Best Rain Barrels – The Essential Buyer’s Guide

Collecting rainwater either into a rain barrel or diverting it into a water garden, or to irrigate the garden or green house is a great way to conserve energy and water. As such, we are happy to present to you some of the best rain barrels for the money.

best rain barrels

These lovely rain barrels will enhance your landscape along with saving water. They are easy to install and implement.

Best Rain Barrels 2017

If you live in a desert or mountainous region where there are often drought conditions, having access to additional water just makes sense.

While shopping for rain barrels for sale, it is important—if you live in a city—to check out whether there are city codes that prevent the use of rain barrels. After all, there are laws in several U.S. states that prohibit one from collecting rain water.

If there are no restrictions, then that’s awesome because collecting rainwater into a rain barrel provides the water for the kitchen garden, herbs and flowers you have growing near your home.

You can also use the water to wash your car even when everyone else has restricted access to water.

Product Name

Brand

Capacity

Weight

Dimensions

Cascata Rain Barrel

Algreen

65 Gallons

23 Pounds

24 x 24 x 46 inches

RW40-KHA Rain Wizard Rain Barrel

Good Ideas

40 Gallons

23 Pounds

28.2 x 22 x 21.5 inches

Brown Rain Catcher

Achla

50 Gallons

17.5 Pounds

32 x 23 x 16 inches

Strawberry Pot Rain Barrel

The Plastic Professionals

40 Gallons

20 Pounds

23.5 x 29.5 x 23.5 inches

Salsa Rain Barrel System with DiverterPro

Fiskars

58 Gallons

20 Pounds

24 x 26.3 x 39.5 inches

GRAY Rain Barrel

Upcycle

55 Gallons

23 Pounds

38 x 23 x 23 inches

Rain Barrel Rain Station

The Rain Barrel Company

45 Gallons

17.5 Pounds

33.5 x 23.5 x 23.5 inches

RB50D Rain Barrel

Suncast

50 Gallons

17 Pounds

29 x 29 x 26 inches

Green Rain Barrel

Achla

54 Gallons

19 Pounds

32 x 24 x 24 inches

Cascata Rain Barrel by Algreen (65 Gallons)

the cascata barrel by Algreen

First up on the list is the Cascata Rain Barrel Water which is constructed out of molded plastic. The plastic material is strong and we like the fact that it doesn’t seem to be prone to cracking or fading.

To further boost its toughness, the manufacturer was wise enough to double-walled the unit. So when it comes to durability, you likely have nothing to worry about.

It comes with a corrosion proof screen guard and a removable crown planter— meaning you can put a plant on top so it doesn’t just look like an empty pot. Plus, it has a real quality brass spigot and a hook to hang your garden hose.

We wouldn’t consider getting a rain barrel that lacks a spigot and hose attachment at the bottom. A functional spigot makes getting to your collected rainwater so much easier.

Instead of having to slop around in your rain barrel (and this gets quite messy once you’re near the bottom of the barrel, not to mention the waste from all the spillage) you can simply flip the spigot and collect water into a watering can, or use a hose to water your plants directly from the barrel.

Now, this unit is really attractive. In fact, it is one of the most attractive rain barrels out there. It looks like a large terra cotta planter and as mentioned, you can put your beautiful flowering plant right in it. It is also very easy to assemble.

We don’t like the hose that comes with the barrel. The quality isn’t great. Another negative thing is that, while it has an overflow spout, this does not come with a hose.

Even if there was a hose available, the spigot is not large enough to handle a heavy downpour and the resultant overflow. This is easily remedied however, by using a rain barrel diverter which can be purchased separately.

All in all, this is a really beautiful and well-constructed product. It’s one of the better rain barrels on the market today, though the price is a little on the high side.

