Are you looking to lower your water bill by recycling rainwater for your lawn or garden? Finding the best rain barrel for water collection is a great way to not only save money on your next water bill but also help out the environment.
Of course, there are all types of water collection containers on the market that vary by size, shape, and design. Keep reading to find the best rain barrel for you!
The 8 Best Rain Barrels for Rainwater Collection
Hoping to find the perfect rainwater collection barrel to add to your property? Check out these top-rated options!
Overall Best Rain Barrel
RTS Companies Inc. 50-Gallon ECO
For a barrel that covers all bases, consider the ECO from RTS Companies Inc. — a unit that is made from 100% recycled plastic. At 50 gallons, this barrel allows for moderate rainwater collection without being too cumbersome. Its black, faux-wood liquor barrel design will seamlessly blend in with your property. What’s more, the ECO system is very affordable compared to many other products on the market!
- Lightweight at just 18 pounds
- Plastic screen filters debris
- 100% recycled plastic spigot with shutoff valve
- Flat back design for convenient positioning
- Plastic design can cause it to bow when full
Runner Up Best Rain Barrel
FCMP Outdoor Rain Catcher 4000
The FCMP Outdoor Rain Catcher 4000 is another top option, thanks to its BPA-free polyethylene construction and a bevy of design features. As the Rain Catcher 4000 is linkable with other barrels, it allows you to increase your rainwater collection as needed. In place of a traditional spigot, the system is equipped with its very own garden hose and hose attachment.
- Aluminum mesh debris screen
- Overflow system facilitates easy drainage
- Flat back for easy positioning
- Lack of conventional spigot or valve
- Vulnerable to cold weather
Best Rain Barrel on a Budget
VINGLI Rainwater Barrel
If you want a product that is easy to fund, easy to use, and easy to carry, look no further than the VINGLI rainwater barrel. This unit is one of the more affordable options on the market, yet it comes with an array of helpful features — including a dual-way zipper, water overflow outlet, water inlet filter, and plastic spigot. What’s more, it comes in three sizes — 50 gallons, 66 gallons, and 100 gallons.
- Very affordable price
- Portable, collapsible design
- Extremely lightweight
- Green exterior blends in with lawns and gardens
- PVC frame and finer mesh fabric container isn’t the sturdiest
- Water inlet filter is small
Best Rain Barrel Design Features
Good Ideas Impressions Palm 65-Gallon Barrel
If you want a barrel that can double as a potted plant, check out the Impressions Palm system from Good Ideas. To start, this 65-gallon unit allows for plenty of rainwater collection and can be used with a decorative planter on top. The barrel is also equipped with not only two brass spigots but also an overflow spout. Despite its large size, its plastic frame is fairly lightweight at just 21 pounds.
- Beautiful tree-bark design with top planter
- Overflow spout
- 100% BPA-free recycled materials
- Brass hardware
- Overflow can cause the top planter to be waterlogged
Best DIY Rain Barrel
Mirainbarrel Rain Water DIY Kit
If you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars for a barrel that can be tailored to your needs, consider this DIY kit from Mirainbarrel. What makes this system unique is that it comes partially assembled, allowing you to customize your unit and choose its overflow valve location. Made from an upcycled food-grade barrel, Mirainbarrel’s DIY kit is one of the more environmentally friendly options available.
- Repurposed design
- Easily customizable
- 100% silicone caulk seal
- Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
- More costly than the average barrel
Most Environmentally Friendly
EarthMinded RainStation 50-Gallon Barrel
The EarthMinded RainStation rain barrel is a fantastic option for those who value both efficiency and eco-friendliness. To set up your barrel, simply drill a hole in your downspout and attach the unit’s FlexiFit™ diverter system for maximum rainwater collection. In addition to its brass spigot, the barrel is equipped with a drain attachment that gradually returns any excess water to the soil.
- Reversible planter top
- FlexiFit™ diverter system
- Spigot and drainage spout
- Hose and winter hole cover attachments included
- More expensive than the average 50-gallon barrel
- Diverter system may not filter all debris
Best Portable Rain Barrel
RIOBOW 53-Gallon Collapsible Rainwater Collection System
Convenience matters when collecting rainwater, which is why the RIOBOW collapsible style barrel is one of the easiest water collection systems to use. Equipped with a white spigot, nylon mesh layer, ¾” bottom valve, and other features, this RIOBOW unit has everything you need for efficient rainwater collection. What’s more, it is available in four different sizes — 35 gallons, 53 gallons, 66 gallons, and 100 gallons — as well as color options of black, dark green, and green.
- Very affordable
- Portable/foldable design
- Upper overflow pipe
- Plenty of sizing and color options
- Soft PVC and plastic covering aren’t the sturdiest
Best Premium Rain Barrel
Good Ideas Rain Wizard 65-Gallon Urn
If you don’t mind splashing some extra cash on a top-notch collection system, consider the Rain Wizard barrel urn from Good Ideas. Boasting a stylish exterior with intricate patterns and a top planter, the Rain Wizard makes for a stunning addition to any outdoor aesthetic. Complete with brass hardware and available in three different color options, this barrel urn is as beautiful as it is practical!
- Beautiful barrel urn design
- Flat back for convenient positioning
- 100% BPA-free recycled materials
- Large, 65-gallon capacity
- More expensive than the average system
- Non-removable lid
How to Choose the Best Rain Barrel
There are hundreds of water collection systems floating around on the market. To find the best rain barrel for you and your property, be sure to take each of the following factors into consideration:
Barrels come in all shapes and sizes. As capacities range from 25 gallons to upwards of 100 gallons, you will need to determine how much rainwater you wish to collect and how conspicuous you want your rainwater collection system to be.
