"It holds water" is more than just a popular phrase used by country philosophers to describe an idea or proposal they agree with. When it comes to finding a good container for this most precious of liquids, you're going to need an assurance that the container will not only hold the water, but that it will hold enough water, and that it will keep holding it for as long as your specific needs require.
The venerable bucket has been a primary instrument for storing and carrying water ever since mankind discovered they needed something sturdier and easier to make than a clay jug. Buckets come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are typically constructed from sturdy plastic or metal such as aluminum. Some buckets, such as the five-gallon variety, will also often come with a lid of some kind that will allow you to seal the bucket and keep the water safe and secure for quite some time.
Canteens are ill-suited for storing water because of their small size. Canteens are designed to be used as containers for drinking water during on-foot journeys, and typically hold no more than a liter or two of water. Canteens come in a variety of shapes and are constructed from either plastic or a lightweight metal, and have either a snap-on or screw-on lid to keep the water secure within the container during transportation. Canteens also typically come with some kind of shoulder strap or hook that allows you to carry the canteen on your shoulder or attach it to a belt or backpack.
Barrels for holding water typically come in the traditional "55-gallon drum" design, and are definitely not designed for portability. Water barrels have only one purpose: to keep your water safe and secure for long periods of time until it's needed. Water barrels are typically made of heavy plastic or metal, and usually come with a lid and a securing mechanism called a "bung" that creates a water-tight seal around the mouth of the barrel. The seal will also keep any dirt or particulates from getting into your water from the outside, so as long as the barrel is clean when you fill it with water, the water will stay clean.
Pitchers are just the container you need for serving water to thirsty house guests, or for pouring yourself a cold one during a yard work session. Most pitchers are just a simple plastic container with a lid and a hole for pouring, but some pitchers also contain a water filter that will remove impurities and chemicals from the water before pouring.
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