A reliable watering can is a must-have item when caring for plants inside your home and in your garden.
"You always want to look at the handle on any watering can you're considering, since you'll spend a lot of time carrying it, holding it, and manipulating it to get the water out. It should be large enough for you to comfortably grasp, and it may even have spots for your fingers to go," says master gardener, interior designer, and home improvement expert Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home.
After researching and purchasing popular watering cans of various sizes and styles, we tested 32 of them at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa. Our testers were instructed to perform tasks such as filling the cans using both a sink and a hose and pouring the water into pots of different styles and sizes (including hanging ones). To test the construction, they also had to drop it, both full and empty, from a height of four feet onto a hard surface like concrete and a softer one like grass, and note any damage. They then rated the watering cans for design, ease of use, effectiveness, size, durability, and value.
The Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can is our overall winner for its sturdiness, double-handled style, and ease of maneuverability.
Here are the best watering cans to help keep your plants hydrated, according to our testing.
Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can
Two handles offer multiple hand positions
Flow can be adjusted
Easy to fill
Harder to use with hanging plants
The Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can earned high marks for its design, ease of use, value, and durability–it’s the best choice if you're looking to buy one container for most of your needs. And with its durable construction, it will last for many seasons to come. In fact, when dropped full of water from a height of four feet, not only did it resist cracking, but it also stayed upright. "I'm impressed with how it handled being dropped," said our tester.
We also found it easy to use thanks to its two handles (including one with hinges), which made it easy to maneuver into multiple positions, reducing strain on our hands and wrists. "Personally, I like watering cans with multiple handles so I get two spots to hold," says master gardener, interior designer, and home improvement expert Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home. And at 2.6 gallons, it's a sizable capacity that allows you to water several plants without making multiple trips to the hose or sink, but the lightweight plastic won't weigh you down.
With other watering cans we tested, the rose (the sprinkler-type spout) can be removed to allow you to pour water faster onto your plants, which is a very handy feature. But with this can, you don’t even have to remove the rose to get the same benefits—with it’s adjustable spout, you can easily switch between "sprinkle" and "pour" modes. However, this watering may be harder to use with plants in high places, as our tester noted, "You really have to tip it to get a full pour when watering a hanging plant." However, you could always take the plant down to water it, if it’s not too much of a hassle.
Room Essentials Novelty Watering Can
Extremely low price
Easy to fill
Not good for delicate plants like seedlings or transplants
Plastic could be sturdier
With its affordable price and straightforward design, this one-gallon option is ideal for the gardener on a budget, or if you need a few additional watering cans for multiple areas of your home. "The design is simple, but effective. It works well to fill up in a sink or hose, and the handle is in a nice spot," said our tester. Note that it only has a free-flow spout, so Stark cautions that you wouldn't want to use this type of can for watering "seedlings, transplants, or tender plants that can't stand up to a full stream of water." Although it doesn't have an elaborate double handle, the one it does have extends from the top to the back, offering two points for holding.
Our tester noted that this can was both easy to use and effective. "It's easy to fill up and pour out, and I was able to aim the spout exactly where I wanted it and it did not have any leaking problems," they said. Note that it may not be durable if you're hoping to keep it for several years ("It could produce more waste than necessary," said our tester). It also had some issues during the drop test, surviving the fall when empty on grass and concrete, but bending a little when dropped full on concrete. It was very minor damage, so it's still perfectly usable," they said. But overall, our tester was impressed by this simple and affordable pick. "I can't believe how [inexpensive] this is," they said. "It does feel cheap, but it worked incredibly well, so I'm impressed."
Williams-Sonoma Tall Copper Watering Can
Looks beautiful on a shelf
Sold in multiple sizes
Easy to carry, fill, and pour
Not great for outdoor use
Can't be used on delicate plants
Easily the most glamorous choice on our list, this watering can won points for its glimmering good looks. Our tester praised its "subtle, hammered texture" that made it look "extra luxe" and said they'd happily show it off in their home. "This watering can is gorgeous; I love the shiny copper look," they said. "This would definitely look nice sitting on a shelf by your houseplants, and would be great for people without a lot of storage who would need to keep it on display."
