Although they vary in style and features, most rain barrels allow you to collect rainwater from your roof and store it for future use. “With these barrels holding an average of 40-75 gallons of water, they can help mitigate stormwater runoff erosion by redirecting the water flow,” says Finch + Folly’s Allison Vallin Kostovick, an organic gardener based in Maine. The water can later be used to water your garden, lawn, or even wash your car.
When researching the best rain barrels, we evaluated products based on their size, capacity, material, style, and overall performance.
Our top pick, the RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel, offers rugged, weather-resistant construction and plenty of convenient features, including a filtering screen and dual overflow valves.
Here are the best rain barrels.
Best Overall: RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel
Flat back helps save space
Dual overflow options
Aluminum filtering screen
Stand available at an additional cost
Barrel may bulge when full
Some reports of leaks
Earning our top spot, this rugged 50-gallon rain barrel offers a host of convenient features to effectively collect rainwater for many seasons. Although the design is reminiscent of a classic oak barrel, this unit is made of plastic, which is much more resistant to rotting and fading. Thanks to a flat back, this rain barrel will sit flush against a wall, which helps to save space and prevent it from tipping over. Note that the spigot is located very close to the ground, which is an ideal height for attaching a hose, but inconvenient for a watering can or jug. Although it is an additional cost, you can purchase the barrel with a stand to make it easier.
Dual overflow valves prevent water from flooding your outside wall if the barrel fills up. It can also be connected to other barrels to collect more water. Another welcome feature is an aluminum screen that helps keep debris and insects out of your collected rainwater. This rain barrel only comes in brown, which is neutral enough to work in any outdoor space, but we would have appreciated a few more color options.
We found some reports of leaks, but this product is backed by a one-year warranty against defects. Another fairly common complaint is that the barrel tends to bulge when full, which may cause it to push away from the wall. For that reason, you may want to install it a few inches away from the wall rather than completely flush against it.
Price at time of publish: $103
Best Budget: FreeGarden RAIN 55 Gallon Rain Barrel
Square shape for versatile placement
Spigot is conveniently located
Two overflow spigots
Mesh screen to deter mosquitoes
Doesn't require a stand
Some reports of leaks and cracks
More utilitarian than other options
Although it’s not as stylish as our other picks, this affordably priced rain barrel from FreeGarden is a solid performer. Thanks to its flat back and square design, it can easily be installed against a wall or in a corner. Since the spigot is strategically located, you don’t need a stand to use the barrel with a watering can or jug. This barrel also features two overflow spigots on either side, allowing you to connect additional containers with the included diverter kit.
This rain barrel features a stainless steel mesh screen that effectively keeps out mosquitoes. It also comes with an extension hose and child-lock screws to secure the lid. The barrel is made of high-density polyethylene, a type of plastic that is BPA-free and UV-resistant. It’s available in three colors–beige, black, and bright green.
We did find some reports of leaks and cracks, with most of the cracks occurring after a hard freeze. And although this product is covered by a one-year warranty against defects, water damage from freezing temperatures is not covered. Consider storing the barrel indoors if it’s not being used in the winter.
Price at time of publish: $113
Best Splurge: AuntMollysBarrels Whiskey Rain Barrel With Flex-Fit Water Diverter
Made of real wood
Attractive, authentic design
Has three spigots
Effective draining system
Includes a diverter kit
Spigot is low to ground
More prone to damage and leaks
Handmade from recycled white oak whiskey barrels, this rain barrel from Aunt Molly’s Barrels creates an old-fashioned aesthetic. It has three overflow male hose connectors, a downspout connector to divert excess water, and a drain plug at the bottom. It’s important to note that water must be kept in the barrel at all times to prevent it from leaking and warping. If it happens to dry out, however, the barrel will reseal itself within a few hours. Since it is real wood, it is naturally more prone to rotting, leaks, and insect damage.
The spigot is pretty low to the ground, so you may need to put the barrel on a stand to use it with a watering can. At 105 pounds, this rain barrel is extremely heavy, which could be a challenge when installing or moving it. It’s also significantly pricer than most of our other picks, but its vintage-inspired design and real wood construction set it apart from the competition.
Price at time of publish: $399
Best Decorative: Winston Porter Ahriyah 50 Gallon Rain Barrel
Built-in planter on top
Removable debris screen
Some reports of drainage problems
May flood in heavy rain
This 50-gallon rain barrel from Winston Porter has a curved silhouette and woven design. Good looks aside, it is extremely durable and comes with plenty of convenient features. It’s made from a high-quality plastic that is weather-, mildew-, and warp-resistant. Although it holds up well to most elements, the manufacturer recommends storing it indoors during freezing temperatures.
Equipped with two spigots, it can easily be hooked up to a hose or another barrel. The front spigot is an ideal height and can be used to fill watering cans and jugs. The side spigot is much lower to the ground and better suited for a hose hookup. A routed channel diverts excess water to the front spigot, so you don’t have to worry about flooding your foundation.
