Freshwater is the most precious resource on the planet. Millions of people around the world still don’t have any access to running water in 2020. If you live in the western world, that might sound crazy. However, the reality is that the infrastructure around America is failing, and there are plenty of towns and cities where the water is no longer drinkable.
As a result, we must rely on water purifiers and reverse osmosis systems to purify our drinking water. That’s a common story across most states in the US, and it isn’t getting better anytime soon. There are some concerns that a CO2 gas shortage in the US could result in a failure of the public water supply.
Water storage is a vital preparation strategy for every American home. The human body can go for a few weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Having clean, fresh drinking water on hand is a vital concern for any household.
Then there’s the issue of preparing water for your garden. You might not need a drinking water reserve. However, you could use a rainwater reserve for collecting water for the garden. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to store water, and a rain barrel is an excellent way to naturally manage this resource.
Rainwater doesn’t contain any chemical contaminants in the public water supply, such as calcium and lime. Rainwater comes with the right pH balance for your garden, helping your plants thrive. In this post, we’ll review the best rain barrels and make suggestions on the best models for your yard.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Rain Barrel Reviews
- 2.1 Upcycle 55 Gallon Rain Barrel – The Best Overall Rain Barrel
- 2.2 COMMYEE 66 Gallon Rain Barrel
- 2.3 Goflame Rain Barrel – The Best Budget Rain Barrel
- 2.4 Lostronaut 53-Gallon Portable Rain Barrel
- 2.5 LIVINGPAL 100 Gallon Foldable Rain Barrel
- 2.6 Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable Water Storage Tank
- 2.7 AtliPrime 60 Gallon Foldable Rain Barrel
- 2.8 COMMYEE Foldable Rain Barrel 198 GL
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Rain Barrel Buyer’s Guide
- 5 What to Look for When Choosing a Rain Barrel?
- 6 How Do You Install Your Rain Barrel?
- 7 Is Harvested Rainwater Safe to Drink?
- 8 What do you do with the Water in Your Rain Barrel?
- 9 What Is the Proper Procedure for Maintaining a Rain Barrel?
- 10 Rain Barrel FAQs
- 11 The Verdict – The Best Rain Barrels
We reviewed dozens of rain barrels to come up with the options n this review. Out of all the models we looked at, we settled on these three as our top picks. We have a rain barrel to suit any budget or accommodate any water requirements. Check through these top picks and make your selection in minutes.
Best Pick: Upcycle 55 Gallon Rain Barrel
- Dimensions: 22 diameter x 38H inches
- Made of food-quality recycled high-density polyethylene
- Holds 55 gallons of recycled rainwater
- Links to other barrels to fill from one downspout
- Bottom spigot fits standard garden hose
The Upcycle 55-gallon rain barrel is a great choice for your home. This model features design and construction with HDPE high-density polyethylene. This rain barrel presents a sustainable way to collect water for your garden. This model features a reconditioned barrel, with a black color to prevent algae growth in the water.
You get a filter system to discard the leaves and debris from the roof, and a spigot and overflow fitting. This model is another good choice for smaller to mid-sized gardens that don’t need a lot of water.
Runner Up Pick: COMMYEE 66 Gallon Rain Barrel
- Water Inlet Filter: The top mesh design keeps leaves and insects away from your clean water, preventing debris from entering and polluting the water source.
- Two Switches: Open the middle tap to use the water storage. The bottom can be connected with an external water pipe to water flowers and garden crops, rainwater collection system provides convenience for your garden water.
- High-Quality Materials: Use UV resistant PVC mesh, solid and durable, not easy to break. 6 solid support rods to keep the bucket stable.
- Multifunctional Rainwater Collection Barrel: Rain barrels can grow flowers and fishes, also can be watered for irrigation. Fold freely, easy to carry and use, strong and durable.
- Eco-Friendly Product：Water tank collects rainwater to save water resources, thus saving water cost. Enjoy a green garden without worrying about your water bill!
This 66-gallon model stores enough rainwater to feed a small garden. The top mesh design for the water inlet filter keeps leaves and insects out of the container. As a result, you get clean, filtered rainwater into your barrel ready for the garden.
