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Water Tanker Size Guide: How Much Do Water Trucks Hold?

Water Tanker Size Guide: How Much Do Water Trucks Hold?

A water tanker, or water truck, is used to transport water to sites without a water supply. Although they come in different sizes and configurations, they are typically equipped with water pumps and spray nozzles positioned around the truck. These vehicles are used in industries like construction, mining, and landscaping for tasks like dust control, soil compaction, and equipment cleaning.

In this post, we go over how much water tankers hold by type, and help you find the best vehicle for your job.

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Table of Contents

How Much Water Does a Tanker Truck Typically Hold?

Most standard on-road water trucks hold between 2,000 and 6,000 gallons of water. Larger models of water tanker trucks, like the ones used in construction, can hold up to 20,000 gallons. Specialized models for large-scale construction and mining can hold up to 60,000 gallons.

Common Uses of Water Tanker Trucks

There are many applications for water tanker trucks in industrial and construction settings. Here are some of the most common uses:

what water tanker trucks are used for

  • Dust control: Moistening dry earth cuts down dust on a jobsite. Dust reduces visibility and increases health and environmental risks, so minimizing it is key.
  • Soil compaction: Soil needs to be compacted to create even ground for construction projects. Water helps soil compact evenly. It’s also useful for checking if the ground is even after leveling it because water will pool in areas that aren’t flat.
  • Fire control: Water trucks can help fight fires as well as transport water to fire-prone areas.
  • Agriculture: Water trucks can be used in irrigation and to transport water to protect crops from droughts.
  • Cleaning: Water trucks can be used in street cleaning or to clean equipment at construction sites.

Types of Water Trucks and Their Capacities

Though water tank trucks mostly provide the same function, there are many different types of trucks specialized for different jobs. Here’s an overview of common types of water tankers and specs like their tank sizes and tank capacities.

water tanker types

Standard (Rigid, On-Road)

Standard water trucks, also called rigid or on-road water trucks, are one of the most common types of water trucks. They have a rigid frame and are typically used for dust control at construction sites accessible by standard roads and for jobs like street cleaning and firefighting.

They’re usually equipped with a water tank, gauges, hoses, and spray systems. Most models hold 2,000 and 6,000 gallons of water.

These are also the type of water trucks for rent at BigRentz.

Off-Road (Rigid)

Off-road rigid water tank trucks are designed for use on rough terrains, like what you might find in mining and on construction sites or areas that aren’t accessible by regular roads. These trucks are often used for dust control in more remote areas, such as increasing visibility in mining and quarry sites.

They might come with advanced features such as automatic water delivery, depending on truck speed. They’re durable and have a higher ground clearance and traction control systems for safe off-road operation, grip, and stability. Most models hold 8,000 and 40,000 gallons of water, and some hold up to 60,000 gallons.

Off-Road (Articulated)

If you need to make sharp turns and navigate tight areas, an off-road articulated water tanker truck offers additional maneuverability over challenging terrain. Built with a joint between the cab and the trailer, you can move the front of the body separately from the back, easily maneuvering through terrain that rigid versions can’t.

Because these trucks have a lower center of gravity than rigid off-road trucks, you’ll find them more stable on slopes and uneven ground. But a low center of gravity has its downside. You’ll also have less clearance than rigid off-road trucks. So you won’t find them your best option for the roughest terrain. Most models hold 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water.


You can find tank trailers in various sizes, which you can tow with different types of smaller vehicles. Smaller trailers often range from 300 to 3,000 gallons in tank capacity.

If you have bigger vehicles like semi-trucks. You can find larger trailers available, often with capacities from 4,000 to 12,000 gallons.

Because they can be attached to a variety of different vehicles, trailers offer you a flexible option. Plus, they can also be more efficient for smaller jobs because you can use the main vehicle for other tasks. Built to operate on well-maintained roads, trailers are most often used in urban and suburban scenarios.

Special Use

Because water tankers are often custom-built, you can find many special-use vehicles available. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Scrapers: You can outfit a tractor scraper with a custom tank.
  • Slide-in: You can slide a tank into the back of a dump truck to turn it into a water tanker. In addition, you can place a slide-in tank on land.
  • Hook-lift: You can attach these tanks to hook-lift system trucks.

Water Storage Tank Materials

The tanks on water trucks are typically made of the following materials:

  • Steel: Steel is a very durable material and can resist tough conditions for construction and mining tasks. Steel tanks are available in various shapes, making it a versatile option.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is more lightweight than steel but less durable, though it has a high resistance to corrosion.
  • Polyethylene: Polyethylene is a durable type of lightweight plastic. It doesn’t rust and doesn’t buckle or crack.
  • Fiberglass: Though it may not be as durable as other materials, fiberglass is lightweight and resistant to rust.

Note that steel is most commonly used for potable water. Other materials may be used if they meet FDA standards.

How to Choose the Right Water Tanker Size

Finding the right water tanker is crucial for the success of your job. Here are three key considerations to help guide that process.

how to choose the right water tanker size

1. Choose Your Capacity and Material

Choose a capacity based on how much water you need for your project. Think about how often you’ll be able to refill the tank too — a higher capacity means you may not need to take as many trips if your water source isn’t nearby. Also, make sure to choose a material based on how durable you need the tank to be and what the applications are.

2. Assess the Terrain

If you’re working off-road or in difficult-to-access areas, you’ll need a durable vehicle that can handle the terrain. For standard roads, you can use a regular water tanker or trailer with a DOT tank.

3. Determine Your Budget

Generally speaking, larger water tankers with greater capabilities will cost more. Consider the costs involved with buying and maintaining versus renting.

Rent a Water Tanker From BigRentz

If you need to rent a water truck, you’ve come to the right place. With various state-of-the-art water trucks to choose from, BigRentz has the goods to cover all your equipment rental needs.

Explore Water Trucks

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