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Best Rain Barrels

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 24 Models Considered
  • 74 Hours Researched
  • 7 Experts Interviewed
  • 113 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for the best rain barrels

    Last Updated July 2018

    Our planetary resources aren't unlimited, so buying a rain barrel is one of the many little steps you can take to help conserve water and protect the environment.

    Rain barrels collect rainwater that runs off your roof and through your gutters. You can use this water to saturate your garden, wash your car, and so on. Some states even permit the use of rain barrel water for greywater purposes.

    Choosing to collect rainwater might be an easy decision, but finding the right rain barrel for your needs isn't so straightforward. The market is saturated with hundreds of rain barrels of various shapes, sizes, and materials. At BestReviews, we're here to help you wade through the choices.

    The matrix above contains our top five rain barrel picks. If you need more information about rain barrels and how to find the right one for you, please check out the rest of this shopping guide.

    If you regularly use a hose – or even a watering can – you might be surprised at how much water you use. About 40% of the average household's water supply is spent on lawns and gardens.

    Why buy a rain barrel?

    If you're not quite convinced yet, here are some more reasons why you might want to buy a rain barrel.

    • A rain barrel prevents water from entering storm drains, thereby decreasing the risk of flooding.

    • Collecting rainwater benefits the environment, as our earthly resources are limited.

    • Rain barrels allow you to direct overflow where you want it to go. And let’s face it, nobody wants rainwater seeping into their home’s foundation.

    • Since you'll be using less water from your taps, a rain barrel should save you money on your water bills.

    • Rainwater is oxygenated and unchlorinated, which is ideal for plants.

    • Collecting rainwater helps protect rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water from pollution runoff.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    An average garden hose puts out 10 gallons of water – around 160 glasses of drinking water – per minute. With a rain barrel, you can do your bit to conserve water.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Rain barrels aren’t just good for the environment. Collecting rain and using it on your lawn and garden could also help you save money on your water bills.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    All rain barrels should include a proper cover or screen. This addition can go a long way to help prevent curious wildlife from falling into the water and drowning.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    In some states, you can use rain barrel water for “greywater” purposes such as flushing the toilet and crop irrigation.

    Materials

    Plastic

    Today, plastic is by far the most popular rain barrel material. Why is plastic so popular? It’s incredibly strong, durable, and lightweight. At the same time, it costs less to make a plastic rain barrel, and manufacturers can easily mould plastic into a number of shapes. This creates some interesting rain barrel designs.

    Wood

    Traditional wooden rain barrels look quaint and attractive, but unless properly treated, they will eventually rot. If you want the classic look of a wooden barrel with the longevity and convenience of plastic, consider a moulded rain barrel that is made to look like real wood.

     

    Clay or stone

    You can find rain barrels made of stone or clay, but these tend to serve a decorative purpose more than a functional one. That’s not to say you couldn’t collect water in a clay or stone barrel, of course.

    Because of their weight, clay and stone barrels are often smaller than rain barrels made of other materials. Another consequence of their weight is that they're harder to move from one location to another. Therefore, once in place, a clay or stone rain barrel is likely to remain there for years to come.

    Unless you have a particular aversion to using a plastic rain barrel, we highly recommend this material, as it's light, durable, and long-lasting.

    Considerations

    Capacity

    The average rain barrel for home use has a capacity of somewhere between 40 and 80 gallons. Consider how much water you’d like to collect at one time and how often/how much it rains in your area.

    Appearance

    Some people don’t care what their rain barrel looks like; others have a particular aesthetic in mind. As you peruse your choices, you'll find everything from plain-looking rain barrels to highly decorated rain barrels which may even sport a planter on top.

    Spigot

    The spigot is another word for the tap at the bottom of the barrel where you get the water out. In most cases, it's possible to attach a garden hose to the spigot.

    Overflow

    If it rains a lot, your rain barrel may completely fill and begin to overflow.

    This is where an overflow hose comes in handy. If you don't have an overflow hose to direct the water to an appropriate location, the excess spills out over the top. Since most people keep their rain barrels against an outer wall of their house (to collect water from the drainpipe), this overflow could seep into your foundation and cause damage. It could even flood your basement, if you have one.

    Cover or screen

    A rain barrel screen prevents debris and other contaminants, like insect larvae, from infiltrating your water.

    Some rain barrels are completely covered, apart from a hole where you can attach your drain pipe. Others have a fine mesh screen that keeps out all but the tiniest insects and bits of dust and detritus.

    EXPERT TIP

    The pain of watching your garden die during a hosepipe ban is immense. To keep your garden green all year long, collect enough rainwater during the wetter months.


    Luke  | Landscaping Professional
    EXPERT TIP

    You may wish to consider a rain barrel with a brass spigot. Brass spigots hold their own quite well, but plastic spigots can crack and break.


    Luke  | Landscaping Professional
    EXPERT TIP

    Metal rain barrels have fallen out of favor. The wrong kinds of metal, when not properly treated, can rust. A metal rain barrel can also be heavy, bulky, and difficult to move.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Rain barrel prices

    Rain barrels vary in price depending on size, design, and appearance.

    You're unlikely to find a quality rain barrel for less than around $80. Products that hover at this price point perform their job well, but they often look quite basic. 

    For roughly $100 to $150, you can get a rain barrel that's a step above the most basic level. Many of these products are attractive options that consumers are proud to display.

    Rain barrels come in all kinds of designs, so if you’re particular about the items that sit beside your home, choose one that you love. But be sure to pick one that's functional as well as attractive.

    FAQ

    Q. What if I need a rain barrel of a larger capacity?

    A. If you do a lot of gardening or have other uses for large amounts of rainwater, you might find even the largest of our top picks are insufficient to meet your needs.

    Those who need a larger capacity can either look for an industrial-sized rain barrel or chain several average-sized rain barrels together with linking hoses. For most consumers, this is the most practical solution.

    Q. Is rain barrel water safe to drink?

    A. No. The water collected in a rain barrel contains a variety of bacteria, debris, and pollutants. It’s not safe to drink as is.

    Mind you, it could be made safe to drink with some pretty intensive treating and filtering. However, we don’t recommend this unless you know exactly what you are doing.

    Q. How long will it take to fill a rain barrel?

    A. If placed under a drainpipe so it gets the runoff from your roof, a 60-gallon rain barrel can fill up over the course of an average rainstorm. So, if you live in a wet area, you could easily make use of multiple rain barrels.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor