The 5 Best RV WATER TANKS of 2021 – Expert Buyer’s Guide

If you’re shopping for a new black, grey or fresh water tank for your RV or campervan, we’ve put together a list of the best tanks on the market and why you may or may not want to consider one as your next purchase!

Vanlife is all about learning what we can live without, but water is not on that list.

Whether you’re heading deep into the backcountry, staying at a campground, or stealth camping inside city limits, you won’t realize how much you rely on your RV water tanks until you spend a weekend without any.

It may not be the most glamorous aspect of vanlife, but you need to have your water storage system sorted before you can park your rig on the mountain top. 

Hopefully, we don’t need to tell you the importance of bringing drinking water with you on the road. But the mission doesn’t stop with freshwater.

All your waste has to go somewhere, and unless you plan on bringing a shovel, you’ll want high-quality wastewater tanks that help you dump your toilet and sink water without spillage. 

PRODUCT

WHAT WE LIKE

THINGS TO CONSIDER

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RecPro 40 Gallon

EDITOR'S CHOICE

  • Simple, solid solution

  • Easily hooks up to the underbelly of your RV

  • Ships with ports to connect most existing plumbing systems

  • Not protected by warranty

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Camco Rhino Portable

  • Holds a lot of waste

  • Ships with everything you need to setup and use the tank

  • Fits into any existing hose/valve setup

  • Difficult to attach directly to your toilet

  • Top-facing nozzle is hard to drain

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Reliance Water Tank

  • Incredibly affordable

  • Spigot and valve allows you to control water flow

  • You can carry this water jug to hard-to-reach spigots

  • It is just reinforced plastic

  • 7 gallons won't last very long

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Class A Customs Waste Water Tank

  • Should last for the lifetime of your RV

  • Holds plenty of black water to last a while

  • Comes with easy-access PVC fittings

  • Requires drilling a few holes

  • Doesn't ship with all the parts needed to dump waste

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Big Berkey BK4X2

  • Filters out contaminate and any unwanted flavors

  • Stainless steel is built to last

  • Can't hold much water on its own

  • Requires a bit of overhead space

Trust me, you don’t want to mess around with toilet water in a moving vehicle.

Anyone planning on spending a few days away from the nearest plumbing systems should hook up nothing less than the best in RV water tanks to make sure you don’t have to deal with any smelly surprises on the road. 

Modern recreational vehicles come with three separate water holding tanks – fresh, grey, and black.

Each of these RV tanks plays a vital role in your adventure every single time you turn on a tap or brush your teeth.

Filling RV Water Tank
Whether you have a tank built in or just carry a container, having access to plenty of water when on the road is absolutely essential.

From fill to flush, a durable water tank will help you drink, shower, and drain without contamination worry.

In some situations, all three of these tanks are required for motorhomes to be considered fully self-contained, and there is no adventure where these water tanks won’t come in handy. 

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your conversion van or replace a stock RV fresh water tank, we’ll take a look at the best water tanks in the business, explain the differences and purposes of each type, and help you find the best freshwater tank or septic system for your vehicle.

The Best RV Water Tanks

We followed our water from the hose to the dump station to find which RV tanks provide seamless washing, cooking, and cleaning flow.

We made sure to search through RV freshwater tanks that fill and drain without smell, FDA-approved black water tank options that will ensure you don’t spend half the trip looking for a dump station, and everything in between to come up with our favorite options for any price range.

RecPro 40 Gallon 

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We love RecPro for loads of different RV necessities. They may not be the most flashy company on the market, but they provide a wide range of products that get the dirty work done without fuss.

This sizable freshwater tank is an excellent example of the company’s prowess.

There is no need to get too crazy with your fresh water tank.


This 40-gallon system is a simple tank that Recpro built with heavy-duty products all made in the USA. It’s designed to be permanently installed in a tucked-away corner of your RV and can easily connect any water pump and sink system.

You’ll find hose ports attached to hook up to most standard water inlets, and you can attach this to your travel trailer without any custom fittings.

Recpro has provided a maintenance-free permanent solution to your RV fresh water tanks. Once installed, you can forget about your tank and let it fill your cup with gallons of potable water for years to come.

What more could you want out of a water tank?

PROS

  • Simple, solid solution
  • Easily hooks up to the underbelly of your RV
  • Ships with ports to connect most existing plumbing systems

CONS

  • Not protected by warranty

Camco Rhino Portable

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This heavy-duty doody carrier is the best choice for getting the dirty work done right.

With two wheels and a convenient carrying handle, the Rhino Portable allows a completely hands-free transport of your black water waste from the bowels of your RV into the nearest dump station.

Camco is no stranger to a black water tank. The RV essentials company has offered up clean, no-frills options for all sorts of septic categories inside your motorhome, and this portable option works well for anyone who doesn’t feel like permanently drilling a wastewater tank and plumbing system into their RV.

The Rhino series has something for every step of the process, and this portable carrier packs it all into a convenient suitcase for your excrement. Thanks to the three-foot hose, it can serve as a DIY black water tank that can connect straight into the toilet of choice for your recreational vehicle.

