Bladder Tank vs. Pressure Tank: What are the Differences? (2023)

There are three types of pressure vessels:standard stainless steel tanks, bladder tanks and membrane tanks.Membrane tanks are still new and have rarely been used until now, but this is not the case with stainless steel tanks and bladder tanks.

Standard stainless steel tanks have been used so much that they have become synonymous with the termpressure tank. We also use this term in the title of this article.

However, bladder pressure tanks outperform ordinary stainless steel tanks in terms of overall performance, size and cost of production, which is why they are so common in homes today.

Let's take a closer look at why that is by looking at the differences between the two and providing a general overview of both types of containers.

The difference between a bladder tank and a pressure tank

The main difference between Astandard stainless steel pressure tankand the bladder pressure reservoir is an additional balloon system in the latter.

The differences between the two go beyond the bladder, but by simply adding a bladder, the system sees a huge performance boost.

The first big difference is the size of the bladder reservoir. Because the expansion tank does not require the entire tank to build up pressure, it allows for a significant reduction compared to a standard stainless steel pressure tank.

Size is important due to the resistance of both tanks. Even though the interior of a typical stainless steel tank is spacious, it iswithdrawalit is much weaker and less effective than rebuilding the bladder reservoir.

The next difference concerns maintenance. The bladder tank requires significantly less maintenance than a standard pressurized tank.

(Video) Pressure Tank Comparison - Pro's and Con's, Stainless, Bladder, Diaphragm

The stainless steel tanks are inclinedoverflow. Because in a typical tank, water and air are in contact with each other all the time, air can eventually escape through the water, and regular monitoring is necessary to prevent this.

Bladder-type pressure vessels are not affected by this problem. The bladder plays a key role in overflow prevention by keeping water from coming into contact with air.

Finally, while stainless steel and galvanized metal are corrosion resistant, they are not completely corrosion resistant. Eventually the steel will start to rust, especially when the water is rich in metals and water quality will drop.

Even if the metal components of the diaphragm tank corrode, the water will never come into contact with the metal, so the risk of contamination is virtually non-existent. In addition, because the water never touches the metal, the corrosion process in a bubble tank is slower compared to a standard tank.

What is the purpose of the bladder tank?

The purpose of the bladder tank is to store and produce pressurized water for homes and appliances that require electricity or water as a source. This is done by using the space inside the tank to create compressed air. This compressed air then pushes the water to a pressure of 20-40 psi, depending on configuration and intended use.

Bladder Tank vs. Pressure Tank: What are the Differences? (1)

Galvanized pressure tanks, although larger, are less effective at creating pressure due to the amount of water needed to create the compressed air in the tank.

The more water a pressure vessel loses, the weaker the air pressure is. The air pressure in the bladder pressure tank remains constant due to the negative pressure created by the tank and balloon.

Another important thing to note is the compact nature of diaphragm pressure tanks, which, thanks to their size, allows them to be used for many purposes. Someone who lives in a smaller house and has less space will have a hard time finding the right amount of space for an entire galvanized pressure vessel.


Related Comparison: Expansion tank vs pressure tank

Do all pressure vessels have bubbles?

There are three common variants of the pressure vessel:

  • standard stainless steel,
  • cyst,
  • diaphragm pressure.

The first, as we said, has no bladder. and neither is the membrane.

The diaphragm pressure vessel serves as an intermediate solution for the diaphragm and stainless steel variants. The volume of water and air entering the membrane system is greater than that of a standard tank, but this means that the inside of the tank is inaccessible.

Although a membrane tank uses a bladder-like system, if the internal parts of a pressure tank become damaged, there is no way to repair them.

However, this is the only drawback of the membrane tank. It is currently the most efficient pressure vessel and requires the least maintenance of the three.

Low maintenance requirements due to sealed internals and virtually no bladder. Instead of a bladder, the membrane pressure tank has an internal rubber lining that separates air and water.

This rubber liner acts like a bladder in a way, but its connection to the tank is permanent. This particular item is not interchangeable.

Can the bladder in a pressure vessel be replaced?

The bladder can be replaced with a bladder-based pressure reservoir. Most if not all bladder reservoir components can be repaired or replaced if required.

(Video) Well Pressure Tank Installation: Comparing 3 Different Pressure Tank Designs

However, there is always the possibility that your tank is an old model, which means there will be no replacement bladders available in the market. Additionally, if you have an old system, investing in a new one may be a smarter decision, as the price of a new bladder can be as high as $300.

Bladder Tank vs. Pressure Tank: What are the Differences? (2)

Additionally, since replacing a bladder is not an easy task and may require the services of a professional plumber, a new tank can also be the most economical step. Of course, you will also need a plumber to install the new tank, but at least it will last longer as it is a brand new system.

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How much does a bladder tank cost?

Depending on where you look, bladder tanks can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500, but they average $500. Traditional pressurized tank systems are less expensive, while membrane systems are more expensive than bladder systems, so bladder tanks can be said to be a middle ground between the two.

How long does a bladder reservoir last?

Typically, a bladder tank will last 5 to 7 years, depending on its use. Since its components are mostly replaceable, you can extend the life of your tank by only investing in problematic parts.

Stainless steel tanks have a slightly longer lifespan because they don't have a bladder to damage, but ultimately it dependshow well you keep them. Membrane pressure tanks last longer because they are made of high-quality materials.

(Video) Well Pressure Tank: How it Works and How a Tank Gets Waterlogged

There are tricks used in creating a bladder reservoir to extend its life. For example, the tank's ability to hold a significant amount of water allows fewer pumps to be used and the tank to run.

The placement of the tank also plays an important role in its life expectancy. For example, a well-grounded system can withstand less than a home pressure bladder tank.

