reviews, Plus 1 to Avoid
This 5-gallon water jug is the best 5-gallon water jug overall. It is the absolute best-constructed water jug on the market today. If you are looking for the best water jug to bring along to the worksite, the K2 Cooler is it. It is rotationally molded, which means there are no seams to spring leaks down the road and no way it will ever fall off the back of your construction rig and split apart.
Instead of the bulky, weak handles typically seen on a water jug, the ones on the K2 are integrated into the design. They will never break off while you are carrying the cooler, and spills as a result of detachment are a thing of the past.
There is a handy vacuum release valve that works great for ensuring the water does not leak out after use. A set of stainless-steel latches, combined with a gasket in the lid, provides tight closure of the lid. The ability to seal the water away inside the jug, almost indefinitely, makes the K2 a great choice for preppers.
We love the variety of colors you can purchase the 2K in, which makes it a great choice for the office or general household use, but the 7-year replacement guarantee is probably the best part of all. Because of all these great aspects, the K2 Coolers 5-Gallon Water Jug is without a doubt the best 5-gallon water jug of 2023.
To watch the K2 Cooler 5-Gallon Water Jug Review on YouTube, click here.
- 7-year Warranty
- Highly Durable
- Fabulous Insulation
- Best Value for Your Dollar
- Not Great for Stacking
The 5-gallon stackables from Saratoga Farms are a great buy for anyone who is prepping for any sort of disaster. They are made right here in the United States They are made from food-grade HDPE plastic, which means they’re free of BPAs and completely non-toxic. They will not break down under hot or cold conditions and no harmful chemicals will leach into your water.
These 5-gallon water jugs are super space-saving and are flat on both top and bottom so that multiple jugs can be stacked one on top of the other. However, what makes them so perfect for prepping also means they are not a good choice for those looking for a 5-gallon water jug for taking to the worksite or for sporting events.
Built-in handles make it easy to move these jugs around, even when they are filled to capacity. If you are stacking more than five, it may take someone who is strong and tall to lift the extra jugs into place. However, given their shape and size and the relative ease of moving them, a stack of these would fit well in the corner of your basement or garage. It is recommended to get a water test kit before storing water for long durations to ensure no contaminants.
Each jug has a built-in port that you simply twist to open for water dispensing. However, the shape of the jugs does make it difficult to get all the water out while they are still staked on top of each other, so at some point, you will have to unstack them.
You can save money buying these jugs four at the time, which makes sense—they are meant to be stacked!
To watch the Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables Review on YouTube, click here.
- Hard to Empty
The Sceptor brand has become known for its high-quality products that are built to last. Made from high density polyethylene, the Sceptor 5 Gallon Military Water Container is one of the most durable water containers on the market. Importantly, the polyethylene used does not contain BPA. The food grade construction will not leave strange odors or tastes in your water.
The portable water containers are lightweight and easy to transport. These water containers are one of the best 5 gallon water jugs for camping and emergency preparedness. Because of the military grade design, the Sceptor 5 gallon water jugs are built to withstand hard impacts without losing water. It is a convenient size measuring 13.5” long x 6.75” wide x 19” high. They neatly fit in small vehicles or storage racks.
The cap assembly comes with a small pour cap option and vent for smooth water pouring. The lock tab and tether keep you from losing the cap, which can be a nightmare if you are out on an adventure. Overall, the Sceptor 5 gallon water jug is high quality, tough, and securely stores water without leaks.
- Durable military grade
- BPA free construction
- More expensive than some lower quality options
The Fatboy 5-Gallon Waterboy Water Jug is a great buy for work sites. Made in a single piece of plastic with a food-grade interior, they are seamlessly molded so they can take the rigors of life on the road on the back of a work truck. They are also UV resistant, so constant exposure to the sun will not cause them to break down. Their tough construction, high capacity, and ability to keep their contents cold even during the hottest days of summer, make this our number one recommended 5-gallon jug for construction sites.
You can fit up to 29 cans of soda inside the Fatboy, and has a built-in bottle opener, making this a great choice for a tailgate party or a kegger. Unlike the K2 water jug, this one is only available in a single color, so you will have to come up with a different way to show your team spirit.