This model features high-quality design and construction with UV-resistant PVC materials. The six sturdy support rods ensure this collapsible model remains upright and secure. This model is our top choice for the best overall rain barrel and our recommendation for mid-size to larger gardens.
Budget Pick: Goflame Rain Barrel
- Mesh cover design: This rain barrel can be folded, which makes it easy to store and carry. Besides, its green surface naturally fits in with your backyard sight. Its top mesh is newly designed to keep out animals, debris and it is also easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance.
- Collect water :During heavy rain falls, a typical roof can produce hundreds of gallons of water if you have connected few more barrels.One rain barrel can provide 60 gallons of clear rain water when it is full.
- Durable and sturdy materials: Our rain barrel is made of PVC frame and Anti-corrosion PVC mesh cloth, which is durable. While most barrels will crack or become brittle in the winter time, the durable materials of the item ensure stability and long-time using.
- Easily use: You just need to place this rain barrel under a downspout and let water run through the mesh top into the storage area, and if it was full filled with rain water, excess water will outflow from the top drain-pipe.
- Efficient equipment: When drought sets in and rain is short, rain barrels can provide precious water you need for your lawn and garden. By saving that water, you can reduce your average water usage by up to 40%.
This Goflame rain barrel is a top model for your garden this rainy season. Featuring a collapsible design, the Goflame is a foldable water reservoir you can set up in minutes in your backyard. This 50-gallon model is the ideal choice for small to mid-sized gardens, with an overflow valve and spigot included in the kit.
The Goflame rain barrel is a top choice, featuring a mesh filter to remover leaves and debris from the water. You get a durable UV-resistant PVC reservoir that’s weather-resistant and efficient. Protect your garden from drought with this Goflame model.
Rain Barrel Reviews
Now that you have a brief introduction to our top models let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at a few other models we think are worthy of including in this review of the best rain barrels.
Check out our buyer’s guide section after you finish with the reviews. We’ll give you some helpful tips on picking the right rain barrel for your application.
Upcycle 55 Gallon Rain Barrel – The Best Overall Rain BarrelThe upcycle rain barrel wins our award for the best overall rain barrel in this review. If you have a mid-sized lawn and garden, this rain barrel is all you need to keep the water flowing through the dry spells of the rainy season. The 55-gallon capacity is ideal for watering a few flowerbeds and a small lawn throughout the summer.
This model comes with a black HDPE construction for sturdy use and easy stacking onto a base. The Upcycles black color ensures there’s no mold or algae growth in the water, reducing the rain barrel’s maintenance. This barrel fills quickly and comes with a filtered inlet to remove debris.
You get a spigot and overflow kit included with the Upcycle, with everything you need to manage your new water supply.
- Premium HDPE construction
- Blackout design for anti-microbial protection against algae and mold growth
- Maximum capacity 55-gallons
- Suitable for mid-sized gardens
- Comes with a spigot and overflow
- Has a plastic spigot instead of metal
COMMYEE 66 Gallon Rain BarrelThis rain barrel is a close runner-up for our top pick. If you have a mid-sized to a large garden, the COMYEE 66-gallon model is a great choice. This collapsible model has a 66-gallon capacity, making it a great choice for mid-sized to larger gardens.
You get a mesh water inlet filter to keep debris out of the barrel, and a dual-way zipper for easy assemble and breakdown. The rain barrel gets it support from sturdy polymer rods, with a UV-resistant PVC liner that’s durable and weather resistant.
This rain barrel comes with an overflow kit, spigot, and switch, and a faucet to Accommodate your watering requirements. This rain barrel; is our top choice for the best premium model in this review.
- Dual-way zippered top
- UV-resistant PVC construction
- Debris filter, overflow, and spigot with switch
- Faucet with a hose connection
- 66-gallon capacity for larger gardens
- Collapsible design
- Not a permanent fixed barrel
- A bit large for smaller gardens
Goflame Rain Barrel – The Best Budget Rain BarrelThis collapsible model features a mesh PVC design, with a foldable design for easy transport around the yard. You get everything included with your kit. There’s a liner and the sturdy frame rods included, along with all the fittings you need.
You get a spigot and switch, along with a faucet, rain filter, and an overflow kit. The top of the rain barrel features a dual zipper system for easy setup and breakdown of this rain barrel. This 50-gallon model is a good choice for small to mid-sized gardens.
