Do you know you can harvest rainwater and use it to water your garden?
This is a very eco-friendly way to keep a lush green lawn without wasting money on water bills. You can do this by using a rain barrel that stores the water and let you water your garden in a hot, dry season.
But the rain barrel varies widely, and you’ll want to keep your needs in mind when making your choice. This includes everything from your lawn size to the average rainfall in a season.
All of these variables can make the task of picking a rain barrel seem overwhelming – especially for time-time users.
But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll dig into it and explain everything you need to know. We’ve also identified 7 of the best rain barrels on the market.
But, if you just want a quick recommendation, check out our three favorites below.
Top Rain Barrel You Can Buy Today
Our Top Pick
RTS Home accents rain barrel is our top pick. It has authentic oak barrel textured that is molded into each barrel. It’s quite sturdy and does not fade, rot or risk insect infestation. The aluminum screen at the top stops the debris and insects from getting into the barrel.
It has a brass spigot shut-off valve with hose hook up and dual overflow. The front side overflow prevents excess water from flooding against the foundation of your home.
What is a rain barrel?
A rain barrel is a storage system that collects the rainwater that would otherwise go into the drain. You can use this storage water to irrigate your lawn and garden.
This is helpful if you live in a drought-prone area or place with water restrictions. The rain barrel is connected to your home downspout diverter or downspout to store rainwater falling from the roof.
Storing rainwater is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
There are several benefits of having a rain barrel. Here are some benefits.
- Eco-friendly: You save the water that otherwise would have gone in the drain and wasted.
- Saves money: Recycling rainwater saves the water bill from irrigating the lawn.
- Reduces soil erosion: Storing rainwater prevents the soil erosion that would happen if rainwater flows to the lower ground level.
- Multipurpose use: You can use rainwater for other purposes such as washing vehicles or giving a shower to pets.
- Protects home foundation: Rain barrel prevents the rain seeping into the home foundation
- Reduce sewer backlog: Storing rainwater reduces the water flow into the sewage that reduces the wear and tear.
What to consider when buying Rain Barrel
The choice of storage capacity depends on the amount of rain you get. For a low rain fall areas, choose a bigger storage capacity.
It’s wise to chose filter on the rain barrel as it prevents the debris and contaminants from getting into the clean stored water.
The overflow valve is a safety feature that allows any excess water to drain safely preventing any damage to the rain barrel itself.
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Best Rain Barrel Review
1. Kyoto Sand Stone Look Rain Barrel
Best Rain Barrel Design
Kyoto sandstone looks rain barrel is great for harvesting rainwater. It’s beautifully designed and great for any small to medium size garden. It’s all ready to use, and you don’t have to spend time trying to assemble parts in the barrel.
The barrel has a stone-like look, but it’s not a real stone. It’s made with plastic and has a protective UV-resistant coating on it. This improves the life of the barrel while you place it outdoor, collecting rainwater.
The barrel has a 55-gallon water storage capacity. It helps reduce your water consumption to water your lawn and pays itself in just a couple of seasons. The top has an enclosed cover with a cut to let downpour attach to the barrel.
The covered lid prevents the dirt and debris from getting inside the barrel. The perforated cover allows the air to circulate inside the barrel that keeps the water fresh. It also allows you to check the water level inside the barrel without needing to remove the lid.
However, the wide gap in the lid allows mosquitos to quickly get inside the barrel. A layer of protective mesh on the cover could have solved this problem. But it’s not a deal-breaker because it’s a great-looking rain barrel that holds a large amount of water.
The barrel has a brass spigot that doesn’t get jammed and is smooth to operate. It has an extra drainage plug at the top of the stand to drain the water completely. The base is stable and doesn’t wobble when placed on a flat surface.
See More Information about Kyoto Sand Stone Look Rain Barrel
2. RTS Home Accents Rain Water Collection Barrel
Top Rate Rain Barrel
RTS rainwater collection barrel is authentic looking oak barrel, but it’s made from sturdier plastic. You can buy it in two colors, brown and tan. This classic-style rain barrel can hold 50 gallons of water and is 33.5 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
The flat back design of the barrel gives you convenient access to the downspout. The closed lid prevents dirt and debris from getting inside the barrel. The screened downspout keeps the mosquitos and insects away from the stored water.
The spigot is made of high-quality rust resistance material. It includes a shutoff valve and standard hose thread to attach any regular garden hose. The hand-painted band around the barrel gives a beautiful appearance to it and won’t be an eyesore near your home.
The front side overflows safety feature stops the water from flooding against the outside wall of your home. There is no large opening in the barrel that makes it safe for kids and pets. There is also an optional stand to raise the barrel, but it’s sold separately.
See More Information about RTS Home Accents Rain Water Collection Barrel
3. Enviro World FreeGarden Rain Barrel
Best Price on Rain Barrel
Enviro world rain barrel is a large 55-gallons of water capacity barrel that is suitable for any medium to large size garden. It’s made of molded plastic and is very lightweight. The modern, sleek flat back design allows you to comfortably place it near the wall.
