Purchasing a Stock Tank

Creating a stock tank hot tub will make you feel as if you’re beating the system – because well,….you are. You’re defying the common belief that a hot tub should be an expensive luxury. When in reality; it’s nothing more than a tub and a heater.


Since a stock tank soaking tub is a do-it-yourself project, you’ll need to do a little homework to get what you want. But you probably won’t get any encouragement from the sales staff of your local agricultural supply store. You may even get ridiculed; “You wanna do what with a stock tank?” Therefore, to bolster your confidence, we’ve compiled this fact sheet to take with you when you go shopping.

Save yourself some time by calling around to see if the brands and sizes you want are available. And remember, don’t think too big. This style of tub has cozier leg-room. Each person does not need 20 sq. ft. of space to be comfortable; after all, this is a communal affair and more enjoyable that way. The smaller the tub, the faster it heats and the easier it fills and drains.

Where to Buy a Stock Tank

Most feed stores and agricultural supply stores carry stock tanks. Some will have both metal and plastic, so you can check out both kinds. We recommend that you actually sit in one to get an idea of the size and how it feels (never mind what the employees think). Remember, it will feel different when your body is supported by water, but this will give you an idea of the size you want. Note: Always bring a tape measure to verify dimensions.

Metal Tanks

There are two important criteria to be aware of when shopping for a metal tank:

  1. Brand Preference – Not all metal stock tanks are created equal. The main difference (for our purpose) is the depth of the lateral corrugations used for stiffening. Deep corrugations are undesirable because they will hit you in the back when you lean against the side of the tank (which is all the time). The other problem is that deep corrugations are difficult to flatten when installing the thru-wall circulation ports. (See “Evaluation of Stock Tank Brands” below.)
  2. Sizes – Metal tanks are shipped nested one inside the other like Russian dolls for economy in shipping. This creates some confusion, however, when shopping for a tank because there may be two or three sizes with the same designated size printed on the side. A tank labeled five foot diameter may actually be 4ft 9in. This is where you need to have a measuring tape to verify the size. Note: When shopping for a two-person oblong tank, always choose the larger, outer tank. The outer 5x2ft tank will measure true to dimension, but the inner tank will actually be about 21 in. wide – too narrow for a two-person tub.


  1. The metal plated surface has a very comfortable glass-smooth feel to the touch, which may come as a surprise if you anticipate something rough and uncomfortable.
  2. They’re easy to insulate because of vertical, straight sides. You can easily wrap flexible insulation around and put on an outer covering of wood, split bamboo, marine vinyl, or Sunbrella® fabric.
  3. You can easily make a depression in the metal to recess the bottom drain.
  4. Metal tanks are a little cheaper than plastic tanks.


The zinc plating over steel, although very durable, will eventually wear off depending on the mineral content of your water, the presence of chlorine in the water, and how often you use the tub. A metal stock tank will last anywhere from 2-10 years before it starts to rust. But hey, for the price, you can justify buying another one.

Metal Stock Tank Brands

Small Corrugations (preferable)

Hutchison Western

Country Line (Tractor Supply)


     Large Corrugations(avoid)

     Farm Master
     Big Husky



Plastic Tanks

Most plastic tank brands have inset steps in the sides for stiffening. This makes insulating the sides a little more difficult, but it’s made up for by the wide top rim that allows insulation and wood paneling to be tucked under for protection from the elements.

Plastic tanks differ in the size and number of inset steps in the side used for stiffening. The top step tends to hit the middle of your back when you lean against the side; however, by placing a foam pad above the step, it’s transformed into a desirable comfort feature.


  1. They have a long lifespan.
  2. A wide, rounded top rim that is very comfortable to lay your arms and neck on.
  3. Skirting material and insulation can be tucked under the top rim.
  4. Lightweight and easy to move.
  5. Impervious to any kind of sanitizer.


  1. Some people just don’t like the idea or feel of plastic.
  2. Stepped sides make insulating more difficult.

Plastic Stock Tank Brands and Websites

Rubbermaid – search ‘Rubbermaid Agricultural Products’

High Country Plastics – www.highcountryplastics.com
Behlen Mfg. – www.behlencountry.com (makes both metal and plastic tanks)

Tuff Stuff – Straight sides, no steps