- Collapsible design
- Comes with a spigot, faucet, debris filter, and switch
- Mesh design for easy debris filtering
- UV-resistant PVS material for weatherproofing
- Easy setup
- Supports a maximum capacity of 50-gallons
- Good value for money
- Could have 5 to 10-gallons more storage
Lostronaut 53-Gallon Portable Rain BarrelThis portable rain barrel is a great choice for your yard. You get a 53-gallon capacity, making it suitable for mid-sized lawns. The Lostronaut features design and construction with 3-ply PVC for a durable liner that’s weatherproof and UV resistant.
The collapsible frame and liner make setup and takedown of this unit simple. You get all the fittings you need to set up the rain barrel, including a high-flow spigot, an overflow kit, and a frame. This model is freeze-resistant, and the superior choice for colder regions of the United States.
- A great portable choice for camping trips
- Comes with two spigots, a faucet, and an overflow kit
- Easy setup and breakdown
- 53-gallon capacity for mid-sized gardens
- Constructed with 3-Ply PVC material for additional durability
- Freeze resistant
- Plant labeling system included
- Smaller Capacity
LIVINGPAL 100 Gallon Foldable Rain Barrel
If you’re looking for a rain barrel for a large garden, this LivingPal model is your top choice. This rain barrel has sufficient water storage for your flowerbeds and lawn, featuring a 100-gallon capacity. You get a mesh inlet filter and a secure filter outlet for a debris-free rain barrel.
This model comes with a full range of fittings, including two spigots with dual switches, and an overflow kit for water management. The two-way zippered lid makes setup and takedown easy. Standing 38 .6-inches tall, this model stows away out of sight.
- Good value for money with a large storage capacity
- Maximum 100-gallon Storage
- Suitable for large gardens
- Large water inlet filter
- Extra durable PVC design with high-quality stitching
- Dual spigots included with overflow kit
- A bit large for mid-sized gardens
Smart Tank 50 Gallon Stackable Water Storage Tank
Those people wanting a water storage barrel for the garden or clean drinking water can check out this model. While it’s more of a storage unit than a rain barrel, it’s easy to modify it to accommodate a downspout intake.
This storage unit lasts a lifetime featuring design and construction with high-density materials, with a BPA-free rating. You get a 50-gallon capacity, with a stackable design. You get an inlet and outlet and handles on the sides for easy movement.
- BPA-free construction with HDPE
- Made in the USA
- Comes with an inlet valve and spigot
- Stackable design
- Premium Price
AtliPrime 60 Gallon Foldable Rain BarrelThe AltiPrime rain barrel is a superior choice for relieving the water needs of your garden. This 60-gallon model is suitable for medium to large gardens and comes as a collapsible design. The durable PVC mesh cover and liner ensure you get a durable rain barrel that lasts for years.
This AltiPrime model comes with all the fittings you need for setup. You get an overflow kit, along with a spigot and switch, and a filter setup included. This model features a dual zip-system on the led for easy installation and takedown.
- Mesh collection filter to keep out debris and bugs
- Dual zipper design for easy setup
- Strut design for additional stability
- Overflow kit and spigot with switch included
- UV-Resistant PVC mesh design for weather resistance
- 60-gallon maximum capacity
- A bit small for large gardens
COMMYEE Foldable Rain Barrel 198 GLThis model suits the largest estates. The 198-gallon capacity with this rain barrel accommodates the needs of large vegetable gardens and small orchards.
You get a mesh PVC liner featuring a collapsible design. The rain barrel comes with ten sturdy supports for the barrel, giving you everything you need for collecting large amounts of rainwater.
This model comes with all the fittings. You get a spigot with switch and a dual zipper on the lid for easy setup and takedown. You might need two or three people to help with the installation and takedown.
