Do you live in Tornado Alley? We sure hope you have a basement, but if your home has no subterranean rooms, you’re in the right place. Weather disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more intense, as the climate changes. It’s a great time to invest in a disaster shelter, whether it’s underground or above-ground.
There are a lot of disaster shelters out there, so we’ve collected and ranked our favorites to make it easy for you to compare their attributes before making your final choice.
This guide will:
- Walk you through the four best disaster shelter options to consider (for all budgets!)
- Tell you the honest answer about who needs disaster shelters and why
- Help you understand how to select the best disaster shelter for your needs
If you’re in a hurry, all four are linked below, or you can scroll down for the full details. Need more info before making a decision? Check out the FAQ!
Our top picks for disaster shelters for you:
- Survive A Storm – Extreme Above Ground, Safety/Emergency Shelter
- Swisher SR84X039G ESP Safety Shelter
- Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter
- GarageCube Below Ground Tornado Shelter
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Survive-A-Storm is an advanced above ground safety and emergency shelter designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, and other emergencies. Made with very durable materials, it also comes with various safety features. Overall, it’s a hit.
Price: Starts at $5,300
Dimensions: Start at 4′ x 4′ (fits 5 people)
What we liked:
- Has an NIJ Level 2A ballistics rating, thus providing bulletproof protection.
- Offers near absolute protection against 250 MPH EF5 tornado winds.
- Carries the National Storm Shelter Association seal. In a word, golden.
- Includes a locking bench seat to provide secure storage for emergency supplies and valuables. This also functions as seating inside the shelter.
- Features a baked-on powder coated finish that resists rust and corrosion.
- Boasts a 1/4″ steel body, evidently the heaviest in the industry. Thus, it provides the ultimate protection in an EF-5 tornado.
The Survive-A-Storm – Extreme Above Ground, Safety/Emergency Shelter is an excellent investment for those who value safety, without compromising convenience and accessibility during emergencies. Get this big-body storm shelter into your life!
- Survive-A-Storm Shelter installation manual.
- Survive-A-Storm Shelter product documentation.
- Survive-A-Storm safety information.
The Swisher SR84X039G ESP Safety Shelter is a state-of-the-art above-ground emergency shelter that features robust construction and offers reliable refuge during disasters and catastrophes. It’s a little bit bigger than our top pick, so it’s good for larger families that don’t want to dig a hole.
Dimensions: 7’3″ x 3’6″ (fits 6 people)
What we liked:
- The Swisher Safety Shelter comes with a bolt-together design which ensures easy construction and relocation when needed.
- Comes with emergency panels for quick and easy exit during emergencies.
- The sliding door design ensures that it can be opened even when blocked by debris. This also reduces the amount of space needed for use.
- Has shielded air vents, i.e. it provides uninterrupted airflow while preventing debris from entering.
- The shelter has a residential capacity of up to six people.
The Swisher SR84X039G ESP Safety Shelter is an innovative option for those seeking maximum protection against natural disasters. Its advanced features like double-wall construction and reinforced doors offer unmatched peace of mind. A great pick at a slightly higher price point. Also, we love a pocket door!
- Swisher SR84X039G ESP Safety Shelter user manual.
- Swisher SR84X039G ESP Safety Shelter product information.
The Survive-A-Storm Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter is a compact and innovative shelter designed to provide maximum disaster protection, especially against tornadoes. Its unique round shape and advanced construction are complemented by a comfortable interior for housing up to 4 people. Also a cylinder is a strong shape, but you might need a little more space to accommodate it!
Dimensions: 5′ x 5′ (fits 4 people)
What we liked:
- The Twister Pod Max tornado shelter, a popular above-ground shelter, is EF5 rated for 250+MPH winds.
- It has a powder-coated finish for lasting durability.
- The shelter is FEMA rated and can house up to 6 occupants.
- The installation process is quick and takes even less than an hour without any professional assistance.
- It is constructed of 3/16″ steel with 5.4-pound channel reinforcements.
- Offers several security features like a triple-locking, single-lever latching mechanism that comes with a commercial-grade door handle for extra safety.
- The bench seating comes included for safe and comfortable seating inside the shelter.
- Resistant to rust and corrosion due to its baked-on powder-coated finish.
