2024’s Best Rain Barrels for Water Collection and Conservation 

Find the best rain barrels for your home and garden watering needs with these innovative options.

Best Overall

RTS Home Accents Flat Back Rain Barrel on a white background

RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Flat Back Rain Barrel

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Runner-Up

Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Rain Barrel on a white background

Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50-Gallon Rain Barrel

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Best Bang For The Buck

FreeGarden Rain 55 Gal. Rain Barrel on a white background

FreeGarden Rain 55-Gallon Rain Barrel

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Using a rain barrel is an easy way to lessen a household’s impact on the environment, and it helps to save some money by reducing municipal water consumption. Larger rain barrels can benefit those who want to use a rainwater system for their home’s water supply; smaller rain barrels can be excellent for supplying water for a garden, indoor plants, and even for car and outdoor furniture cleaning. Our top recommendation is the 50-gallon option from RTS Home Accents for its classic look and rot- and fade-resistant construction.

There are many different sizes and types of rain barrels, and one of the most important factors for choosing one depends on how you’d like to use the collected rainwater. Our top pick is the RTS Home Accents rain barrel because it looks like an old-fashioned barrel, stores up to 50 gallons, and is made with materials resistant to rot and fading. We’ve evaluated and hands-on tested some of the most popular rain barrels and their features to compile this guide of some of the best rain barrels for your consideration. 

  1. BEST OVERALL: RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Flat Back Rain Barrel
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  2. RUNNER-UP: Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50-Gallon Rain Barrel
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  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: FreeGarden Rain 55-Gallon Rain Barrel
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  4. BEST LUXURY: Aunt Molly’s Barrels Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel
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  5. BEST MINI: RTS Home Accents 35-Gallon Rain Barrel With Planter
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  6. BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Good Ideas Impressions 90-Gallon Rain Saver
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  7. BEST DECORATIVE: Good Ideas Impressions 50-Gallon Rain Saver
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  8. BEST WITH DIVERTER: EarthMinded 45-Gallon Planter Rain Barrel and Hose
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Closeup of a spigot on the bottom of a rain barrel sitting on a wooden floor
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Rain Barrels

To choose the best rain barrels, we conducted hands-on testing to evaluate each product’s features, price, materials, and capacity. We evaluated the design of the barrels, including filter screens, overflow spouts, and spigots to determine which models were the easiest to use while still holding up to the elements. 

Although aesthetics weren’t a priority when evaluating front-runners for the best rain barrels, they were a consideration since rain barrels are often outdoor components located in plain sight. Overall, the highest-rated products with the most convenient features and the best durability were chosen for this list.

Our Top Picks

The following rain barrels earned a spot on our top picks list for their features, capacity, materials, and durability, all of which were researched and tested. Check out our picks for some of the best rain barrels below.

Best Overall

RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Flat Back Rain Barrel

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 50 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight when empty: 18 pounds

Pros

  • Flat back sits flush against the wall
  • Long-lasting materials resistant to rot and fading
  • Optional stand available for purchase
  • Comes with aluminum screen

Cons

  • Back can bulge out when rain barrel is full
  • Spigot is very low to the ground 

This 50-gallon rain barrel is designed to look like an old wooden oak barrel but with the durability and rot and fade resistance of plastic. The manufacturer also makes a stand that can be purchased separately, which makes using the spigot easier as it’s pretty low to the ground. The position is suitable for attaching a hose but isn’t convenient for a watering can or jug.

The back of the rain barrel is flat so it sits snugly against a wall, helping to save space and making the rain barrel a bit more discreet. However, it can bulge out when full. It has dual overflow valves and can be connected to other rain barrels to collect even more rainwater.

Get the RTS Home Accents flat back rain barrel at The Home Depot, Walmart, or Amazon.

Runner-up

Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50-Gallon Rain Barrel

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 50 gallons
  • Material: Polyethylene resin
  • Weight when empty: 20 pounds

Pros

  • Resistant to damage from freezing temperatures
  • Comes with plastic screen mesh filter to keep out leaves
  • Can be connected to other rain barrels
  • Doesn’t bow or bulge when full

Cons

  • Spigot is low to the ground; difficult to attach a garden hose

Although it doesn’t sit quite as flush against the wall as our best overall pick, this rain barrel does come with a flatter back to sit up against a home, garage, or shed for a more cohesive look. Designed to provide the appearance of a traditional oak barrel with the durability of resin, this rain barrel is more resistant to freezing temperatures in case the rain barrel will be outside year-round.