- Large 198-gallon capacity for estates and complexes
- Collapsible design with sturdy strut construction
- UV-resistant PVC material
- Open-joint design with faucet and spigots included
- Dual switches
- Too large for residential use
Other Best Selling Options
- Authentic oak barrel texture is molded into each barrel; Will not fade, rot or risk insect infestation
- Flat back to sit flush against a wall; Linkable to other barrels to increase water collection. Rain Barell is 33.5” tall x 24” wide x 18.25” deep
- Save water and money by capturing rainwater to use for your lawn and garden; Optional stand to make filling watering cans easier (sold separately, item # 55100002008081)
- Aluminum screen keeps out debris and insects; Designed to be child and pet safe with no large openings
- Brass Spigot shut off valve for hose hook-up with dual overflow; A front side overflow keeps water from flooding against your outside wall
- The large opening and flat back design allow for easy installation and placement of the downspout while the spoke and wheel pattern in the top of the barrel keeps it child and pet safe.
- The overflow connection at the back of the barrel allows excess water to flow down and underneath the barrel to direct it away from foundations.
- Spigots on the side of the barrel allow you to connect multiple rain catcher barrels IN-Series for easy expansion of your rain water storage capacity.
- Includes debris screen, garden hose, shut-off thumb valve, hanging hose clip, overflow hose, and linking kit for connecting other rc4000 rain barrels.
- The aluminum mesh screen keeps out debris to keep the water clear.
- FUNCTIONALITY: Catch and store rainwater in this 50 Gallon faux wood rain barrel
- OVERFLOW SPOUT: Includes brass spigot so you can easily connect your hose or for use as an overflow spout
- QUALITY: Made of the industry's strongest UV-resistant polyethylene resin that will resist rust, mold, algae, and mildew growth. It won't rot like wooden barrels, and stands up to the cold without cracking or splitting
- EFFICIENCY: Collecting rainwater can help lower water bills and is easy on the environment
- DESIGN: Flat-back and front-side overflow design lets the barrel rest up against your house, but without the worries of water washing over your wall
- Directs rainwater from downspouts into collection barrels for re-use in lawn/garden watering
- Fits standard 2" x 3" residential downspouts
- Two-piece design is made of UV-Resistant PVC plastic and can be painted
- Comes with 4 ft. hi-flow hose
- A QUALITY SPIGOT FOR YOUR RAIN BARREL. Make use of the water collected from your rain barrel easily. This spigot is designed to provide a strong water flow by relying on pressure from the water in your rain barrel. The 3/4" spigot is threaded for easy use with a hose- no need to haul buckets or watering cans.
- NO LEAKS. The attached washer and silicone tape provide a perfect waterproof seal, and the bulkhead fitting and spigot are reverse-threaded, and self tighten- which ensures the spigot will not accidentally loosen from use, and will hold a tight seal over multiple seasons.
- INSTALLATION SO QUICK, YOU'LL BARELY HAVE TIME TO GET YOUR DRILL OUT. The bulkhead fitting and spigot are reverse-threaded, and are tightened from the outside of the barrel- no need to fiddle inside with a wrench. Simply drill a hole, and thread the attached wire down through the hole then slide the bulkhead fitting down the wire as a guide- works well for barrels with and without open top design. The product also comes with a detailed, illustrated guide.
- HEAVY-DUTY, DURABLE CONSTRUCTION. From using a brass ball valve and body and aluminum handle (with orange paint spray), this spigot is built for longevity. The spigot also contains less than 0.25% lead, compliant with the EPA's Lead Free requirement. Visit epa.gov for more info.
- COMPLETE KIT AT A FAIR PRICE. Instead of purchasing separate washers and fittings, save yourself time and money by purchasing this full kit at once. This kit contains: 3/4" spigot with quarter turn valve, 3/4 inch bulkhead fitting (with washer), roll of teflon tape, wire, installation guide. REQUIRED: Drill, a 1-1/4 inch saw bit, adjustable or 1 inch wrench.
Rain Barrel Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have an idea of the best rain barrels available, let’s help you settle on the right rain barrel to meet your needs. In this section, we’ll look at the important considerations for making your purchase.
We’ll advise you on making an informed purchase decision on the best rain barrels to suit your yard.
Can I Make a DIY Rain Barrel?
If you have the time and the skillset to make yourself a rain barrel, you can do so with inexpensive materials and a few tools. Making a rain barrel isn’t rocket science, but if you have no experience with DIY projects, it’s a better idea to purchase a prefabricated kit.