The internal rubber gasket is freezer-grade, which was a good choice since this bad boy can keep ice for five days—or more if you do not set it out in the sun. It is easy to open the top up and clean, and the cam latch locks in cold while still making it easy to dispense your water.
The only real problem with the construction of this water jug is in the air vent hole. Some customers have complained they needed to slightly modify is so their water or juice would flow out faster. Of course, this is not a design flaw. The Fatboy was designed that way to prevent the entire contents from pouring out should the spigot be damaged and stop closing properly.
To watch the Fatboy 5-Gallon Waterboy Water Jug Review on YouTube, click here.
- 5-Year Warranty
- May Have to Modify the Air Vent
Nearly everyone on the planet is familiar with the Igloo 5-Gallon Orange Cooler. It is a staple at sporting events across the U.S.A. and is the same model football players have been tipping over the heads of coaches for years now. What most consumers do not know is that it comes in several different colors. If you are not a Florida Gators fan, you are not stuck with buying it in Florida Orange, just because that is the color all your buddies got.
The Igloo 5-gallon jug is made of heavy-duty plastic, but due to its construction, if it should fall off the back of a truck, it will usually bust in two. This makes it a poor choice for work sites. However, provided you are careful when handling it, this will not be an issue for most consumers.
This model is not intended for the long-term storage of liquids. It is large, bulky, and cylindrical, which makes storing multiples a difficult prospect, so that would probably not be a problem for you anyway. Although the spigot, which can turn 360 degrees, works fine for dispensing water or juice, it is not of a high enough quality to ensure water will not slowly drip out.
The lid makes a great seat, but it also makes it impossible to stake them without the risk the one on top will fall off and spill. It can keep ice for a full day if kept out of direct sunlight, but in hot conditions, you may want to consider a different water jug.
All those problems aside, this is still our choice for the best 5-gallon water jug on a budget. It is inexpensive and functional, not poor quality for the money, and perfect for both sports fans and fishermen.
To watch the Igloo 5-Gallon Orange Cooler with Seat Lid Review on YouTube, click here.
- Great on a Budget
- Perfect for Sporting Events
- Will Spill if Tipped
- Spigot Hard to Clean
- NOT for Long Term Storage
The Scepter 5-Gallon Water Can is roughly the size and shape of an old-fashioned gas can. It is BPA-Free, made from heavy-duty polyethylene, and is almost impossible to puncture. The plastic does not break down, so nothing leaches into your water to make it taste funny or to leave it unhealthy for consumption.
Because of its size and shape, this would be a great bottle to take along if you are going on a long road trip. It will not roll around in the trunk of the car or off the back seat. It fits easily in the trunk of most cars and does not have a problem with leaking when stored on its side. It can just as easily be kept in the floorboard in the back seat of the car, provided you do not need that space for someone’s legs.
We all know that it is dangerous to drive through certain areas, such as the desert, without bringing along adequate water, so this is the perfect choice if you are taking a road trip to Vegas.
This 5-gallon water jug is very well priced considering its tough construction. It is easily cleaned and can be reused often. Properly cleaned, there is no reason you could not store water in this jug for long periods of time.
To watch the Scepter 5-Gallon Water Can Review on YouTube, click here.
- Space Friendly
- Does Not Leach
- Can Not Be Stacked
If you are worried about all the plastic that seems to have taken over our daily lives, the Intelligent Design Retro 5-gallon glass water jug is for you. These jugs are not made of plastic like all the other jigs that made this list. They are crafted in Italy, out of glass. At the factory, they make these unique, highly retro glass water jugs by pressing glass in an old-style glass mold. In that way, these bottles are not unlike the carnival glass dishes that have become so very collectible over the years. However, unlike carnival glass, the glass used for these 5-gallon water jugs is lead-free.
These glass water jugs are made to fit most bottled water dispensers. This makes this the perfect choice for both the home and office space, as well as any other location where a more natural option is desired.
