Best Rain Barrels

Best Rain Barrels?

There are many types of rain barrels available in the market today. Some rain barrels are made from wood while others are made out of plastic or even metal. These materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Wood is naturally porous which means it allows water to seep through into your ground floor apartment without causing any problems. Plastic rain barrels tend to leak when they get wet, especially if they aren’t properly cleaned after use. Metal rain barrels tend to rust over time and require regular maintenance.

The most popular type of rain barrel is the one made from recycled material such as newspaper, cardboard, or even old tires. There are other materials used too like bamboo, stone, brick and even corrugated iron. All these materials have their advantages and disadvantages but none of them are perfect.

So what makes a good rain barrel? What do you need to look for when buying a new one?

Let’s take a closer look at all these questions.


How Big Is A Good Rain Barrel?

A good sized rain barrel will hold enough water to last you several months. You may want to buy one with a capacity of two gallons or even three gallons so that you don’t run out during the rainy season. If you’re looking for something that holds four or five gallons then it might not be big enough for your needs.


How Durable Is It?

The next thing to consider is how durable your rain barrel is. It can be made from many different materials but you want to make sure that it’s strong enough to last you for several years. Check out the seams of the rain barrel because this is often where leaks come from if they appear at all. If the rain barrel is made from wood then you’ll need to reseal it every year or so.


How Easy Is It To Maintain?

If you don’t want to waste your time cleaning out your rain barrel after every use then you’ll want to find one that is easy to maintain. Metal and plastic rain barrels often leak if not cleaned properly. Make sure there are no holes or cracks that allow water to collect in the bottom. If you live in an area that has hard water you may notice a white film forming on the sides of your rain barrel. This is caused by the build-up of minerals and you’ll need to scrub it away with a stiff brush and some vinegar to remove it.


Where Is It Manufactured?

You also want to make sure that you buy your rain barrel from a manufacturer that has a good reputation. A rain barrel made in the United States will probably be of good quality but you may have more options if you buy elsewhere. Companies in the UK and Europe often manufacture rain barrels from recycled plastic. These rain barrels are then shipped over here so you will have to wait a few weeks before they arrive.


How Much Water Does It Store?

Some rain barrels are designed to be installed indoors while others are made to stay outside permanently. If you want to put your rain barrel inside the house then you’ll need to make sure that it won’t leak. You should also make sure that it has a suitable hole in the bottom so that water can drain out easily. If you intend on keeping your rain barrel outside then you need to think about how prominently it will sit in the yard. A rain barrel with a wide base won’t cause as many problems as one that is more top-heavy. You may even want to hide your rain barrel behind a hedge or low wall so that it is not an eye sore.


How Easy Is It To Install?

Finally, you’ll need to think about how easy it is to install your new rain barrel. If you want to put it indoors then this won’t be a problem. You can easily find a place for it and hook it up to the gutters directly. If you intend on keeping your rain barrel outdoors then you’ll have to consider how to hide it or protect it from the weather. Some rain barrels come with a base that you can hide underground to keep them out of sight. Others come with covers that you may need to buy separately.

How much water can your rain barrel collect?

You’ll need to find out how much your rain barrel can hold before it overfills because it is connected directly into the gutters. You should be able to find this information online or from your local government. For example, a 55-gallon rain barrel can only hold about 40 gallons of water if you have an average amount of rainfall. You should also take climate into consideration because you may only get half as much rainfall in some parts of the country.

Does the rain barrel have an overflow pipe?

You’ll also need to know if your rain barrel comes with an overflow pipe. This is important because it will affect how much water your rain barrel can actually store. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your rain barrel is only half full because it has been overflowing for weeks. Most rain barrels come with an overflow pipe but you should always check the specifications before buying.

If the barrel doesn’t have an overflow pipe then it should have a plug in the bottom so that you can remove water as it builds up. This is less convenient but it’s better than finding out the hard way that your barrel is full.

Some rain barrels have a sensor that detects when water levels are running low. These are rare but can be a nice feature to keep an eye out for.

What material was the rain barrel made from?

Most rain barrels are made from either plastic or metal. If you want to keep your rain barrel inside the house then a metal barrel is not going to work because of how much they tend to rust. You might be able to get away with a plastic barrel but make sure that it is made from high-quality plastic that won’t easily crack or break.

Metal barrels tend to be more durable and can be left outside without suffering too much damage. The downside is that metal barrels are prone to rust if they are not kept clean and dry. You may need to re-paint or stain your rain barrel every few years to keep it looking nice.

Best Rain Barrels - Purch Marketplace

Your rain barrel should come with some kind of filter at the spigot to prevent any leaves or debris getting into the water supply. It is also a good idea to keep the rain barrel covered with a lid to stop birds from building nests in it.

Is The Rain Barrel Aesthetically Pleasing?

Finally, you should think about how your rain barrel looks. If it is going to be kept outside and in view of the neighbors then you’ll want to pick one that is aesthetically pleasing. Many rain barrels have been made in a number of fun colors including green, blue, yellow and red. It’s even possible to get a custom designed rain barrel with your own personal touch.

You may also be interested in our articles on rain chains and how to fix a squealing drain.

Sources & references used in this article:

Modeling techniques of best management practices: Rain barrels and rain gardens using EPA SWMM-5 by MP Abi Aad, MT Suidan, WD Shuster – Journal of Hydrologic …, 2010 –

Understanding urban-suburban adoption and maintenance of rain barrels by Y Gao, N Babin, AJ Turner, CR Hoffa, S Peel… – Landscape and Urban …, 2016 – Elsevier

Adoption, maintenance and diffusion of stormwater best management practices: rain barrels by CR Hoffa, LS Prokopy Ph D, N Babin Ph D, AJ Turner – 2014 –

Rain barrels: A catalyst for change? by ME Bakacs, M Haberland, SS Mangiafico… – Journal of …, 2013 –

Consumer demand for green stormwater management technology in an urban setting: The case of Chicago rain barrels by AW Ando, LPC Freitas – Water Resources Research, 2011 – Wiley Online Library

Hydrological connections between low-impact development, watershed best management practices, and sustainable development by NB Chang – 2010 –

Effect of connecting rain barrels on the storage size reduction by Y Seo, NJ Choi, D Park – Hydrological Processes, 2012 – Wiley Online Library

Assessment of Residential Rain Barrel Water Quality and Use in Cincinnati, Ohio1 by WD Shuster, D Lye, A De La Cruz… – JAWRA Journal of …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Environmental reviews and case studies: Building green infrastructure via citizen participation: A six-year study in the Shepherd Creek (Ohio) by AL Mayer, WD Shuster, JJ Beaulieu… – Environmental …, 2012 – Taylor & Francis