The best rain barrels for collecting water


The practice of harvesting rainwater for home and garden use dates back to ancient human civilizations. The people of the Indus Valley used huge rock-cut vats to hold rainwater which could then be used as needed by crops and people. The ancient Romans and Greeks built elaborate cisterns and aqueducts to bring water to their cities. Istanbul’s sunken palace used a massive “pool” to collect water from the streets above.

Today, many of us live in places where our homes are connected to a city water supply. When I was very young, my parents’ house was not connected to the water network of the neighboring village. Instead, we received deliveries via a large truck in a cistern built under the back patio. The side yard had huge worn tire tracks in the dirt and grass. By the time I was ten years old (in 1980), the township infrastructure had been extended to reach the house, and the big water truck had stopped tearing up the lawn. The cistern, of course, is still there; a huge empty cement cave under the back of the house.

Although hooked to the municipal water supply, many people are turning to rainwater harvesting in order to save money and conserve this natural resource. Large rain barrels can be used to supply an entire house while smaller barrels can collect enough water for things like your garden, houseplants, car (or bike) washing, and lawn cleaning. garden furniture.

What is a rain barrel?

The average person in the United States uses approximately 82 gallons of water per day, both potable and non-potable. Most rain barrels hold 50 gallons of water, although there are options available that hold 90 or 100. Installing multiple rain barrels around the exterior of your home allows you to collect as many gallons of water. rainwater as possible. This article goes into the mathematical detail of calculating your roof catchment size (square area of ​​your home plus eaves) to determine how much water you can potentially catch after a rainstorm. One inch of precipitation produces about 600 gallons of water per 1000 square feet. This means that a 2,000 square foot home will produce 1,200 gallons of water per inch of rain.

Most rain barrels sold today are made from plastic like polyethylene which is made to hold up well to the elements. When deciding which barrel to buy, consider the location of the faucet as well as the overall design. There are also many decorative options, some in the shape of an urn or a huge flowerpot with an upside-down dome on top for planting flowers.

Essential features of a good rain barrel include an overflow valve or diverter and a filter screen to keep debris out. Rain barrels should be set up on a flat surface (some come with their own brackets) and connected directly to a downspout (or two). They must also be pet-proof, child-proof, and wildlife-proof – unable to tip over or get inside easily.

The best rain barrels

Here are some of the best rain barrels that will have you collecting your own rainwater in no time.

RTS Home Accents Flat Back Rain Barrel

RTS Enterprises Inc.


Made from sturdy, UV-stabilized polyethylene plastic (meaning the color won’t fade in the sun), this 50-gallon rain barrel from RTS has a flat back so you can place it against the wall of your home. Buy it with a stand that lifts the brass faucet a foot off the ground, making it easy to fill buckets.

The barrel itself is super easy to install; simply place it under one of your sprinkler nozzles. There is a rectangular rustproof aluminum screen on top to keep debris like leaves and twigs out. The brass faucet includes a shut-off valve and a threaded attachment for a garden hose.

If, like this Amazon reviewer, you want to use this barrel to provide water to livestock, the material is safe to do so. Some plastic rain barrels contain traces of lead which obviously make the water they collect unfit for human and animal consumption. Check with the manufacturer beforehand if you want to use your collected rainwater for this purpose.

Algreen Barcelona Rain Barrel

Algreen 85001 Products 100 Gallon Barcelona Rain Barrel, Terracotta

Although this 100 gallon rain barrel from Algreen is made from BPA-free molded plastic, it looks like a huge clay urn with a rough, rocky texture. The built-in top planter lets you grow flowers to complete the look.

Like all Algreen rain barrels, there are two overflow valves that allow you to connect to an additional Algreen barrel or install a bypass kit if desired. The diversion pipe connects to a downspout (in which you drill a hole) and sends the water to the barrel instead of the ground. This option works well, especially if your home’s downspouts go all the way to the bottom of the house wall.

Other features include a brass spigot with a shut-off valve positioned high enough on the barrel to easily fit a bucket, a corrosion-resistant debris screen, and a bottom fitting that allows you to drain the barrel if needed.

Aunt Molly’s Barrels Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel

Aunt Molly's Barrels Whiskey Barrel with Flex-Fit Water Diverter

Aunt Molly’s Barrels


Aunt Molly’s Barrels turns 53 gallon wooden whiskey barrels into rain barrels by fitting them with a downspout diverter, three overflow pipe connectors, a brass spigot and a stopper lower drain. Like all wooden barrels, if they dry out completely, the planks will shrink and cause leaks. As long as there is water in the barrel, it will not leak. The good thing is that if your barrel dries out, the wood will expand and close within hours of adding water.

I love the weathered and antique look of these barrels. Be warned, though, that these barrels weigh 105 pounds empty, so they’re a bit tricky to move on your own.

FCMP plastic rain barrel and pipe

FCMP RC45 Outdoor Rain Barrel, Black

Made from 100% recycled, UV-inhibited, BPA-free polyethylene plastic, this 45-gallon rain barrel from FCMP sports a finish that looks like real wood. The smaller capacity makes it easy to set up and the flat back lets you position it flush against a wall.

The barrel includes a shut-off valve and garden hose that clips into a hanger clip at the top of the barrel. The garden hose screws directly into the outlet at the bottom of the barrel and the shutoff valve connects to the other end of the hose. This makes it easier to fill buckets because you don’t have to bend down and maneuver the bucket just off the bottom of the barrel. Other features include a debris screen, overflow outlet and fixed cover.

Good Ideas Impressions 90 Gallon Rain Barrel

Bark Impressions 90 Gal.  black rain barrel

The Good Idea Impressions Rain Barrel is distinguished by features such as two offset brass spigots, a large opening that accommodates up to four downspouts, and an integrated overflow channel that directs all excess water to the front of the barrel and away from the building. foundation. And the deep well top allows you to plant all kinds of flowers, herbs or even vegetables.

The textured surface resembles the bark of a large tree, which makes the barrel quite an attractive addition to your outdoor landscape.

Whichever rain barrel you decide to use, you’ll be saving money and rainwater in no time. This is a great, easy to install and maintain way to help conserve water.


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