Since this watering can doesn't have a sprinkle head, it's best for heartier plants, but our tester praised its "beautiful pour" for plants at every height, and also said it was easy to fill and carry. They noted that it failed the drop test on concrete when full of water: The bottom dented, and the can was no longer able to rest flat. The functionality seemed to be okay, though. For that reason, you'd probably want to use it indoors only.
Buyers should also note that the shiny exterior won't last unless you're willing to maintain it, but many love the look of the patina that copper products develop with time. At 65 ounces, the can doesn't hold a lot of water, but our tester managed to fill it to 80 ounces with only minimal splashing while carrying it with one hand. We're figuring that 65 ounces would be a more reasonable amount to guarantee no spills.
Finally, there's the price, which is quite high and caused us to deduct points for value: You could get other aesthetically pleasing watering cans for less. For that reason, it might be best if you're looking to spend on a good splurge item that also doubles as decor, or if you're buying it as a gift for someone with a large collection of houseplants.
Best for Indoor Plants
Haws Bosmere Handy Indoor Plastic Watering Can
Lightweight and easy to use
Multiple bright color options
Sprinkle and pour options
Built-in storage peg for the rose
This inexpensive watering can holds only one liter, so it's best for those with only a few plants to water. It's also a good option if you're looking for an extra container (such as for a child who likes to help in the garden). Our testers called it "easy to carry, pour and aim" and loved its featherweight size.
An especially cool feature is the removable rose that allows you to switch between sprinkling and free-flow pouring. When not in use, the rose can be screwed onto a peg above the spout, so you're less likely to lose it. Besides yellow, it comes in several cheery colors, including red, light blue, and sage green.
Fasmov 1-Gallon Plastic Watering Can
Easy to carry even when full
Good pouring accuracy
Small hole may make filling tricky
No rose attachment
Our testers loved this simple, straightforward plastic watering can and even called it a "good investment that will last a long time." Thanks to the two ridges on the handles, our testers found this can to be "very comfortable to hold and carry.” And although it doesn’t have a rose (sprinkler spout), its a great option for indoor or smaller plants when you really want to target where the water goes (and risk spills). One thing to note is that the fill hole is on the smaller side, so depending on your sink's configuration, it might be trickier to fill.
With its one-gallon capacity, it hits what our tester calls "the sweet spot" for indoor plants. "It's easy to carry when full and it doesn't spill, even when filled to the brim," they said. The plastic was deemed "stable without a bit of flimsiness," and it survived all drop tests except the final one. "The full drop test on concrete resulted in a buckled front with a couple of small bulge marks, but it was still very functional and looked almost new. I was impressed," said our tester. Although it doesn’t have a rose (sprinkler spout), it's a great option for indoor or smaller plants when you really want to target where the water goes (and risk spills).
Best With Nozzle
Yummy Sam Watering Can With Detachable Spray Head
Sprinkle and pour options
May dent if dropped on a hard surface
Our tester said this basic one-gallon plastic can "watered nicely" and was "easy to use and carry when full." The spray nozzle (rose) can be removed so you can choose between a delicate sprinkle and a more straightforward pour, which works well for a container garden with different types and sizes of plants.
Our tester also found it to be a good value, saying, "The price makes sense for what this is. The extra nozzle attachment is a nice benefit and I would definitely pay this for it." At 8.8 ounces, it's certainly not the lightest watering can on our list, but our tester felt that "it wasn't too heavy to carry." As with other plastic watering cans, this one passed all durability drop tests except for being dropped full on concrete. "There were a few dents, but it was still perfectly usable," said our tester.