It’s available in three colors and made with a high-quality injection modeling technique that prevents leaks and damage to the barrel. The brass spigot is sturdy and allows you to connect any standard-size hose.
You don’t have a need to do any assembly as it comes pre-assembled. You get an extension hose, steel screen, and child locking screws. The meshed steel screen keeps out insects and debris from getting inside the barrel.
See More Information about Enviro World FreeGarden Rain Barrel
4. Good Ideas Rain Wizard Rain Barrels
Clay Rain Barrel Design
The Good Ideas Rain wizard rain barrel is a gorgeous barrel that comes in a wide range of color options. You can pick the one that matches your home exterior.
The urn design molded plastic of the barrel gives it a distinct look and adds style to your rain harvesting process. The barrel is a great decorative and functional piece. The top of the barrel can be used as a planter that drains extra water and stops the root rot.
The barrel is made of high-quality, durable material and is BPA-free. The flat back design allows it to flush against any outside wall. It has a large 65-gallon water holding capacity that is enough for any medium to large size yard.
It comes with a meshed screen that filters out any dirt and debris from getting inside the water. The sturdy brass spigot is located at the bottom of the barrel that allowing you to use most water stored in the barrel.
The router channel diverts the overflowing water to the front of the barrel that prevents the flooding of the home foundation in the case of overflow. The barrel is made with polyethylene plastic and has a fine plastic mesh screen filter at the top.
Overall, it’s a great rain barrel with lots of functionality and comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty for added peace of mind.
See More Information about Good Ideas Rain Wizard Rain Barrels
5. FCMP Outdoor Rain Catcher
Closed System Rain Barrel
Those who are looking to maximize the rainwater collection, should give FMCP outdoor rain catcher a look. This is a sturdy and well-made rain barrel with beautiful outdoor barrel shape finishing.
It’s made from durable plastic material and designed to mimic the style of a wooden barrel. You can’t tell the difference when looking at it from a distance as it seems like a real oak barrel.
This lovely gardening rain barrel appears small but can hold enough water for any small to medium size yard. The flat back design allows you to place close to the wall without worrying about it falling. The large opening at the top allows you to easily install the downspout without needing any specialized tool.
The overflow connection at the back of the barrel drains the water away from the home foundation. It’s a complete expandable water storage solution. The spigots on the side of the barrel and the linking kit allow you to connect many rain barrels in series. This increases water harvesting capacity.
The mesh screen is made of aluminum that keeps the debris and insects out of the barrel. It includes all basic kits to get started to harvest rain.
See More Information about FCMP Outdoor Rain Catcher
Other Good Rain Barrel Alternative
6. VINGLI Collapsible Rain Barrel
Closed system Rain Barrel
Vingli collapsible rain barrel comes with a 100-gallon rainwater storage capacity and is easy to install. The collapsible design of the barrel makes it very portable and saves storage space when not needed.
The barrel is made of a sturdy PVC frame and anti-corrosion PVC mesh fabric. The design of the rain barrel is rudimentary and won’t win any design award. But if you need a large capacity storage barrel and need to save space on storage, then this is an excellent choice.
7. Rain Barrel, DIY Kit, Used Food Grade Barrel
Repurpose Rain Barrel
Those who want to take their eco-friendly approach to life to the next level should consider this used food-grade barrel. These are the food-grade olive barrels that are repurposed and used as a rain barrel rather than letting it go in the landfill.
It has a 58-gallon rainwater holding capacity that is good for most residential gardens. The lid is removable, which makes it easy to clean. The barrel comes with a downspout adapter that fits the most regular size. The overflow valves prevent the excess water, and you can channel this to connect other rain barrels.
What are the different types of rain barrels?
You can use any large vessel to store rainwater. You have the flexibility of making your DIY rain barrel buy it from the market. The main difference between the rain barrel is the construction material. Here are some of the most common types of rain barrels that are available.
Plastic Rain Barrel
This is the most common type of barrel that you can buy. The plastic or polyethylene-made rain barrel is sturdy and lightweight. You can also repurpose it quickly for other storage purposes when you don’t need it to store water. It comes in a wide range of shapes and colors.
When looking for a plastic rain barrel, make sure it has UV protection. As plastic tends to deteriorate when exposed to sunlight for a prolonged time. It’s also safe to use water from the rain barrels.
Wooden Rain Barrel
The wood rain barrel is eco-friendly, and you can also make a DIY rain barrel with wood. It’s a bit heavier than plastic but gives you a natural appearance in the garden. The water stored in a wooden rain barrel remains cool and won’t get too hot in the warm summer.
The wooden barrel cost more than the plastic barrel but usually it last longer than the plastic and doesn’t get affected by the sunlight. It’s also BPA free which reduces the contamination in the water.
Metal Rain Barrel
The metallic rain barrel is made from stainless steel. It’s sturdy and can hold a large volume of water without breaking or cracking. You can use a metallic rain barrel for long-term water storage. You should keep the metal rain barrel in a shaded area as it reduces evaporation.
