If there are two things, a garden needs to survive, its water and sunlight. While sunlight isn’t usually a problem, especially in the summer, water can be a much less consistent natural resource. In some counties or climates, it might only rain once or twice every two weeks on average, and making up the difference with water from your mains supply can drastically increase the amount of water you’re actually using.
Rain barrels are probably the best way to ensure that you’ve always got a supply of water on hand to keep your garden thriving. They’re simple, easy to use, and come in a variety of designs that each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Below are ten of the best we could find, as well as some reasons that they might be perfect for your garden.
View the Best Rain Barrel, Below.
- Good Ideas RW50-OAK Rain Barrel
- FCMP Outdoor RC4000-BRN Catcher
- Goplus Portable Rain Barrel Water Collector
- Good Ideas Imp-L50-Blk Palm Rain Barrel
- Enviro World EWC-10 FreeGarden Rain Barrel
- Good Ideas IMP-N50-DBR Nantucket Rain Saver
- Algreen Products Cascata Rain Barrel
- Good Ideas Rwurn-KHA Rain Wizard
- RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Barrel
- Mirainbarrel Upcycled Rain Barrel
1. Good Ideas RW50-OAK Rain Barrel
This 50-gallon rain barrel is incredibly durable, able to take a lot of punishment from both physical impacts and weather damage without showing signs of wear and tear. Despite having a wood-grain texture, it's far stronger than a natural wooden barrel and won't rot or break down easily over time when it's full of water. A simple, easy-to-use spigot at the very bottom of the barrel allows you to fill up hoses or buckets in seconds, especially when the barrel is completely full.
The shape of this rain barrel has been designed so that it can attach to your wall directly, using a mesh-based overflow hole that can leak out excess water without letting debris clog up the spigot. This also stops the water from splashing back against your home’s walls, avoiding problems with long-term water damage and mold.
Simple, durable and easy to use, this rain barrel is a much stronger and more reliable alternative to barrels made of natural wood while still keeping their trademark grain aesthetic.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. FCMP Outdoor RC4000-BRN Catcher
The large, stable design of this rain barrel makes it both safe and easy to set up, with no sharp edges that can harm children or pets playing nearby. The connecting spigots on the back of the mounting point can be used to connect multiple copies of the barrel, chaining them together into one much larger water storage tool. However, even if you only have one, the built-in debris screen and simple shut-off valve add an extra level of convenience over a conventional rain barrel.
Unlike a lot of water storage solutions, this model comes with a 40-inch hose as standard, so you won’t need to struggle with connecting one up to a spigot. If the barrel starts to overflow, it’ll simply fall back down behind the storage area and flow out from the bottom in a controlled, direct path.
This rain barrel combines a lot of great safety features with excellent storage capacity, putting them both into a very sleek and easy-to-install design.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Goplus Portable Rain Barrel Water Collector
This portable rain barrel balances a high capacity with a lightweight, making it ridiculously easy to set up and install almost anywhere. The design of the barrel using adjustable knobs to tighten and loosen the outer layer, means that you can easily tighten the materials together if you're seeing leaks or flow problems. Not only that, but the mesh cloth used for most of its body is almost entirely resistant to corrosion and won't break easily.
The outside of the barrel uses two outlets – an overflow pipe at the very top, which can connect to another barrel if needed, and a spigot at the bottom that can be used to link hoses directly to the water supply for ease of use.
This rain barrel is ridiculously lightweight, making it a much simpler option than nearly any other kind of water storage solution, especially if it’s meant to be temporary.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Good Ideas Imp-L50-Blk Palm Rain Barrel
This rain barrel tries to do something different with its appearance, looking more like a planter than a conventional wooden storage barrel. The self-draining top has a false palm tree that can blend in with a range of other plants, while the lower section mimics the designs of some more exotic plant pots or planters, allowing it to double as a realistic decorative piece.
The design has two spigots, one on the bottom and one halfway up the barrel, which allows for extra versatility when it comes to using the water around your garden. This, combined with its 50-gallon capacity and a well-designed overflow system, makes this rain barrel ideal for gardens that need careful water management to stay healthy, especially when a full-sized wooden barrel would stand out from the way you’ve designed and arranged all your garden foliage.