Pros

  • Awesome durability
  • The top can be taken off and can function as a planter
  • Nice, functional spigot located near the bottom of the barrel
  • Installation is a breeze
  • Very good capacity—the largest compared to other best rain barrels featured on this page
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous in person—highly appealing design, shape and color

Cons

  • Quality of the supplied hose is below average
  • It overflows so you might want to get a diverter kit which is sold separately
  • Quite expensive

RW40-KHA Rain Wizard Rain Barrel 40-Gallon, Khaki by Good Ideas

RW40-KHA Rain Wizard by Good Ideas

This 40-gallon rain barrel by Good Ideas is pretty much what we expected. It’s a highly solid barrel that’s easy to get set up and looks great.

We prop it against our house wall and it didn’t look out of place at all. The khaki color helps because if we had selected the green one, that would’ve look slightly off against the color of our wall.

But the green one still looks nice though, and would be ideal if it is set within a lush green garden. By the way, the barrel comes in a few other colors. Apart from khaki and green, there’s black, oak, and terra cotta.

If you buy multiple barrels, you can actually link them together via a linking kit which is sold separately. This will greatly increase your rain water storage capacity.

From the image, the barrel looks like it’s made out of wood, but in reality it’s actually plastic. The back portion is shaped flat so you can place it against the wall, and the barrel will cuddle the wall. It doesn’t stick out so that’s pretty nice.

The barrel is shipped together with a well-made brass spigot along with a roll of plumbing tape. The spigot is connected at the bottom of the barrel and it fits our hose perfectly.

You’ll find those items within the barrel, but first, you need to remove the small grated screen top using a screwdriver because it’s held down by 4 screws.

It’s really too bad the barrel doesn’t have a removable lid. A removable-top barrel would’ve been nice, and the manufacturer might want to improve the overflow hole.

Spout position is a bit on the high side so you won’t be able to drain the barrel completely. Overall though, the RW40-KHA rain barrel is a good product.

The construction quality is good, the spigot hasn’t leaked (so far—1 year+), and the capacity is quite decent (might want to get two of these though).

Pros

  • Plastic barrel is solidly constructed
  • Looks terrific, particularly its fine wood grain texture appearance
  • Flat back enables you to place the barrel fully flushed against the wall
  • Comes with a real fine quality brass spigot

Cons

  • Lid isn’t removable
  • Need a more effective overflow hole
  • Poor positioning of the spigot means some excess water will always remain at the bottom of the barrel

Brown Rain Catcher by Achla - 50 Gallons

the Brown Rain Catcher barrel

This rather unique looking plastic rain barrel was a good buy for us a few years ago, thanks to its winning combination of durability, non-leaky hose connection as well as attractive shape and design. It’s still doing fine by the way.

The Brown Rain Catcher also happens to be the first rectangle-shaped rain barrel we bought. This type of shape is actually preferred by some people because it can be positioned right up against the wall, which saves a bit of space and it won’t stick out like traditional round-shaped rain barrels.

We like the fairly sizeable mesh screen door located at the top of the barrel. When it rains, water flows via the downspout and smoothly goes right through the mesh. Plus, you can even remove that mesh screen door, thus enabling you to easily clean out debris that’s stuck to the mesh.

Unlike the RW40-KHA, rain water can be completely emptied because the outflow drainage is located at the most bottom part of the barrel. The barrel comes with a built-in hose that’s about 4 feet in length, though the quality isn’t all that great.

Linking kit for hooking multiple barrels together into a series is available, but it’s quite a chore to set up. The fault lies with the barrel’s linking knobs and there’s one on each side of the barrel.

So to connect a barrel with another one, you’ll need to cut off the knobs on both barrels with a saw. Yes, that’s right—you actually have to saw them off!

Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to saw off those knobs since they are made out of plastic. But still, it would’ve been better if each barrel had side knobs with detachable caps, right?

That would’ve been much easier for us users. If this barrel had those, we wouldn’t hesitate to give it a solid A rating.