The Rain Wizard barrel can be connected to other rain barrels with a connector kit, which is not included. Its sturdy material means it’s less prone to bulging when the barrel is full, which helps prevent warping. 

Get the Good Ideas rain barrel at Amazon, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co., Walmart, or Good Ideas

Best Bang For The Buck

FreeGarden Rain 55-Gallon Rain Barrel

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 55 gallons
  • Material: High-density polyethylene
  • Weight when empty: 21 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with powder-coated steel screen
  • 2 overflow spigots allow for connecting it to multiple barrels
  • Square shape, so it can be placed in a corner
  • No base required

Cons

  • Not freeze-proof

For those looking for a more affordable rain barrel, this 55-gallon option from FreeGarden may be worth considering. It’s available in different colors, including a striking green, and has a square construction.

This rain barrel also comes with an extension hose and child-lock screws for the lid. A strategically placed spigot means users don’t need to purchase an extra stand or haul concrete blocks to put underneath the barrel in order to fill up a watering can. It also has two overflow spigots on either side, which can be used to connect multiple barrels. The material is BPA-free and UV-resistant.

Get the FreeGarden rain barrel at The Home Depot or Walmart.

Best Luxury

Aunt Molly’s Barrels Whiskey Barrel Rain Barrel

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 53 gallons
  • Material: White oak
  • Weight when empty: 105 pounds

Pros

  • Made of upcycled real wood; environmentally friendly
  • Comes with everything needed to install it
  • Attractive and authentic look

Cons

  • Heavy to move around, even when empty
  • Prone to rotting, insect damage, and leaks

If an upcycled option made of real wood is desired, this upcycled whiskey-barrel-turned-rain- barrel from Aunt Molly’s Barrels could be a choice pick. The barrel comes with a downspout connector, three spigots, and even a drain with a plug on the bottom. 

Since this traditional rain barrel is made from real wood, if it dries out, the wood can shrink and crack, so it’s important to keep some water in this barrel at all times. However, should the wood dry out for any reason, it can usually correct itself by holding water for a few hours.

The rain barrel is also heavy, so caution must be used when installing and moving it. Since the spigot is lower to the ground, a stand may be needed if using the barrel with a watering can.

Get the Aunt Molly’s Barrels rain barrel at Etsy or Aunt Molly’s Barrels.

Best Mini

RTS Home Accents 35-Gallon Rain Barrel With Planter

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 35 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight when empty: 19 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with debris screen to keep out leaves
  • Small construction makes it easy to place
  • Barrel is resistant to corrosion and insect damage

Cons

  • Not freeze-proof; will need to be stored properly in colder months
  • Planter can flood easily; not great drainage for plants
  • Installation requires tools that are not included

For those looking for a smaller rain barrel for a home, this 35-gallon option comes in two color choices and mimics the look of a traditional rain barrel. Besides being resistant to rust and corrosion, it also has a planter on the top so users can plant flowers or herbs to create a decorative rain barrel that’s also functional.

If you’re using the planter at the top, it’s important to know that plants can easily get flooded, so they may need to be kept in their pots. Like other rain barrels, the spigot is low to the ground, so you’ll want to place the barrel on a stand if you want to use it with a watering can.

Get the RTS Home Accents planter rain barrel at Amazon, Wayfair, or Walmart.

Best Large-capacity

Good Ideas Impressions 90-Gallon Rain Saver

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 90 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight when empty: 35 pounds

Pros

  • Planter on the top for added decoration
  • Attractive wood design on the plastic exterior
  • Overflow diverter to prevent flooding

Cons

  • Limited drainage for the planter on the top

Shoppers looking to cover more ground may want to consider this extra-large rain barrel from Good Ideas. The 90-gallon capacity provides excellent water-collection capabilities, plus the top of the barrel has space for a planter to add a more decorative feel to the rain barrel. It also comes in five color options to suit a variety of outdoor styles.