Best for Outdoors
XXXFLOWER Watering Can
Sprinkle and pour options
Nozzle moves up and down
Cap for fill hole
Not as stylish as others we tested
"Grandma would love this," remarked our tester regarding this "effective, true outdoor-use watering can." The double-handle design is quite ergonomic, and our tester said "the handles were comfortable for both carrying and also lifting up to reach hanging flower baskets." Although the watering can has a generous capacity, it stands at less than a foot high, so according to our tester it's "easily fillable in the kitchen sink." The rose can be removed, and the spout itself can swivel, offering you the option to either direct the sprinkle upwards (for a gentler effect) or downwards, depending on the watering style you're looking for.
Another nifty feature of this watering can is the cap that can be secured over the fill hole. It not only prevents splashing, but it will also help deter critters like frogs that might feel like taking up residence. (Note that it has slats for ventilation, so it won't keep out smaller insects.) It passed all drop tests except when dropped full on concrete, but our tester noted that "It got a large dent in the corner but didn't leak!" One downside is that it isn't the most attractive watering can (as our tester said, "kind of looks more like a leaf blower") but didn't mind the trade-off considering how well it worked, especially for watering plants in the garden.
E.Palace Stainless Steel Water Can for Indoor Plants and Garden
Attractive, minimalist look
Excellent aim and steady pour
Easy to fill
No extra features
Not great for large plant collection
Despite its small size, our tester was a fan of this can for its "great aim and reach for all sizes of plants" as well as its "minimalist look that would work with a variety of decor types—you'd definitely want it out on a shelf." Although the handle wasn't especially ergonomic, our tester noted it balanced well in their hand and "felt comfortable to hold."
The one downside of this can is its small capacity (although that made it easy to fill, even under a bathroom sink!). "This wouldn't be a great choice for watering a big group of houseplants because it would take forever due to the small size, but if you were just going to water the plant it's sitting next to, it would be perfect," said our tester. Also, the stainless steel got some damage when it was dropped on concrete: A small scratch when it was dropped empty, and a dent when it was dropped full but, as our tester said, "It didn't affect the functionality of the can— it could still sit steady and hold water." The price seemed quite fair to our tester, especially for something that is a "functional, durable, and a good-looking addition to any plant-lover's shelf."
Keep in mind, a stainless steel can like this one is best kept out of the garden. "Metal cans are great rustic pieces that work well for watering indoor plants, but if you don't paint them to seal out the elements, they can easily rust and corrode," says Stark, adding, "they're best used inside as you're less prone to drop them and dent or damage the metal."
Terrain Beech Wood Handle Watering Can
Sleek, stylish profile
Steady pour with good reach
Open top could cause splashing
Wood may get damaged outdoors
With its mix of gunmetal gray stainless steel and smooth beech wood, this watering can from Anthropologie's sister company Terrain could, as our tester says, "easily fit in with either a farmhouse or a modern look" and was also "a great choice for something to display on a shelf." Although the handle isn't specifically listed as ergonomic, our tester found it was naturally the case. "The connector piece that attaches the handle to the watering can was the perfect place to rest my thumb for extra support and steadying. It was easy to carry and no water poured out," they said.
Because the can is so small, it can be easily filled in either a bathroom or kitchen sink, but the small capacity means that it's not well-suited for a large plant collection. Although the stainless steel has a powder coating that might help it withstand the elements, the wooden handle may not fare as well, so this watering can is best used indoors. The watering can passed all of the drop tests except for full on concrete, when it suffered a dent and the loss of some paint, but it didn't affect usability. Although the price was a little higher than some of the more basic cans on this list, our tester deemed it "as expected for the quality and design," adding, "I'd buy it."
Our top pick, the Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can, was named Best Overall for its sturdy construction, double handles (including one with hinges for easy maneuverability), and removable rose spout that allows you to water a mix of different plants. If you're a houseplant lover who's looking for a treat (or a gift to impress), consider our splurge pick, the Williams-Sonoma Tall Copper Watering Can, which is a beautiful investment that pours easily and accurately while doing double-duty as home decor.