Having said that, this is still one of the best rain barrels out there and it deserves at the very least, a B+ rating.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Decent durability
  • Very attractive design
  • Flat-shaped so you can put it right up against the wall
  • Mesh screen door is quite big and is removable
  • Rain water can be emptied all the way to the bottom

Cons

  • Hose quality is not up to mark
  • Linking knobs for hooking up multiple barrels must be sawn off

Strawberry Pot Rain Barrel with 10-inch removable Top Planter by the Plastic Professionals

the strawberry pot planter

Not sure many are aware of its existence because it has a rather distinctive appearance, but the Strawberry Pot is arguably the best rain barrel plus planter ever conceived.

It’s a very smart combination of seven functional planter pockets, dependable rain barrel, plus a unique yet charming design.

The Strawberry Pot is constructed of plastic resin and upon removal from its packaging; we thought the thing like looked like some sort of weird sculpted plastic.

Once we placed it in our garden with the plants and everything, wow…it looked so much better! This thing absolutely enhances the look of our garden.

If you have three or four of these strategically placed, your garden will look pretty fantastic. Sadly though, the Strawberry Pot is quite expensive. That’s the only issue we have so far with this rain barrel planter.

It has a total of seven planter pockets, and each pocket even has its own tiny hole for drainage so your plants don’t end up overwatered.

In addition to those holes, there’s a connector hole at the back of the rain barrel planter. That hole is situated next to the downspout access and you can hook up a hose there, which then enables you to direct the flow of excess water to any part of your garden.

The spigot can be found at the most bottom section so it’s able to completely let out captured rain water. Such low positioning of the spigot can make it a little difficult to connect your hose, but the manufacturer was wise enough to make it possible for you to swivel the spigot to the side.

We particularly like the top planter which can be lifted off. It allows you to see if there’s any rain water left in there, and also makes it easy for you to clean the barrel’s interior every now and again.

Those searching for a very fine looking, functional, and durable rain barrel planter should check out the Strawberry Pot. It sure is pricey for a 40-gallon rain barrel, but we think it’s darn well worth every penny.

Pros

  • A 2-in-1 product that works very well
  • Looks good in the garden
  • Each planter pocket has a drainage hole to prevent plant from being overwatered
  • Top planter can be lifted to allow access to rain water

Cons

  • It’s expensive

58 Gallon Salsa Rain Barrel System with DiverterPro by Fiskars

the Salsa Rain Barrel System

If you’re looking for a rain barrel that will test your tool-using skills just a bit, then enjoy the Fiskars 58 Gallon with DiverterPro! Wait, what the heck is a “Divertpro?”

Well, it’s basically a diverter system that keeps the barrel from overflowing. You fix it to your gutter downspout and then you hook it up to the barrel.

Rain water from your downspout will flow into the barrel via the diverter connector. Now as soon as the barrel is fully loaded with water, the diverter will work its magic by directing excess rain water back down the downspout.

Yes, this system is very effective at solving that annoying overflowing issue that has plagued a number of low-quality rain barrels. Be aware that the system is made to fit downspouts that are 2-by-3-inch or 3-by-4-inch downspouts.

This rain barrel looks great in person with its sandstone appearance and top-tier durability. If you take a peek at the interior, you’ll find that it has been painted black and this is obviously done so that growth does not occur.

So what is there to dislike about this barrel? A few minor things must be mentioned. First of all, you’re required to have a bit of experience in handling tools as we said earlier.

In order to install it properly you’ll need a few tools such as a hacksaw, a drill, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a measuring tape, etc. In other words, you need to perform some minor alteration to the barrel as well as your downspout.

Although the instructions are very clear and easy to follow, the installation is still a hassle and may be quite tricky for some.

We wish the spigot wasn’t placed too high. Because of its poor positioning, the barrel is unable to be completely emptied. You’re often left with around maybe 8 to 10 gallons of water at the bottom of the barrel.

Also, the barrel apparently has the tendency to bulge when it’s full, which is a bit of a letdown. Still all in all, this is decent enough barrel and we feel that it exceeds our expectations.