The plastic construction makes it a little lighter at just 35 pounds, and it’s easier to move when empty relative to those made of solid wood. There is also an integrated channel to automatically divert overflow to the front of the barrel to prevent excess water or flooding. This model also comes with two brass spigots to install in the two separate areas on the barrel. 

What our tester says: Debbie Wolfe, a Bob Vila product tester and writer, had this to say about this rain barrel: “The Good Ideas Impressions rain saver has been a valuable addition to my garden. I appreciate its large capacity and two spigot options, allowing efficient barrel draining. Its attractive design blends nicely with the surroundings, and the planter area at the top offers a unique way to showcase plants. Although that area is intended for direct planting, the slope doesn’t allow for proper drainage, and the drainage hole gets easily clogged with soil. However, I added a planted basket to use the space without worrying about the drainage issue.”

Get the Good Ideas rain barrel at The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Good Ideas.

Best Decorative

Good Ideas Impressions 50-Gallon Rain Saver

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 50 gallons
  • Material: BPA-free polyethylene
  • Weight when empty: 21 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with mesh debris screen
  • Greener choice; made from recycled plastic
  • Can link multiple containers together
  • Planter on top is self-draining

Cons

  • Back isn’t flat so it can’t stand flush to a wall

This decorative rain barrel has an attractive wavy texture and is available in six colors. It comes with a self-draining planter on top for flowers, herbs, or plants and is made from 100 percent recycled BPA-free polyethylene, which is a type of plastic. 

The barrel also has a built-in overflow management system, dual spigots, a mesh screen to keep out debris, and a 50-gallon capacity. Although the front spigot is low to the ground, it does have a second side spigot that can be used for watering cans or 5-gallon buckets.

As a result of its decorative and textured appearance, it looks more like a planter than a rain barrel, making it a worthy consideration for those who don’t want what looks like a rain barrel in their garden or yard.

Get the Good Ideas rain barrel at Amazon, Lowe’s, Wayfair, Good Ideas, or Walmart.

Best With Diverter

EarthMinded 45-Gallon Planter Rain Barrel and Hose

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Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 45 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight when empty: 17 pounds

Pros

  • Reversible lid can become a planter if desired
  • Easily installs to a nearby downspout for efficient water collection
  • 2 attractive color options to coordinate with most homes

Cons

  • Plastic barrel spigot may have limited longevity compared to metal ones

A great way to capture rainwater for later use is to attach a diverter directly to your downspout. This model from EarthMinded includes its patented FlexiFit diverter. Users simply place the barrel next to a downspout and install the diverter to catch rainwater and store it for later use. 

The top of the barrel also has a reversible lid that can convert to a planter for a more decorative touch. This plastic rain barrel is available in either black or terra-cotta. Note that to install the diverter to a downspout, users will need a screwdriver and/or a power drill.

Get the EarthMinded rain barrel at The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Walmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Rain Barrel

Since a rain barrel can last a long time and you may use it frequently, it’s important to find a rain barrel that meets your specific needs. Here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a rain barrel.

Size and Capacity 

How much rainwater is needed helps determine the right size rain barrel. In addition, for those looking for the best rainwater collection system with the goal being to use the barrel water for the household’s potable water (safe for drinking), it’ll be important to consider how much water a home uses for cooking, washing laundry, bathing, cleaning dishes, and flushing toilets.

The most popular rain barrels typically hold about 50 gallons of water, which generally won’t be enough for both potable and non-potable water use since the average person in the United States uses about 82 gallons of water a day. However, some rain barrels can hold up to 100 gallons or more to support irrigation and potable water needs.

Material

Since rain barrels are located outside, it’s essential that the barrel material can hold up well throughout the seasons in the local climate. Harsh summer sun and colder temperatures can affect the longevity of some barrel materials if they are kept out year-round.

Most rain barrels today are made of plastic, some of which is recycled plastic. The benefit of plastic is that it adds UV protection and durability to the rain barrel. However, for those who want a more sustainable option and don’t mind paying higher prices, there are rain barrels made from wood.

