The 7 Best Rainwater Collection Barrels in 2021

Conserve water in your outdoor space by collecting rain water.

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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.

The Rundown
The Catalina barrel is made from recycled, BPA-free material, making this choice even more sustainable.
If you want to spend less on a rain barrel, then this is a solid option. Plus, it’s portable so you can move it around as needed.
Upcycled from old white oak whiskey barrels, you’ll get a durable and useful rain barrel that also looks amazing in the garden.
Best for Large Gardens:
RainBarrel USA Rain Barrel at Wayfair
They make a good seedling environment for root development, aeration, and drainage.
Best for Small Spaces:
Bosmere Slim Rain Barrel at Amazon
Reduce the overall footprint of a rain barrel with this slim design that measures just 12 inches in diameter.
This rain barrel system includes a reversible planter top, and is made from recycled material.
The ECO rain barrel is created from 100% recycled plastic, but is designed to look like a wooden whisky barrel.

Best Overall: FCMP Outdoor Catalina Rain Barrel

FCMP Outdoor Catalina Rain Barrel

The Catalina rain barrel in a light granite color is made from recycled, BPA-free material, making this choice even more sustainable. It has a great flat back design, which is simple yet genius, because it allows you to install it directly against a wall for good downspout alignment. It includes a debris screen, garden hose with a hanging clip, and a shut-off thumb valve. The barrel holds 45 gallons of water and is durable enough to last for many seasons. It’s a great rain barrel option, whether you’ve had many or it’s your first one. 

Best Budget: RIOBOW Collapsible Rain Barrel (200L, Black)

RIOBOW Collapsible Rain Barrel

If you want to spend less on a rain barrel, then 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.

Best Splurge : AuntMollysBarrels Whiskey Rain Barrel with Flex-Fit Water Diverter

Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel with Flex-Fit Water Diverter

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. With dozens of great reviews on Etsy, you can feel good about ordering this handmade item. It 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 brass spigot and a drain plug along the bottom.

Best for Large Gardens: RainBarrel USA 80 Gallon Rain Barrel

80 Gallon Rain Barrel

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.

Best for Small Spaces: Bosmere Slim Rain Barrel with Stand, 26 Gal.

Slim Rain Barrel with Stand, 26 Gal.

Reduce the overall footprint of a rain barrel with this slim design from Bosmere. It measures only 12 inches in diameter and 38 inches tall, and weighs 12 pounds. It’s the perfect size for a deck or patio garden, holding around 26 gallons of water. It comes with a stand and has a spigot, so it’s easy to fill up your watering can to water your plants. It has a lockable lid, and can bet set up to work with different types of downspouts.

Best Spigot Attachment: EarthMindedConsumerProducts Recycled Black 45 Gallon Rain Barrel

Recycled Black Rain Barrel

This rain barrel system includes a reversible planter top, which you can use for growing plants while also storing up to 45 gallons of water. Overall, the barrel is 24 inches wide, and 35 inches tall with the top 7 inches reserved for the planter. The barrel itself is made from recycled material through a company that promotes green field development and who works with other companies with sustainable values. The spigot on this barrel is one of the best. The hardware is just like any other spigot you’d use for watering, making it easy to turn on and off.

Best Design: RTS Home Accents Black Eco Rain Barrel with Plastic Spigot

ECO Rain Barrel

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.

Final Verdict

If you want to collect water and grow flowers all in the same area, then the RainStation Rain Barrel (view at Wayfair) is a great option. Otherwise the Catalina Rain Barrel (view at Amazon) is one of the best all-around options that money can buy. Both are made from recycled materials, so you can feel good about both from a sustainability perspective.

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. 

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 debric. Both are really important components of the overall function of a good rain barrel so you can use it all the time. 

FAQs

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. Here are a few different ideas on how to make your own rain barrel. 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.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is always on the lookout for sustainable gardening products. The author, Stacy Tornio, has been researching and testing rain barrels for years and loves finding ways to save on water. 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.