All the models in this review come with all the pieces you need to make a rain barrel. They offer easy setup, even for someone that has no previous DIY experience. You might pay a bit more for a prefabricated kit, but it’s less time and hassle than trying to build one yourself.
What’s the Best Material for Use in a Rain Barrel?
The EPA recommends rain barrels as the best way to conserve rainwater for use in your garden. Rain barrels come in two designs – fixed and collapsible. Fixed models usually feature design and construction with durable polymers like high-density polypropylene (HDPE). These models are stable in many cases and come in a range of colors. However, HDPE is expensive, and many homeowners may opt for a more cost-effective solution.
Collapsible rain barrels feature design and construction with flexible fabrics like PVC. These materials provide excellent weather-resistant while making it easy to break down the rain barrel for use in different areas around the yard.
Both HDPE and PVC are great choices for your rain barrel material, and they offer excellent UV-resistance. Plastics work better than metals for your rain barrel. With polymers, you don’t get corrosion or contamination.
What to Look for When Choosing a Rain Barrel?
There are dozens of models of rain barrels out there. Even the ten in this review might be too much choice for you to handle.
Looking through all the features and components of a rain barrel might leave you scratching your head in confusion. In this section, we’ll unpack the characteristics and features of a good rain barrel.
#1 Safety first
When assessing your garden for a rain barrel, remember to check for safety first. Makes sure your home isn’t using any old lead paint formulations on the gutters and check for any other unsafe materials on your roof that might contaminate your water supply.
Consider the shingles on your roof. If you have tar or gravel shingles, they may wear away, sending debris down your gutters and into your rain barrel, causing a buildup of sediment. Sediment buildup means you’ll need to empty and clean the rain barrel more often.
#2 How much rainwater can you collect in the barrel?
When assessing your ideal rain barrel, look at the capacity of the model before making your purchase. For small yards, a 50-gallon capacity is sufficient.
With mid to large-size yards in freestanding homes, you can do up to a60-gallon capacity. Estates, orchards, and farms can befit from lager models holding upwards of 200-gallons. Larger sizes might be necessary for drier regions that receive less rainfall throughout the season.
#3 Look for a secure lid and a filter
Make sure you choose a model with a secure cover and filter system. A secure screw-on lid or dual zipper system is critical for your rain barrel.
The best models ensure that nothing can enter the barrel, expect rainwater. Look for models that include filter systems. The filter helps to remove garden debris like leaves and twigs that run down your roof and through the gutter system.
#4 Look for a model with overflow protection and multiple spigots
Your rain barrel should feature an overflow kit to prevent issues with capacity when the barrel is full. An overflow valve helps to remove the excess water, without compromising the structural integrity of the barrel. Spigots are a critical part of your rain barrel, and essential for draining and watering duties.
#5 Look for a model with a sturdy design
If you’re buying a solid HDPE model, you don’t have to worry about the setup; it’s a plug-and-play design that fits directly to your existing gutter system. However, collapsible models take more effort to set up and breakdown.
These models feature sturdy struts to form the shape of the rain barrel. The PVC construction and mesh design make the barrel flexible, but lightweight. As a result, you get a portable rain barrel that’s easy to move around your yard.
How Do You Install Your Rain Barrel?
When purchasing your rain barrel, the setup and installation are a concern. If you’re purchasing an HDPE model, it’s a simple installation. A collapsible design with PVC material and support struts might take more effort, and multiple people, depending on the size of the barrel.
Here is a brief guide on setting up your new rain barrel.
#1 Location, Location, Location
When installing your new rain barrel, its location in your yard is the most critical aspect of setting it up. You need to set up the barrel close to a downspout. The setup must allow you to divert the flow of water into the barrel easily.
#2 Place the barrel on a sturdy, flat base
After selecting your setup space, examine the area around where you want to set up the base. The floor should be level, with plenty of support.
Remember, a 50-gallon rain barrel weighs around 450-lbs, and that’s a lot of weight. You can’t set that upon a small wooden stool and expect it to have the necessary support.
#3 Mount the rain barrel on a stand
Choose a stand that keeps the rain barrel off the ground. This strategy prevents the cold ground from cooling off the water, and it prevents bugs from finding your rain barrel. Elevating the barrel makes it easy to access the spigot.