Design

Rain barrels are similarly barrel-shaped, but some have unique designs to better complement a home’s style or act as a decorative piece while also being functional. Some are shaped like flower pots, and flowers can be planted on top, while others have a stone, wicker, or wood texture to add a decorative touch to a property.

Another design feature that is important is the location of the spigot on a rain barrel because that’s how the water is dispensed. Think about how the rain barrel will be used and whether it will need to be attached to a pump or hose for watering. Some rain barrels sit on stands to make accessing the spigot easier. 

In addition, most rain barrels have an overflow valve or rain barrel diverter. This allows users to connect the barrel to a downspout so that if the barrel gets full, it simply diverts the excess into the downspout, just like it would if the barrel wasn’t there. It’s also possible to connect a few rain barrels together to collect the overflow water. The overflow valve is important because it can be inconvenient and potentially problematic for a barrel to overflow and cause water pooling around a home’s foundation.

Filtering Screen 

A filtering screen helps keep debris out of collected rainwater, which is important whether or not users are collecting potable water. Debris such as leaves, twigs, and pine needles can quickly clog the spigot or hose, preventing users from getting the water out of the barrel for use.

Look for rain barrels that have some type of filter to prevent debris, especially for those who live in an area with a lot of trees. Keep in mind that for those who will be using rainwater for potable uses, such as cooking and showering, an additional filter system will need to be in place.

Safety

Rain barrels can weigh a lot—a 50-gallon tank that’s full can weigh more than 400 pounds, not including the rain barrel itself. As it can be dangerous for a rain barrel to tip over or be in a position where it could hurt someone, a rain barrel needs to be safely installed on a level surface and connected to a downspout. Never attempt to move the rain barrel when it is full.

Look for rain barrels that can be installed on top of a platform or those that sit against the wall with a flat back to minimize the chances that a rain barrel will tip or need to be relocated while it’s full or mostly full.

Tips for Rain Barrel Use and Maintenance 

Rain barrels are designed to be outside and to weather the elements. However, most manufacturers suggest keeping a rain barrel inside and turned upside down during the off-season. Consider storing a rain barrel in a shed or garage during the winter to protect it from freezing temperatures if it’s not being used. Always clean a rain barrel before storing for best results.

In addition, when connecting a hose to the spigot of a rain barrel, be sure the hose is below the water level of the rain barrel for the water to flow properly. Users also have the option of not using a hose and instead filling a jug or watering can with the collected water.

  • Always install a rain barrel on a stable, flat surface.
  • Connect a rain barrel to the downspout for overflow to prevent water pooling.
  • Never use collected water for potable (drinking or cooking) purposes without filtering it first.
  • Drain barrels before freezing temperatures are expected.

FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best rain barrels so you can get started collecting water and using it around your home.

Q. What should I look for when buying a rain barrel?

Before buying a rain barrel, evaluate its size and capacity, the location you’re considering, and the durability of the material.

Q. How big a rain barrel do I need?

It depends on how you’ll be using your rain barrel. For larger gardens or home use, a barrel that’s between 80 and 100 gallons is usually sufficient. For smaller gardens or occasional use, 50 gallons or less may suffice.

Q. What happens when a rain barrel reaches full capacity?

Most rain barrels have an overflow spout that allows water to flow back into the downspout of gutters when full, preventing overflow and water pooling around a home’s foundation.

Q. Should I clean my rain barrel?

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning a rain barrel, as the cleaning method will depend on the material. Generally, scrubbing the interior with a soft brush and a vinegar-and-water solution will get it clean.

Q. How long does rain barrel water last?

Rain barrel water typically lasts for a week before it becomes contaminated from sitting.

Q. Is it illegal to collect rainwater?

No! Rainwater collection is legal across the United States, and it’s even encouraged in more drought-prone areas of the country.

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Jenn Ryan

Contributing Writer

Since 2015, Jenn Ryan has been a freelance writer with a focus on natural health, eco-friendly products, and wellness. She’s been writing for BobVila.com since 2020 and covers natural alternatives to conventional products, solar solutions, and environmental topics.

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