The top of this rain barrel can be used as a planter, which adds to its versatility. It also has a removable screen, which helps to prevent insects, pests, and debris from getting into the water. A small number of users encountered some drainage issues and others reported that the barrel overflows in heavy rainfall—be sure to take advantage of the one-year warranty if you notice any defects.
Price at time of publish: $199
Best Weather-Resistant: Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Rain Barrel
More resistant to freezing temperature
Flat back sits flush against a wall
Doesn't bulge when full
Includes a debris screen
Available in 5 colors
Spigot is low to the ground
May require a stand
The Good Ideas Rain Wizard 50 Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel has many design features that make it stand out. Unlike similar models, this barrel fares better in freezing cold temperatures without cracking or splitting. Another big advantage is that it doesn’t bulge when full. We also love that it is available in five color options–black, green, khaki, oak and terracotta–so you can get just the right look for your outdoor space.
The flat black design allows the barrel to sit flush against a wall, and the front-side overflow prevents water from saturating the wall. It’s made from a durable polyethylene and designed to resemble a traditional oak barrel. The brass spigot can connect to your hose or be used as an overflow spout. It’s important to note that the spigot is very low to the ground, which would hinder you from filling a watering can or another container. However, you can purchase a stand from the manufacturer if needed. Like many on this list, it comes with a plastic mesh screen to keep out debris and insects.
Price at time of publish: $149
Best Small: RTS Home Accents Round 35 Gallon Rain Barrel
Resistant to fading and rotting
Includes a debris screen
Built-in planter at the top
Spigot is very low to the ground
Planter may flood
For a smaller option, this 35-gallon rain barrel is an excellent choice. Although it’s designed to look like a traditional rain barrel, its plastic construction will fare better in the elements. It’s resistant to rust and corrosion and has a filtering screen to keep out debris. This unit has a front-side overflow to prevent flooding around a home's foundation, as well as a shut-off valve for attaching a hose. One caveat is that the spigot is very low to the ground. If you intend to fill watering cans or jugs, you’ll probably need to put the barrel on a stand.
This unit features a planter at the top, which is equally functional and decorative. Like most rain barrels with built-in planters, however, the plants can flood easily. This rain barrel’s capacity is limited when compared to other models, but it’s a great choice for smaller outdoor spaces and people that don’t collect that much water.
Price at time of publish: $183
Best Large: Good Ideas Impressions 90 Gallon Plastic Drainable Rain Barrel
Top can be used as a planter
Includes a debris screen
Routed channel diverts excess water
Planter may flood
With a 90-gallon capacity, this rain barrel from Good Ideas is one of the largest options on the market. Constructed from high-quality polyethylene, this unit is built to last–even in extremely cold weather. To protect your foundation from flooding, a routed channel directs overflow water to the front of the barrel. With two offset brass spigots, you can connect a 5-gallon bucket and hose simultaneously. It has a screen that prevents debris and other pollutants from getting into the barrel.
This rain barrel is as stylish as it is functional. Its distressed finish, which is reminiscent of a coral reef or tree trunk, will make a nice addition to any yard. The large opening at the top can be used as a planter to make it more decorative. Keep in mind that plants may get flooded in heavy rainfall. This barrel comes in eight natural colors, including green, oak, and terra cotta, to match your outdoor aesthetic. It’s significantly more expensive than standard 50-gallon rain barrels, but its extra-large capacity and stylish design is worth the splurge.
Price at time of publish: $399
Best Portable: VINGLI 50 Gallon Collapsible Rain Barrel
Collapsible design for easy storage
Water inlet filter to keep out debris
Overlflow valve to prevent leakage
Available in 3 sizes
Can't be connected to a garden hose
More prone to tipping over
If you have limited outdoor space, this 50-gallon rain barrel from Vigli is a great option. It features a collapsible design, making it easy to fold up and store when it’s not in use. Made of PVC mesh cloth and reinforced with six support rods, this unit will remain stable and retain its shape once it’s set up on the ground. It has a water inlet filter on the cover to keep out debris and insects, as well as an outflow valve to link multiple containers together. Both spigots and the outflow valve come with rubber rings to prevent leakage. One potential downside to this rain barrel is that it can’t be connected to a garden hose, so you’ll have to transfer the water directly to another container.
This tank is available in three sizes–50, 66, or 100 gallons–to suit a variety of needs. It only comes in one color, a forest green that should be unobtrusive in most yards. Due to its softer structure and lightweight (only 4.4 pounds), this unit needs to be placed on level ground to prevent it from tipping over. Also, you should never attempt to move the barrel while it’s full.
Price at time of publish: $40
Best With Hose: FCMP Outdoor Rain Catcher
Includes a garden hose and hanging hose clip
Can be linked to other rain barrels
Includes a mesh debris screen
Flat back sits flush against a wall
Mosquitoes may get through the screen
Some reports of missing parts
This 50-gallon rain barrel from FCMP Outdoor offers an array of convenient features, including a garden hose for easy dispensing. Plus, it has a hanging hose clip to keep it neat and secure when not in use. To increase rainwater storage capacity, spigots on the side of the barrel allow you to connect multiple rain barrels (via the included linking kit). An overflow connection on the back directs excess water away from your foundation. This barrel is made of polyethylene, which is BPA-free and UV-resistant, but it’s designed to look like a traditional rain barrel.