Because it is heavy-duty glass, this glass water jug can be difficult to lift and move. It can at times form condensation if the air around the jug is hot and the water inside is cold. It is a very poor choice for outdoor work sites, due to the material of its construction. It can be used by preppers looking for a more natural option for water storage. There is never any danger of anything leaching into the water stored in these bottles, and they will not leak no matter how long water is left inside.
If you are looking for a glass water bottle for brewing alcohol, this is the one you will want to go with. The makers at Intelligent Design did, in fact, make this water jug with that end-user in mind. You can brew the finest mead or beer in this jug without any taste leaching in, and after it has been thoroughly cleaned out, it will not retain the scent of previous batches the way a plastic jug will.
To watch the Intelligent Design Retro 5-Gallon Glass Water Jug Review on YouTube, click here.
- Glass water jug
- Perfect for the Home Dispenser
- Perfect for Brewing
- Glass can breaks
The Brio BPA free reusable 5 gallon water jug is the go-to for water storage or for 5 gallon water dispenser usage. The bottle’s BPA plastic construction is tough enough to withstand frequent usage without odors or chemicals making their way into your water.
The Brio 5 Gallon water jug comes with a handle attached for easy transportation. Its high capacity and grab and go handle make this an ideal water container for camping. The bottle also has a crown fitted top for lids to snap on to create a tight seal that avoids water leaks. Note, the water container does not come with a cap. The cap is 55 millimeters should you need to purchase replacements.
Perhaps the best aspect of using the Brio 5 gallon jug is cutting out single plastic use bottles and bottle delivery fees. The water container fits with most of the popular water dispenser brands like Brio, Avalon, and more. Brio did an excellent job combining safety, convenience, and durability with this 5 gallon water jug.
- Perfect for most 5-Gallon water dispensers
- Easy carry handle
- Need to replace caps frequently
The WaterStorageCube 5 Gallon collapsible water container is one of the best 5 gallon water jugs on the market. People love them because they are inexpensive, convenient, and effective. They are made in the USA with BPA free, food grade plastic that blocks harmful toxins from entering your stored water.
The water jugs are collapsible for maximum versatility. When not in use, you can fold them up for easy storage. Yet, the jugs retain their shape when you are ready to use or refill. They also come with handles molded into the design so you can easily transport them.
The spout on the storage cube 5 gallon water jugs is custom made to avoid leaks. It has a gasketless design so you don’t have to worry about losing water or replacing parts. The spout is made with a thick plastic lid to better withstand pressure.
Whether you need a water solution for outdoor adventures, long-term emergency preparedness or a survival kit, the cube is one of the best 5 gallon water jug options. You can quickly store safe water to dispense anywhere. The best part, if you are dissatisfied for any reason within 30 days, you can get a full refund!
- Collapsible for easy storage
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Not as rugged as hard shelled options
Avoid: American Made p-00960 5-Gallon Water bottle Review
The American Made P-00960 5-Gallon Water Bottle is without a doubt one of the worst 5-gallon water jugs on the market. Before we go over exactly why that is, let us first examine the different claims the manufacturer makes that might entice someone to buy one of these horrible things.
This jug is made in the U.S.A and it is constructed out of BPA-free materials. Those two features alone, coupled with their price point and the fact they hold 5-gallons of water, would normally be enough to make them a good buy.
The manufacturer claims these are heavy-duty and that they have built-in heavy-duty handles. They say these are easy to carry. They say they are easy to clean. None of those things are true.
These jugs have side seams, so over time, they do eventually start leaking. This is especially true if you place anything at all on top of them. They are not heavy-duty as is claimed. As a matter of fact, it is incredibly easy to dent them and leave them malformed. They can even be dented when you pick them up, just from the weight of the water inside.
The handles are flimsy and prone to breaking off, and the jugs themselves will break apart if they hit a hard surface while filled. We do not mean they will dent. We mean they will shatter. They also require replacement caps that can add up.
If you buy one of these thinking it will work in your water dispenser, think again. This water jug does not fit in most water dispensers without a specialized converter.
