Photo of Anca Novacovici

Anca Novacovici

Professional Eco Expert

Best Rainwater Barrels & Best Rain Barrels

As you are probably aware, our planet’s freshwater supply is shrinking, and the cost of water is increasing. So take advantage of a renewable and free supply of water for use around your home! All you need to do is purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater that falls on the roof of your home and would otherwise be wasted. Depending on how much water you need and the level of complexity you are looking for, there is a wide range of systems ranging from one rain barrel to multiple rain barrels connecting in series utilizing a pump to move the water.

By installing a rain barrel you will be reducing the strain on your municipal water supply, reducing the amount of pollution and sedimentation in our stormwater systems, as well as lowering your utility bills. The captured rainwater can be used for activities such as gardening (rainwater is actually healthier for plants and soil since there aren’t any added chemicals), washing cars, washing clothes, and other activities. However, the captured rainwater should not be used for drinking water as it has not been treated to potable standards. The roofing material on your home will also be a key factor in determining the contamination level of the water being captured. Once you have begun using your rain barrel, you will quickly see first hand just how much rain can be captured in a short amount of time. Generally it is estimated that for every inch of rain that falls on a 1000 square foot roof, you can capture approximately 600 gallons of water.

Best of the Best:

If you have decided that you want to try your hand at capturing rainwater for reuse, would like a higher-end product and you aren’t sure what type of rain barrel is right for you, this list should give you a better idea of what your options are, and what features to look for. There aren’t an overwhelming number of rain barrel manufacturers out there, but there are enough that you should be able to find one in your nearby area, and one that suits your needs. Some key things to consider when choosing a rain barrel are the capacity, the types of uses you will be needing the water for, what the barrels are made out of (for environmental impact), aesthetics, safety, ability to drain and direct overflow, and durability.

With the best rainwater barrels, you'll take advantage of a free and renewable water supply for your plants. These best rain barrels collect water and look great for must-have gardening supplies.

Best Rain Barrels by Anca Novacovici

The Best You Can Get

  • Aquabarrel Rain Box

    Anca says: The Rain Box from Aquabarrel is one of the larger capacity rain barrels available. It has a relatively small base and is thinner than most other models, so it can fit into tighter spaces. The exact dimensions of the Rain Box are 20" x 24" x 42". Aquabarrel reduces the environmental impact of building the Rain Box by using 100% pre-consumer waste. The Rain Box comes equipped with a 1.75” overflow port and a 1.75” diameter bottom flow port to dispense the water from the storage chamber. To avoid debris getting into the Rain Box, there is a filter on the top of it, which keeps out larger sized material. This means that there will be less maintenance in cleaning out the Rain Box for the owner. This model incorporates a child safe design and has the capability of being linked to other Rain Boxes should you decide that you need multiple units.

    • 75 gallon storage capacity
    • Made from 100% pre-consumer waste
    • UV-resistant polyethylene
  • The Great American Rain Barrel

    Anca says: The Great American Rain Barrel claims to be one of the best built and most durable rain barrels available due to its rigid, heavy duty structure that will last a long time. The rain barrel is produced by recycling and converting used shipping barrels. The dimensions of the Great American Rain Barrel are 39” high x 24” wide. This rain barrel comes in several different color options, and is easy to set up and install. Each barrel comes complete with an overflow port, a drain plug, a screw on cover, and a threaded spigot located in the middle of the barrel for attaching a garden hose. The Great American Rain Barrel can be connected in series with additional barrels by using a short piece of garden hose. Another extra piece that can be purchased is the Save The Rain Diverter, which can be used to help divert water from your downspout directly into your rain barrel.

    • 60-gallon storage capacity
    • Recycled from used shipping barrel
    • UV protected polyethylene
  • Aaron’s Oak Whiskey Barrel

    Anca says: This is a beautiful option for a rain barrel. Aaron’s originally only produced plastic rain barrels, but started offering a very well-made and durable wooden rain barrel in response to overwhelming demand from customers. The barrels are converted from barrels that were once filled with bourbon at Kentucky distilleries to fully functional rain barrels. The barrels are made out of white oak and are inspected by a Kentucky cooperage before they are sold as rain barrels. These barrels are extremely heavy, weighing about 110 pounds each. The barrels are 34” high x 24” wide.

    The wooden barrel is held together with steel hoops, which create a long-lasting, durable rain barrel. All the fittings on the barrel are solid brass and are threaded so that you can attach a garden hose to them. All the oak rain barrels come with a convenient rainwater diverter attachment that will allow for separation of rainwater if the barrel is full, and will aide in avoiding clogs from unwanted debris. If you need your barrel to be custom built for whatever reason, Aaron will be happy to oblige.

    • 53-gallon storage capacity
    • Recycled from used whiskey barrels
    • Wood
  • TerraCycle Rain Barrel

    Anca says: From a company that has been known for producing eco-friendly products comes another idea that minimizes waste. These barrels give barrels used for fermenting red wine at California Vineyards a second life. The wine barrels are only useable one time for wine fermentation and then are usually thrown into the landfills. The barrels, made of African oak, are extremely durable and structurally stable, although they do weigh considerably more than plastic barrels of the same capacity. Since these barrels were originally designed to hold and seal liquid in them, they are ideal for capturing and storing rainwater.