Pros

  • The barrel is sturdy and durable
  • Diverter system works fine for handling overflowing problem
  • The interior is painted black which helps keep growth away
  • Its sandstone finish is really quite attractive

Cons

  • Installation is rather tricky and requires a handful of tools
  • Spigot position is a bit too high resulting in excess water at the bottom which can’t be easily emptied
  • It bulges once filled to the brim

55 Gallon Gray Rain Barrel by Upcycle

upcycle gray rain barrel

We know a couple of folks who really like this barrel because of its solid build and simplicity. This rain barrel by Upcycle is a splendid product that one can easily put together.

The top is removable so you can easily clean things off. Unscrewing the top takes a bit of effort though.

It won’t come off in just 3 or 4 turns. You’d need to turn the top around about a dozen times or so in order to unscrew it.

Also there’s a mesh screen on the top and it is obviously designed to prevent leaves as well as insects from entering the barrel.

A handful of screws are used to keep the mesh screen in place, but we found the spacing between those screws to be quite large enough that tiny debris and dirt were actually able to get into the barrel.

The spigot lies at the bottom portion of the barrel and that’s nice of course since it allows total or near total water drainage.

An overflow valve is included and that’s nice too, but for some reason, the manufacturer made the overflow valve point upwards which causes the hose to kink. That’s a rather odd design flaw.

Another design issue is that the back of the barrel is not flat so you can’t have it placed flush against the wall of your house. This is a very minor issue but we thought you should know just in case.

Overall, this product is as solid as they come, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a decent rain barrel.

Pros

  • Very decent capacity
  • Strong and well-built rain barrel
  • Top can be removed for cleaning
  • It’s easy to set up

Cons

  • Spacing of mesh screen screws may allow tiny debris of dirt and leaves to drop into the barrel
  • Overflow valve pointing upwards can cause hose to kink

Rain Barrel Rain Station by the Rain Barrel Company`

the rain barrel station

It’s difficult to find fault with this wonderfully crafted rain barrel. It’s very sturdy, looks fine, has a pretty decent capacity, and it comes with a flexi-fit connector which you can connect straight to your downspout.

Thanks to the connector, cutting into the gutter isn’t necessary as rain water gets diverted right into the rain barrel.

You’ll need a drill to make a hole that’s large enough to connect the flexi-fit connector to your downspout. Don’t worry, a hole saw for your drill is included with the barrel.

Apart from the hole saw, you’ll find other components as well such as the hose, spigot, winter cap, screws, etc. The components are all fine and we didn’t find any defects.

Setting everything up isn’t hard, especially since there are easy to follow instructions to help you every step of the way. The barrel’s top can be removed in case you want to clean it.

Besides covering the barrel, the top can also be used as a planter. Yes, that’s right. All you have to do is flip the top over and you have yourself a nice planter.

Well designed and highly functional, the Rain Station is easily one of the best rain barrels for the buck.

Pros

  • Sturdy rain barrel made of recycled plastic resin
  • The flexi-fit connector works fantastically well as it conveniently links direct to the downspout, and is able to divert rain water straight into the barrel
  • Easy to install
  • Quite a pretty looking barrel
  • The removable top can be converted into a planter simply by flipping it over

Cons

  • None

RB50D 50-Gallon Rain Barrel by Suncast

suncast rain barrel

We were quite surprised to discover that this is actually a rain barrel. It doesn’t look like one. We typically expect a rain barrel to be barrel-shaped (duh! Right?), but to us, the RB50D barrel by Suncast resembles a laundry bin!

Can you store your laundry in this barrel? Sure why not, but it’ll be one heck of a pricey laundry bin. You can get a decent one for $15 to $20.

For a rain barrel however, we think the price is not bad—considering the overall quality and everything.

Overall quality-wise, we wouldn’t give it an A+—more of a solid B. The only major flaw we noticed so far is that the barrel’s sides do bulge a little when it’s all filled up. Who knows, it might get leaky someday soon. Fingers crossed that won’t happen.

You can remove the lid which has a screen with cover in the middle to keep debris from polluting your rain water. Of course, the screen and cover can be removed as well.

The barrel comes with a couple of hoses including an overflow one which works well. You can utilize the other hose for filling your watering can.