To watch the American Made p-00960 5-Gallon Water bottle Review on YouTube, click here.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Hard to Clean
- Does Not Fit Most Dispensers
2023 Buyers Guide to the Best 5-Gallon Water Jug
There are a few different aspects you need to keep in mind when selecting the right 5-gallon water jug for your purposes. You will want to think about the construction of the jug—both the materials used as well as exactly how the jug was crafted. You will want to think long and hard about exactly what you want to use your new jug for, whether it will just be the occasional use or long-term storage. Finally, you will want to consider how you plan to store your water jug, either when it is not in use or when it is being used for water storage in a prepping situation.
Key Considerations When Choosing A 5 Gallon Water Jug
If you only intend to use your 5-gallon water jug to go on a picknick or to the occasional football game, you do not need to spend the extra money on a cooler that can take a real beating. If you plan to use your water jug on a job site, the construction of the jug matters a lot. The same can be said for anyone who intends to use their water jug for the long-term storage of water or the creation of spirits.
A 5-gallon water jug that is perfect for construction sites will not be the best choice for someone who is trying to store water in preparation for a natural disaster. A jug that works well for a sporting event may not be heavy-duty enough to keep on a work site. What you want to use your water jug or jugs for is as important as how the jugs are constructed.
Some 5-gallon water jugs can be easily stored. Some can be stacked. Some require you to be a bit more careful with where you place them and how you handle them. Some are glass and can be busted, some are plastic and will dent or crack if you place too much weight on them. All these factors should be taken into consideration before you make your final purchase.
FAQs On 5 Gallon Water Jugs
Are bottles safe to reuse?
YES, of course, they can be safely reused if you purchase the right bottle! The seven best 5-Gallon water jugs on our list are all reusable. The trick, as with anything you want to reuse, is to properly clean and maintain them. To that end, we have also included some handy cleaning information for you, so you can ensure that every batch of water you store is 100% potable!
How do you clean a 5-gallon water bottle?
Keeping any one of the nine best 5-gallon water jugs we have listed here free of bacteria is relatively easy. Cleaning is, for the most part, the same. You’ll need bleach, cool clean water, rubber gloves and a bottlebrush or three.
You don’t ever want to use hot water to clean out your water jugs. It can cause damage to the integrity if the bottle is made of plastic, and in the case of the glass bottle we have listed, it could cause cracks if the water is very hot and the glass is very cold. Cool clean water is best.
Fill the 5-gallon jug halfway with cool clean water and mix five capfuls of bleach. Put on your gloves and simply scrub the interior of the jug with a large bottle brush. If the water jug was free of debris, you may then go on to use the same water and a small bottle brush to clean any dispensing apparatus. If not, clean the bottle, dump out the water, and repeat. Rinsing just requires the use of a water hose or kitchen sprayer. When washing is complete, simply leave the bottle open to drain and air-dry.
How long can you store water?
There are no hard and fast rules on storing water for any lengthy duration. Even the most filtered water will facilitate bacterial growth over long periods of time. Plastic storage containers are by their composition porous to some extent when compared to other materials such as glass or metal, so bacterial growth can occur over extended periods of time. The actual length of suitability is all subject to environmental conditions. It is recommended to add water storage drops to help long-term stabilization of your water storage and should help your water to last approximately 5 years.
What is the best way to store water for long-term storage?
Start with purchasing one of the Freshnss reviewed water storage containers that are safe for long-term water storage. Once you have your water storage jug, ensure it is sanitary. Many times the water containers collect dirt and toxins through the shipping and warehousing process. Next, fill your water storage containers with an uncontaminated faucet, or better yet, a lead-free hose like the Camco pure drinking water hose. Once filled, add water storage stabilizing drops to maximize the amount of time your water can be stored – approximatley 5 years. Lastly, keep your storage containers directly off the ground surface so it does not absorb any outside chemicals.
Final Thoughts On Buying A 5 Gallon Water Jug
Choosing the right 5-gallon water jug is an important decision to make. Most jugs are only useful in certain situations. As you have now seen, the right jug for a construction crew will in no way be the right jug for someone who is prepping for a disaster. A water jug that works great for a sporting event, will not be the best choice for someone going on a long road trip.