A 4-in-1 adapter connects to all sorts of flush systems to make a smell-free transition between your bathroom and the closest sewage dump.

With a capacity of 21 gallons, you’ll be able to stay out for up to a week before its time to drain, and several hooks make it simple enough to attach this black or grey water tank to a ladder or underneath most RVs until its time to clean house.

PROS

  • Holds a lot of waste
  • Ships with everything you need to setup and use the tank
  • Fits into any existing hose/valve setup

CONS

  • Difficult to attach directly to your toilet
  • Top-facing nozzle is hard to drain

Reliance Water Tank

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Don’t overthink things! For campers just looking to load up with a fresh water tank, this affordable option has proven to outlast the trip and can fill up with ease, as long as you’re comfortable hauling it around!

The water tank can get a bit heavy when filling, but the 7 gallons go a long way in the woods.

The Reliance is our most basic recommendation for RV freshwater. It’s nothing more than a reinforced container with a spigot and a valve that keeps the water flowing evenly.

Thanks to the five-year warranty and reinforced contour grips, it’s an excellent choice for a gravity-fed sink system or any other DIY freshwater rig that is easy to refill.

Some plastic water tanks are known to break, especially when they’re bouncing around in the back of RVs heading down forest service roads. So the warranty that comes with this aqua-tainer immediately helps it stand out in a crowd.

The spigot flows smoothly, and the complete seal on the other end of the nozzle prevents any unwanted drain. We’ve seen countless Sprinter vans trust in the reliance system for a quick and easy solution to their freshwater tank search.

With no installation, you can rely on two of these units to provide enough water for a week or longer outside. Connect them to your water pump and onto your faucet for a basic, yet reliable source of water.

Store the holding tanks in a location with easy access, and you can refill your water straight from a hose, or carry the tank to the nearest sink and get an at-home workout in while carting the full tank back to your RV.

PROS

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Spigot and valve allows you to control water flow
  • You can carry this water jug to hard-to-reach spigots

CONS

  • It is just reinforced plastic
  • 7 gallons won’t last very long

Class A Customs Waste Water Tank

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If you’re searching for a permanent septic solution, look no further. This reinforced waste water tank sets up shop underneath your RV and lets you drain your waste the easy way, directly into the dump station thanks to the included valve.

You can use this unit as a grey water tank or for your wastewater, thanks to its highly protected exterior.

You’ll be able to flush your toilet with confidence knowing you’ve got 21 gallons of storage on the other end of your toilet. The entire black water tank is heavy-duty polyurethane resin, which keeps everything inside – any black water tank’s most important job.

The reinforced resin is incredibly simple to clean. Just add a few drops of bleach to some fresh water when you are flushing out the tank, and any smells will be a thing of the past!

The holding tanks come fitted with a PVC hose adapter ready to roll, so once you get your RV tanks locked into your underbelly, you’ll have an easy time getting to where your release valve located to hook up your sewer hose.

Blackwater holding tanks shouldn’t require any maintenance, and with this fantastic option from Class A Customs, you’ll be able to stay far away from your RV toilet’s dirty side.

PROS

  • Should last for the lifetime of your RV
  • Holds plenty of black water to last a while
  • Comes with easy-access PVC fittings

CONS

  • Requires drilling a few holes
  • Doesn’t ship with all the parts needed to dump waste

A.A Fresh and Gray Water Holding Tank

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With loads of different size options, this combo pack promises to provide everything you need to get your freshwater tank ready to roll. The BPA free containers are all made out of polyethene to keep your water tasting fresh and rust-free.

The largest containers measure 40″ at the largest size and pack in features that help make the transition easier if you are using this water tank as a replacement for your RV’s stock water distributor.

This tank is as versatile as anything on the market. While it doesn’t pack in the right amount of bacteria protection to work as a black water tank, you can happily choose between using this unit as a grey or freshwater tank, or you can order two and knock off both from your shopping list! The one-piece design takes credit for making this water tank so multifunctional.

Instead of fusing a few separate endings together, A.A made sure to eliminate any chances for leaks by using seamless construction. Water has a way of finding any weak points, and seams are only a few decades away from slow leaks.

Measure your installation area and find your perfect size. Anyone who needs a tank between 10 and 42 gallons may find their perfect match with this A.A fresh and grey water holding tank.

PROS

  • Built to be mounted underneath your RV
  • Seamless Construction
  • Works as fresh and grey water tank

CONS

  • Won’t work for black water
  • Tank must be Vented

Water Tank Inlet
Got water?

Choosing the Best RV Water Tank

Our list covers the gambit of an incredibly variable niche in the RV world. Let’s take a closer look at all the different RV water tank styles so you can figure out where to start your search.

The best type of RV water tank for your rig will be whichever tank is easiest to install and fulfills the most considerable void inside your vehicle.

What Kind of Tank Do I Need?