Setting up the barrel didn’t take more than 20 minutes. The process was a cinch so we can all appreciate that. The last thing you want is a rain barrel that’s way too complicated to set up.

Hello? We’re trying to do our part for the environment here—please don’t give us a hard time setting up a frickin barrel, right? Thankfully Suncast did not give us a hard time.

Also note that since the barrel is square-shaped, it can easily sit flush against the wall of your house. The Suncast RB50D isn’t spectacular or anything, but it’s still one decent rain barrel.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Debris screen is effective at preventing junk from diving straight into the barrel
  • Top lid and the debris screen can be removed for cleaning
  • Nice working overflow
  • Square-shaped so it’s able to sit flush against the wall

Cons

  • Bulging sides when barrel is full of water

Green Rain Barrel - 54 Gallon by Achla

green rain barrel

This Green Rain Barrel by Achla is not bad, but the hose that you get with the barrel is pretty much second-rate. It doesn’t drain the barrel well enough because it kinks, so it’s advisable that you get a different, superior quality hose from your local hardware shop.

Like some of the rain barrels on this list, you can chain-link multiple barrels with one another to obtain as much capacity as you desire. It’s a clever feature, but the problem here is the plastic tubing meant for linking these barrels is not that durable.

The other issue is the included clamps for the plastic tubing and the overflow hose. They are also pretty flimsy, so a trip to the hardware shop might be in order. Buy a few high quality metal clamps for the hose and tubing, and you’re set.

The Green Rain barrel has a pretty solid build thanks to is burly plastic material, and the green color looks especially nice in a lush home garden. It has a flat back which is a plus point for folks who prefer to have a rain barrel that can be placed totally flush against the wall.

Mesh screen that comes with the barrel is decent. No way for most insects, twigs, leave debris to get through it. Connection for the hose is positioned extremely low so you can easily drain the whole barrel (as long as you get yourself a decent hose as mentioned earlier).

Achla’s Green Rain Barrel has a few minor yet irritating flaws, but it’s still a pretty solid product that it’s hard not to recommend.

Pros

  • Good, solid construction
  • Very decent capacity as it’s able to store 54 gallons of rain water
  • Can be chain-linked with other Green Rain Barrels to further boost water storage capacity
  • Flat back
  • Nice color for any home garden, particularly ones with lush green lawn
  • Hose connection is situated at roughly an inch above the lowest point of the barrel allowing for total drainage

Cons

  • Supplied hose is poor in quality
  • Plastic tubing for linking one barrel to the other could be better quality
  • Supplied overflow hose and said plastic tubing clamps are also poor in quality

DIY Rain Water Barrel Tips

There are many benefits to using a rain water barrel as a method for rainwater harvesting. Rainwater collection systems are a necessity in many parts of the world. Rain water is a free natural resource on our planet.

Harvesting rainwater with rain water barrels is easy and inexpensive. It is also extremely beneficial in the growth of plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. Rain contains no minerals and chemicals including chlorine and fluoride.

Rain harvesting can solve all your outdoor watering needs including jobs that would otherwise seem like a waste of water. For instance, watering a lawn or washing a car are not as essential but can be done if you use the water in your rain barrel.

Begin by purchasing a 55 gallon barrel, preferably one that is new or a recycled barrel that was previously used for food storage. You must start with a clean barrel and one that is free of chemicals so your rain water will not become polluted.

Place the rainwater barrel on a stand or elevated level surface directly below you downspout. The rain barrel should be elevated at least 12 inches off of the ground.

This will enable you to access water with a bucket and the water will flow down better with a little help from gravity. Having a barrel that is not level will later become a big problem once your rain water barrel is full.

Next you will then need to drill a 6 inch hole at the top of the barrel which will also need to be screen off to prevent debris and insects from getting into the barrel. Any screen will do, you only want water to be able to pass through.

Next use a 29/32 inch drill bit to make one hole on the side of the barrel towards the top which will serve as an overflow and one towards the bottom which will hold the faucet.