    • 55-gallon storage capacity
    • Made from recycled wine barrels
    • Wood
  • Kentucky Wooden Whiskey Barrel

    Anca says: Kentucky Barrels, LLC manufacturers many types of barrels, and not just for rainwater capture. They have a good reputation for making quality barrels, and their rain barrels are eco-friendly because they are recycled and converted from barrels that have been previously used. They offer a few different models of rain barrels, some of which used to hold wine and some of which used to hold bourbon. These rain barrels are moderately priced for wooden barrels and you can be assured that they are built to last. The wood that the barrels are made out of is White Oak and the hoops around the barrel are galvanized steel. Each rain barrel comes equipped with a brass faucet spigot, an overflow port, and a downspout adaptor. The barrels are very heavy, weighing over 100 pounds each, so they can be a little difficult to move around, but they are still better quality barrels than many of the plastic type rain barrels on the market. And, they look great!

    • 50-60 gallon capacity
    • Recycled from used wine and whiskey barrels
    • Wood

You will be happy with any of these

  • Aaron’s Standard Rain Barrel

    Anca says: Aaron’s Standard Rain Barrel is reasonably priced and 100% recycled. The barrels are made from converting used food grade plastic barrels into rain capturing and storage units. The dimensions of the Standard Rain Barrel are 36” high x 23” wide. The barrels are designed to be fully closed, making them both child and animal safe. Due to its white color, this barrel also allows for easy painting of the barrel if you decide you want to spruce it up a bit. Other features of the rain barrels include a mosquito stopper, a solid brass spigot for attaching a garden hose, and a threaded brass overflow valve.

    • 58-gallon storage capacity
    • Recycled from used food grade barrels
    • Plastic
  • The Rain Catcher

    Anca says: The Rain Catcher is a good buy for someone who is looking for a simple, well-made barrel. This barrel has all the standard features and has the advantage of being made out of recycled materials. It is pretty lightweight and the dimensions are 32" high x 24" wide. It comes with a removable aluminum mesh debris screen that is non-corrosive and durable. The back of the barrel is flat so it can be placed close to the wall of your home. There is an overflow port on the back of the barrel and there are also portals on either side of the barrel that can be used to hook several barrels together in series for greater storage capacity. A linkage kit is included with the rain barrel that is used to make this connection. The Rain Catcher comes with a two-year warranty.

    • 55-gallon storage capacity
    • Made from recycled materials
    • Plastic
  • Urban Garden Center Rain Barrel

    Anca says: The Urban Rain Barrel is created from recycled food grade barrels that were previously used to store and ship food. Because of this, each barrel may be a little different in condition and size. However, if this is not a problem and you want to get a rain barrel that has minimal impact on the environment during its manufacturing, this is another great choice. There is a 1.25” overflow port located at either side of the rain barrel, at the middle portion of the rain barrel to divert the excess water. You have the option of purchasing a linking kit to connect several of these barrels in series. The top of the barrel has a cover that is both child and animal safe, and there is a brass spigot at the base of the barrel for connecting either a water hose or an irrigation system. D&P Industries, the manufacturer, offers a five-year warranty on their Urban Rain Barrels.

    • 57-gallon storage capacity
    • Made from recycled barrels
    • Plastic
  • Rain Barrels and More Rain Barrel

    Anca says: The Rain Barrels and More Rain Barrel is recycled and converted from food grade barrels that were used to hold olives and pickles. The barrels have been thoroughly cleaned and washed before they are converted to rain barrels. The barrels are made out of plastic and have a UV coating on the outside of them to protect them from damage. The size of the barrel is 41” high x 23” diameter. The rain barrel comes with a screw on lid that has a mesh screen to keep out debris, children, and animals. There are three overflow connections, a brass spigot, and a bottom drain plug.

    • 63-gallon storage capacity
    • Recycled from used food grade barrels
    • Plastic
  • The New Englander Rain Barrel

    Anca says: The New Englander Rain Barrel is relatively inexpensive for the capacity that it can handle. These barrels are made from recycled barrels that were previously used for other purposes. The design is fairly simple and they are easy to install. There are two control valves on the barrel, one for the dispensing of water at the bottom of the barrel and one at the top of the barrel for overflow diversion. Solid brass fittings are used for these control valves, a debris filter, all hardware for installation, and a five-foot starter hose with shutoff are included with the purchase on a New Englander Rain Barrel. These rain barrels also have the capability of being connected in series and all you would need to do is purchase a connector kit.

    • 55-60 gallon storage capacity
    • Made from recycled barrels
    • Plastic

Related Articles

Installing the best rainwater barrels, helps lower bills and saves water. These rain barrels will cut the strain on your municipal water supply, reduce the amount of pollution and sedimentation in your storm water systems and lower your utility bills. You can use these rain water harvesting barrels for water to wash clothes and the car, and of course water your plants.