The 7 Best Rainwater Collection Barrels of 2023

Our top pick is the Impressions Eco rain barrel.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Woman uses a rain barrel

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Rainwater is an amazing resource for gardeners that is sustainable, resourceful, and free. By setting up a way to collect water naturally using a rain barrel, you are doing a big part to reduce your overall carbon footprint and conserve water. Plus, in areas with water challenges and/or restrictions, it can make a big difference in your overall garden success. 

There are many rain barrel options out there, including plenty of DIY plans and ideas you can build yourself. However, if you’re looking for a system that is pretty much ready to go when you get it out of the box, then you’ll love some of the options on this list. This is one of the best long-term investments you can do for your garden, so we recommend taking your time to choose the one that best suits your garden's needs.

Ahead, we've found the best rainwater collection barrels on the market.

Best Overall

Good Ideas Impressions Eco Bark 50 Gallon Rain Saver

5
50 gal. Impressions Eco Bark Rain Saver Barrel

Good Ideas

The elegant look, recycled materials, and 50-gallon capacity of this barrel make it our top overall choice. It has a fine-mesh screen to keep debris out, as well as a spigot that attaches to a gardening hose. The lid's well can be used to plant flowers or herbs, and also has a channel system that diverts water to the front of the barrel (away from your wall) in case of overflow.

We also like the grooved, textured look of the barrel, which will add some understated style to your home's exterior. It looks much less utilitarian that many of the other barrels on the market, although many attractive new design options are popping up more and more.

Note that a very similar design from Good Ideas is available with brass spigots, however, that option isn't made with recycled materials.

Price at time of publish: $169

Best Budget

RIOBOW Collapsible Rain Barrel (200L, Black)

RIOBOW Collapsible Rain Barrel

Amazon

If you want to spend less on a rain barrel, this is a solid option. Plus, it’s portable (and foldable) so you can move it around as needed and put it away when there’s no rain in the forecast. Available in both black and green, just pop it open and place it under a downspout. It has a mesh top to catch debris and other materials, and it will hold more than 50 gallons of water. It’s perfect for beginners and those with limited space.

Price at time of publish: $66

Best Splurge

AuntMollysBarrels Whiskey Rain Barrel With Flex-Fit Water Diverter

Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel With Flex-Fit Water Diverter

Etsy

If you’re able to splurge, this is the one! Upcycled from old white oak whiskey barrels, you’ll get a durable and useful rain barrel that also looks amazing in the garden. You can feel good about ordering this handmade item from a top Etsy maker, who crafts a range of items from barrels in Evansville, Indiana.

The barrel stands roughly 3 feet tall and is about 2 feet in diameter. It does weigh 105 pounds, so choose your location carefully. Once it’s filled with water, it’s not going to be easy to move. The barrel comes with a downspout connector, a durable brass spigot, and a drain plug along the bottom.

Price at time of publish: $399

Best for Large Gardens

RainBarrel USA 80 Gallon Rain Barrel

80 Gallon Rain Barrel

Wayfair

If you have the space and want to collect as much rain as possible, then this is one of your best options for a large-capacity barrel. It holds 80 gallons of water and keeps insects and debris out with a screened top. This barrel is made in North Carolina from high density polyethylene, so you know it’ll last for years. The brass spigot can easily connect to your hose for easy watering. It’s 37 inches tall, 28 inches wide, and 24 pounds.

Price at time of publish: $174

Best Flat Back

RTS Home Accents Black Eco Rain Barrel with Plastic Spigot

ECO Rain Barrel

Amazon

This has the good looks of the whisky barrel design, yet comes with a more affordable price tag. The ECO rain barrel is created from 100% recycled plastic, so it won’t fade, rot, or create insect concerns. It also includes a flat back for easy installation, along with other rain barrel perks like a screen to keep out debris and a spigot for easy access to your water. It holds 50 gallons of water, and you even have the option to buy a stand if you want to get it up off the ground a bit. There are many colors to choose from, including black, oak, brown, and a woodgrain.

Price at time of publish: $108

Best Discrete

Good Ideas 50-Gallon Black Recycled Plastic Rain Barrel

Good Ideas Black Recycled Plastic Rain Barrel Rectangle

Lowe's

Another attractive option from Good Ideas, this rain barrel is disguised as an elevated planter. The boxy shape has a faux-panelled front and decorative trim, and is made from recycled plastic. It weighs 25 pounds when empty, and has a 50 gallon capasity. The top is grooved to hold plants, and it as a fine mesh screen to keep unwanted bits out.

