The top performers in our review are The Ready Store, the Gold Award winner; Emergency Essentials, the Silver Award winner; and Food Insurance, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing an emergency preparedness store to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 online stores.
Emergency preparedness stores can take you from having just a few packs of dried fruit for an emergency to having an entire selection of meals that can keep you well fed for days. Emergency preparedness stores also provide equipment made to make your life easier during floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
We reviewed emergency preparedness stores that have survival food and useful tools that are safe and effective during a crisis, along with help services that provide information to educate you about your food and survival products. Depending on what situations you might find yourself wrapped up in, we have found stores with offerings that give you the best chance of surviving a difficult time. You can read more about emergency preparedness in our learning center articles.
We looked at emergency preparedness stores that offer both storable food and equipment, and also items that you can easily carry if you are traveling. Even though some sites are geared more toward either food or supplies, like the nutrition-centric Augason Farms and Honeyville Food Products, these companies still offer at least a bit of everything emergency-oriented.
We determined the usefulness of each emergency preparedness store by how many different types of emergency food supplies each offers and the variety of emergency equipment available through each site. The safety tools cover everything from hygiene products to communication devices. We also looked at what food groups each store offers, and whether or not they offer meals ready to eat (MREs) or just basic preserved food. We also looked at specialty items such as food storage estimators and pet survival equipment. We also checked the support services for features such as email and live chat.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We judged the stores by comparing the support services, food choices and product information. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Safety Tools: Gearing Up
During our research of emergency preparedness stores, we looked closely at what kinds of tasks each safety tool is designed for and how many tools each store offered. Hydration packs and lighting devices, such as flashlights, are highly valued, as are first aid kits with plenty of ways to treat afflictions.
If you have specific needs that are not met by the packages available, you have the option of choosing a store with customizable packs. Some, such as Wise Company, have a quota for how much you must spend on each safety pack before you can customize it. There are also kits that are assembled for specific disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
The Ready Store has safety kits that are made to fit disasters, along with cooking tools and comfort items such as blankets. Some stores do not offer kits that are specified to a disaster or that you can customize. Knowing if you need basic tools or a fully customized set is vital when choosing the right store for you.
Food & Nutrition: Eat Like a King
The food and nutrition of each store are similar to what you would find in a grocery store, but the way in which they are packed is different. Most of the food is either freeze-dried or dehydrated for storing purposes, and the food can last for months and even years. Some food is sold in freeze dried food bulk. The best freeze dried food choices should have a spectrum of nutritional groups with vegetables, meat and dairy.
Stores should preferably carry not just each food group, but pre-packed MREs that do not need any extra cooking but just added water. There should also ideally be meal substitutes, like high-caloric bars, which are easy to either carry or store.
Specialty Items: What More You Could Want
For vegetarians and people with allergies, finding food that still fits your dietary needs in an emergency can be a difficult task. Thankfully, the best choices on our lineup offer specialized items that can help you survive while sticking to your preferences. For instance, a lot of emergency preparedness stores offer gluten-free food, and some also have a food estimator that will help you know how much to buy and what it will cost. People with pets also have the option of buying a pet preparation kit to keep your furry friends safe. Emergency Essentials and SOS Survival Products are two stores that offer sturdy pet preparation kits.
Help & Support: Extra Precaution
Some stores offer preparedness education, whether on a site or in a booklet, which can offer valuable tips for how to handle dangerous situations. Others also have a FAQs section with the most-asked inquiries about survival or products. Live chat is also a valuable tool in communicating with the stores, since it is quicker and more direct than email or even some phone services. The top choices on our lineup should offer most, if not all, of these.
Some features stand above others in their ability to make the process of getting prepared for emergencies easier. Customizable packs give you more control over your preparedness, a food storage estimator helps you balance a budget with your needs, and getting preparedness education keeps you informed. Knowing how to discern the quality of these features will help you to understand what you can do to be as prepared as possible.
Customizable Packs: Whatever Floats Your Boat
Emergency preparedness stores should offer thorough survival packs that can work in a variety of crises. However, if you know what the dangers might be in your own situation, getting a customizable pack can save you time and money while keeping you safe. Customizable packs are a way to exercise more control before entering a dangerous situation.
Food Storage Estimator: Looking Before You Jump
Many of these preserved foods can be quite pricy, and knowing how much you will need can help you calculate what the costs will be. Knowing how many days for which you need food and what kinds of food, either meals or individual items, is important. Then you can decide if it is worth having pre-made meals or more basic fruits and vegetables.
Preparedness Education: Learning the Ropes
Even if you have been through intense situations before, every new one can be a challenge, and emergency preparedness stores provide education for these situations. These stores should offer tips on how to handle specific disasters, like earthquakes and floods, and how to use your equipment in the most effective way.
The Ready Store, Emergency Essentials and Food Insurance are all exemplary emergency preparedness stores. Food Insurance, the Bronze Award winner, has enough support services to make you an expert on whatever food and supplies you can find on the store’s site. Our Silver Award winner, Emergency Essentials, has one of the best food selections we have come across, with nutritious choices that allow you to survive and still get the nutrition you need to stay healthy. The Ready Store has a wide selection of tools and food to choose from, giving you a prime version of just about every choice available in emergency preparation. Giving it our Gold Award was not tough when we saw how well it encompassed survival essentials.
All of the emergency preparedness stores in our lineup are fine choices for anyone who knows they might have to get through a tough situation or for those who want to take extra precautions. Choosing one with solid safety tools and food options is not difficult if you look at the stores in our lineup.