As a downside, the metal rain barrel usually gets heavier and is prone to rust. This reduces the portability and durability of the rain barrel. Commercial established prefer the sizeable water-holding capacity.
Stone Rain Barrel
The Stone rain barrel is exceptionally durable and gives a beautiful appearance in your home. However, this is more labor extensive to manufacture and usually costs more. The stone also makes it very heavy and less portable.
Clay Rain Barrel
If you’re looking for an alternative to a stone rain barrel, then you should consider clay. It’s an organic matter and is lighter than a stone rain barrel. It looks more natural in the garden and comes in different styles and designs.
The clay rain barrel also keeps the water cool during the hot summer days. However, the clay is fragile and less portable. It lasts long as long as you don’t move it around. It’s also decorative and looks great for any garden.
Things To Look For In A Rain Barrel
Buying a rain barrel may seem straightforward, and literally, you can buy any barrel to store water. But here are a few considerations you can make to buy the right barrel that fits your need.
The barrel comes in different sizes. You can choose the storage capacity of the barrel, depending on how much rain you get. There is no point in buying a large capacity barrel when you only get a few inches of rain every season.
You can buy small size rain barrel with a 10-gallon capacity to a more substantial capacity of over 1,000 gallons. The storage capacity depends on the water collection attachment and roof size.
The overflow valve controls the water that a barrel can store. Any extra water gets safely drained from the barrel and prevents overflowing or damage to the barrel.
Safety is essential when you’re storing water. You don’t want a pet or small child to fall in the barrel while playing and risk drowning. The barrel also needs to be stable and should have tip-over prevention to reduce the risk of slipping or falling.
The filter prevents the debris and contaminants from getting into the clean water. It reduces the water to get bad and keeps the water clean for different purposes. Most water filters have mesh screens to stop the rocks, leaves, or other contaminants from entering the barrel.
A durable rain barrel lasts longer and is cost-effective. The durability of the barrel depends on the construction material and overall workmanship on the barrel. Most woods made barrel is durable and portable. It gives you a beautiful natural look when placed in the garden and won’t contaminate the water.
A plastic barrel is also a good option as these are more portable and last long as long as you protect it from external elements. Placing the plastic rain barrel in a shaded area improves the life of the barrel.
The price of a rain barrel varies a lot. Usually, you can buy a small size barrel for upward of $30 that is of good quality and last longer. There are always more expensive and designer barrels available that you can choose if your budget allows.
How to install a rain barrel
Installing a rain barrel is straightforward. You start by choosing a location that is closer to the downspout. Start by making a level ground so the barrel won’t trip over when filled with water.
A water-filled barrel becomes very heavy, so make sure the ground is firm, and you’re not placing the barrel on low-quality support. You can use brick or concrete paves to improve the stability and sturdiness of the ground.
You also don’t want the barrel to lay flat on the surface. Keeping a couple of inches above the ground allows you better access to the spigot. You can use a couple of bricks or wooden blocks to raise the height.
Check the height of the barrel and make sure it fits the downspout. You may have to adjust the length of the downspout to fit it in the barrel. Always keep the lid on the top of the barrel to prevent animals or leaves from falling in the barrel. The covered lid also prevents mosquito-laying eggs on the water surface.
You can also increase the rain harvesting efficiency by connecting it to other gutter systems. Once you have installed the rain barrel, fill it up with water once to check any leakage and test the stability.
What happens when a rain barrel is full?
A prolonged rain can quickly fill small to large-capacity water barrels. It’s not recommended to fill the barrel beyond its capacity as it makes it unstable and could also damage the barrel.
Most rain barrels have an overflow water prevention system. This recirculates the water out of the barrel after reaching its maximum capacity. If you’re using a diverter, then it should shut off the water, get into the barrel, and drain it normally.
An overfilled rain barrel causes the safety risk of tipping over or damage to the barrel. The overfilled barrel may also cause water to leak near the house foundation that may cause basement flooding.
Does rain barrel water go bad?
Stagnant water increases the risk of generating microbes and fungi around the barrel. Technically, the water hasn’t expiry date. It’s only the contamination that may cause the water to get bad.
Keeping a lid on the barrel prevents contaminants from getting inside the barrel. You should annually clean the barrel to get rid of microbes or algae growing inside the barrel.
What do you do with rain barrels in the winter?
For those who live in areas wherein winter, the temperature goes below freezing should take steps to winterize their rain barrel.
When winter starts approaching, you should drain the water from the barrel. You can do it safely by leaving the spigot open, and when the water inside reaches a low level, tilt the barrel to drain the water.
Make sure there is no water left inside the barrel as any leftover water may turn into ice and damage the barrel. This is also an excellent time to give the barrel thorough cleanup. You can use vinegar to spray inside the barrel and remove debris and leaves that may have fallen inside the barrel.
After proper cleaning, dry the barrel and remove it from the gutter or downspout. You can then safely store the barrel indoor or store it upside down in a covered area.
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