How We Tested the Watering Cans
We researched popular watering cans in a variety of styles and sizes and purchased 32 of them to test at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa. We then spent a day evaluating the watering cans to see how they performed in a variety of settings. To evaluate the ease of use, we filled the cans under the faucet of a sink (if small enough), as well as with a garden hose. We then measured the water capacity to see if it matched up with the manufacturer's claim. After walking at least 30 feet with the watering cans full, we noted any special features in the design that made it easier to carry and maneuver, including two handles or special grips. We also noted if the water spilled or sploshed around the can.
To test the effectiveness, we watered plants in small and large pots, as well as hanging baskets, noting how accurate the water stream was in pour and sprinkle modes (where applicable) and if it was hard to control. We also noted if the watering can was easy to maneuver given its size. Since watering cans are often left outside or dropped, we tested their durability, dropping them from a height of four feet onto both concrete and grass, noting any dents, scratches, or leaks. Lastly, we asked our testers to rate the value of the can, only learning the price after they completed their testing.
What to Look for in a Watering Can
A watering can's holding capacity depends on the number, type, and size of your plants. "If you have very large potted plants, you may need a larger watering can so you can water a few plants before you run out. Otherwise, you'll find yourself running back and forth to fill it multiple times," says master gardener, interior designer, and home improvement expert Jen Stark, founder ofHappy DIY Home. A large collection of succulents requires less water than a couple of large ferns that must be kept evenly moist. Also, indoor plants' watering requirements are lower than outdoor plants' because of less evaporation, so a smaller watering can might be sufficient for houseplants. For example, the Terrain Beech Wood Handle Watering Can is a good size for watering indoor plants. We also think it is stylish enough to display on a shelf when not in use.
Keep in mind that 1 gallon of water weighs more than 8 pounds. Watering plants at ground level with a large watering can might not be a problem. But if plants are at waist level or above your head, such as in a hanging basket on a porch, lifting a fully filled watering can may be cumbersome. In those cases, a smaller watering can requiring more frequent refills works better than one with a large capacity, and, as Stark says, "Using a smaller can on hanging plants also reduces your chances of dropping it."
Another factor to consider is the distance of the plants from the water source. Determine how much weight you are willing to carry. Instead of lugging a fully filled large-capacity watering can up a stairwell or across a patio, you might be better off with a small watering can you refill more often. This choice is obviously a personal one. "Deciding how much you can comfortably carry is also a factor—if the can is too large, you may not be able to lift, carry, and tilt it as you need to use it," says Stark.
Balance and Grip
In watering cans, attractive design, good balance, and grip do not always go hand in hand. A watering can needs good balance, so it doesn't easily topple over. Generally, the longer the spout, the poorer the balance, although if the spout is fairly thin, it won't necessarily be prone to tipping. "A can with a slightly wider base can help balance out a heavier spout, and ones with heavier metal accents may also be more stable," says Stark.
Out of all of the cans we tested, the Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can stood out for its unique, two-handle design (including one with hinges), which made it easier to maneuver and balance when full compared to other options. We also appreciated the Fasmov Plastic Watering Can—the two ridges on the handle made it easy to grip and allowed us to pour accurately without spilling.
Watering cans have two basic types of spouts: free-flow and rose. Free-flow spouts water with a strong flow, whereas a rose waters a larger area but with a gentle sprinkle, like a rain shower. Most rose watering cans are for outdoor use, and the rose can be fixed or removable. For seedlings and other delicate plants, a watering can with a rose is best, since the gentle flow prevents the soil from becoming washed out. We featured several watering cans on this list with roses, including the Yummy Sam Watering Can With Detachable Spray Head, which also stood out for its comfortable handle. The Haws Bosmere Handy Indoor Plastic Watering Can has a built-in storage peg for the rose, so you don't have to worry about losing it. Our best overall winner, the Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can has an adjustable nozzle, so you can easily switch from pour to sprinkle.