Integrating a rain barrel into the overall aesthetic of your garden can be tricky, but this barrel manages to disguise its appearance without sacrificing its durability and reliability.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Enviro World EWC-10 FreeGarden Rain Barrel
This large, sleek rain barrel combines high capacity with a simple, easy-to-understand design that tries to use space as efficiently as possible, focusing on function over design. The injection-molded components are built to stay clean and damage-free for as long as possible, regardless of the climate or environment you’re using it in, and the square back means that it can be mounted to a wall without needing to perch it on anything.
The all-size spigot near the bottom of this rain barrel allows nearly any kind of hose or tool to be hooked up to it, but there’s still enough space to put a bucket or watering can underneath and fill it directly. Either way, thanks to the lighter-than-average weight, it’s not hard to move around once it’s empty.
Not every homeowner cares about aesthetics, and this barrel's focus on efficiency and practicality makes it an excellent option for people who value function over form.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Good Ideas IMP-N50-DBR Nantucket Rain Saver
This curved, vase-like rain barrel uses a clever wicker finish that copies the style of many other garden decorations and flower holders, letting it blend into most garden designs while still being completely watertight and surprisingly durable. Despite having a deep top that you can use as a planter or holder for other decorations, the barrel can still hold a respectable 50 gallons of water, with a mesh screen keeping out any debris that could contaminate it.
With two spigot locations – one at the bottom and one in the middle – you can use the same water supply for a variety of different tools, or even use them together to fill something up twice as fast. Both are made of brass, and won’t rust away over time or snap off due to overuse.
The mock wicker design of this rain barrel makes it an excellent choice for people who want to match it with their other decorations, and since it doubles as a planter, it can do more than just collect water.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Algreen Products Cascata Rain Barrel
This terracotta-style rain barrel has a very unconventional design that makes it look more like a smooth vase than a storage solution and uses a simple design that's able to store a lot of water in a small space. At 65 gallons, its total water capacity is much higher than other small barrels, mainly because it's almost entirely empty aside from the planter-style top area. The single durable spigot at the front lets you drain out water quickly and easily, without needing to attach a hose.
The walls of the barrel are double-layered to increase its strength, while also minimizing the chance of a leak getting all the way through. However, if you need to modify it yourself, you can easily drill in more drainage holes or add some mounting points without ruining the entire system.
The strength and capacity of this barrel make it extremely practical, but it’s still able to retain a unique and pleasant visual design without feeling lacking in any area.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Good Ideas Rwurn-KHA Rain Wizard
This urn-like rain barrel is built to be as ornamental as possible without becoming impractical, using a very classy design and color that can blend in with a lot of other garden decorations and house styles. A respectable 65-gallon capacity means that it won't run out of water quickly once filled up, and the self-draining top can be used as a planter or stand for a range of different garden ornaments.
Despite its rounded shape, the rear of the urn is flat, and can easily be placed on (or mounted against) a solid surface to stop it from tipping over on uneven ground. Thanks to the forward-facing overflow channel, you won’t need to worry about water dripping onto the wall behind it, preventing unwanted flooding or rotting.
This barrel is another great mixture of style and practicality, blending with other decorations well but still acting as an effective rainwater storage tool.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Barrel
This 50-gallon oak-style rain barrel is designed to look and feel like wood without keeping any of the drawbacks. Rotting, insect nests and splinters are a complete non-issue thanks to the faux-wood outer surface, and the aluminum mesh screen keeps debris and insects out of the supply, giving you much cleaner water to use in your garden. The molded stand allows it to raise up to reach higher drainpipes, making it easier to catch water directly without needing to balance the barrel on an unstable object.
Each barrel uses a single high-quality brass spigot that doesn’t rust easily, and you’ll likely never have to get it repaired or replaced, even if you use the barrel consistently. The barrel’s flat back lets you push it up against a solid surface, so you won’t have an entire barrel sticking out awkwardly in smaller gardens.
If you want an authentic-looking wooden barrel, but don't want to deal with the downsides of using real wood, this may be one of the best rain barrel designs on the market.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Mirainbarrel Upcycled Rain Barrel
This upcycled rain barrel is very environmentally-friendly and is made out of an old food-grade barrel that's been modified with a few custom extras. The inner layer is sealed with silicone caulk, making it fully waterproof and preventing leaks from all but the most severe types of damage.