Price at time of publish: $169

Best Diverter Kit

Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System

Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System

Amazon

When it comes to setting up your barrel, you’ll want a kit that can be disconnected and capped easily, in case you ever need to temporarily move your barrel or encounter some other issue. We love this smart design by Oatey, which can easily be installed with just a measuring tape, marker, and handsaw. The downspout attachment fits a standard 2 x 3 inch pipe, and consists of two pieces that fit together snugly once installed. A flexible, four foot hose connect the downspout to your barrel. A plus is also included, and replacement parts are available.  

It’s manufactured in Englewood, Colorado. The hose is made from flexible, UV-resistant PVC and the downspout diverter is made from ridged PVC.

Price at time of publish: $26

Final Verdict

If you want to collect water and grow flowers all in one place we like the Impressions Eco Rain Saver from Good Ideas. Otherwise the RIOBOW Collapsible Rain Barrel one of the best values around.

What to Look for in a Rainwater Collection Barrel

Materials 

Always look at what the rain barrel is made from. Many will be plastic because it’s a good option for holding water, but we like barrels that are also made from recycled materials. If you do find a wine barrel made from wood, be sure it has been sealed well. This can be a big problem with rain barrels—you don’t want them to leak—so don’t be afraid to ask, especially if buying local. 

Some wooden barrels are hold water better when they are wet, so that may not be the best choice for you if it's likely that your barrel will be completely empty and dried out frequently.

Size 

A lot of rain barrels are going to be in the same size range—around 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. You want a wide opening for collecting water, so this is a good size. However, you can get barrels that are both bigger and smaller. Keep in mind that rain barrels can get very heavy when they’re filled with water, so bigger isn’t always better. In fact, getting two smaller rain barrels might be better for some people. 

Special Features 

Check the quality of the spigot and see how easy it is to turn on and off. In addition, make sure your rain barrel has a good screen to keep out insects and debris. Both are important components of the overall function of a good rain barrel so you can use it all the time. 

You may also want to consider the style of your barrel, as some are more utilitarian while others have a more decorative finish.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can I make my own rain barrel?

    You can definitely make your own rain barrel. This is a good DIY project because you can easily upcycle large containers like a large tote or garbage container to turn into a water collection station. Be sure to find good instructions for this process to keep it secure and leak-proof. In addition, many people will take a plain rain barrel and dress it up by painting it. This is another good option for someone who likes crafting or DIY. 

  • Will rain barrels overflow?

    Rain barrels often come with diverters or overflow hoses that come in handy when you have a lot of water in your barrel. This is actually a good feature to look for when shopping with rain barrels. This way you won’t be creating a big puddle where you’re installing your barrel.

  • Do rain barrels attract mosquitoes?

    They can! Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to pools of water, and a rain barrel is no different. If you make your own barrel, be sure to include mosquito proofing in your design (which will usually involve screens). Most rain barrels you buy from the store will already include this, but make sure you add in screens or seal up anywhere there might be exposed water (like around downspout connections).

  • How much can rain barrels save on watering?

    According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can save the average gardener around 1,300 gallons of water in a single growing season. Of course, you’ll need a steady flow of rain to make this possible, but it can really save your water bill.

    Plus, it just adds to conversation efforts overall. It’s such a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, because in most places the tap water that you pull from your house's water supply requires a lot of energy to clean and pump.

  • Can you link two rain barrels together?

    Yes. If you have space near your downspout and want to collect even more water, you can connect two barrels together. You can use a section of garden hose or consider getting a rain barrel connector kit. Ideally, the first barrel (the one connected to the downspout) will be several inches higher than the second barrel, to ensure good flow between the barrels. You can raise the barrel by placing it on bricks, cinderblocks, or a sturdy stand. If it’s not possible to raise first barrel, then at least make sure the two barrels are level. 

  • Is it better to link rain barrels from top or bottom?

    It’s better to connect two barrels together from a location near the top. While it’s possible to install connectors near the bottom of the barrel, you rink losing most of your water supply if either side of the connection point leaks. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

The author, Stacy Tornio, has been researching and testing rain barrels for years and loves finding ways to save on water. She is a Master Gardener, book author, and nature lover. To make this list, she looked for barrels that are made from sustainable materials, and have helpful features that make using rainwater easier.

View Article Sources
  1.  “Control Your Stormwater and Save Money, Use a Rain Barrel.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.