#4 Measure out and mockup your rain barrel placement
Before setting up and installing your rain barrel, mock it up around the installation site. Take accurate measurements of the base, and account for where you want to position the faucets and spigot.
#5 Secure the lid and wait for the rain
After setting up your rain barrel, secure the lid and wait for the storm. After the first downpour, go out and check on your barrel to make sure everything is ok. A common rookie error for most new owners is leaving the spigot open. As a result of the error, the barrel leaks out the water instead of filling it.
Is Harvested Rainwater Safe to Drink?
If you live out in the mountains, away from industry and pollution, you should have no issues drinking water collected in your rain barrel. However, it may cause a mild reaction in your gut, giving you loose stool.
If you live in the city, we recommend you avoid drinking water from your rain barrel. There are plenty of chemical contaminants and carcinogens in the air around cities, which ends in rainwater.
You can purchase specialized water purifiers and cleaners to make your rainwater drinkable, but they generally come with expensive price tags. Here are a few general rules of thumb when it’s not safe to drink water from your rain barrel.
- If your roof receives treatment for pathogens like mold
- Your roof features zinc strips
- You have copper gutters
What do you do with the Water in Your Rain Barrel?
We recommend avoiding collecting the water from the first big rain of the season. This initial storm will clean all the debris, animal droppings, and pollutants from your roof, washing it.
After the first storm passes, hook up your rain barrel to the downspout and start harvesting rainwater. By avoiding collecting the first wash, you have less debris in your rain barrel, reducing the maintenance needs.
What Is the Proper Procedure for Maintaining a Rain Barrel?
Your rain barrel collects a small amount of debris over the rainy season. Therefore, at the end of the season, it’s a good idea to clean it out. If you live in a colder region of the US, make sure you empty the rain barrel and pack it away until next season.
Rain Barrel FAQs
How often do you need to empty a rain barrel?
We recommend emptying the rain barrel and cleaning it before the start of the rainy season. If you live in a region experiencing freezing temperatures in the winter, either disconnect your rain barrel or remove it until the ground thaws and the rains start.
What happens when a rain barrel reaches capacity?
When the rain barrel reaches maximum capacity, the overflow kicks in, and the rain gutters from the barrel as normal. However, it’s important to position your rain barrel correctly. A full barrel 50-gallon can weigh up to 450-lbs.
Therefore, you need a stable base around the barrel to ensure it doesn’t topple over under the weight. Look for models with release valves. During heavy downpours, this valve assists with the overflow of excess water.
Can the water in my rain barrel go bad?
Water doesn’t go “bad.” However, water can experience contamination with chemical compounds or biological pathogens. If you store water away from contact with concrete, in a dark, cool area of your home, you can keep it indefinitely.
Is it illegal to harvest rainwater?
The only state that forbids and outlaws the collection of rainwater in Colorado. Residents may not own water barrels. The rest of the states can harvest up to 110-lbs at a time, although we don’t know if the EPA actively enforces these laws.
The Verdict – The Best Rain Barrels
If you’re looking to collect rainwater for your garden or storage around your home, we recommend taking one of the rain barrels in this review. There are models to suit any application and any size garden. Regardless of your water requirements, we have something to suit your needs.
If you’re having trouble settling on a model for your garden, why not take one of our top picks? The COMMYEE 66 Gallon Rain Barrel is a great choice for a collapsible model, with 66-gallons of water storage, making it ideal for mid-size to larger gardens in townhouses, complexes, and freestanding homes. You get everything you need with this kit, including a filter, dual-switches, and spigot.
The Upcycle 55 Gallon Rain Barrel is a sustainable option, with HDPE construction. This black container keeps the light out of the water, ensuring no chance for mold growth. You get a filter on the inlet to remove all debris, as well as a spigot and overflow. This model is a great choice for smaller to mid-sized gardens, offering an environmentally-friendly way to conserve water.
The Goflame Rain Barrel is a collapsible design featuring tough PVC material and rigid supports for use around the home. This model features a filter and a spigot, holding 50-gallons of rainwater for your garden and lawn. This model is a great choice for smaller yards in townhouses and cluster homes. Choose a rain barrel and reduce your yard’s annual water consumption by up to 40%.