This unit is equipped with a debris screen, but some users say the mesh isn’t fine enough to keep out mosquitoes. The barrel has a large opening at the top, which makes for easier installation. Thanks to the flat back design, it can sit flush against a wall. It also has a spoke and wheel pattern at the top that prevents children and pets from falling in. We found some reports of missing parts, so be sure to account for all pieces upon arrival.
Price at time of publish: $129
The RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel earns our top spot thanks to its durable and convenient design. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the FreeGarden RAIN 55 Gallon Rain Barrel is equally well-constructed and offers some of the same convenient features: two overflow spouts, a filter screen, and flat back design. However, it is more basic and utilitarian in appearance.
What to Look for in a Rain Barrel
“A 55-gallon barrel will be suitable for the average household,” says Allison Vallin Kostovick, an organic gardener based in Maine. For smaller gardens or less frequent use, 26 to 45 gallons may suffice. The CDC recommends that collected rainwater not be used for drinking, cooking, or washing fruits and vegetables.
Most rain barrels are made of heavy-duty plastic, which provides UV protection and a good amount of durability in the outdoor elements. However, most plastic rain barrels are not freeze-proof and may crack in colder temperatures.
A rain barrel made from wood is a more sustainable option, and many users appreciate the traditional aesthetic. However, wood barrels are much pricier and are more prone to rotting, leaking, and insect damage than those made of plastic.
Rain barrels run the gamut from utilitarian to highly decorative. If you’re not concerned about looks, a basic model should do just fine. On the other hand, if your rain barrel will be the focal point of a yard or garden, you might want to splurge on a stylish option. Some models have a planter on top where you can grow flowers or herbs. Others offer a more classic aesthetic and are designed to look like traditional oak barrels. Some models come in a variety of colors to match your backyard accessories.
A filtering screen will help keep debris and insects out of collected rainwater. It's important to stop debris from clogging the spigot or hose and interfering with the operation.
If you have children or pets, look for a model with a safety lid that will prevent them from falling in. Some lids are lockable, while others have bars across the top or child-lock screws to keep the lid secure.
Most rain barrels have a threaded spigot that can be attached to a garden hose. To ensure proper water flow, the hose should be connected below the water level of the rain barrel. Some models come with an extension hose or garden hose for added convenience.
A diverter kit allows users to connect the barrel to a downspout. If the barrel gets too full, it will redirect the excess water into the downspout, and prevent it from pooling around your home’s foundation.
Most rain barrels require some minor assembly and need to be connected to a downspout. To prevent it from tipping over and causing injury, a rain barrel should always be installed on a level surface. Rain barrels that come with a stand or have a flat back design to sit up against a wall are less likely to tip over.
How do rain barrels work?
A rain barrel is essentially a large container with a water intake screen at the top and a valve to release the water at the bottom. Most units are simple to assemble, install, and maintain. “Rain barrels are a low-cost, environmentally-friendly way to conserve rainwater running off your roof and collect it for later use,” says Kostovick, an organic gardener based in Maine. You can use the collected rainwater for various purposes including watering your lawn and garden or washing your car.
In areas where water is scarce and costs are high, a rain barrel can help lower your water bill. Since they don’t use any energy, you get a double bonus because you’ll save on water and electricity.
How do you install a rain barrel?
The installation process varies by model, but the basic concept is the same: A rain barrel is installed underneath a downspout of a gutter. The downspout is connected to the lid of the barrel, which allows it to collect rainwater from a roof or other surface. It’s not necessary to elevate the barrel, but doing so might improve water flow. “Because the water pressure needed for flow into your garden hose comes from gravity, elevating your barrel one foot above the ground helps the flow of water out of the barrel,” says Kostovick. Elevation also makes it easier to position a watering can or container underneath the spigot.
How do you get water out of a rain barrel?
According to Kostovick, “Most rain barrels offer a spigot on the bottom half of the barrel that can be connected to your garden hose.” If the spigot is situated high enough, you can also use a watering can, bucket, or another container to retrieve the water. On days with heavy rainfall, Kostovick recommends setting up an overflow hose to direct excess water away from the foundation of your home.
How long can water sit in a rain barrel?
According to Kostovick, “Sitting water of any kind is best used fairly quickly–within one to two weeks to have room to coontinuously collect rainwater.” If you live in a cold climate, Kostovick recommends emptying the barrel before the temperature freezes and storing it upside down until the weather gets warm again.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce who specializes in the home and garden sector. To select the best rain barrels for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their size, capacity, material, style, and overall performance. Sage also took hundreds of customer reviews, as well as write-ups from third-party websites into consideration. For expert insight, she interviewed Finch + Folly’s Allison Vallin Kostovick, an organic gardener based in Maine.