For established houseplants and container plants, watering cans with free-flow spouts are best because the water is directed right into the container with minimal spills. The longer the spout, the more precisely you can aim the water. That's especially important for plants in hard-to-reach locations, as well as plants whose lush foliage obstructs the soil. "A longer spout gives you more control to water smaller pots, and plants that are sensitive to water on the foliage will require a longer spout so you can be more precise and avoid splashing the leaves," says Stark.
Outdoor watering cans are more utilitarian, and looks generally don’t matter as much as for indoor watering cans that are in plain view on a windowsill or kitchen counter. Outdoors, the watering can's weight and durability are important considerations.
Plastic is lighter than galvanized steel or copper. "Plastic is a very heavy-duty material and great for larger jobs, like watering outdoor plants or in situations where you may need to carry more water a bigger distance," says Stark, adding, "It usually won't crack or break if you drop it, and it's also fairly tip-proof." When opting for a plastic watering can, check whether the material is shatterproof, as well as UV-resistant. If you plan to use it year-round, it also should be frost-resistant.
Regardless of where you use it, a metal watering can should resist rusting—look for phrases like "rust-resistant" or "powder-coated." Copper watering cans tend to be both more expensive and smaller. "They're great for indoor use, and they'll develop a pretty patina over time that turns them into rustic decor pieces too," says Stark.
Ceramic watering cans are heavy and prone to chipping and breaking, so they are not suitable for outdoor use. "Ceramic watering cans come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and designs that allow you to also display them, just remember that if you drop one, it's going to shatter," says Stark.
Ease of Filling
A watering can should be convenient to fill. For most outdoor watering cans, that’s usually not an issue because they have plain designs: You just fill them with a hose. But for stylish indoor watering cans, the handle can get in the way of the faucet, which makes filling awkward. You can get a sense for how filling it will go by measuring the depth of your sink and comparing it to the height of the watering can.
How do you clean a watering can?
Usually, swishing around water and rinsing regularly keeps a watering can clean. But if mineral deposits have built up in the watering can from hard water or fertilizer, fill the watering can with a 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and warm water and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Pour out the liquid and scrub the watering can with a brush, then rinse it thoroughly with fresh water. Use the same method to clean the rose attachment. If it is heavily clogged, you might have to let the watering can soak overnight in the vinegar solution before removing any loosened deposits.
What kind of watering can is best for indoor plants?
A watering can with a smaller capacity, from 30 to 40 fluid ounces, works well for most houseplants. Also, consider the spout type. "Watering your indoor plants requires precision, so, ideally, you want to get a watering can that has a slightly longer and thinner spout," says Stark. This lets you target the pots and water your plants without spilling, even if they are located above your head such as on a bookshelf. A longer spout may also help with overall plant health. "It makes it easier to control how much water goes into each plant, and you can also get the water by the base of the plant while missing the foliage, which reduces the risk of having problems with fungal diseases or mold," says Stark.
How do you pick a watering can?
"You should choose a watering can by deciding on what you need to water with it and whether or not you plan on using it for your outdoor or indoor plants," says Stark. For outdoor use, a one- or two-gallon watering can with a rose gives you the most flexibility to water container plants and established plants in garden beds, as well as tender young plants and seedlings. For outdoors, choose a break-proof lightweight material. For indoors, you can pick a watering can with a smaller capacity and a design you like. But make sure it has a long spout, so you can water plants without spilling.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was updated by Lexi Dwyer, a freelance writer and product reviewer for The Spruce since 2019, who compiled the current roundup based on exclusive results from our testers at The Lab. The watering cans were all chosen based on their design, ease of use, effectiveness, size, durability, and value.
For additional information, Lexi spoke to master gardener, interior designer, and home improvement expert Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home. Stark was able to provide clear-cut advice on what to look for when choosing a watering can, and what styles and materials work best in different types of situations.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.