A pressure vessel used outdoors will always degrade more quickly due to the accumulation of minerals and contaminants which can damage the pressure vessel over time.

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In short, bladder tanks are better than standard stainless steel tanks.

The former do not use the contact of air with water to create pressure. Instead, a balloon called a bladder applies pressure.

This difference in design makes bladder tanks more efficient and compact than stainless steel tanks. In addition, they completely eliminate the possibility of overflow, their corroded parts do not come into contact with water and corrode more slowly.

(Video) How long should a pressure tank last?

A bladder tank can last 5 to 7 years, but since you have a new system, you can replace the bladder and the inside of the tank, which will extend the life of the system. With stainless steel systems, this is simply not possible.


Bladder Tank vs. Pressure Tank: What are the Differences? ›

The biggest difference between a pressure tank and a bladder tank is design: a normal stainless steel pressure tank uses compressed air to send water out of the tank, while a bladder pressure tank uses a rubber diaphragm to separate the water from the tank.

What is the difference between a diaphragm and a bladder pressure tank? ›

A bladder tank contains a vinyl tank inside it. A bladder tank can be replaced as and when required. On the other hand, a diaphragm tank contains a rubber flat diaphragm, a butyl tank or a vinyl tank that is mounted on it. The diaphragm is kept attached in the internal area of the tank.

What is the difference between a pressure tank and a water tank? ›

A water storage tank holds clean water from your reverse osmosis system or other filter systems until you're ready to use it. Pressurized storage tanks force water out on demand, while atmospheric tanks require a booster pump to supply pressure.

What are the advantages of bladder tanks? ›

The advantages are many and compared to conventional modular tanks, bladder tanks are easy to install, cheap, and can be transported to the remotest of locations with comparative ease.

What is the disadvantage of bladder tank? ›

The water never touches the well walls, so the tank does not corrode. Although the tank has a long life, the bladders must be replaced. Fixed-bladder tanks do not allow for the replacement of bladders alone, and the entire tank must be replaced if your bladder breaks.

Can you replace the bladder in a water pressure tank? ›

Such pressure tanks are convenient and useful to install in systems with water without mechanical impurities, as it significantly prolongs the life of any pressure tank. Bladders are replaceable in all cases, and if they are damaged, it is not necessary to replace the entire tank.

Can pressure tank work without a bladder? ›

Steel Water Pressure Tanks, Non-Bladder Design

Bladder-less or "non-bladder" or traditional water pressure tanks may be made of steel, composite, or fiberglass, but in all cases the tank does not use an internal bladder to keep water and air separate.

Is a bladder tank a pressure tank? ›

There are three types of pressure tanks: standard stainless steel tanks, bladder tanks, and diaphragm tanks. Diaphragm tanks are still a novelty and have seen little use as of yet, but that's not the case with stainless steel and bladder tanks.

What are the three types of pressure tanks? ›

This can ensure a long life span for your pump. The main types of well pressure tanks are diaphragm pressure tanks, bladder pressure tanks, and air-over-water pressure tanks.

What are the disadvantages of a pressure tank? ›

The disadvantage may be the need to check the overpressure in the vessel regularly, due to the possibility of air leakage. In the event of a leak, the air in the vessel would be reduced, which would switch the pump more often and more water would flow into the bladder. This would create a risk of the bladder tearing.

Which is better pressure tank or bladder tank? ›

The modern bladder-based pressure tank is the favored choice because it's more efficient and durable than a standard steel pressure tank, and it requires less maintenance and can be installed in locations with limited space.

How long does a bladder tank last well? ›

A well pressure tank can last from five to 15 years, as long as yours is well maintained. Annual maintenance on your well system is the best way to ensure the drinking water is safe and all your well components—including the well pump and storage tank—last as long as possible.

What is the average size pressure tank for a house? ›

Most residential pressure tanks come in 5 sizes. Roughly, 20, 30, 50, 60 and 80 gallons. What most people don't realize is that pressure tanks don't hold that much water. A general guideline is that 1/3 of the tank holds water and the rest is air.

Can a bladder tank get waterlogged? ›

If your tank is waterlogged, that means that there is too much water and too little air in the tank. The rubber bladder inside the tank expands and contracts to keep water and air separate inside the tank. When this bladder ruptures, the water and air are no longer kept separate, and the pressure inside the tank drops.

What is the safest water tank to use? ›

Stainless steel holds the ability to resist oxidation by water or other biocides. Therefore in comparison to plastic or concrete storage tanks, it assures safe and pure water to the customers. Stainless steel water tanks have high resistance to corrosion or chemical contamination.

What is the healthiest water tank? ›

Concrete tanks have historically been considered to produce superior quality drinking water because the great thermal mass of the tank provides a stable water temperature. This means less warm spots, and therefore less algal blooms.

What is a diaphragm pressure tank used for? ›

Diaphragm tanks are commonly used on the discharge manifold to provide water storage for the system in very low flow situations. It decreases the running time of the booster pumps, thereby making the system more energy effective.

What type of pressure tank is best? ›

Fiberglass - Fiberglass tanks offer an alternative to steel tanks in that they're resistant to rust and use the full drawdown capacity due to their lack of an internal diaphragm. They're also easier to install and lighter in weight but more expensive than steel tanks.


1. How to tell if you got a bad well pressure tank
(Rain Brothers LLC)
2. How Does My Private Well Pressure Tank Work?
3. How To Select A Water Well Pressure Tank
4. How to Size a Well Pressure Tank
(Fresh Water Systems)
5. Pressure Tank: Operation and Components
(R.C. Worst & Co., Inc.)
6. Well Water Pressure, Pumps & Tanks - How It Works
(Silver Cymbal)


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