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What Is an IBC Tote Tank?

What Is an IBC Tote Tank?

When you need to store a large quantity of liquid but don't have a lot of extra space, what is the best solution? Intermediate bulk containers (IBC) tote tanks are commonly used on farms and homesteads because they are an efficient way to store and transport water and other liquids. They are often used to store rainwater for irrigation or to provide drinking water for livestock.

IBC tote tanks are also valuable for storing chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides. They are made of durable materials so they can last for many years with proper care, they’re easy to clean and can be reused multiple times. In addition, IBC tote tanks are relatively inexpensive, making them a cost-effective liquid storage option.

What is an IBC Tote Tank?

A white water tank inside a metal-framed cage.

IBC totes are often used as water handling and shipping vessels. Often considered one-time-use tanks, they can be used for permanent storage. Caged IBCs feature an interior liner that is blow-mold manufactured from polyethylene, and a protective cage frame made of galvanized steel specifically designed for handling large amounts of liquids, semi-solids and some solid materials.

However, certain materials can present possible safety and compatibility concerns when using IBC totes, especially hazardous liquids. Because of this, it is always recommended that you consult proper guidance whenever working with IBC totes containing harsh chemicals.

Uses for IBC Tote Tanks

IBC tote tanks are extremely versatile and can be used for various purposes around the home or farm. They are often used as rainwater harvesting tanks because they are large enough to hold significant amounts of water yet compact enough to fit in most spaces. Homeowners may also use them to store gray water for landscape irrigation. In addition, 

they can also be repurposed as storage containers for everything from garden tools and supplies to livestock feed and bedding.

IBC totes can serve many functions, one of which is planting. They can be used as individual planters or in combination with other pots and containers. If you're going to use it as a planter, remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom so the water won't pool and drown your plants. Be creative — there are endless possibilities for these tanks both inside and outside the home!

As far as commercial applications go, IBC tote tanks can be used for agricultural and automotive purposes, chemical, oil and general bulk storage and aquaponics.

How are IBC Tote Tanks Manufactured?

A white tank on a gray platform with a green spout on the bottom and a small green lid on top.

IBC tote tanks are mostly made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and have a rectangular shape with an integrated grid system. This material is incredibly tough and can withstand harsh temperatures or chemicals. Many IBC totes also follow FDA regulations and are BPA free for storing food products. A food-grade IBC will use virgin HDPE or corrugated materials.

The outer dimensions are typically 48 inches in length, 40 inches in width and 46 inches in height, but there are also smaller and larger sizes available. The most common capacities are 120, 220, 275 and 330 gallons. They are stackable and have built-in handles for a lift truck or pallet jack loading.

IBC tote tanks are also made from recycled materials, making them a more environmentally-friendly option. The recycled HDPE resin is melted and extruded into pellets. The pellets are then used to manufacture new IBC tote tanks.

Other Materials Used

Stainless Steel

The durability, resilience and corrosion-resistant properties of stainless steel IBC totes make them ideal for holding various liquids like oil, solvents, lubricants and chemicals. They are the most sought after type of tank in the chemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries because they require low maintenance and have an infinite service life due to being made from all-welded thick 10-gauge steel.


Cardboard IBC packaging systems are both lightweight and environmentally friendly. They ship unassembled but can be quickly assembled by one person in about a minute. In addition, they are FDA-compliant and kosher, so corrugated IBCs are excellent containers for storing or dispensing liquid foods and non-hazardous chemicals.

Advantages of IBC Tanks

55-gallon drums have often been used for storing liquids, but IBC totes have many advantages over them:

  • IBC totes can contain a lot more than drums, so you won't need to use as many if you're storing the same amount.
  • Because they can be moved without additional expensive pallets and shrink wrap, IBCs are more versatile and easier to use.
  • Totes can be used multiple times before disposal, while drums are generally only meant for one-time use.
  • Because IBC totes completely drain product waste, there is no residual buildup, as with drums.

Purchase Your IBC Tanks from Tank Depot for the Best Price and Selection

Two stacked, white water tanks in silver metal cages.

Here at Tank Depot, we have a wide selection of IBC containers to choose from, including a 330-gallon caged IBC tote that ships within 48 hours. Our IBC totes comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and are manufactured from FDA-certified, BPA-free, food-grade, virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE). 

Our selection of quality tanks doesn't end here — be sure to check out our other tank options to ensure you get the best tank for your project and site needs. Contact us today for more information on our complete selection of IBC totes, as well as other material and liquid storage options.

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