Let this question guide your search. We recommend having all three tank styles onboard any journey. Here is a quick look at what each tank does:

Fresh

Your fresh water tank is responsible for holding all your drinking, showering, cooking, and cleaning water. It is arguably the most critical tank to have in your RV because nobody can last long without drinking water! 

These tanks can come in many shapes and sizes. You can use a lackadaisical approach and equip a simple plastic jug for your fresh water needs or a permanent attachment that can hold around 50 gallons of water.

Add a very small amount of bleach to any refill and you can rest easy knowing you have plenty of safe drinking water. Just be careful and don’t add too much!

Black

Black water tanks hold on to anything you flush down the toilet. You really don’t want to mess around with black water, so it’s essential to use an airtight and ultra-reinforced tank for this subsection. 

These tanks can typically hold around 20 gallons, and you should never play around with completely filling up your blackwater tank!

They’ll have to be empty into a dump station or official sewage waste containment zone, so make sure your tank has an easily accessible valve that will ensure your waste never sees the light of day. 

Grey

Grey water tanks hold dirty water sourced from everywhere besides your toilet. That includes your sinks and shower drains mainly.

It may seem like the least important of the three, but the dirty water from washing dishes or taking a shower adds up fast, and a black water tank alone simply isn’t capable of holding everything.

Also, black water tanks protect against loads of bacteria naturally found in human waste, whereas a grey water tank may not be as capable.

Mixing your black water with grey water will give the bacteria more room to grow, and left unchecked, this bacteria can start to stink up the place. So it’s essential to keep your grey and black water separated.

Black Water Dumping
Be a good human and always correctly dispose of your black and grey water in the appropriate place.

Size

To choose the best size for your water tanks, ask yourself how long you plan on being away from the nearest fill-up or dump station.

The best way to figure out your water usage is to keep meticulous track of your demands over a typical weekend and budget out a few extra gallons just to be sure. 

We like to budget out about 4 gallons per person, per day, across all three tanks.

There are loads of factors at play here. Do you plan on taking a shower? Will you cook inside your rig? Are you going to be stopping at many places with fill-ups?

These are questions that will guide your choice. 

Before you go out and buy the largest tank possible, don’t forget about your gas mileage! A complete water tank can add on quite a few pounds to your rig rolling down the highway, and most RVs aren’t known for their fuel economy.

Every gallon of water will add 8 lbs to your RV. If you don’t plan on spending too many nights away from campgrounds, there is no need to fill up a 50-gallon water tank.

However, if you’re gearing up to spend a week away from the closest well, spare no expense when hooking up your tanks.

Water is often the first thing that brings us back to town while boondocking, and there is no such thing as too much fresh water in the desert. 

Material

When shopping for a freshwater tank, look for anything with food-grade plastic ratings to make sure your water stays potable. Most freshwater tanks utilize heavy-duty plastic, and that plastic taste can leak into your water.

It’s not necessarily harmful, but it certainly won’t taste great. Make sure to shop for a fresh water container that’s built to last to avoid any unpleasant flavors. 

Any grey or black water tanks are protected with the most heavy-duty materials you can find.

A leaky blackwater tank is most RVers’ worst nightmare, so don’t settle for plastic when it comes to protecting your excrement. Instead, rely on polyurethane coated in lightweight metals built to last.

Black Water Tank Storage
Storing your water tanks in your RV doesn’t have to be messy.

Portable or Permanent Installation?

The good news is, either option you choose will be relatively maintenance-free! The best RV water tanks will be built to last no matter what they’re holding. 

Portable RV water tanks will require zero installation but will also be a bit less convenient over time. Portable fresh water tanks will hold less water, as nobody can constantly lift a 50-gallon tank.

Portable black/grey water tanks can be slightly prone to more leaks over time. 

Permanently installing RV water tanks is no simple task. You’ll have to set out a relatively large amount of space underneath your rig and drill a few holes in the wall of your vehicle to connect your tank to any hose or valve system you use to fill up or drain your tank. 

If you don’t plan on using your RV for more than a week or two at a time, a portable tank will make your life easier. Anyone living in their RV full time or looking to bring 30+ gallons of water with them should look towards a permanent installation. 

EDITOR’S CHOICE:

RecPro 40 Gallon

Your RV fresh water system doesn’t have to be complicated.

This durable, 40-gallon container can be hooked up in one afternoon and provides gallons of fresh water for years to come.

The tank ships with plenty of nozzles to fit into any hose or valve set up and can immediately team up with your water pump to provide a fresh shower or toilet relief on the go.

RecPro 40 Gallon Water Tank

Conclusion

There you have it, a comprehensive look at RV water tanks of all sorts of sizes and gallons. This buying guide highlighted some of the best in fresh water solutions and took a closer look at some great grey/black water tanks.

No tank out there will make your life easier than our editor’s choice, the Recpro 40-gallon tank, which fits right into most rigs and improves your boondocking ability. 

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase a product we recommend using the links in this article, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We promise to use this pocket money to buy lots of coffee and fuel for the campervan to keep us enjoying #VanLife for just a little longer. We appreciate your support, and only recommend products we know and trust. Thank you friends!

About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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