Use a threaded hose adapter and place the threaded portion in the upper hole. Attach a hose to this adapter to direct the excess rain water away from your home. Use a threaded faucet and place that into the bottom hole.

You can then add a hose to this faucet or use it just like this to dispense the water into a bucket. Make sure you test your installations to see if they are leaking. You may need to use a little caulking or sealant to seal any holes where water can pass through.

Now all you have to do is cut the downspout and use an elbow to direct the water directly into your barrel. This will ensure that the rain ends up in the barrel and not pooled around the foundation of your home.

If water does begin to pool around your home it could later cause major structural damage. This is also why an overflow hose is necessary to divert the water away from any structures.

At this point, you now have the option to attach other rainwater barrels to this one and you can double or triple the amount of water you can collect.

There you go. Constructing your own rain water barrel is really not that difficult. There’s a little learning curve involved, but those who are good at DIY stuff shouldn’t have any problem putting one together.

If you feel that the process is too complicated, you can always purchase one of the best rain barrels listed above. Those barrels come with everything you need except for a base or stand.

However, you can easily build a rain barrel stand from concrete blocks or retaining wall blocks. Use a little bit of mortar to ensure that the blocks cannot move or shift under the weight of the barrel once it is full of rain water.

It goes without saying that you must never drink the water in your rain water barrel or use it for cooking or indoor cleaning! A water purifier will need to be installed before the water is safe for consumption.

How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your DIY Rainwater Barrel

As more and more people discover the benefits to having a rainwater barrel harvesting system, they are also learning much more about what mosquitoes like to do.

Store bought rain water barrels usually come with a cover or screen to seal the barrel opening. Unfortunately, when people build their own barrels from recycled materials, they don’t always think to securely seal the top of the rain barrel to keep mosquitos from moving in and settling down.

Mosquito control is a vital step if you are serious about harvesting rain water with barrels for future use. Mosquitoes thrive in water that has been standing still for a long period of time.

Wooden or plastic rainwater barrels that do not see much action are an ideal place for mosquitoes to lay eggs or larvae. Mosquitoes will multiply at an amazing rate.

So if you see a few mosquitoes taking root in your water barrel don’t just smack them away. A small mosquito problem can quickly become enormous. So how do you prevent or stop a mosquito infestation in your rain barrels?

Screen or Filter

Start by trying to cover your intake area. A piece of screen is an inexpensive and effective way to keep pests out of your rain water barrels. Believe it or not, even a pair of panty hose could do the trick.

Either way you go, make sure that you secure the filter tightly to your barrel opening. Mosquitoes can penetrate the smallest of holes so you will need to check your filter for damage periodically.

Mosquito Dunks

Chemical larvicides are used to produce mosquito dunks. The dunks are basically chemical compounds and they are highly effective at getting rid of mosquitoes residing in your DIY rain barrel.

In addition to annihilating mosquitoes, they also have the ability to stop new mosquitoes from breeding because they can kill off the larvae.

a small pack of mosquito dunks

You can purchase a pack of dunks from your local garden center store. Using them is simple enough. Drop a single dunk in your DIY rain barrel and that’s all she wrote.

Goldfish

Adding a goldfish to your rain barrels is probably the most natural way of getting rid of a mosquito population. This may sound a little crazy but it is very true. Goldfish love to eat mosquitoes as well as their larvae.

Goldfish also provide a benefit to the soil in your garden. Goldfish excrement is filled with ammonia which produces nitrogen. Nitrogen is very helpful in plant growth. Remember to leave an opening so your goldfish can get air and food.

How else is he to have access to all those mosquitoes? Please keep an eye out for the little guy when you are accessing your water. If he happens to end up in your bucket just gently put him back into the rainwater barrel and let him do his magical work.

Stuart Jones
 

My name is Stuart Jones and I'm the guy responsible for most of the content on this website. I'm a horticulturist with over 25 years of experience in gardening and garden plants. To bring color throughout the year, I regularly grow a wide variety of plants, bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees. Oh, and let’s not forget the fruits and vegetables to ensure the fridge is always stocked!

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