Thanks to the classic twist-based lid, it’s easy to open up your barrel and check the current water level, and the brass overflow valve means that it won’t start flooding the top surface when it’s too full. The spigot at the bottom can accept all conventional hose types, but you can also use it to fill up a watering can or bucket without needing to attach anything at all.
If you care about the environment, this could be one of the best water barrels available, especially since it re-uses existing materials in a constructive way.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Rain Barrel Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the perfect rain barrel for your garden might seem like a relatively simple job, but there’s actually a lot to consider when it comes time to make a purchase. If you’re not familiar with your garden and the plants in it, you could end up accidentally setting up a barrel that floods a certain area when it overflows, or one that doesn’t contain enough water to cover your entire garden properly.
The Overflow System
One of the biggest problems with water barrels is their tendency to overflow quite often, especially in wetter climates. The average roof will catch hundreds of gallons of water in a single day, and it’s almost impossible to collect it all unless you have a huge tank that it can all pool into. The less storage space you have, the faster it will fill up: this can lead to huge problems with the health of your garden if the barrel is placed in a bad spot.
Remember that the water has to go somewhere, and it’ll almost always flow downhill if it’s on a slope. If you can’t link up a second barrel or tank to hold excess water, and you’re on a sloped garden, it’ll likely flow down to the lower section of your garden and turn the grass into mud. In a similar vein, if it flows into an area full of plants, they could easily drown and die without any way of saving them.
Not all water barrels will expel excess water in the same way, though. Some will loop back around the front and dispense it from the bottom, whereas others will have an extra valve at the top that leaves it at the side. Specific models might be able to link up to one another, and these overflow valves might be able to mount garden hoses – these can completely change the way it’ll react to heavy rainfall, so make sure you choose something that’s appropriate for your garden layout and shape.
It’s difficult to repair damage to a watertight container, so leaks and cracks render a rain barrel completely useless if you’re not able to block it up somehow. The weaker the barrel’s outer surface is, the easier it can be to damage it, especially if it falls over or gets hit by a strong impact.
However, remember that higher durability often requires extra weight, and there will be some cases where you’ll need to sacrifice one in favor of the other. This can be an important decision if you’re planning on moving the barrel around a lot or keeping it on a raised surface since it’ll only get heavier as it fills with water – it’s easy to misjudge how much it can weigh.
Installing the barrel can also be difficult if it’s heavy, especially if you’re an older gardener who might need some help setting it up. Certain models are meant to be placed up against walls, and mounting them properly can take much longer – depending on how uneven the surface is, you might even need to get a second person to hold it in place.
While it might seem like a good idea to go for the largest size of rain barrel available, it’s not always the best idea, especially if you don’t actually need it. In hotter climates with less rain, it’s definitely worth investing in more water storage space, but a wetter climate doesn’t have as much need for extra water unless you’ve got a specific reason to keep a personal supply.
The amount of water you’re holding can also feedback into issues with the durability of the barrel – a crack in a barrel holding sixty gallons of water will be more destructive than one holding fifty, and if it rains often enough to keep the rain barrel always topped up and overflowing, you’re running the risk of something eventually breaking a hole in the outer shell and leaking a large amount of water into your garden.
The inverse can also be a problem – a huge barrel in a climate with very little rain will take a long time to fill up, but once it’s full, you’ll struggle to move it around due to the added weight and risk of it spilling everywhere.
Always try to go for a size and capacity that suits your needs, and upgrade or downgrade as necessary. Unless you’ve planned ahead, you won’t know how quickly the barrel will fill compared to how often you’ll use it, and there’s no point using up space to hold water that you won’t use.
Remember that most barrels use regular spigots, which can be accidentally turned on if they’re kicked or bashed. Try to keep them pointed away from paths or high-traffic areas of the garden so that nobody accidentally opens it.
Did you know?
You don’t necessarily have to keep your barrel right next to a roof drain. If you’re gathering water too fast to use it properly, move it away from the drain and out into the rain. It’ll still fill, but much slower, and you won’t need to clean up any overflow-related spills.