October 24, 2021


Anything but ordinary

Water Tank Material Comparison: Plastic vs. Stainless Steel


All water in the country that is drinkable comes from the rain. It means that catching and storing drinkable, quality rainwater is a big deal to most communities. In this article, we will determine how making the water as healthy as possible. And this leads to a big task of selecting the materials that will be used to make the water tank for potable drinking water. Which materials to go for? Which materials are the cheapest? Plastic, stainless steel, or aqua plate?

The criteria for selecting containment tanks for potable drinking water include: water quality should be excellent, low embodied energy, and of course, it should be affordable. Because of these criteria, choosing the best water tank will be very difficult.

A comparison between tank materials for potable drinking water.


Materials: Food-grade polyethylene, or food-grade plastic. It has the same components as the plastics used in food containers. It is considered a safe form of plastic, same as Styrofoam. It has UV stabilizers added to it to prevent the plastic materials from breaking down from the outside. It also has plastic softeners to make the plastic flexible. Manufacturers usually use BPA softeners.

(To know more about BPA softeners, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331.)

Toxicity: Whether the water is drinkable or not, we have a problem with this one. All plastic softeners, especially BPA is not suitable for babies and children’s tummies because the water tank materials go through the different gassing process. BPA or most plastic softeners are associated with endocrine disruptors

And not only that, most water tanks are situated outside. These tanks will break down in the long run regardless whether it uses UV stabilizers or not. When a component breaks down, it will go somewhere, and sometimes it will go to the water that people drinks.

Environment credibility: Plastic, as most people know, is made from oil. If you don’t want to use products made from petrol or oil, plastic is not the material for you. Plastic uses a large amount of energy during its production. Plastic only has 25 years before it loses its quality, meaning, after 25 years, plastic tanks should be replaced. And because of the UV degradation, plastic containers cannot be recycled.

Installation: Plastic is one of the most accessible material to install. All you need to do is a stable flat spot. Plastic tanks are very flexible; you can put it on rough terrain without damaging the quality of the tank. It also has a wide range of shapes, sizes, and diameter, which can help in the installation.

Price: Compared to steel water tanks or concrete tanks, plastic is a cheaper option. The most affordable plastic tank with 22,500-liter capacity, cost from $1,500 to $2,500, with additional cost for delivery.

The Verdict: Because of the toxicity and the energy they use during production, plastic is not an attractive option for materials to be used in water tanks, even though it is one of the cheapest material available in the market today.

Stainless steel water tank

Using stainless steel in water tanks is not a popular option since it is costly and there are only a few people who specialize in using stainless steel in water tanks.

Materials: Stainless steel is iron combined with chromium and nickel.

Toxicity: One of the safest materials to be used as a water tank, stainless steel is preferred material for most manufacturers not only in water tank business, but also in medical equipment, catering business, bottled drinks and much more. If you don’t heat stainless steel or ingest shavings, it will remain as inert.

Enviro-cred: Stainless steel uses a lot of energy during production, but despite that, it is environmentally friendly because it is recyclable. Because it is costly and can be recycled, the material can be used in different forms after it served as a water tank. But with proper maintenance, stainless steel water tank can last a lifetime.

Installation: Because of its solid pad prepared, installing a stainless-steel water tank is straightforward. Like plastic, simple operation and delivery is only needed when installing the tank.

Price: Stainless steel is one of the most expensive material, used as a water tank. It cost at around $4,000 to $6,000 for a 22,500-liter tank, excluding the delivery fee.

Our verdict: When it comes to price, stainless steel water tank is costly, but because of its durability, the cost is worth it. It has low toxicity, meaning it is very safe as a water tank and it can last up to 100 years or more if maintained properly.