- Has an overhead vent for adequate ventilation and a comfortable standing option for occupants.
- A conduit connection is provided to add electricity/phone services to the shelter.
With its advanced construction and the unique circular design, the Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter provides exceptional safety and comfort for tornadoes. This makes it an ideal investment for homeowners or businesses located in tornado-prone areas. Round walls make this one of the most aerodynamic shelters available, which could count for a lot when the winds are strong!
Note: The Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter has not been rated on Amazon yet.
- Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter installation manual.
- Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter product documentation.
- Twister Pod Max Tornado Shelter safety information.
The Survive-A-Storm GarageCube Below Ground Tornado Shelter is a game-changer shelter designed to provide discreet and convenient access to safety during an emergency. While this one requires you to dig a hole, which incurs additional cost, it is also the biggest!
Dimensions: 10′ x 4′ (fits 10 people)
What we liked:
- The GarageCube underground storm shelter is a space-saving solution for families who don’t want to displace valuable garage space.
- The shelter mounts flush with the garage floor and features a 1/4-inch thick steel lid that can withstand the weight of a vehicle.
- Some customers have even used the shelter as a mechanics pit for working on their vehicles or changing their oil. Talk about multitasking.
- The shelter includes removable stair treads, an oversized lid, and a powder-coated finish for durability.
- It also features a locking bench seat for 10 occupants for added security and convenience.
The GarageCube Below Ground Tornado Shelter is an excellent choice for those who don’t want to compromise on discretion or convenience in their search for optimal safety. This beneath the garage floor disaster shelter ensures privacy along with top-notch protection. If you opt for this one, make sure it’s located in a place that’s always accessible. Don’t park your car on top of your disaster shelter!
Note: Garage Cube Below Ground Tornado Shelter has not been rated on Amazon yet.
- Garage Cube Below Ground Tornado Shelter installation manual.
- Garage Cube Below Ground Tornado Shelter product documentation.
- Garage Cube Below Ground Tornado Shelter safety information.
Do I really need a disaster shelter?
In the event of a disaster, a disaster shelter can mean the difference between life and death.
Not convinced how?
The tornado outbreak in Oklahoma in May 2013 caused over 40 fatalities and destroyed more than 1,200 homes.
Brain Todd, however, could save himself and his family.
With a disaster shelter that he had built in his home.
Watch the following video by CNN to see how the shelter saved 12 lives.
That should give you a fair idea about what a disaster can do for you when the situation arises.
Especially if you live in areas prone to natural disasters or are concerned about potential man-made disasters such as nuclear war or terrorist attacks, a disaster shelter is a must.
What if you live in an area that is not considered high risk for disasters?
A disaster shelter can still be a wise investment.
It can serve as a backup plan in case of unexpected emergencies.
It can become a place to store emergency supplies.
And above all, it can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that you and your loved ones have a secure and safe place to go during an emergency.
But, wait before you pick the first disaster shelter you find on the Internet.
All disaster shelters are not built alike. Choosing the right one matters.
It is paramount to ensure the safety and survival of individuals during calamitous events. And you can avoid your disaster from spelling a harrowing tale of tragedy and loss for you by understanding the various types of disaster shelters and knowing the right option for your needs.
Types of Disaster Shelters
- Underground shelters:
- Built underground… as mentioned above
- Can provide protection from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
- Can include amenities such as air filtration systems, backup generators, and emergency supplies.
- Above-ground shelters:
- Built above ground… as mentioned above
- Used for protection against hurricanes or other severe storms.
- May include features such as ventilation systems, backup power, and communication devices.
- Container shelters:
- Modified shipping containers that can be converted into disaster shelters.
- Usually made of steel
- Can be customized to include features such as ventilation, insulation, and emergency supplies.
- Personal safe rooms:
- Small, private shelters that can be installed in homes, garages, or underground.
- Offer protection against natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
- Can be customized to fit the needs and budget of individuals or families.
- Mobile shelters:
- Portable shelters that can be moved from one location to another in the event of an emergency.
- Used for disaster relief efforts
- Can be quickly deployed to provide temporary shelter
When choosing a disaster shelter to purchase, it’s important to consider factors such as the type of disaster most likely to occur in your area, the size and features of the shelter, and your budget.
We hope our guide helps you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a disaster shelter for your home.