If you live on a relatively small property and in an area that experiences limited rainfall, a 35-gallon or 50-gallon container will be the best rain barrel for you. For a larger property, lawn, or garden, on the other hand, consider investing in a high-capacity rain barrel with a 65-gallon or 100-gallon container.
A rainwater collecter typically comes in plastic, wood, or other recycled materials. As you would imagine, each type of material has its own pros and cons.
Plastic, for example, is extremely lightweight but may bow as the barrel fills up. With that said, plastic is easy to maintain and keep clean. Wood, on the other hand, is much sturdier but can easily leak if it isn’t properly sealed. What’s more, it is much more difficult to maintain.
The reality is that some products are going to be more efficient than others, depending on their designs and the materials that are used. Certain barrels may lack proper screen filters, while others may have non-removable lids that make them difficult to clean.
What’s more, certain barrels will be loaded with additional features — such as second spigots and collapsible designs — that will make rainwater collection more convenient. Create a shortlist of the features that are most important to you and your property to identify the best rain barrel for you.
A final yet very important factor to consider is the barrel’s appearance. Do you want a water collector that boosts your backyard decor, or do you want one that can blend in and go largely unnoticed?
Keep your property’s exterior in mind, as well as the specific location where you will be placing your system, when narrowing down your options.
Rain Barrel Maintenance
While the best rain barrel will only require occasional maintenance, doing so will allow you to keep your water clean and maximize the life of your barrel. There are two components to water collection system maintenance — hygiene and storage:
Rainwater collectors are notoriously difficult to keep clean year-round. Naturally, your barrel will collect leaves, dirt, pollen, bugs, and other debris over time. Therefore, it’s important that you prioritize cleaning your barrel at least one or two times per year — ideally, before and after the rainy season.
Follow these seven steps to properly clean your barrel:
- Completely empty your unit by removing the lid and pouring the water out, or by using the spigot to drain the container.
- Give your barrel a preliminary rinse. While this won’t eliminate all dirt and debris, it will make it easier to clean during the following steps.
- Next, apply safe cleaning agents — such as vinegar and baking soda — to the barrel.
- Allow the barrel to sit for roughly 10 minutes so that the cleaning agents can start lifting the dirt and debris.
- Scrub down the interior of the barrel. If you have a small barrel, you may be able to achieve this with a sponge or cloth. Otherwise, use a mop or broom.
- Rinse out the barrel again, removing the excess cleaning agents and any dirt. You may need to rinse the barrel’s interior multiple times before all contents are eliminated.
- Repeat this process for the barrel’s lid, filter basket, and hardware.
For three out of four seasons, you can leave your barrel outside to collect rainwater.
It’s critical, however, that you properly store your water collection system come wintertime. When temperatures drop below the freezing point, ice can cause rainwater collectors — whether they are made of plastic, wood, or another material — to bow, warp, or crack.
As the winter months arrive, be sure to empty out your collector (using this opportunity to clean it out, preferably) and find a suitable place for storage — such as your garage, basement, or woodshed.
You can even opt to leave your barrel outside, as long as you remember to empty it out, close it off, and tie it down. High winds can easily knock over your barrel and cause damage to it.
Can I Make a Rain Barrel Myself?
While the easiest and most effective solution for rainwater collection is to purchase a proper system, you can also opt to build your own collector. In addition to a large garbage container or can, you will need a spigot, mesh filter, pipe thread, nuts, washers, and of course, a toolkit — complete with caulk and a hand drill.
How Much Rain Does It Take to Fill a Rain Barrel?
As long as your barrel is properly set up near your downspout, you can expect it to fill up very quickly. A barrel with a 50-gallon capacity, for example, can fill up during a single rainstorm. To maximize storm time, connect multiple systems together for extra water collection.
How Much Can Rain Barrels Save on Watering?
Depending on where you live and how much rainfall occurs during the spring, summer, and fall months, the best rain barrel can help you save upwards of 1,000 gallons of water each year. As you can imagine, this can help make a noticeable dent in your water bill each month!
Will Rain Barrels Overflow?
A high-quality rainwater collection system will be equipped with either an overflow spout or diverter that prevents it from overflowing. The only scenario in which you might encounter overflow is if your barrel is taking in far more water than it is able to release via its overflow system.
In any case, make sure that your barrel is set up on flat, stable ground so that it doesn’t tumble over once it reaches full capacity.
Do Rain Barrels Attract Mosquitoes?
As mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, you may find that insect larvae congregate near the lid of your water collector after a storm.
To keep them from entering the container itself and contaminating your rainwater, it’s important that you keep the lid sealed. What’s more, you should make sure that your rainwater collection barrel is equipped with a nylon or plastic mesh screen that filters mosquitoes and other small bugs. This article shares a few other tips for keeping your rain barrels mosquito-free.
Wrapping Up the Best Rain Barrels
Ready to narrow down your options and add a top-notch rainwater collection barrel to your setup? Of course, it’s hard to look past the RTS Companies Inc. 50-gallon ECO — the overall best rain barrel on the market at the moment.
Rain barrels are one way to meet your garden’s watering needs. For more helpful articles and ideas about other methods and products for keeping your garden hydrated and healthy, check out our Garden Watering page!